L.B. Cebik, W4RNL (WN4RNL, 1954)
Jim Cebik had been 1ATG and later W1BUK in the late 1920s and early 1930s (and wrote a few articles on his experiments). He gave up amateur radio when he married in the depression years. Relative parts costs were high, and family came first. In fact, he rarely mentioned amateur radio, and my entry was independent via some high school comrads and a cousin. But he had not forgotten his CW or key skills and saved me from embarrassment on that first day. I returned the favor by renewing his interest in amateur radio and about 1964, he was relicensed and obtained his old W1BUK call, which he used for very many years. He died in 2002 in his high 90s.
So my Dad was a part of my Novice beginning in amateur radio, and I strove to send CW with a straight key so that one could not tell it from a keyer. He remains a strong part of my effort. He noted that the ham spirit is to give, if needed, the shirt off one's back to a fellow ham and to expect-not its return-but rather that it be passed on to the next ham who needs it. That is the spirit of my web site.
My Novice days were a joy, and I have been pleased to carry my father's amateur radio days into everything that I do.Hope this is useful.
L. B. Cebik, W4RNL, ARRL Technical Adviser and antenna authority, passed away last week. He was 68. An ARRL Life Member, Cebik was known to many hams for the numerous articles he wrote on antennas and antenna modeling. He had articles published in most of the US ham journals, including QST, QEX, NCJ, CQ, Communications Quarterly, Ham Radio, 73, QRP Quarterly, Radio-Electronics and QRPp. Larry Wolfgang, WR1B, QEX Editor, called Cebik "probably the most widely published and often read author of Amateur Radio antenna articles ever to write on the subject."
Cebik lived in Knoxville, Tennessee and wrote more than a dozen books on antennas for both the beginner and the advanced student. Among his books are a basic tutorial in the use of NEC antenna modeling software and compilations of his many shorter pieces. A teacher for more than 30 years, Cebik was retired, but served as Professor Emeritus of philosophy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
One of Cebik's last articles for QST, "A New Spin on the Big Wheel," appeared in the March 2008 issue. The article, co-written with Bob Cerreto, WA1FXT, looked at a three dipole array for 2 meters. This was a follow-up to their article in the January/February issue of QEX that featured omnidirectional horizontally polarized antennas. Cebik authored the "Antenna Options" for QEX; his last column appears in the May/June 2008 issue.
Former ARRL Senior Assistant Technical Editor Dean Straw, N6BV, and editor of The ARRL Antenna Book, said, "LB will be greatly missed by the thousands of hams he's helped through his incredibly prolific - and invariably proficient - writing about antennas. LB helped me personally in numerous ways while I worked on antenna matters at the League, always communicating with a gentle, scholarly attitude and a real eye for detail. I'm in shock at the news of LB's passing. May his soul rest in peace."
Licensed since 1954, Cebik served as Technical Editor for antenneX Magazine. According to Jack L. Stone, publisher of antenneX, he had not heard from Cebik for a few days and became worried: "I called the Sheriff in Knoxville to go check on him since I hadn't heard from him in over 5 days, either e-mail or phone, which is highly unusual. The Sheriff [went to Cebik's house to check on him and] called back to tell me the sad, devastating news. As his publisher of books, monthly columns, feature articles and software/models for more than 10 years, we communicated almost daily during that span of time. Not hearing from him for that long was unusual, causing my concern. He was like family to me and was loved and respected by so many."
In a Web posting, Cebik fondly remembered his first QSO and how his father came to his rescue during his first contact: "I was licensed in 1954 as both a Novice and a Tech, since then you could take both exams in one session and privileges were separate. My calls were W1APS and WN1APS. I got on the air for the first time with a ham a couple of blocks away, an fine old timer. However, I got key fright half way through. My dad, James S. (Jim) Cebik, came to my rescue and finished the contact, although he had not touched key in over 20 years. Jim Cebik had been 1ATG and later W1BUK in the late 1920s and early 1930s (and wrote a few articles on his experiments). He gave up Amateur Radio when he married in the depression years; the cost of parts were high and family came first. In fact, he rarely mentioned Amateur Radio, and my entry was independent via some high school comrades and a cousin. But he had not forgotten his CW or key skills and saved me from embarrassment on that first day. I returned the favor by renewing his interest in Amateur Radio and about 1964, he was relicensed and obtained his old W1BUK call which he used for very many years. He died in 2002 in his high 90s."
Cebik maintained a Web site, www.cebik.com, a virtual treasure trove to anyone interested in antennas. Besides a few notes on the history of radio work and other bits that Cebik called "semi-technical oddities," the collection contains information of interest to radio amateurs and professionals interested in antennas, antenna modeling and related subjects, such as antenna tuners and impedance matching. Cebik said that his notes were "geared to helping other radio amateurs and antenna enthusiasts discover what I have managed to uncover over the years - and then to go well beyond."
His Web site also contains information on antenna modeling. His book, Basic Antenna Modeling: A Hands-On Tutorial for Nittany-Scientific's NEC-Win Plus NEC-2 antenna modeling software, contains models in .NEC format for over 150 exercises. "Since the principles in the book apply to any modeling software," Cebik said, "I have also created the same exercise models in the EZNEC format. For more advanced modelers using either NEC-2 or NEC-4, I have prepared an additional volume, Intermediate Antenna Modeling: A Hands-On Tutorial, based on Nittany-Scientific's NEC-Win Pro and GNEC. The volume includes hundreds of antenna models used in the text to demonstrate virtually the complete command set (along with similarities and differences) used by both cores."
ARRL Contributing Editor H. Ward Silver, N0AX, said, "LB typified generosity. He was always developing material that was published widely. Furthermore, the quality of the articles and concepts was always high, but the writing was such that an audience with a wide range of technical backgrounds could understand it. His Web site is a Solomon's Treasure of solid antenna information - available to all."
Wolfgang remembered Cebik, saying, "L. B. was an ARRL Technical Advisor, with expertise in antenna modeling and design. I learned that I could count on L. B. to offer clear, concise comments on any submitted article dealing with antennas. He was always a friendly voice on the other end of my phone line when I needed to talk to an expert, and I came to expect a quick e-mailed response to any antenna questions that I sent him. L. B. was so much more than an antenna author, though. He was one of the first ARRL Educational Advisors I ever had the pleasure of working with when I became editor of the ARRL study materials. He played a key role in helping develop the concept of online courses when ARRL began to study the idea of the Continuing Education program; his Antenna Modeling course has been one of the most popular offerings in the program. L. B. leaves a legacy of friendly advice and Amateur Radio wisdom. I will miss him as a friend and as an advisor."
In his Web reminiscences, Cebik summed up his own life in Amateur Radio: "My Dad was a part of my Novice beginning in Amateur Radio, and I strove to send CW with a straight key so that one could not tell it from a keyer. He remains a strong part of my effort. He noted that the ham spirit is to give, if needed, the shirt off one's back to a fellow ham and to expect - not its return - but rather that it be passed on to the next ham who needs it."
LB was a Life Member of QCWA and a member of the QCWA Hall of Fame since 2003.
Bob Roske, NØUF