You may have noticed this placard over my shack bench
desk. I didn’t have this made for me, I inherited it. It was my mom’s placard, traveling with her throughout her various offices at Amdahl/Fujitsu.
Mom had a long relationship with telecommunications throughout her life. My earliest memories of my mom working were of her plugging the switchboards at an answering service. She made a second career for herself as a bookkeeper for many years but returned to switchboard communications where she stayed the rest of her life. She was a very talented communications operator and supervisor.
I didn’t spend huge amounts of time at the answering service growing up, but I was there enough to learn about tip & ring, how switchboards worked, the old cord-boards, and what the miles of wire behind them were for. I was lucky I suppose, there was a phone company technician swinging lines fairly often while I was there. In some small way I think that experience influenced my desire to go work for the phone company, which I did for a short time.
Looking at mom’s placard this morning I got a little nostalgic and started thinking about how I have been involved in communications, at least peripherally, as long as I can remember. In some way it seems as though I inherited more than just the placard. Communications seems to run through our veins.
As it turns out mom wasn’t the only family member in communications. My grandfather Robert was in communications while in the Navy during WWII. My great-uncle Allan was a signalman in the Navy as well during the war (WWII.) Allan also worked for a military aviation contractor working with navigation and avionics equipment after his hitch ended. These two related fields seem to be hereditary in my family. Robert had some connection to aviation as well, but the details are sketchy.
I never met my grandfather or spent any time with my great-uncle when he was alive. I found out about their experiences with communications and aviation while doing genealogy work after my mom passed in 2006. Like so many other vets, they didn’t talk about these experiences with their families.
Radio and aviation have always been comfortable places for me. I feel good doing these things. Even when I am frustrated or stumped, I can always figure things out and learn new skills. There are vast communities to get involved with for both, but they also provide space for solitary practitioners looking for some alone time. Both fields also seem to interact easily and many skill sets translate from one to the other well. Both also are very broad in scope, they have many sub-sets of interest to keep an interested party busy with a seemingly infinite variety of new things to learn and do. I am very grateful to be a part of both fields and I look forward to years of continued participation and sharing in both of these communities.
☮ ♥ ✈ & 73,
~FlyBoyJon / KK6GXG