Thursday, 16 November 2017

RadCom - December 2017 Edition

Ah!  It's near that time of month again when most people run out of money and RadCom drops through their letterbox.

This month's is the advertising-spectacular, Christmas 2017 edition.  The cover is a strange sort of blurred-out snowflakes falling image.  You could say it's like trying to listen to HF radio - the signal is there, but masked by the RFI.

Regular readers will know that I have a love-hate relationship with the RSGB.  I'd love to get behind it, but I hate the way it goes about things.

Happy Christmas 2017!  Bah!  Humbug!


I was glad to see EMC/RFI issues - and there are now a lot of those - get some prominence and depth in this month's edition.  The EMC committee chairman is clearly doing a lot of work, but perhaps is inundated by the sheer number of EMC problems and those complaining about them.

The rest of RadCom is the usual mix of stuff that we all like to read about.

Sure, none of us want a magazine that is just full of doom and gloom.  But, equally, we don't really want a magazine that perpetually paints amateur radio as something that we can all enjoy without much difficulty.

Tell that to one operator who I looked up last night after hearing him on WSPR:

'What a shock to find the HF spectrum so full of garbage from SMPS, PLT network adapters, Low energy (high qrm) light bulbs, VDSL QRM from the telephone wires, plasma tv sets etc etc etc. What an appalling mess !!! I am even picking up one of the neighbours music collection all over the HF bands with a very distorted unstable wideband FM type signal, what's that all about ?'

I read these kind of accounts without ever looking for them - they are commonplace and they fill me with sadness.

Sadness, because it tells of a time when HF communications is either seriously impaired or made essentially impossible for the current, let alone future generations.

RFI?  What RFI?  It's lovely down here!  Image:Fwaaldijk/Wikicommons.


Sadness, because the RSGB is not putting EMC at the very top of its agenda.  It tries to influence OFCOM, which is a bit like trying to kick a dead donkey.  It doesn't seem to try to lobby parliamentarians, which is where the hard work needs to go in.

Does it matter that RadCom and the RSGB seem like ostriches, ploughing their heads into the sand?

Well, about 30-odd years ago, I was a fairly keen fly fisherman.  The local club was active and lively.  On an warm summer's evening, you might find it difficult to find a spot to fish from, even across a fairly large lake.

Today, that lake is empty of fishermen.  The club, you see, was run by old men, many with plenty of money and only winning a fishing contest on their minds.  The company that owned the lake was more interested in reducing legal liabilities by getting rid of fishermen and visitors.  Accordingly, and failing to see the changes to the world around them, the old men did nothing to encourage youngsters and newcomers, and the hobby died on its feet - at least at that lake.  Sound familiar and transposable to ham radio?  I should say so.

I might sound very negative during these more political posts.  In fact, I am very positive by nature.  The negativity comes from the sheer frustration of seeing 20,000-odd people simply pay their subscription, so they can have magazine every month, with very few demanding the RSGB change its approach to leading the hobby.




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