CQ de WA2LQO
VOL. 81, NO. 10
Bob Wexelbaum W2ILP
BILL HEWLETT and DAVE PACKARD WERE HAMS
I get to meet some impressive hams while ragchewing on the QRZ net. I’m not going to write about the present economy or politics here, but I am going to write about some interesting history. A rag chewing thread was started with a request by K3ACE for people who had worked for Hewlett Packard (HP) to tell of their experiences. As QRZ threads usually go, it soon ran off topic to the history of test and measuring equipment that hams who were engineers or technicians had used. HP instruments were by far the most used in labs of all engineering and medical research and testing and HP was and probably is the biggest test equipment and standards manufacturer in the world. When I visited Disneyland I got a chance to see a museum that had the first profitable piece of equipment that HP made. It was the prototype for the HP 200, which contained a lamp in the cathode circuit for compensation. I later learned that Disney had bought six 200As while working on “Fantasia”. The 200 series audio generators are still used today because they generate near perfect sine waves from which distortions that is introduced by equipment under test can be calculated. I recently bought a 200AB for only $10.00. It was made in 1955. The 200AB was manufactured until 1974. When HP was founded by Hewlett and Packard in 1934 during the great depression, they made the 200 in a garage in Palo Alto, CA in a business that was started with only about $500. They sold 200s for about $50.each and it was a success because their competitor, General Radio, charged $200 for an audio generator. Hewlett and Packard had studied electronics at Stanford under the guidance of Frederick Terman, who wrote the textbook that was a bible for radio engineers of his time. All had ham licenses and tinkered with early radiotelephone transmitters in the lab and radio club at Stanford. AM radio was still new in their day and was still considered state of the art. I have never worked anywhere where the majority of test equipment was made by any manufacturer besides HP. From microwave RF generators, network analyzer systems, fiber optic testers, to digital bus simulators there had seldom been any other choice. Each year I received a hard covered catalog of HP products as well as newsletters which told about the engineers who had designed them. Many of them listed ham radio as their hobby. After Hewlett and Packard died, HP spun off Agilent (In 1999). HP had begun to design and manufacture some of their products in Germany. All throughout this time HP was famous for product support. Their sales and service people were always available to help engineers and scientists use their products. Then a terrible thing happened. Carly Fionia became CEO and she decided to expand HP into the consumer market for PCs, laptops, printers, etc. My daughter bought an HP laptop and when it failed she was told to buy a new one. Obviously HP could not provide the kind of service that it had offered when dealing one on one with knowledgeable engineers. HP retirees agreed that this almost destroyed HP’s reputation. Carly was chased out of HP (with a golden parachute) because her way of dealing with mass produced consumer products was never meant to be HP’s core business. Another Great Depression may be starting today. I dunno for sure. Can some American innovators start a business like HP, which Bill and Dave had started in the garage in 1934? I dunno. But if that does happen again I’d give even odds that it would be started in someone’s garage.
The September meeting was a picnic at Marjorie Post Park in Massapequa, featuring guest speaker Frank Fallon, the ARRL Hudson Division Director. We had a nice turnout, the weather was magnificent, the food was excellent (thanks to Jack and his team), and the guest speaker was very interesting. It looked to me like everyone had a great time.
Frank even brought with him a few items to be raffled off. I won a recent copy of QEX, the ARRL more technical companion to QST. I’ve wondered for some time now why the ARRL felt that it is (was) necessary to have a separate technical publication. Back in the old days, every issue of QST had several really good technical articles as well as the necessary operating news. Looking at old issues of QST, (say pre-1970) makes me weep when I realize that what we used to have is now missing.
For the November meeting we will have a great speaker, the amateur weatherman, “Lenny the Lawyer”, who has in the past appeared on weather-related broadcast radio shows. He is truly passionate about the avocation, and the “day job” as a lawyer assures that he is quick on his feet with a good sense of humor.
I had been trying to work on the Bethpage repeater whenever I could over the past few months, but in September I had some real problems with getting access to it and I have pretty much left it alone. The repeater is located on the Northrop Grumman facility, in a construction trailer that we share with the company’s model railroad club (quite the HO gauge layout!). Our trailer is adjacent to a large concrete apron, complete with loading ramp for an industrial-grade dumpster. When they started to demolish the whole concrete apron and ramp we employees were wondering what we were going to put in it place. Meanwhile, I did technically have access to the trailer, but it was quite difficult so I decided to wait out the storm. Well, it took the entire month of September for the construction crew to finish; it felt like forever, but they just finally finished the whole project…and now that it is complete, they have precisely rebuilt it, exactly like it was before they started! Well, at least now I should be able to go into the trailer without worrying about getting run over by a bulldozer.
