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Origins of Silicon Valley: Roots in Ham Radio

Join the California Historical Radio Society and Paul Wesling on 2/23/24 for an informative evening on the Origins of Silicon Valley. Doors open at 6:00 for socializing and hors d’oeuvres. From 6:45-7:45 we will hear from Paul, and then have Q&A from 7:45-8:00. Don’t forget to RSVP at the bottom!

Summary: Why did Silicon Valley come into being? The story goes back to local Hams (amateur radio operators) trying to break RCA’s tube patents, “angel” investors, the sinking of the Titanic, Fred Terman and Stanford University, local invention of high-power tubes, WW II and radar, William Shockley’s mother living in Palo Alto, and the SF Bay Area infrastructure that developed – these factors pretty much determined that the semiconductor and IC industries would be located in California’s Santa Clara Valley, and that the Valley would remain the world’s innovation center as new technologies emerged – computers, then software, mobile, biotech, Big Data, VR/AR, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, and now generative AI – and it would become the model for innovation worldwide.

Paul Wesling, an IEEE Life Fellow and Distinguished Lecturer, has observed the Valley for decades as an engineer, executive, resident, and educator, and has presented this talk world-wide. In this non-technical presentation, he gives an exciting and colorful history of device technology development and innovation that began in Palo Alto, then spread across the Santa Clara Valley during and following World War II. You’ll meet some of the colorful characters – Cyril Elwell, Leonard Fuller, Lee de Forest, Bill Eitel W6UF, Charles Litton 6AO, Fred Terman 6AE/W6DI, David Packard 9DRV, Bill Hewlett, Russ Varian and others – extending to Nolan Bushnell W7DUK and Steve Wozniak WA6BND (pictured below with Paul)– who came to define the worldwide electronics industries through their inventions and process development.

Paul (KM6LH) received degrees in electrical engineering and materials science from Stanford University, then worked locally at companies including Lenkurt Electric, Sperry-Univac, and Amdahl, joining Tandem Computers in Cupertino in 1985. Paul retired from HP in 2001, then served as “Mr. IEEE” for the San Francisco Bay Area for 10 years. He is a Life Fellow of the IEEE. He received the IEEE’s Centennial Medal, the Board’s Distinguished Service award, the Society Contribution Award, the IEEE’s Third Millennium Medal, and the EPS Society’s Presidential Recognition Award. He edits the IEEE/ASME/SEMI Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap for prediction of technology directions in electronics packaging.

RSVP Here:

If you have any trouble with the RSVP, please send an email to [email protected]. Find additional information at


Feb 23 2024


Doors open at 6:00 for socializing and hors d’oeuvres. From 6:45-7:45 we will hear from Paul, and then have Q&A from 7:45-8:00.
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


California Historical Radio Society
California Historical Radio Society, Central Avenue, Alameda, CA, USA


California Historical Radio Society
California Historical Radio Society
[email protected]
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