In 1960, the MTT Symposium met at the Del Coronado, the classic hotel across the bay from San Diego (figure 1). To get there, one took the ferry, as the bridge was still a dream. Once there, guests worried whether the wood structure would turn into a giant bonfire. The host committee’s proposal emphasized holding the Symposium “in a noncommercial, semi-isolated location where a technical atmosphere with a minimum of outside distractions could be obtained”. The non-technical adjourned to Tijuana just 17 miles away.

Figure 1. The famous Del Coronado Hotel in San Diego, location of the film “Some Like it Hot” and the 1960 MTT symposium.

In 1963, the LA Chapter hosted the PTGMTT National Symposium in Santa Monica. The Banquet Master of Ceremony was Kiyo Tomiyasu (the name sounds familiar), who will be honored this year at a Special Session.. The Cocktail party was $2.00, banquet $8.50. The Digest was the size of a paperback book with 198 pages. Three days and no parallel sessions summed up all the shared knowledge. HP’s Dr. Oliver’s topic for the Banquet was “Problems of Deep Space Communications”. We’re still awaiting the answer to the test message we sent off into space 57 years ago. Maybe extra-terrestirials don’t have cell phones.

1970 found us at the Newporter Inn in Newport Beach. By now, we were the International Microwave Symposium (IMS). Our initial choice was the Queen Mary, which had been purchased by the City of Long Beach. It became apparent the Mary wouldn’t be available on time. With no exhibits and single sessions, an alternate site was quickly settled on. Nixon was President with his home in nearby San Clemente, so our neighbors in the Villas were the Secret Service. “Computer-oriented microwave practices” was a session of note.

On page 268 of the 468 page Digest, the name Tatsuo Itoh, is listed as a speaker. How were we to know he’d have a very distinguished career, and be honored as a Life Member of the Society?

1974 Shelter Island in San Diego was the site. I don’t remember much, must have been too many trips to Tijuana. In 1981, exhibits had been added, and when we met at the Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles, it marked the last time both the technical sessions and exhibits could be housed in one facility. Both the exhibits and submitted papers were increasing exponentially. Ever since, the host committee has had to find a large exhibit hall with adequate hotels nearby. This forced future events to be scheduled 8-10 years prior to the event.

1989 brought the Symposium to Long Beach for the first time, 19 years after we first considered the Queen Mary as a site. The Monday Evening reception was held in the Dome, and visitors had access to the Spruce Goose display. The Plenary session featured the famous author, Dr. Simon Ramo - “Extraordinary Tennis for Ordinary Players” and Harold Rosen, noted for synchronous satellites. Scheduled for the week of June 10-17, this was also the time of the uprising in Tiananmen Square. I received a request from one of the speakers, saying she needed help to get travel permission from the Chinese Government. My connections didn’t reach that far, and I still don’t know if she ever saw Long Beach.

Four parallel sessions were now an accepted evil, resulting in three volumes weighing 4 pound each to coral all this data. The papers are always selected early in January, and by the time the author is notified of acceptance and submits a completed paper, there is little time to get the manuscript to the Michigan printer It was always touch and go whether the digests would appear on time, and once they arrived, where to store two tons of digests. The outstanding entertainment at the Banquet (I’m prejudiced) was the sole performance of the “One Penny Opera”. Total attendance, counting registrants and exhibitors, was approaching 10,000.

Back to San Diego’s and its new Convention Center in 1994. Dr. Don Parker was Chairman, and he pulled it off even though his Steering Committee members were scattered over the 130 miles from Los Angeles to San Diego. This "Microwave Week" was unique in that it combined not only the IMS, MMWMC, and ARFTG conferences but added the National Telesystems Conference (NTC) as well. Another new aspect was the presentation competition, which resulted in a "Technical Program Chairman's Honor Roll." 165 presenters received a Certificate of Recognition for Excellence. There was also a special focus session honoring George Matthaei, Leo Young and E. M. T. Jones, authors of “Microwave Filters, Impedance Matching Networks, and Coupling Structures”, who related their early experiences in research and in writing the book. Being in San Diego offered an opportunity for a tour of an AEGIS Missile Cruiser at the end of the week.

Anaheim in 1999 was to be Mario Maury’s reign as Chairman, but unfortunately he passed away prior to the event. Dr. Bob Eisenhart shouldered the responsibility of being Chair. The Marriott was the Headquarter Hotel, and the Anaheim Convention Center served for technical sessions and exhibits. Anaheim is attractive for its location next door to Disneyland for family members to enjoy (over 700 discount tickets sold). This IMS offered all of the many features of the past plus a number of new ones. The most significant difference was the expansion of the technical sessions to four days. This allowed other changes such as three days of Open Forum with fewer competing oral sessions. Also, a number of new features to the Technical Program Committee (TPC) were introduced. The 250 TPC individual members were subdivided into 29 topical subcommittees of with newly defined domains. Papers were selected from nearly 1000 submittals worldwide. The expansion of the program to four days allowed a record number of 480 papers, organized into 66 Podium and 13 Interactive Forum Sessions. This also permitted some 76% of the podium-presented papers to be full- length papers, thereby significantly reducing the number of short (10-minute) papers. Interactive Forums, were then expanded to three afternoons. The 1999 IMS also offered participation for nearly 2000 in 21 workshops on Sunday and Friday. The TPC members who came from outside the U.S., for the first time exceeded 25% of the committee membership. This is a testimony to the increasingly international character of the IEEE MTT-S.

Figure 4. Dr. Bob Eisenhart, Chairman of the 1999 IEEE MTT-S IMS in Anaheim