My Past Catches Up With Me ... (Part 1)

About two months back, a friend of mine was telling me that he was planning to move his family into his mother-in-law’s house. No jokes, here, just practicalities. Her husband had died a couple of years back, their house was large, and my friend would be closer to work, church, and friends. Everyone wins.
Except, he continued, that there was a lot of junk in the house – his father-in-law seemed to keep a lot of stuff around. To keep the conversation going, I was curious: what kind of “stuff?” He said there were lots of electronics and radio gear. Hmmm. I used to know something about electronics and radio.
Back when I was 13, I got my first amateur radio license. The entry level was the Novice class and that was what I got.
In high school, I took a couple of years of electronics but migrated to Information Systems. My amateur privileges lapsed. In college, I was involved with the school radio station both in production and technical support. One summer I worked for a Christian radio station near Fairbanks, Alaska – KJNP. The station was AM, FM, and TV production at the time – I worked in all of it. A couple that I knew from high school days were there and he was the chief engineer. While I worked as an announcer and other things, he had me doing minor technical things around the station. After a couple of weeks, he threw a self-study course for getting a broadcast engineering license (2nd Class radio-something-or-other) which I studied on breaks and such. My friend and I would discuss the material and he would have him help him with increasingly more interesting tasks around the station. A while later, he said he wanted me to sit for the actual exam – well, I went from casual to clever quickly. Sat for the exam and missed passing by two questions. Still, not bad for not much more than a lark.
I came back, retook the Novice exam again but got married, started a career, and just never could make radio happen.
All of this to say that I have a small background in “electronics and radio stuff.” I offered to come by and see if I could help them determine what was good and what was really junk. My friend was happy to have me come – no one in his circle understood anything about what they had at the house.

The day finally came when we could get our schedules to synch. (To be continued…)

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