It just seemed right when Pat Buller was around, and it seems completely wrong that now, he isn't. Pat died on September 18 from lung cancer. He was diagnosed not long before.
We met in the mid-1990s. I recall being impressed with his highly practical approach to resolving engineering and technical problems. Not to mention his blunt way of talking. And his sense of humor. At the time, he was an electronics design engineer with the Washington State Patrol. He developed some inexpensive ways of improving the patrol's VHF radio communications system and wondered whether the information might be worth publishing. I said I believed it would, and helped him do just that. What it was, was that he helped me to look good by letting me publish his work.
After Pat retired from the patrol, he joined Tacoma Power in 2000 where he worked as a communications engineer until early this year. He often spoke of the need to expose young engineers to RF. Well, maybe that's not exactly the right way to say that. To train them how to design radio and microwave systems, to maintain them, and to mitigate interference. That's better. Some engineering school graduates, he would tell me, had ample education in engineering basics and computer science, but lacked a level of knowledge about RF that once was taught. He saw it as his mission to pass along what RF expertise he could to the engineers who would follow him.
During another visit to New York in November 2004, Pat received RCA's President's Award for his contributions to the Club and the radio industry. Steve Klein, Tacoma Power's superintendent, said: "Pat Buller has made significant contributions to the radio industry and to Tacoma Power. He has an extraordinary depth and breadth of knowledge that he uses for practical applications to improve day-to-day utility operations. All of us at Tacoma Power congratulate Pat on this award."
Pat developed special test instruments and educational materials to locate and correct radio and television interference from power lines for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and was a contributing editor to Mobile Radio Technology magazine. In recent years, he custom-manufactured amateur radio balanced-line antenna tuners intended to replicate the functionality of the old E. F. Johnson Kilowatt Matchbox tuners. "There is always a waiting list for them," said Mark Peterson, WF7M. I wish I had one, myself. But then I would need an antenna. And who knows where that might lead?
Pat joined RCA in 1991. He became a senior member in 1998 and a Fellow in
1999. He was a member of APCO and served as an APCO frequency advisor for
Washington and Alaska. His other memberships included IEEE, ARRL, NARTE and
WWCIC. He studied at Weber College in Ogden and Utah State University in Logan,
Utah. Pat worked for Utah Power and Light before joining the Washington State
Patrol's Electronic Services Division. - excerpted from www.wcic.org,
Western Washington Cooperative Interference Committee