Episode 374 – Courtney Duncan – N5BF

Courtney Duncan, N5BF, has humble amateur radio beginnings in Texas where he earned a degree in musical piano performance.  Destiny intervened, allowing Courtney to get a degree as an  electronic engineer and a career at JPL, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, associated with NASA and CalTech in Pasadena, California  working on flight radio systems for spacecraft that go to Mars and beyond.  Now retired after 30 years, N5BF is active as the president of the San Bernardino Microwave Society,  amateur microwave operation and contesting,  and moonbounce.

Courtney’s Ham Radio Website
Courtney’s Biography
Courtney’s Tornado Story  from JPL Newsletter
Hometown:  Henreatta, Texas

First License: Age 16, WN5GRZ, 1972, upgrade to WB5GRZ
Mentor: Phil Woodard, W5KRZ

First Rig: 
6DQ6 Novice Transmitter
National HRO 50 Receiver without band coils, big knob 

PeopleVan Clyburn, Piano Performer

Jan King W3GEY
Owen Garriot, Astronaut
Ralph Walio, W6RPK 
Larry Young, JPL
Bill Pickering, JPL
Jay Holiday, W6EJJ
Eric Archer, N6CV (SK)  – need reference
Bob Twigs (CubeSat)
Joe Taylor, K1JT
HG Wells, Author

Burlington Northern Railroad
Railroad Telegraph Operator
Railroad Signaling
Railroad Depot (Station) Master
American Morse Code
Taylor, TX
Hubbard, TX
200 to 400 Khz Filter
Transmitter Chirp
NVIS – Near Vertical Incidence Skywave
National Traffic System
Hubbard Texas Tornado, 1972
GE ProgLine
Baylor University, Waco, TX,  Music Major Piano Performance
Heathkit HW-2036A VHF Transceiver
Broadcast Engineer
FCC Office Dallas TX
Second Class RadioTelephone License
First Class RadioTelephone
GS9 – Federal Government Payscale
Oscar 6 Satellite
Phase 3A Satellite
AMSAT Washington, DC
University of Houston, BSEE
Timex Sinclair Computer
Keplerian Elements of Satellites
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
STS6 Space Shuttle Flight
STS9 Space Shuttle Flight
JPL – Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Goldstone Deep Space Network
GPS Receiver Design
What is FFRDC?  
CalTech, Pasadena
Jet Assisted Takeoff Rockets
Ranger Missions to the Moon, 1960s
Ranger 7
Surveyor Space Missions
Apollo 12 Mission
Voyager 1 Spacecraft
Voyager 2 Spacecraft
Mars Rovers
Galileo Spacecraft
JPL – Flight Radio Section
MARS Helicopter 1800 Grams or less
Zigby Radio
FPGA – Field Programmable Gate Array 
Universal Space Transponder
CubeSat Version Iris Radio Package
Microstat: A New, Small Satellite Bus Concept, 1989, by Courtney Duncan
Oscar Satellite 16 
Oscar Satellite 19
TSFR – This space for rent
P-POD Satellite Dispenser
Mars copter
San Bernardino Microwave Society
Palos Verdes 10 GHz Beacon 
Mt. Ellison Listening Reverse Beacon
4X1AJ Moon Bounce
Shannon Limit 

Greatest challenge facing amateur radio now:  spectrum defense, 

Excited most by: detection of signals far, far away

Advice to new or returning hams: Learn the “Big R Radio”, and how things work

The RSS Feed for all audio content from QSO today is available from here

Please join our QSO Today community by pressing the button below. It is the best way to suggest guests and topics, and provide feedback to Eric, 4Z1UG.
6DQ6 Novice Transmitter
National HRO-50 General Coverage Receiver
N5BF EME Antenna
N5BF 10 GHz Contest Station
​Truck Mounted

Leave a Reply