Tribute to "Gun" Robert W. Gunderson W2JIO of the Bronx. 1919-1987
Robert W. Gunderson (1919-1987) aka "Gun" was known as W2JIO of the Bronx. His life left a lasting impact on hundreds of students at the school when it was known as The New York Institute for the Education of the Blind.
He taught radio electronics to our blind students for 37 years and for 23 years he edited and published “The Braille Technical Press”, the only monthly electronics magazine for the blind. His magazine, a one-man venture, was sold or given to blind technicians all over the world. He also invented more than 30 types of instruments for use by blind radio and TV workers.
One of those instruments, the Simpson 260 meter was recently donated to the school. You can see clearly in the photo below how the original meter (left) was adapted to make it accessible for a blind technician.
He refused to consider that blindness was more than a minor incident in his life.
He came to us as a student in 1928 and excelled in all his classes. He was a graduate of the Class of 1937 and was immediately hired to work in the newly formed Radio Vocational Department. The students' first contact with radio is in the Science Room where Mr. Gunderson taught them the theory of electricity and magnetism. From theory classes, the student studies circuit applications with the demonstration boards designed and built by staff.
About 10 students a year took the classes and eventually learning how to solder by touch, put together vacuum tube amplifiers and receivers and ultimately build a radio as good as commercial ones. The students were also readied for taking tests to earn Ham Radio licenses. Many students went on to gain employment in the booming radio industry.
Eventually, he became a leader in the New York radio scene. He was a talented engineer and developed many test instruments for blind radio technicians and engineers. Recognized for his work, Bob was on TV's "This Is Your Life" in 1950, and received from G.E. the 1955 Edison Radio Amateur Award.