Past AMSAT President and AMSAT Journal Editor Doug Loughmiller, W5BL, of McKinney, Texas, died on July 22. An ARRL Life Member, he was 60 and had been suffering from cancer.
“This is very sad news,” said Al Ward, W5LUA. “He will be missed greatly.”
Loughmiller was probably best known in recent years as a high-altitude Amateur Radio ballooning enthusiast, and he evangelized on that topic at the ARRL Centennial Convention in 2014 as well as at Dayton Hamvention®. He was the co-moderator of the BalloonSat Forum at Hamvention, and the co-founder of ARBONET (Amateur Radio Balloon over North East Texas) — described as “a poor man’s space program.” He also held a pilot’s license and was interested in motor sports, fishing, and scuba diving.
He also was an active Amateur Radio instructor, and he was the recipient of the 2008 Herb S. Brier Award bestowed by the ARRL to recognize a volunteer Amateur Radio instructor.
Loughmiller grew up in Indiana and, after graduating from high school there, he attended Paris Junior College in Texas. His first career was as a baker, but from there he jumped to a job in the Satellite Communications Department at the University of Surrey, in England, as a payload supervisor. Subsequently he pursued a successful career in the electronics component industry, working for Arrow Electronics, Future Electronics/FAI, and RAM Electronic Sales.
Loughmiller ran for elective office in the ARRL West Gulf Division and in the North Texas Section. He was a member of the Denton County Amateur Radio Association and the Red River Valley Amateur Radio Club, where he served as president in the 1980s.
A service will be held in Paris, Texas, on July 27.