I was still in high school, a full year from graduation, when QST ran the construction article, Build A Tuna-Tin 2 (May 1976) by Doug DeMaw, W1CER. Sub-titled, Ham radio lost its kick? Go QRP with this weekend-project transmitter! WAS with a 40-meter half-watter? You betcha! The article went on to describe what would become the quintessential low-power homebrew project.

As I fondly re-read that old article I couldn’t help but remember the prolific author as one of the true giants of our hobby. Though DeMaw passed more than 25 years ago, vibrations from his work continue to be felt to this very day.

The QCWA memorial had this to say about him:

Acclaimed ham radio icon Milton F. “Doug” DeMaw, W1FB, died September 28, 1997. He was 71. One of the most widely published technical writers in Amateur Radio, DeMaw was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year and had been in failing health in recent weeks. 

DeMaw was first licensed in 1950 as W8HHS. An electrical engineer, he was a member of the ARRL Headquarters staff for 18 years–from 1965 to 1983–and served as Technical Department Manager and Senior Technical Editor from 1970 to 1983. During his tenure at HQ, DeMaw served as editor of The ARRL Handbook. In 1970, he engineered the shift in emphasis toward solid-state design in QST and the Handbook. He has hundreds of articles in QST and other publications to his credit. DeMaw also was founder and publisher of VHFer Magazine. (His wife, Jean, W1CKK, also worked on the Headquarters staff.) DeMaw was a life member of the ARRL and a senior member of the IEEE.

After retiring to the family farm in Luther, Michigan, he was elected chairman of the Lake County Board of Commissioners and continued to write books and articles. He also tried his hand in the Amateur Radio business as proprietor of Oak Hills Research. Among his other books, DeMaw wrote W1FB’s Design Notebook, W1FB´s QRP Notebook, W1FB´s Antenna Notebook, and The ARRL Electronics Data Book, which remain popular. In recent years, DeMaw also penned a regular column for CQ magazine. 

A former ARRL colleague, Membership Services Manager Chuck Hutchinson, K8CH, counted DeMaw among his friends. “Doug loved to experiment with circuits and antennas. He also loved to encourage others to try their hand at building,” he recalled. Hutchinson said DeMaw not only wrote prolifically about ham radio but also about gardening, another of his avocations. “He was an avid gardener and cook,” he said. DeMaw also was an outdoorsman and hunter. “He loved to hunt with bow and rifle–both modern and muzzle loader. He was very good at throwing a knife or hatchet,” Hutchinson said. Paul Pagel, N1FB, also was one DeMaw’s colleagues during his days at ARRL HQ. “Amateur Radio benefited greatly from his work,” Pagel said. “He was a multifaceted man. I doubt there was anything he couldn´t do if he set his mind to it.” Jerry Hall, K1TD, who also worked with DeMaw during his years at HQ, called DeMaw a writer of “uncanny” ability. “Doug could write it once, and it was done,” he recalled.

It’s well-worth visiting that QCWA memorial page to read the follow-up from George Dobbs, G3RJV. It includes a description of the time George and Dick Pascoe, G0BPS visited DeMaw at his home in Michigan following a long-weekend at the Dayton Hamvention.

From a ham radio historical context, it’s pure gold.