***Editor’s Note: We’re starting new weekly section called “I Became An Engineer” that will run every friday. To share you story email firstname.lastname@example.org***
This week’s story comes to us from ECN reader James Boyd:
I am a broadcast engineer.
When I was 9 or 10 years old, my dad gave me a car radio. I took it apart and was fascinated by the vibrator in it (this should cause the young people reading this to go running for google or Wikipedia).
In very general terms, the vibrator is what converted DC to the several hundred volts that was necessary for the vacuum tubes in the receiver. I took it all apart to see what it was made of.
To tell you the truth, I didn’t learn too much then.
Actually the story of my career began when I was about five years. My Mother’s brother, my Uncle Chet, was chief engineer, part owner and built a station in Central Oregon that went on the air in 1949. My parents went there in 1950 or 1951 to see his handiwork. I went along.
The memory of that place is forever burned into my brain. I actually do some contract work at the station today…about 65 years later!! This uncle, another one of my Mother’s brothers and one of my older cousins who worked at Tektronix recognized my interests and fed my curiosity everyway they could, bringing me books, parts and even an old Tek 512 oscilloscope.
Later, when I was 13 years old my father read about a class being offered for ham radio licenses. He enrolled me and I was off and running. I worked for, took the tests and received my ham radio license in 1960 (call sign K7MKN…which I still hold today). From there on it was a forgone conclusion that I would work in electronics and more specifically in broadcast. I got my first job in radio in January of 1965. I was a disc jockey and helped the chief engineer when I could. I had stars in my eyes too, wanting to be a boss jock, but the engineering side was my calling and I got off the air as soon as I could and concentrated on that career. It has been a terrific career and I’m not finished with it yet. I only wish more young people could recognize how much fun and how much of a challenge broadcast engineering is as a career.
Read the other stories, here:
A Note From The Editor: An Engineer’s Story
I Became An Engineer: Because Of A Lunch Box
I Became An Engineer: Because of Christmas Lights
I Became An Engineer: Because Of The Cool Jackets
I Became An Engineer: Because My Dad Said Not To
I Became An Engineer: Despite Being Bad At Math