Chuck Colby

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  Popular Electronics Editorial


Popular Electronics, June 1997


Do you fit into this scenario?

In 1957, Charles Colby, a 15 year old high school student, invented the Satellite Direct Broadcast System. Charles built a working DBS demo system in his father's garage in Fresno, California and showed it as his high school Science Fair project. The rest is a marvelous 40-year history.

Probably, Thomas Alva Edison is the greatest American gadgeteer tinkerer of all time.

There are many examples of children and young men who, with the application of their minds and the dexterity of their hands, developed and built devices that eventually because successful products that we use today. Most of us started with small home-brew contrivances that effected only our own lives, launching us into a hobby arena from which we derive great pleasure. I remember my first project. It was a spark coil made from scrap telephone wire, a bolt from an old Reo truck, and a steel strap from a packing case. The wood base came from an apple crate.

Whatever it is that started us on this hobby's path must be somewhere in our genes. Don't look for it; just be grateful there's something in us that gives us the impetus to continue forward in our hobby activities.

With this last thought in mind, the publisher and editors of Popular Electronics bring forth another issue of their magazine that's dedicated to the electronics hobbyist. No, you probably won't become another Charles Colby or Thomas Edison, but your will probably have as much fun as they did.

There's another bonus. Every time I vaporize rosin as I get the solder to flow, I become a kid again. The spirit of that same boy who assembled his first spark coil rejuvenates. The joy of building projects is eternal!

Julian Martin