Me, 20 years since
The contents of this site are copyright   Requests to reproduce any part should be addressed to me at the email address below.

Smoke/Carbon monoxide detectors, important warning.
Click on Arts in Residence for info on same.

Who am I?

   Eur. Ing.  D. I. H. May B.Sc.Hons, C.Eng., MIEE, MIEEE (also known as Ian Hickman) has been interested in
electronics since the late 1940s, and professionally involved in it since 1954. Starting with a crystal set
during my school days, my interests over the years have covered every aspect of electronics, though mainly
concentrating on analog.  I attended Latymer Upper School and gained 8 "O" levels and
4 "A" levels - Physics, Chemistry, Pure Maths and Applied Maths. Whilst there, the father of one of my school
friends (also taking Chemistry) gave him a solid nickel spatula and seeing my admiring glances, made another for me.
I still have it, though it never saw much use. If you are a bona fide student of chemistry at school, college or
university and would like a solid nickel spatula, contact me at the address below.

   I later attended Acton Technical College (which during my time there became "Brunel College of Advanced
Technology", one of the new "CATs", and much later on, "Brunel University") receiving a London External
Upper Second Degree.

   In 1954 - 1956 I served in The Royal Airforce, latterly at the famous wartime fighter station near the south
coast, RAF Tangmere. From 1956 to retirement in 1991 I had a career as a design engineer
in the electronics industry; both in military and civilian work, at GEC, Hatfield Instruments and Plessey (latterly
Siemens).  In the 1970s I started a career as an electronics author and worked as such full time from 1991. Though
now retired, I was for years Consultant to the magazine "Electronics World" the longest established electronics
magazine in the world. Founded in 1911 as "The Marconigraph", for most of the time since 1913 it was known as
"Wireless World". "Electronics World" is published monthly by Saint John Patrick Publishers Ltd.
   I am a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology: For more information on The IET, CLICK HERE
   I am past Chairman of the flourishing Solent Area Retired Members' Section of the Institution of Engineering
and Technology. This is probably the most successful IET RMS with typical attendances at our monthly lectures of
100 or more members and guests. To see the current programme, CLICK HERE and navigate to
   I am a Life Member of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers: For more information on
   For more information on IEEE Life Members, CLICK HERE


 If, like me, you are an Engineer, you may appreciate the following parable:-

A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces
height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts,

"Excuse me, can you help me? I promised my friend I would meet him half an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man below says, "Yes. You are in a hot air balloon, hovering approximately 30 feet above this field. You are at
41.57 degrees N. latitude, and 59.26 W. longitude."

"You must be an engineer" says the balloonist.

"I am" replies the man. "How did you know?"

"Well" says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically
correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost. "

The man below says, "You must be a manager."

"I am" replies the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," says the man, "you don't know where you are, or where you are going. You have made a promise, which you have no idea
how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is you are in the exact
same position you were in before we met, but now it is somehow my


What do I do?

  Apart from many other hobbies - music, winemaking, mycology, reading etc. - I write about electronics. My "ORCID"
Identifier is 0000-0002-8603-8530  My area of specialism is analog, covering dc to 2GHz and below is my laboratory,
showing power supplies, oscilloscopes, spectrum analysers, audio/video signal generators, AF and RF component analysers,
AF distortion meter; plus several RF signal generators (not shown).
I have had numerous articles published in ELECTRONICS WORLD, many republished in book form, see below.
In addition, I occasionally write for other magazines, under the same or other pen names:-  Ian March,
Ben Sullivan, Point Contact, Hot Electron, Alf. A. Particle.   I also write books on electronics, all (except
as stated) published by Newnes/Butterworth-Heinemann, part of Elsevier Limited, and a list of these is shown
   I have prepared PowerPoint presentations on various topics.  Those presently available include 
"Wrest Park", "London's transport in the 1930s", "The Organ, from Archimedes to modern times" for general
audiences, and for technical audiences, "Frequency" and "The Admiralty Handbooks of WT and other historic
textbooks". Other presentations include "The Queen Anne Fifty Churches Act" and "Jenner and the death of
  To see  LIST, a wide range of further interesting pages, some technical, many not, CLICK HERE
  I also have a collection of CDs encompassing a varied range of classical music, some pieces very well known some, others less so and
  some quite eclectic.  To see the catalogue, CLICK HERE
Books by Ian Hickman

In print
  • Oscilloscopes: How to Use Them, How They Work, 5th Edition 2001, ISBN 0 7506 4757 4

  • Digital storage oscilloscopes, 1997, ISBN 0 7506 2856 1

  • Practical RF Handbook 4th Ed., 2007, ISBN 0 7506 8039 3

  • Practical RF Handbook 3rd Edition, 2004, in Chinese, Flag Publishing Company, Taiwan.

  • Hickman's Analog and RF Circuits, 1998, ISBN 0 7506 3742 0

  • Analog Electronics, 2nd. Edn. 1999, ISBN 0 7506 4416 8

    Analog Circuits Cookbook, 2nd Edn.1995, ISBN 0 7506 4234 3  NOTE The last chapter of the 1st Edition, Tricks of the Trade, was omitted from the 2nd Edition, to make way for other new material. The "Tricks of the Trade" chapter can be viewed in its entirety by. CLICKING HERE 

Out of print, but still in many libraries

  • Electronic Circuits Systems and Standards (articles selected from EDN, edited by Ian Hickman), 1991, ISBN 0 7506 0068 3

  • The EDN Designer's Companion (articles selected from EDN, edited by Ian Hickman and Bill Travis), 1994, ISBN 0 7506 1721 7

  • Electronics Questions and Answers 2nd Ed., 1982, ISBN 0 408 00578 5

  • Get More from your Personal Computer, 1982, ISBN 0 408 01131 9

  • Computing with the ORIC 1, 1984, ISBN 0 408 01444 X

  • Analog Electronics, 1st. Edn. 1990, ISBN 0 434 90723 5

  • Oscilloscopes: How to Use Them, How They Work, Editions 1 to 4

  • Practical RF Handbook, Editions 1 to 3

  • Analog Circuits Cookbook, 1st Edition

  • Analog Electronics, 1st Edition

Oscilloscopes Digital Storage Oscilloscopes RF Handbook 4th Ed. Analog and RF Circuits Analog Electronics Analog Circuits Cookbook
Click on any "in print" thumbnail above to see the cover in detail.  Use Internet Explorer's Back button to return.

R F Handbook (Chinese) Oscilloscopes (Italian) RF Handbook (Spanish) Get More from your Personal Computer Computing with the Oric Electronics Questions and Answers EDN Designer's Companion Electronic Circuits, Systems and Standards RF Handbook 3rd Ed.
Foreign translations and out-of-print (the latter still in many libraries).  Use Internet Explorer's Back button to return.

Who is Dorothy Margaret May?

  My wife Dot ("Dorothy") is a natural linguist and at Twickenham County School for Girls gained 6 "O" levels
including French, and German after only one year's study. Her "A" levels comprised French, German, Latin and
Classical Greek and she later obtained Royal Society of Arts Certificates in Spanish and Italian. Whilst working at
the Banque Belge pour l'Etranger she spoke French all day, except when required to work in Flemish or German.
In later life she acquired a B.A. in French with German, studied Modern Greek and Russian, was awarded an "O" level in
Welsh and has dabbled in Turkish, Arabic and Mandarin. She is also an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.
  Dot is a devotee of the metropolis, which she visits whenever she can, and where her ART FUND card comes in useful - there are
very few London exhibitions that she misses. She is interested in most art forms, and reads extensively, both
fiction and non-fiction. In music, her taste is wide and she especially enjoys opera.

Dave ("Ian Hickman") and Dot May

visit the Royal Institution, and

Dot hobnobs with F. D. R. and W. S. C.

Later, Dot visits London    


 to see the lights.

On a recent trip to Nuremberg we visited Bayreuth and Dot hobnobbed with the master himself.

Our home

We haven't seen our house covered in snow like this
- see below - for  years.
Dot's height of just 4'6'' is emphasised by this healthy sunflower, growing one year in pour front garden.
Click to enlarge
Winter 2018/19 was been fairly mild, apart from a cold spell and even then, the snow did not last into a second day.Winter 2019/20 was mild and the wild plum tree was in bloom in February. In the summer we had some heavy rain and a very hot spell, the rambler roses were splendid!
What else do I do?

