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Jim Kyle K5JKX 1931-2019

An old friend and a great talent has left us: Jim Kyle K5JKX, author of a fair number of books that go back a long way. I’m not certain how I know, but I’m pretty sure that he wrote his first book in 1952–the year I was born, and I’m not a young man. He started in the book trade early and worked it for most of his life. I never met him in the flesh, though we corresponded back into the 80s, if I recall correctly. He wrote books on radio and electronics (lots of them!) until there were personal computers, and then pivoted to personal computers. I have his Transistor Etched Circuit Projects from 1969, and until I had to shrink my library severely when we moved down from Colorado to a smaller house, I had others, including PC Interrupts (with Ralf Brown) which served me very well in the DOS era. I’m absolutely sure I have several more of his electronics and radio titles, though a lot of those are still in a box for lack of shelf space. I’m going to dig them out ASAP and take a good look through them.

His son Tony Kyle is also a good friend, and although I haven’t yet met him in the real world either, he isn’t far and I intend to do so while we’re both still here.

73’s Jim. You taught me a lot, long before you ever became my friend. Godspeed you on your journey to Eternal Light. –K7JPD.


  1. Michael Black says:

    He was a constant in amateur radio circles, not just “73” for most of a decade, but also one if the small VHF magazines, the one out if Oklahoma in the early sixties.

    The first used issueof 73 that I bought from early on had at least one article, an “idea” article about FM. So articles could be pointers, rather than just construction articles or tutorials. Many issues he had multiple articles, and I seem to recall that he was on the masthead of 73 for a long time, maybe even after he had stopped writing for it.

    It was later that I saw articles by him about computers, at least in back issues from the sixties.

    Some years back I got curious, and found his website. He wrote something about losing interest in ham radio, quite the surprise because he wrote so much on the topic, and it seemed more if an interest than just writing. If he’d just written tutorials I’d understand, but he did constructiin articles too.

    Over tge summer I’ve been downloading issues of 73, and it reminded me of how important he was to the magazine in the early days.

    There were lots of prolific authirs back then in hobby electronic and ham radio magazines. The articles represented them, we rarely knew much more about them. I once saw a photo of Bill Hoisington, K1CLL, in a 1964 series in QST about history, but that was it. A few years ago, I saw Rufus Turner’s name in the 1936 Radio Handbook, that too a surprise because in the sixties he write about solid state. I did a search and found he was black, and was involved with the 1N34 diode. I kept taking a book if his out of the library when I was 11, and fkund a used copy some years back.

    John J. Schultz wrote almost monthly in CQ in the sixties, but I know nothing more about him. You’ve written about John Frye, that filled in some detaios. Lots of people write for the hobby electronic magazines, but nothing turns up about them in the internet age.

    Even Don Lancaster was anonymous for a long time, a hint in “Fire in the Valley” but his website gives a few more details.

    They were all so important when we were starting to learn abkut electronics and radio.


  2. Michael Black says:

    One book that somehow wasn’t included when 73 was scanned and put online was Jim Kyle’s book about parametric amplifiers.

    It’s really only historical now, but I’d love to see it, curiosity and to see what he wrote. They were so important, but only for a brief time. There were articles (I can’t see a Jim Kyle article about them in 73) and Frank Jones had a brief section in his VHF Handbook, but Kyle”s is the only book on the topic for ham radio.

    Some things get lost. The original material is lost to history, and what remains is like broken telephone, a version of a version. A lot less details too, unless there is enough demand. Any variation is based on past variations. Sometimes it’s worth going back to the beginner, see what was written, get the full story in the theory, and restart from that point with the advantage of recent technology and devices. Charles Kitchin has done it with superregen receivers.


  3. Roger Duroid says:

    Wayne Green once said that Jim had earned enough from his articles in 73 magazine to purchase a home. I believe it, he sure had plenty of them. He had an idea article on “zero shift” FSK which turned out to be bi-phase PSK, well before it was used commercially.

  4. Lee Hart says:

    So many great voices have been lost. I know more people who are dead than are alive.

    Parametric amps were magical stuff. Now largely forgotten. I remember reading a design for a demonstration parametric audio amp that only used diodes! Gain with only a diode? “Can’t be done”!

    People throw out their old books, records, tapes, etc. because “it’s on the web”. But it should be clear by now that “the web” will not save everything forever. I have cherished books, music, and videos that aren’t on the web; so I intend to keep them!

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