John T.Barr, IV

John T.Barr, IV
John T.Barr, IV
Newport, Arkansas, USA
2012 ARFTG Career Award
2017 MTT-S Distinguished Service Award
2017 IEEE Harden Pratt Award


John T. Barr spent 37 years working for Hewlett-Packard, working on the development and design of RF and Microwave component measurement systems including RF downconverters and IF detectors. Prior to retiring, he focused on the development of high throughput manufacturing semiconductor test systems for RFICs and Wireless Communications ICs. His contributions and involvement with Automatic Radio Frequency Techniques Group (ARFTG), IEEE, and MTT-s AdCom are substantial, holding many high level position in each organizations.

John T. Barr IV was born in 1948, in Newport, Arkansas. Barr’s father was an analytical organic chemist who worked with various plastic production companies. At the end of World War II he was trained as a U.S. Navy radio technician and joined the Manhattan Project in Oakridge, Tennessee. Barr’s mother studied mathematics as a first generation college student. Barr’s family moved often and he ended up finishing high school in Lima, Peru, in August 1966. He would received a BSEE from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1971. At Georgia Tech, Barr entered the college’s co-op program. During a co-op assignment, he worked at Scientific Atlanta from 1967 to 1970, where he was introduced to indoor and outdoor antenna measurements, wave guide circulator design, and the sensitivity of metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistors to static electricity.

After graduating from Georgia Tech in 1971, Barr landed in offer to work at HP Microwave Division in Palo Alto, California. He move to Palo Alto with his newly wed, Barbara Hastreiter, who worked as a nurse at Stanford University Hospital. She would go on to teach licensed nurses at Santa Rosa Junior College. Using the connection between HP and Stanford University, He went on to get a MSEE in 1974 and a MS in Engineering Management in 1982 at Stanford.

At HP, Barr worked on designing HP-IB interfaces for network analyzers like the HP8505 0.1–1,300-MHz and, in 1979, the HP8510A. He went on to develop real-time data-processing and error-correction software. Barr and Doug Rytting would be recognized for this work in 2016 where they received the MTT-S Microwave Application Award “for the development of commercial vector-network analyzer technology, as embodied by the HP8510.” After being promoted to section manager in 1992, his team developed the HP84000, the first single-instrument commercial system capable of network analysis, spectrum analysis, and noise figure and absolute power measurement.

In 1979, Barr had also begin his work in Automatic Radio Frequency Techniques Group (ARFTG), serving as a member of the ARFTG Executive Committee, Vice-President, and President from 1987–1989. He also became the ARFTG–MTT-S coordinator. At MTT-s AdCom, he became Membership Services chair and Operations chair for in 1994, treasurer, and president in 2002. He received the 2012 ARFTG Career Award and the 2017 MTT-S Distinguished Service Award. He remains with MTT-S as an Honorary Life Member.

Barr was promoted to manager of the R&D Lab in the newly formed RF Semiconductor Test Operation Division at HP’s spinoff, Agilent Technologies in 1999. This division was became part of the Automated Test Group. He would later join Agilent’s EEsof Product Marketing Manager of the Electronic Design Automation Foundry and RFIC business development specialist. John Barr retired in 2008.

Barr became a member of the IEEE Board of Directors, serving as IEEE treasurer in 2013 and 2014. He also was a part of the IEEE Investment Committee and the IEEE Governance Committee, IEEE Technical Activities Board Treasurer, Finance Chair for Publication Services & Products Board, IEEE Finance Committee, IEEE Employee Benefits and Compensation Committee, and Chair of PSPB/TAB Products & Services Committee. John was a founding member and Chair of the Redwood Empire IEEE Subsection.

Barr was elected an IEEE Fellow in 2002 “for contributions and leadership in RF and microwave component measurements and instrumentation for design and manufacturing”. Barr was also the 2017 IEEE Harden Pratt Award recipient “for sustained leadership and service across IEEE and Society levels”.