About Walter Ewanus:
Walter Ewanus was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania
but raised in rural Long Island. Fixing radios as a teenager, Ewanus
was always interested in technology. Serving two years in the Navy,
he participated in an electronic technician program, and after
discharge attended the University of Colorado, Boulder to receive
a degree in electrical engineering. He was employed by Westinghouse
directly from school, and although originally in Pittsburgh, he
soon came to Baltimore. Ewanus also attended Westinghouse Design
School and later received Masters from the University of Maryland
and George Washington University. During his career at Westinghouse,
Ewanus worked on many projects including Bomarc, satellite communications,
B1B, F-117 and transcontinental communications. He retired from
Westinghouse in January of 1991.
In this interview, Ewanus talks about
the many projects and technologies he was involved with at Westinghouse.
Many projects he cannot discuss because they are classified – a
topic covered in the interview – but he shares stories about
his work with NASA and various colleagues at Westinghouse such
as Paul Pan and Harry Smith. Ewanus also talks about changes in
technology he observed over his career, one which saw the shift
from vacuum tubes to transistors and analog to digital. Finally,
Ewanus discusses his career as a working engineer, largely resisting
the push into management or administrative positions.
About the Interview:
WALTER EWANUS: An Interview Conducted
by Sheldon Hochheiser, IEEE History Center, 22 July, 2009
Interview #514 for the National Electronics
Museum and IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and
Electronic Engineers Inc.
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It is recommended that this oral history be cited
Walter Ewanus, an oral history conducted in 2009
by Sheldon Hochheiser, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ,
USA at the National Electronics Museum, Linthicum, MD, USA
Interview: Walter Ewanus
Interviewer: Sheldon Hochheiser
Date: 22 July 2009
Location: National Electronics Museum, Baltimore MD
Background and Education
It's the 22nd of July, 2009. I am Sheldon Hochheiser, from the
IEEE History Center. I am here at the National Electronics Museum
in Maryland with Walter Ewanus. Did I pronounce your name correctly?
That is correct.
Very good. To do an oral history with him, to discuss his life,
his career, and the Westinghouse Defense Electronics Division.
If we could start with a little background, where were you born
Well, I was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, but I was raised on
Long Island. Farm Country, out in the middle, not a city type.
What did your parents do?
Restaurateur. I'm first generation. They are immigrants.
Were you interested in technology, in science, growing up?
Yes, just about all my life. That's true. My dad always said I
wanted to be an engineer, and he was right.
And he would help make it so, and he did.
How did he do that?
Well, I was essentially the community geek, I'll put it that way.
I fixed all the radios,
built them [Laughter] repaired them. At that day in age.
This is back when you were growing up?
Yes. As a teenager.
But right out of high school, I started immediately my freshman
year at Stevens Institute of Technology. I commuted then, from
the middle of Long Island to New Jersey. But I got my freshman
year in before I was entered into the service. I spent two years
in the service, in the Navy which was very instructive and part
of my education. I was a graduate of the electronic technician
program in the Navy, which probably never taught in any school
in the country at that time, but it was very, very appropriate
to my career.
What did they teach you there?
Electronics. Communications, jamming, radar,
you name it. It was very basic and it was about 9-10 months worth
of intense training and education. Classes, 10 hours a day. The
remainder of my service was shipboard until being discharged.
To continue my education, I considered returning to Stevens Institute
of Technology. But, commuting again was not an option. As a youngster,
it was not too bad; however, I was not going to do that again.
So I decided on going far enough away from home that I could not
commute. University of Colorado in Boulder fit that description.
Yes, that would be kind of hard to do from Long Island. How did
you choose that particular school?
Hard to say. It was compare this and compare that, and I said, "Hey,
this sounds pretty good." And there I was.
Mm-hmm. So you went there as an EE—as an EE major?
Yeah. And what was the curriculum like there?
Well, just about like any electrical engineering course. Lots
of math, physics, chemistry, you name it. We covered the waterfront.
It was a well thought out program. And Westinghouse hired me right
out of school there, at graduation, and I've never had another
Starting at Westinghouse
How did you get matched up with Westinghouse?
They came and interviewed on the campus.
As I assume did other companies.
Yes, other companies did, but Westinghouse made me an offer, I
thought it was very good, I liked the company, and well, there
And did you start immediately here in Baltimore?—
Yes, you came right to Baltimore.
