Allen R. Richter - W4PHL
QTH Bartslesville, OK
QCWA # 6262
Allen R. Richter, W4PHL was born on June 16, 1916. As a youth, his interest focused on airplanes, with the ambition to learn how to fly. Hanging around the local airport and helping with small chores, Allen was compensated with rides and a chance to handle the controls, eventually to solo in 1932 at the age of 16. At the same time, something unexpected happened in Allen's life.
While experimenting in the garage with a door buzzer, battery and Boy Scout manual, Allen learned that whenever the battery and buzzer were connected, it produced a buzzing sound in the broadcast radio in the house. Soon he was tapping out " SOS " and his name for fun. It wasn't long thereafter that the neighbor across the street appeared. He just got his amateur radio license and heard the buzzing on his receiver. He told Allen that by mastering the code and some radio theory, he could get his license, too. Obviously, Allen's buzzer " rig " radiated well beyond the garage.
It wasn't long before Allen could handle 10 WPM. With the help of a 1930 ARRL Handbook and several local Elmers, he took the Class B exam at the end of 1932, in Davenport, IA. As the visiting RI worked out of the Chicago office, it wasn't until early 1933 that he learned that he passed the theory exam with a score of 87 and was issued the callsign W9JND.
With time and study, Allen passed the First Class Radiotelephone exam, which gave him Class A amateur privileges and eventual employment with broadcast station WOC as chief engineer. Most transmitter engineers were radio amateurs at the time, who followed into commercial radio.
Upon entering military service in 1941, assignment was an issue: Air Corps or Signal Corps. Eventually, the " brass " decided Allen should join the Army Signal Corps and was sent to Ft. Monmouth, NJ. Their reasoning was that " it would be easier to train pilots "
Allen remained at Ft. Monmouth until February 1942 when he volunteered to be part of a special OSS unit earmarked to operate in the CBI theatre. He walked into Burma in December 1942, established the first command post since the Japanese forced Gen. Stillwell to walk out and served as Signal officer of OSS Detachment 101 until 1945. Allen retired as a Lt. Colonel.
Amateur radio opened some interesting doors and exciting opportunities for Allen: Press Wireless Mfg. Co, in NYC,
Robert-Shaw A & I Div. & Singer Co. Electronic Div., both in Washington, DC, Palm Beach County, FL Div. of Emergency Management & the American National Red Cross.
Allen is a Life Member of QCWA, joining in 1969 and is a founding member of the Palm Beach Chapter 111. He also holds memberships in ARRL, OOTC, Potomac Valley Radio Club and a Life Member of the Jupiter-Tequesta Repeater Group. On the aviation side, Allen holds memberships in EAA, AOPA and OX-5 Aviation Pioneers.
Allen is married to Irene, daughter Alexandra and granddaughter Elizabeth. They share time between Jupiter, FL and Bartlesville, OK. He says " I'm too old to fly, however, I'm recognized as being one of the oldest, at 97, to fly a Ford Tri-Motor, yet young enough to maintain and enjoy on the air QSO's with friends, pound brass and travel."
At the February 2014 meeting of the Palm Beach Chapter, Allen received the QCWA 80 year service award
from Chapter President Tom Thompson, W2TMT and National Director Jeff Beals, WA4AW.
March 2, 2014