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In Memoriam: Vincent J. McHenry, Southwest Microwave Inc. Co-Founder and Director of Technology

April 30th, 2015

Vincent McHenryTempe, Arizona – The microwave industry lost one of its true pioneers when Vincent J. McHenry, co-founder of OmniSpectra, Inc. and Southwest Microwave, Inc. passed away on Thursday April 2, 2015 at the age of 86.

McHenry was born on August 30th, 1928 in Detroit, Michigan. He attended the University of Detroit and subsequently entered the US Army Signal Corp, where he became an instructor in microwave systems during the Korean War. Following his military service, McHenry joined the Bendix Corporation, engaging in the design and testing of microwave components, including a series of miniature components (connectors, ferrite phase shifters, hybrid and directional couplers and terminations) for the Navy’s Eagle Missile Radar Guidance System. McHenry was granted nine patents covering these devices.

While at Bendix Research Laboratories, McHenry investigated the potential of this newly designed miniature coaxial connector, which he concluded in a 1959 report “would be an acceptable addition to any microwave system requiring a compact, low VSWR coupling method”. This family of connectors became the prototype for the OSM series at OmniSpectra, Inc. a company co-founded by McHenry in 1962, who first served as its New Product Development Manager and later as Vice-President of Sales.

In late 1962, McHenry made another major mark on the industry by filling a longstanding need to upgrade the performance of conventional RF coaxial connectors. Using the engineering principles of the

OSM series, he quickly produced a very low reflection, physically short between-series adapter prototype, which led to a complete line of adapters from OSM to other types, including N, C SC, TNC and BNC.

In 1981, McHenry co-founded his most successful venture, Southwest Microwave, Inc., where he worked as Director of Technology for the company’s Perimeter Security and Microwave Interconnect product divisions until his passing. During his tenure, McHenry made significant contributions to the design and manufacture of the company’s line of microwave sensors, and was instrumental in the development of the company’s INTREPID™ MicroPoint™ fence-mounted intrusion detection system.

These Southwest Microwave technologies, which earned McHenry several additional patents in the 1970’s and 80’s, still play critical roles today in the physical security and protection of government and military compounds, utility sites, correctional institutions and industrial facilities worldwide.

McHenry had a sincere interest in Southwest Microwave’s employees, considering each of them to be a part of his extended family. His profound influence within the organization encouraged several generations of engineers to follow his path of innovation in RF technology and production design.

In 1997, McHenry won the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Pioneer Award, a prestigious Microwave industry honor for contributions to the development of electronic or aerospace systems. He was recognized, along with John H. Bryant and another of Southwest Microwave co-founders, James Cheal, for his leading role in the invention of the Subminiature Type A (SMA RF) Coax Connector. This technology has remained in use for nearly 50 years, and marked a significant achievement in both McHenry’s career and the field of Microwave technology to which he dedicated his life.

Vince McHenry is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 38 years, Barbara. He is survived by his sister Irene MacKinnon, his son Dean McHenry, his two daughters Andrea McSweeny and Ann McHenry, six grandchildren and two great grandsons.

About Southwest Microwave, Inc.
Southwest Microwave, Inc. produces, sells and supports the world’s broadest range of integrated outdoor perimeter security systems for the protection of critical infrastructure, assets and personnel. With over 45 years of experience and more than 70,000 systems in 100 countries, Southwest Microwave detection technologies fortify many of the world’s highest security sites in the government, military, utilities, industrial, transportation, correctional and VIP residential sectors. For more information, visit or YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn.

Media Contact:
Diana Vuong, Marketing Communications Manager
Tel: (480) 783-0201 x 3470 | Email Diana