WQ4L - John WQ4L

John W. Reiser
Cadillac, MI

QCWA # 30080

John Reiser was born and raised in Cadillac, Michigan. He claims his fascination with radio started at a very early age with by listening to distant broadcast stations on the family radio that was connected to large wire antenna array on the house roof supported by a tall pipe.

During the period of WW-II he became even interested in radio by seeing how both short-wave and two-way radio was frequently featured in many of the motion pictures and in the reports of military activities.

There were no licensed amateurs in Cadillac at the time, and consumer radio receivers were impossible to buy because all electronic products were directed to the war effort. The one radio repair shop in the town kept busy by recycling tubes and parts that were available. However, John built a number of one to three tube battery operated radios with the assistance and a few from parts from the radio shop owner.

When John started high school, the local Civil Air Patrol Squadron sponsored a cadet program which offered classes to train and obtain FCC licenses for radio operators. The head of the local Western Union office was the instructor who also conducted Morse code training. John obtained his first FCC Commercial Radiotelephone Operator Permit through the CAP program. John also worked for a local jewelry store repairing clocks of all kinds.

Immediately after WW-II ended and when John was a junior in High School, a long-delayed 250-watt AM broadcast station was built in Cadillac. John spent time watching the 150 foot antenna tower as well as the studio and transmitting equipment being installed, and of course asking a lot of questions. John helped form a radio broadcast club at the high school that produced several weekly programs and assisted with the remote broadcasts of athletic events. At that time most small stations had combination announcer and transmitter operators who were required to hold FCC First Class Radiotelephone Licenses. John enlisted in the Naval Reserve and qualified for electronic training classes. John and another member took a correspondence course preparing for FCC license examinations, which they took at the Detroit office. He and his friend also bought a Webcor wire recorder to practice radio announcing and making on scene news reports.

After graduation from high school, John enrolled at Purdue University as physics major, and also immediately applied for a job at the school's 5000-watt AM station WBAA, He was assigned primarily to studio work helping with remote broadcasts of music performances. John also continued his participation in the Naval Reserve program, attending naval training classes during the summer.

After finished at Purdue, John returned home to Cadillac and started working full time at WATT. During that time the station power was increased to 1000 watts, and a local TV station was constructed. John then left commercial broadcasting to work at the University of Michigan Broadcasting Service in Ann Arbor as chief engineer of the radio and TV studio facilities for instructional purposes. Here he designed and supervised the construction of all new and expanded studios. John was also discharged from the Naval Reserve as a Chief Communications Technician to receive a direct commission as a Lieutenant JG.

While in Ann Arbor John also took graduate courses in broadcasting and obtained a degree in Electrical Engineering. One of his fellow engineers was an avid amateur DX contester and talked John into becoming a ham. As soon as John received his novice call KN8YFV, he built a one-tube crystal controlled transmitter to immediately get on the air. Within a month he went to the Detroit FCC office to take the General class exam to become K8YFV. At that time the engineer-in-charge talked John into leaving the academic climate of Ann Arbor for an exciting career as a FCC field engineer. John started working at the Detroit office in July of 1961 and was transferred to the Buffalo office in December 1965 as the assistant engineer-in-charge and soon promoted to the EIC. His call was changed to W2BLR. While living in the Buffalo area, John was a member of the Radio Association of Western New York, and took part in his first field day as an 80-meter CW operator.

In 1972 John was transferred to the FCC field office headquarters in Washington as chief of the branch responsible for all license examinations and operator and field station licensing activities. A year later he was made chief of the inspections and investigations branch. With his residence in Virginia he call was changed to W4ARL. Like most FCC field engineers, John can tell many interesting stories of hunting for unlicensed stations and finding unusual sources of interference to radio services.

Because of his experience in broadcast engineering john was appointed to the FCC Chairman's Broadcast re-regulation taskforce in 1976 and continued in broadcast engineering standards work. During this time when extra class licensees could be FCC-selected 1X2 or 2X1 calls, John turned in his W4ARL call and was issued WQ4L. He plans to keep as he has enough QSL cards to last many years. In 1990 John retired from the Naval Reserve.

1n 1886 the Department of State designated John as chairman of the United States Committee for ITU Study Groups on radio and TV broadcastings. He attended numerous ITU standards and conference preparatory meetings at many foreign locations until he retired from government service. This was an exciting period because of the rapid development of digital television and radio and in the launch of satellite broadcasting. During his many stays in Geneva, Switzerland during conference meetings, he enjoyed operating CW at the station 4U1ITU at the International Telecommunication Union headquarters.

John has also had a long time interest in sound recording. For over 20 years he has been recording concerts of many of his musician friends and local performing groups, and started using digital recorders when the equipment became first available in the mid 1980's, and has mastered several commercial CD recordings. John and his wife Patricia have five children, none of which had any interest in radio, but have shown a great love for music.

John is a senior life member of the IEEE, a fellow of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer and program chairman for Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers. John has received numerous professional honors including the Board of Governors Award from the Audio Engineering Society and Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Broadcasters for his work in advancing radio broadcast engineering standards. He is a member of the the Quarter Century Wireless Association and the Mt. Vernon (Virginia) Amateur Radio Club. He has served as president of both the QCWA Vic Clark Chapter 91 and the MVARC,

John enjoys operating CW on the HF bands, in the local 2-Meter FM nets, participating in local public service events, and operating during field day with the Mt. Vernon Amateur Radio Club. He is not a serious contest or DX chaser but will answer some "test" calls the other operator another contact points. He also enjoys writing specialized utility programs.