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Scott Bidstrup

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Scott Bidstrup (born 12 January 1949) is an anti-neoliberal political activist, a skeptic and a self-taught telecommunications engineer who has written essays on a range of topics. The youngest of four siblings, he is a gay rights activist. Bidstrup currently is retired and is living in Tobosi, El Guarco, Costa Rica.[1]


As a teenager he built a shortwave receiver and repaired others; later he built an experimental radio broadcast transmitters. He also worked evenings and Saturday mornings at his father's electrical shop, graduating in 1967 from Idaho Falls High School. He attended Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho for a year, where he was employed in the campus broadcasting system.[1]

In May 1968 he went to Egegik, Alaska to work for Alaska Packers' salmon cannery, refuelling fishing boats and doing bookkeeping, while installing and maintaining boat radios in his spare time. He returned to his Alaskan summer job for three more years while attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. During his last two summers in Alaska, he was hired as a full-time radio operator, eventually earning a United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Conditional amateur radio licence, which at that time required proficiency of 13 words per minute in Morse Code. In 1971 he received his B.A. in communications from BYU. Shortly thereafter, he decided he could not in his mind reconcile some doctrines of his Mormon faith with his knowledge of biological evolution and became an agnostic.[1] In 1972 Bidstrup passed both the FCC Advanced class amateur and First Class commercial radio liecence and obtained work in Salt Lake City as a two-way radio technician., later working for Motorola's service depot in San Carlos, California.[1]

In 1980, he went to work for Skaggs Telecommunications Service in Salt Lake City, managing its portable products service department, three years later, transferring into its satellite earth station subsidiary, U.S. Satellite Corporation, where he managed its operations division. Eventually, he went to work as a transmission engineer at the Steele Valley Earth Station in Perris, California. While there, he earned a Certificate in Satellite Transmission Engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles, and became a full member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. Subsequently, he moved to Phoenix, Az., where he managed the engineering department at American Television Corporation in Phoenix, at the time, the principal provider of microwave backbone transmission services in the region. He was briefly the manager of microwave transmission engineering services at Mericom Corporation of Irvine, California, before retiring and moving to Costa Rica in 2003. In 2008, he passed his Amateur Extra Class license exam (the highest grade in the U.S.), and was assigned the call sign of W7RI.[1]


In "The Best Government Money Can Rent" he has denounced the United States Supreme Court decision (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission) allowing corporations to spend any amount of money they like on political campaigns as "the final triumph of ideology over reason and pragmatic reality."[2] Other essays attempt to counter the official United States pro-Israeli position in the Israel-Palestine conflict, construct a history of homophobia, explore the problem of climate change, skeptically analyze Christian fundamentalism and allege that much of the ideology of conservatism is grounded in self-interest rather than egalitarianism.

Published Work[edit]

  • "Gay Marriage: The Arguments and the Motives" in Tamara L. Roleff, ed., At Issue: Gay Marriage (Opposing Viewpoints), Greenhaven Press, 1998, 128 pp. ISBN 1-56510-693-8 Search this book on . (hardcover); ISBN 1-56510-692-X Search this book on . (paper)

Costa Rican cellular service[edit]

After a Costa Rican newspaper reported long queues for cell phone lines and editorialized that Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, the government-owned telecom provider, should allow retailers to install SIM chips needed for cellular GSM lines,[3] Bidstrup declared his support for the company's restrictive policy. Enacting the newspaper's suggestion, he said, would invite the creation of a black market both in SIMs and in telephones, facilitate the illegal use of phones by criminals being sought by the police, and lead to smuggling of non-duty-paid telephones into the country.[4]

Finally, Bidstrup added, telephones might be modified for tariff evasion or illegal roaming, and the resultant tariff fraud would cause the base rates for service to be much higher than they would otherwise be. "ICE's policies for SIM management are one of the reasons that subscribers here enjoy rates far lower than in the U.S. at the same time that ICE is able to maintain profitability and reinvestment in its network. As an engineer who has long worked in the cell telephone industry before retiring here, I can understand ICE's policies regarding the sale, distribution and use of subscriber equipment on the GSM network as well as the management of SIMs, and I find myself in full agreement with nearly all of them."[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Biography of Scott Bidstrup", 2009. Retrieved 010-01-29.
  2. Scott Bidstrup, "The Best Government Money Can Rent", Veritas et Ratio, 23 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-29.
  3. Clair-Marie Robertson, "A silly question about cellular lines" in A.M. Costa Rica, 1 Dec. 2004. Accessed 2010-11-11.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bidstrup, Scott, "He defends ICE practice of holding chips closely" in A.M. Costa Rica, 2 Dec. 2004. Accessed 2010-11-11.

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