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From Phil

posted Feb 6, 2010, 9:21 PM by Katherine Wood

My story is an example of Travis’ enthusiasm about technology.

I am an Amateur Radio operator and Travis worked with me at NASA Dryden.  As I got to know Travis I found out that anything technology related interested him and I also learned that his Dad was a HAM radio operator too.  I shared with Travis one of my favorite HAM activities: Transmitter hunting (kind of a treasure hunt with radios).  I shared the basic premise and when I saw that he was truly interested I invited him to go with me on our next T-hunt.  This hunt was a shared event, our Antelope Valley group and the Palos Verde group, kind of a Transmitter Hunt on steroids.  The day of the hunt I explained that normally someone would hide a transmitter that transmitted every few minutes for about a minute.  I then explained that we had a receiver with a directional antenna and other geek stuff in the truck. With this equipment and radio direction finding techniques we would get close with the car and then when the signal was so strong that it overwhelmed the system in the truck we would park and find it on foot.  I then gave Travis a hand held radio and directional antenna and a brief tutorial on how he would use them once we leave the truck on foot.  This hunt was a little different, there would be 15 transmitters not just one.  Travis was jazzed.  We went out early to hide the Transmitters I had made up and then met the others for breakfast in Mojave.   

We left the restaurant and turned on the radio we could here several transmitters. I told Travis to pick one and we would go find it.  It wasn’t long before we needed to stop and set out on foot.  At this point Travis was quite enthused about it all and before the truck came to a stop he jumped out with the hand held radio in one hand, and the antenna in the other.  He then spun around on his toes in what could only be described as the Snoopy Dance.   

Travis brought this enthusiasm to what ever he did.  From his DARPA challenge (R Junk Works), to the elaborate Halloween display he and Kathy put together every year.  It was fun to share these things with Travis. I feel privileged to have known him and honored to call him friend.