Well, it was Pittsburgh originally.
You started first in Pittsburgh.
Which allowed you to take a few orientation courses and travel
and have assignments in the various divisions to learn what Westinghouse
is all about. And also to help you make a decision where you wanted
to work. And I had various assignments for about over a year, about
six to 12 weeks in length each.
And at the end of that you came to Baltimore.
Yes, I pretty much had decided on that.
What was it about this facility that attracted you?
Electronics. Well you know, going way back to my early youth,
particularly the Navy program and working on radar systems, ship
board, I always wondered how they were designed and built. Well,
I said, "I'm going to go to school and find out," so that is probably
where it really started. Now I know.
[Laughter] I guess so.
Bomarc Program and Design School
So what was the first project you worked on when you came to Baltimore?
The Bomarc program. Bomarc A, which is the pulse version, not
the pulse Doppler. The DPN-53 was the outgrowth of that on Pulse
Right. And what was your role in this project?
I did all of the synchronization timing, ranging, testing, and
helped prepare the documentation and deliver it to the customer.
Who are the main people you worked with?
Well, believe it or not, Harry Smith was sort of a latecomer in
that program, but he and I were first working together on the Bomarc
program, so I have known him since then, since he was hired.
So I played project engineer, I suspect, is what you want to call
Okay. And about how long did you work on Bomarc?
Oh, guessing maybe two years. I had an interruption. I also was
called back to Pittsburgh. I was invited to go to their design
school. So I went to the Westinghouse Design School for, I forgot
how long, about six months before I came here permanently.
And what did you study in the design school?
Electrical equipment. Electrical design. Mathematics. Servo mechanisms,
they covered the waterfront. Physics.
To what extent were the things you studied there new to you and
different from what you had studied in Colorado?
It was advanced and more specifically oriented to real products,
but an extension of my math, mathematics education and it was graduate
school material, and graduates of the Westinghouse Design School
were eligible for 12 hours of graduate credits at the University
of Pittsburgh. So that was half of a Master's Degree right there,
but unfortunately, I didn't stay in Pittsburgh, I was here.
But you did eventually get a Master's Degree here?
Working here full-time going to evening school, so I went to University
of Maryland, and got a Master's Degree and Westinghouse paid for
it. And then later I decided to go ahead and go to Graduate School
again at the George Washington University, and got another Master's
Degree, and Westinghouse paid for that. So I was pretty satisfied.
Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So you worked on the Bomarc project for about
About that. Yes, and the DPN—it wasn't designated DPN.
Only on the first Bomarc.
Not the Doppler.
Not the Doppler version.
Only the original version.
So when I left the Bomarc program we started working on Pulse
Doppler, so that is what became one [of] the basics for building
the DPN-53, so I was working on the original developmental models
of the Pulse Doppler system, called the breadboards and the developmental
models, and test models. And I was on that, well, over a half a
dozen years, working on the Pulse Doppler systems.
R&D and Satellite Communications
Okay, but not just for Bomarc?
No, no, this was…
Was this more basic?
More towards the—R…
More towards the R&D end and further away from the production
Yes. Away from the production entirely.
Was that your choice or someone suggest this?
I think I sort of gravitated that way, it is what I enjoyed the
most, and working with people like Harry Smith, who was a… well,
is he a genius or isn't he, I don't know. But he had lots of ideas
and trying to implement them was a challenge, and this is where
the systems evolved and it was fun, doing new things, pushing technology,
and the people I worked with were super.
And can you talk a bit about some of the people?
Yes. The one I guess key individual is Dave Mooney, who unfortunately
has passed away now, but he and I worked very closely as a team
with Harry. Bill Dempsey was another person who we worked with
very closely. And he has passed away unfortunately now, but unfortunately
so has Harry Smith. And here I am. I am ruining the averages.
So you were working for about six years in R&D on Pulse Doppler.
It takes me into the latter part of the 60s, I think. Then I started
a new career, courtesy of Mr. Smith. He wanted to get started into
communications. Now, Westinghouse had a communications department,
but this was ground equipment. He wanted to get us into the aerospace
and space business. So I started dabbling in that, and I think
I was probably in the communications arena for well over 10 years.
That's a fair change from radar, then.
Yes, it was. But we broke a lot of ground and did a whole lot
of new developments and research in areas which had never been
done before, under contract and studies.
