44.07685 North (44° 4' 36.66" North)
70.26235 West (70° 15' 44.46" West)
geomagnetic declination 15.18° West
elevation 237 feet (72 meters)
maidenhead grid square FN44ub 88MK
Paul N. Leonard
Auburn, ME 04210
Welcome to my spot on the Internet. My extensive background in mathematics, electronics, and software development provides many avenues for keeping busy and having fun. Being a California native transplanted to Maine is an experience all in itself. The two places are worlds apart, but each has their own charms and challenges.
The website URL is my amateur radio call sign. A great hobby and service, it allows exercising my talents as well as giving back to my community. My wife, Deb, is also an amateur radio operator, KB1DEB, and we both enjoy the emergency services aspect of it. She also enjoys the contesting and is planning to upgrade her license so she is able to do more of that.
I have always been interested in Amateur Radio. Much of that is due to having always been around it since my father was an Amateur Radio Operator and so was my Grandfather. Tinkering with electronics is where I began since there has always been stuff around the house to take apart and try to put back together.
Both educational and occupational paths included heavy electronic involvement. These were the days of calculators costing several hundred dollars so slide rules were still in use, but on their way out. There were no microcontrollers, and just a few kilobytes of memory cost hundreds of dollars. Hard disk? Forget about it! Floppy drives were 8" in diameter and we were happy with that!
In the 70's there were plenty of things to be built, almost everything was discrete, i.e. transistors and ICs soldered on through hole PC boards made at home. Things began to change and become more integrated, devices became surface mounted, and hobbyists had a difficult time. It's come back around and tools for homebrew surface mount projects and the wide spread use of small and inexpensive computers has made hobby electronics experience a resurgence.
My first programs were written on punch cards for a WANG computer in High School. The cards were put into "toaster" readers (there is nothing like the glow of neon). At the same time I was learning assembly for the 8080, 8085, and Z80 microprocessors. The 8080 based system was a development kit programmed through a Hexadecimal keypad. The low level stuff was much more fun, still is.
Progressed through BASIC, APL, Fortran IV, using everything from paper tape, cassette, and punch cards to store the programs and data.
My first personal computer, an Osborne I, tan case, with an Epson MX-80 printer. Z80 based, 64K RAM, Dual 5.25" floppies and a 300 BAUD Modem. Great way to practice assembly programming under CP/M. At work I was exposed to various versions of UNIX but interacted mostly with SCO Xenix. This is where my experience in C started.
From there, the integration of hardware and software continued mostly blurring the distinction of development for me. It is still hard to envision developing just electronics or just software, since there is so much to be gained by integrating the two. Software development is the key to success, not the coding. Coding is just language, but developing software is a process, an important process.
Amateur Radio ties it all together. Knowledge of electronics and software are key to getting the most out of any system and being able to properly operate the many components of a modern HAM shack. Satellite, data, voice, and television communications are all things that can be accomplished with Amateur Radio. Beyond the technical aspects of the hobby are the communication aspects of it. Passing messages reliably over whatever medium is available requires perseverance and adherence to standards and procedures.
I've been the Emergency Coordinator for the City of Santa Clara, California and had been the Emergency Coordinator for Androscoggin County in Maine. I recently stepped down to allow myself time for other endeavors but continue to be actively involved.
From my vantage point, everything comes down to math. When you can quantify something and express it as a formula, then you know a lot about it. This is true in electronics, software, and just about everything one encounters.
Each of these areas are present here and will contain projects, ideas, and some soap-boxing. Drop me a line if there is something you want to see explored or explored further.