Bittersweet

Friday, 1 October will mark a very significant change for our family. That will be my last day of employment at Tektronix (actually now Danaher). I've submitted my resignation so that we can do what's necessary for us to avoid having to send Noah to daycare. Due to some other, less drastic shuffling of schedules, Jennifer will be able to be home with Noah one workday, while her mom will also be able to watch him one day a week. The remaining days are now mine. With the high price of daycare, it's getting close to the point where one of us is working the majority of our work days just to pay the daycare provider. As a family, we decided that we are willing to take the hit to our income in order to have the wonderful opportunity to spend time raising our awesome son. I know that this is a decision that grates against societal norms a bit, but frankly I don't care. One thing in life I've realized is that we only get one shot at it and we better enjoy it while we have the opportunity. I don't intend to be one of those men who dies full of regrets about missing my son growing up.

I'm going to miss some aspects of Tektronix an awful lot. I work with some amazingly talented, smart, and capable people. It was not an easy decision to make, and surprisingly it was very hard to tell my manager the news. Management has cut staffing levels to the bone, so my manager is going to have a difficult time finding a replacement RF technician. For more than four years, I've had the opportunity to work with an incredible lab full of very expensive RF equipment and troubleshoot microwave circuits down to the component level. There are not many jobs like this left in the US. On the other hand, there are some extremely aggravating aspects of the workplace that I won't miss. Most of them relate to Danaher's purchase of Tek and the way that they have gutted and "rewired" the place. I won't get into that rant online; you'll have to ask me about it over a beer.

So what am I going to do for work? Glad you asked. How does the words "open source ham radio" sound? I will be dipping into some of my meager savings to capitalize a new kit company. It's a daunting task, but I've already done most of major components of this kind of work before, I've just never put it all together into an actual business. I've got a notebook full of cool ideas that I feel that I can execute, and the first one is already in the development hopper. I don't want to promise anything yet, but I can tell you at this point that it looks like it will be a series of simple yet fully featured single band QRP transceivers optimized for portable/trail operation (low current consumption, lots of handy features). I'll have a bit more time to blog very soon, so keep watching the blog for more details. Hopefully, the first prototype will be done by mid-October and I can get a beta test rolling shortly after that.

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5 thoughts on “Bittersweet”

  1. Congrats on your decision to stay home with Noah. I'm sure the two of you will have a lot of fun. My wife stays home with our two boys, and while we occasionally miss the income, we never regret the decision.

    Good luck with your kitting venture. I'm currently waiting on the next round of ATS-4s, but I'll be interested to see what you come up with.

    Ben
    WF5N

  2. Thanks Ben! While I know it will be financially difficult at times, I have no doubt that we won't regret it in the long run.

    The rig I have planned won't be on the scale of the ATS-4, but I think it will be pretty solid and cost quite a bit less. Mods for dual band/multi band versions can always come in the future if it's well received.

    73,
    Jason NT7S

  3. I think you've made a very good decision Jason. Spending time with your son is an investment in your future as a family that will pay off handsomely. Of course I'm not talking about the financial aspect, but the the wealth of shared experiences and memories that you will be building up.

    Best of luck with the open source ham radio project too.

    Dave
    AA7EE

  4. Hey Dave,

    Thanks for writing, it's been a while since I've heard from you. I'm looking forward to the time we'll have together. I think that is something that is overlooked far too much in our society. The drive is to work your ass off, climb the ladder, and try to make more and more money. We're ready to get out of that rat maze and enjoy precious time with our son, even if that means we have to do with less money.

    BTW, I'm missing your blogging, I hope that you start up again sometime soon.

    73,
    Jason

  5. Making do with less money requires creativity, and I know you have plenty of that, so I think you'll be OK Jason. You'll find ways to make it all work. It's surprising how a lot of folk think that luxuries are necessities ("Oh, I couldn't possibly do without my <insert name of favorite expensive trendy coffee drink, or fully-loaded premium cable subscription etc etc").

    You guys all have each other for company - that's worth more than any amount of money can buy.

    I'm awaiting delivery of one of QRP Labs' Hans Summers-designed QRSS transmitter kits and it looks like I'm finally going to get an HF antenna up that will at least work well on 30M (a dipole at 45 feet), so look out for some QRSS blogs in a few weeks!

    Looking forward to hearing news of your new kit company - best o' luck with that!

    Dave
    AA7EE

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