Panbo

Chuck Husick, a fond farewell

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Sep 20, 2010
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I like this picture of Chuck -- found on his family web site, along some truly touching memorial material -- because whenever I saw him at boat shows he was almost invariably decked out in a blue blazer and tie.  Now Mr. Charles Husick certainly had the gravitas to support a bit of formality; he was an accomplished electrical engineer who had also managed serious companies, written hundreds of magazine articles, and been a important advocate for sensible marine technologies...and he knew more about many subjects than many of us know about one.  But he was also a real boating enthusiast, and in this picture I can sense that large, curious intellect that must have had so much fun geeking out on his ketch Bonne Étoile...

And Chuck's boat love may have been mutual, as reported by his son Lawrence: "If an inanimate object can be said to mourn, she is doing so. I know, because the genset and bilge pump have stopped working!"  Lawrence -- who seems to be a chip off the old block in terms of wry humor and writing skill -- also shared the story of Chuck's fatal illness, and here's the detail that got me:

In late Summer, Dad decided to switch over to peritoneal dialysis, which while it must be done more frequently, can be done at home, and is much more gentle on the system.  As with all things, Dad focused on the poor design of the cycler pump that he was using, eventually deciding that he would perform dialysis manually while he talked with me about how to redesign the pump.
Had he made it, I have no doubt that Chuck would done something about that pump design; he was man of opinion and action.  This AVWeb piece speaks of his importance to the general aviation community, while I think Michael Sciulla (formerly of BoatU.S.) nailed Chuck's place in the recreational boating world at Sounding Trade Only.  You'll see tribute comments to Chuck from many in the marine electronics industry at these sights, and I dare say many Panbo readers have fond memories of him.  I for one will never forget the encouragement and praise he sent my way, even when we sometimes competed for writing gigs or awards.  As a marine journalist, I believe Chuck cared most about getting solid, useful information to boaters, and that's an attitude we should all try to emulate.
   We will certainly be thinking of Chuck at the NMEA Conference next week, where last year he and I, and Dean Travis Clarke, served as the writer judges for the first Technology Award.  Man, didn't we have some constructive, and enjoyable, arguments!  It's fitting that this year Chuck's place will be occupied by Tim Queeny, who -- like me -- learned a lot from the man.

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Comments

Chuck was an early user and big supporter of GPSNavX software and Macs. Back in the days when Apple had just come out of a near death experience, Chuck provided fantastic feedback to improve Mac navigation software. Over the years he wrote various articles about the subject. Chuck provided inspiration to keep the candle burning.

- Rich Ray

Posted by: GPSNavX at September 20, 2010 5:00 PM | Reply

True that, Rich. Chuck had an eye for new technology, even at 77 years old. I first heard about GPSNavX from him, and the last I heard from him was an email compliment regarding a Yachting article I wrote about the iPad (unfortunately now somehow lost on Yachting's new site):

"Well done! iPad will become the nautical equivalent of a pilot's EFB (electronic flight bag). Cheers, Chuck"

Chuck was generous with praise, and that was last May when he was quite ill. I didn't know that then, and he didn't mention it.

Posted by: Ben at September 20, 2010 6:06 PM | Reply

Chuck will definitely be missed, both for his good humor and his commitment to his craft. It was always a pleasure to speak to him when he called looking for information or when he stopped by the KVH exhibits at trade shows to chat about our products as well as other tech that fascinated him. He was one of the first writers I spoke with when I got into the marine business more than a decade ago and he always treated me and our products fairly, which goes a long way in my book.

Posted by: Chris Watson at September 21, 2010 12:37 PM | Reply

Ben,

Your picture of the 4x4 GMC truck launching or recovering the boat in your headline graphic is very disturbing to me. If I was the skipper of the boat I would be VERY WORRIED as to the absorbed energy from the Radome. Particularly if the skipper is standing at the controls. You can get some significant sidelobe radiation levels.

Posted by: Roger Irwin at September 21, 2010 8:09 PM | Reply

Roger, that's my truck and it was my precious organs next to that radome. But no worries, it's a Navico Broadband Radar, which puts out less radiation than a cell phone. The FCC "safe distance" figure is zero feet. The real question is whether standard magnetron radars in this size range are any real danger:

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2009/07/navico_broadband_radar_truly_safer.html

Incidentally, Chuck Husick was a big fan of the Broadband Radar, and hoped that more solid state marine radars would be developed.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Roger Irwin at September 21, 2010 10:22 PM | Reply

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