I’m looking forward to seeing you at the October meeting on the 15th. We will be back at our usual place, Ellsworth Allen Town Park in Farmingdale.
GRUMMAN AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
MINUTES OF GENERAL MEETING 9/17/08
By Karen, KC2OPX, secretary.
The meeting was called to order by Ed at 5:30 PM.
TREASURERS REPORT – Ed, WB2EAV REPEATER REPORT Gordon, KB2UB
Finances continue to be in good shape. Unavailable
VE REPORT – Bob, W2ILP NET REPORT- Zack, WB2PUE
There were 4 applicants. Three passed the Sunday morning net n o one could hear.
Tech exam.. One upgraded to Extra. VEs Thursday night net had a good turnout.
were AB2EF, AB2NT and KC2OPX.
Our next meeting will be at Allen Park as usual on 10/15/08.
We are seeking speakers for future meetings. We also need more volunteers for our VE program.
The grill started at 5:30 PM sharp. The hamburgers and hot dogs were plentiful. Frank Fallon, N2FF was the guest speaker. He told us how he started in ham radio using RTTY and his love for contesting. In spite of bad propagation Frank recently worked Indonesia on 20 Meters. He talked about the awards dinner coming up, new equipment and logging. He spoke about Riley Hollingsworth’s retirement. About 22 people attended the meeting. The meeting was adjoined at 7:05 PM
40 Meters: 7.289 MHz at 7:30 AM EST Sundays.
2 Meters (via repeaters): 146.745 MHz (-.600)at 8:30 PM EST Thursdays.
145.330 MHz (- .600) at 9:00 PM EST Thursdays.
[Tone for both repeaters is 136.5 Hz] (ARES/RACES) Mondays
General Meetings of the GARC are held on the third Wednesday of each month, starting at 5:30 PM. The meetings are usually held at the Ellsworth Allen Park in Farmingdale. Driving directions and maps can be obtained from http://www.mapquest.com It is suggested that the GARC Web Site be checked to be certain of meeting location, which may change after this newsletter is distributed. Board meetings are held eight days before the General Meeting.
GARC WEB SITE
The web site of the GARC can be found at http://www.qsl.net/wa2lqo/ Webmaster is Pat Masterson, KE2LJ. Pictures of GARC activities, archives of newsletters, roster of members, and other information about the GARC may be found there.
The cover article this month tells about Hewlett Packard and an Internet thread that I joined into. The thread was started by an HP retiree (K3ACE) who gave us a link to an old HP newsletter which had a good article about amateur radio. I’ll make it this month’s Internet link. You have to scroll down about half way through the newsletter to see the ham radio article. The address is:-
Also notice that in another article HP workers are encouraged to buy and save U.S. Savings Bonds rather than to buy impulsive stuff on credit or risk their savings in anything that was not as secure as the U.S. government. Things sure have changed a lot since 1965…but then there were still many people alive who had witnessed the great depression and lived through WW2 in 1965, and who were not yet retired. The sense of values of most American differs from their fathers or grand fathers. Will it take another depression and/or another world war to change their life styles and thus their sense of values?
Because of time limitations I have not entered a new cryptogram here this month. The solution to September’s cryptogram will appear in next month’s newsletter if I can find time to solve it. Meanwhile it puzzles me why my cat insists on sitting on my shoulder when I type. I guess that I’ll never know why for sure. I’ll leave you with an unanswered puzzle that was posed by some comedian in the early TV days before the coax connected east with west and when performers had to sing their own commercials. The puzzle goes like this:-
What did Mark Antonomy say to Cleo Patrapuss when he passed her tent half past o’clock in the morning?
If you can solve that riddle then you probably might know why my cat acts like she does.
I have to rush to finish up this newsletter and get it to Jack Cottrell quickly. I forgot that the GARC board meeting,, where we fold, staple and stamp newsletters, meets tomorrow! The VE session will not be held until next Tuesday. Because this month started on a Wednesday, tomorrow is the second Wednesday. The VE session will not be canceled because there is already an applicant who wants to take an Extra Class exam. We have been running short of certified VEs and I had given applications to several hams at the picnic. I’ll have more applications available at the general meeting. Immediately after the picnic meeting, I attended an HRU2009 preparation meeting. Neil Heft, KC2KY, is the chairman, and I have become one of the committee members. I will be giving a presentation at HRU 2009. There is still time for members of the GARC to represent GARC at HRU 2009 or volunteer to give forum presentations. The next meeting of the HRU2009 planners will be on Wednesday, October 15 at Briarcliffe. It starts at 7:30 PM so it can be gotten to after the GARC general club meeting. There have been several interesting ideas suggested about how to get more NY-LI hams active on the air and motivated to visit the HRU. I’ll keep you informed in future newsletters.
73, w2ilp (I License People) …with the help of other VEs, a VEC and the FCC..
All the members of GARC (we hope!)
CQ de WA2LQO is published monthly by the Grumman Amateur Radio Club for its members and friends. Send articles and amateur equipment advertisements to: W2ILP. Articles may be sent by e-mail or postal mail. They can be in MS Word format or simply in plain text. Articles will only be edited when permission is granted by the author.
For insertion to the WA2LQO website, information may be sent to Pat Masterson.
Pat Masterson’s e-mail address:
Ed Gellender’s e-mail address:
Edward.Gellender@ngc.com or email@example.com
GARC VE EXAMS
We are continuing to proctor exams for all classes of ham licenses on the second Tuesday of each month, starting at 5:00 PM.
The present exams are:-
The Element 1 CW exam is no longer required.
Element 2: Technician
Element 3: General
Element 4: Amateur Extra Class
Please Note:- THE EXTRA CLASS Q & A WAS CHANGED AS OF JULY 1, 2008.
The fee for 2008 is $14.00 for all exams taken in one sitting.
Applicants for upgrades should bring their present license and a photocopy of it and know their FRN number.
New, first time applicants should be aware that their Social Security number will be required on their application form, unless they register with the FCC for an FRN.
All applicants should bring picture ID such as driver’s licenses.
Until further notice exams will be given at:
1055 Stewart Avenue
Room: Long Beach #5
Briarcliffe, Bethpage is located in a building that was formerly part of the Grumman complex.
All applicants should contact W2ILP to register, so as to confirm location. If no applicants apply, the exam session will be cancelled.
For any information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (631) 499-2214
Study material is available at the web sites of the ARRL
All VECs use the same Q &A pools.
Since the beginning of the VE program the GARC has provided opportunities to take the ham exams monthly, during all 12 months of every year.
Bob Wexelbaum, W2ILP and the GARC VE team.
W2DU inventor of the ferrite balun. and other subjects.
While rag chewing about HP, as I mentioned in the front page article, we were joined by Walter Maxwell, W2DU. He had some interesting facts to add about the early, as well as recent test, equipment, which he was familiar with and he still has some in his own lab. Walter is a technical adviser to the ARRL, whose expertise includes antennas and transmission lines. He has designed antennas for commercial broadcasting stations.
He remembered the General Radio Model 80 RF generator that I had used at Emerson Radio in Jersey City, NJ, at the government radio lab, as well as the Boonton Q meter. I used the same units that were then standard in radio labs everywhere. The HP equipment was becoming more popular however. I used an HP frequency counter; the old style with the columns of neon lamps, rather than the numeric nixies that were later used. When I worked for Collins-Rockwell there were still a few Boonton-Aircraft Radio Corp. units of test equipment and we also had some Tektronix analog oscilloscopes being used but almost all other equipment that was not made by Collins was HP equipment. I still have a photo of my HF transceiver test bench console at the Collins Service Center. Most of the rack mounted test equipment was made by HP.
W2AU remembered the histories of Boonton, Tektronix, and Dumont as well as HP. Putting it altogether would be interesting reading… although young hams of today might not be interested in what we used in the good old days or what the equipment that is commonly used today may have evolved from. Getting back to W2DU, he had worked for RCA, but his son, Rick Maxwell.W8KHK (his Dads original call) worked for HP for 25 years and was on its board of directors until Carly Fionia forced him out.. W2DU told how Fionia transformed HP from the family friendly company it had been. She sold 2 of the 3 airplanes that were available for everyone and kept a 3rd aircraft for her self. W2DU sold his HP stock as soon as she became CEO. There is something missing when companies get sold or merge and the original owners are no longer in charge. I think I saw similar changes when Collins was bought by Rockwell and Art Collins was forced to retire. Anyway W2DU established the home radio station for the Boy Scouts of America and among his other accomplishments are experimenting in his own lab and technical writing. He wrote articles in QEX …but why do I go on? Look him up in QRZ by his call sign and go to http://www.w2du.com to read his QEX articles and other antenna and transmission line engineering that he has accomplished.