ARRL has received from Lynn Burlingame, N7CFO, the donation of a Kilbourne & Clark Morse key that the late Howard Mason (1ID, 7BU, and K7QB) used to let the world know that Rear Admiral Richard Byrd and his crew had overflown the South Pole for the first time during Byrd’s 1928 – 1930 Antarctic expedition. Mason and his 80 colleagues were awarded Congressional Gold Medals for their efforts in establishing the Antarctic outpost “Little America,” the first of a series of bases bearing that name.
Mason was a lifelong radio amateur from Seattle who was an active ARRL National Traffic System participant and manager. In 1923, he relocated to Connecticut to serve as an editor of the ARRL’s journal, QST. Mason’s first polar experience was as a radio operator with the Wilkins-Detroit News Arctic expedition that traversed the North Pole by air in 1928. This led to his selection by Byrd to be a radio engineer with his first Antarctic expedition. Mason was co-operator of Little America’s base radio station, WFA, used to keep in contact with the rest of the world.