Rufus Turner: Ham Radio’s First African American Operator
This particular diode is an old standby in electronics, widely used for detecting the rectifying efficiency of radio and television circuits. You can build his “ambitious” four-transistor non-superheterodyne AM radio from his 1956 article in Popular Electronics.
Turner, while still a teenager, built what was then the world’s smallest radio set. Three years later, in 1928, Turner became the first African-American to earn an Amateur Radio License.
The Department of Commerce, which issued licenses then, assigned Turner the call sign W3LF. His station was licensed for 15 watts.
He left electronics to become an English professor after earning a PhD in literature.
Rufus Turner died in 1982. He was 74.