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I was interested in electronics early in life, known that the electronics industry was my life. By the ninth grade I was messing around with radios and TVs.

After high school graduation I attended Oregon Technical Institute as an electronics engineer. And I graduated as an Oregon Institute of Technology. Yep, went through the name change and re-imaging process.

The challenge with the higher education was that I worked to pay for the schooling. I fully supported my college life without any assistance from my parents or any kind of student loans. So, I worked for 6 months and went to school for 6 months. The problem with that philosophy was that I was not able to take some class, as a prerequisite, because it was not offered for that part of the school year. But the good side of that problem was that I took other classes not directly beneficial to my degree, but gained overall education that was beneficial once in the industry. In other words college to longer than I preferred, but was accomplished.

My first employment was with Hewlett Packard in Colorado Springs. This division was the company’s oscilloscope and function generator division. Hewlett Packard during the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s was the Cadillac of companies, great to work for. Also, HP did thing big back then. Roughly 2000 employees and 500,000 sq ft under roof. (It has doubled since then.) If you are not familiar to the electronics industry, these two product lines are the most basic and very widely use test equipment used throughout the industry. So … we had the contracts! Thus, lots of work!

Well, humans learn things that some time takes time to process. It was within the first 30 days of living in Colorado Springs that I knew that city and state was not going to be home. I tried many a time to get transferred to a west coast division but kept striking out. After four years I left the best company. And went from one extreme to the other extreme.

I landed a position with Exact Electronics, a small firm in Tillamook, Or. (Yep, the place of Tillamook Cheese.) The firm was a single building of 20,000 sq ft and 60 employees. We manufactured function generators, and where quite good at doing such. The product was sold every big-boy company through the nation! Literally, you name the company, we sold to them worldwide. There were more than 100 countries in the customer database.

After two years we were sold and merged into DynaTech Nevada located in Carson City, NV. That was a change, from rain forest to desert! And a change in company’s philosophy and market. That took some adjustments on everybody’s part! So another name change to be processed for the team that made the move.

All in all that was a good change. The two companies molded and developed an innovative team. The products we designed, manufactured, and sold kept the competitors scrambling. Some interesting stories we heard from across the land. My hands touched thousands upon thousands of product over the course of the years.

After a couple more years in my life, we bought another company, and merged them and their product into ours. You got it … more changes!

Any body listening to this story. If you have any business sense what follows company merging? Layoffs!!! To which I survived every one of them. Furthermore, I was the one employee selected to work on the new product line and handle some of the services.

One of the self imposed incentives was to start automating the calibration process on the product we designed, manufactured, and sold. I had to develop and write all the libraries for each piece of text equipment on my bench before I could address the product line. Beings that my primary function for the company was to work on the product. But I carved out of my busy work schedule a couple hours a week for my automation project. At first I got a lot of flack from management and fellow employees. But after a year or so I cut the calibration time on my first product unit automation time from 2 hours down to 20 minutes. It took a while but management catch on to the impact.

Low and behold, I had a meeting with one of the engineers. We started to design in-house test equipment for my automation process. After a couple years of designing and implementation all testing stations in Test, Production, and QC had the same equipment and automation systems. The system produced the QC Reports that met the demands of FDA, CSA, and EC Mark (we were a ISO-9000 certified company). What a highlight in my career!

Well, after 21 years and 10 months I had that fateful “Monday Morning Meeting”. It was a 10% cut of employees, which was meaningless as the company had developed a method for getting through the slack times without any cutbacks. However, I was the logical one to go out the door. There were only three of us in the Manufacturing Engineering Group. My equal in job title had 24 years on the books, our boss had 28 years on the books (after being hired three times)! Since I was the baby … I took a hike! There were a couple good things that came out this layoff. One, I did not know just how much I needed to divorce myself from the company. The other good thing was the “Dot Com Bomb” (which happened three months later) worked to my advantage.

