Donald L. Stoner, W6TNS, considered by many as the "Father of OSCAR", was an important ingredient to the world of radio communications, including his love of Single-sideband. From his earliest beginnings as Ham magazine columnist, to Corporate Executive, Don never seemed to forget to have fun on the radio! He wrote a variety of columns for CQ Magazine, (most recently CQ VHF), and if Im not mistaken, guest-wrote for several other periodicals, both HAM and CB. He authored several books, including:
While I only knew "of him", (as close as I got was swapping a few e-mails back in 94-95), Im under the impression that Don always sought sideband excellence, and during the heyday of CB radio, it became clear that for the most part, Single-sideband base stations were more-or-less AM designs, with SSB afterthoughts loaded down with "bellsn whistles".
As the saying goes: "The rest is history", because Don decided to make a single-sideband radio for the enthusiast, desgined by the enthusiast! Setting up shop in the John Hancock building on Mercer Island in Washington, a tremendously well designed radio began to taken form. To begin with, the rig was designed as a Sideband ONLY transceiver from the ground up. With his vast experiences Don realized that one of the greatest features should be a tight front-end, to cut down on overloading and bleedover due to the 10KHz channel spacing of the 11meter band, and the Stoner Pro-40 did just that. I wont digress further into the radios specifications, as we have several reviews here on the website, however I have to make one further point There werent guys out there that had the guts to put THEIR name on the front of the radio, but those that did such as Browning and Stoner, were legends in their own time.
The Stoner Pro-40 line came a bit late into the CB frenzy and unfortunetely, Dons company went out of business (In my e-mails with him, I was curious about how things happened, but he indicated that this was a not-too-pleasant memory from his past, so I let it drop). Previous to this, Don Stoner and Pierre Goral formed a company called SGC (Stoner-Goral Communications) in 1972, which made Marine-band radios. Once again, Dons single-sideband knowledge and savvy marketing skills helped lead marine radio out of the "Ancient Mariners" mode (AM) and into the world of SSB.
Retired from SGC, the early 1980s saw another company spring from Dons creative genius, called Digital Electronics, which he retired from later in that same decade. Don and his wife Lucy, became embroiled in a antenna covenants fight in Florida, which led him to help other hams in the same predicament .
Not only did he design radios in style, Don also talked radio in style with a custom "shack" thats out of this world! These photos tell it all and are here by the gracious consent of Bill from the Hammall
Finally, this amazing story comes to a sad end Don Stoner passed away on May 4, 1999 at the young age of 67. No matter what you think of HAM or CB radio, you have to admit that its extremely rare for someone to stay so focused on one area throughout their lifetime, but Don did just that, and Im sure there are many Ham/Cbers out there that will mourn his passing.