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About Halibut Electronics

Who is Halibut Electronics?

Halibut Electronics is a small, one person business on the Central Coast area of California. That one person is Mark Smith, aka Smitty, N6MTS.

My background is in electronics and computers. Professionally, I’ve been in IT and Information Security of various flavors since the mid 90s. But the soldering iron was never far away, mostly as a hobby, but occasionally as an accidental extension of my IT/InfoSec job.

In late 2021, I left my IT job with the intention of taking a ~6 month sabbatical, some time to un-burnout. Early in that process, I started working on a personal electronics project that had been long neglected (SOAR). While talking to friends about what I was working on, I realized I could turn this into a business. So Halibut Electronics was born.

How can I contact you/follow you?

See the Contact page for details.

What does Halibut Electronics do?

Halibut Electronics designs, manufactures, and sells products of interest to Amateur Radio operators, and to Audiophiles. That is to say, of interest to me.

What sort of Amateur Radio products?

It varies. As of mid 2022, I’ve got two main products:

  • SOAR, an appliance for operating FM satellites. It’s a full duplex, dual band (2m and 70cm) radio that automates much of the complexity of working FM satellites, such as Doppler shift compensation, recording the pass audio, azimuth and elevation calculations, etc.
  • CMCC, a test rig that allows a (Nano)VNA to measure the common mode response of a device. Usually, a VNA generates differential mode signals and intentionally rejects common mode signals from its measurements. This makes it difficult to measure things like the effectiveness of a common mode current choke. CMCC is a test rig that routes the signal that a VNA is measuring to the outside shield of coaxial cable to measure it’s common mode response.

But I have several other products in the works (spoiler: think “Smart Shack”), and several more still in the idea phase.

What sort of Audiophile Products?

I found, much to the dismay of my pocket book, that I enjoy good sound reproduction for my music. Being an electronics nerd, I started researching what could be built and stumbled upon headphone amplifiers. After looking at several designs from other people, I have made some of my own that I think are worth sharing with the world.

…to be continued… 😉

Where did the name “Halibut” come from?

As I am sure you are surprised to hear, dear reader, I am a bit of a nerd. Have been all my life. My mother was a network engineer at a local high school for 20 years, and my father worked for IBM for 32 years. My family’s first computer was purchased by my older sister when I was 3 years old. I’ve been banging away at keyboards and burning my fingers with solder ever since.

My mother was the one who introduced me to BBSes when I was 10. By the time I was 12, I was running my own BBS on an IBM PCC (a market flop that IBM sold cheap to their employees that my father helped me purchase.)

When it came time to name the BBS, I thought “Why am I running a BBS? Just for the hell of it, really. Hmm. Just For The Hell Of It BBS!”

Did mention that my parents were also nerds? Yeah. No hiding anything computer related from them. My mother said, “You’re 12, Mark. How about you change it to Just For The Halibut BBS.” So I did.

The IBM PCC only had floppy disks, no hard disk. And floppies are not known for their longevity and reliability when used heavily. Similarly, 12 year old boys are not known for making regular backups. After several total BBS data losses and rebuilds, in the early 90s, the name eventually got shortened to The Halibut BBS.

Fast forward to summer of 1995. I just finished my second year in college, where I had dove head first into this new thing called Linux. I responded to a post in alt.linux from a guy near my home town asking for Linux help setting up what would eventually be called an ISP, though we didn’t know that name at the time. I worked a support deal with him: He’d give me one IP address, a bit of his 56kbps digital DS0, and a bit of space and power in his garage next to his server, and I would continue to maintain his Linux box for him. Again, we didn’t know this was called collocation at the time.

I needed a domain name (which were free at the time!), so OF COURSE I registered And OF COURSE I moved my BBS to that host. The host has been moved and upgraded several times, but the BBS, and my use of “Halibut” as my on-line identity, has continued to this day.

Will you sell your domain name to me?

Heh. No. 🙂

Having said that, everyone has their price. Make me an offer. The current (2022-05-16) high-water mark is $25,000 which was an easy “No.” If someone offered me $2,500,000, I’d have a real hard time saying “No” to that. The real question is, what about the $250,000 range? …want to find out?