Co-authored by Jim, K5BZH and Denny, K0LGI 01-29-10

Leo Meyerson, W0GFQ

Leo Meyerson, WØGFQ, got interested in radio in 1920 after hearing a lecture on the subject in Council Bluffs, IA. He and a friend built a one-tube receiver and, in 1924, he built a transmitter from plans in a magazine. This led to his ham radio license in 1928.

Leo started out in the grocery business, following his father's footsteps. He had leased a store and turned the business around to the point that rather than letting him lease again, the owners decided to keep the business, and that put Leo out to pasture.

His father had loaned him $1000 to launch a small electronics store with the stipulation that if he failed, he would go into the grocery operation with his father. Leo did his best to make certain he didn't fail. He had some hard times, but he succeeded.

Leo Meyerson W0GFQ was an innovator and supplier of amateur equipment for many years past that was built in the metro area at Council Bluffs. During the years of his operations there, he produced a substantial number of amateur related products. Even though that time is now past, he is someone who locally created and continued developing radios in addition to supplying parts for many that were in the electronics field in general also.

In the 1930’s he started his amateur enterprise as Wholesale Radio Laboratories until later, ending in 1941. After the war it became Wholesale Radio again, followed by WRL Manufacturing in 1953. The result was many transmitters which included, the Globe Trotter, Globe scout, Globe Chief, Globe Champion and Globe King. Globe Electronics in 1958 and later Galaxy Electronics in 1962. Its primary amateur products were the Galaxy 300, Galaxy III, Galaxy V, and GT-550 single sideband transceivers. Galaxy was sold to the Hy-Gain Antenna Company in 1970. This era of his business was devoted to the continuing development and production of many designs for amateur use over those years, of which many are still in use worldwide.

Leo's son, Larry, became president of World Radio, which was converted into a successful consumer products company. Leo retired in 1977.

During the early 1960’s he also developed and produced a substantial number of fixed and mobile transceivers amongst only a handful of other manufacturers for what had been the amateur 11 meter band before. Considerable investment in the engineering aspect of the equipments he developed included one if not the first solid state handheld transceiver for use in the band now known as CB.

One of the deserving acknowledgements that few have known about, Leo also was involved extensively in producing frequency control units (crystals) for the military during the war years of WWII. The company name was Scientific Radio Products. That effort was driven by the high demand for such items for the immediate communication needs of the military regardless of the inherit difficulties in producing stable, accurate and dependable quartz based crystals. Eventually his Scientific Radio Products company manufactured thousands of crystal units in Omaha and in nearby Woodbine, Iowa at the time and was rewarded by the US Navy for which he received the coveted Army Navy production "E" award for achievement in producing materials for the war.

Army Navy 'E' Award Oct. 2, 1943
Pictured are representatives of the Army and Navy
and accepting the award are Rose Paluka,
the editor of the company newsletter
“Crystal Gazer", and Leo I. Meyerson

He is a life member of the Quarter Century Wireless Association, serving as a National Director from 1977 to 1987. In 1991 he was named the QCWA Amateur Member of the year and in 1994 he was inducted into the QCWA Hall of Fame. He is also a life member of the American Radio Relay League, Society of Wireless Pioneers, and International Mission Radio Association among other associations. In 1980 Leo was elected a fellow of the Radio Club of America, one of the most prestigious radio clubs in America.

A comment from Jim K5BZH, the author of the In Tune with Leo biography “Leo was one of my heroes when I was a kid; I got licensed at the age of 11. I never dreamed of meeting him and certainly never dreamed of writing his bio. He called me on the phone one day to ask me to do it. I still admire Leo. His wife Helen was a super person too.” Leo also had a list of rules that he demanded of himself and his employees. He treated people with respect. He explained to his sales-force that he didn't care if someone walked into the store wearing overalls and had a piece of hay hanging out his ear, always treat him very respectfully. 

[Co-authored by Jim, K5BZH and Denny, K0LGI 01-29-10] • Click here to download the AK-SAR-BEN Amateur Radio Club, Inc. Ham Hum with the compete article in PDF format.

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