Social Coding, Open Source and the Maker Community


Now that I am in the final phase of packaging the u.RAT, there is one thing that stands out regarding the “social” aspect of the project. I received very encouraging and warm support from Elecraft, a fellow in Honolulu, another in the UK, Adafruit and another fellow in the US.

Then I looked at the latest “DX News” and it was actually depressing. There was one story about a supposed DXCC List change and one article about one DX-er trashing another DX-er. Some cancelled DX-peditions – which seems to be a trend. Yaaaaaaaaawn.

What a stark difference. I’m not one to wallow in the mire and most people know I generally stay positive, but I have to say that us working stiffs only have so much time to spend on our hobbies (and DX-ing and Making are only hobbies and nothing more), so I will always choose the positive and active pursuit. I have the most fun when my hobby expands my mind and where I re-create. It gives me a real energy boost, a kick . . .

The Maker Community likes to “show and tell” and its de rigueur to use clear polycarbonite cases to show off the electronics in your projects. (I do know that the QRP Community have been Makers long before they coined the modern version of the term Maker . . . )

Just sitting on my butt waiting for the next ATNO on a slow news day really makes me even more happy that I have found this wonderful sharing Maker community. And it is intertwined with the Open Source Community and Github – where all of the code repositories that people post and support gives you a global sense of community like nothing I have ever experienced before (except working with our global VK0EK team – but that’s the last DXpedition I will work on – one biggie is enough for me). I literally have 15 more DX QSO’s before I am done DXing, so its the end of the DX road for me in all respects.

DXCC and DX-ing will be relegated to a very part time activity from now on, and I swear, I feel almost silly for putting so much importance in DXCC and DX-ing as I have – because I’m not kidding, I have learned so much more with just my first Ham – Maker project – than 16 years of DXCC “list chasing”, and in the process, experienced that “Community” that seemed to be missing in the DX world. But I did support DXpeditions and donated $100 per ATNO and $20 to others. I also spent 4 years if my life on VK0EK and was one of three who raised $500K. And yes, I was rewarded for that. It’s bittersweet, but did you ever wake up one day and realized you need a very serious change? That’s what I’m talking about. 16 years was  a very good run – I’ve only been cycling longer when it comes to “passtimes”.

I’m also moving my hobby “mad money” from DXpeditions and DX related clubs and subscriptions to buying parts for making. For me personally, the return on investment is just many times better moving forward.

Luckily, there is a growing ham maker movement, so there will be even more opportunities in this space, and maybe I can convince makers to become hams and vice versa.

Hey – maybe there should be an international net for Makers? That would be a new / old twist! Compare notes and experiences – especially the one’s where you describe why you approached a problem a certain way. I could explain why I chose the Raspberry Pi over the Arduino for the u.RAT. That would save someone else time.


4 Comments on “Social Coding, Open Source and the Maker Community

  1. There is an international net for Makers… it’s called the INTERnet, haha.

    In all seriousness, I think a lot of Makers are interested in ham radio, but it will always be a peripheral interest for most of them. That is, ham radio will be just another facet of their interest in tinkering, rather than front and center like it is (has been?) for so many of us DXers. I think we should expect that there will continue to be a larger number of less engaged hams, and plan accordingly.


    • Yeah, I do agree. I’m so glad tinkering with electronics has made a very big comeback


  2. Pingback: μ.RAT: an Elecraft K-Pod Input Controller for Arduino or Pi Projects | #hamr #MakerTools « Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers!

    • Thanks – and I sure love the Adafruit products, web site, forum!


      (co-organizer of the VK0EK 2016 Heard Island DX-pedition)


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