i3 - November/December 2016 - 52

Norman Hunt, Don Rea
& Ed Tuck, Jr.
Founders of Magellan, Inventors of first handheld GPS device

At first, Don Rea and Norm Hunt at Omicron Labs, the pair's small Santa Ana, CA,
contract engineering firm, thought Ed Tuck was crazy.

T

uck, a serial
entrepreneur
and pilot, had
approached
the duo in March 1986 and
described his vision of a
small, low-cost, batteryoperated handheld GPS
unit for boaters, pilots and
outdoor buffs. Hunt and Rea
had a GPS breadboard that
took up most of a bench
in their lab and told Tuck
that his idea did not seem
feasible considering current
technology. But Tuck was
undeterred. Three years
later, Rea and a small team of
skilled engineers produced
the first-ever handheld
GPS device for Tuck's new
company, Magellan.
Don Rea was born in La
Junta, CO, in 1935. His father,
Ralph, was a music educator,
his mother, Josephine, a
home-maker. At age 12, Rea
acquired a crystal radio
kit and, in high school, an
amateur radio license. By
then, he knew he wanted to
be an engineer.
The family settled in
Fresno, CA, in 1954, where
his father began teaching at
Fresno State. Rea became
a student there, earning
his B.S. in 1957. During the
summers of 1955 and 1956,
Rea worked in the computer
labs at General Dynamics in
Pomona. After graduation,
52

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016

- NORMAN HUNT

- DON REA

- ED TUCK, JR.

Rea returned to General
Dynamics. In 1961, he earned
a master's degree at U.C.
Berkeley, again returning
to General Dynamics to
head a group that designed
simulation equipment, where
he met Norm Hunt.
Norm Hunt was born
in 1938 in Tracy, CA. His
parents, Mary and Homer,
relocated to San Jacinto,
where Hunt graduated from
high school in 1956.
Hunt joined the Air Force
where the quick learner spent
his tour of duty attending
training schools, and then
teaching at them. In Orlando,
FL, he taught maintenance
courses on the Matador, an
early cruise missile.
He met and married
Alberta Wright in 1961,
eventually raising two
children, Laura and
James. Once out of the
Air Force, he got a job
as a service engineer
with IBM in Riverside,
CA, rising to systems
engineer, responsible for
technical support of the
IBM computers at General
Dynamics in Pomona, where
he met Rea.
In 1969, Rea talked
Hunt into quitting IBM to
join him at new startup,
Documentor Sciences, in
Santa Ana. In 1976, the pair
set up Omicron Labs to

produce micro-processorbased designs, with Rea
working on hardware
and Hunt on software.
The duo also developed
three marine navigation
device prototypes, which
were produced and sold
by established marine
electronics companies.
With their interest in
navigation, Rea and Hunt
decided to learn about the
nascent global positioning
system (GPS). On March 1,
1985, after three years of
part-time experimentation
with their breadboard, they
successfully tracked five of
the six working GPS satellites,
making them relative experts
in the new system, which
is when they came to the
attention of Tuck.
Born in Memphis, TN,
in 1931, Tuck came from
a mechanical family - his
father, Edward Fenton Tuck
Sr., was a railroad man. Tuck
earned his ham license at age
15, and then graduated from
Missouri School of Mines
(now Missouri University of
Science and Technology)
with a B.S. in electrical
engineering in 1953.
Tuck applied that
degree and his interest in
communications technology
to a variety of startups
and existing companies,
and also became a vice
I T I S I N N O VAT I O N



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - November/December 2016

Contents
i3 - November/December 2016 - Cover1
i3 - November/December 2016 - Cover2
i3 - November/December 2016 - Contents
i3 - November/December 2016 - 2
i3 - November/December 2016 - 3
i3 - November/December 2016 - 4
i3 - November/December 2016 - 5
i3 - November/December 2016 - 6
i3 - November/December 2016 - 7
i3 - November/December 2016 - 8
i3 - November/December 2016 - 9
i3 - November/December 2016 - 10
i3 - November/December 2016 - 11
i3 - November/December 2016 - 12
i3 - November/December 2016 - 13
i3 - November/December 2016 - 14
i3 - November/December 2016 - 15
i3 - November/December 2016 - 16
i3 - November/December 2016 - 17
i3 - November/December 2016 - 18
i3 - November/December 2016 - 19
i3 - November/December 2016 - 20
i3 - November/December 2016 - 21
i3 - November/December 2016 - 22
i3 - November/December 2016 - 23
i3 - November/December 2016 - 24
i3 - November/December 2016 - 25
i3 - November/December 2016 - 26
i3 - November/December 2016 - 27
i3 - November/December 2016 - 28
i3 - November/December 2016 - 29
i3 - November/December 2016 - 30
i3 - November/December 2016 - 31
i3 - November/December 2016 - 32
i3 - November/December 2016 - 33
i3 - November/December 2016 - 34
i3 - November/December 2016 - 35
i3 - November/December 2016 - 36
i3 - November/December 2016 - 37
i3 - November/December 2016 - 38
i3 - November/December 2016 - 39
i3 - November/December 2016 - 40
i3 - November/December 2016 - 41
i3 - November/December 2016 - 42
i3 - November/December 2016 - 43
i3 - November/December 2016 - 44
i3 - November/December 2016 - 45
i3 - November/December 2016 - 46
i3 - November/December 2016 - 47
i3 - November/December 2016 - 48
i3 - November/December 2016 - 49
i3 - November/December 2016 - 50
i3 - November/December 2016 - 51
i3 - November/December 2016 - 52
i3 - November/December 2016 - 53
i3 - November/December 2016 - 54
i3 - November/December 2016 - 55
i3 - November/December 2016 - 56
i3 - November/December 2016 - 57
i3 - November/December 2016 - 58
i3 - November/December 2016 - 59
i3 - November/December 2016 - 60
i3 - November/December 2016 - 61
i3 - November/December 2016 - 62
i3 - November/December 2016 - 63
i3 - November/December 2016 - 64
i3 - November/December 2016 - 65
i3 - November/December 2016 - 66
i3 - November/December 2016 - 67
i3 - November/December 2016 - 68
i3 - November/December 2016 - Cover3
i3 - November/December 2016 - Cover4
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/manifest/i3_20160506
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