Friday, January 11, 2008

For those who can't get enough...the ham blog


So here I am, openly advocating that you do something I have accused others of doing too much, encouraging you to investigate something I have previously scorned. That probably makes me a hypocrite. Still, I’m standing right up and advocating, in front of “flamers” everywhere, that I think you owe it to yourself to take a look at some of the other Internet web logs—better known as “blogs”—that are devoted to amateur radio.
Yes, I believe many hams spend too much precious operating time on the computer and not enough on the air. And I have often said—including in this blog’s very first post—that blogging is the “ultimate conceit.” Who are these guys who think anybody really cares what they have to say as they blather on and on, wasting precious bandwidth? Well, as it turns out, there are some very bright guys out there who do a good job of bringing information, discussion and logic to those of us who may be interested. They do it free of charge, with no ulterior motive, and typically without trying to sell us anything. And every one of them offers you the opportunity to express your own opinion or contribute information for the common good.


I do not necessarily think anybody gives a tinker’s damn about my opinions, but I had been thinking for a long time about offering a specialized blog. I wanted to create a site on which interested parties could discuss the effects of rapid technological change, not only on our lives in general but also on our hobby in particular. I see what change is doing to my professional fields—media, publishing, and advertising—and I am equally interested in how it will affect other aspects of society, including the hobby I love.

Well, first step was to see if such a blog already existed. If one does, I didn’t find it, but doing that research was a revelation. There are some very good amateur radio blog sites out there! Some pretty bad ones, too, by the way. But I thought you might be interested in just a sample of what is available, only a few keystrokes away. Check them out if you like. Or hit the back button now and ignore the rest of this post. Either way, you can get right back on the air…but maybe better informed if you do decide to visit some of these blogs, presented here in no particular order.

www.kb6nu.com is a good site with interesting general content that seems to be updated regularly. (Many of the blogs I visited have not seen additions since Jimmy Carter was president!) There are comments from others as well and that indicates that somebody is actually reading KB6NU’s posts.

A blog maintained by W0JRM (www.cedirs.net/W0JRM) is called “The Last Link” and offers a wide variety of topics in addition to ham radio. Rob includes some politically conservative posts in addition to comments on the latest news about our hobby.

www.K2DBK.blogspot.com is devoted to DX and general ham topics. David recently posted a great series of articles about “tools” every ham needs, and I’m not talking about wire strippers and soldering irons. These are software tools. and this is an excellent roundup of those available.

www.K3OQ.net presents a nice, clean site with postings on contesting, QRP, and…yes…martial arts. In case your neighbor gets violent about TVI, I guess. The site also offers a long list of other amateur radio blog sites, including some of those mentioned here.

www.K0NR.net/blog has a little more edgy tone, more like what you find in some of the posts on eHam.net and QRZ.com. There is considerable content dealing with VHF/UHF and QRP operating, too.

www.K9JY.com is another site with emphasis on contesting, DX, and general operating. Like many of the blog sites, visitors may subscribe to new posts by signing up for email or RSS feeds of the site’s content. K9JY’s site even offers a link to learn more about RSS feeds for those unfamiliar with this convenience.

W2LJ’s blog (www.W2LJ.blogspot.com) is another that is updated regularly and its response to news is timely. Larry’s site won me over instantly since he had a nice picture of a J-38 straight key right up top! Appropriately, many of the posts deal with W2LJ’s operating activities, and especially CW and QRP.

One good blog site that features multiple topics is www.WA3FKG.blogspot.com. Ken’s interests include scanners and the Linux operating system in addition to ham radio. His site also offers a nice, long list of links to sites dealing with these and other areas of significance.

There are several sites that purport to offer lists of amateur radio blogs or to give hams the chance to post comments. I found www.hamblog.com to be disorganized and out of date. The last post was in October of 2007. There are many previous posts accessible from the main page but I didn’t go digging. (See, a new country was spotted on 17 meter CW while I was looking. I got him! T32Z! And I went scrambling back to the radio.)

www.ham-blogs.net is a general worldwide directory of sites. I found listed here some of the ones in this article, others that were not very well done, and quite a few that no longer existed. This would actually be a good service if it were updated and if the descriptions were not quite so cryptic.

I mentioned up top that these blog sites are offered free and the owners are not trying to sell us anything. I did not spy any particular self-serving interests in any of the sites I highlight above. Some of them do have Google Ad Network ads on their sites but I found them to be unobtrusive and out of the way. I don’t begrudge anyone making a few bucks on their site. They pay for hosting and other expenses out of their own pockets and I see nothing wrong with the small ads being there, so long as the content is not commercial-disguised-as-blog.

So there you are—enough blog sites to keep you away from the radio for hours! I realize that having access to so much information can be overwhelming. However, if you check out some of what is being offered on the web, and if you find a blog that is of interest to you, it can be like joining an especially interesting 75-meter roundtable. There’s no static, QSB, or QRM either. You always have the option of subscribing to feeds of the blog content so you don’t even have to visit the site unless you want to make comments.

So if you simply cannot get enough information about our great hobby, check out some of the amateur radio-oriented blog sites.

But don’t let the rig get cold either!

3 comments:

Christian, DL6KAC said...

Just released your blog from the queue :). Sorry for the delay!

73
Christian, DL6KAC (also blogging at http://ham-blog.de)

va3stl said...

Don,

Nice blog and good content. Will keep dropping by to read the posts.

I have added it to my blogroll, see it at http://va3stl.wordpress.com


73

Alan
VA3STL

Anonymous said...

Alan, thank you for stopping by and for helping spread the word.

73 and back to trying to break the mob calling the Cocos Island station!

Don N4KC