Friday, January 04, 2008

The Handiham World for 04 January 2008

In this issue you will find:

  • The crystal ball comes out
  • Avery's QTH: Avery doesn't get what he wants - Boo, Hoo
  • Extra Class pool released over the holidays... Lotsa questions
  • DX news
  • At headquarters:
    • QCWA Journal audio digest out
    • Magazine audio tape digest mailed
  • Elmer: SDR
  • Links to resources
...and lots of other stuff. Tune in today!

Belated greetings from my work-at-home office and ham shack.

This edition is late due to the holiday backup of work I found at the "real" office!

Cartoon guy with crystal ball2008 already... It seems like the years are flying by, doesn't it? A couple of editions ago, we featured a retrospective from the old Allied Radio Summer catalog and fondly recalled some of the old days and old equipment. ARRL did the same, with an excellent January issue of QST called the "Annual Vintage Issue". From time to time it is fun - and even helpful - to go back into our history a bit and learn why things are the way they are. Radios are subject to an evolutionary development, as is all technology. The older gear had few features that we consider essential today, and would never be able to compete with the state-of-the-art designs we see at Dayton HAMVENTION® every Spring. The thing that makes the comparison fun is that you are seeing the old gear as if it is in a time machine, and you don't see any of the incremental development that obviously took place between then and now!

In other words, change has happened every year. Some new feature was added, a newer model came out, the look of the front panel changed ever so slightly, and so on. Technology evolution is like that. It sneaks up on you, and one really doesn't perceive how things are changing unless you look way, way back!

And if you think looking backwards is difficult, you ought to try looking forward into the future. A half century ago back in the days of the old E. F. Johnson Viking Ranger transmitter, magazines like Popular Science and Popular Mechanics speculated that we would travel around in personal flying cars and live in super-duper streamlined cities of the future in the far-off 21st century. We look back on that stuff with amusement now, but when those magazines came out, it must have seemed possible. The thing is, the future doesn't behave the way we think it will. Instead, the future is notoriously independent and usually has a mind of its own. So there are no flying space cars in the typical suburban driveway, but we do have the Internet. That's why it's so difficult to forecast the technology trends in ham radio, but you know me - I'll stick my neck out and try to forecast where ham radio is going!