First-Hand:Electronic Warfare, Radio Receivers and Countermeasures


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Submitted by Howard O. Lorenzen

After graduation from high school, I worked for the Iowa State Highway Commission surveying for the paved roads that lifted Iowa out of the mud. During a visit to Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, for an Amateur Radio Convention, I observed the University's nice laboratory set up and nice engineering facilities so I decided to apply. I took electrical engineering courses since they did not have courses in radio engineering at that time.

After graduation in 1935, I went to work for Colonial Radio in Buffalo, New York. It was during the depression and I was the first graduate from the electrical engineering curriculum to land a job. I was a radio receiver design engineer. When Zenith Radio in Chicago advertised in the IRE for engineers, I took a job in their laboratory as a design engineer for radio receivers.

The next year, a friend from Buffalo wrote me that the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, had openings for experienced radio design engineers. I applied for a job there and was accepted. I started designing UHF receivers for them and worked on some of the first radar receivers. During the war, I got involved in designing countermeasures for the various German electronic controlled devices.

When the war was over, I organized the people in my group to form the Electronic Warfare Branch. We were very active in developing countermeasures during the war in Vietnam and Korea. The success of our devices provided us with excellent support from the Navy operating forces. Eventually, I was able to raise the Branch to Division status. The Electronic Warfare Division had the best fiscal support of any Division at the Laboratory. We were bringing in about fifty percent of the Laboratory's fiscal support.