AMSAT NEWS SERVICE
ANS-221 SPECIAL BULLETIN: Charter Member, Past AMSAT President
William A. "Bill" Tynan, W3XO, SK
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In this edition:
* Charter Member, Past AMSAT President William A. "Bill" Tynan,
SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-221.01
ANS-221 SPECIAL AMSAT News Service Bulletin
AMSAT News Service Bulletin 221.01
From AMSAT HQ KENSINGTON, MD.
August 9, 2018
To All RADIO AMATEURS
Charter Member, Past AMSAT President William A. "Bill" Tynan, W3XO, SK
It is with great sadness that AMSAT reports one of its founding
directors and charter members, William A. (Bill) Tynan, W3XO, passed
away peacefully at his home on Tierra Linda Ranch in Kerrville Texas,
on August 7, 2018. He was 91.
Bill was born October 12, 1926 in Saint Paul, Ramsey County,
Minnesota. But, throughout his adult, life, he left an indelible
mark on Amateur Radio with a long list of "firsts" since becoming
licensed as W3KMV in early 1946. Indeed, Bill was in the forefront of
Amateur Radio's growth and importance in many ways. His singularly
distinctive accomplishments to our Amateur Radio Service were, quite
literally, "out of this world."
His active Amateur Radio interest really began in the mid-30s when
he was a young boy. During the Second World War, and after obtaining
a Restricted Radio Telephone Permit, he operated in the War Emergency
Radio Service (WERS), donating his time to the effort to the citizens
of Montgomery County, Maryland and, later, to the District of
Columbia by operating WERS systems on 2 1/2 meter VHF (then called
UHF). Of course, this occurred during a time when all Amateur Radio
activity had been suspended for the duration of the War.
His wartime activity would later spark his interest in the
frequencies above 30 MHz, and he became an active VHF/UHF enthusiast
almost since obtaining his first Ham ticket. However, it was his
work in helping others exploit the VHF/UHF spectrum that best
characterized Bill's numerous accomplishments and contributions to
For example, in early 1969, Bill attended the charter meeting in
Washington, DC to investigate the feasibility of carrying on the work
of Project OSCAR, a group of West Coast Hams that had built and
launched the very first satellites carrying Amateur Radio. The
meeting later led to the establishment of today's Radio Amateur
Satellite Corporation (AMSAT). Bill was elected to the first Board of
Directors of the new organization, and was later named Vice President
Bill performed yeoman service in this position during the OSCAR 6
era, principally because that particular satellite had a nasty habit
of unexpectedly changing operating modes "on its own". Bill's superb
efforts coordinated the work of dozens of worldwide command stations
to keep OSCAR 6 (then the only OSCAR satellite in orbit) up and
running for the world's Amateur Radio Operators to use. His
outstanding work allowed critical Amateur Radio propagation and other
experiments, as well as other, more routine communications, to
continue virtually unabated. His singular efforts extended use of a
critical, space-based experimental Amateur Radio resource that
otherwise would have been given up for lost.
Later, Bill's strong reputation for getting things done, and his
expertise as a leading expert in the VHF/UHF arena, led to a request
from the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) that he assume duties as
Contributing Editor for QST Magazine's "World above 50 MHz" column.
Under his superb guidance, and during the next 18 years, Bill kept
the column both fresh and alive, while providing Hams worldwide with
a powerful forum to advocate and nurture such new Amateur Radio
technologies as long-haul VHF/UHF, moonbounce, DX and contest work,
as well as emerging meteor scatter and satellite communications.
However, while Bill Tynan's first love was VHF and UHF work, his
heart and soul were always with AMSAT. Not surprisingly, it is with
AMSAT that Bill's positive impacts on Ham Radio were destined to
become some of his longest lasting contributions to our Service.
For example, since his earliest days in AMSAT, Bill was intrigued
with the possibility of Hams on the ground being able to talk to Hams
in space. Later, in the mid-1970's, he actively explored the idea of
Amateur Radio operation from aboard the Skylab space station while
Owen Garriott, W5LFL, was to be a part of that crew. Unfortunately,
NASA did not approve this proposal, stating that it was too late to
modify the station to provide for an antenna.
However, later, as the Shuttle program was beginning (and on behalf
of AMSAT) Bill authored the very first draft proposal to allow
Amateur Radio operation from the Space Shuttle. His idea was soon
picked up by the ARRL, and it resulted in a formal, joint AMSAT/ARRL
proposal to NASA to allow this activity. Needless to say, Bill's
superb vision led directly to Owen Garriott's historic first use of
Ham Radio from space during the STS-9 mission, thus marking the birth
of the (then) very popular SAREX program.
