In my 2nd grade classroom, where the teacher, Mrs. Jeffers, provided something besides the usual puzzles and games for spare-time play. There were wires, light bulbs in porcelain sockets, knife switches, motors, buzzers, tools...and #6 dry cell batteries. Several of the boys and I couldn't finish our work fast enough and would have gladly skipped recess to be able to wire up new contraptions that often didn't work, but fascinated us nonetheless....
My name is Bob (Robert) Nickels and by the time I'd moved into junior high, I'd graduated to a different kind of bulb - the vacuum tubes that made radio possible. I'll tell more of my story on the blog here, but suffice it to say I'm a lifelong radio and electronics nut and what started in Mrs. Jeffers classroom has provided me with endless challenges, opportunities, and a career in the electronics industry, (I am now retired from Honeywell), and have the time and ability to indulge myself in my hobby full-time. I've been a licensed amateur radio operator since age 15, hold an Amateur Extra class license (W9RAN) and have been active on many bands and modes over the years. But no matter where I've lived or what's been going on in my life, I've never lost the fascination with making things, fixing them when they don't work, and playing radio.
This site reflects my wide-ranging interests and perspectives, from historian to author, experimenter, and developer of my own products under my business and technology consulting umbrella, RAN Technology Inc. It will be an eclectic mix but I'll try to make it worth your time to hang around and see what's new, because I know I will run out of time long before I ever run out of projects and ideas that I want to pursue. And there comes a time when it's time to share the knowledge, experience, and toys that have been acquired with others.
I know many of us who enjoy restoring and repairing vintage gear look forward to winter when there is less competition for time and energy, and a chance to really make a dent in our "to be fixed" piles. A couple of years ago I set time aside for "Heathkit Singlebander Week" and went through every one of them I had, with the result that they're all working ... READ MORE
Leo Meyerson had been in the ham radio retail and manufacturing business for over 25 years, and by 1970 he was ready to retire. His son took over the WRL distribution and retail business but the Galaxy Electronics manufacturing operation was sold to his long-time friend Andy Andros WØLTE, founder and president of Hy Gain Electronics in nearby Lincoln NE. The CB radio eleme... READ MORE
Most of the articles on this site are about hams, or ham radio. This one is not about a ham but about a man who built as much a reputation through HF radio as any ham on top of the BPL ever did. Don Taylor is one of those rugged independent-minded people who thrive on a lifestyle most of us couldn't even imagine - as a trapper in Canada's Yukon wildernes... READ MORE
Most radio fans know the history of KDKA but maybe not "the rest of the story".In November 1920 the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company began operation of a radio broadcasting station, KDKA, in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, often described as the "Pioneer Broadcasting Station of the World." KDKA is generally considered to be the first commercially... READ MORE
The microwave network constructed by AT&T Long Lines and other telecommunications companies in the past 50 years were engineering masterpieces using state-of-the-art technologies and some were designed to withstand nuclear attack during that Cold War era. This is a non-hardened site on top of a mountain in upstate New York that existed long enough for graffiti taggers t... READ MORE
made by JAARS for Wycliffe Bible Translators
In 1917 a missionary named William Cameron Townsend went to Guatemala to sell Spanish Bibles. But he was shocked when many people couldn’t understand the books. They spoke Cakchiquel, a language without a Bible. He believed everyone should understand the Bible, so he started a linguistics school (the Summer Institute of Linguistics, known today as SIL) that trained people to do Bible ... READ MORE
the story of W9XAM
Visitors to the Elgin National Historic area along the Fox River in Elgin Illinois may not realize they are at the site of a famous shortwave radio station - W9XAM - the time signal station operated by the Elgin Watch Company.Elgin was the only watch company maintaining an observatory that observed, recorded and broadcasted time from the stars correct to the hundredths of a second. Located a... READ MORE
Made in England and scarce even there
The Mosley CM-1 receiver is quite well known and not especially hard to find in the US even though it was the only radio produced by the company that has been well-known for antennas since 1939. Or is it...?A full-page ad (advert for you on the other side of the pond) appeared in the RSGB Bulletin in 1963 for a nice looking and very capable SSB transmitter called the "Commando II&... READ MORE
Producing electricity from flowing water
I'm not ready to publish a description of exactly HOW it works, but 20 minutes effort with scissors and tape produced a prototype Droplet Energy Generator that allows me to say for sure that IT WORKS!I duplicated the design shown in this video. I wrapped a scrap of plastic in aluminum foil, then applied a strip of double-sided tape and to that attached a piece of PTFE thread-... READ MORE
KØVTD and KØULQ (SK)
When I was first licensed in the 1960s in Nebraska, two groups of hams were commonly heard on the air before those with jobs got off work - other teens like me and the disabled hams. Some of my earliest Novice ham buddies were blind students at the Nebraska School for the Blind in Nebraska City, and there were many other visually-impaired hams, all of whom were exceptional operators, e... READ MORE