FARS Winter Banquet - February 28, 2020 [2019] [2020] [2021]

The FARS Winter Banquet was Friday evening, February 28, 2020. The Foothills Amateur Radio Society (FARS) presented this ham radio event and fete.

Living Dangerously: Building a 100-year-old electronics startup in California
Dr. Andrew Cromarty, N6JLJ
February 28, 2020 @ 6:00PM-10:00PM

Heathkit is known worldwide as the iconic largest, oldest kit manufacturer in the United States. Or it was, until the company changed its business model 30 years ago to emphasize its institutional educational products line.

In recent years, a new management team at Heath Company has been methodically restoring Heathkit to its destiny as the leading designer, manufacturer and provider of the world's highest-quality electronic kits. Dr. Cromarty expands on his recent invited IEEE History lecture by presenting materials from the century-old Heathkit historic materials archive not previously shown to the public. For those unfamiliar with Heathkit, he provides an abbreviated tour of the thousands of Heathkit products, and describes a few products you probably did not know existed.

Dr. Cromarty relates some of the challenges in building an electronics product manufacturing company today, including some special challenges that make California the worst place on the planet to start a company. Despite these challenges, Heathkit now has re-established R&D, product design, manufacturing, partner relationships, back office infrastructure, vendor and supply chains, operations procedures, publications, marketing and sales, customer service, tech support, intellectual property and legal, and more—while maintaining Heathkit's historic “We won't let you fail™” product approach that makes building complex commercial-quality products possible for everyone. Dr. Cromarty also discusses Heathkit's plans and progress in the company's return to the amateur radio market.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Andrew Cromarty is President of Heath Company (Heathkit). He is an Amateur Extra class license holder, N6JLJ, and has been a ham for about 40 years, having served as an Assistant EC, Assistant DEC, and Section Traffic Manager and participated in many contests, although since restarting Heathkit it's been difficult for him to find time to get on the air.

Prior to Heathkit, Dr. Cromarty has been a chief officer in a half-dozen Silicon Valley companies ranging from tiny startup to billion-dollar publicly-traded tech company and spanning broadband, wireless, health, entertainment, and investment banking, as well as serving in past corporate scientist and corporate marketing roles, and he has sat on corporate boards of directors or advisors in technology, advertising, and corporate venture capital.

He holds undergraduate degrees in Music, Biology and Psychology, and MS and PhD degrees in Computer & Information Science. In addition to his work as President of Heath Company, he has been active in scouting for decades, and he chairs the board of advisors for a company applying microloans, agriculture and community-scale entrepreneurship to address the clean water crisis in Africa.

Photos from the 2019 Winter Banquet:

Raffle prizes for the Banquet

We had over $1,500 in in prizes for the banquet raffle. Here is a partial list of prizes raffled at the banquet:

[ICOM IC-7300 HF Transceiver]

Grand Prize - ICOM IC-7300 HF Transceiver Direct Sampling Transceiver. 100 Watts RF Out, coverage 30KHz-74.8MHz, automatic antenna tuner, all mode SSB, CW, RTTY, AM and FM. Full color touch screen, 80dB dynamic range water fall, real time spectrum analyzer, digital filters.
[Raffle Prize]

Nano VNA Network Analyzer (VNA) 2-port network analyzer with SMA connectors, frequency coverage 50 kHz to 900 MHz, Measures S11, S22, S21 and S12, includes calibration kit (SMA open, short and 50-ohm). Measures filters, tune duplexers, match antennas, and more.
[Radioddity QB25 Mobile]

Radioddity QB25 Mobile - same as the QYT 7900SD. 4-bands; 25/10 watts; 200 memories; 0.25 uV sensitivity; covers: 2m/136-174MHz, 210-230 MHz, 70cm/400-520 MHz; speaker-mic with key pad entry; CTSS and DCS coding. USB programming cable and software
[Connect Systems CS-580]

Connect Systems CS-580 UHF DMR radio w/ 2100 mAH Li-ion batter, charger, program cable, S/W, 1000 memories, analog FM. Programmed for the Bay Area.
[County Comm GP5/SSB]

County Comm GP5/SSB portable hand held HF SSB receiver. Fully software defined radio using the SiLabs chip. Covers 100 KHz – 30 MHz; AM/FM; CW SSB modes. 1000 memories, built in clock, temperature display. (Donated by County Comm)
[Radioddity GD-73A]

Radioddity GD-73A world’s smallest full featured DMR/analog UHF transceiver. Palm size 2600mAH battery, charging cable, belt clip, earpiece - 2 watts output – 1024 memories 1 watt audio output - comes complete programmed to Bay Area code plug (Ed Fong’s version).
[Baofeng UV-5R]

Baofeng UV-5R dual band handie talkie; Drop in Li-ion smart charge, 1800 mAH Li-ion battery, belt clip, antenna; Bands: 2m [146MHz] / 70cm [440MHz]; FM Broadcast receiver; Full CTSS and DCS coding.
[Pittsburgh Digital Caliper]

Pittsburgh Digital Caliper 6 inch Digital Electronic Caliper, large 4-digit LCD display, accurate to 1/1000 inch.
[Raffle Prize]

Full size 4-engine Drone UF818A complete with HD camera and rechargeable Li-ion batteries. Uses 2.5 GHz for radio control. Record up to 15 minutes of video. (Donated).
[Lux-Pro LP1100BL Heavy Duty LED Flashlight]

Lux-Pro LP1100BL Heavy Duty LED Flashlight 320 Lumens, 3 modes: High, Low, Strobe, Rubber Grip Handle, 2 D-Cell Batteries included.
[QRP Guys FT-8 Transceiver]

QRP Guys 40/30/20 meters FT-8 transceiver Great battery operated 2W transceiver with crystals for FT8 operation. All components are included with band modules. (Donated by Doug Hendricks)
[Arrow II Portable Satellite Antenna]

Arrow II Portable Satellite Antenna Great for working portable or satellites. 3 elements on 2 meters - 7 elements on 70cm. (Donated by Nick Cassarino)
[TBJ-1 PVC Tri-Band Antenna]

TBJ-1 PVC Tri-Band Antenna 146MHz/220MHz/440MHz J-Pole Antenna by Edison Fong, WB6IQN. (Donated by Ed Fong)


Dinner included salad, bread rolls, dessert (chocolate mousse) and coffee. There was a no-host bar.


The banquet was held at:

Michael's at Shoreline
2960 No. Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA

Last updated July 8, 2021