Nominated by his students and fellow instructors, James E. Dalley, Centerville, was named instructor of the year by the 700,000-member American Radio Relay League.

The league represents ham and amateur radio operators across the nation.Dalley was presented with the ARRL's Herb Brier award recently by Bill Moyes, assistant section manager for the ARRL at the Davis County Amateur Radio Club meeting.

Dalley is a retired engineer and college instructor. He worked at Bell Labs and AT&T for 20 years in addition to teaching at three of the state's universities and colleges.

Bitten by the radio bug as a teenager growing up in Kanab, Dalley obtained his first operator's license at age 16 in 1938.

"It was a lot different in those days," Dalley said. "You had to build everything yourself. And in Kanab, you had no mentors avail-able to help you."

Skipping his last year of high school because it had inadequate math and science programs, Dalley went straight to an agricultural college and then to Utah State University, studying engineering.

During World War II, he taught Navy and Marine radio operators and, in the 1940s, established the electronics program at Weber State University, starting with three students.

"I've always loved electronics. I've been involved in radio and electronics work for 50 years," said Dalley.

But his interest is more in the technical and educational side of the hobby.

"I don't spend hours and hours on the air, like some of the operators," Dalley said. "If I design a new antenna or something else, I'll go on the air to try it out, but I don't stay on just to talk," Dalley said.

Through the Davis County club, Dalley organizes two sets of classes annually, one for beginners trying to get their entry-level license, and one for those wanting to upgrade their skills and licensing.

While teaching some classes, Dalley said he mostly organizes other instructors to come in and teach in areas of their expertise.

"I supply the continuity, the organization, and call on others who may have more knowledge in an area than I do to do the teaching," Dalley said.

"That way I can use them over again but avoid burnout. But I'm there if someone else can't make it; I cover for them."

The next class for beginners, taught in the auditorium of the Davis County Sheriff's Department in Farmington, begins Jan. 10.

Anyone interested may contact Dalley, 298-7557, for class information.

Amateur radio has progressed far beyond the first system that Dalley built as a teenager five decades ago.

"The field is exciting, the way it's growing and expanding. Operators are using digital technology for computer transmissions, television transmissions, just about anything you can imagine," Dalley said.