It’s been less than 72 hours

Dylan’s mom brought him over for what I thought would be a quick visit.

It was anything but quick!

We bumped elbows with masks on, and I said “Hey man, I’m Stephen.”, his mom walked past us and basically handed him off to me.  So I walked him into the office and his eyes went wide as saucers!  I wasn’t expecting him to come over, the ‘shack’ is a wreck, but he didn’t see any dust or clutter.  He walked right into the room and started pointing…”I want that, I want that.. I definitely want that!” and then he looked into “my corner” and said “What’s that?!”  and I with a grin ear-to-ear said:

 “That Dylan is my special project ‘GridTracker’

You all know what happens next… His mom was busy with stuff and we chatted and we packed their car with the box and a few other things we discovered and they went home.

I got a quick update a couple hours later, he wasn’t allowed to open the box until he cleaned his room.  We all know that story too.  

So I’m waiting for an update and he will probably be on our Discord server soon.  So when you see him, please wave and make him feel at home.

It’s been less than 48 hours

Dylan has outgrown the “200-in-1 kit” and moved onto the logic proto board.  His parents sent me a video of him showing off the 4-bit logic circuit he built and due to its age the switches were ‘rusty/faulty’ so I put together a box of ‘spare’ parts, because over the years I have heaps of those parts, the parts I found in that ‘basement’ in south-west Colorado.

I wrote him a letter and being conscious of our times I decided not to print it.  I wrote on the box a link  “https://bit.ly/3drGrw3” for him to open first when he’s handed the sealed box.

I am a mentor, wow does this feel awesome!

And to be a little self-serving .. I put an “RTL-SDR” a ‘duck’ antenna and a “GridTracker” token at the bottom.  🙂

A new chapter begins

It’s been about 24 hours.

I spoke with his parents just now.

He found the manual for the “200-in-1 Electronic Projects Kit” online right away, and they report;

“He was making ‘cat’ noises with it last night!”

I think he’s a permanent member now.

I have to share a story with you

My love of everything electronics started when I “had” to go visit my grumpy old grandfather on mom’s side, for two weeks when I had just turned 10.

He lived on a lake in SW Colorado during the summers.  It was a nice cabin and about 3 days in, I played out the whole nature thing.  But I had access to a canoe and was told where my grandpa’s wife’s sister lived across the lake.

So, my skinny butt in jean cutoffs and a t-shirt paddled across the lake to meet them.

They had a hot tub! Omg, I was in heaven… 

So i played and played there. And then she came out and asked me what I was interested in and I said.. ‘I dunno, I like taking apart radios and appliances and stuff”.. I had no idea what made them tick so i pulled them apart.

She handed me a towel and told me to dry off, and took me to the ‘basement’…

And it was a glorious sight to behold…

Washed in white fluorescent light were cables, circuits and parts and parts and parts everywhere!

My eyes lit up.  She said she needed to make a phone call as I browsed the cool stuff.

She got off the phone and turned to me and said “My son is an engineer with UpWithPeople.”

I didn’t know what an engineer was, but I listened as she described, roughly, as parents do when they don’t understand what it is “we” do.

And said “He would like you to look over there somewhere, there’s a box and it says “30-in-1 electronics project kit” and to grab it and open it up and read the first paragraph”

And that was it.. I was done… I had my life open before me.

So. Now, today…  

A friend came by and saw my shack for the first time and mentioned their boy who is 12 is super excited about this stuff but doesn’t know where to begin, because of the pandemic etc. and just not having anyone to give him a push in the right direction.

I went to my shelf and pulled out my “200-in-1 Electronics Project Kit” and a blue powered proto board with leds and switches and 7400’s and a bundle of wires and handed them to his parents and said, give him this and tell him “Welcome to the club.”  

I’m waiting to hear how that goes. 

So what that means for us here at GridTracker.org, we are starting a “STEM” initiative, where you can choose to be a mentor and with a gentle hand show new people the world of technology and maybe they will get the “spark”, like you have.

Donation Question

I long time GridTracker user posed a question today on the mailing list. Wanting to know if they could donate again to get some more tokens “poker chips”. To which I replied…


Thank you so much for your early donation, donations from you and people like you kept me going when I thought I was spinning my wheels.

Now that GridTracker the program is officially part of:

GridTracker.org  “An amateur radio community based around free and open source software and services, fostering international goodwill”

We will be accepting donations again, but for now it is suspended pending a business id where we can set up proper accounting and accreditation. 

That said; I have a ‘metric boat load’ of tokens! 


In fact, NR0Q has come up with another cool token of appreciation that is equally, if not more cool than the poker-chips!

We are going to do something with them both.

I’m thinking  ‘Ambassadors of GridTracker’ has a decent ring to it, and I think we’ll do something special therein.

So for now, I don’t think you’ll need to donate again to get tokens, but we’ll create a path so you can get your hands on some!

Stay on frequency!