A convergence of skills and interests, a long time in the making.

Georges avatar

Aloha. My name is Georges, WH6AZ and I'm a geek and amateur radio enthusiast from Switzerland. I'm the principal behind Island Magic Co., the maker of RadioMail and Transceive.

My love for computers and technology started at a young age when I was first introduced to the Swiss-made computer, the Smaky 6. By the time I was 15, I got my first program published in a magazine (Yes, there was a time when source code was published in magazines, and we'd spend hours poring over the listings to try to understand how the program worked).

Growing up, I spent countless hours on the CB radio with my friends while we played Ultima on the Commodore 64. This was our social network back then! I also got in trouble for racking up an insanely high phone bill by connecting to BBS systems in the US via a 300 baud acoustic coupler modem that I salvaged from a dumpster. I've always enjoyed taking things apart and trying to understand how they worked and decided to make a career out of it and become an engineer.

After earning engineering degrees in electronics and telecommunications, I served as a radio operator in the Swiss Army. Part of my duties was operating on VHF using repurposed American radios from the Vietnam war era. One of my least favorite tasks was trying to copy audio transmissions encrypted with the Swiss-made SVZ-B device. It was barely readable. However, one of my fondest memories was the step-by-step instructions in the user manual on how to rig a grenade to destroy the device to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. As it turns out, Crypto AG, the Swiss company that made these devices, was actually a CIA front for almost 50 years and was responsible for creating back doors and weakened encryption in their products. It's wild to think about.

I then moved on to Silicon Valley where I worked as a software engineer and later on lead development teams for several decades. It wasn't until the COVID-19 pandemic hit and I found myself in lockdown in Hawaii that my love for radio was rekindled. As I learned about the important role that amateur radio plays in emergency communication, I decided to get my license and got sucked into the hobby.

As digital modes become increasingly important in amateur radio, I noticed that some platforms were being neglected. As a result, I decided to develop software specifically for amateur radio users as a passion project. My hope is that, whether you are an experienced operator or just starting out, my software will enhance your amateur radio journey.

Smaky 6 computer
Scrib computer
SE-227 radio with SVZ-B voice encryption