Magna Cum Laud
from the
School of Hard Shocks

I was introduced to a soldering iron as a youngster. My Father Wayne G. Hobbs (1934-1998) was a Chemical Engineering Major at the University of Washington, but enjoyed electronics as a hobby. He never got his Ham License but had the 1962 edition of "The radio amateur's handbook" which I inherited and used to obtain my amateur ticket. My fondest memories of childhood are; running to the mailbox to see if his recent edition of Radio Electronics or Popular Electronics was there; checking out the recent featured project; waiting for him to come home from work to see if he'd help me build it. He was generally tired from the long day at work so he would turn me loose in his (our) workshop while he relaxed in his easy chair. I wore a path from the garage to that chair with numerous questions and requests for direction. I liked the fact that he didn't do it for me. "I" wanted to do it.

Most of the projects I chose were audio related, since my other interest was music. I built guitar amplifiers, synthesisers, rhythm boxes and various stereo equipment. He had given me a Hallicrafters S-38 that he had as a kid but I rarely ventured off the "Top-40" programs on the Broadcast band. KJR,KOL (Seattle) were my favorites where I soaked in the Rock-and-Roll of the late 60's early 70's. I remember being intrigued by an old Bud Codemaster CPO that was kicking around the shop. I have since rebuilt it and use it to practice code.

I don't know if he ever regreted doing more with radio, specifically getting his license, but I feel that I am somehow filling that hole by accomplishing that now.

I entered the Ham world with my Technician Class ticket (KD7REM) in May 2002, passed the element 2 code exam on June 15, and upgraded to General on August 17. I didn't have to study much for the electronics portions as OHM's law was second nature to me. I did have to study quite a bit for the Element 4 Exam (Extra Class) as I've never been real adept at mathematics. I was dreading all those impedance-phase and polar-coordinant calculations. As a reward to myself for passing the Element 4 exam first try (Dec. 21, 2002 and still KD7REM), I purchased a Pickett N-515-T slide rule. I don't know if this is unprecedented to go from unlicensed to Extra in the course of 7 months, but I do know that I should have done this long ago. My QSL Card

My Dad's knowledge of valves (vacuum tubes) is something I miss now, but it was his intrigue of the semiconductor that I picked up as he schooled me during it's rise. I have regressed to an affinity for valves lately, even though most of my early projects in radio have been semiconductor based.

Of all the skills I aquired under his tutelage; proper soldering techniques (i.e. heat both wires first and let the solder flow to a bridge); breadboard before you package it; always leave leads long until you are sure it works, the one that stands out foremost is don't sacrifice quality! Thanks Dad!

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