And what areas?
communications, really wide-band stuff, like 1.5 gigabit
data rates for not only sending wide-bandwidths of data, but
also for another reason, and that was spread spectrum, which
is, well, that is an interesting arena. It was privacy… Anti-jam….
multiplexing of different signals, which a good example is code
division multiple access, as known today. Well, we did a lot
of experimentation with NASA, proving that theory. Another one
was also a forerunner of GPS.
We did ranging a range rate to a satellite, back before the concept
of GPS was even evolved, and we demonstrated it at a NASA tracking
About when was this?
Okay. Were there contracts from NASA to support this?
Yes, yes we did that.
To support this work.
Reported—and we did this as research for NASA, Goddard.
Right. Right, so you had GPS work?
No, but the work we did was the predecessor for setting specifications
and the concept.
Aircraft Arena and UV Infrared
And did this lead anywhere back in the 60s, or did it stay concept
for a long time?
Well, other companies took it over. QUALCOMM is a good example,
who sells the rights to code division multiple access today. And
they have made it a success. Westinghouse chose not to do that.
They were not in that kind of communications business, but satellites,
yes, and we tried to get into the airborne, aircraft business.
And I applied spread spectrum to that arena. At that time, the
Air Force had a piece of equipment called ARC-50 that is an airborne
transceiver, which had spread spectrum for anti-jamming and privacy.
And my idea was to take the standard receiver, in every aircraft,
usually at the UHF region, called the ARC34. I proposed that I
could build a box, attach it to the ARC34, and make it do everything
the ARC50 would do, at such a fraction of the cost, and modify
the whole inventory with these boxes. The Air Force funded me,
I built it, we tested it, designed it, and it worked.
And then did that get adopted by the Air Force, did it go into
I don't know, because it belongs to the Air Force, obviously.
I don't know what they did.
So you lost track of it.
Right. But I did the R&D and that is alright, it pleased me.
It also applied to another area in that arena, the emergency transceivers
for downed pilots. It had another application, that if we could
adapt the emergency transceivers for the downed pilot application,
by applying spread spectrum to it, we could quiet the zone down
to where he could be picked up by the enemy to something like 1/100th
of the area of which he is down, so the enemy couldn't detect him.
It would only be detected by other aircraft or other personnel,
and it worked. We delivered some of those, testing for the Air
But then again, the Air Force took this and did whatever they
Right. That is correct.
So it was not something closely tied to what eventually became
a production product for the division—
Not for Westinghouse at that time. Because we weren’t in
that business. Business wise. Just to relate something. Westinghouse
is very good at building large things low volume high cost. Other
people could build high volume at low cost, which we couldn't.
So there you are.
But on research, Westinghouse had the capability.
Yes, that is correct.
Now, did Westinghouse pursue research contracts in this area,
or was it a matter of the customers coming to Westinghouse and
saying, "Could you do this research?"
No, the technology applies even to radar systems. You know, just
like B1B, there is pulse compression circuitry. And that is spread
spectrum, essentially. It is pseudo-noise, coded pulses. So basically
the technology is transferrable between the two, and it is also
part of the privacy and security involved, spread spectrum is one
way of doing it. So it's an interesting arena.
And you said you did this again for about 10-12 years?
We did it for about 10 years, right.
And any particular reason why the program ended, or did you just
move to something else?
No, I think it ended. I think the division manager at that time
decided it was not a business that we should be in, so he shut
And who was that?
John Stuntz at that time.
Yes. So when he shut it down, I guess you had to move to something
Well, believe it or not, it was a strange area, almost unrelated
to the other two, but it was in the optical UV and infrared region.
So we were flight testing, building simulated programs for satellite
reconnaissance and flying an aircraft to simulate the system and
setting the specifications so that the government could procure
recon satellites and sensors for it. And I did that for golly,
it must have been over 12 years in that arena.
So about what time period are we talking about?
The 70s and some of the 80s.
What agency of the government was funding this research?
I'll say Air Force. But it related to other places of course,
which I am not free to talk about.
I understand that even after many years, there are a lot of projects
that went on in the division that are still…
But Westinghouse is involved in building sensors in that arena,
too, so it was—they were very interested in performing these
tests for the government. Which included other manufacturers, too,
by the way. So it was a pretty broad program.
And how closely did you work with other manufacturers, with other
defense contractors on this?
