of statements uttered verbally and/or in print is uncountable. Some are more noteworthy
than others either because of sheer brilliance, good humor, or utter inanity. We
all hope our own remembered words, if any, fall into one of the first two categories
rather than the third. I do a lot of reading and find many notable quotes to use
that fit the theme of RF Cafe; they fall into all three categories. I always try
to verify quotes from original sources or at least from printed books like
The Experts Speak, of which I own a hard copy. Enjoy.
Notable Tech Quote Archive
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"It was made clear that I was not to touch
this sacred totem, especially the threaded rods..." - Steve Ford, WB8IMY, in an
article entitled, "Duplexers & Diplexers," in the October 2019 issue of QST
magazine. That statement was made in regard to a cavity-tuned duplexer that
was part of a Ham radio repeater installation. Mr. Ford, a monthly columnist,
discusses the difference between a duplexer and a diplexer. A pull quote from the
piece is, "If you're about to pay less than $100 for the device in question, it
is a diplexer. If the price tag has four digits to the left of the decimal, it is
a duplexer." Do you agree with that generalization? Unfortunately, the ARRL does
not make the magazine articles available to non-subscribers.
September 20, 2019
"The world would be improved if cellphone sterilized their users." - Anon
"Reliance on satellite navigation and timing
systems has become a single point of failure for much of America and is our largest,
unaddressed critical infrastructure problem." -
Dr. Brad Parkinson, aka "The Father of GPS." According to
the Wikipedia entry, "Bradford Parkinson is an American engineer and inventor, retired
United States Air Force colonel and recalled emeritus professor at Stanford University.
He is best known as the lead architect, advocate and developer, with early contributions
from Ivan Getting and Roger Easton, of the Air Force NAVSTAR program, better known
as Global Positioning System (GPS)."
July 25, 2019
"That's one small step for [a] man, one giant
leap for mankind." -
Neil Armstrong, from the moon on July 20, 1969. Armstrong
says he did utter the word "a," and that the scratchy radio transmission masked
it. Having been a huge fan (short for "fanatic") of the space program and builder
/ launcher of model rockets, I was sure to watch the momentous event on TV as it
was broadcast live from the moon on a Sunday evening at 10:56 PM EDT, a month before
turning 11 years old. The
model rocket company issued certificates to rocketeers who launched any model during
the flight time of Apollo 11; of course I got mine with an
July 18, 2019
"It's an interesting place to be. I recommend
it." – Neil Armstrong re having visited the moon. That remark came during
a CBS 60 Minutes interview in November 2005. We are approaching the
50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission, and yes, America was great
for having achieved it. You might also interested in knowing that Neil Armstrong
was an aeronautical engineering graduate of Purdue University, ostensibly the alluded-to
"Parvoo University" that teenage electronics sleuths and Ham radio
aficionados Carl & Jerry attended.
July 11, 2019
As we approach the 50th anniversary of the
Apollo 11 moon landing, many magazines are publishing articles about the event
and the background leading up to it. I have tagged a couple notable quotes from
astronauts involved that will be posted over the next month or so. The June issue
of Discover magazine included this one as delivered by
Neil Armstrong to the National Press Club: "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks,
pocket-protector, nerdy engineer, born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped
in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams. ... Science is about what
is. Engineering is about what can be." Amen, bro.
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." -
Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun,
chief designer of the
V−2 rocket that terrorized London in the 1940s and chief
architect of the
Saturn V rocket that launched the first men to the moon in the 1960s, is
quoted as saying, "The best computer is a man, and it's the only one that can be
mass-produced by unskilled labor." von Braun was one of many German scientists
conscripted to do the
National Socialist German Workers Party (aka Nazi) regime's bidding
during World War II - formally an Schutzstaffel (aka
He and his research team
surrendered to the Americans in 1945 after escaping to Austria
when the end of the Third Reich was imminent. His willingness to be part of the
Nazi German war effort is fuzzy; therefore, I have a hard time fully appreciating
his significant contributions to the U.S. space program. Reportedly, von Braun
experienced a genuine
Christian religious conversion that changed his life.
Notable Quote by Albert Bandura on
"People with high assurance in their capabilities
approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to
be avoided." -
Albert Bandura, psychologist specializing in self-efficacy and
observational learning. For the record, I rarely find anything quotable from psychologists,
but I found this one recommended by "Aviation Through Aviation" editor Bill Pritchett,
of the Academy of Model Aviation's
Model Aviation magazine ...
