Amateur Radio 2.0 (A talk by Ward Silver, N0AX)

Mike, KJ4Z and I have had regular conversations regarding old and new ham radio. Mike found a superb talk by N0AX, Ward Silver at a TAPR convention a few years ago:

Ward’s talk hit on so many points that Mike and I have discussed that its almost as if we had heard his talk before we both started blogging about this. Ward talks about the technology and social implications and the curmudgeonry (aka “you can’t do that because that’s just not the way its always been done”).

I’m giving two presentations at Pacificon – Lowband Antennas which will introduce the URAT idea, but will be centered more on the “Mod-Bob”, so in a way is a bit more “Ham Radio 1.0”, and then a second presentation which will be the URAT idea, fully Ham Radio 2.0

Ward says this, and I am 1000% in agreement:

“Outreach is critical. Every aspect of technology and it development must have a component of outreach. It is no longer sufficient for us to just play in our basements”.

Slight paraphrasing, but while blogging is one thing, I feel that I need to contribute to the future of ham radio by presenting at Pacificon. I have given two presentations so far this year at EBARC, so I do get out there several times a year.

Mike and I have endured all of the curmudgeonry that Ward talks about in the beginning of his talk, and our response, whether it was during VK0EK or Remote discussions or anything else that seemed to threaten the Ham Radio 1.0 crowd was to combine Ham Radio 1.0 and Ham Radio 2.0 and just keep moving forward.

It’s really great to get validation in the form of this talk. 

Ward also discusses new technologies and future possibilities that touch on some thoughts I have had but have been loathe to write about. Here is one such thought:

DX-ing and DXpeditions will continue, but how the game is played will more and more become a Ham Radio 2.0 thing. I did not have that 2.0 “upgrade” idea in my thoughts – so thanks to Ward, I now can sift through some of my thoughts more clearly.

The advent of Remotes has changed everything. For the first time ever (and I am sure I will sound like a real radio prude), the other day I wanted to hear what 160M sounded like in EU – especially since I have never heard the 5T5OK station from my home station. I did in fact hear them on a Swedish contest station. No – I did not make a contact this way because of the second part of my thoughts in this regard:

I want to “close out” my DXCC chase with the last 2 towards Top of Honor Roll and the last 12 on 160M, and then hang up my DXCC spurs for good. When I accomplish this “last mile” I will be switching to Ham Radio 2.0 and then 3.0. I have heard some DXers, especially on the low band chat claim that DXCC is meaningless because of remotes.

I disagree since you don’t compete with others, you compete against yourself. But I would agree that it’s the dawning of a new day, and it’s only bad if you let it be that way.

DXCC was created during the early days of Ham Radio 1.0, and I feel (as some others have groused about) – that Remotes have changed the game. Sure – you can stick to Ham Radio 1.0 as I have to accomplish DXCC whatever, but I have felt that the combination of aging baby boomers and new technologies have changed the game in a way that makes me feel like the days when I started DXing in 2001 are now over. I have to work really hard to try to stay stuck in the past – with ham radio 1.0, but this has been at philosophical odds since my career has been based on “move on or die”. If I had the same attitude about computer programming and systems – I would have become unemployable.

At about the 51 minute mark of Ward’s talk – he discusses “hybridization”, and I couldn’t agree more. During VK0EK we took this approach and I’m very proud of this. Its just so refreshing to hear someone who is so well known in amateur radio circles discuss this. Don’t get me wrong – I have some of the same feelings about sticking with Ham Radio 1.0, but the march of time has me now ready for Ham Radio 2.0.

Its why I jumped head first into the URAT project, and why I will be giving one Ham Radio 1.0 (Low Band Antennas) and one Ham Radio 2.0 presentation (URAT) at Pacificon.

Thanks Ward, this may already be 2 years old, but it made my day. And thanks Mike for sharing.

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