Very little. No, we were always working with them hands off. Testing
their equipment, so of course it became very sensitive. So we were
obligated to keep it separate, totally separate. So essentially
B1B Program and Inverse SAR
But then I came back, out of that, and went back into the radar
business, believe it or not, with Bill Jones, on the B1B program.
So I was involved in that. But in its latter stages, not at the
What did you do for the B1 program?
At the time, I did several studies with Boeing on future technology
and applying it to the B1B. As a for instance, one of the missions
in the study was: The Soviets at that time had all of their intercontinental
missiles—not all, but most of them were deployed on vehicles,
and moved every day. From night to night, they would have a different
location. The B1B mission was to find them, at that time, and at
lower level, and destroy. So this was one of the things that I
worked on, how to evolve the B1B and give it the capability to
locate and destroy these Soviet missiles. That was an interesting
project. And we came up with some viable solutions. And we also
looked into other modes of application that we were dabbling in,
one is called Inverse SAR. Inverse SAR—is… I will
try to explain, Synthetic Aperture Radar.
Which is a mapping mode.
Inverse SAR—well, in a mapping mode, you use the Doppler
component of frequency to map the ground in high resolution. Now,
this says you could be able to see what is on a terrain, but you
can't—usually the resolution is not enough to be able to
identify, unless it is fairly large, with oh, say, 10 feet of resolution,
which is relatively crude. But Inverse SAR used a different concept.
It uses a Doppler component of the target itself that you can map
the outline and come up with the target characteristics, like a
ship. Inverse SAR actually paints you a picture of the ship, and
we built and demonstrated that with B1B radar, it can be done.
Now, we weren't big in that arena. Texas Instruments was the leader
in ISAR. And it was more of a software program than a hardware
program. Really, anybody could do it. And so we said, "Okay, if
the customer is interested in this, we will show them that we can
do it, too." And we did. So we had several pictures of several
carriers here, and I think those pictures are unclassified, they
are available. Interesting. Pushing the frontiers of the science,
believe me. There was quite a few things that we did, under contract
with Boeing, who was looking into the future of the course of the
airplane and the radar system, which would help their cause, too,
and business aspects. That was my main mission there.
And did you spend much time out in Seattle on this?
No, they came here, believe it or not.
As you know, I was just talking to Bill
Jones, and he was talking about the amount of time he spent
out in Seattle.
Oh, I know, but the people I worked with were all here, so we
couldn't move as a team there very easily, so Boeing sent their
engineers here, and we would have a monthly get together and review
our study efforts. It was sort of an open contract to go ahead
and do these things, and it worked out very well.
So then this fed back into improvements in the B1.
Exactly. Just like these radars now, there is not just a single
Because some have 20 different kinds of modes, and each one of
them has a breakdown, a very complex system these days.
Well, the advance of technology allows you to just do so much
That is correct.
I mean, You started, when everything was still analog.
Not in the B1B, but your career.
That is true, because I saw the transition from vacuum
tubes to transistors.
As a matter of fact, as a note, in Bomarc A, I was the first
one to use a transistor approved by the customer. Everything
else was vacuum tubes. So I actually added a transistor to circuit
Was there something specific, some specific goal that led you
to add that transistor?
Yes, miniaturization, reliability, heat dissipation, just about
everything you could think of. You know, the future was in solid
And we knew it, so I was involved in trying to evolve solid state
applications in radar and communications. Pushing the frontiers
of technology, isn't that wonderful?
It is challenging. I hope the young people today feel the same
I certainly know some who do.
Of course, what were the frontiers when you were a young man and
what is the frontier to a young man today are…
But there are always new frontiers out there.
But there are always new frontiers.
Returning to Radar
And then what came next in your career?
Believe it or not, I went back to the flight test program of testing
sensors. I believe at that time we were working with the infrared
spectrum, for a short period of time, but I always felt that I
was sort of out of place. The program had evolved into other aspects,
other people were doing a good job and I think they really did
not need me. So I came back to the radar arena, and advanced development.
And through all of this you are a working engineer.
Unlike some of the other people I've spoken to who eventually
pretty much entirely became managers and administrators.
No, I refused to be a manager or even involved in that chain.
Project engineering, that's fine, but beyond that…
It just wasn't your cup of tea.
No. I like my programs, I evolved them, I'll develop them, but
I don’t want to manage people. Technically, yes, the people
reported to me technically, and they were good people.
