everyone’s a critic: f ’em if they cant take a joke

I grew up in the NY-NJ-CT tri state area, where there were tons of critics. This was back in the day when it was all in your face – which compared to today, with social media as the worst form of platform for critcism, was refreshing, and almost always kind of funny. In fact, when you are very young in NJ – you are introduced to the phrase “f ’em if they cant take a joke”. Alternatives are “You talkin’ to me?” and “Ya Mutha” . . .

So yeah, being criticized is in my blood.

The weirdest thing that happened last year – and seems to be continuing this year – is right in the obvious face of doing something totally kick ass – I was criticized for other things. The feeling is “I can’t get any respect”, but what has given me the greatest comfort is this simple phrase that I taught my kids when I coached soccer:

“Do your best – that’s all you can do – and it will all work out some way and some how”.

The best thing about becoming a mature person (I’m a late bloomer – hahahahaha) is that I’m taking my own advice – and you know what:

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and darn it – people like me” . . .

Hickok 533A Tube Tester

The Hickok 533A Tube Tester

Hickok Manual that included a CD with and an RCA manual of every tube they made!

Now I can pretty much take care of any problem with the Collins and National tube gear. Since all of the rigs were recapped and re-tuned, only tubes would be the issue at least as long as my time with them will be.

I’ve Been in IT 38 Years!

This photo was taken just before – when my fathers friend convinced me to go into software – not become an EE – 1974 or 1975

I listened to my fathers friend – Joe Secundo – who drove a Fiat X1/9, so I paid attention – he was just so cool! Teenager’s paid attention to guys with cool cars . . .

I’m still competitive in the IT field all these years later – but how long can I keep this up?

I can yell one thing from the mountain tops – I started out at County College of Morris and then transferred to University of Pennsylvania at Lock Haven. Total cost = $5,800.00. I am not kidding. Try to match that with your fancy $250,000 BS degree. And yes – I was the 127th employee at Oracle – before they went public. Think about that for a while. ROI – yep.

I have competed for the best jobs from people literally all over the world and from the best schools and with the best pedigrees – and yeah – they have all ended up here in the SF Bay Area. I kicked everyone’s ass (back in the day). Cal – hello next door neighbor! Stanford (Junior University), MIT – pshaw, Harvard – bring it, Carnegie Mellon – sure – I like Mellon – with Prosciutto . . . .  I got stories these pikers can only dream of (hahahahahah)

I still love my career and will forge ahead – but some days I do think about “whats next”, and I mean “post IT career”.

Collins 75A-4 1955 QST Review

If you are an ARRL member, you can download the April 1955 QST magazine article that reviews the Collins 75A-4 receiver. It is a fairly short but good article written by George Grammar. Its is understated in comparison to today’s hype and hyperbole that permeates all communication these days.

The biggest take away is the fact that the Collins Mechnical Filters and Passband tuning features were more than just an evolution of the receiver – perhaps a “revolution” (hype and hyperbole intended).

Old Soul Radio Show

W.B. Walkers Old Soul Radio Show – Podcast


Two of my favorite rock bands are R.E.M and Uncle Tupelo – with Uncle Tupelo being a bit more “Cow Punk” in some cases and “Americana”. This modern podcast is quite interesting.

W.B. Walker’s Old Soul Radio show

I really like this fellows podcast – where he talks and reminds me of the old radio station scene’s from “Brother Where Art Thou”, but then he plays modern Americana bands. Its a pretty cool approach and fresh take on “old” and “new”.

uRAT Redux?

The Collins 180-S1 Antenna Coupler

I received an eBay $50 coupon – so I applied it to purchasing this antenna coupler – for less than $300, which is a great deal. One – in collectors condition is selling for $800 – and another for $500 – believe it or not. My use is the farthest from a collectors use.

Because it uses a vacuum variable capacitor, I expect it can handle higher voltages than a regular air variable capacitor – and I also know that this tuner can be configured for Pi or L – which means it can be used for a vertical or a loop antenna – both of these I do plan on experimenting with more.

The Bruce Array – one of my favorite wire antennas

What is excellent – I can get back to trying to get my “Holy Grail” antenna to compete with the phased vertical array on 40M – which is some kind of loop – and with a remote tuner that can handle 1000 watts easily – for the KWS-1. This remote tuner will fit in my weatherproof box – and I can also work on that Stepper Motor circuit – maybe with just a simple rotary encoder – the Elecraft KPOD was overkill – although it was pretty cool as far as a concept is concerned.

Hollow State

Eimac 4X250B – beautiful little tubes . . . 

The restoration of my KWS-1 will begin this weekend. I expect it to be a good 2 weeks at least before it is done. While I am waiting – I will restore the power supply – which is the easy part.

I might invest in a tube tester – there are some nice one’s under $100 – and plenty on the market. One thing that is really nice about these Collins rigs is that they have enough space inside to do work. Making sure the tubes are good and replacing the capacitors is 95% of the work – and so it is something I can handle. The 75A-4 and KWS-1 – require more work – above my experience, and the alignment requires test equipment and experience beyond my pay grade.