About Me

Most of the people who visit Rock Ends know me already, either IRL or online. But, just in case someone wanders across this page I decided a little personal info might be in order. I’ll start with the statistics.

  • Name: Tom Hise
  • Age: Born in 1943
  • Location: Near Shellsburg, Iowa
  • Education: BSEE University of Michigan
  • Occupation: Retired
  • Occupation History: Started in 1966 working at Collins Radio Co. which later became a division of Rockwell International. There I did both hardware and software design in the areas of automatic test equipment, TACAN navigation equipment, GPS user equipment, General Aviation cockpit displays and a number of other projects.
  • Married to wife Jan since 1974

Now that I’m retired I have a lot of time to indulge in my numerous interests:

Ham radio (call sign NCØO) I was first licensed in 1957 but was inactive due to college and work. In 1983 I got re-interested and received my current call sign. I mostly operate on CW (Morse code) and chase DX (foreign stations). At last count I’ve communicated with over 330 different countries* and also the MIR Space Station.

* In Ham radio “country” has a meaning different from standard usage. For example, Hawaii is considered a separate country due to its distance from the mainland USA.

Amateur Astronomy Last year I just installed a new observatory dome for my telescope. Weather and some mechanical problems have kept me from using it as much as I would like but that should change over the summer months.

Photography I’ve always played with photography but when digital cameras came along I really got into it. I’m no expert, just a guy who likes to take pictures and show some of them on my web site.

Travel This is as much Jan’s interest as mine. Since we first married we have traveled quite a bit. First on backpacking and skiing vacations, later car tours in our 1991 Mazda Miata, and now getting into foreign travel.

Collecting weird music What can I say, Dr. Demento is my hero.

Computing/Internet I’ve been interested in computers since my college days (Fortran, punched cards and printed I/O). In the late 60’s I began programing special purposed computers used for controlling automatic test equipment and discovered what fun that could be. With the development of the microprocessor I realized I could actually have my own computer. Using a sample 8080 chip, in 1975/76, I built PC boards and created my own computer. It had 12k of memory, ran at 2 MHz, and used audio cassettes for mass storage. I had to write my own operating system, word processor and a specialized data-base for cataloging my Science Fiction books.

Later I moved up to a homebuilt Z-80 based S-100 bus system running CP/M with two 8″ floppy drives. Eventually we purchased one of the first IBM PCs running DOS. Now I have four Windows machines, another running Linux and several hand-held gadgets that are all more powerful than my first 8080 machine.

I got online in 1992 (I think) on the Prodigy service. I stayed there until they shut down and then moved over to the GEnie service. It wasn’t long after when this “Internet” stuff started being the rage and I signed up for a dial-up account with a real ISP.

Science Fiction Since I was a kid I’ve loved Science Fiction and in the mid-60’s I discovered Fantasy (through the Lord of the Rings trilogy). I began attending SF conventions in the 70’s and have been doing that ever since. Jan and I attend at least 3 conventions a year, usually Conestoga, Conquest and Icon. When we can we also go to the annual WorldCon or NASFIC