Ogden named High Desert's 'Ham of the Year'

Has been amateur radio operator for 75 years

BEND, Ore. - The High Desert Amateur Radio Group (HIDARG) has announced its annual "Ham of the Year" award for 2017.

John Ogden, of Bend, received the award at a recent meeting. 

Each year, the Board of Directors selects a recipient for this special award.  They look for a ham who has been crucial to the success of our local ham community.  The recipient is a person who has shown a dedication to ham radio that exceeds all expectations over a long period of time.

Ogden was born in Portland and has been a ham radio operator for 75 years. He holds an "Extra Class" license which is the highest level attainable as a ham.  His call sign is W9CZ.

His interest in electronics began when he was 8 years old.  He started building devices out of parts.  By the time he got to high school, he had already built receivers and transmitters.  He had to wait several years to get his first ham license because during WWII, the government would not issue ham radio licenses.  

It was during high school that he finally got the ham license along with a "First Class Radiotelephone License" and a "Second Class Radiotelegraph License".  

He got his first radio related job at KBND AM in Bend and later, at KGON in Oregon City as a disc jockey and engineer (now KQRR).  

In 1950, Ogden was drafted into the Army and was assigned as the Chief Engineer at an Armed Forces Radio Service station in Japan. The radio signal from that station was used by pilots coming back to Japan from combat sorties over Korea. 

After he was released from the Army, he returned to Oregon and earned a college degree with a double major in physics and math and then earned a Master's Degree at Oregon State. 

When he returned to the workforce, he had jobs related to electronics with United Airlines in San Francisco and then Lenkurt Electric Company as a Quality Manager.

Ogden then took a job as a Quality and Reliability Group Leader at North American Aviation in Anaheim, CA. They built the inertial navigation system that allowed the Polaris-class missile submarines to leave port from Connecticut and cruise for 90 days submerged, returning to port without needing to ever surface to take a navigational fix from a star sight. They also built the internal navigation system for the Minuteman ICBM.

Ogden then spent the next 25 years with Abbott Laboratories in their Research and Development Division.

He finally retired in 1995 and moved to Bend.  He bought an acreage where he could experiment with antennas.  He continued building his own equipment and refurbishing old radios.  He became active in several ham radio groups including HIDARG.

HIDARG Secretary Max Vaughn said, "John is a prolific engineer and has designed and built a lot of his own ham rigs, and restored countless others."  He assists HIDARG and other groups with complicated technical issues.

Ogden has been a longstanding certified Volunteer Examiner that is authorized to administer the exams required to become a ham radio operator.

Vaughn says there are a lot of hams in Central Oregon that got their license because of John Ogden.

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