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Kirt's Cogitations™ #331

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Dr. Dave Leeson "contesting" at HC8N antenna on the Galápagos Islands - RF Cafe

Dr. Dave Leeson "contesting" at HC8N antenna on the Galápagos Islands

Dr. Dave Leeson installing an HC8N antenna on the Galápagos Islands - RF Cafe

Dr. Dave Leeson installing an HC8N antenna on the Galápagos Islands.

If you have not yet discovered the Engineering and Technology History Wiki (ETHW) website, now would be a good time to surf on over and take a look at the vast resources there - particularly the "Oral-History" series of in-person interviews of our field's top scientists and engineers. Among them are Dr. Harold Beverage (of Beverage antenna fame), Dr. Ulrich L. Rohde (N1UL, Synergy Microwave founder, R&S co-founder), Harold S. Black (negative feedback amplifier inventor), Harold A. Wheeler (AGC & electrically small antenna inventor), Dr. Irwin Jacobs and Dr. Andrew Viterbi (Qualcomm co-founders), and of particular significance to me (see below), Dr. David B. Leeson (W6NL), founder of California Microwave and Ham radio contesting champion. Many of the oral interviews were conducted in the pre-Internet era and some of the people are no longer with us.

According to their About Us page: "The Engineering and Technology History Wiki (ETHW) is a website powered by MediaWiki with thousands of articles, first hand accounts, oral histories, milestones, archival documents and lesson plans pertaining to the history of technology. The ETHW is one of the world's premier sites for the documentation, analysis, and explanation of the history of technology; the scientists, engineers and business people who made these technologies happen; and on the history of the organizations to which these men and women belonged."

Equally important: "The ETHW is not a 'how-does-technology-work' site. The scope of the ETHW is historical; instead of focusing on the inner workings of technology, it aims to explain how the technology was developed, who were the major players involved, and what long term significance the technologies have. The ETHW is not only an encyclopedia of the history of technology, but it also contains a full range of materials that relate to the legacy of engineering, including personal accounts, documents, and multimedia objects. In that sense, it is a combination reference guide, blog, virtual archive, and on-line community. "

Dr. David (Dave) B. Leeson, W6NL

A Few California Microwave Items Currently Listed on eBay.

California Microwave 5-Year Employee Pin (eBay) - RF Cafe

California Microwave 5-Year Employee Pin

California Microwave PE84P-129(-) Oscillator (eBay) - RF Cafe

California Microwave PE84P-129(-) Oscillator

California Microwave TR43-CW52 Waveguide - RF Cafe

California Microwave TR43-CW52 Waveguide

A few days ago, I had the honor of being contacted Dr. Leeson as part of his search for information he wants for some work he is doing. His name is familiar to amateur radio contesters who participate in DX (long distance) events. Most Hams do their part from home-based "shacks" while others join in during Hamfest gatherings. Some adventuresome and hardy souls set up temporary (and sometimes fixed) stations in remote locations around the world in order to provide rare and exotic contact opportunities, where coveted QSL cards can be collected. Dr. Leeson's group (HC8N) set up in the Galápagos Islands (of Darwin fame, note Beverage antennas - see Dr. Harold Beverage above), and went on to win more than forty world DXing trophies. Dr. Leeson is the founder of California Microwave, which was eventually bought by Northrop Grumman. There is nothing I can add to the mountains of information available about Dr. Leeson and his accomplishments, so instead I posts some links to his 70+ decades of technical pursuits (see below). His "Oral-History" interview with ETHW is a must-read to get a feel for the good nature and sense of humor that even a genius-level thinker and high-achiever type person can possess.

Your Help Requested in helping Dr. Leeson locate sources for two items. Please contact him or me if you can assist.

  • An editorial in a late 1940s or early 1950s science-fiction magazine titled "Will We Fly to the Stars?"
  • An article from the 1960s called something like "The Craft of Microwaves," written by someone at Stanford Research Institute

Here are just a few items regarding Dr. Leeson and/or California Microwave:



Posted August 11, 2021

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