But I didn't cotton up to management.
Defense Electronics Division Environment
Who were some of the key people you worked with over the years?
Well, I'd say Harry Smith, Dave Mooney, Bill Skillman, Bill Jones.
Bill Dempsey. Good gosh, I have a list like that long. Just about
everybody, in almost every field. Gene
Strull, Paul Pan. Just about everybody, I think. I don't think
I missed any.
What was the Defense Electronics Division like as a place to work
in terms of colleagues, in terms of social life, camaraderie?
We were very, very close. Particularly those, at least the ones
I am aware of and been closely associated with, like Harry Smith
and John Stuntz in advanced development, it seems like we all took
care of each other. We were all from out of town.
Apparently, the majority of us. We all took care of each other.
The women would also take care of the other women who were pregnant
and saw to their welfare and we each took care of each other, and
it sort of evolved as a real team, not only work ethics, but socially
too. And we still see a lot of each other, we still socialize and
we still get together at least once a year.
What other projects did you do?
Oh boy, so many.
Well, I'm ready to listen to you talk about any or all of them.
F-117 and Transcontinental Communications
You're here. Okay. Well, there was another interesting one. It
was an Air Force program, and I won't be able to tell you a whole
lot about it, but it was the F-117. Are you familiar with that?
That is the Stealth aircraft.
Still in service, still operational. We were under contract by
the Air Force to study the feasibility of using a radar sensor
in the F-117 and make it all-weather. The F-117 used an optical
system for detection and guidance, which of course is not all-weather,
but radar would be, so we looked at the feasibility of doing that.
And after a year's worth of study and design work, we said it could
be done. So the Air Force gave us a contract to go ahead and put
a radar into an F-117 and demonstrate the feasibility of doing
this. And it worked on the first flight. That is about as much
as I can tell you.
Sounds like you spent a good chunk of your career in things that
still many years later are still classified.
Yes. That is the only way I can describe it.
Other projects. Well… it seems like there are so many,
I don't know which ones to address.
Well, since I don't even have a list of them, I can't ask you “tell
me about this project.”
Well, in communications we had an interesting experiment, funded
by Westinghouse R&D funds. We were looking at transcontinental
communications at that time. This is prior to satellites and things
like that, so one of the things we looked at was using the moon
as a reflector to reflect the signal from coast to coast. Believe
it or not, we built a terminal here in Baltimore and started to
build a second terminal in California, so we could bounce signals
off the moon and use it for intercontinental communications. Well,
we never got to complete the system at the other end, but we were
able to go round trip here in Baltimore, so we successfully tracked
the moon. We had a 12-foot antenna mounted in the back parking
lot, and we would track the moon and bounce signals off it, and
believe it or not, we used the APG-55 radar transmitter. Which
is the pulsed doppler C-band version of the first model that we
built. We used that transmitter as the transmitter to do the job,
and it worked. We had to build a receiver of course, a low noise
receiver to do that, and we did that, too. But we never got to
complete that job. Number one, business wise there is not a whole
lot of you might say profitable endeavors in bouncing signals off
the moon. It is mostly a research program for universities and
it wasn't our cup of tea. But we had fun,
Was this in the 19—in the late 50s?
In the 60s. I would say mid-60s.
So this was after AT&Ts Telstar
Satellite? That was '62.
Time period is about the same, I don’t know. Before or after,
I can't say.
I would say after, but I am not sure.
I am not sure, but sending signals off satellites is something
that was well-known and well-publicized.
Oh, well, at that time, they did put in orbit the balloon.
The coated balloon as a reflector.
Right, that is Echo in 1960.
That is Echo. That is about the same time period. We said, "Well,
if you use the moon, you can go further." In other words, you've
got your reflectors 220,000 miles away, instead of 150 miles.
So it could be literally intercontinental.
Further NASA Work
We did a lot of work with NASA.A lot of study programs that we
did with particularly satellite, application technology satellite
number five, ATS5, as it is known. We did a lot of pseudo-noise
signaling through ATS5, which was again the forerunner to the GPS
concept. And we were demonstrated quite successful. We were measuring
accuracy to less than one foot, and we have data supporting it.
It was paid for by NASA. They supported it as a contract.
Is this also in the 60s?
