Engineering Spotlight: Gerry Heyn
Gerald H. (Gerry) Heyn is Chief Engineer for Lake Superior Community Broadcasting Corporation stations, WBUP/WBKP-TV in Ishpeming. He’s been there since 2005.
Gerry writes that “it’s been a very interesting and challenging job moving the studio from the Marquette Mall to the Miracle Mall in Ishpeming during the digital transition and most recently moving the antenna and transmitter from a rented tower to the new station owned tower in Humboldt.”
Q: Please share with us a brief engineering resume.
Gerry: I’ve had a long career in electronics and broadcasting. 23 years at WNMU-TV and Radio where I received most of my broadcast experience. Previous to that, I worked for Communications System Co. repairing CCTV cameras used for mining, paper and pulp industries and power companies and installing commercial sound systems including Muzak.
Before that, I served in the USAF for 21 years and with 15 of those years in electronics. The last 10 of those years in the Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory (PMEL) as calibration technician.
A lot of my training came from doing correspondence courses in radio and TV FCC licenses (GROL) prep courses during overseas tours. When I was stationed in North Dakota, my supervisor wanted some broadcast endorsements on his FCC license before he retired and went to a local radio station to work during his off-duty time. He became so busy, he asked me to fill in part of the time because they needed an engineer with first phone because it was a directional AM station so I worked at night part-time, sign-off at 1:00 AM for a few months. That was my first job in broadcasting back in 1968.
I’m also a CET (certified electronics technician) with the International Society of Certified Electronic Technicians (ISCET) and Certification Administrator and administered the CET and FCC exams from 1986 to 2005. However, there is not much call for it anymore.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know.
Gerry: Very few people know I sailed on the Great Lakes as a coal-passer for a few months before going into the U.S. Air Force. Knowing what I learned there kept me from enlisting in the Navy. Back then there was the draft and I had three older brothers drafted and I didn’t think I wanted that after hearing their stories.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Gerry: I guess the best advice I ever got was being told, “get into electronics, that’s where the future is” and it worked for me.