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Capt. Raye Newmen, KS7Y

I have a life-long love for and interest in radio.

First I talked. As a ten-year-old I put together something called a “phono oscillator,” built a big (too big) power supply for it, and hooked to an antenna in the attic. I tuned it to a quiet frequency on the FM broadcast band, and went on the air with talk and music from a little tape recorder. What fun, as only such illegal fun can be for a ten-year-old boy. My uncle was able to tune me in just fine from six blocks away.

Then I listened. Just broadcasting was a “one way trip” that I fortunately tired of before being nabbed by the FCC. I wanted to listen. At twelve I as able to get this little Heathkit general coverage receiver. I was able to build it and discovered the wonders of short wave listening. It was a particular treat to listen in on hams “chewing the rag.” Interesting conversations indeed.

My life changed when I began commuting to an all-city Boy's Trade School to become an electrician. Then I raised my sites to become an electronics technician. We were all strongly encouraged to take the ACT test, even though few of us had any plans to attend college, including me. However, based on my results, I was admitted to the University of Wisconsin in the Applied Math and Engineering Physics Program. Awfully heady stuff for a kid like me.

University greatly expanded my horizons and kindled interests in literature, philosophy, and the humanities that were as strong as those in science and technology. I ended up in experimental psychology.

During the Vietnam War, I served in the Navy with the Naval Security Group in the Philippians and Vietnam. We used the legendary R-390A receivers and various crypto gear. At least I was still in radio. I also developed a love of the sea, boats, and ships, and continue to hold a 100 ton US Coast Guard Master License. I'm also a Coast Guard certified instructor. My wife Sandi (W7SLH) and I owned and operated an historic 90 ton north sea trawler.

After returning from Southeast Asia, I was a changed man. I no longer found the prospect of an academic life attractive. I wanted to do things that were very applied in the real world – transformative things. Just as I was about to leave for a Ph.D. program in psychology, a new, interdisciplinary program was created to transform cities into life-long learning environments. It was called Urban Education. I applied, was admitted, and began a program of research exploring ways to enhance the effectiveness of museums as public access educational environments.

I went on from there to the Smithsonian Institution as Manager of the Psychological Studies Program. My career continued in the area of human performance improvement and expert systems. I completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University, and developed advanced training systems for US Navy personnel. I also served as Director of Advanced Training Technologies for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as Director of Educational Technology for the American Institutes for Research and for SAIC. Unfortunately, my career progression took me away from ham radio, though my interest remained.

My love for, and interest in, museums has also continued. I discovered the SPARK Museum of Electrical Innovation in Bellingham, WA. Finding this wonderful institution that combines two of my strongest life-long interests, radio and museums, has been just great. I remain a volunteer at the SPARK Museum, a fantastic institution that I am proud to be associated with. That association rekindled my interest in ham radio, and prompted a move to my new QTH in Point Roberts. I can now set up a proper station and truly practice my hobby the way I always wanted to.

For me, Amateur radio is a hobby for those who love radio, and are interested in advancing radio technology, communicating around the world, contesting, and as a means of public service.

Since 1901, amateurs have made significant contributions to advancing the art and science of radio and made long distance short wave communication a reality, in spite of a firmly held scientific belief that it was impossible. This activity greatly expanded our understanding of atmospheric effects and radio wave propagation. Technical advances by amateurs continue today with the development of new digital modes of communication, earth – moon – earth transmissions, and amateur satellites.

The record of public service for radio amateurs is exemplary. Since the first cross country relay stations were established in 1912 to handle wireless message traffic, amateurs have constituted a communications system of last resort in times of emergency, as well as serving an important public safety role during special events. We have two amateur groups here in Whatcom County standing ready to assist emergency management agencies, hospitals, the Red Cross, and search and rescue efforts, whenever called upon. I am a member of the Point Roberts Auxiliary Communications Service, and the Red Cross, I've completed CERT training and I'm part of the Point Roberts Emergency Preparedness organization in my community.

The future of ham radio is of considerable interest and concern to me. I’m an ARRL VE and working to get more young people interested in radio and licensed.

7886226 Last modified: 2017-02-08 00:59:23, 6292 bytes

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