Kirk Harnack and Jeremy Ruck circa 1994 with scale model of Sears Tower antenna masts

Among those mourning the death of engineer Jeremy Ruck this past weekend is Kirk Harnack, his friend and former co-worker.

“Jeremy and I worked together on the [then] Sears Tower in Chicago under the tutelage of Don Markley,” Harnack told us.

“We were measuring human exposure to RF radiation, mapping the tower and roof areas where workers’ presence would be time-limited. It’s not surprising that Jeremy continued to apply his knowledge and RF wisdom to the Willis Tower’s RF infrastructure over the 25+ years since our shared experience there.”

Jeremy Ruck and Kirk Harnack at the Michigan Broadcasters Engineering Conference 2020

Harnack commented on Ruck’s real-world experience and ability to communicate difficult ideas.

“Jeremy would explain complex technical concepts in simple tech terms that most engineers could understand. You felt smarter — better informed — after any conversation with him.”

He said Ruck’s favorite test equipment was the vector network analyzer. “He educated hundreds of engineers on the importance of VNA measurements, characterizing dozens of key parameters in RF transmission systems. These measurements allowed the fine adjustments necessary to optimize DTV transmission as well as FM systems. He could massage these systems to work as well or even better than their design. I think you’d be amazed at the number of FM listeners and TV viewers who unknowingly enjoy the results of Jeremy’s expertise.”

Jeremy Ruck (right) in the 2020 calendar of tower company Precision Comms Inc.

Ruck was a popular presenter at engineering conferences, including in Wisconsin and Nebraska. “He also shared his experience and knowledge about the TV repack with a wider audience in November 2019 on the SBE WEBxtra webcast.”

The photos shown here are provided by Kirk Harnack.

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