Yes. Now, it had another application, and like I say, it was the
code division multiple access, which is now used in several of
the—as Qualcomm is one of the biggest operators of CDMA,
but NASA's concept was to use a satellite to address ground sensors
all over the world. Environmental, temperature, weather, you name
it. Water. Farming. All over the world, if you use code division
multiple access, you could address all these sensors all over the
world through a satellite and then relay to a common station, and
that was a concept that NASA was trying to develop. What else?
So was CDMA first devised here at Westinghouse?
Oh, I don't think it was first devised here. No, it was a known
concept at the time, but mostly on paper.
It was known that if you use spread spectrum, many users can use
the same frequency band, because they use different codes. So that
is where the code division multiple access comes from.
So if you use it for communications purposes, you could send individual
messages to somebody who was tuned into the same code. Which is
also true of the anti-jamming aspects, because spreading the signal
out and then correlating it, you reject all other signals and only
receive that one.
You're pushing me, I’m trying to remember. So many were
classified like: Longbow, WMP (Westinghouse Matrix Program), DCRP
(Data Collection and Reduction Program), F-117 Program.
Well, I know, but since I don't know what projects you worked
on, it is kind of hard for me to prompt you.
Working on Technology
I know. But most of my career was not projects, it was working
Okay, so maybe other technologies. Maybe in using “projects,” I
am using the wrong word.
I think I was the first one to develop rapid acquisition of Doppler
frequencies. The problem is that acquiring these things takes time.
So I worked on my own theories in this aspect, and as a R&D
program at Westinghouse. I built a concept which greatly increased
the speed for acquisition of a specific target, so it didn't take
time to do that, and in the process, I developed a paper and gave
it at the IEEE convention. It was well received. Interesting.
Mm-hmm. Did you have many opportunities to give papers?
Always had opportunities but the classification always puts a
damper on it.
I guess what I mean by opportunities is just that. If you are
doing classified work, then it becomes rather difficult to share
Yes, but there is a lot of outgrowth from these things. There
are applications like the flight testing that I did was not simply
flight testing the data, but we had to acquire it.
And it was pretty broadband data, just recording that data was
a problem. So we were recording really wideband data for continued
periods of time and able to reproduce that data, using a lot of
computer processing, but it had to be developed and proven and
we did accomplish that. And provided the customer with real simulated
How did you record the data?
It was a tape recorder, but it was a special tape recorder. We
basically broke up a multi-channel recorder, 12 channels, which
was high speed at that time.
But the data was spread across 12 channels, so you essentially
were recording 12 times the data on one track and then reassembling
it and reconstructing the data. And that was a challenge at that
time. Then we had to build all the interface equipment from the
sensor to the recorder, there was a lot of stuff in between. And
we did a lot of carving of the airplane, too, cutting holes in
it and things like that.
To get your equipment in?
Actually, a lot of the flight testing was done with an aircraft
called the NRA 3B. There were only three like it in the country,
and we had one here. It is a Naval reconnaissance aircraft and
it has a pressurized bomb bay, which was a natural for putting
equipment in it. And it was a pretty nice aircraft for that purpose.
So in that, you'll say flight test engineering had a challenge,
too, as did the pilot.
They really performed. They required pinpoint accuracy, precision
flying, and they did it. They lasted something like 15 years, so
the customer was pretty happy.
That is a long time for a project to last, isn't it?
Yes. I think so.
Advanced Development, Paul Pan and Harry Smith
Well, let's see. So we’ve talked about things well into
the 80s now.
Well, I retired at the end of the 80s, so I was working on proposals
and things like that in Advanced Development at the latter stage
of the game.
Any proposals in general or specific?
And I was also managing the R&D programs from Advanced Development,
Does that mean they finally got you to manage people?
Well, technically managed.
I guess I don't know what you mean by technically managed. Can
The research and development, Advanced Development, as we called
it, was broken up. Each year we would submit, groups or people
would submit their desires to research or study. And we would sift
and sort through about 15 or 20 of these projects and fund each
one with Westinghouse funds. Now, the advantage is that this R&D
or Advanced Development is also funded by the government. They
will return a certain amount of your research back to you, if you
report all this to the government, which we did. And I coordinated
and technically put together the R&D program for Advanced Development
in this arena, and you say I managed, I was the only one who was
running it. To begin with, they would allocate the funds so I would
give the people all their allotments and require that they report
monthly and I would put all those reports back together again,
report it to Paul Pan, who was the chief scientist at that time.
