And welcome to Randy's Gadgeteria

- a small diversion off the CyberHighway

The Gadgeteria

I've always had an interest in things mechanical - and things technical. As a youngster - I was one of those kids that was forever taking things apart to see how they worked. As I got older - I even managed to get some things back together - with fewer and fewer parts left over. Some things even worked again.

I still have a strong fascination with complex mechanisms - like player musical instruments; old cash registers; pinball machines and the like. I also have memories of when I was about six years old - listening to the "Funny Paper Man" on radio station KFI on Sunday mornings as he read the LA Times Comics - complete with sound effects. I remember one morning while listening -- I was playing with a large dry cell that I had been given. I'd been told not to short it out -- so, of course, I was sitting there "zapping" a wire across the terminals. Every time I did - it made a spark. Though entertaining to my young mind - the sparks were secondary to the other thing I noticed: every time it made a spark - it also made static on the radio! and I wanted to know why. That curiosity - fueling the search for answers - resulting in skills and knowledge - that has served me well.

Perhaps it's a sign of a simple mind - I can be entertained watching a large water fountain go through it's ballet of dancing water and lights for hours. I am still thoroughly entranced by a skilled musician - the beauty that comes from the combination of talent and practice, practice, practice is awe inspiring - at least to me.

Because my interests are so varied - it's not surprising that most people know me as a Jack of All Trades. I've worked in many different industries - and the military is very adept at exercising ones varied talents. Early in my Navy career it seemed like "they" (those in charge) would go out of their way to assign unusual tasks for what seemed like haphazard reasons. - - and being the military they certainly had no obligation to explain. Looking back I realize the wisdom in many of the actions taken by "them" -- and am grateful for their guidance and patience: most of the unusual predicaments I found myself in were more often than not self-inflicted by engaging mouth before brain - so it wasn't unusual to find this electronics technician with a cutting torch in hand - or field stripping a 20mm gun (though in the latter case - it was a division officer shooting off his mouth in front of the Captain: seems after all four guns jammed in a practice exercise - our division officer noted that even his ET's (electronics Technicians) could do better - the Captain "allowed" him the opportunity to prove it!). Like a child discovering that his parents are becoming smarter as the years go by -- maturing into a leadership role in the military was a large part of my growing up. Growing up is also learning to fit-in and work in the civilian sector - where trust; honor and duty are much rarer- but that's a story for another time...

There are several Excellent sites here on the Web dedicated to the Silent Service - Submarines and the Submariners who sail them - in fact several are heartily recommended on our links page. But -- in my humble opinion -- an often over-looked group within the Silent Service family are the Tenders and Tender Crews who provide assistance and service to the boats along side. So we started the "TenderTale Project" - which has taken on a life of it's own.

"TenderTale" is the story of my "growing-up" in the Submarine Navy, and in particular the little known world of Submarine Tender. But it has become just a very small corner of TenderTale - as the ships and their crews have taken the spotlight - which is fine with me - I find it a great honor to host and manage the site - and humbled by some of the truly great people and stories that now appear there. I'd wanted to ensure that the Tenders and their crews wouldn't become a forgotten "blip" on histories screen - hopefully the success of TenderTale has accomplished that. Be sure and visit TenderTale!

