My name is Tyler Pattison. I was born a musician, but somewhere along the road to stardom I got lost and wound up as an electrical engineer. I'm interested in lots of things, but mainly electronics, radio, aviation, music, and photography.
Since I was young electricity has interested me. The many mysteries of how electrical signals flowed through electronics was always a perplexing thing to me at that age, and I really couldn't understand how it all worked. I didn't like not having the answers so I decided to start researching. This was the first step toward getting involved in the hobby of amateur radio. I was licensed originally as KE7ENR in July of 2005 after passing my license exam in Chimacum, WA. Several years later in March of 2007 I took the general class examination at the Mike and Key hamfest in Puyallup, WA. I also purchased my first HF radio around that time, which was a Yaesu FT-101ZD. Although it was slightly antiquated it was still a good first radio.
It was not too many years later that I finally found a way to spend the money I had been earning as the organist for a local church. I took up flying lessons, and on a hot summer day in 2008 passed my private pilot exam. It is exciting to fly around the Pacific Northwest. The region has many small airports hidden amidst a winding maze of water. Higher altitudes lend themselves to long distance VHF and UHF operations. I've made some interesting contacts up in the air. One contact comes to mind when I was traveling across the eastern part of Washington speaking with a station in Oregon and then heard a CQ call from a Canadian station in British Columbia a few moments later. Rough calculations put the two stations I was speaking with approximately 300 miles apart.
Many of the people I met who were also amateur radio operators had an effect on my decision to become an electrical engineer. The path started at a local amateur radio club, and wound its way to Gonzaga University where I spent my college years studying electrical engineering, and music. It was during my freshman year of college that I made a last-minute decision to attempt the extra-class exam. I ordered a study guide online and spend the five hour car ride home for spring break sitting in the back seat of a friends car with a flashlight reading as fast as I could. The next day, the 6th of March, I took the extra exam at the annual hamfest in Puyallup, and passed. I also remember buying an old brass straight key at the flee market that day in celebration of passing my extra. It was old and dirty, but I cleaned it up, and it looks halfway decent. Not a bad deal for $5. It was around that time that I made my first callsign change to N7TFP.
My involvement with ham radio waned during the next few years of college. I spent a lot of time studying, and getting more involved with activities around Gonzaga. I did get the chance to hop on the air once in a while when I would return home from school, but those opportunities were far and few between. While at Gonzaga I was lucky to meet the woman who I would eventually marry. My wife Lauren and I sealed the deal on August 30th, 2014 in Spokane, WA. We blessed to have many of our friends and family in attendance, and some even sang in the wonderful choir of Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral. Lauren is a software engineer, and we both graduated together in 2014. She doesn't have a ham radio license, yet.
Shortly after graduation in 2014 I changed my callsign to N1QQ. This marked the beginning of my return into the hobby of amateur radio. During that summer I became a volunteer examiner with both the ARRL and W5YI VECs, and began getting back into using the radio and doing radio-related experiments.
Music might be the only interest that predates my curiosity toward electricity. I began music lessons in kindergarten, took piano beginning in the first grade, and finally switched to organ in the fifth. I remember the struggle of not being able to reach the pedals on the organ for the first few years. It was very frustrating, but I finally got to the point where I could play them with ease during middle school, at which time I began taking my organ studies more seriously. My family purchased a Rodgers Trio electronic organ, and with the ability to now practice at home my progress accelerated.
It was around that time that I began studying under Jonas Nordwall, a renowned theatre organist. Unfortunately lessons with Jonas were infrequent because he lived and worked in Portland, and could commuted to Seattle only once per month to teach. My interest in learning more about the organ allowed me to convinced my family to drive me down to Beaverton, Oregon to attend lessons with Donna Parker, who is also well-know in the theatre organ community. The Puget Sound Theatre Organ Society was generous enough to financially support my efforts to improve my playing, and they awarded me a scholarship in high school which allowed me to attend a young theatre organists convention in Chicago in 2008. I was lucky enough to spend almost a week with several great organists, and other young organists like myself.
Around that time I got my first job as a church musician. The local Catholic church in Gig Harbor was in need of a musician, and since I'd been involved with that parish for my entire life it was almost natural that I became their organist. I played their until I graduated and left town for college, but I still played there when I would return home for summer or winter break. That job taught me a lot about musical leadership especially at such a young age. Upon enrolling at Gonzaga University as a freshman I started playing the organ and directing a small choir at St. Aloysius church on the Gonzaga campus in January of 2010. I enjoyed playing the organ and directing choirs around Spokane at various churches including St. Aloysius, St. Augustine, All Saints Lutheran, Zion Lutheran, and a few others on rare occasions.
When I enrolled at Gonzaga I chose electrical engineering as my major. However, I still took organ lessons with Dr. Janet Ahrend in the music department. It wasn't until my Junior year that I decided to formally begin my studies in music, and it was a decision I'll never regret. I continued my studies in electrical engineering while enrolling in music theory, history, and composition courses. I also enrolled in the choir program and was lucky enough to join the Gonzaga University Choir, and later that same year the Gonzaga University Chamber Singers which is a select group of top vocalists in the university. Music has treated me well, and has presented me with many unexpected opportunities. I was lucky enough to play organs in Europe on two separate trips, with one as both a vocal soloist and organist with the Chamber Singers in 2013 during their tour of Austria and Germany.
Following graduation I've become particularly interested in studying romantic period organists such as Widor and Vierne. People often ask me what my favorite piece of organ music is and the first thing that comes to mind is Widor's 5th Organ Symphony. Particularly the 1st and 2nd movements. Although Catholic, I have an particular interest and respect for the choral traditions of the Anglican church as well.
First Ham Radio Setup: My initial interests in ham radio began early 2005. I was trying to communicate with a friend who lived a few miles away using some cheap walkie-talkies. We didn't have any luck because we lived too far away. After some research I learned about ham radio. My very first radio was a Yaesu FT-2800M that I got in the summer of 2005 about the same time I got my license. That was the only radio I had for quite a while, and it still works very well.
After some changes made in 2008: Every ham I've ever known tinkers with the layout of their shack. I'm no exception. My interests in digital modes on HF saw the need for some flexible audio routing in my shack so I purchased a 19-inch rack to consolidate my radio and gear and to keep the cables connecting everything short to reduce interference.
Putting up a tower, Summer 2010: I was lucky enough to acquire a used antenna tower from a local ham radio club in exchange for building them a website. A member also donated a TH6-DX Thunderbird antenna. After replacing a large portion of rusted out hardware on the antenna we put it up on the tower that was given to me by the radio club.