Subject: Kevin, Kevin, Kevin.....Re: Questions on EE job market.
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 21:54:41 -0800
Organization: SCN Research of Tigard, Oregon, USA.
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NNTP-Posting-Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 05:56:31 +0000 (UTC)
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Oh Kevin, Kevin, Kevin
Thanks for all the laughter.
I spent 12 years in the US Marines repairing Avionics to the
component (resistor, cap, transistor, etc) level. I also ran around
carrying other Marines during NBC drills, shooting rifles, running over 20
miles a week and many other, Marine type things. During this time
I didn't learn specifically how to design circuits, but I sure had fun
how they worked to a point to determine where a failure occured, and the
specific component that was causing the issue.
I sure found piles of design errors during my time, and also wondered
at some of the absolutely marvelous designs I had a chance to pour over.
One of the neatest was a box 3 feet long, six inches high, and a foot and a
half wide, that put out over 10kW continuous, and much, much higher levels
when pulsed, each box designed for bands located from 300kHz to 22Ghz.
Receivers that picked up and processed signals of -156 dbm at the antenna
were alot of fun to optimize, and even more fun to troubleshoot.
I got out of the military, on a 36,000.00 bonus to get out, then started at
Flir Systems Incorporated, in the production area, and within the first
year, I was promoted three times and actually sent off a six figure tax
It did not take me long to actually improve the performance of many of their
airborne systems by an order of magnitude which allowed a whole new
generation of products. Even got a nice bonus for doing this, and helped
them to avoid some pending lawsuits in doing so. And there were dozens
of design issues that I rectified on top of it all, one of the very worst I
have ever ran into was caused by a design done by BSI in the UK.
(we could mention the three senior software guys and two EEs that spent six
months working on the problem, which I got involved when the production
folks had a box of bad boards, no fixtures or equipment to troubleshoot on,
and I put it in a systemto troubleshoot. Someone was tri-stating the
outputs of 8 RS-432 transmitters to multiplex to one receiver, which allow
the receiver input to float to unknown states. Guess what? The poor fellas
had spent six months of their lives tearing their hair out and many long
hours. I brought them a simple fix, one involving three resistors that
defined a logical zero state during the tri-state time, thus helping to
prevent corrupted data words....guess it was just the state of the art in
design skills of UK engineers, employed by BSI....wink.....but I digress...)
Or we could mention the engineers that hung 23,000pf of lightening
protection on a Maxim MAX232 RS-232 RX and TX lines in their designs that
they made for many, many years, until I came along and found some "minor"
issues...heheh, poor little charge pumps/over stressed output stages...then
expected it to shoot a nice clean signal across a aircraft harness.)
Since that time I have become a Design engineer, working on project such as
The US Marines did teach me how to kick ass, hit a partial man sized target
at 500 meters, 10 out of 10 times, with a standard issue M-16A2 service
rifle, in wind, rain, snow or whatever, without any aid of a scope. I had a
chance to see much of the world, meet all sorts of interesting people,
appreciate what we have right here in the USA, work on a team where our
lives depended directly on our individual skills, learn more about
leadership than I'd ever learn anywhere else, shape the lives of hundreds of
young men, and work with equipment that many engineers only dream of.
I can say, it took me awhile to get over the habit of dressing down
engineers and others, over their gross incompentence. For anyone that was
on the receiving end of my dressing downs, I sincerely appologize, we all
know humans are not perfect, especially myself.
What did I do exactly while I was in?
Marine Corps personnel with the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 6484,
Aircraft Electronic Countermeasures Systems/RADCOM/CAT-IIID Technician, IMA
MOS 6482, Aircraft Electronic Countermeasures Systems Technician, Fixed
Wing, IMA EA-6A
MOS 6423, Aviation Electronic Microminiature/Instrument and Cable Repair
MOS 6445 Aircraft Inertial Navigation System/Flight System/Automatic Carrier
Landing System Mini-SACE Technician, A-6E/EA-6B/E2-C
MOS 6465 Hybrid Test Set Technician, IMA
The AN/USM-484 Hybrid Test System (HTS) is a general purpose Automatic Test
Equipment (ATE) system that fault isolates Weapon Replaceable Assemblies
(WRA) and Shop Replaceable Assemblies (SRA) associated with complex avionics
packages installed in modern aircraft weapon systems. The HTS is employed by
Navy and Marine Corps Intermediate Maintenance Activities (IMA) and depot
level maintenance activities in support of the AV-8B, EA-6B, F-14, F/A-18,
S-3B, and SH-60B Aircraft. In addition, the HTS provides off-line
maintenance support for the AN/USM-470(V)1 Avionics Test Set.
MOS 6467 Aircraft Forward Looking Infrared/Electro-Optical, Weapons Delivery
Systems, RADAR Systems Technician, IMA Mini-SACE and RADCOM/CAT-IIID (I
held this over quite a time span, as the equipment switched and the systems
the MOS repaired changed) EA-6B, A-6E TRAM, EA-6A, C-130, and other
I actually spent four years in classroom training, 8 hours a day, for all
those MOSes, over my 12 years. Some of it was even at the companies, like
Allied Bendix Aerospace and Teledyne Ryan, with the circuit design
engineers, stepping through the schematics, and the functions of each and
every component on those schematics.
I always enjoyed pointing out design issues with those very same engineers
who designed the circuits, several times Naval Messages were sent directly
to the various military commands utilizing exactly the same equipment with
those circuits in the fleet, for immediate action.
I had no college education up to the point of leaving the military, except
one class at Embry-Riddle Areonatical University, as an Alegbra refresher.
Lol Kevin, you talk about the military folks like they were a bag of rocks,
and I can assure you, while it may be that way in some specialties, in other
areas, it is quite the contrary.
"Chuck Simmons" wrote in message
> Kevin Aylward wrote:
> > "Chuck Simmons" wrote in
> > messagnews:3DC13568.D88EDF66@webaccess.net...
> > >
> > >It seems he would have been shocked to hear our lead
> > > logic designer offering to help me yesterday when I was looking at
> > > loading some 805 size parts on an analog board. He's a lot younger
> > than
> > > I and can see a bit better.
> > >
> > I would agree, that probably about 95% of engineers went into their
> > electronics degree and jobs, with absolute zero practical experience, so
> > I'm certainly surprised the logic designer knows what a real component
> > is.
> He is a very good logic designer with years of experience. He is quite
> aware of the fact that integration of the entire system is where the
> rubber hits the road. When the silicon comes out of the fab, he joins
> the lab rats.
> ... The times have been,
> That, when the brains were out,
> the man would die. ... Macbeth
> Chuck Simmons firstname.lastname@example.org