What would Wayne (Green) do?
By Dan Romanchik, KB6NU
Wayne Green was a crackpot…but he was a great one.
For those of you who aren’t as old as I am, Wayne Green, W2NSD, was not only the publisher of 73 Magazine, but also the founder of Byte and other PC magazines in the early days of personal computing. In 73, he would write these long, rambling editorials. Often, he would take the ARRL to task, criticizing what he thought to be some lunk-headed policy or another.
Just as often, he’d be encouraging hams to take up some new technology. He was, for example, one of the guys driving hams to set up repeater systems.
He would often exhort hams to get started in their own technology-related business. I remember one column where he urged hams to get involved in the home-security business. And, of course, when personal computers became popular, he wrote that hams should think about getting into that business. His reasoning was that our knowledge of electronics would stand us in good stead in those businesses.
Today, I think that he would be telling us to get more involved in with technologies like the Internet of Things, WiFi, or whatever other wireless technology is coming down the pike. “Wireless” is the key word here. These networking technologies are based on good, old radio, and who better to push these technologies forward than guys like us who understand radio.
This point was brought home to me last week as I was interviewing an executive of a wireless company for an article that I’m writing. He said to me that many of the companies he works with are taking a software-centric view to their wireless products. They simply use the reference designs provided by the wireless chip makers and expect those designs to work flawlessly in their products.
While they often do, he gave me an example where simply using the reference design was a colossal failure. In one case, he said, the company mounted the board inside a metal enclosure. Since the antenna was part of the printed-circuit board, the enclosure acted like a shield, and of course, the device had little or no range.
He went on to say that he thought that there was a real shortage of experienced RF guys in the wireless industry. Does that sound like an opportunity to you? It does to me. So, I’m going to make like Wayne Green here and exhort all you guys to get out there and take advantage of it.
This is not only a business opportunity, but a way for amateur radio operators to fulfill a couple of the “purposes” of amateur radio, as set forth in Part 97.1 of the amateur radio regulations. Part 97.1(b) says that one of the purposes of the Amateur Radio Service is “Continuation and extension of the amateur’s proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.” According to Part 97.1(d), another purpose of the Amateur Radio Service is “Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.”
Let’s do it!
When he’s not ruminating on the latest wireless technologies, KB6NU likes to make use of some vintage wireless technologies by working CW on the HF bands. He’s also a prolific blogger (www.kb6nu.com) and the author of the “No Nonsense” amateur radio license study guides (www.kb6nu.com/study-guides). If you have a comment or a question, email him at email@example.com.