What are you waiting for?
Lakeway Amateur Radio Club started a Builders Group. It happened when a new Ham, newly licensed a few weeks shy of a year ago, wanted to sit next to another Ham and Build something. Seems like an easy task, to find another Ham to sit next to and Build Something. But, that wasn’t the case. Building one’s own equipment used to be a big part of Amateur Radio, but, over the years this has changed to a community of appliance operators, with a lot of buttons and dials, even more modes of operation, and a Gazillion QSL cards. But, for most of the Hams, no clue what is going on in the box.
This generated a lot of excitement. There were Canned Hams (on the hoof), Pixies (not the ones that fly), 49r’s (not the ones looking for gold), BitX’s (a real education of what Amateur Radio is about and can be about), Arduinos ( all kinds of these critters…Nanos, Unos, Megas and who knows what else? ). Then besides choosing soldering irons, what kind of solder, what size of wire, what power supply (plug in or battery), what breadboard, what is a Dupont jumper? Just what seems as an endless list of questions before one can start building.
So, the next step for most was to get online and buy a kit. Which kit? Well the one that did the mostest, for sure. After all, we are used to all of those buttons and dials and modes and kilowatts. Why would one want to build a milliwatt transceiver? Indeed !
There is an ongoing debate whether Amateur Radio is a solo or a team sport…
Clubs are teams, when one is operating alone in their shack…it could be said that they are operating solo….OR…Are they? Are they communicating with themselves? Just something to think about.
Back to the kits.
So, this club, this Builders Group winds up with a bunch of individuals with different kits and different goals going in different directions…as it should be. But, what could be is a Club of Hams working together completing their individual projects, instead of what I am seeing….a lot of kits, still in cardboard boxes.
Some of this Chaos was by design, and some of it by inexperience in a new function of old Club. Today, that changes.
This newly minted Ham of almost a year, who wished this Builders Group into existence, might not know much about Amateur Radio, but he first learned Electronics in the Way Back, also known as the early 70’s, (not to be confused with Old Timers, from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, which we are fortunate enough to have a few in the Club)….so, back to the new Ham. He had another idea. And he found a few other Hams with ideas, and they are working together to….
Too many kits are sitting in cardboard boxes and are not assembled. This was not the new Hams wish. How did his electronics journey start? On a workstation…on an Air Force Base, in a room with a about a dozen other electronics newbies, with a one very knowledgable electronics tech roaming around the room, helping light up a bunch of light bulbs…
But, workstations are expensive, and usually they are very specific to a given purpose, or on the other hand they do everything except what one wants…unless we make our own. Make them simple, make them cheap, but, durable, useable, scalable, functional….basically an ALL workstation by being none of what is available commercially. Just a foundation for learning and building is what is necessary.
This new Ham is part of a Committee (that still has room and needs more ideas) working on the future of the Builders Group. We believe that everyone wants to be successful in building what ever kit or home-brew idea that one has. As a Club, WeCan, help each other get there. If we sit at home and look at a cardboard box, probably not. If twenty of us show up and everyone wants to do something different, then that will work as well as the cardboard box in the closet.
Or…..we can lay a Foundation….a Workstation.
I hope to see each and every one of you at the next Builders Group meeting:
3rd Saturday of each Month Jefferson City Library 2pm to 5pm (extended to 7pm) Plenty of time for building.