The ARRL will benefit from the largesse of the late Amateur Radio satellite pioneer Cliff Buttschardt, K7RR (ex-W6HDO), and his late wife Mable Vierthaler. The League this month received the first major installment of its portion of the couple’s estate. Buttschardt also designated AMSAT to receive a similar share. Buttschardt died in 2006, and his wife in 2013. The funds will go into the ARRL Endowment Fund. ARRL Development Manager Lauren Clarke, KB1YDD, has estimated that the ultimate gift will be in the vicinity of $280,000.
Buttschardt, a long-time Project OSCAR leader, AMSAT member, and ARRL Life Member lived in Morro Bay, California. He was 75 when he died on July 30, 2006. Just days before, the Project OSCAR Board of Directors awarded him with its Lifetime Achievement Award — its highest honor — for his contributions to Amateur Satellite Radio.
A native of the New York City area, Buttschardt graduated from San Jose State in California with a degree in electrical engineering. He served as a radioman in the US Navy and later worked at Raytheon and SRI. While at SRI, he joined the original project OSCAR and supported the construction of OSCAR 1, the first Amateur Radio satellite.
In 2001, while he was teaching at Cuesta College in San Luis Obisopo, California, Buttschardt — with Ed English W6WYQ — began work on the CubeSat project. After Buttschardt moved to Cal Poly, he and English continued to mentor students who were involved in developing the initial CubeSat designs.
“Cliff was a skilled and passionate radio amateur, as devoted to maintaining the traditions he valued as to exploring the frontiers of space communications,” said ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ. — Thanks to AMSAT for some information in this report