Spectrum Management
May 24, 2019

Tribute to a spectrum management pioneer: Robert J. Mayher – 1932-2019

By Fred Matos, Spectrum Manager for the United States National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

Robert J. Mayher, age 86, passed away on 30 April 2019 in Ellicott City, Maryland after a career that greatly enriched ITU.

The greatest joy in his professional life came from his pioneering and leading technical work in the ITU International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR), which later became the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R), where he chaired Study Group 1 on Spectrum Management.

Strong contributions to ITU

He made many major contributions, but foremost was his identifying the need for and then leading an international team of experts in Study Group 1 that developed the highly regarded Handbook-National Spectrum Management in 1995; and that he then led another team that greatly expanded and modernized the second edition in 2005.

His vision foresaw the need to develop user-friendly spectrum management computer software that could be used by developing nations. He worked with the ITU Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) to develop the Basic Automated Spectrum Management System (BASMS) for personal computers that was widely used.

Mr Mayher led teams of U.S. spectrum management experts that advised foreign nations on spectrum management and administrative and technical techniques, among them.

A rich career with deep roots

Mr Mayher graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with an electrical engineering degree.

He began his career in radio-frequency spectrum management with the IIT Research Institute at the Department of Defense Electromagnetic Compatibility Analysis Center in Annapolis, Maryland. He was a senior research engineer leading and pioneering the development of advanced analytic techniques for spectrum sharing, especially sharing between widely disparate radio services with different technical parameters.

He joined the United States Department of Commerce in 1973, and later moved to the newly formed National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as a senior spectrum engineer and Division Director.

He led the development of the technical elements of the U.S. proposals to the ITU 1979 World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC-79), serving as the lead technical expert on the U.S. delegation.

Mr Mayher became a federal senior executive at NTIA where he became the Director of NTIA’s Office of Spectrum Plans and Policies, leading the development of U.S. spectrum management policies. He continued his ITU activities.

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Tribute to a spectrum management pioneer: Robert J. Mayher – 1932-2019

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