Monday, 30 June 2014

Gaining interest in radio

A big friendly welcome to my new readers who will be reading my blog entries via AmateurRadio.com - I hope my articles will provide insightful reading.

If you are not already “in the know” im based in the UK and provide distant learning course for UK amateurs alongside Steve (G0FUW) and Lewis (G4YTN) along with home based learning we also provide in class education as well.

PSK Receiver No. 001 with Raspberry Pi
The education element of the hobby really interests me and not content with the 3 tier license, we also provide buildathons for anyone who is interested in electronics, radio or construction.

Our very successful PSK receiver kit (Instructions here) has now been used up and down the UK and orders are still coming in for the kit via the RSGB all over the world. Its a perfect kit for newcomers or students wanting to build a radio related project for their intermediate practical assesment.

A couple of weeks ago we were asked to provide a buildathon for 21 young scientists at the BRLSI in Bath. And when I say young I really mean 8 – 14 years of age.

All but 3 kits went away working that afternoon and one of the first was a young 8yr old girl who had never held a soldering iron or had any clue what was really going on. But by the end of the day not only had she completed a build of the receiver but was decoding PSK signals on 20m in less than perfect conditions.

That was a particular highlight of mine on that day, seconded only by persuading her farther to pop along to some of the in-class lessons and see what it was all about.  It seems that there is a little bit of curiosity in radio in all of us. even today !!

Whereas we are keen to knock ourselves for not connecting with the youngsters, and gaining interest in the hobby, it actually seems to be that we are not that great at following up and converting the curious mind into a radio hobbyist.

In a couple of weeks we will once again be completing a buildathon. this time we are preaching to the converted - a collection of young amateurs will be completing the build at the YOTA UK. But I will be asking them what it is they love about radio, and what would be a good follow up exercise for us to engineer. Of course if you have a great idea - let me know.