I’m Deirdre Hebert, an engineer, a licensed Amateur Radio Operator with an Extra-class license (AB1ST) and a broadcast engineer at WSCA-LP. My specialty is embedded systems.
I’ve been interested in electronics since I was a child, being fascinated by what all those colorful components that made up electronic circuits could do. While young, I spent a great deal of time building kits and radios and taking things apart (and sometimes putting them back together again!)
In High School, I was one of the AV geeks, showing films, operating the video cameras and repairing film projectors, televisions, record players, videotape recorders, stage lighting systems, and just about anything that was broken. I also developed an interest in shortwave radio and computers.
After High School, I joined the Air Force and was a Ground Radio Communication Equipment technician and earned the Air Force Commendation Medal because while stationed at North Truro AFS, our radio site didn’t have a single failure during three years of weekly testing by the Air division.
Leaving the Air Force, I went to work for a small company called Dover Electronics. This was an interesting job because it combined engineering and repair work. It was one of those jobs where you never knew what you’d be doing one day to the next. There was a lot of consumer electronics repair, but we also dealt with projection televisions, and part of the business involved interfacing those projection sets to computer equipment – something that was a good deal more difficult then than now, and not nearly as common.
From there, I went to 2-Way Communications in Newington, NH where I maintained communication systems for public utilities and public safety organizations. The work was quite varied, and one day could find me on a bench troubleshooting a synthesized trunked radio, and the next checking an antenna atop a 100 foot antenna tower on top of a mountain.
After this, I went to General Electric where I designed, built and maintained test and calibration equipment that was used in the production of electronic watthour meters. Some of these test and calibration systems include a high precision clock calibrator, a system to test modems on self-reporting watthour meters, a multiple channel RS-232 banked switching system and an external modem that allowed for the testing of demand recorders while they were live-tested in an environmental test chamber.
I left GE to take a position with ETEC, Inc in W. Peabody MA, where we built automated test equipment for the MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) industry. While there, I wrote instrument drivers for LabView, designed, built and maintained test systems for such companies as Motorola, Ford, Sensonor and many others.
These systems included pH test systems, pressure and vibration test systems, that were installed in many different companies.
Some of the more interesting projects I worked on include:
A power Distribution unit for a test system in Italy that converted the 3-phase , 380V local power to the 480V 3-phase and 115V single phase required by our test system’s components. This unit also provided E-stop and system status annunciators and alarms.
In 2002, with troubles with the economy, ETEC foundered, and I started working for myself. The most interesting project to date has been the X-harp, which is an all-electronic harmonica-like musical instrument.
Where do we go from here?
My client base is growing and I’m taking on more interesting projects. But I’m trying to keep the number of projects fairly small so that I can give them the attention they deserve. I’m also working on an educational project, offering weekend classes in electronics at my office, which are designed to give hobbyists a step-up. Along with this, I’m working on a series of electronic kits that will be both educational and functional.
If you have a project that you’d like to see come to fruition, please feel free to contact me. With a wide array of experience, the chance is that I’ll be able to help you bring your idea to fruition.