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We do that - a message to DIY makers

Date : 05 / 07 / 2015
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC

Amateur Radio builders and tinkerers have a lot in common with the modern do-it-yourself makers of things. In the US Make magazine, Ward Silver N0AX provides some explanation of Amateur Radio to the Maker community.

A ham since 1972, the hobby led him on a career as an electrical engineer, designing microprocessor-based products and medical devices. In 2000, drawing on his experience and knowledge he became a teacher and writer. Ward N0AX explained that radio amateurs can build home-made equipment, or modify existing gear that gives them flexibility and experimentation. Actually it’s 1,000 hobbies in one. Through Amateur Radio you can get deeply into electronics, antennas, digital communications, competitive operating, solar and geophysics science, have world-wide radio contacts, or just use it as a personal communications tool. He said: "Some hams focus on just one or a few topics while others try to experience it all. As a Maker, you are probably most interested in the electronics, but once you start digging in, you never know where it might lead or where you can apply your skills."

Further explaining the access to frequencies, Ward N0AX said radio amateurs have access to the radio equivalent of national parks, in which commercial activity is banned. "Some of the parks or bands (frequency ranges reserved for hams) are the traditional 'short-wave' bands when you imagine ham radio. "Those bands have lots of activity, with hams making thousands of contacts worldwide every single day, sometimes with nothing more than a few watts of power and antennas made of wire. "Other bands are best suited for local and regional communication around town and performing public service. Our bands go all the way to microwaves," said Ward N0AX. On them are voice, text, picture and data, as radio amateurs communicate with each other.

The WIA has noticed that Maker hobbyists have gathered at special events in Australia to share and gain knowledge. At Maker Faire-like events last year radio clubs set up stands run by selected members to show and tell related Amateur Radio activities. While the radio clubs run their stands, the WIA offers promotional help that can include the important tools of posters, brochures and media release guidelines.

In reports by the radio clubs, with careful planning and the right people to enable appropriate interaction with the makers, who are generally of a younger age group and mostly not heard of Amateur Radio. Among the makers were a few mostly inactive or lapsed radio amateurs. They had not realised it had changed, how it could benefit them, and may resume the activity soon.

If you want to read the Make magazine article it can be found at the following Link

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