A North Dakota radio amateur — Alex Muggli, W0ZTL — was recently honored on the 80th anniversary of his ARRL membership, a very rare milestone. At the recent Bismarck Hamfest, Muggli, who still lives in his home town of Glen Ullin, was presented with an 80-year membership plaque and a framed commemorative cover of QST from 1935, the year Muggli joined the ARRL.
“Alex has been a ham since he was 17, and now is 97 years old,” said ARRL Dakota Division Vice Director Kent Olson, KA0LDG, who joined North Dakota Section Manager Lynn Nelson, W0ND, in honoring Muggli. “His wife had him quit climbing his tower a couple of years ago, but he seems like he could still do it today.”
Nelson said the presentation was a surprise to Alex and his wife, Alice. Their son Dave, N0JLY, and his wife Karen were on hand for the recognition.
Born in 1917, Muggli got interested in radio as a youngster and built a cat’s whisker “crystal set” as his first radio. He learned Morse code in the Boy Scouts — he became an Eagle Scout — and was first licensed as W9ZTL in 1937, a couple of years after he joined the League. He subsequently became W0ZTL, when the FCC reshuffled US call districts. Muggli served in the US Navy during World War II and was a radio and radar instructor. He later worked in his family’s business, managing a grain elevator until he retired.
Muggli remains active on the daily ARRL North Dakota traffic nets and still drives a car. “Many old hams and even the new ones remember Alex on 160 meters,” said Nelson. “He is always active on 160 meters in the winter months and sends out many QSLs. Although Alex is pretty reserved, he is in good health, has lots of stories to tell, and is a special person to visit with at hamfests or on the air,” he added.