Amateur Radio/WhatWhy

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Intro video courtesy of the RSGB Youth Committee: {{#ev:youtube|8x6x_6mDVlQ}}

Amateur radio is a hobbyist exploration of electronics, physics, communication, and the joy of sending and receiving messages out into the universe on your own.

Amateur radio is the 'original nerd hobby' - it was the first widespread application of electronics, first in wireless digital communications, and helped a whole lot of people learn about electricity and how to interact with it and make cool stuff with it. The fundamentals of radio haven't changed, but the applications have - we are surrounded by lots more radio signaling now, Bluetooth, wifi, radio, television, microwave networking, RFID systems, and mobile telephony networks.


Many people might state "Why use amateur radio when we have the internet?" - This is true, the internet is here, easy, regulated and presented to you, often at market rate. When asked this, I often counter with that "Why ride a horse when you can drive a car?" There's a natural beauty that this worldwide hobby has and costs much less than keeping a horse, too.

Amateur radio is not about shuffling messaging in bulk, it's about understanding how to send a message out as well as the thrill of someone far away responding to you stating "I hear you." - out of all of the possibilities in the world, being able to make a direct connection by miracle of the conditions of the atmosphere, and perhaps only for a short time. The weekend before I wrote this, the radio club at the hackspace made connections with people in multiple continents using only 35 watts of power.

So some people enjoy it for the fundamentals that help them with other electronics interests like circuit design and Arduino tinkering, some people enjoy it for the sport of reaching out to as many contacts in the world as possible, and others enjoy it for the thrill of talking with a friendly stranger far far away. There are over 2 million licensed hams in the world, and getting started is easy. Ultimately, it's a literacy of the world around you - knowing how that Bluetooth radio reader works, and knowing why the signals that surround us have changed this modern world. Know more, be more.

Finally: 9 out of 9 people that took the course in October 2014 passed their licence exam, they all learned the basics over the weekend. You do NOT have to be a member of LHS to take this course, but it's encouraged because it's a great complement - all of this cool stuff in the electronics lab, the radio shack, and the encouragement of like-minded members.

Exercise your rights to communicate freely over the air, take the first step and come join us!

More info:

Happy to answer any questions directly off-list if you're shy but want to know more. Thanks! --Kraptv