I am a member of The National Trust, and was Treasurer and then Chairman of The Portsmouth and District Centre
of The National Trust for twelve years, and of which my wife Dot was Secretary for a similar length of time.
For more information on The National Trust, CLICK HERE   For more information on Portsmouth and District Centre navigate via
"Join & get involved" to "Supporter Groups" and click on "Search our supporter group directory". Select "Hampshire" and
"Search" will take you to contact details of the Portsmouth and District Centre.

Dot and I are members of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies, and of our local NADFAS group,
The Portsdown Decorative and Fine Arts Society which meets monthly (except August and September) in
St. Nicholas Church Centre, Bedhampton, Hants. For more information on NADFAS,  CLICK HERE .

For more information on Portsdown Decorative and Fine Arts Society, CLICK HERE .

Dot and I are members of the Elgar Society, and of the Southern Branch, which meets in "The Spring"
(Havant Arts Centre) Havant, Hampshire.  For more details, CLICK HERE  
I am a member of the "Mayflower Club", an informal association of employees and ex-employees of GEC/Marconi group companies.
The club organises monthly rambles, holidays, golf matches, dinners and other events. There is no annual subscription.
For more information, email me at the email address below.

Dot and I enjoy the musical appreciation/gastronomic weekends arranged by the Arts in Residence organisation.
For more details, CLICK HERE

I am a long-standing member of the ELECTRONIC ORGAN CONSTRUCTORS' SOCIETY.
For more information on the EOCS, CLICK HERE.

We are also Friends of Park Wood, an area of 3.2 hectares (7.9 acres), being a remnant of the ancient Forest of Bere,
in the care of The Woodland Trust. For more information about Park WoodCLICK HERE.

I used at one time to suffer chronic low back pain and acute supra-spinatus tendonitis, but not now.
For more details, CLICK HERE



I attended Latymer Upper School and am an Old Latymerian.   For more details on Old Latymerians, visit www.latymer-upper.org and click on the Former pupils link.   I have recently been added to the list of DISTINGUISHED LATYMERIANS, in company with a couple of members of the House of Lords, several Judges, a number of actors including Hugh Grant, and literally scores of Professors.

   For three years in the early 1950s I was leader of the school orchestra and I believe that I am the originator of the captive mute now used almost universally by string players. I never got around to taking Grade VI, due to the intervention of National Service and then earning a living, but whilst I was in the Sixth form the school orchestra was coached by a certain Ken Popplewell, an old boy of the school and a violinist in the BBCSO. I found the mute, of the traditional heavy metal variety with prongs to clip on the bridge, a great inconvenience. It needed to be kept handy, but on the music stand it got in the way when turning the page, and I had no handy waistcoat pocket for it.  So I fashioned myself a small block of wood with a groove along each side and a step at the front, nicely varnished to match my instrument, to fit between the D and A strings. Normally kept adjacent to the tailpiece, in use it was slid forward with the stepped end pressing down on the bridge - it proved most effective. Ken Popplewell was intrigued, tried it in use on my instrument (which was never so well played!), was impressed and asked me to make him one, which  I did.

He was in fact an excellent woodworker, and doubtless made himself a better one in hardwood - probably for other members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra as well, and now a captive mute is universally used. He also made a violin from wood he collected on the battlefields of The Great War.  This instrument  used to be on display in its glass case, on the wall near the main hall of the Imperial War Museum, but may be currently in conservation. It is taken out and played on Remembrance Sunday and again on November 11th, each year. I saw Ken from time to time throughout the fifties and sixties, but then lost touch, although I know he died some time ago, so the violin is also a memorial to him.

I can be contacted at eng.d.may@ieee.org

Please report any broken links to the above.

Ian Hickman Partners have maintained the following websites, among others:-
www.portsmouthnadfas.co.uk * www.ntportsmouth.org.uk * www.theberliozsociety.ukwww.park-wood.org
 ( * site subsequently renamed ) and currently maintain The Music Club of London 

This site last updated  20th May 2021
This page prepared and maintained by Ian Hickman Partners (Eur. Ing. D.I. H. May BSc.Hons, C.Eng, MIEE, MIEEE, and D. M. May B.A.Hons, A.C.I.L.)