[TowerTalk] [Elecraft] Milt Sullivan, RL Drake Chief Engineer, SK

Alan Bloom n1al at cds1.net
Thu Nov 11 21:59:33 PST 2010

Milt was a good guy.  I believe his title was VP of Engineering when I
was there 1976-1979.  Even though he was supposed to be an executive at
that point he still loved to get his hands dirty.  I remember him coming
up with creative ideas to solve engineering problems on some designs I
was working on at the time.  For example, the MN2700 kilowatt antenna
tuner required some high-voltage, high-current fixed capacitors.  We
were quoted a ridiculously high price and a 6-month lead time by the
vendor.  So we figured out a way to make our own capacitors from Teflon
printed circuit board (for low loss / high Q) spray-painted with Q dope
to prevent corona discharge.

Milt was a realist about project management.  He was very aware that
engineers have a tendency to try to design everything to perfection,
regardless of the schedule or cost.  He had a sign over his desk that
read, "Good enough is better than perfect."

Alan N1AL

On Thu, 2010-11-11 at 21:02 -0800, Jim Brown wrote:
> This was in today's ARRL Letter.
> Milton A. Sullivan Jr, ex-K8YDO, Former Chief Engineer at R. L. Drake 
> (SK)Milton A. "Buddy" Sullivan Jr, ex-K8YDO, of Washington, DC -- the 
> former chief engineer at the R. L. Drake Company 
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._L._Drake_Company> -- passed away from a 
> stroke on October 28. He was 85. Sullivan designed and oversaw the 
> designs of all the most significant Drake Amateur Radio products, 
> including the 1A, 2B and 2NT transmitter, all the 4 lines and the 
> beginning of the 7 line.
> After retiring from Drake in 1984, Sullivan ran his own business selling 
> and setting up satellite television systems, an offshoot of his later 
> projects at Drake that involved designing satellite equipment. After 
> that, he went back to work full time as chief engineer for Lytton 
> Electronics, where he worked until his final retirement in 1990. In 
> 1993, he and his wife Judith moved to South Carolina where Sullivan 
> worked for Alpha Delta, the small company owned by his former Drake 
> colleague and long time friend, Don Tyrrell, W8AD. Sullivan donated his 
> body to science. A US Navy veteran, he will be interred at Arlington 
> National Cemetery after a term with the Georgetown University Medical 
> School. -- /Thanks to John Sullivan and Don Tyrrell, W8AD, for the 
> information/
> =   =   =   =   =   =   =   =   =   =   =   =   =
> I worked for Milt at R.L. Drake as a co-op EE student from Univ of 
> Cincinnati, and was working at a bench in the engineering lab when news 
> came over the radio that President Kennedy had been shot.
> One correction/addition to the obit.  In addition to designing the 
> products noted, Milt also designed the TR3, Drake's first transceiver, 
> and the beginning of their line of transmitting products.  Bob Drake 
> established and ran the quality company, but Milt was the chief engineer.
> Both were nice guys, and Milt was a fair boss.  I never kept track of 
> him after leaving Drake, and wondered what he had done with the rest of 
> his life.  From the obit, quite a lot. RIP, Milt.
> 73, Jim K9YC
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