So who is this guy Simon?
I was born and raised in Queens, and have two older brothers (one is retired). My mother stayed at home and raised us, and my father worked for the NYC Parks Department (as it was known as then) for many decades as a zoo keeper in the Elephant House in the Central Park Zoo. If you went there between 1962 and 1992, you probably walked right by him. My mother passed away five years ago after losing the battle with Parkinsons, and my father moved near Orlando shortly after Hurricane Sandy destroyed the house we grew up in.
Although I lived in Queens, I went to high school in Brooklyn (Brooklyn Tech), where I caught a tiny glimmer of ham radio thru their radio club. I did have an interest in electronics at the time, did some soldering, and dabbled in some early DIY projects. After Tech I started working in the civil engineering field as a drafter, and in spite of being horrible in math, somehow stayed in the field all these years.
I’ve been involved in CAD since 1985, back when “real computers” were the size of refrigerators and everyone used “graphics terminals.” Over the years I’ve worked with different CAD systems, some obscure, some slightly less obscure, and have been using Bentley MicroStation almost exclusively for the last 25 years. Along the way I’ve done other things related to CAD: training, presenting, programming–I even wrote a book or two, and continue with technical writing when I can.
Ten years after Tech I received a scholarship to Audrey Cohen College (now The Metropolitan College of New York) and after three years of night and weekend classes, I earned a bachelor’s degree in business.
My wife and I have a son, Ryan. He’s 11, and he just started middle school this September. We’ve lived in Brooklyn Heights for 13 years as a family, but my wife beat me to Brooklyn by eight years.
I’ve been a ham over a year, and even though I was exposed to ham radio in high school back in the 1980s, I never made the commitment to learn the code requirement for the exam. Not knowing any Elmers at that time, the urge faded away. I got where I am today on a lark: thanks to Amazon Prime Day, I found myself with a Baofeng UV-5R and a Technician study guide. 13 days later, I had my Technician license. I was drawn to public service right away, and with less than a month if air time, I registered for the NYC Marathon–and that changed everything. I joined ARES three days later, coincidentally on my birthday.
I urge everyone to try new things with amateur radio, and one new thing I recommend everyone try once is being net control for one of the KC ARES nets. Yes it’s scary, and it’s nerve-wracking the first few times, but after you do two, you can do a hundred. The whole idea of practicing net control is to be prepared to handle traffic at an on-location ARES event, and ultimately, in a real emergency situations.
My “new things” will be to catch up on all my EC and IC courses. I will also continue to learn more about amateur radio, experiment a bit, and make things. Maybe I’ll even solder something!