So apparently I should have started this with an intro post. Oh well, doing things backwards isn't unusual for me
I'm strictly a hobbyist. I started playing with electronics in elementary school, with the old RadioShack "200 projects in one box" kind of kits. Computer Science degree in college, but pretty much straight software. Just one or two classes on computer architecture and such that touched on hardware. Then my career went into a very different, and non-technical direction, but have always been into tech. Kept my hand in on programming a bit by doing various small projects for the office, for some non-profits I'm invloved with, an occasional open source project, that sort of thing. Mostly PHP in recent years.
Around 2010 I discovered the modern maker movement and played around quite a bit with Arduinos, RPis, etc. Nothing very productive, just some small projects. Hacked a baby toy so we could restart the "falling asleep" music in the crib via a radio transmitter, that sort of thing.
Got my ham radio license in 2015 (KQ2Z), played with that a bit, but mostly just using the radios, not building.anything.
Have gotten back into electronics in the last few months, and want a bit more structured approach. My knowledge is very hit-or-miss, learning just enough to get done what I wanted. So I never know what I don't know... I'm generally better at digital than analog. Firmware is easier for me than hardware. So I've been focusing on learning the analog world a lot. Currently reading through the "Art of Electronics" and also trying to work my way through "Learning the Art of Electronics". This course seemed a nice complement to that.
I'm also working, very slowly, on a significant project - an APRS tracker for a High Altitude Balloon. By far the most complicated thing I've done, especially since I've set myself some tough goals on it - design everything from scratch, no modules, just components. Write as much of the code as possible - use as few outside libraries as I can get away with.
I have a rough mockup on a breadboard, and have recently ordered some boards from OSHPark to try out some of the sub-circuits. Still lots of code to write.
I was asked above why KiCad and why SMD. In the past, I'd used Eagle, but with the Autodesk takover and change in policy it seemed like the right time to move to an open source solution. That's how I found CE - "Getting to Blinky" is about the best KiCad tutorial that I've found. Why SMD? Because most of the interesting parts these days are only available in SMD, and because in the HAB tracker project space and weight are at a premium.
So that's me.