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This is the 'personal page' of Steve Bonnell - and odds are, you may not find anything here of much interest - whether you know me or not! (I certainly realize it could go either way!) The intent of this page is to provide some basic background information for people who may have come across me or my name and want to know if I'm the same guy they might have known (plus some other verbal ramblings)!
I've spent some time on both coasts of the United States, as a Civilian and in the Military, and even some time in Alaska, plus some 'on the air' time as a Ham Radio operator, so if you recognize my name from somewhere but aren't sure if "I'm the one" - maybe you'll find where are paths crossed - if you're interested!
I'd be glad to here from you via e-mail if you think we've met in the past . . . or even if we haven't.
My career in electronics started in 4th grade, at Hepburn-Lycoming Elementry School! Not that this was a 'technical' school by any means - but a classmate, Harold London, happened to bring to school an electrical projects kit. I can't recall the name of it, but it was in a round card-board tube container, similiar to a Quaker Oats' box. Harold was basically using it for a show-and-tell type of demonstration - and it really caught my attention! I believe he had received it as a birthday present - anyway, I pestered this guy relentlessly (now I know where my kids get it!) until he allowed me to take it home with me!
I built every project that was in the instruction booklet: an electro-magnet, a Morse-Code sounder, a light flasher. I even think there was a photo-electric eye to play with! This was neat! From that time on, ALL I ever wanted to learn was ELECTRICITY and ELECTRONICS! (Even now, I'm told I'm too focused on such technical aspects - but they use different words to say it!) I started collecting stuff: old radios, TV's, record players, etc. I started a huge model train set-up, Lionel 027 guage, and wired all sorts of lights, switches, and motors into the system. I began my first 'Radio-TV-Electronics' correspondence course while still in 9th grade! I picked up a set of 'Rider's Radio Manuals', the big-blue books, to use in fixing old radios. Basically, everything I did had to do with electronics.
I was helped by a few good teachers too: Joe Smertnick, 9th grade science; Bill Mosteller, 10th grade Electronics Instructor; and Joseph London, 11th + 12th grade Electronics (which turned out to be Harold's dad!) who ushered me along the way! I can't say these teachers were exceptional (they were to me - but what does a goofy young teenager know about teachers anyway), but they helped me nurture my electronics growth - when they could have stifled me - if you know what I mean! I was also fortunate to work as a Co-op student in electronics for Intercommunications of Pennsylvania my senior year.
I've held a HAM Radio License since 10th grade (~1967), first as a Novice - WN3KPI - then as an Advanced - WA3KPI. My closest school friend (a guy friend!) was Bill Kuzio WA3EFJ. We were in the same class from 7th - 9th grades at Roosevelt Junior High and 10th - 12th in the Vocational Electronics Program of Williamsport High (tech-rats). He shared my deep interest in electronics and help me get my HAM Radio License. My life truely would not have been the same without him! Thanks Bill.
Another friend was Terry Persun - we used to challenge/compete with each other in math and physics classes in high school! We started elementary school together. Terry has moved on to the editing world as Editor-in Chief. You may be able to catch his 'mug shot' on the 'Editor's Page' of designfax magazine.
I lived in Cogan Station, just north of Williamsport, Pennsylvania until I entered the Coast Guard right after high school in Jun '70. With the CG, I spent time in Cape May, NJ; Governor's Island, NY; San Clemente, CA; and Cape Sarichef, AK.
Cape May was for basic training - boot camp! Hotel-79 was my company. Governor's Island in New York City was the location of the Electronics School for the Coast Guard. While attending this school, I also took the Federeal Communications Commission exam for the Commercial License. I now hold a General FCC Radiotelephone/Radar Endorsement License. I was was also fortunate enough to be the first in my Electronics class, which got me a 'much sought after' duty assignment in San Clemente!
The time in San Clemente was our honeymoon. My wife Kathy (whom I've been with since 9th grade) and I got married in PA in August and drove across country in a Volkswagen BUG! We lost a wheel (came right off the axle!) in the deserts of Santa Rosa, NM, but we made it to California! Some very close friends we met there were Mike + Debbie Re, newly-weds themselves, from Ohio. We also met an older local couple, Hal and Edith Treelor. Hal was also a HAM, W6IGI. Other names from that era: Flip Pascal, a Mechanical Engineer from Pratt-Whitney; Rickey Reynolds, just another ET who was a nice guy; Wil House, the Chief; and Boyd Ruse(?), the guy that played the French Horn; etc . . .
