Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Like the Geico Ad -- Everyone knows that (--but me)!

A Dinosaur amongst the Technologists!

While I try to keep current with the technology trends, regrettably I was born in the Dinosaur era of this hobby and it is hard to shake the past.
A connective story for you (meaning you have to connect the dots) and for this we go back to 1967 when after serving four years in the US Navy, I had my first real job. Should digress that while you would think at this time (Vietnam War) that here I was a degreed EE with his military service behind him that job offers would be a cinch! I applied at Collins Radio thinking my degree, having a ham ticket and military service out of the way would be a plus. Well it wasn't, as serving my country for four years was a handicap. Basically Collins said you have not done electrical engineering for four years and we can hire a new college graduate who has the most current skills AND we can pay him less! Thank you Collins!
When I applied at AT&T Long Lines --they couldn't wait to hire me and that was much different --the HR guy was an ex-Naval Officer like me. First day on the job and I was shown a "semi-company classified" movie about a new product. This was a hush hush movie  about a new product called "a cell phone". (That was 50 years ago!). The movie started out by saying "someday everyone will have a cell phone." I couldn't help but snicker a bit as the "cell phone" looked like a made over BC611 Walkie Talkie --yeah everyone!
Well some day is here. (Did you connect the dots?) While I had a cell phone when I worked as far back as the mid 1990's, it was bulky and the battery life sucked. Being in an executive position with one of the aerospace companies --had to have it with me at all times. Almost dropped in the toilet once! But todays' cell phones are small, light weight and have great battery life. I have had personal cell service for about the last 13 years so I am a bit late in coming to the party.
But wait to call them a cell phone is a misnomer. I have a moderately priced Samsung mobile device that is a cell phone, an mp3 player, a streaming video device (Netflix, YouTube), a computer, word processor, email/text message device and a device chock full of applications. It has only been recently that I have been texting and even more recently added binge watching so I can watch Netflix movies and even TV programs from CBS. Using the CNN application (provider of Fake News as has been charged by one high ranking government official) I can keep track of what you know who, has just said as gospel but not quite true.
Then just today I discovered there are ham radio applications. Now all the dots can be connected. Some are more useful that others and there is even a rating as to their usefulness. I downloaded and installed one called "Ham Radio Tools". This one is useful as it contains tools for calculating the lengths of a dipole or vertical, an ERP calculator (have just convinced myself that my shack being under the beam is not a good idea to run 1500 Watts PEP on 20 Meters --that close), Ohms law Calculator, LC Resonance, and Grid Square locator . I tested several of the apps and they really work --and fast.
My XYL is not in the best of health so we spend a lot of time in doctor waiting rooms -- now with my mobile device I can evaluate/design circuits using my "cell phone" -- wow a lot has happened in the last 50 years. I am sure I will get a flood of comments that many of you have been doing this for years and even are operating you rigs at home from your phone while sitting in a Starbucks having a Latte. Bear with me --I am the dinosaur just catching up.
Pete N6QW

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