And we would submit those to the government and get reimbursed
for maybe 50 or 60 percent of what we spent. And it was very successful.
So I had fun, involved with many facets of technology this way,
too. It kept me on board.
Sure. What can you tell me about Dr. Pan?
Well, what would you like to know about him?
As a matter of fact, I worked for him, specifically, for a period
He is certainly one of the names that has come up a number of
times, so I don’t know what you can tell me about him.
What was he like as a manager, as a person, as a scientist.
Well, technically I reported to him. He was my supervisor, obviously,
but we reported to him also and Dr. Pan was a pure scientist, good,
pure scientist, and he loved technology, and he was in the right
place to do that. So he surrounded himself with a lot of talent,
a lot of PhDs who are doing a lot of research and the engineering
which he was involved with, with us, and supported, and I said,
I worked for him for about a year or a year and a half and enjoyed
every minute. Super fellow. I got to know him quite well.
And similarly, what more can you tell me about Harry Smith? You
have mentioned him several times already.
[Laughter] Well, a very complex man, but very interesting. One
of his virtues was he understood people. Not only was he technically
competent, but he knew people. So he could put things together
and make them work. And he did. Everybody liked Harry. Everybody
knew him by his first name, not only in engineering, but in the
shop or anywhere, people called him Harry. The painter, the plumber,
the carpenter, would all call him Harry. And he walked daily through
the shop, just to say hello to those people, and everybody, of
course, admired him. He knew people. He could get results. So people
worked that much harder, just because they knew they were doing
it for Harry. But he was great to work for, even in the early stages.
He didn't want to be a manager, by the way. He was a fellow engineer
when he was hired and he wanted to stay in the technology, just
like I wanted to, but they forced him into management, and when
they did, he was organizing his resignation party. He was going
to quit, he really was. So we had a resignation party. But he didn't.
He took the job.
He became supervisor and manager and of course a great one. One
of the funny stories.
Please. Go ahead.
More? You want another funny story?
Okay. We can always delete it from tape later.
While we were developing the Pulse Doppler radar, I did the design
and development work on the pulsed portions of it, not the transmitter,
not the receiver, but the range track, the synchronizer, and those
pieces, which pulled it all together. The range tracking required
a very specific type of circuitry, called an integrator, which
means, as you lose signal, you still want to track the target and
anticipate where it is going to be. So the integrator became a
very important criteria in determining that capability. It was
incorporated in the other radars, the pulse radars of Westinghouse,
like APQ35 and 41, they all had that capability but the technology
for integrating; mathematically of course it was a perfect concept,
but to do it electronically, it was difficult. And doing it with
tubes, which was made solid state later, but this technology evolved
over time, and there were two people at Westinghouse who really
did a wonderful job in that arena, Doctor Clarence Glover, I don't
know if he is one of your interviewees, and Dan Healy. Two wonderful
engineers. They developed chopper stabilized integrators, and later
did it in solid state. This is sort of building up my story. Now,
remember we were building this pulse Doppler at the time on a shoestring.
And looking at this super technology, Harry couldn't afford it.
So he wouldn't let me go into exotic circuitry. He said let's show
feasibility and stop there and worry about it later. Well, it was
not the way to do things, I didn't think. So under the table, I
was able to get a couple of these integrators from Dr. Glover and
Dan Healy. I put them in the circuitry and of course it worked
gangbusters. But Harry insisted I do the old way, which required
tweaking, rebalancing continually. He said, "Don't worry about
it, I will come up to that penthouse every morning and tweak it
and make it right." So what I did, and I didn't tell him this,
but Dave Mooney knew it, I provided a potentiometer on the front
that Harry would come and use it to tweak and make it right, every
morning. Well, there was no wires on that potentiometer. He did
this for a month. Went up there and tweaked that system every day,
until I showed him and said, "Harry," I thought he'd fire me on
the spot, but no, he broke out laughing. So did everybody else.
And by the way, I still hear that story from other people, they
feed it back to me, they think that was great.
That is an excellent story.
So that tells you a little bit about me.
And a little bit about Harry.
