SCIENTIFIC AMATEUR RADIO “The most versatile hobby on earth”
“Amateur Radio – the most versatile hobby on earth”. For this statement to be correct this hobby should then have to move on the forefront of scientific technology regarding communications and the relevant associated sciences, for that is what the hobby is about: Communications. Amateur Radio does indeed embrace all of the available science of the day; building on it by studying, experimentation and refining, and then “siphoning” it back to humanity for use.
“Does this really happen?”, you ask. I can assure you it does. It has been happening since 1901 when Guglielmo Marconi, one of the first scientists to experiment with radio (Nobel Prize winner), took his invention and gave it, in some obscure way, to all for use and abuse. That is the reason that we Hams think of OM Guglielmo as being the first Ham ever, bless him. And thereafter the people exclaimed “No more code smoke-signals for us, now we use Wireless!”. Time travel is still some way off, I think, but the Hams are working on it – you just wait and see!
Today this is still going on: either the Hams discover something themselves and develop it into something useful, or, they discover that they could make an existing something work much better, and they do just that. That is what this wonderful hobby is all about – and more, much more. It is an eye-opening experience to see some Hams, for a specific purpose, struggle with electronic equipment and antennas for years, set it up, and do experiment after experiment. Hours and hours of work. The enthusiasm, the innovation, sometimes hardships but never giving up. Lasting friendships formed through essential cooperation and mutual interest, always learning together, and in the end, sharing the science discovered – their hard-won success – with other Hams and the world. Noble, is it not? Don’t you think it would be wonderful if more people knew about these playing Radio Amateurs and could perhaps, somehow, support their quest for knowledge? Who knows, what might be possible then?
This technology goes into the world, to be used by others; rather unglamorous but very satisfying to the Hams involved. It would take a book or two to describe the science that happens in the Ham Shacks all over the world these days, if you tempt me I might just start on that. These guys and girls are amazing, they take a radio signal, bounce it off the Moon, even the planets, and another guy or girl on the other side of the world picks it up and does it again in reverse. Sounds simple, but to make this work is rather complicated. Yet still we call ourselves Amateurs. Our hero, Mr Marconi, started out with long wave low frequency radio transmissions and monster spark-gap transmitters, really primitive stuff by today’s standards. However, by just having fun (it’s a hobby remember!), you will find that Radio Amateurs over the years have turned this primitive science, step by small step, into the most useful tool imaginable.
Surely we have to let the world know about these inventive people and the way they always seem to be able to move on the cutting-edge of science! Some hundred years later, through experimentation, and a lot of this again mostly done by fellow Hams, the world is utilizing micro-wave technology – today’s mobile phones used for instant contacts all over the world. And you know what? Very few people indeed realize, that ordinary Radio Amateurs have been experimenting in their own backyards, paying for their experiments out of their own pockets, to help bring about this wonder. My fellow Hams, I don’t know about you, but I am so proud to be associated with these visionary men and women and the legacy they have left behind for us to play around with. Let us shout to the world! – “Become a Radio Ham, you won’t ever regret it – they have a lot of fun playing with science every day”.
Vic – ZS6EA