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ARRL Special Bulletin ARLX002 (2002)

ARLX002 Past ARRL President Robert W. Denniston, W0DX/VP2VI, SK

QST de W1AW  
Special Bulletin 2  ARLX002
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  May 14, 2002
To all radio amateurs 

ARLX002 Past ARRL President Robert W. Denniston, W0DX/VP2VI, SK

Past ARRL President and DXpedition pioneer Bob Denniston, VP2VI and
W0DX, of Tortola, British Virgin Islands, died unexpectedly in his
sleep May 12 or 13. He was 83. Denniston served as ARRL president
from 1966 until 1972 and as International Amateur Radio Union
president from 1966 until 1974. He later was elected an ARRL
honorary vice president.

''He was an Amateur Radio icon, and he will be missed,'' said ARRL
President Jim Haynie, W5JBP. ''Our condolences go out to his family
and many friends.''

After heading up the ''Gon-Waki'' VP7NG DXpedition to the Bahamas
during the second weekend of the 1948 ARRL International DX Contest,
Denniston--then W4NNN--was credited with being the ''father of the
modern DXpedition.'' The DXpedition's name was a spoof on Thor
Heyerdahl's ''Kon-Tiki'' expedition the previous year.

Denniston has said he didn't realize at the time that he was
inventing the concept, and he credited CM9AA with coining the
expression ''DXpedition.'' Denniston remained active on the ham bands
until his death--including operation on 6 meters during the
tremendous openings last year and early this year.

In recent years, he and a group of friends had commemorated the 1948
''Gon-Waki'' milestone each March, setting up vintage equipment and
using simple wire antennas and hand keys to replicate the flavor of
the original DXpedition from his Tortola QTH.

Denniston's other firsts included Clipperton Island (FO8AJ) in 1954
and Malpelo (HK0TU) in 1969. His strategy of visits to rare prefixes
helped earn him a world record ARRL International DX Contest score
in 1960 from VP1JH (now Belize).

A native of Iowa, Denniston was first licensed some 70 years ago as
W9NWX at the age of 13. He subsequently held W4NNN while attached to
the Pentagon, and later became W0NWX--the call sign he held during
his tenure as ARRL President. He also was a founding member and on
the executive committee of IARU Region 2.

Denniston served for four years in the US Army Signal Corps and was
chief of the radio control section of radio station WAR at the
Pentagon. At the end of World War II, Denniston was the radio
operator aboard the presidential train.

Denniston was ARRL Midwest Division Director from 1956 until 1966,
when he was elected as the League's sixth president. In his
professional life, he was president of Denniston and Partridge, a
firm that operated more than two dozen lumberyards at one point.
When he retired to the British Virgin Islands, he ran Smugglers Cove
Hotel in Tortola.

Denniston's wife, Nell, died two years ago. A son and daughter are
among his survivors. Information on services is not yet available.


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