And a little bit about Harry. Speaking of, there was another story
which was not really a comedy but a serious one. Dave Mooney and
I were working on the original X BAND Pulse Doppler radar, and
at that time, we had only two gridded klystrons in the world for
the transmitter. Only two. A gridded [Klystron|klystron]], by the
way, is one of the secrets into Pulse Doppler radar, because it
was able—it had the ability to create very short pulses at
high rate. Well, over the years, we were working on a system, the
transmitter would degrade in power, so the one was in there, working
at a fraction of the power that it had when it was new, but there
was a brand new one in the crate. Dave Mooney and I decided to
go ahead and get the new klystron and install it in the transmitter.
And we went and got the crate, got it up into the penthouse and
disassembled the crate, took out the old klystron and put it on
the bench. And the klystron, by the way, has a huge magnet. Just
like a magnetron.
So we took the klystron out of the crate, and put it on the bench.
Can you imagine what happened? Two klystrons collided and broke
the stem on the new one. Well, if you would have seen two engineers
working together, Dave Mooney and I, "We are certainly going to
be fired." And we both went down to tell Harry what we had done.
He broke out laughing. And never mentioned it again, although it
was a funny story. But that happened to us. But it is another experience.
You said I could tell you these things.
No, please, well, this is part of what really makes the place
Yes, I hope.
Beyond just, "Here I worked on this." Well, these stories, I think,
really give character to the place.
Well, I hope so.
I think they are good.
About the same time, we were also working around the clock, 24
hours a day, because we had a demonstration for the Air Force coming
up for the X-BAND Pulse Doppler, which they were funding, and they
were coming en masse to go see this. So we were working around
the clock to go ahead and prepare it for this demonstration. And
while working around the clock, it was hot summer days, and it
was very hot out in the penthouse which wasn't air conditioned.
And it was pretty sweaty work. So we worked at night. At that time
and age, we all wore ties, shirts and ties, but of course not midnight
shift. So the midnight shift, let's see, how was it. I can't remember
now. Johnny Pearson and somebody else were working the midnight
shift. Well, the security guards come around once an hour. They
[were] able to check security and also for fire and what have you.
And they would go out and check every place including the penthouse.
Well, at that time, that evening, the two engineers working on
it decided to wear shorts under their trousers and strip down to
shorts when they were working in the hot evening hours. There is
nobody else where, so it was all right. Well, the guard got all
excited about this and he wrote it up as he said he found two engineers
in the penthouse with their pants off.
And that was disseminated. [Laughter] Needless to say, it broke
up the whole place.
But did they continue to wear shorts on hot midnight shifts?
No, they didn't. They didn't want that story to get out again.
It was kind of embarrassing to them. But they did wear a shirt
and tie, of course. Oh my what can I say?
I don't know if you have more…
Made you laugh.
Yes, it did.
If you have other stories, I am certainly happy to hear them.
Well, I am kind of running dry.
Well, in that case, have we covered your career?
Well, you sure did.
Customers and Retirement
I don't know of any other highlight. There are of course a lot
of material and projects that I worked on, but they are all related
to radar, pushing technology. You name it, I think I worked on
it. A lot of proposals, a lot of studies. Friendly customers.
Did you work closely with your customers over the years?
Absolutely. Like at NASA, we worked with the director of communication
systems, down in Goddard. We would have evening sessions with him
in his office to try to come up with systems we wanted to test.
And we would go on from there. And he would fund us. Likewise with
Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the Air Force and Radar and
Communications departments, they were always friendly with us and
helpful and supportive. They picked up the Pulse Doppler radar
and got us started. And by the way, I have a copy of the last report,
the only one in existence that was classified, I left it with Alice
[Donahue] to put in the library.
It was classified at the time, it is a final report on Pulse Doppler
radar, X and C Bands. And before I retired, I worked with security
to get approval from the Air Force to declassify it. All copies
were destroyed but this one. I spent a month declassifying every
page of that report, and I have the last copy, and I gave it to
Alice to put into the library today.
That is great.
And in the flyleaf, there is a list of all the names of all the
people, three columns worth of names, who worked on Pulse Doppler
radar at that time, and the report's data I think is 1959. It would
be interesting to look at.
Yes. So, let's see, we have covered your projects. When did you
As of January '91.
What led you to retire at this point?
Age. I had turned 65, it was time to retire.
So you hit the retirement age.
It was time.
Can you think of anything that we have left out that you would
like to add about your career?
No, I think you covered the waterfront.
Well, in that case, I think we are done.
Wonderful. Unless you have anything specific.
No, I don't have anything else.