Friday, December 16, 2016

Amateur RADIO is _our_ social media....

I'm not very good at putting my personal feelings in print, but here goes... While fumbling around on the web last night, trying to figure out why I couldn't import a piece of local weather code into a QRZ page via iframe, I ran across a discussion on reddit at . I was sort of dumbfounded, and a little put off by some of the assumptions about some of us long time hams.

I thought about it all day. I wanted to go back and post my thoughts , but I feel I'm a different kind of ham than perhaps many of those on those threads (if some of those folks are actually hams). Reason being, I prefer to be on the air, working others, hunting DX, building, restoring, etc...actually participating in the social media platform of ham RADIO. I know, no matter what I say, there will be a bunch of comments that will try to draw me back into the internet arguments that no one can ever really win. The interwebs seem to be full of trolls that dominate various forums with their 1000's of posts that somehow make them king. Not that it matters, I personally like the layout on the site they were taking shots at and am able to find my way around just fine. It doesn't have to look like my banking website, in fact, I'm glad it doesn't. All too often I've tried to log in and do basic banking, only to find their programmer has screwed it up with some bunch of cutesy moving pictures and fancy crap in their "recent update" that requires the latest browser or plug in update before I can pay a bill. To me, that's not "value added", it's more of a reason to change banks. I don't care about the fluff, I just want it to be functional so I can do my thing and get out of there.

There were many comments that somehow attempted to classify those of us who are actually into RADIO, as being dinosaurs or second class people because our websites are built with frames or old basic HTML1 technology, that we somehow still enjoy email reflectors for sharing messages, and that many of us don't want to update our computers with the latest of everything. There was one sub-thread that poked fun that we (some of us older hams) seem to embrace the "don't fix it if it ain't broke" theory. Another thread seemed to make jabs at because many of us seem to like the the old comfortable structure used in it's design. Yet another thread poked fun at the old technologies that many of us still employ (vacuum tubes, AM, etc).

After pondering this today at work, I came to realize a lot of the younger folks (and perhaps those lesser involved in the RADIO aspect of ham RADIO) don't understand: RADIO is the magical aspect of this hobby to many of us have come to love and identify with. Not the internet. The web is neat, but RADIO is our hobby. Our social media _is_ radio...the fun of tinkering with radios & antennas, and the magic of communicating with others over the air. Tonight, before I could even start to put my thoughts down on the computer, the freakin' browser hung up during an update (that I really didn't was working fine this morning!), and took about a 1/2 hour and 3 reboots to get it running again. Whew. I submit that we spend far too much time fixing stuff that wasn't broken in the computer, when we really just want to be playing radio.I _know_ I have to spend more time fiddling with computer updates & patches, than I do in maintaining / repairing one of my 1960's vintage radio stations that's a daily user! Think about that for a minute...

Now that my internet stuff is working again, I type this as I listen to a couple of guys on 3.885 mhz AM talking about how they use remote SDR receivers from the web with their activities on AM...a strange blend of technologies to many, but it made perfect sense to these whom I know to be a very experienced ham...Don, K4NYV. He has forgotten more than most will ever know, yet he still strives on the air to learn and enjoy new things. He's a builder, and experimenter, and a radio guru who puts many hours on the air with interesting and technical discussions.

From my perspective, and I'm sure that of many others I know, the internet is nothing more than a tool. It annoys many of us to the point that we really just want our browser to start so we can search the web for something, want to be able to connect to the DX cluster feed, and maybe LOTW at the ARRL for our QSL management. Beyond that, it does nothing more than take time away from the  enjoyment of our Social media... Amateur _RADIO_.

I've been a ham since 1974. I restore and operate lots of old stuff, build new things, and work many modes. I'm on the air at every opportunity. The fact that even my website is built with frames and basic HTML doesn't make me a relic, it just means I have less interest in the newest whiz-bang web building techniques, and much more interest in the RADIO part of amateur radio. My website isn't built to impress the CEO of Sass, it's place where I store photos, schematics, etc so I can find them when I want them. I put them on the web so I don't loose them in a computer crash (sort of like the cloud, before that became a big deal), and so others might find something useful in that pile of stuff on occasion.  Pretty straight forward stuff.

I'm not dissing those who spend most/all of their time on the web, but simply reminding them that many of us are way more into radio than the internet, and computers in general are secondary to our interest in the hobby of amateur RADIO, at best.

Dave WB4IUY (crappy frames based webpage) (thoughts and stuff I'm actually building and doing on the air)