I received my amateur license, WD6AWP, in 1975. Before Ham Radio I messed around on 27 MHz during the CB craze of the 70's. Even before that I modified an FM wireless mic and broadcast music around the house (and maybe a little bit further) and played DJ. And even before that I was building broadcast band receivers. I built an FM receiver back in the 60's when the underground rock seen was just starting up on the FM band. Dad and I build a crystal set back in the Cub Scout days.
In the 80's I maintained a microwave radio system for McDonnell Douglas. The microwave carried aircraft flight test telemetry from Edwards AFB and Yuma, AZ to our Long Beach, CA computer center. In those days the computers were too big to fit on the airplane. It took people to monitor those computers, people who's lives need not be risked on a test flight. We had tracking stations on Blueridge and in Yuma to collect the data. At these tracking stations we had big steerable dish antennas inside large golf ball radomes like you see at RADAR sites. We had to point the dish antenna at the aircraft flying around somewhere in the sky. You couldn't see it or hear it. All you had to go on was signal strength. No indication of left or right, up or down. It was a skill I never quite mastered but managed to fake it the time or two I had to do it. The microwave system also carried telephone traffic and channels for remote aircraft AM radios. I learned a lot about analog carrier systems and telephones. Gordon, WB6CNL got me the job at MDC and I am forever grateful. I learned a lot from Gordon.
In the 90's I found myself working for IBM when MDC outsourced (and later sold) us to IBM. It was good gig as I learned a lot about computers, programming and IP networking. Eventually the "I've Been Moved" company wanted to move me to Boulder, CO. That wasn't going to happen as my wife, the lovely KH6FL, had just retired to be our grandson's nana. So I took a layoff and lived off the package and freelanced some. Then I met Pat, KA6P on DMR and landed a job at Orange County Communications thanks to Pat. Working there on the 800Mhz trunk system was an experance I'm very glad to have had. I learned a lot about trunking and was able to apply my skil set to some important tasks around the office and programming radios.
For the last 35 or so years I've been interested in repeaters. My first repeater endeavor was with the South Orange Amateur Radio Association (SOARA) as trustee of their two meter repeater which, at the time had the callsign of WR6AKV. We added a 220 MHz repeater during my tenure with SOARA.
In 1979 I joined a 440 repeater group and later inherited that system from Gordon Dickson, W6CNL. Thanks to Ed, WA6TLE we upgraded the system to a brand new GE MSTR II repeater for both 440 and two meters. A lot has changed since then; Both Gordon and Ed and are SK leaving me to hold the lofty position of benevolent dictator.
In the early 80's I built a remote base around a Midland 509, 6502 SIM computer board, and Kenwood 7800. It had a Votrax voice synthesizer, Anaconda touch tone decoder and a 8x8 audio matrix with audio ducking. Lee, N7LD (WB6KAJ at the time) and Skip, WB6YMH were my inspiration. Most of the system's features came from things that Lee and Skip had already implemented on their remotes. But I did it my own way with the help of Jim, WA6SID and Harry, N6AWQ. The 6502 compiler was written in basic language which was lifted from the appendix of a computer book. It took a huge effort to get that basic running on an HP computer with their flavor of basic. Once I finally had it running I would write assembly language on the HP after work hours, compile it, and burn an EPROM. Then take it home and debug it on the SIM monitor. This process was repeated over many months. It was laborious but it worked. It decoded touch tones. It made CW. It monitored COR, switched audio and made PTT. It talked. It was awesome!
Now days I use Allstar to control my repeaters. I coded the www.allstarlink.org site, built Community, and Helpdesk. I am on the board of directors. I'm the developer of Allmon2 which is free software for anyone to use with Allstar.
I suppose it's painfully obvious that I've always had a passion for radio and that it continues to this day. Check out my repeater page to see what I'm up to now.