Meet Dr. Chuck Counselman, W1HIS
My parents say that when I was a toddler I was already interested in radio. I don't remember that, but I remember building my first real radio receiver, from a kit, at age eight. It was a primitive crystal set. It received one station very well, but I didn't know how to make it selective, so that it could "tune in" other stations. By age ten, however, I'd built a much better receiver, also from a kit, that was not only very sensitive (so it could hear relatively weak, faraway stations) but also highly selective (so I could hear the station I wanted without also hearing other stations). From that time (51 years ago) until the present, I have always been sleepy. I am always staying up too late listening to some radio.
By age twelve I'd built several radios, and my display of radio circuits won a prize at the Baltimore Science Fair. Recently my mother sent me this old newspaper clipping:
At age 13 I got my first, Novice Class, amateur radio license. To get a Novice license in those days you had to pass tests of sending and receiving Morse code accurately at a speed of five words per minute. A Novice Class license expired after one year and could not be renewed. To continue in amateur radio you had to qualify for a higher-class license. Before my Novice year ended, I got a General Class license, which required sending and receiving Morse code at 13 words per minute. Some years later I got an Extra Class license, which required sending and receiving Morse at 20 words per minute.
Ham radio led me directly to a professional career in radio science and engineering. I mentioned that I went to M.I.T. After finishing college and graduate school at M.I.T., I became member of the faculty there. Both my teaching and my research work have always related to radio. I've done radio astronomy and radar astronomy -- measuring and mapping the moon and planets, stars, galaxies, and quasars by radio -- and my specialty is using radio to determine the positions and motions of faraway things with super-super-accuracy.
©Natasha Bochkov, M.C.S., Martin Bayes, Ph.D., and Donna LaRoche, M.Ed