While there, I was able to be a contestant on the 'Hollywood Squares' TV show in Burbank! It all started as an attempt to get tickets to the Johnny Carson Show! We also caught our first burglar - an AWOL Marine from Camp Pendleton! After talking with him (last name was Shockley - or similiar) for a few hours, we allowed him to call home (Texas) and he then turned himself in.
The San Clemente Coast Guard Station was a LORAN transmitting station that just happened to be next door to the estate that President Richard Nixon owned - so, the governmet put up a chain-linked fence around the properties and called it the Western White House. This station was one of the best duty stations a Coastie could get - so, to 'balance' things out, my next assignment was an isolated station on one of the Aleution Islands!
Unimak Island - the first island as you go out the Aleution Island chain from mainland Alaska - was a very critical location for the Coast Guard's navigation mission. Any ship traveling from the lower forty-nine (Hawaii is down there, too) had to go around the western edge of this island to get into the Bearing Sea and on to North Alaska. And I was lucky enough to be stationed there! This station was home to about twenty people for one year of their life! No natives, no trees, no towns, just a volcanic island with black sand. A semi-active volcano - Shishaldin - would constantly puff smoke just to let us know we were at it's mercy! Here I was the Senior Electronics Technician at the station. We supported the LORAN equipment as well as two radio beacons, two Light Houses, and radio communication + data equipment. I ran MANY phone patches there as WA3KPI/KL7 over the HAM Radio air-waves. I also spent that year studying Electrical Engineering - and something relatively NEW (at least to me) - Digital Logic IC's!
The second Light House on the island, Scotch Cap, was a remote-controlled light-house 18-miles away on the south side of the island. It was demolished by a tidal-wave in the 1940's, killing three men. The lighthouse was then re-built on higher ground! Traveling to perform work there gave us a temporary change of scenery. (Same island, different direction!) It was 'claimed' to be haunted!
At one time, we were without a radio operator for a few weeks, so with my HAM experience, I took on those duties temporarily. I answered my first and only emergency radio call for help during that time - a ship with a crew of 33 was caught in a storm with engine problems - and I was able to provide the vital communication link until a C130 made its way to the area and could take over. (I was useful!)
An interesting visitor in the summer of 1973 was a Geologist from Lahmont Doehert Labs - Columbia University. I escorted him as we trampled around sections of the island looking for unique rock information. (He looked for the rocks, I kept an eye out for the Kodiak bears that roamed around! We came upon a couple of 'em, too - or was it the other way around!)
After the service (1973), I worked in Williamsport - eventually with GTE. Here I took more courses and attended college as a part-time student - eventually getting into an engineering position. My most interesting work with GTE was as an Electronic Test Engineer - conceptualizing & writing software for Automated Test Equipment (ATE), designing interfaces & fixtures, and working with the customer's Engineers to develop test techniques that would meet their quality requirements. I've worked with some very fine people at GTE. I've also met and worked with some very fine people who were GTE's customers - If you are one of these folks and have an interest, please, drop me a line.
In about the middle of my 18 years with GTE, I also spent about a year in Costa Mesa, California as an Electrical Project Engineer with Paul Dosier Associates - PDA. This company made the computer-controlled router/profiler used mainly to cut-out the printed circuit boards used in the electronics industry. This was about 1980-81. I met some very memorable people there, too. When I get a chance to visit the LA area, I try to 'drop in' on some of them 'un-announced' just for the surprise-effect! However, I haven't been there for several years.
Missing some of the Military connections (what was I ever thinking), I got involved with the local NAVY Reserves as an Electronic Technician and Electronics Instructor for about three years.
I also have a friend in the New England area, Dave Metevier, that I think of often but don't get a chance to talk to very much. For some reason(!), the 'cow bell' introduction to the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women" always makes us think of one-another!
At present, my wife and I live 'out in the country' in rural Montoursville, PA, not far from Williamsport. All our three sons are out of high school and on their own way. I'm still working with electronics & programming - applying this to the Industrial Automation and Controls field - at first with Williamsport Electric's Industrial Controls Division, but now with LITTON Electron Division as an Automated Test & Control Engineer.
A NEW and VERY big project I became involved with in 1999 is E-COMMERCE!
information on this fast-expanding area.
BIG things are happening!
I can honestly say that my favorite group activity is TEACHING - Electronics, Computers, Programming, Math, Physics, Ham Radio, etc. I love to see that "the-light-bulb-just- flashed-ON expression" on someone's face!
Thanks for getting this far! I know some of this may have been boring - and I know there are many more people and experiences that I haven't mentioned - which could really get boring! But please, feel free to send an e-mail message if you have any comments to make.
And please have a look at some of the more useful pages I've developed: