|Description:|| On Wednesday, November 20, 2013, one day before reaching the age of 65, Harm-Jan Stiepel retires.|
Harm-Jan is the shepherd of ASTRON's flock of sixteen Multi-Frequency Front Ends, a.k.a. MFFEs. But Harm-Jan's career dates back to well before the WSRT's MFFE-era. He started at ASTRON on January 1st, 1975, as "Ontvangertechnicus" ("Receiver Technician") at the "Stichting Radiostraling van Zon en Melkweg", as ASTRON was called in those days.
During his 38 years at the WSRT, he has seen many changes and upgrades come and go as receiver technology progressed. While involved in MFFE development and production, Harm-Jan evolved into a true MFFE-expert, reaching well beyond electronics and into the realm of the cryogenic coolers that keep the LNAs at a frigid, noise poor 15 Kelvin. And apart from being a master troubleshooter, he is also known for his improvisation talent where and when necessary. (Note the roll of (duct?) tape on the equipment box in one of the pictures.)
But Harm-Jan has other skills too: many people will recognise him as ASTRON's in-house photographer. He could be seen during visits of dignitaries, at open days, and many receptions, quietly walking around with his camera, recording the memorable moments of the event. Making interesting pictures comes naturally to Harm-Jan as photography is one of his hobby's.
While searching for photo's of Harm-Jan's past for todays event, we stumbled on a picture of Harm-Jan in a posture unfamiliar to us, threatening to use a tool seen seldom at the WSRT: it is a picture made during his military service. Please note the (unlit) cigarette. We included this photo to show Harm-Jan from a very different perspective.
As the WSRT moves from the MFFE into the APERTIF era, we say goodbye to a person from the shrinking group of people who know every nook and cranny, every bolt and wire of the current WSRT.