In 1986, Bill was again elected to the AMSAT Board of Directors,
and, in 1991, just as the Phase 3D project (which later became AMSAT-
OSCAR 40 on orbit) was beginning to gain momentum, Bill assumed
duties as President of the organization at a most critical period in
its history. As with his previous callings, Bill wasted no time in
making his lasting mark on the organization. As one of his first
efforts, he was instrumental in pulling a team of over two hundred
volunteer people from 13 different countries together with the common
goal of building and launching the largest, most complex, and most
expensive Amateur Radio satellite ever attempted. When he finally
stepped down from his post as AMSAT President in late 1998, his
repeated, annual re-election to this high post made his one of the
longest running terms as President in the organization's history.
In addition to his solid accomplishments in furthering Amateur
Radio, Bill remained a very active Radio Amateur. He was a life
member of the ARRL, a life member of AMSAT (membership number 10),
and was an active member of the Central States VHF Society, also
serving on its Board of Directors. He was its President in 1992 and
put on the organization's annual conference that year. Bill was also
a member of the Quarter Century Wireless Association, the Radio Club
of America, the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers
(IEEE) as well as the National Space Society. Locally, he was the
Program Chairman of the Hill Country Amateur Radio Club at his home
on the Terra Linda Ranch in Kerrville, Texas and also served on the
ranch's Cable TV advisory committee.
During his lifetime, Bill also received several prestigious awards,
including "The Ham of Year" in 1996 from the Dayton Amateur Radio
Association (DARA) and in 2012, the Barry Goldwater Amateur Radio
Award from the Radio Club of America.
Bill is survived by his wife of 51 years, the former Mattie LeNoir
of Kilgore Texas, along with numerous cousins, brothers and sisters-
in-law. No services will be held. However, his ashes will be
scattered in two locations, the cemetery in Elgin, Texas where his
wife will be interred and the cemetery in Hagersville, Ontario,
Canada which is his mother's birthplace, and where his parents are
buried. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be
made in his name to the charity of your choice.
Statement of AMSAT President Joe Spier, K6WAO, on the passing of
Bill Tynan, W3XO:
I can only second the many comments and condolences that are coming
in from around the world on the passing of Bill Tynan, W3XO. From the
many remembrances of Bill's past accomplishments, it is clear that
AMSAT and amateur radio has lost a dear friend.
Friend is an important way to honor Bill. Bill was a friend to
AMSAT, a friend to ARISS, a friend to the ARRL, a friend to amateur
radio, a friend to his community, and lifelong friend to his dear
wife, Mattie. Bill's friendship extended to me when I became AMSAT
President. After hearing me present on some subject, I received a
three page treatise from Bill on the proper use of the pronoun "me."
His keen ear had picked up on my error, and the improvement came in a
paper titled "What's the Matter with Me?"
Bill had a way of looking at issues from a different perspective.
Last October's Board of Directors meeting was in the middle of a
"heated" discussion on the verbiage of a proposal, when Bill walked
in and sat down. After another 15 minutes of discussion, further
discussion on the proposal was tabled until the following day. Bill's
comment after listening to all this was "Wow, sounds just like the
board meetings we use to have 40 years ago!"
Recently, Bill asked to step down as the AMSAT OSCAR Number
Administrator. Bill has been granting applicants who qualify OSCAR
numbers for over two decades, since the late-1990s. Even Bill could
not remember the first number he issued, but he believed it was
either TO-31 or SO-35. In any case, Bill had issued at least 57 OSCAR
numbers. This is over 60%, or very close to two-thirds, of all the
OSCAR numbers currently issued at this time.
Bill liked to keep busy with his passion for amateur radio, whether
this was working in the foreground or background. Only a few weeks
ago, Bill proposed to AMSAT the use of FT-8 as a digital mode on a
future satellite. My friend, Bill Tynan, W3XO, was always thinking
[ANS thanks AMSAT the above information.]
In addition to regular membership, AMSAT offers membership in the
President's Club. Members of the President's Club, as sustaining
donors to AMSAT Project Funds, will be eligible to receive addi-
tional benefits. Application forms are available from the AMSAT
Primary and secondary school students are eligible for membership
at one-half the standard yearly rate. Post-secondary school students
enrolled in at least half time status shall be eligible for the stu-
dent rate for a maximum of 6 post-secondary years in this status.
Contact Martha at the AMSAT Office for additional student membership
This week's ANS Editor,
Frank Karnauskas, N1UW
n1uw at amsat dot org