Tim Duffy, K3LR, to Receive RCA’s Goldwater Award
The Radio Club of America (RCA) has named Tim Duffy, K3LR, of West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, as the recipient of its Barry Goldwater Amateur Radio Award. The Goldwater Award is given to an RCA member who is also a licensed amateur in recognition of a long record of service to the public through the use of Amateur Radio. He will receive the award at the RCA’s 101st annual awards banquet held this November in New York City. Duffy -- an ARRL Life Member who became an RCA member in 1999 and serves on the RCA Board of Directors, as well as chairman of its Marketing Committee -- will also be inducted as an RCA Fellow this year.
“I am humbled and thankful to receive this award,” Duffy told the ARRL. “My entire life has been shaped by wireless communications -- and the people who have helped me along the way. I believe it is very important to give back to Amateur Radio and to the professional wireless communities. I am committed to helping others enjoy this opportunity as much as I have.”
K3LR and Amateur Radio
First licensed at age 12 in 1972 as WN3SZX, Duffy got hooked on Amateur Radio “because I thought it was cool. I started building crystal radio sets and hanging out with Denny Quinn, who back then was WA3EIP and is now KG9IM. He showed me how much fun Amateur Radio could be. I don’t think I have ever lost that excitement in the almost 40 years since!”
Duffy’s first on-the-air operating event was ARRL Field Day in 1972. Five months later, he operated in his first contest, the ARRL November CW Sweepstakes, beginning a well-celebrated Amateur Radio contest career. “I operated as a single operator in the Novice category,” he said, “racking up a whopping 172 contacts. Even though I didn’t do well in the QSO department, I was hooked on contesting and found I wanted to do more of it.” Duffy did indeed “do more of it,” going on to win the North American CW Sprint Contest in 1979, 1981 and 1984. He also won the ARRL 160 Meter Contest in 1980 as a single operator and again in 1992 as part of a multioperator team. In 1988, he was the top USA single operator in the ARRL International DX SSB Contest. In 1999, Duffy began what he is best known for: the K3LR Multi/Multi Team. From Duffy’s contest station in Western Pennsylvania, he has hosted almost 60 Multi/Multi team operations with more than 100 different operators participating, making more than 400,000 contacts through the years.
Duffy served as the Atlantic Division representative on the ARRL Contest Advisory Committee, with two years as chairman. He was also a member of the CQ World Wide Contest Committee for 20 years, assisting with log checking and other special projects. For almost 30 years, Duffy has been the moderator of the ever-popular Antenna Forum at the Dayton Hamvention. Beginning in 2007 in Dayton, he pioneered Contest University (CTU); since then, CTU has been presented in England and Italy. Under Duffy’s chairmanship of CTU, more than 1000 hams have graduated from CTU. For the past 25 years, he has coordinated the Contest Super Suite during the Dayton Hamvention, as well as the annual Contest Dinner since 1993.
Duffy has represented the USA in the World Radiosport Team Championship four times: 1996 in San Francisco, Finland in 2002, Brazil in 2006 and Russia in 2010. He is an ARRL Life Member and a Platinum Member of the ARRL Diamond Club. Duffy is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and serves on the Board of Directors of the World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF). He was elected into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame in 2006.
K3LR’s Professional Life
At the age of 15 -- shortly after earning his First Class Commercial Radiotelephone license -- he was hired as Chief Engineer for a local AM/FM radio station. One week after he started, the FM exciter broke, so the station manager called Duffy in to fix it. Unfortunately, this happened on a school day, so he had to be called out of algebra class to go make the repair. Luckily, the teacher let him go, as long as he made up the work.
Growing up, Duffy wanted to become a doctor so he could afford his dream station. But early on, electronics held him under its spell. He attended Penn State with the idea of becoming a doctor, but three years into the program, he found he just couldn’t do it, so he switched his major to electrical engineering.
“In 1985, I interviewed for an engineering management position at a local TV broadcast station, a CBS affiliate,” Duffy told the ARRL. “Now for someone who had grown up in broadcast radio, television was quite a step up. During the interview, the company mentioned that there was a new position open in engineering -- building a cellular network in Eastern Ohio. They told me that the job was so new, that there was no description and that cellular might be a ‘bust.’ There were no guarantees how long the job would last. My close friend, Bill Wallace, K3SVO (SK), advised me to take the job and go into cellular, and that if it did not work out, I was young enough to get back into TV. The rest is history.”
In 1999, he moved to Oklahoma where he was the Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President at Dobson Communications Corporation (Cellular One). In 2007, Dobson merged with AT&T and Duffy then served as AT&T’s Executive Director in the Network Planning and Engineering Group. In 2009, he left AT&T to join Stelera Wireless as its Chief Technology Officer where he is responsible for the company’s technology direction, subscriber product development, engineering related operations and network build out.
ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN -- herself an RCA Fellow -- congratulated Duffy on his election as Fellow: “Your personal accomplishments in technical and operating activities are outstanding. What is even more to be commended is your unfailing generosity toward others in sharing your knowledge and offering opportunities to operate a world-class station. Your effort to help others improve their Amateur Radio expertise is an example to be emulated.”
RCA Banquet Information
The following RCA members will also receive awards at the banquet:
- The Armstrong Medal: Donald C. Cox, PhD, W0REL -- This first major award was established in 1935 with a special scroll which was presented to Major Edwin H. Armstrong. The medal is bestowed by the Board of Directors upon any person within its membership who shall have made, in the opinion of the Board of Directors and within the spirit of the club, an important contribution to the Radio Art and Science.
- The Sarnoff Citation: Andrew M. Seybold, W6AMS -- For significant contributions to the advancement of electronic communications. The first citation was given in 1973 to the Honorable Barry M. Goldwater, K7UGA, for his outstanding support of Amateur Radio.
- President’s Award: Steven M. Meer -- For continuing efforts and support on behalf of the Radio Club of America.
- Special Service Award: Paula A. Nelson-Shira -- For her continuing support of the Radio Club of America and its activities.
- Special Recognition Award: Richard G. Somers, W6NSV -- For his commitment in initiating and implementing the Radio Cub of America’s youth education program.
Joining Duffy in the RCA’s Class of 2010 Fellows will be William F. Lieske Jr, Louis M. Manno, Donald McFarland, Richard Mirgon, John J. Sullivan and Larry G. Weber.
Initiated in 1994, the Barry Goldwater Amateur Radio Award has only been presented seven times. The Radio Club of America’s Annual Awards Banquet is open to RCA members, non-members and guests. Registration is required. To learn more about the Radio Club of America and their awards, please visit the RCA Web site.