The unofficial RF Cafe grammar checker is
a retired electrical engineer / ham radio operator. While discussing
filters lately, he wrote this: "Sometimes filters just aren't
worth the hassle, for instance many moons ago I acquired a 1,000 foot reel of wire
that I used to make a 1,000 foot long wire antenna for a crystal radio, but unfortunately
there was a 50 kW 'blowtorch' of a station nearby and I couldn't realistically
filter it out and any filtering I did try would just add loss, but I knew the station
went off the air for 'regularly scheduled maintenance' so I just waited until they
were off the air and the band was wide open! If you want to pick nits, I guess you
could say that I filtered that station in the time domain instead of the frequency
domain." Brilliant ...
"If whatever signal remains has reached anyone,
it clearly hasn't inspired a reply." - Jill Tarter, SETI, regarding, 'We joke that
the first message extraterrestrials will pick up is I Love Lucy; it was among the
first big broadcasts. But Lucy's light-speed antics are pretty garbled by now."
Spring 2018 issue of
Popular Science magazine.
"Forecasts are mostly just guessing plus
math" - Dilbert,
12/1/2017. It was part of a dialog with the Pointy-Haired Boss who compelled Dilbert
to prepare a financial report for him ...
"Ideas alone have little worth. The value
of an invention lies in its practical implementation." -
Werner von Siemens, 1865. The unit of electrical conductance is
named after him.
"Buy the best and cry only once" (BTBCOO) means that a customer cries once at the high price, but
doesn't cry again (because the higher price meant greater quality). It is not clear
what retailer originated or popularized the saying. "Buy quality and cry once— buy
cheap and cry forever" has been cited in print since 1922. - Anon, from
The Big Apple.
"I don't know the last time you purchased
some new coax, but it's sold by the foot and can cost an arm and a leg!" - H. Ward
Silver, QST magazine, October 2017,
Hands-on- Radio (p71).
"I would like to die on Mars... just not
on impact." - Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, during 2013 South by Southwest (SXSW) interview.
Begins at 44:15 in video ...
"Light is strange, but you can get used to
it." - Robert Lanza & Bob Berman in
Beyond Biocentrism. The book discusses some of the stranger
aspects of quantum physics including the dual particle and wave nature of light,
and the "spooky action at a distance" of entanglement. The biocentrism theme is
weird, but there is a good review of quantum theory ...
"There, his new specimens joined his collection
and waited patiently as only rocks can until he could
find time to analyze them." - Kat McGowan, "Where Did
It Begin?" September / October 2017 Popular Science (p41).
"Chasing the perfect battery is a fool's journey:
a catchpenny, a sensation, a mechanism for swindling the public by stock companies,"
wrote Thomas Edison in 1883. "Working on the latest, greatest battery
brings out a man's 'latent capacity for lying." July / August 2017 Discover magazine ...
"You wouldn't dip a glass in the ocean, come
up with no fish inside and conclude, 'No fish exist.'" - astronomer
Tarter regarding where humans are with SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence).
July / August 2017 Discover magazine ...
"I pass with relief from the tossing sea of
Cause and Theory to the firm ground of Result and Fact." - Winston L. Spencer Churchill,
The Story of the Malakand Field Force - An Episode of Frontier War,
p60. Other Notable Tech Quotes ...
"Its catalog was the
Boys' Life of electronics." - Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, CEO of
ARRL, regarding the second bankruptcy filing for Radio Shack (May 2017 QST, p81) ...
"There is a way to tell who is used to working
on transistor equipment from those used to working on tube equipment. Before those
used to working on tube equipment touch their equipment, they put one hand in their
pocket to avoid electrocution. Before those used to working on low-voltage equipment
begin to work, they put one hand on the chassis to avoid damage from electrostatic
discharge." - Walter Underwood, K6WRU, as reported
by Joel Hallas in his "The Doctor Is In" column in the May 2017 issue of QST
"...timeframes are the enemy, they'l figure
out if you're behind schedule if you are too specific." - Jamie Davies, in a telecoms.com
article titled "Euro 5G Consortium Releases Roadmap with No Direction." Thanks
to RF Cafe visitor Bob Davis for the tip