P. C. Electronics
Tom (W6ORG) & Mary Ann (WB6YSS)
The Leaders in Amateur Television Equipment

Who We Were

PC Electronics began as an Amateur Radio hobby designing circuits for transmitting and receiving Amateur Television (ATV), UHF varactor multipliers and also teletype encoder, decoder and autostart boards for use on Air Force MARS teletype traffic nets - See the old 1968 film short Hams Wide World starting at minute 21:58. As a result of writing articles on these circuits for 73 and West Coast Amateur magazines, many hams asked for printed circuit boards. The company name was chosen in 1965 as PC Electronics from making Printed Circuit boards part time in our garage and expanded over time to a variety of complete stuffed, soldered and tested boards. This was more than a decade before Personal Computers and we started getting blind calls from those looking for computer gear. Our daughter Kelly, KE6STX and son Rick, N6UEM stuffed and soldered boards for us while they were going to college at Cal Poly Pomona and we also contracted out to a local assembly house for the larger quantity production. Mary Ann, WB6YSS, handled sales, the books and shipping. We formally closed the business December 31, 2014, but will keep the www.hamtv.com web site going as well as answer any questions about ATV and help trouble shoot any of our gear via email for many years to come - back to being a hobby.

PC Electronics-first ATV downconverter design
Our first 70cm ATV downconverter design.

Hams in the mid 1960's modified military surplus or tube type FM two-way commercial transmitters for ATV by video modulating the final tetrode tube grid bias - RCA CMU-15 - or triode cathode - Motorola T-44. We designed simple modulator boards for these applications: VM-1 for the tetrode tube grids, VM-2 for the higher power tetrodes, VM-3 for collector modulating the final transistor in the VHF Engineering TX432 board, and VM-4 for cathode modulating triode tubes. We even flew ATV in a LA County Sheriffs Bell 47 helicopter supporting the Pasadena Rose Parade in 1968 and 1969. The modified RCA CMU-10 tube transmitter in the 70cm band was placed in the victims basket along with a DC to AC inverter and high voltage power supply. Antenna was a homebrew vertical colinear made with aluminum clothes line wire on a broom stick fastened to the basket. A real kluge, but it worked. See the Rose Parade and ATV section of the 1979 film short World of Amateur Radio starting at minute 10:22.

ATV from a helicopter

In the mid to late 70's we expanded to producing packaged ready to go ATV downconverters and in 1977 the company became a full time business with the production of the TC-1 10 Watt Transceiver. They were manufactured until about 1985 with various upgrades. In 1989 we flew our TC70-1 ATV transceiver plus 15 Watt amplifier in our own Enstrom F28C helicopter supporting the Pasadena Rose Parade.
See the video.

TC-1 10 Watt 70cm ATV transceiver - first shown in the A5 Magazine booth at the Dayton Hamvention in 1977.

In 1977, Henry Ruh, A9XW, publisher of A5 Magazine, invited us to show our TC-1 transceiver in his booth at the Dayton Hamvention. After being well received, and sales increasing, it was decided to quit my position as Director of Engineering at the Vega Div. of Cetec Corp and make PC Electronics a full time business. Vega made wireless mics for the movie and entertainment industry and tone signaling equipment. While it was fun going back stage at rock concerts, Vegas shows and movie sets, there was not enough time in the day to keep both jobs going. We had our own booth at the Dayton Hamvention every year from 1978 and well into the 90's, and attended many other ham conventions both as a vendor and speaker. After that, we shared a booth or supplied product with Intuitive Circuits when the travel, hotel, venue and product shipping costs became too high to justify.

Dayton Booth 1989

Our product line expanded in the late 70's and into the 80's with accessories for making an ATV repeater - horizontal sync detector/repeater controller, video call ID overlay, color bar generator, clock and S-Meter video overlay, audio ID and mixer, and other boards. All these were used at and experimented with at our 434.0 to 1253.25 MHz ATV repeater on Johnstone Peak - the first coordinated ATV repeater in Southern California. We also became dealers with other companies that complemented our ATV products: Intuitive Circuits video overlay boards, Downeast Microwave, KLM, Mirage and RF Concepts amplifiers, The Old Antenna Lab, Diamond, Comet, Directive Systems and AEA antennas, Hitachi TV's monitors and cameras, COP Security cameras, Videolynx transmitters, Robot Research slow scan converters, Icom R3 receivers, and others. After being contacted by a ham who serviced American Embassy communication equipment that was interested in retransmitting AFRTS broadcasts to embassy personel, we designed and manufactured some low power transmitters on various frequencies for this use and were in over two dozen American Embassies and remote communities.

Over time, our sales shifted from most hams wanting board level products to ready to go packaged gear. Our original transmitters and downconverters were packaged in enclosures made by Ten-Tec. In the 90's we switched to the Hammond die cast aluminum boxes which were more rugged and shielded. Many of our designs were done in support of public service events, which is a facet of the hobby that we enjoy most. The 1.5 Watt KPA5 "Kreepie Peepie" ATV transmitter board was developed as a portable unit for transmitting video back to officials for the 1984 Olympic marathon and bicycle events here in Los Angeles County. This board and derivatives have been used for many emergency and public service events as well as high altitude balloons, rockets and radio controlled vehicles and robots - Rose Parade motorcycle mobile, Angeles Crest 100 mile trail race medical aid station, first video from the 17,000 ft Mt. Everest base camp, first fast scan video received by the Space Shuttle (STS-50), 2518 Mile 434 MHz ATV DX record, and many more interesting applications.

TC70-20Sa ATV Transceiver

TC70-20Sa 20W 70cm ATV Transceiver

Rose Bowl 10K

For the last decade before we closed the business on December 31st, 2014, our product line was still varied with most sales going to hams in support of emergency communications and public service events, or adding ATV to their R/C vehicles, high altitude balloons and rockets. We have written many ATV application notes on the various facets of ATV that can be downloaded from our web site. The latest is the ATV Pouch which is both a low cost entry into ATV and a handy tool at races, ham club demos and building block for the home station. In addition we wrote the ATV section in the ARRL Handbook for over 40 years, contributed to the ARRL Operating Manual, an ARRL Technical Advisor for ATV and spectrum management, SCRRBA ATV and 23cm band frequency coordinator and a past technical editor for Amateur Television Magazine writing many articles.

W6ORG on air

Currently, I am an ARRL FCC ham license Volunteer Examiner with a local ARES group. I participate and give talks on using radios with CERT groups. I am president of the Foothill Flyers Radio Club W6FHF which is a sub group of the Foothill Flyers Running Club. As being both a ham and a runner, we volunteer to sweep or work aid station communications at trail races in the local mountains where cell phones do not work - see Ham Radio and Trail Running.

Tom O'Hara, W6ORG

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