Some of Randy's Favorite Gadgets

Randy's organ... like Randy - ancient but serviceable... My first love in music has always been the organ. To me there are few things more emotionally powerful than a large pipe organ. Fortunately - there is a very nice pipe just a few blocks from here - at the Temple Theatre. Pipes are wonderful - but few people can put one in their living room (and this house is no exception) - and pipes aren't exactly versatile enough to play many different kinds of music. My formal training was classical - but my youth did Rock'n Roll. I grew up to Green Onions - Whiter Shade of Pale - and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Booker T was like "it" on keyboard. And of course many know where this is headed - there was one and only one "organ sound - that organ sound" - the Hammond B3. As I noted - my formal training was in the classics - and though my first love was the organ - my training was on the piano. The only time I got near a B3 was when I'd hang around the Hammond Organ Studio in Pasadena - or sometimes I'd get to go to the organ bar at The Wagon Wheel Inn (El Monte) or The Trails (San Dimas - and it's still there - still has a Hammond!). But that was what I wanted - a B3. Throughout my career in the Navy - and for years after - my skill at the keyboard served me well - though I was never very good - in fact -- as much as I hate to admit it -
Hammond A100 Andrew Kohler Piano
Hammond A100 / Leslie 122
and yes - that is a Hammond clock on the Leslie
1908 Andrew Kohler
I was better at 9 years old than 29 or 39 or even now. But I could sit down and "hold my own" at a piano bar, etc. Eventually I did manage to get an Organ - an old but very nice Conn that a church had replaced. Eventually that was traded for a Hammond X-66 - which was one of the first transistor Hammonds. The X-66 is wild - it's nick-name is the "Space ship" - and it has lots' of toys - expanded percussion, built-in snare, cymbals, etc. and the "arpegiator" - a thing that looks like a Spidel watch band that when you run your thumb across it - instant arpeggios; - and a custom multi-channel sound cabinet driven by twin "animators" to simulate a Leslie. Nice ideas - bad execution. Oh the arpegiator worked fine - but the percussion sucked, and the multi-channel thing made it next to impossible to hook up a Leslie - and the "simulation" was a flop. Nope - B3 through a PR-40 and a Leslie 122 - THAT was still the sound I wanted. As time went by, I became more "educated" about various models of Hammonds - the B3 is the King - no doubt - that's the 4 legged beast you see all the time. But it turns out that there are some nice alternatives... The C3 is just like a B3 - enclosed cabinet more suitable for a church - and it has a tone circuit added to "balance" things a bit. Then there is the RT3 - same thing - except full 32 note pedal board - and string / solo bass - awesome for church and classical performances - it's also huge. Then there are the A100s. Again - keyboards, presets, percussion, vibrato all the same as the B3 - has the C3's tone circuit - smaller cabinet better scaled for a living room - 2 built-in 12 inch speakers driven by an internal amp - with a second channel, amp and speaker with a Hammond Spring reverb. This means you don't need a PR-40 tone cabinet. Add a 122 Leslie - and bingo! That sound!

Robert Morton Temple Theater, Meridian, MS
The "other" organ in Randy's (and Sherry's) life:
The Robert Morton at the Temple Theater.
Both are members of the Magnolia Chapter of the American Theater Organ Society - and this organ is the "home" organ of the chapter. Click here to see more about this organ - and learn about the Magnolia Chapter of ATOS
Then there's the piano. Plain. Old. But when you've owned / played a piano for 50+ years --- you kinda get attached to it. It's a plain Andrew Kohler Upright - but it has good sound and (for a plain upright) very good action. In fact - I've played many a Grand Piano that I wouldn't trade even for. It's true age had a lot of us baffled for a while... the serial number stamped in the sound board would indicate it was made (according to most books) mid century. We knew that couldn't be right - because it was supposedly something like 50 years old when I got it - in 1956! Hmmm.... Not too long ago - I was ordering some parts for it (new bridal strap set, etc.) and it's age came up again - we puzzled again - then the person I was talking to thought I said something really odd - I mentioned this Andrew Kohler was made in New York - he corrected me - the Andrew Kohler factory was in San Francisco. Maybe so - but this harp (the metal frame on the sounding board) has New York Cast in it. Hmmmm!!! After a little head scratching - and him doing a bit of digging - the mystery was finally solved. The story goes that when the Andrew Kohler factory was damaged in the Great San Francisco earthquake / fire of 1906 - that one of Andrew's family (brother, uncle, cousin, etc.) was running the Aeolian factory in New York - and so manufacturing of AK's was "shifted" from San Francisco to New York while the San Francisco facility was being re-built. If reality bears any of this out - then the "New York" built AKs would fall in a 1906 - 1910 time frame - which just happens to also coincide with Aeolian serial numbers of the time - which the "New York" AKs bear. In checking Aeolian S/Ns - my AK appears to have been built in 1908.As noted - this is just "the theory" - but considering the fact that many of us have very old AK's that "are listed" as 50 years younger than they appear to be - most of us consider the story possible.

