[time-nuts] Downsizing dilemma, HP 3335A

Bill Byrom time at radio.sent.com
Sat Nov 14 16:15:44 EST 2015

I started at Tektronix as a field Application Engineer in 1987 and 28
years later I am still in that job position. I was not required to work
in production, but in field sales we are working directly with engineers
and technicians in their labs measuring signals on their boards, so we
are very close to the hardware. In some of my customer development labs
the technicians do all of the soldering and nearly all of the actual
measurements using test equipment. Of course, in some small companies
the engineer does everything from soldering to hardware design to
software design.

I worked for a small company for 5 years then owned my own company for
5 years after college and had plenty of experience with circuit design
and component level service and calibration. This experience is not as
widely needed now as it was several decades ago. For example, my Yaesu
FT-857D is a lot more reliable than my Heathkit SB-301/SB-401 pair, and
my iPad 3rd gen is much more reliable than my Z-89 computer was 35
years ago.

I see no problem with university EE students using Arduino or Raspberry
Pi modules rather than laying out a board and soldering components. When
I was in EE school back in the 70's we were using IC's rather than the
discrete transistors used a decade before or vacuum tubes a decade
before that.

Our local ham group gives Boy Scout Radio and Electronics Merit Badge
classes several times a year at the National Scouting Museum in the
Dallas area. The kids get to use a soldering iron and build this kit:
http://www.electronicsmb.com/kit_details.html We have several new hams
from these classes. Learning how radios, computers, and antennas work at
all levels gives kids an incredible amount of confidence, and helps them
prepare for future careers and hobbies.

I know university students who build complex payloads for balloon
launches and they are familiar with all levels of technology, from
mechanical design and soldering up to embedded software development.
They are hams, and Amateur Radio and the maker movement are helping keep
practical electronic and mechanical skills active.

Bill Byrom N5BB
On Wed, Nov 11, 2015, at 08:34 PM, Pete Lancashire wrote:
> Tektronix (long before being a division of Danaher) up to at least the
> mid
> 70's would require an EE to
> work in production. I understand some HP divisions did the same. All that
> started to change when
> 'software' engineers were showing up.
> On Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 5:56 PM, KA2WEU--- via time-nuts
> <time-nuts at febo.com
>> wrote:
>> I know Zoya for many years, this ham business is a good idea.Give her my
>> best regards , Ulrich
>> In a message dated 11/11/2015 7:00:42 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
>> rob at nc0b.com writes:
>> The EE  department at the University of Colorado has an enlightened
>> professor.
>> http://ecee.colorado.edu/faculty/popovic.html
>> Zoya required her  students to not only get a ham license, but to build a
>> Norcal 40A.
>> http://ecee.colorado.edu/~ecen2420/Files/NorCal40A_Manual.pdf
>> Most  of the EE students had no idea what a resistor really was, let alone
>> have any  experience in soldering a resistor or capacitor on a PC board.
>> One
>> student  stuffed the PC board, bent all the leads 90 degrees without
>> cutting any of  them off, and then in effect flow soldered the whole
>> bottom of the
>> PC  board!
>> One wonders how EE grads today can actually get a job and be  productive
>> with so little hands-on experience.
>> Zoya belongs to the  Boulder (Colorado) Amateur Radio Club, and our monthly
>> meetings are in the EE  department. It is too bad this is likely an unusual
>> example of what happens on  campuses today.
>> Rob
>> NC0B

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