Rod Blocksome, K0DAS, Appointed Midwest Division Vice Director
ARRL President, Kay Craigie, N3KN, has appointed Rod Blocksome, K0DAS, of Robins, Iowa, as the new Vice Director in the Midwest Division. The position became vacant when Midwest Division Director Bruce Frahm, K0BJ, was elected ARRL Vice President at the 2010 ARRL Board of Directors Annual Meeting and Vice Director Cliff Ahrens, K0CA, moved into the Director position.
First licensed as KN0DAS in 1960 -- and an ARRL member since 1962 -- Blocksome credits his grandmother with getting him interested in Amateur Radio: "When I was 13, she gave me this big console-type shortwave radio -- it was so big, it couldn't fit in the house! So I kept it in our workshop and each evening, I would go out and listen to it and I discovered all these exotic countries on the air. I also discovered the hams on the amateur bands. One of the hams I listened to -- William Balderson, W0CKV -- was in Dodge City, about 60 miles away. So I called him up on the phone and told him I wanted to be a ham and asked him if he could help me. He showed me what I needed to do and gave me an ARRL license manual to study. We ordered my Novice test and he administered my code test. The rest is history."
"I'm honored to be selected as the Vice-Director of the ARRL Midwest Division and am looking forward to serving the division hams to the best of my ability," Blocksome told the ARRL. "I grew up in Kansas, lived in Iowa and have traveled to more than 50 different countries, so I hope to bring my Midwestern roots - as well as a multi-cultural/international perspective - to this position."
Blocksome has 42 years of professional engineering experience in radio communications systems and equipment design. He has designed several Collins HF transmitters and related equipment and managed engineering design teams responsible for design and development of transmitting equipment spanning 0.45 MHz-2000 MHz and at RF power levels of 10 W to 45 kW. He managed an IPD team developing L-band receivers and performing system engineering of communication systems in a full MIL-SPEC environment on the F-22 program and spent two years redesigning and formalizing the System Engineering Process at Rockwell Collins. In addition to his career in the private sector, Blocksome served four years active duty as an officer in US Air Force doing HF communications systems engineering while on leave of absence from Collins Radio Company. He holds a BSEE and an MSEE from Kansas State University.
One activity that Blocksome has been heavily involved in for the past 10 years is research and analysis in the search for Amelia Earhart's airplane. "I and several other ham/engineers at Rockwell Collins have been donating our expertise in radio communications to this effort," he said. "We have been using our experience in this fascinating project to get students interested in science/math by making presentations in the local school system."
Blocksome was a member of a local group of engineers and hams that conducted a very through technical investigation of a trial BPL system in Cedar Rapids: "Our efforts were instrumental in convincing the local power utility to abandon their planned BPL project. ARRL Headquarters used the technical report on our measurements and findings in fighting BPL that interferes with Amateur Radio across the country."
"Rod has been an active ham for many years, with a diversity of experiences and interests, including DXing and operating from DX locations, VHF/UHF weak signal operation, classic equipment repair and restoration and antenna design," said ARRL Midwest Division Director Cliff Ahrens, K0CA. "I am looking forward to working closely with Rod, the Section Managers and our dedicated ARRL Field Organization volunteers to serve the ARRL members and radio amateurs of the Midwest Division."
Blocksome has been a member of the Central States VHF Society since 1975 and a Charter Life Member since 2001. He has served as President of the organization in 1984, 1991 and 1998, with 21 years on its Board of Directors, He is the recipient of the CSVHF Society's 1993 Mel Wilson Award, given to a member for service to the Society. In 1994, Blocksome initiated the process to begin publishing the Society's Proceedings, something other VHF societies have done since. He also initiated the CSVHF Society's "States Above 50 MHz" program.
An avid Collins Radio aficionado, Blocksome has been a member of the Collins Collector Association since 1996. He has served two years on its Board of Directors, hosted three CCA conventions and been the CCCA banquet speaker at the Dayton Hamvention® four times.
He is a charter member of the Collins Amateur Radio Club, serving as President for four years; he currently serves as the club's Program Chairman. He is also a member of the Eastern Iowa DX Association and the Cedar Valley Amateur Radio Club, serving as President two times and Hamfest Chairman two times.
Blocksome has written articles for various Amateur Radio publications, including QST. Beginning in 1995, he penned "An HF 50 W Linear Amplifier" for The ARRL Handbook. He wrote "EME -- Iowa Style" that appeared in the May 1982 issue of QST and he took the photo that appeared on the cover of the July 1982 issue of QST, featuring the ARRL National Convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa..
Blocksome also enjoys weak signal work (50-2304 MHz) and Amateur Radio contesting, both CW and SSB, as a Rover. He also enjoys HF DXing, both chasing DX and being DX (he has operated as VK2IHY in Australia in 1996, T30CXX on Tarawa Atoll in 2002 and 2006 and as T32DAS on Christmas Island in 2008). He likes to restore classic ham gear - particularly Collins equipment and is active in local Amateur Radio clubs and mentoring new hams into the hobby.