Saleae Logic Analyzer- with an Arduino sketch that loops and continually sends the word “Hello”
My good friend Mike, KJ4Z and I had a nice chat about DX-ing vs. Making in the Ham Radio hobby. Mike made a comment that is so true – he said DX-ing is all about “collecting” and that over time there is less and less to collect and it gets harder to collect – meaning there is a certain “planned obsolescence” baked into that pursuit. Collecting is a very solitary pursuit – you really only care about your own collection. On the other hand, Making offers building and learning and as you go, and it gets easier as you go. I would add that because technology changes, the opportunity to grow is limitless. As long as you have some imagination, making never gets stale or obsolete.
Mike has been doing the (modern) Maker thing longer than I have, although, back in the 90’s I did build several QRP transceivers as a way to try to get back into the hobby after being completely out of it since 1977. So “Making” is not new to me, but the world has changed since the days of stuffing PC boards with discrete components. Even after I stopped making QRP rigs, I did continue to design and build antennas and matching circuits.
From 2001 until 2013, I worked toward DXCC Honor Roll, and was pretty much a 100% dedicated DX-er. I was a full time collector and collected ATNO’s while being holed up by myself in my shack. .
I also made 8BDXCC, and soon will have 9BDXCC with 160M DXCC. The problem – its been so drop dead boring since Honor Roll, and yeah – I agree with Mike – the planned obsolescence really can get to you if all you do is wait around. I totally disagree with those who think adding new entities to keep the participants happy is the way to go. I find that as pathetic as someone who laments that things were so much better in the past – and so they anachronistically live for days that are long gone. They can have that.
Saleae logic analyzer sampling data being sent by the Arduino
The Maker world is one where people share and work together – like a friendly world wide net where people say hello and share ideas. If you are so inclined, there are Maker Faires, Maker Spaces and Meetups where you can get together and share.
One thing I found with the DX Community is that there can be really weird and negative behavior – both amongst “armchair DX-ers” and DX-peditioners. There is a lot of anti-social behavior in the DX Community, and I’ve grown tired of it. At the same time, I have come to meet and greet Makers who are always upbeat and sharing. What a difference!
Last night I gave my first u.RAT Presentation at EBARC, and the presentation is posted here:
The place was packed, and I had been warned ahead of time that attendance lately at the Club Meetings had been very lite, so expect that it would just be a good “warm up” for Pacificon.
To my surprise, not only was the place packed, but the interest level was much higher than any of my DX or DX Antenna presentations. They had always gone over well, but I could tell by the questions at the end that the Maker aspect of ham radio will have a much larger crowd than DX-ing ever will. Pacificon is usually a big EMCOMM ordeal, but the Maker contingent there has grown in recent years. It has never had much of DX presence – you have to go to Visalia for that, and honestly, DX Conventions start looking the same after just a few years. There’s announced DX-peditions, praise for successful DX-peditions, a raffle and sometimes a “Last Man Standing”. I have always found the DX Community to be quite “cliquish” and somewhat closed.
I will pursue both – I don’t think one boxes out the other, but my participation moving forward will be 95% Maker and 5% DX-er – its just because I am at the end of the “collecting” line.