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Past ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Director Claude Maer, W0IC, SK

Past ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Director Claude Maer, Jr, W0IC, of Denver, Colorado, died on November 16. An ARRL member, he was 102.

Maer grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, and attended Rice University in Houston, graduating in 1940 with distinction and enlisting in the US Army Air Corps (USAAC) during World War II. Maer served at various postings, including Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, as well as in Azores (Portugal), where he worked in communications and attained the rank of captain.

Maer told a Veterans History Project interviewer several years ago that his eventual route to military service really began when he got his ham radio license at the age of 12 in 1932. He later was a part of moonbounce history. Through a friend of his father’s, he was invited to attend Texas Army National Guard summer camp, because he was familiar with the communications equipment of the era.

“So, at the age of 14, I became a private in the Texas [Army] National Guard,” he said, noting that he was not legitimately permitted to serve at that age. Even so, for several years he would attend Army National Guard summer camp to operate their radio gear, eventually working his way up the ranks to becoming a technical sergeant.

As war clouds loomed, the Texas Army National Guard joined forces with the US Army. As he recounted, the various branches of the service were eager to recruit radio operators.

“In the amateur radio magazines, we began to get these ads, ‘If you will join the Air Corps and go to communications school, we will give you $5,000 when you get out of the army.’ So, that was too good to turn down, and besides, this was a chance to become a commissioned officer.”

He was discharged from the Texas Army National Guard “for the convenience of the service” and immediately re-enlisted as a USAAC cadet and attended communications school.

After his discharge from the army at the end of 1945, Maer enrolled in Yale Law School’s accelerated program, graduating in 1948 and returning to Denver. After the war, Maer joined the US Army Reserve, completing his service with the rank of major.

Maer briefly served as the ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Vice Director for only 1 month before then-Rocky Mountain Division Director Franklin Matejka, W0DD (SK), announced his resignation to take a job overseas. Maer acceded to Director and served in that leadership position until 1960.

During his Veterans History Project interview, Maer described how the US had established a series of Air Force bases to permit military transport to Europe, Africa, and Asia. His work during the war years involved the system of communication among those various bases. He noted how HF propagation for polar paths was often adversely affected by the aurora, as well as by variations in ionospheric propagation. The US Army solved this by establishing longwave communications facilities, he explained, describing how the military constructed LF antennas across the potato fields of northern Maine.

Maer was spotlighted as a “Super Lawyer” in the 1971 book The Superlawyers by Joseph C. Goulden, in which that term was invented. One of his major interests was the Colorado Corporation Code, and he chaired its Revision Committee for 30 years.


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