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ARRL Special Bulletin ARLX011 (2022)

ARLX011 Amateur Radio and ARRL Devotee Ellen White, W1YL (SK)

QST de W1AW  
Special Bulletin 11  ARLX011
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  November 8, 2022
To all radio amateurs 

ARLX011 Amateur Radio and ARRL Devotee Ellen White, W1YL (SK)

Ellen White, W1YL, of Brandon, Florida, passed away on Sunday,
November 6, 2022. She was 95. White became a radio amateur in 1946
and devoted over 75 years of her life to ham radio, including more
than 25 years on the headquarters staff for ARRL, The National
Association for Amateur Radio. She retired in 1978 as Deputy
Communications Manager and became the editor of the column "How's
DX?" for ARRL's membership journal, QST. White was an ARRL Life
Member and donor.

At its meeting in January 1978, the ARRL Board of Directors adopted
a resolution recognizing White and her husband Robert (Bob) L.
White, W1CW (SK), after having "completed a quarter-century of
faithful service to the American Radio Relay League." The resolution
cites that Ellen White had "built a reputation for thoroughness and
objectivity on a mountain of contest logs," and celebrated her
"intelligent and creative work as Deputy Communications Manager."

White was admired by the worldwide amateur radio community. In 2019,
she was the sole US radio amateur to be awarded the Russian E.T.
Krenkel Medal, a prestigious award granted to individuals and
organizations for outstanding global contributions to amateur radio.

Director of ARRL's Publications and Editorial Department Becky
Schoenfeld, W1BXY, reflected on the news of White's passing. "Ellen
was a trailblazing woman in amateur radio. She and I corresponded
over the years [before] finally meeting up at Orlando HamCation in
2020. Ellen often marveled at how much farther women had come in the
ham radio hobby, service, and community since she got her start.
Every time I talked to her, I thanked her for paving the way," said

Remembrances for White began arriving at ARRL Headquarters early
Monday morning.

First Class CW Operators' Club (FOC) Membership Secretary Tyler
Barnett, N4TY, sent a message to all club members. "Ellen joined FOC
in May 1966, and was active in retirement from her Florida contest
station, and most recently remote via the W7RN Comstock Memorial
station. This is a very sad day. She will be missed on the air, and
at the Florida dinners." Barnett said White was FOC member #875.

White was also referred to as the "founding grandmother" of the
Florida Contest Group (FCG). President Chris Plumblee, W4WF, added,
"It is fitting, in a few ways, that Ellen passed away during SS
[ARRL Sweepstakes] CW, a contest that she administered for years
while she worked at the ARRL."

White had already learned Morse code in high school, and only rarely
operated any other mode. "Ellen loved CW, contesting, and DXing,"
said Rosalie White, K1STO (no relation), former ARRL Field And
Educational Services Manager, who was hired by Ellen White to work
for ARRL in 1973. "Ellen and I got a lot of hams asking, 'Are you
Ellen's daughter?' or 'Are you Rosalie's mother?'" said Rosalie
White. "We always replied, 'No, but that would've been cool.'"
Rosalie White is now an ARISS-International US Delegate representing

Rosalie White recounted that in the 1940s, Ellen and Bob White
earned First Class Radiotelephone and Second Class Radiotelegraph
commercial licenses. "She [Ellen White], being a maverick, also took
the Class B FCC Amateur Radio test to become W2RBU, and promptly
joined ARRL. Radio broadcast station KPOA based in Oahu, Hawaii,
hired her (then KH6QI) as station engineer in the day when it was
unheard of for a woman. She and Bob then headed to San Diego,
California, where she took another radio broadcast engineer job, and
also ran for and became ARRL San Diego Section Communications
Manager (now called Section Manager). This was prior to their
applying for jobs (at ARRL) in Newington in 1947."

The article "A Conversation with Ellen White, W1YL," by Rosalie
White appeared in the May/June 2015 issue of NCJ, published by ARRL.
That article can be found at, .

Eric Guth, 4Z1UG, of the QSO Today Amateur Radio Podcast, introduced
Ellen White as the "Grande Dame" of amateur radio in an interview
recorded on April 27, 2016.  The interview can be found at, .

Ellen White was preceded in death by her husband Bob in 2003, and
her son Jim White, K4OJ (SK), in 2004.


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