Past ARRL General Manager, QST Editor John Huntoon, W1RW, SK
John Huntoon, W1RW (ex-W1LVQ), of East Hartford, Connecticut, died February 23. He was 97. Huntoon served as ARRL Secretary and General Manager from 1961 until 1975. A Full Charter Life Member of ARRL, he also was the Secretary of the International Amateur Radio Union and Editor of QST. His oldest daughter, Susan Shipman, recalled that the League was an important part of her father’s life.
“As a child in the 40s and 50s I remember visiting the office at LaSalle Road [in West Hartford] several times and then seeing the new office in Newington later on of which he was very proud,” she said “His radio room at home was in my bedroom closet, and I spent many a night as a child listening to him talking with fellow operators all over the world.”
Following his tenure as ARRL General Manager, Huntoon served from 1976 until 1980 as ARRL treasurer. He also was active in the Quarter Century Wireless Association (QCWA) and was on its board of directors. His daughter said he remained active in the QCWA until recently.
An Illinois native, Huntoon got interested in radio and electronics as a youngster and he obtained W9KJY in 1932, while he was still in high school. Soon he was deeply involved in traffic handling and becoming very proficient in radiotelegraphy. In 1936 he was elected Illinois Section Communications Manager — the forerunner of the Section Manager. He also served as Secretary of the Chicago Area Radio Club Council.
After he helped run the 1938 ARRL National Convention in Chicago, his organizational qualities caught the attention of ARRL staffers. This resulted in his becoming an Assistant Secretary of the ARRL in 1939. Huntoon developed the basic material for Learning the Radiotelegraph Code and became acting Communications Manager at the League after F.E. Handy, W1BDI, entered World War II service. In 1942, he took his own leave of absence from Headquarters for World War II service in the US Coast Guard, where he was a chief radioman.
Upon his return to Headquarters following the war, Huntoon was introduced to the international ham radio scene, attending the 1949 Inter-American Radio Conference and the 1959 Administrative Radio Conference in Geneva. In 1956 he became ARRL Assistant General Manager.
ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, said, “John was General Manager when I first joined the ARRL staff. At the time it seemed to me that he could do every job in the building — and that he sometimes did.”
In addition to Amateur Radio, Huntoon, in his younger years, enjoyed beekeeping and was a self-described “gentleman farmer” as well as an amateur astronomer and telescope builder.
Huntoon and his wife, Pat, had three daughters. Pat Huntoon died in 1995.