My last employment was at Hamilton Company, doing the Manufacturing Engineering tasks. This developed into being a very demanding job. With 400 employees in 4 buildings and responsibilities in several areas of the plant there weren’t any breathing time. I was doing the in-house automation of the product, and was the “fireman” for the production department. Despite my busy-ness the “Friday Afternoon Meeting” hit after 6 years. And that layoff worked to my advantage, three months later was the 2008 Real Estate collapse!

Back into the job hunt again! But I could no longer punch a time clock. After 40 years of time clock … no more. If I could work as a contractor I would have, as I did want to contribute to the electronics industry more effort. But the industry was not ready for “contracting” as it is today.

Thus I retired early.


I got interested in the radio world early in life. While I was in the 9th grade I built my amateur radio station. The station was built using the Knight Kit R-55 Receiver and T-60 Transmitter. But without a ham license station it was a glorified SWL station (for any of you who remember what SWL means!). The problem : I lived 330 mile to the nearest FCC office, I was in High School with no drivers license, and I was born and raised on a farm (which is a 365 day per year life style. The VE program was not in operation.).

So it was not until 1979 that I finally obtained the novice license. That was after college (electronics degree) and a 4 year employment with Hewlett Packard. But that was good / great time to be on the air. As 15 meter band was open until 2200 hours (10 PM) and was open at 0800 hours (8 AM) every day! Making contacts on low power was not a challenge.

I progressed up the licenses over a short time (couple years) and stopped at the Advanced License. No incentive to get the Extra.

I became a member of the Tillamook Amateur Radio Club and shortly started working as a Net Control Station (NCS) for the club’s net. That being on the VHF bands. But I lived on the HF bands, and got involved with some emergency communications based nets. And, to help out as a Net Control Station for the Oregon RACES Net.

Those actions set my life as an emergency communications volunteer. I have been working the emergency communications and traffic nets for over 40 years. I do not remember when I got involved with ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) Operations, but do know that I have worked that side of the industry for many years.

I have held many of the ARES leadership positions. As with many volunteers, I started as a Assistant Emergency Coordinator (to help out in a shortage situation), and moved to EC, DEC, ASEC, ADEC, Net Manager, Official Bulletin Station, and ?

I have worked some of the Major Incidents in Washoe County and Northern Nevada. Incidents like the Truckee River Floods covering downtown Reno, Reno Tahoe International Airport, several forest fires, snow storms / ice storms, and Red Cross Shelter activation.

Countless exercises in and for the local county, district, and state, both ARES and multi-government exercises. Some government exercises enlisted as many as 60 distinct agencies and groups.

Sporting events … oh boy! A bunch of them. Bicycle rides, marathon and endurance runs, off-road car racing, fund raising walks. From short three to four hour events to two day non-stop events. The Reno Air Races is a nine day event.

One of the greatest need in the ARES Organization is training. Thus I became the training officer for the Nevada Section Washoe County ARES group. Over the period of time I trained other county ARES members. Eventually I became an ARRL ARES Field Instructor, to which I held for over 15 years.

I enjoy doing teaching and training. Even did such tasks at some of my employments. I have been a leader a good portion of my life covering many different topics. This is the fun part of my life! Working with other like minded volunteers endeavoring in emergency communications. And I have met some great, interesting individuals through the training efforts.

The ARRL ARES EmComm Level I Certification is a course, not a class. There are 29 chapters in the book. I held weekly in person sessions, covering three topics per the three hour session. In doing such training I had a 98% success rate for the final certification exams.

Over the years of doing this 10 week course I developed other material to help the students grasp the course topics. The topics and material covered in the book is the material I developed for those students.

This book is not meant to replace the ARES EmComm Level I Certification, but to support that training. The content of this book is to further detail the EmComm Training and to provide better understanding for the certification.


Doug, KA7FOO


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Doug Abramson
Doug AbramsonCEO & Founder
Doug started this adventure for the purpose to help people get closer to their goals.
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Helen ParkinsCTO & Partner
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Jason ResponseCFO & Partner
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