Wendell Anderson; was RCA engineer

Wendell G. Anderson
Wendell G. Anderson
Posted: January 08, 2014

Wendell G. Anderson, 86, a former RCA engineer, died of a heart attack Sunday, Dec. 22, at his home in the Medford Leas retirement community.

Born in Columbia, Miss., Mr. Anderson earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at Vanderbilt University.

After serving as a postwar Army radar engineer in the Philippines, he taught electrical engineering at Syracuse University and then at Vanderbilt until he began his Radio Corp. of America career in 1955.

In 1965, daughter Helen Anderson said, he created an amateur receiving station for weather satellite photos, which in 1966 earned him a place in stories in The Inquirer and the New York Times.

The station, his daughter said, combined his own amateur radio apparatus with an antenna mounted on a jungle gym in his backyard in Moorestown.

After the Nimbus II satellite was launched in 1966, she said, the device received and printed out images of Earth weather patterns for him.

"It was the first near-real-time reception of a weather picture," she said.

"The picture was taken and 15 minutes later, my dad had a print."

Previously, she said, weather satellites "had stored up all their pictures and sent them once a day to an Earth station."

The Associated Press story in The Inquirer was headlined "New Satellite Begins Sending Weather Pictures," and a few paragraphs high in the story were about Mr. Anderson.

His "homemade gadget," the story said, was "contrived from a ham radio, a rolling pin, a microscope and an Argon electric lightbulb," among other things.

"Anderson said he spent about $250 converting a $300 1938 ham receiver" for the project, which he said he began "only as a hobby."

His amateur radio call letters, his daughter said, were K2RNF.

His RCA work involved global positioning systems as well as missile defense and antisubmarine technology.

After he retired in 1989, he consulted for RCA's successor, General Electric Co.

The backyard jungle gym experience was important to him, she said, "because it was something he could talk about.

"All the rest of his job, he could not talk about, because it was all classified."

Besides his daughter, Mr. Anderson is survived by sons Wendell Jr. and Thomas; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife of 56 years, Lillias.

Services are to be private.

Donations may be made to an organization of the donor's choice.

Condolences may be offered to the family at www.lewisfunerahomemoorestown.com.


610-313-8134 @WNaedele

comments powered by Disqus