ARRL Chief Operating Officer Harold Kramer, WJ1B, Retires after 11 Years at Headquarters


The ARRL Headquarters staff on February 26 bid farewell and a happy retirement to Chief Operating Officer Harold Kramer, WJ1B, as he wrapped up 11 years at ARRL Headquarters. His last official day on the job is March 1. At a retirement party, staff members presented Kramer with an antique clock from a Waterbury, Connecticut, clock maker — a particularly fitting gift, as he was born in Waterbury. The ARRL Laboratory staff also designated him as an honorary “ARRL Labbie” — complete with a League call sign badge.

“I was glad to have him as a colleague and a friend,” said ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ — who will depart ARRL Headquarters himself on April 18, after more than 4 decades. Sumner cited several of Kramer’s contributions during his “one sunspot cycle” on the staff. These included arranging for some League publications to be published in Chinese in China, digital publishing — especially books on Kindle, recruiting authors of new publications, and his participation in the development of the League’s new Strategic Plan.

Sumner also noted that while on staff, Kramer had upgraded his own station and became more active on the air, and that he took the initiative to organize the W1Q special event to mark the 100th anniversary of QST in 2015.

ARRL Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, praised Kramer for making the League and its programs more visible to members. “Through his ‘Inside HQ’ column, hundreds of personal tours, loads of hamfest and convention travel, radio club meetings, and shaking a lot of hands — Harold packaged the contributions of ARRL and every staff person, and delivered that story to members, prospective members, and loads of friends and visitors,” Inderbitzen said.

For his part, Kramer said he is proud of what he and the ARRL Headquarters staff accomplished together during his tenure, including the response to Hurricane Katrina. He also cited the upgraded ARRL website and the League’s enhanced presence in digital publishing — including a digital edition of QST.

“One of the things that I am most proud of was being the co-chairman of the Centennial Convention — one of the best-ever ham radio conventions, and the centennial QSO Party — the largest operating event in ham radio history,” Kramer told the staff.

As for his plans, Kramer, whose principal focus has been on emergency communication, said he’s hoping to finally put up the tower and beam he’s been talking about for the past decade and may even return to the Connecticut Field Organization, where he was once an EC. A book and some QST articles also are definite possibilities, he added.

“You have been a great group to get to know and to work with,” Kramer said. “I’ve been proud to call you my colleagues.”

A dinner in Kramer’s honor on February 25 was attended by ARRL staff members and League Field Organization volunteers, including Connecticut Section Manager Betsey Doane, K1EIC, ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, and members of Kramer’s family, including his wife Karen, and his mother-in-law Marie. Executive Assistant Lisa Kustosik, KA1UFZ, served as the emcee.

An ARRL Life Member, Kramer, who lives in Cheshire, Connecticut, joined the ARRL as Chief Operating Officer in 2005. Before coming to ARRL, he was Chief Technology Officer at Connecticut Public Broadcasting.