A Short Autobiography of Bill Horne
I was born in Boston, and I lived in Massachusetts almost all my life, until my wife and I bought our house in North Carolina.
I graduated from Everett High School in 1970, and enlisted in the Army that same year. After service as a Military Policeman in Vietnam, I returned home in 1972.
I worked briefly for the Massachusetts Department of Public Works, fixing the two-way radios in snowplow trucks and other DPW vehicles. Although I liked the work, it was only a temporary appointment, so when New England Telephone Company offered me a job, I took it.
I worked at N.E.T. from 1972 to 1974, when I was laid off. After that, I moved to California, and crashed on my cousin's couch for a few months before I settled in San Francisco. I had a job fixing Model 33 Teletype machines in San Leandro, CA., but I realized pretty quickly that I'm not cut out for that kind of work and I decided to go back home.
In 1975, I returned to Boston and accepted the Chief Engineer job at WMLO in Danvers, MA. I worked with a young announcer named Glen Ordway, who I could see was (if I do say so myself) destined for bigger and better things. Trust me on this: broadcasting is a lot less glamorous on the inside than you'd think.
In 1976, I left WMLO and enrolled in the Veterans Educational Preparatory Program at the University of Massachusetts. It was the turning point of my life: the program showed that I could do better than being a blue-collar worker, and showed me how to succeed in college, and after it finished I enrolled in U. Mass. to study computers.
Although the GI Bill helped a lot, I still needed more than what it provided, so I worked in broadcasting at WRKO during 1976 and 1977. In 1978, I returned to California to become the Chief Engineer at KRUZ-FM in Santa Barbara. I continued my college education at Santa Barbara City College while I kept KRUZ on the air, but lightning destroyed the station's transmitter, and so I moved to KDB AM & FM, where I was the Assistant Chief Engineer.
In 1979, Ma Bell offered me my old job back, and since my recall rights were only good for that one time, I accepted the offer and returned to Massachusetts. I worked as a technician, fixing private-line phone equipment and T–carriers, and finished my college degree at Northeastern University, where I graduated with honors in 1982.
I worked in various locations and on special projects until 1989, when I left the craft to become a computer programmer for NYNEX, N.E.T.'s parent company. I wrote PL/I, assembler, and COBOL code for them until 1995, when I accepted a job in Engineering, and I worked in the SS7 engineering group until I accepted early retirement in 2002.
I ran my own business until 2015: I installed and repaired PBX, telephone, and data equipment.
In 2015, I accepted a job fixing telephones in various prisons, and I did that until I retired in 2018.
I've been the Moderator of The Telecom Digest since Pat Townson suffered a stroke in 2007, and I've had a great time doing it: although I don't have as much time to devote to it as Pat did, I think I've managed to keep Pat's legacy alive and to keep the Digest vital and current.
My wife Susan and I were married in 1987: our son Henry is an Eagle Scout and is working as a plumber.
When I'm not reading or moderating the Digest, my hobbies include ham radio: I'm an Extra Class Amateur Radio Operator, with call sign W4EWH.