25 Aug 11 meeting notes

Discussion on RARC meetings, agenda, programs, past, present or future.

25 Aug 11 meeting notes

Postby n4mj » Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:20 am

At last night's meeting (25 Aug 2011) we were enlghtened by Jamie, WB4YDL, about Operational Awards that are available to amateur radio operators.

He did an excellent job presenting the information, complete with a very nice handout for future reference. Thank you Jamie.
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We had a guest at this meeting, Mike Staton. Mike and I have know each other for many years. I knew he had a ham license at one time but when I met him at a local business a few days ago and inquired about it he told me he had let it lapse. Seems the last time he was on the air was around 1981. I invited Mike to the meeting and he came.

Not being on the air since 1981 leaves a big gap in knowledge about technology, operating, rules, regulations, equipment, and the meshing together of amateur radio and the internet.

I haven't talked with Mike since the meeting but it came to me during Jamie's presentation that Mike was likely overwhelmed with information he hadn't expected. Not just about awards but the conversations that took place during the meeting and presentation must have knocked him back a bit.

Imagine if you can that your last experience in amateur radio was 30 years ago and suddenly you step into today's world of the hobby. What has changed? Wow!

In 81 we didn't have the internet, most equipment was tube type, software was considered to be your unmentionables, award hunting was coordinated through on-the-air groups/nets, logs were paper, keeping up with who had been worked and for what award was strictly a manual process. There was no such thing as ILRP or Echo Link or APRS There was no ISS and SatCom was very rare. We did have repeaters but they were basic were mostly open, no PL tone, and were quite sparsely placed.

Today's hams are a bit more sophisticated. We use the internet for such things as looking for on-the-air DX (clusters) or stations needed for various purposes. It can be used to find information on any subject. We can email one another to set up schedules we can chat about whatever without being on-the-air.

Software plays a big part in todays radio world - radio control, logging, digital modes, experimenting, designing circuits, programming radios and other equipment. spreadsheets and databases are used to track and coordinate various data for any and all purposes. Most of the software is commercially developed and available for purchase. Many spreadsheets and databases are designed, built and used by individual amateur radio operators who not only learn from creating them but learn new tricks about using data to enhance the hobby. Anyway you look at it software brings about the use computers and the internet in our daily lives.

Quite a difference in the amateur radio world of 81 and today!!!

I can only hope my friend Mike isn't overwhelmed to a point of saying, "too complicated for me" and instead accepts the challenge to catch-up with what we accept as normal in today's hobby.

Reelfoot Amateur Radio Club exists because we enjoy our hobby and each other's company. It also has a mission of promoting amateur radio through all means available. Keeping up with and advancing technology provides opportunities for RARC members to promote the hobby by assisting those interested in learning about and becoming a radio amateur.
n4mj
 
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Re: 25 Aug 11 meeting notes

Postby Jamie_WB4YDL » Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:12 am

I enjoyed the August meeting immensely. The presentation I gave was a bit complicated in that there are so many of them offered by many groups worldwide. I chose to concentrate on the 'local group' - ARRL and CQ. If you missed the meeting and would like to have a copy of the handout, I have posted a link to it at the bottom of the Meetings web page.

Mike, if you are reading this, don't get discouraged or overwhelmed - be encouraged and fascinated. :D In 1981, I was entering medical school and had boxed up my Drake B-twins for the long hibernation. When I finally was able to entertain re-starting in the hobby, the PC still had not been born and something called 'hybrid' radios were around. These were the first solid state radios that still had a few tubes. It was soon after that that fully solid state radios became available. I was a General Class licensee at that time and I bought the Kenwood TS-440S which I sold to Noel KJ4UNX. It was sure a lot easier to set up than the old Drake twins ! :o The advent of the computer was thought to ring a death knell for ham radio back then. Hams simple did what they always do - make it work for them. And boy, have they ever ! :shock:

Us OT's (Old Timers) can certainly assist in your 'Back to the Future' angst, Mike. :D

73, Jamie
WB4YDL
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