Personal Interests { AutoBiography }

ddf - WA7RSO - 06/07/2013

Even as a youngster, I was always more than "interested" in just about everything, even if it was way above me. My motto to this day: "I'm interested in anything and everything all the time".

When I was in the 5th grade, I bought a wrist watch (for $0.50) from a boy beside me on the school bus. He said he that it had stopped working and he was going to take it apart and fix it. I just wanted to see how it worked, so I made my own tools and did so.I made screwdrivers out ouf various nails, and used a broken bicycle spoke for the smalest one, and got the eyebrow tweezers out of the medicine cabinate. I figured out how it all worked, but not how to fix it. By the time I was a Freshman in High School I was cleaning and repairing watches for customers, even Railroad Watches and Chronographs.

When I was in Junior High School, I think I read every book in the library on Thomas Edison and every other man of science I could find. Apparently this is why I scored high in the "Science Apptitude Test". Chemistry really made a lot of sense to me, to the point that I was allowed to do some very basic "Chemical Analysis" before classes started (HS). There was no Science Club at the high school, so I managed to get one started, and wound up dissapointed when no one even considered electing me to any of the offices. Perhaps because I wasn't one of the "popular kids". By this time though I really had asperations to go into Research Chemistry as an occupation.

I really lusted after a slide-rule that my uncle had brought back from WW2, but he wouldn't let me buy it from him. I had to earn it instead (hoeing corn, cleaning out the barn, chicken & rabbit hutches, etc). When I finally got my "prize" from him, I asked him to show me how to use it. He told me that "he didn't know how, that's why he gave it to me". I took it to school, and asked various teachers to teach me, but they didn't know either. So, I somehow managed to teach myself how to use all the scales and operations. My best friend and I were, I believe, the only ones at that time who carried their slide rules with them in school.

Wood shop, sheet-metal shop, and especially machine shop was of great benefit for me. In the machine shop I learned how to set up and run everything from the various standard lathes, turrent lathes,mills, shapers, planers, surface grinders, large drill press, and both gas and arc welding. I even was able to arc weld a cast-iron plow-beam. My instructor told me though that I would starve to death as a production machinist, but might have a good chance as as "Tool & Die Maker. I started but never finished a really 3-dimensional chess set, with 8 transparent chess boards rotating on a corner mandrel, and was making the chess pieces out of brass and aluminum. It took 2 complete chess sets to complement the layout, using almost conventional chess rules.

In high school (10th-12th), I really wanted to take the chemistry class. After all, I was doing some basic analysis before school started. The Chemistry teacher ok'd it, but both the Vice-Principal and the Principal said it was only for Jr's and Sr's. So I instead I had opportunity to help the Jr's and Sr's during study hall with their chemistry assignments instead.

After high schhol, I had the opportunity to go to a good Bible School. At that time, I didn't even know what the Books of the Bible were, or anything about them. I had just previous to that, had accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I didn't feel led to go into the Ministry as such, but perhaps work with some young people. I also realized that even going into some field of science, I really needed to have a good foundation in knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. As a result, I occasionally now have opportunity to teach basic Theology. Some knowlege of Greek helps as well.

I was a little too active in all my activities, and perhaps not the best student for benefitting from my studies at the Bible School, so the Lord saw fit for me to break my femur in a motorcycle accedent. My activities came to a very abrupt halt (like hitting a brick wall), and I now had lots of opportunity to study better. Sigh, but I did benefit greatly from that experience!! However, during the first two weeks, I never slept a wink, not even a nap. Oh my!

I enlisted in the Service (Navy) in 1954, and spent almost a year in radar school and gun control (as in "Fire Control"). Upon graduation I was able to pick the billet I wanted, and I picked a Destroyer Tender out of Norfolk, Virginia. I wanted the most experience I could get. The Lord was way ahead of me there, as not only was my assignment to work on other ships, but my Division Officer had a special assignment for me. He had me build a test unit for the amplifiers that control the gun mounts. As a result, we had the only test unit outside of the shipyards, and for the next 3 years I was the only "White Hat" in the entire fleet that specialized in repairing them. I had the opportunity to train a few others before I left the Navy.

While in the Navy, I was asked to teach a particular 2 week radar refresher course. I took advantage of my logs of previous problems, and even faulty tubes I had kept as part of those logs.

During my 4 year hitch, I was able to pass the test for grade E6, but did not have enough time in rank, and only a few in the entire fleet got the grade. While serving on the East Coast, I would often buy in-depth technical and even engineering books to try leaning what I could. I found that study extremely helpful, as I was troubleshooting radar and control system problems, that others were having difficulty with. Fortunately, I was able to fix all systems I worked on, shortly after I was assigned to them.

