ARRL Chairman Emeritus Harry Dannals, W2HD, SK
Harry Dannals, W2HD, Chairman Emeritus of ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio®, died August 30. He lived in Charlottesville, Virginia. In April, Dannals celebrated his 95th birthday and more than 80 years of involvement in amateur radio. He was president of the ARRL for 10 years, from 1972 to 1982, and his status as president emeritus was conferred in 1984. He was also a life member of the ARRL.
In an interview, Dannals said that when he was 10, he practiced Morse code with his best friend and was able to master 50 to 60 words per minute.
Dannals served in the Navy after graduating from Balboa High School in the old Canal Zone on the Isthmus of Panama, where his father was an officer in charge of a radio receiving site. Eventually Dannals himself would become the supervisor of over 20 radio and support staff. He was released in mid-1946 and attended Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now Polytechnic Institute of New York University), where he prepared for his amateur radio license.
In writings shared by one of his children, Dannals wrote, “I found a way to prepare for my amateur license by doing a research paper for an English class using amateur radio as a resource. . Among my references was the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Amateur radio manual with the latest ARRL license manual on the side! It worked and my call sign, W2TUK, was received that year with great joy by me and my father.”
After graduating from college in 1950, he worked for the Sperry Corporation, where he worked in radar and other engineering programs. “During almost 40 years of my employment there, the company provided a club station, W2YKQ, which was on the air during lunch periods, a fact which made the more than 200 amateur radio operators very happy who worked at Sperry,” Dannals wrote.
While in Sperry, he met his future wife, Kay, and they were married for over 60 years. Dannals lived in Dix Hills, New York, before retiring to Charlottesville, Virginia in the early 1990s.
Dannals has volunteered for several appointments within the ARRL Field Organization: Official Relay Station (ORS); Official telephone extension (OPS); Official Observer (OO) and Emergency Coordinator (EC). He has held elected positions as Section Communications Officer (SCM), Vice Director and ARRL Hudson Division Director. He was elected President by the ARRL Board of Directors in 1972 and served five two-year terms. During his tenure, he traveled extensively to help represent the ARRL – visiting all 50 states, the Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Peru, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the UK. International Travel fulfilled his role as the United States Representative in the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region II.
Dannals recounted that during his presidency, preparations were made for the 1979 World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC). Through the efforts of ARRL staff, volunteers, and the FCC, the conference led to the worldwide allocation of the 30, 17 and 12 measurement bands (the WARC bands).
“Without a doubt, the time spent on the business of the ARRL, working with the very knowledgeable and dedicated staff, and my association with the Board of Directors has been a wonderful experience,” Dannals wrote. “Each year has been punctuated by new developments for amateur radio. A volume of great memories will never be forgotten.”
“Since he was president of the ARRL, I’ve always called him ‘Prez.’ he shared with the ARRL. “My dad considered every ham he met as part of his extended family. He cared deeply and fought hard for all the hams in his administrative roles with the ARRL. He would say we are all members of the global community that began with Marconi and continued with [Hiram Percy] Maxim. It’s a wonderful legacy and I’m glad he shared it with me (and everyone he met).”
Dannals was the senior member of the Albemarle Amateur Radio Club, an ARRL Special Service Club. In 2018, Dannals was visited by ARRL Roanoke Division Director Jim Boehner, N2ZZ, and Vice Director Bill Morine, N2COP, who presented Dannals with the Roanoke Division Award for dedicated leadership to all operators of amateur radio.
Dannals also served as President Emeritus of the Quarter Century Wireless Association (QCWA), having served as QCWA President from 1989 to 1994. In 2016, Dannals was honored by QCWA for his 70 years as a radio amateur. Commenting on the honor bestowed upon him, Kay Craigie, N3KN, who served as ARRL President from 2010 to 2016, said Dannals was an example of “cheerfulness and enthusiasm, and friendliness for all hams, whether they qualify twice for QCWA or are so new they haven’t memorized their call signs yet.”
A visitation will be held Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 10 a.m. ET at the Church of the Incarnation, 1465 Incarnation Drive, Charlottesville, Virginia, followed by a worship service at 11 a.m. ET. Interment will be at Holly Memorial Gardens.