Hobby to Career

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At 12 started building Crystal Radio Sets with kits from the local Ham Shop in Edinburgh and used money from a paper round to pay for them.  Then in my second year at High School the Science Teacher lent me a copy of the Mullard Transistor Book and it had 12 different circuits and each of those took longer to buy and build. So built each circuit and checked-out the theory for each circuit.

Audio amplifier, Audio pre-amplifier, RC oscillator, Power circuit changing mains to + and - 12V, Power regulator to clean the noise from the power circuit, etc.

Before leaving school at 15 applied for a 5 year electronic apprenticeship with Ferranti Ltd and against 600+ other candidates was one of ten to be offered a place. Spent the first year learning machine shop practices and made my own tool set. 2nd to 5th year worked on assembling Radar sub-systems, test and installation in Fighter Jets at Edinburgh Airport.  For the next project worked on a Star Recognition Computer System and after that on Industrial Laser Systems. Ending up assembling Auto-pilot sub-systems, test and installation in Fighter Jets at Edinburgh Airport and went up and down the Highlands of Scotland on test flights.

On leaving at 21 gained my first job at SGS Fairchild as line trouble shooter on the Special Products Line, this covered power switching diodes, digital power amplifiers, gate arrays and RF power amplifiers. Then the industry started to sink and my boss advised me to leave. So moved to Hewlett Packard and found a lot of ex-Ferranti people there.

Started to put my Radar know-how to work on the Microwave Link Analyser that the board of Ferranti thought had no market and HP have made over a million and they are still selling them. Then left HP and moved to London and did a software course with CDC and after that became a Test Engineer at Burroughs Machines testing Analogue and Digital cards for Automated Teller Machines (hole in the walls). On being made redundant became a sub-contractor and never looked back.

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