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Thread: The Greatest Lesson I ever Learned....

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    Master Navigator KD8TUT's Avatar
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    The Greatest Lesson I ever Learned....

    Well, it's Christmas morning, and here's my traditional Christmas story documenting one of the deepest lessons I ever learned about life and technology. It's not gift wrapped, but it will have to do...

    From my earliest years I was always playing with technology. My dad was pretty much a genius and started me listening to shortwave around age 5. So- I always got into this stuff, always building, hacking, modifying.... being kind of a geek... That's me.

    So I'm about 11 or 12 years old and I had a Cobra 142GTL CB radio which had replaced a Hallicrafters CB3a- which I used to talk to friends and my dad while he was driving around. My dad had a 102 inch whip on the station wagon with the stereotypical tennis ball bumper in place.

    The then new 142GTL was highly modifiable- some of those mods were illegal. The ones I wanted were in fact legal. There was a receive modification that increased sensitivit and a repair to the preamp in my D104- both of which seemed critical to me.

    I was not qualified at this point to work on more than than rectifiers/power supplies. However I knew an "old guy" named Frank who was a design engineer for Clarion. He and I used to attend a "radio get together" held at a local restaurant. He was a ham, as many other attendees were.

    So a phone call was made to Frank, and an appointment made. I then coerced my mom into taking me to Frank's basement radio shop for the modification since the radio would not survive the trip on my bicycle.

    It was a summer day... hot.... green leaves turning over silver in the breeze. Can almost remember the smell- car exhaust and chlorophyll. Pratt avenue in Chicago... early August.

    We got into Franks basement. Frank sometimes treated me like a peer (I liked that) and he asked me to participate by opening the radio. So I opened it up and started pointing out components to my mother- who's eyes were glazed over looking catatonic.

    So I droned on... "this is the PLL chip".... "Here's the clarifier"..... "look here's the finals"...

    Of course, I did not really understand what the components did. Well a little... but I was just showing off- and arrogantly so.

    Then all of a sudden Frank blurts out: "Shutup... you sound like you know what you are talking about, but you don't, and I know it".

    Jesus I was humiliated. And my mother, who was a parent who enjoyed when I suffered, immediately liked Frank. I wasn't so sure anymore.

    But Frank was a very smart guy... he did the mod... then explained it to me.... then we left. Mom was in a good mood the rest of the day.

    But the lesson: be sure you know what you know before talking. This was a huge influence on me.

    Later in life I attended a conference at Northwestern University about fiber optics. We weren't hearing from vendors- we were watching a presentation by scientists about what was coming in 5 years- and I did not understand all of it. I remembered Frank while taking copious notes.

    A few days later I called the main scientist who had presented and asked him to lunch, with the understanding I wanted to pick his brain. He said sure.

    So there we sat at this Indian restaurant, talking for almost 4 hours, as he educated me far beyond the points I missed. And I kept my mouth shut.

    When we were finished- HE picked up the tab. We were friendly for many years after that and used to hang out. The information I learned from him gave me big wins professionally, and a friendship personally.

    Thanks Frank. I keep my mouth shut a lot. Except for today.

    Happy Holidays!!
    --
    Putting a Shatnerologist in a room full of ordinary people is like putting a velociraptor in a room full of wiener dogs.

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    "Island Bartender" KG4CGC's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing.
    RIP Albi
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    Master Navigator WZ7U's Avatar
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    That's awesome Michael. Excellent story! Wish I had a Frank a little earlier in my life.
    Yet another imperfect being created by THE perfect God - not the Huge White Asshole kind

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    Volcano Tamer PA5COR's Avatar
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    Good story, thanks for sharing some good news today ;)
    "If the Republicans will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop
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    Pope Carlo l K6BSO's Avatar
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    Good story, Mike, thanks.
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    Master Navigator KC2KFC's Avatar
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    That story reminds me of an old saying. "We have two ears and one mouth and they should be used in that proportion." Thank you for sharing the story.
    “Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts.”

    "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views." William F. Buckley Jr.

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    Volcano Tamer
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    I'm thankful I got that lesson at an early age as well. Awesome story to boot!
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    Volcano Tamer W3WN's Avatar
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    That is a great story, and I may just, ah, shanghai it for a future newsletter.
    You're only as young, or as old, as you feel.
    Who have you felt up lately?

    BAN THE DH!

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    Master Navigator KD8TUT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by W3WN View Post
    That is a great story, and I may just, ah, shanghai it for a future newsletter.
    On "other sites" I hesitate to tell this story because of the CB connection.

    Thanks for wanting to publish it. All I ask for is an in-tact byline.

    There's another article on my QRZ page called "The Ham you Never Knew" which you might like as well. It's an actual well written thing.
    Last edited by KD8TUT; 12-27-2016 at 02:38 PM.
    --
    Putting a Shatnerologist in a room full of ordinary people is like putting a velociraptor in a room full of wiener dogs.

  10. #10
    Volcano Tamer W3WN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KD8TUT View Post
    On "other sites" I hesitate to tell this story because of the CB connection.

    Thanks for wanting to publish it. All I ask for is an in-tact byline.

    There's another article on my QRZ page called "The Ham you Never Knew" which you might like as well. It's an actual well written thing.
    I'll look for it. Can't do it right now, I have a private little agreement with my boss to stay away from Over Yonder during working hours, except for lunch breaks.

    The CB connection doesn't bother me, especially when considered in context. Besides, you've earned your license now, and isn't that what's important?
    You're only as young, or as old, as you feel.
    Who have you felt up lately?

    BAN THE DH!

    Fudd's First Law of Opposition: If you push something hard enough, it WILL fall down.
    Teslacle's Deviant to Fudd's Law: It goes in, it must go out.

    Just remember: Abraham Lincoln didn't die in vain. He died in Washington, DC

    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

    The Borg are wrong.
    Resistance is
    NOT Futile.
    Resistance is Voltage divided by Current

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