A complex and multivaried pursuit such as amateur radio offers much to a wide variety of interests. Last month’s survey of club members revealed a notable interest in Ham radio as electronics among some, and more of an interest in operating among others.
Here’s some numbers to back that up: 32% reported an interest in home-brewing and kit-building, 26% in radio theory, 21% in circuit design, and 18% in experimentation. I imagine there’s a lot of overlapping interests represented in those numbers.interest in Ham radio as communication among others.
Here’s an idea. Those who want to participate can join in a group effort to design, build, and test drive a small, single-band, and low power transceiver. There’s lots of designs available for such a rig, but that’s not the point. The point is that those who wish can join in a group project that nevertheless offers lots of room for individual ingenuity. Tentatively, we could call it the “Rogue CS-20” (or whatever band we decide on).
The “CS” stands for “crowd sourced,” a method of collaboration that blends individual motivations with community benefits.
Well, it’s not really as highfalutin as it sounds. It’s very common among programmers, especially those who contribute to open-source projects as with GNU and Linux. Perhaps the most commonly-used crowd-sourced project is Wikipedia. It’s written and edited by volunteers, and it encourages collaboration. Hams can do this kind of thing, too.
A transceiver design, for example, is a natural for this kind of work. All radio designs (and pretty-much everything else) are created from a block diagram, and each block can be designed, built, and tested separately— as an individual effort.
Ultimately, each block would be integrated into the whole. Starting with a set of agree-upon requirements such as impedance matching between blocks, signal-gain distribution, and power loading, each designer comes up with something that works by itself, and that works with all the other blocks. It’s an iterative process, but then what emerges would be a new design with our fingerprints all over it.
For the March mid-month Workshop, let’s come up with a set of features we’d like and then work on a block diagram. If we do a little prep before the Workshop, we could even divvy up the blocks. When our crowd-sourced transceiver is ready, we can produce any number of them for our testing and use, and as a number of other clubs around the have done, we could offer theRogue CS-20 as a kit.
If this idea interests you at all, let’s do this. It’ll be fun.
A Centennial Year
In May 1914, Hiram Percy Maxim, polymath and inventor of the automobile muffler, founded the American Radio Relay League in Hartford, Connecticut. As the name suggests, Maxim and others sought to organize amateurs to relay messages between distant stations. The Navy claimed jurisdiction over radio frequencies, and they took a dim view of amateur-radio enthusiasts.
So the ARRL added protection of Ham privileges to its portfolio. Maxim himself and other amateur activists lobbied Congress and managed to protect and, over the years, expand the importance of the amateur-radio service. The League is still at it—and much more–going into its second century.
The RVARC is well into this centennial year, too, and much is going on. In addition to the elected officers, three members will serve on the Executive Board as called for in the Club’s Constitution. They are Heath Lerew KF7ZSD, Jackie Wobbe KC7WWJ, and Bob Rogers KG7HPO. The 2014 Field Day Committee includes Don Bennett KG7BP, Ray Abbitt KK6AM, and Heath Lerew KF7ZSD. The Public Information Committee consists of Joe Gunderson, AF7GN, the Club’s Public Information Officer, and Curt Hadley KF7VZV. The club’s licensing instructors are Rick Arens KF7VZ, Dale Troutman N7IXS, Johnny Jones WA6RHK, Bill Shrader W7QMU, Joe Gunderson AF7GN, Ryan LePage KD7RQ, and Curt Hadley KF7VZV. So far, the Membership Development Committee includes Rita Derbas KI6SSQ. We’ll announce members for the Activities (non-Field Day) Committee and the Projects Committee at the February 6th meeting.
There are plenty of places on these committees for anyone to get more deeply involved. Fortunately, with new technology at our fingertips, asynchronous “virtual” meetings and other work can take place mostly online. Each committee member is encouraged him or herself to calibrate the level of involvement–from S1 to S9+20dB. Older members are particularly valuable for their decades of experience and growth in ham radio. So do let me know how you’d like to be involved.
By the way, there’s been lots of good activity on the Peak Radio Association system of linked repeaters (coverage from Yreka to Longview, WA) lately. There’s a net every night, and usually plenty of commute-time traffic as well. The Oregon Railfan Net had its first weekly session on the PRA last Monday at 146.94 (PL 136.5) on King Mt at 20:00 local. Among other recent traffic has been an English ham who has made several visits via Echolink. I imagine that some Echolink or IRLP activity coming from our end to virtually anywhere in the world could really get the repeaters humming.
Todd / K7TFC
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Making Radio History
On March 12, 1933, Franklin Roosevelt became the first President of the United States to address the nation by radio. That was the bottom of the Great Depression, and neither Roosevelt nor anyone else knew what to do about it. In that “Fireside Chat,” he announced the guiding philosophy for the rest of his twelve years in office:
“It is common sense to take an idea and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
Imagine a president saying that today!
Over the decades of the Rogue Valley Amateur Radio Club, the membership has taken a similar approach. Even a casual perusal of old Repeaters makes that clear. As we enter 2014—the 100th anniversary of the ARRL—there are still things to try. Some may have been attempted before, but just as “one cannot step into the same river twice” the membership of the RVARC today is not the same as yesterday’s. We have many new members, some members who have not been active lately, and hundreds of licensed amateurs in our “neck of the woods.”
For these reasons, let’s try some things. In no particular order, here are some thoughts of my own.
- The club constitution provides for three members of the “Executive Board” from the general membership. Let’s fill those slots.
- Let’s form a few standing committees of at least three members each: Development, Membership, Public Information, Projects and Activities, Funding, and maybe a few more. That’s at least eighteen members right there.
- Let’s go back to the “3A” category for Field Day 2014, and to “4A” for 2015. Neither can be done without sufficient participation, so breaking operator hours into small sign-up pieces (as small as one hour long) rather than open-ended commitments might help. In any event, there’s lots of opportunities for member involvement here, whether on a large scale or very small.
- In addition to Field Day, the Summer Ice Cream Social, and the Christmas Potluck, let’s try a few other annual club-sponsored events. Examples might include a fox hunt, a camp-out QSO party, or “Ask the Elmers” sessions.
- See if some special interest groups—SIGS—within the club could be opportunities for involvement. Examples might include SIGs for QRP, homebrewing, contesting, satellite/ISS, digital/data, SDR, and D-Star. Ham radio has so many facets. A list of possible SIGS would be lengthy.
- For our meeting programs, let’s try splitting them into two half-hour presentations: one on an aspect of the “basics,” and the other on an advanced topic. We’d also alternate between technical and operating subjects. Something for everyone, you see.
That’s enough for now, isn’t it? I look forward to the coming year. Ham radio is fun already, but how much more fun when enjoyed with others?
Happy 2014 to all!