Friday, 23 June 2017

Amateur Radio - The Future

I quite often read, with some despair, at the increasing problems folks in towns and cities are having with radio intereference. I often come to the conclusion, though negative, that there is little hope of things getting better for the HF community in the shorter term.

The RSGB is taking a harder line on RFI, but they are having to lobby OFCOM - a regulator that often appears in the news only for populist matters, like hitting the odd illegal marketing callers, and making money out of spectrum sales. 

So the RSGB, unless it takes on some much more effective lobbyists, is hoping against hope for any effective help from OFCOM.

Is there, then, any point in getting my children, or yours, involved in radio?  Well, without the proliferation of RFI, the answer would be a resounding 'yes!'  There are simply so many aspects to radio that one can spend several lifetimes learning, doing and enjoying.

But, RFI is proliferating, perhaps at its highest rate ever.  No doubt there will be some technological innovations that might see some RFI sources vanish.  But history shows us that the radio spectrum has only ever become more and more crowded, and conflicts more common. 

Even professional users with vast investments in equipment, such as amateur astronomers and environmental satellite operators, are increasingly suffering from RFI.  What hope, then, a handful of amateur operators that, in the UK, perhaps so they can't complain about a lack of services, don't even have to pay for their licence?  

My advice to kids is to remain fleet-footed, in all aspects of life.  In radio, it means maybe having a fairly inexpensive home station, but always with a mobile or portable station fully ready for deployment.  That way, one can always simply have a day out, away from the worst sources of RFI.  At least there is some futue in that manner of operating.


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