Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Just plain fun

Look, I'll be the first to admit that amateur radio is not a hobby for everyone.  I even wrote an article about the subject for the web site.  But for a bunch of us--and we are not all nerds, geeks, or sparks-for-brains--the hobby offers a lot. 

Some love it for the technical aspect, and the hobby continues to lead the way with new and innovative ways to involve computers, wi-fi, and the Internet with our radios.  (My own things are antennas and propagation, and with the unusual nature of sunspot cycle 24 and how it affects us all in more ways than most folks know, it is a fascinating time for us solar flux watchers!)

Others like radiosport, using their "rigs" in active competition with other hams around the world in contests or chasing operators in rare, exotic places.  (I am a casual contester, too, since it is a good way to learn more about propagation and how my homebrew aerials it is just a lot of fun!  There is a group of hams about to set up and operate on Spratley you never heard of it.  And I talked to a station operating from the Japanese exploration base in Antarctica the other day.  Heck, you can even talk to the International Space Station as it orbits above earth.)

Still others like helping out in emergency situations, and perform valuable public service.  A lot of us simply enjoy chatting with like-minded people around the planet.  (I had an enjoyable conversation ["QSO"] with a fellow in Latvia yesterday, and exchanged signal reports with guys in Namibia, French Polynesia, Latvia, European Russia...and Nashville, Tennessee...just in the last few days.)

Here's a great video of a ham in Melbourne, Australia, showing us his set-up in a park in the city where he just likes to go operate for a while, using solar power and a simple radio station.  You can hear the joy in his voice!

Okay.  Enough selling.  If you are here for more info on the hobby.

Don Keith N4KC