6 July 19


Gladys Kathleen Parkin


At just fifteen years old, Gladys Kathleen Parkin (1901-1990) received her professional ham radio license. Basically, this makes her a total badass, considering that she’d had her amateur radio license since age nine. She was featured on the cover of The Electrical Experimenter, and at the time was the “youngest successful female applicant for a radio license ever examined by the Government at that time,” according to a 1916 article in the San Francisco Chronicle. Parkin began her hobby at age five with her brother, and was the first woman in California to pass the first-class radio license.


Parkin’s call sign is 6S0, and she spent her life in the radio industry, developing a reputation for building her own equipment. Here she is, quoted in The Electrical Experimenter:


With reference to my ideas about the wireless profession as a vocation or worthwhile hobby for women, I think wireless telegraphy is a most fascinating study, and one which could very easily be taken up by girls, as it is a great deal more interesting than the telephone and telegraph work, in which so many girls are now employed. I am only fifteen. … But the interest in wireless does not end in the knowledge of the code. You can gradually learn to make all your own instruments, as I have done with my ¼ kilowatt set. There is always more ahead of you, as wireless telegraphy is still in its infancy.

More at: Wikipedia, Oral History of  Gladys Kathleen Parkin spoken by her (Marin County Public Library), Radio Museum online