November 15, 2016

From QCWA Headquarters

QCWA Bulletin 2016-021 - Tod Olson, KØTO - Silent Key

It is with sadness we report the passing of QCWA Life Member # 17260, Tod Olson, KØTO (ex-WØIYP) of Idaho Falls, ID on November 12, 2016, at the age of 83. Olson also had a residence in Long Lake, MN.

An ARRL Life Member, Olson began his volunteer service to ARRL in 1974 as the Minnesota Section Communications Manager. He became Dakota Division Vice Director in 1976, and then Director in 1982. In 1986, the ARRL Board of Directors elected him as ARRL Vice President of International Affairs, a post he held until 1990. He again served as Dakota Division Director from 1994 until 1999. The ARRL Board of Directors named him an ARRL Director Emeritus in 2000 and an ARRL Honorary Vice President in 2003.

Olson held a BS from the University of Minnesota, and an MPH from the University of Michigan. He belonged to the Minnesota Wireless Association and the Eagle Rock Amateur Radio Club. An active contester, he was inducted last May into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame.

For young Tod Olson, 1952 was a life-altering year. He married the love of his life - and he became a radio amateur. For the next 64 years these two events set the course of Tod's life. It is easy to imagine Tod's hopes and dreams as he and Jackie began their life together, and to rejoice at how fully they were met: Five children, a successful and fulfilling career, and community service as the mayor of Long Lake, Minnesota. A lifelong interest in technology influenced Tod's career as well as his choice of avocation; he retired in 1991 as Director of the Information Technology Department at General Mills.

As WØIYP, Tod soon began making his mark through local radio clubs and on-the-air activity. His passion for competitive operating, particularly in the ARRL November Sweepstakes, led him in 1973 to be the founding editor of National Contest Journal (NCJ). In 1976 he became KØTO. He was inducted into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame largely on the strength of his vision for NCJ and his willingness to do the enormous work that it took to launch, edit, and distribute a print publication in the days before personal computers.

Tod served on every standing committee of the ARRL Board, and twice was chairman of the Administration & Finance Committee. In recognition of his extraordinary contributions the ARRL Board elected him as Honorary Vice President in 2003.

In retirement, Tod and Jackie divided their time between Minnesota and Idaho, and it was in Idaho Falls that Tod chose to enter hospice to spend his final weeks with Jackie and other family members. His countless friends in Amateur Radio send their condolences to the family and our thanks for having shared him with us for so many years.

A memorial service will held later in Minnesota.

Thanks in part to ARRL

Ken Oelke, VE6AFO
President, Quarter Century Wireless Association, Inc.