My Birthday Present to myself - a Christmas present to a friend: more on the AK Piano!

Haunted House Pinball Machine Randy's idea of a great Pinball Machine - Gadgeteria at it's best! Three true playing levels; Upstairs has a pop bumper, drop targets and a secret passage exit; the lower floor (Basement) has a pop target, drop targets, Flippers and the highest "kick" lift ever built: over 13 inches straight up! The main floor has two sets of flippers, several secret passages and traps; and a hidden trap door that sometimes is open - other times isn't -- and another vertical kicker (up to the upper floor); According to several sources - The Haunted House holds several records in pinball construction - including the heaviest production pinball... Gadget Heaven! The Haunted House was sold to make room (and help pay for) the A100... We do miss it!
As noted above - I like to "tinker" with electronics "stuff"... the scene of most of these crimes is known as "the bench". Started in 1974 in Guam, the bench was "finished" in it's present form in 1977 while I was stationed at Naval Weapons Station, YorkTown, VA. It weighs a little over 300 pounds - not including the air compressor, vacuum pump, or shop vac. If you're interested in the details about the bench - including some of it's unique circuits - follow this link The Bench. The Bench
R-390A Sensitive Research THACH Of course - the "reason" for "the bench" is to work on "stuff" Sherry and I have a modest collection of radios. At one time the collection numbered more than 200 radios - today the collection is more like 50 - and that includes the vintage test equipment; and Hi-Fi and Stereo stuff. You can see some of the collection here: S & R's Radios
Model 28 Teletype "kit" Obviously - I love things mechanical - and things radio. In my opinion - the absolute epitome of the marriage of the two comes together in a radio-teletype system. Linked by radio (though the link can be wires, phones, even the internet today) - there is nothing like watching a 40 - 50 year old model 28 Teletype "do it's thing". The problem was - finding one around Meridian, MS... There just aren't any. So - why not build one... Click here to go to the Model 28 "kit" project... And see the progress of the "kit".
1953 Oldsmobile/56/57 Cadillac
My dad and I were forever "tinkering" on cars. In spite of it's nearly 4400 pounds curb weight - my 53 Oldsmobile was the fastest car in the 1/4 mile at Bassett High School (La Puente, CA) at the time and in it's class at the strip. The car was called an Oldsmobile - because that's what it started out to be - and was still registered as one. In the mid 50's my dad bought the car from a well-to-do business man who had Baker Brother's Engines build a custom engine based on a 56 Cadillac 365cid engine.
1953 Olds with 1957 Eldorado engine dual quads1953 Olds with 1957 Eldorado engine dual quads Baker Brothers broke all the rules. Solid lifters - running on a hydraulic cam... mated to a water-cooled '55 hydromatic - which required a '55 crankshaft - since the '55 hydro uses a special flywheel for the torque converter (30 bolts) plus - (with an automatic mind you) - a pilot bearing in the back of the crankshaft - like a stick shift. After purchasing the car, my dad had a bunch of custom body work done - nosed, decked, 56 cad headlights, and so on. Sharp for it's time - (remember - this was in 1957-58!). I had always loved the car - and had let it be known. My dad - never dreaming it would come to pass - promised that if the car was still around when I turned 16 - it would be mine. Well... I turned 16 in 1966 - and assumed the "Olds". For most of it's life - the car was just a family car - used to pull a fair sized boat (17ft inboard ski boat) many trips each summer (Clear Lake -- Salton Sea - Newport basin - Marine Stadium in Long Beach - and of course - Puddingstone!); to school, work and the grocery store. Some 100,000+ miles. Then there were the occasional weekends. My dad and my uncle had built a real race car - 40 Ford coupe with a flat-head engine - tri Webbers - the works. One night at the old San Gabriel River Drag Way (Now Irwindale International) - the race car broke in an early heat. Not wanting to call it night - they decided to run the Olds - and see what it could do. It won it's class.
1953 Olds running the old San Gabriel River Drag Strip (now Irwindale International) My mother turned in the fastest speed and lowest ET (for any of us) in it three weeks later at Lion's Long Beach Drag Strip -- a "local" record that wasn't beaten until 1969 (ET of 11.2 - she still has the "ticket" from the timer booth). A simple trip to the 7-11 one afternoon - and I spun a rod bearing. Taking the opportunity - and lots of help from Sandy and the guys at Azusa Auto Wrecking - I combined a 1957 Eldorado engine - complete with stock dual quads - the solid lifters; crank and flywheel from the old engine. Since the "rear-end" was still stock '53 Olds (and heaven only knows why we never changed it - we lost track of the 3 - 4 dozen U-joints and half a dozen or so axles we broke!) - anyway with that rear-end geared for a 165 hp (303cid) engine - and actually having more than 325hp - (the stock '57 Eldorado was rated at 325HP without the solid lifters, the Mallory High Tension Dual Point Ignition, header cut-outs, etc.) - I had to go to cheater slicks to keep the back-end glued down off the line - but boy - for a street legal car in the mid to late 1960's - it was a blast!
Mom off the line at the drag strip - from an old 8mm movie film.
1953 Olds running the old San Gabriel River Drag Strip - off the line 1953 Olds running the old San Gabriel River Drag Strip - by the end of the race - the other car isn't even in sight.
The Olds off the line at San Gabriel River DragWay Around 1958 Mid track and still pulling strong. Again these photos are from very old 8mm home movies

