Phil McKerracher

Home page, last updated October 1997
 accesses since Oct 97

What you can find here:

 A brief biography and my CV

 Ways to contact me

 A tutorial on ISDN

 My interests, with hyperlinks



 S-bus animation ruler

The picture above was taken at my Wedding in July 1997. The music playing in the background (if your browser supports it) is a MIDI file of part of the Scherzo from Beethoven's 9th Symphony. The animated ruler above represents part of the signal on an ISDN S-bus. I have tried to keep these pages simple and brief - please email me if you find them slow or difficult to view.

Brief biography

I'm a professional electrical engineer living in Croydon, south of London with my lovely wife Amanda, who is a history teacher. I work for Telspec in Rochester, developing data communications equipment. I grew up in Melbourne, Australia and worked on radio navigation systems for the Department of Aviation there before seeking fame and fortune in Europe 10 years ago. My parents still live in Melbourne and my brother Ian lives in London.

I am now an expert in ISDN signalling protocols, having served many years on ETSI committees developing the European standards and tests, and having written software for products connected to ISDN networks worldwide. The tutorial here is an attempt to pass on some of this knowledge. I also have considerable experience of designing modems to connect to analogue networks worldwide, and of real-time embedded software development.

There is a text-only copy of my Curriculum Vitae here, which may be copied.

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Ways to contact me

You can email me at any of the following: (Work) (Home) (Alternative) (Alternative)

There are mirrors of this site at:

You can telephone me at any of the following:

+44 1634 687133 Ext 344 (Work)

+44 181 6862738 (Home)

+44 7050 602776 (Mobile)

You can send a fax to me on:

+44 1634 868060

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My interests

My main hobby is playing the violin in various amateur orchestras and chamber groups. I started learning more than 30 years ago and still have lessons occasionally. Not surprisingly, I also like listening to classical music. I also play the piano badly.

Recently, I have had the opportunity to revive another old hobby - theatre lighting and sound. I enjoy the technical aspects, although it can be a thankless task. A few years ago I had the opportunity to operate cameras, mixers and other equipment at public access cable TV studios in California (see the picture above), which I greatly enjoyed and wish I could do more of. They even had me hosting a half-hour show live, on the basis of my "posh English accent", which was funny considering that I still speak with a noticeable Australian accent.

Work often takes me abroad, most recently to Australia, Denmark and Florida, attending standards meetings or adapting products for different markets. I travelled all around Europe in a campervan in 1984 and have enjoyed holidays in China, Southeast Asia, Poland and cruising around the South Pacific. I would still like to visit Africa, South America, India and Russia. I attended evening classes in German for several years, eventually gaining an A-level and an Intermediate Diploma from the Institute of Linguists. I also speak some French.

I am one of the least superstitious people I know, and for many years have been interested in paranormal phenomena from a skeptical point of view. I share the fascination many psychologists and magicians have for the ways in which we can be deceived and the insight this gives into how we think and what we are. In Australia, I served on the committees of the Australian Skeptics and Australian Humanists for a while.Prometheus Books publish many interesting books in this field, and good skeptical magazines are available in England, Australia and America.

I am a member of Mensa, and can recommend their social events, even though they tend to be dominated by computer programmers (like me). Their magazine has improved greatly and is now worth the subscription, and I support their efforts to improve the teaching of bright children and the public awareness of science.

I also support the work of Amnesty and Greenpeace, mainly by subscribing to their magazines.

I stay in touch with scientific developments and the state of the art in data communications by reading Spectrum (the journal of the IEEE) and Scientific American. Electronics Times and Electronics Weekly are also good sources of industry gossip. The comic strip Dilbert is written by an ex datacomms engineer and offers a cynical insight into daily life in the office.

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