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Wow, it's hard to believe that we are only a week and a half until Christmas and two and a half weeks until 2012. My January 2012 QST arrived in the mail the day before yesterday, and it is sure to provide some good reading over the holidays. The theme of the issue is "DIY", or "Do It Yourself", and big letters on the cover proclaim: "Winter... The perfect time of year to build something!"
In case you have not been following the DIY movement, you will certainly want to catch the article by Allen Pitts, W1AGP, on page 75. "The DIY Magic of Amateur Radio" gives an overview of what is going on in the world of creative "makers" who enjoy the challenge of building projects from scratch. As Allen points out, there is nothing new about doing it yourself in amateur radio. Most of us will eventually build something for the ham shack, even if it is a simple project. Even the most impressive home-built project had its roots in earlier simple projects that allowed for a learn-as-you-go evolution of building skill and confidence.
There are different reasons that motivate builders. If you don't have much money in the ham radio budget, building your own antenna is a good way to get on the air and enjoy the process of figuring out what you are going to make, finding the parts, and learning to to make an antenna by actually making an antenna. For that second project money might not be an object, and yet you might still decide to build your own project, because you can recall the fun and satisfaction of that first project. Yes, building your own ham radio projects really does grow on you!
Since there is a growing "DIY" movement out there that is not necessarily ham radio oriented, wouldn't it make sense to help those folks learn about ham radio and its long history of building? That's what Allen's article is about, and it showcases a new 8-minute video available on December 27 through the ARRL's We Do That Radio website. I'll provide the link to the ARRL website story at the break.
Kudos to ARRL for pursuing this line of marketing amateur radio. There are many misconceptions out there in the General Public, and it is important to tell our story to set the record straight. Finding new and creative ways to get the word out is simply part of the new reality of sharing amateur radio. If you'll recall the post 9/11 days when emergency communication became a hot topic, amateur radio stepped in as a flexible volunteer-oriented way to augment existing public service communications. Excitement grew around serving as emergency communicators, and there was a lot of growth in the new ham population. The EMCOMM system evolved, too. We now have a well-trained cadre of communicators whose focus is on that vital aspect of amateur radio. Now it is time to move on to other interest groups, and makers are prime candidates for the exciting world of amateur radio building!
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