The Friday night banquet speaker at OzarkCon was Tom Vinson, NY0V. Tom and his wife live in a small town in a log home he built after retiring in 2010 following more than 30 years working for Rockwell Collins (Collins Radio) in Cedar Rapids.
He’s been a lifelong ham radio enthusiast having gotten into the hobby as a youngster. Along the way he has enjoyed chasing DX (#1 Honor Roll Mixed, Phone)and being chased as DX when he operated from Tarawa, West Kiribati (T30CXX) in 2002 and Christmas Island (T32CXX) during the Oct 2008 CQWW SSB.
Tom shared briefly about his ham radio life, but the topic of his dissertation this night centered on his involvement with the Eustace Earhart Discovery Expedition.
Rockwell Collins contributed to the modern-day search for Amelia Earhart by offering up a few hours time from a couple of its employees to assist the discovery team in answering some technical questions they had about radio transmissions between the Coast Guard ship and Earhart’s plane. At the time, the company expected their total involvement to be about “three hours”.
Three-thousand hours and two expeditions later, Vinson had become the radio expert for the Nauticos discovery mission.
You can learn much more about NY0V and the search for Amelia Earhart by listening to his 2016 QSO Today interview here and from links at the bottom of this post.
But here are a few of my thoughts…
First, I was impressed and inspired to know that the technical acumen of ham radio enthusiasts is being employed around the globe in matters of scientific discovery every day.
In the early years hams were on the leading edge of radio technology because there was no one else to do it and we quickly became subject matter experts. I find it amazing to discover that we’re still the experts when it comes to radio, even in this new century.
Tom mentioned several other scientists that he worked with on this project who were also hams and this should serve to inspire us and to make us proud of our hobby.
And besides all that, I found it incredibly cool that hams are working to solve one of the last great mysteries of the 20th century - what really happened to Amelia Earhart.