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Old February 24th 17, 10:48 PM posted to,,
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Default [FOAR] The spirit of our hobby ...

Foundations of Amateur Radio

The spirit of our hobby ...

Posted: 25 Feb 2017 09:00 AM PST

Foundations of Amateur Radio Over the past six years or so I've single
mindedly been producing a weekly segment about Amateur Radio. Over time
this has evolved into a podcast which gets about half a million hits a
year. Naturally I receive emails and I do my best to respond in a timely
fashion. One of the other things I do is announce a new edition of the
podcast on several different sites where listeners have the opportunity to
share their views about what ever is on their mind. Sometimes their
response is even about the podcast itself, though I confess that some
comments appear to indicate that listening isn't part of a requirement to
actually form an opinion about what it is that I have said that week. All
that aside, I find it immensely fascinating that the responses I receive
vary so much in perspective. It's not hard to understand and observe that
our community comes from people along all walks of life. From nine-year
olds to ninety-year olds and everything in between. I tend not to comment
directly on such feedback, since everyone has their own opinion, but I came
across one post recently that made me sad about the spirit of some
Amateurs. In a seemingly bygone era there was a sense that Amateurs would
help new people join the community and help them find their way into this
vast range of discovery. A place where no question was wrong, where shared
experiences are cherished and where the lack of knowledge was an
opportunity for learning. It seems that the moniker that we carry, that of
HAM, supposedly because when compared to Professional Telegraphers, we were
considered HAM-fisted, went on to form the basis of a proud tradition of
experimentation and renewal. Across the globe we see a refresh of the
license conditions on a regular basis. We saw that here in Australia with
the introduction of the so-called Z-call and K-call, looked down upon by
Real Amateurs who had a much more stringent licensing regime. We
discontinued Morse Code as a requirement for an Amateur License as part of
a global treaty agreement in 2003. In Australia this meant that from the
1st of January 2004, Morse Code was no longer required if you wanted to
obtain an Amateur License. As you know, that didn't signal the end of
Morse, just that it wasn't legally required any more. I'm one of many
Amateurs learning Morse because I want to, not because I have to. I'd also
point out that it was discontinued by global agreement, not two random guys
in Canberra. Back to my point about the spirit of this hobby. The point
that was being made is that the Foundation Class license isn't a real
license and that it is just being handed to anyone who asks, not like their
requirements for Morse Code and a written exam, rather than a
multiple-choice test. Essentially conveying that my undignified license and
that of my fellow Foundation Licensees isn't to be confused with the noble
one that a Real Amateur holds. This kind of response saddens me and
frankly I hear it too often. It's as-if we as a community still have not
learned that the world moves on. Technology, in many ways the basis of
Amateur Radio, evolves. For example, in the current requirements for an
Amateur License there is a long-winded discussion about the impacts of
spurious transmissions on Analogue Television. In Australia, the last
Analogue TV broadcast happened on the 4th of December 2013, that's years
ago, but it's still required reading on the Amateur License Syllabus.
Similarly we learn about Valves, but attempting to actually obtain such a
device is nigh-on impossible. Should we still be learning about those
aspects of Electronics, or should we move on? Amateurs are an inventive
lot, we make up new modes, link up new technologies, experiment with all
manner of stuff and sometimes we end up with something new, like IRLP,
AllStar, SDR, Digital Modes and the like. All because someone got curious,
couldn't help themselves and started to fiddle. As things fall off the
radar at one end,...
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