After I was discharged from the service (1959) I found myself engaged and married, to my wonderful wife of over these 50 years now. All 3 kids (boy,girl,boy) are all grown and married, and twin grandchildren who are this year graduating from high school..

I had opportunity to teach some basic electronics to some students in grades running from the 8th grade through the 12th grade, at a Christian School. I also taught a technical course for those folks going out in the mission field for technical support for Radio Stations on the mission field. I also put together sort of a "Mac Giver" type of a course for Missionaries going out in the field, but with absolutely no knowledge of troubleshooting their radios. At that time, the Lord gave me a method to teach scientific-notation to 8th graders, which I later used to teach a group of 5th graders, along with using a slide-rule. They were the best!

Burning the candle at both ends, I worked full time at Boeing, and taught Adult "Continuing Education" Evening Classes 3hrs/night, 4 times a week, for Seattle Pacific College (before they were) and Green River Community College (before they were). If the washing machine broke, I would have to fix it on the weekend.

Perhaps one of the more interesting evening classes was on "Magnetic Amplifiers", where the first half was to review magnetic theory, before getting into how magnetic amplifiers really work.

One year, I taught at the Boeing "Industrial Training Center" when Boeing was hoping to get the TFX contract. Some time later, I was pulled back into the training division to teach Digital & Computer Theory for the Technicians who were working with the Westinghouse Engineers on Boeing's AWACS Prototype. It was necessary to teach what they could understand quickly, remember, and apply immediately.

During my 15 years at Boeing, I was able to work in the areas of instrumentation and analysis of everything from missle lift-off, stage-separation, payloads, vibration analysis, wrote diagnostic routines and even a complete operating system to run the diagnostics (SIGMA-2) and Mini-Computers, pressure testing of Boeing's SST Prototype, the "Mobile-Minuteman-Missile-Project" (it was my lab that the Defense Secretary visited), Telemetry Data, Lunar Orbiter, Luner Rover (Moon-Buggy), Missile-Silo Systems, Plasma Tests of Ablative coatings for missile re-entry, various 747 Stress Tests.

Fortunately, I was able to take advantage of this experience in the classrooms, while teaching full-time, a variety of technical subjects in Voc-Tech's and College's later.

When the chip technology progressed from RTL > DTL > TTL and beyond, I tried to stay on top of those developements, and then as Microchip CPU's came along I did my best to stay abreast there as well. As a result, I became well aquainted with the architecture and machine codes for just about every 8-bit through the 16-bit CPU's, and a lot of hardware and their Operating Systems. I saw as many as 3-5 companies per month come and go, during those early years.

I not only watched the progress and developement of personal computers, but was often quite heavly involved with many of those "going's-on" in a number of different avenues. I'm afraid that I have to say that there are a LOT of misnomers in events of that time, in terms of what happened (or didn't) to various developements.

One of the challenges I faced was to teach some basic transistor theory to a group of blind ham radio operators. This was down in Vancouver, Washington (the School for the Blind is there). I had to draw pictures in their mind, rather than on a blackboard/whiteboard.

On a totally different occasion, I attempted to teach some technical theory via morse code. I was teaching how to learn morse code (while in Montana) during state-wide practice sessions, and decided to incorporate some technical theory in the matterial. You have to be very concise in all your wording, especially with time constraints with slower code sessions.

Having held an Amateur Radio Extra Class License, as well as a Comercial FCC 1st Class License (with Radar Endorsement), for a number of years has been helpful in various activities.

Being a technical consultant for various law enforcement agencies (State Patrol, Sheriff departments, and Local Police in different states) has been interesting, and with some involment in traffic analysis systems (city and state).

For a while our OEM Company in Montana was number one in the nation for "Parking Ramp Systems", with all the Ticket Spitters, Gate Arms, Fee Registers, and Auditing.

A later project here that I was quite involved in, was in a particular "Biometrics" area, where infra-red hand scans were used for various security systems ("ABI" & "Live-Grip"). The concept was that the infra-red beam penetrated the epidermis as tranparent, and revealed the unique blood vessels inside the hand. Being the one who designed and developed the proto-types for the patent. I was their technical advisor, and I hired a great team of former students. When the top mangement started lying to me and more, I quit and walked away. My 280,000 shares of stock are now worthless, as the company soon went under.


After teaching the last 15 years here, and as Voc-Tech Schools were being changed into Colleges with degree courses, I found myself helping to define the requirements of what it took to get a degree from them. I was either going to have to go to college and get a degree or retire. So after ~ 35 years of teaching, I decided to retire.

{ more later .?.?. }


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