Antennalyzer Inventor Wendell C. Morrison, W7LLX (SK)
Wendell C. Morrison, W7LLX, of Waukesha, Wisconsin, passed away October 18, 2012. He was 97. An ARRL member for 66 years, Morrison is perhaps best known for the Antennalyzer, an early analog computing device for designing multi-tower AM directional arrays.
Morrison worked for the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) all his life. While at RCA, he was part of the RCA Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey, where in the early 1940s, Morrison, together with George H. Brown, developed the Antennalyzer. According to the spring 2013 issue of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society Newsletter, the Antennalyzer was featured in an article called “The RCA Antennalyzer -- An Instrument Useful in the Design of Antenna Systems,” published in the December 1946 Proceedings of the IRE.*
The IEEE Broadcast Technology Society Newsletter described how the Antennalyzer “greatly simplified design of directional antenna arrays, reducing computational time from weeks or longer to a matter of minutes. It allowed users to input data via a number of controls corresponding to tower current intensities and phases, and tower spacing and angular relationship of the tower to others in the array. Resulting patterns were displayed on the screen of an attached oscilloscope. A desired pattern could be sketched on the scope screen with a grease pencil and the Antennalyzer’s controls then adjusted to produce a trace corresponding to that pattern. Parameters were then read from the control settings. Even an inexperienced person could ‘design’ a directional array with the instrument.”
Morrison received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Iowa. He joined the IRE as a student member in 1940; he became an IEEE Fellow in 1964 and a Life Fellow in 1981. In total, Morrison’s membership in the IRE/IEEE spanned more than 70 years.
* [Editor’s note: In January 1963, the IRE (Institute of Radio Engineers) merged with the AIEE (American Institute of Electrical Engineers) to form the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers).] -- Thanks to the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society Newsletter for the information.