A titan of Amateur Radio, past ARRL Chief Technology Officer Paul L. Rinaldo, W4RI, of Burke, Virginia, died on November 29 after a period of failing health. An ARRL Life Member, Rinaldo was 88.
“This is really sad news,” ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, remarked upon learning of Rinaldo’s passing. “I worked with Paul on a number of things, and he amazed me with his knowledge and the different ways to consider issues. Smart. Highly respected. He sure helped us through the years in so many ways.”
First licensed in 1949 as W9IZA (he also held W3FFH and K4YKB over the years), Rinaldo’s focus was always in the arena of technical experimentation. He studied radio engineering at Valparaiso Technical Institute in Indiana. Rinaldo was a cofounder and served as president of the Amateur Radio Research and Development Corporation (AMRAD). His first association with ARRL was an article, “Amateur Radio in the Computer Age,” for the September 1979 edition of QST. Subsequently, he served in volunteer roles, among them as the first editor of QEX: The ARRL Experimenters’ Exchange.
In 1983, Rinaldo succeeded Doug DeMaw, W1FB, as ARRL Technical Department Manager and Senior Technical Editor. His efforts led to his appointment as Publications Manager and, 5 years later, as Manager of Technical Development with responsibility for preparing for the 1992 World Administrative Radio Conference. This led to Rinaldo’s supporting role in the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), and he attended IARU Administrative Council (AC) meetings from 1996 to 2008, serving on several occasions as recording secretary.
“Paul’s presence at the AC meetings was never simply clerical and was primarily to allow the AC to tap his unique expertise,” IARU Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ, noted. Rinaldo also took part in several International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conferences and served on numerous working parties and task groups. Sumner said amateur radio’s successes at the just-ended WRC-19 were, in large part, because of Rinaldo’s good work over the years.
In 1992, Rinaldo established ARRL’s Technical Relations Office in the Washington, DC, area, which expanded as preparations for World Radiocommunication Conferences became an ongoing need. In 2004, the ARRL Board of Directors elected Rinaldo as ARRL’s first Chief Technology Officer, a post he held until his retirement in 2008. “For the past 16 years, Paul has been the face and voice of amateur radio in the technical circles of the federal government and one of our most visible representatives at the ITU,” Sumner said at the time.
“We all had enormous respect for Paul and what he brought to IARU,” IARU Region 1 President Don Beattie, G3BJ, commented. “People with his breadth of knowledge and experience, and the ability to apply it in a sensitive way, are all too rare.”
Rinaldo was a board member of the United States ITU Association and a Life Senior Member of the IEEE. He also served on the IEEE-USA Committee on Communications Policy.
Murphy Funeral Homes of Falls Church, Virginia, is handling arrangements.