Another car done "back then" - was this 1959 Cadillac. My dad did the body and paint work (All lead - no plastic anywhere!)... I did some of the "tricks" like the electric release doors - and some similar stuff. The buttons to open the doors are the monograms just below the window. There was a key lock in the left fender top to open the doors when the system was "locked". This was my mothers' car... and yes she worked in Pasadena - and yes she got a ton of tickets. Is she the "little-old-lady" from Pasadena? Nope. But she's been teased about it on many occasions!
Mom's custom 1959 Cadillac Left: All that's left of the car - a miniature license tag and the key.

Below: close up.

Mom's custom 1959 Cadillac - what a paint job!
While growing up - my Dad and my uncle Carson went in together - and bought a ski boat. It was a mahogany plank Chris-Craft of roughly WWII vintage - which was in pretty rough shape. They completely restored it - replacing the hundreds of screws that held the planking to the frame - then refinishing the entire hull; re-did the instrument panel and reupholstered the seats, etc. It was powered by a flat-head Hercules six cylinder - and while capable of pulling a couple of skiers - certainly wasn't a hotrod. They sold it after a couple of years - and made enough money to buy a new Lancer Imperial ski boat - a really interesting and innovative boat for it's time (early 60s). Seventeen and a half foot - seven foot beam - i.e. not all that large a boat -- yet Coast Guard approved for nine adults: four in the front seat, three in the back and one in each of the backward-facing observer seats either side of the engine. Powered by a Chevy 283 with Chris-Craft marine conversion (i.e. water injected exhaust manifolds, etc.) -- while not a screamer - it was quite capable of 60MPH and could pull a half-dozen skiers. Compared to the anemic outboards of the day - it was a blast!
Lancer Imperial Boat approx. 1962
Lancer behind the 59 Cad.
CLICK here to start the boat->
(May be a delay depending on your connection speed)

This was a rather rare boat - even at the time - each hand made. Today I only know of two still in existense - (though I hear there are a few of the "Sportster" models - which was the "economy" model). These are not Chris-Craft boats (though there is a Chris-Craft connection with this one) - some people confuse them with the Chris-Caft Lancer - which is a bit larger. These were 17.5 feet long, and just over 7 feet wide - yet Coast Guard approved for nine adults (four in the front seat, three in back - one either side of the engine in the "observer" seats. This particular Lancer was powered by a Chris-Craft marine conversion Chevy 283. Plenty of power - yet pretty easy on the gas - all day water skiing on a single fill of it's 20 gallon tank.

