Design007 Magazine

PCBD-Jan2016

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50 The PCB Design Magazine • January 2016 also be my first foray into the world of circuit board fabrication, manufacture, DFM, quality control, and component engineering…but I'm getting ahead of myself here. We've all seen mile markers alongside the road as we travel, but did you know that other than supplying a needed number or letter for the alphabet game to bored children in cars, that those little green markers actually have a real history to them? They originated in the Ro- man Empire, where they were originally stone obelisks made from granite, marble or other lo- cal stones. Since travel in those days was often no more than a few miles per day, having those milestones along the side of the road became an important method to measure the journey that you were on. For us today the milestone is still a good way to chart our journey. When I created my circuit "board," I had no idea at the time that decades later I would begin a career as an actual circuit board designer. Laying out and connecting cir- cuits as I had would eventually become a com- mon everyday activity, albeit with a little more complexity involved. Without realizing it I had erected a mile- stone in my life. Not a turning point, but a marker that I can look back on to see the road that I have traveled in my career. But as I look in the rear-view mirror of my life, that first lay- out certainly isn't the only milestone that has marked my journey. November 22 was my dad's birthday, and al- though he has been gone now for many years, my dad left a good many milestones in my life. Dad was an electrician's apprentice when he was young, and his stories about those days cer- tainly created in me a great interest in the world of electronics. But one of the great milestones that I got from my dad was his love of creating something out of nothing. Growing up during the Depres- sion, he learned to scrounge and be creative in order to get the job done. My brother and I would hang on his every word as he told stories of the different projects that he had worked on. Everything from a (non-flying) airplane that was kludged together from parts from the junk yard (and there was a story there, too, about how the engine and propeller shook apart and the resulting shrapnel forced everyone to scatter for cover), to how he engineered a hose setup to go from the exhaust of their Model T down into the ground to smoke the gophers out. That same spirit showed me that if you need some- thing done, you can probably figure out a way to accomplish it with a little imagination and hard work. Dad also was a ham radio operator before and after WWII, and then went on to work at different radio stations and eventually became a television technician at KOIN TV in Portland, Oregon. The stories that he told about the ear- ly days of broadcast were mesmerizing; some I didn't even know about until after he died and his friends spoke at his funeral. Along with his ham radio buddies, Dad would experiment with bouncing radio signals off the moon in those days. At the same time, he also used his radio skills in helping people to keep in touch with each other during Portland's Vanport flood of 1948. I also found out that he was considered one of the best in the business when it came to fine-tuning those original gigantic color TV studio cameras back in the 1960s. The amazing thing is that he did all of these things without finishing high school. We would often catch him at home going through books to get up to speed on the latest in electronics and broadcast technology. The fact that he ac- complished so much without finishing his for- mal education set a milestone of perseverance firmly in my mind. Several times I have gotten jobs that I wasn't the most qualified, educated, or experienced tim's takeaways A NEW YEAR AND A FEW MILESToNES " laying out and connecting circuits as i had would eventually become a common everyday activity, albeit with a little more complexity involved. "

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