Isn’t technology wonderful? It is, it truly is wonderful. I am sitting here at the computer this morning and, while waiting for the market to open, I switched on my Icom to have a listen to 18 Mhz and see what the addition of some sunspots had wrought over Nature’s Grapevine. I couldn’t help myself when I heard YT40E calling this early. It is barely sunrise here. There he was, waiting to be worked with a nice easy style just working station after station effortlessly. He couldn’t hear me at 50W out so I tweaked things up to 200 and let fly. Brief but satisfying. Why satisfying? Because I found him on my own…Naked DXing so to speak.
Recently I tuned up my Telnet Client and hooked up to a local Packet Cluster. Just as swiftly I disco’d and packed the Client away again because it brought back memories of automation. Factory Hobby Time. DX Production Lines….I guess it serves a purpose. It no longer has a purpose in my hobby life though. I was an early adopter of Cluster Technology. That was when time was at a premium and life was lived faster. Any more the joy is in the finding, working and entering into my log. That is the beginning and ending of it for me. Cards are nice but not essential. You see there is more to radio than accumulating pasteboard’s.
My connection to this endeavor transcends paperwork and computers. It is rooted in the aural and tactile that accompanies the practice of radio. You see, each time I turn on a receiver there is the possibility of finding a new acquaintance coming to visit via the pole with a new pattern of fading or reinforcement. It is like listening to an old familiar song with a new interpretation. It is fresh and different somehow. The concept of hearing someone without much going for my meager station from some faraway place that I have never talked to and only heard once or, perhaps never heard at all, is still exciting. The prospect of finding a signal on the crooked path, as I once did from the Southwest of the USA in the 1970’s and have never repeated in all those intervening years, remains exciting to me. Back when the world was a larger place, long before globetrotting became passe, there was a term that applied to us radio aficionado’s ; Armchair Adventurers. It was appropriate then and it still works today. It is still an adventure, be they signals from far away or around the corner, it matters little to me. The audio and the paths are never the same. Mother Nature is always intervening and that is the charm as well as the challenge of radio.
People say it has all been done before. That there is nothing left to learn or do. Radio is old hat and cannot be the teacher that it once was. To that I say nonsense. I learn each day from this pastime and it has served me very well over the years. Anyone that discounts the adventure has never participated in it. As far as technology is concerned; well, I will continue to choose the pieces of what I want to use. If technology can facilitate a manual access to the ether that is fine. If it offers me automation, well I would just as soon leave those bits behind.
Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG