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Old May 22nd 17, 05:05 AM posted to,,
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Default [FOAR] The evolution of our hobby is now ...

Foundations of Amateur Radio

The evolution of our hobby is now ...

Posted: 20 May 2017 10:00 AM PDT

Foundations of Amateur Radio

The hobby that we call Amateur Radio has been around for over a century.
During that time we've seen it evolve from capacitors, inductors, through
valves, then diodes and transistors, through to integrated circuits, chips
and surface mount components. Along the way we collected a vast body of
knowledge and experience which combine to make the hobby what it is today.

You might have noticed that the progression of our hobby didn't stop with
surface mount components, it's still evolving through software and the next
frontiers are already tentatively being explored and offered for sale to
curious amateurs.

In my day job I'm a software engineer and I adopted Amateur Radio as my
hobby of choice because it was technically diverse, had a rich history, a
large community and had little to do with my day to day pursuits in
computing and information technology. How wrong was I?

This morning I started writing code to visualise audio, specifically in my
case to make a video version of this weekly segment, but also to experiment
with how we as humans use our senses to decipher information. As I was
buried inside the decoding of audio it occurred to me that what I was doing
was the equivalent of soldering together a circuit for the purposes of
learning more about some aspect of my hobby.

This in turn made me realise that as we dive deeper and deeper into the
software defined radio universe, more and more of what we as individuals
can do will be based on computers, algorithms and maths.

On the face of it, this is an enormous shift in perspective, but I'd hazard
that it's no different from moving between a spark-gap transmitter and an
AM transmitter, or moving from AM to SSB, or the introduction of
transistors. Each of those changes now look pretty small with hind-sight,
but at the time that they occurred their impact must have been immense.

I made contact with the software defined radio community a few weeks ago
and in between my work I'm slowly beginning to explore this new universe
that is beginning to unfold.

Of course, as this evolution happens, while we're in the middle of the
transition, as-in right now, there'll be discussion about the difference
between digital and analogue, between hardware and software, about the
benefits and pitfalls, no-doubt mirroring prior discussions that have been
had across the past generations of amateurs.

A new dawn has come and the future is here, come and join the fun.

I'm Onno VK6FLAB
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