In Memoriam

Marshall Etter

Radio Historian

Ralph Williams

November 1920 - May 2002

Radio Historian


    It was Ralph William's sincere hope that Long Island would someday have a radio and television museum to spotlight the outstanding inventions, events, people and places that were here. One of the founders of the Friends of LI Wireless History, later the Long Island Radio & TV Historical Society, Ralph Williams was the organization's first treasurer.

   Ralph attended High School in New Jersey, and later attended Cooper Union College. During WWII he was a radar officer in China. Returning to the United States, he completed college at Northeastern University in Boston. Graduating in 1947, he joined General Electric and worked in various aspects of electrical engineering.

   Moving to Philadelphia in 1965, he became interested in the history of RCA and Atwater Kent. He joined the Antique Wireless Association and began collecting Atwater Kent artifacts. He added a Master Degree in engineering science to his credits, his thesis was on the information-processing efficiency of the Morse telegraph code.

   In 1996, Ralph published through the AWA, a history of Atwater Kent.After retiring from GE in 1980, Ralph, his wife Elinor and family moved to Orient, NY, where they established a museum of RCA and Atwater Kent artifacts.


Van R. Field

 January 6, 1923  -  December 12, 2007

Engineer, Teacher, Author, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Radio Historian, W2OQI

   Van R. Field was a true son of Long Island, born in Southampton, LI, NY on January 6, 1923 to Beatrice Terry Field and Paul Lester Field. He graduated from Center Moriches High School, after which he was employed by Lear, in Dayton, Ohio.

   Van returned to Long Island when WWII was declared in 1941. At that time, he enlisted in the US Coast Guard and saw duty in the South Pacific. When discharged, he worked for the Brookhaven Town Police Department. Field then continued his education at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida and upon graduation, he became a communications electronics engineer. He worked for Grumman, at Brookhaven Laboratory in the Physics department, and Fairchild. In 1960 Van Field became a vocational teacher for BOCES 2, retiring in 1981. He then returned to electronics engineering, working for CAI and later on Hartman Industries.

   Retiring for a second time. Van and his wife, Mary Strebel Field who were married in 1951, became a team, writing local history books, publishing "The Illustrated History of the Moriches Bay Area, and then "Nettie's Diary". After these titles, he added Wrecks and Rescues on Long Island. Still later he collaborated on the book New Jersey Coast Guard Stations and Rumrunners with John Gallazo. He also compiled a history of Manorville, titled Old Manorville with his wife, Mary. His last publication, Mayday! Shipwrecks and Sea Tales off Long Island's Easter Shore. To all of this he added many articles for Boater's World and other magazines.
   He was an avid Amateur Radio operator. He started the Suffolk County Amateur Radio Club and wrote many articles for the hobby. In 2004, he won the best article award from QST magazine for an article, "HF Antennas 101. In 2007 he was awarded the Grand Ole Ham plaque from the American Radio Relay League - Hudson Division sponsored by the Peconic Amateir Radio Club. to which he belonged.
   His community service included working with Suffolk County Civil Defense, working as Communications Officer in the 1970s whee he organized hidden transmitter hunts with local amateur radio operators, honing their slills in radio direction finding.
   He served as Commander and active member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotila 18-06.

   Van R. Field loved Long Island and its history. He served as Vice President of the Ketcham Inn Foundation in Center Moriches, and as Vice President of the Long Island Radio and TV Historical Society.

-By Gail Field


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