HP 200B Serial Number 187

About Glenn Robb, Webmaster Of This Site ...

 

I was born an engineer. As a kid, I was far more interested in the guts of a radio, than listening to one. I yearned to know how electronics worked, and never tired of disassembling and experimenting with any device I could get my hands on. After turning 10 years old, I was able to absorb hobbyist level books, and play with Radio Shack kits to satisfy this urge to understand. Before high school, I had discovered ham radio through my early mentor, Harry Raby. I knew I was going to be an electrical engineer, and midway through high school, I was well on my way. The left photo below shows me at age 17 (1982) in my bedroom laboratory. (Click any photo to enlarge it)

My childhood "lab" (bedroom) at age 17. I'm wearing the suit, while a friend works a Sinclair ZX-81 computer used to receive radio-teletype from the Hammarlund HQ-129X shortwave receiver.
The same "bedroom lab" about six month later, sporting a Heathkit H8 computer and printer (Teletype Model ASR 33 ), and an old CRT terminal (the model number is long forgotten, but I do remember it was too heavy for me to lift).
My current laboratory (not in a bedroom anymore)
Inside of my RF anechoic chamber at Antenna Test Lab Co

In the first picture, I am the one standing, and Martin (the photographer's son) is playing with my first computer. This was a Sinclair ZX-81, onto which I had "hacked" a full sized keyboard, and used it for radio teletype, along with the Hammarlund HQ-129X beside it. This was pretty hi-tech for a kid in 1982, and it had just replaced my model 19 teletype machine. The black and white photo shows that I saved all of my money from two summer jobs, and bought a used Heathkit H-8 computer, a giant leap. All of this was pretty hard for my family to understand... they were potters and artisans. I must have seemed like an alien to them! You can see the edge of my bed in the lower left corner (this really was my bedroom)! There were a few pieces of HP gear amongst the RF stuff on my old bench, but unfortunately, it is all long gone after I left home for Queen's University (Kingston Ontario Canada). But I did learn at a very early age, that there was no substitute for fine test equipment... perhaps that is why I admire Hewlett-Packard so much. Needless to say, I became a EE, and love being one. I have always had my own lab, and when you shop with your own money, you need the best value. New equipment has always been too expensive for my budget, but used equipment is often just as good, if selected carefully. That is where I started paying attention to HP gear, because their used gear was often as good as a lesser brand of "current" new gear. One of the best tools for shopping used equipment on eBay or the auction market, are old HP catalogs. I started a modest catalog library for this practical reason. It evolved into "collection" out of appreciation for HP's innovation, and what they had contributed to electrical engineering. Now my collection includes stacks of rare HP literature that I choose to share with everyone via the web. The practical appreciation for HP's test equipment has turned me into a HP history buff, and collector! It is my personal goal to save vintage HP literature and equipment from obscurity (and landfills). I will do this not by hording or coveting, but through sharing openly and "web re-publishing" vintage HP artifacts. A common technical resource of catalogs, manuals, data sheets, Journals, and virtual museums, will encourage others to collect (and value) these items. In the end, I am working towards creating a community of HP enthusiasts who will work together and mentor budding new enthusiasts.

I am happy to be a full-time consultant, my own boss, and have my own lab (3rd picture above). My antenna testing lab website is located here. Here is a picture of myself (on the right) and friend Kenneth Kuhn at the actual 367 Addison Avenue HP garage. The next picture is of Ken and myself (on the right) in front of the old logo on the side of the 1501 Page Mill Road headquarters building (AKA the Stanford Park Buildings). In the main entrance to this building is a mosaic, and any good RF engineer will appreciate the pattern.

 


Ken and Glenn at HP Garage


Ken and Glenn at 1501 Page Mill Rd


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