Lancer Imperial boat - behind mom's Cad when it was still black.
Just back from a skiing trip - probably Puddingstone.

My Uncle Carson (my Mother's Brother) did a bunch of custom work on the trailer - it was nifty in it's own right - and together the boat and trailer looked super going down the road. My 53 Olds was the "usual" tow vehicle on the short trips to Puddingstone, Newport Basin, Marine Stadium (Long Beach) and the Salton Sea -- though the 59 Cad was the car of choice on long trips like Clear Lake - especially since it was air conditioned. Carson eventually bought out our "share" - and their family enjoyed the boat for many, many years. The Cadillac is the same one pictured above - before it was customized.

Olds and Lancer Ski Boat at the Salton Sea
Skiing trip to the Salton Sea.
Standing next to Bob's 60 Cad (back to front rows):
Uncle Carson, Uncle Bob;
Mom, Aunt LaRue, Aunt Colleen;
and me.
The olds doing one of it's more "usual" duties -- towing the boat.
Lancer Imperial just off Willow Point,  Clear Lake, CA
Me just off of Willow Point Resort, Lakeport, CA.
Clear Lake is California's largest natural lake - and a favorite for all types of watersports.
Lancer Imperial doing about 50mph just off Willow Point,  Clear Lake, CA
Me doing about 50 a ways out in the lake (there are speed limits close to shore).

You can get an idea how big that lake is - by noticing how hard it is to see two cities on the far shore. If you look close - you can see the city of Nice at the far left - while Lucerne is towards the right. The small community of Hough Springs is almost straight across.

Me in the Lancer at Willow Point Fuel Dock, Lakeport, CA. That's Library park in the background - just past 1st street.
Me sitting at the Willow Point dock.

In the background is Library Park - a really nice public park with picnic, swimming and play areas. It's between 1st and 3rd streets - Park Avenue - and the lake. One needs to be a bit careful coming down 1st street though - we've seen more than one car or truck wind up in the lake - as the street suddenly and with little warning becomes a boat ramp - right into the lake!

Mom in the Lancer - just off Willow Point, Lakeport, CA Mom doing what she really liked - on her ski.
Mom's turn in the boat - but truth is - this is what she really liked doing!

Radio and Broacasting

He has been known to stick his fingers in a transmitter on occasion, though... Harris MW5 that "threw a temper-tantrum"

1991 - 1995 Chief Engineer for Ken Rainey (WZMP, WINL & WQIC)

1999 - 2007; 2012 Transmitter engineer WMER 1390AM Meridian, MS .

My personal and contact information is:
Randy Guttery
2412 C Street
Meridian, MS 39301
601 482-4534
or E-Mail me here:

Licenses / Certifications:

FCC 1st Class Radio Telephone License (7/12/1966) w/ RADAR endorsement (added 5/30/1978)
FCC 1st Class converted to Radio Telephone General Class w/ RADAR endorsement (6/18/1984)
Navy Electronics Calibration Certification 4/2/1976
Navy Mechanical Calibration Certification 4/2/1976
NASA certification of training - Hand Soldering and Inspection Techniques 5/7/1976
Apple Service Training Course (11/12/1981)
Epson Service Training Course (2/5/1982)

Served as a volunteer with the South Volunteer Fire Department from it's founding until 1994
Trained as a first responder, trained in HAZMAT, (trained as firefighter / damage control /  NBC handling U.S. Navy)

Member of Magnolia Chapter American Theater Organ Society, Meridian (based at the Temple Theater)
as well as Member of the National ATOS organization.

Organist, Poplar Springs Baptist Church (Newton) 1992 - 2004
Part Time Organist Midway Baptist Church (Meridian) 2006-2007
Organ and Piano Soloist Calvary Baptist Church (Meridian) 2008-
Randy is also Sherry's accompanist (usually on piano).

Currently: Chief programmer - Common Cents Computers

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