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Re: LF: Rad Com / critical mass etc

To: <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: LF: Rad Com / critical mass etc
From: "Graham" <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2008 22:38:57 +0100
Importance: Normal
References: <[email protected]>
Reply-to: [email protected]
Sender: [email protected]
If anything was to  be made for 500 and possibly 137 , I would suggest a 'Linea transverter' would possibly be the most  useful, solving the problems of poor receiver performance and the ability to  generate the  linear drive required by most of the data modes that interface simply with a soundcard , 10 watts would be a good starting point ?
G ..  

Sent: Friday, July 18, 2008 8:09 PM
Subject: LF: Rad Com / critical mass etc

Hello John, WKL, and group.
I think it may have been me who picked up  Mal's _expression_ "fizzled out" and applied it to the technical content, in particular construction articles, in Rad Com.
Trying a little more seriously to look at the lack of activity on 500k and the content of Rad Com, I would say that the two are related.
I can understand how the change in content in our magazine reflects similar unfortunate changes in other publications. I suspect this is primarily driven by the desire to cut costs, after all changing to a news based format allows the editor/s to simply cut and paste articles from one source into the blank pages which will become a future Rad Com.  As a good example of cut and paste journalism, take a look at the 'announcement' of Tent Speakers from a company called 'Blacks' on page 10 of the August edition.  You don't have to read very far into that article to immediately see that it has been lifted from some piece of advertising junk mail that's arrived at the office. Heavily and badly edited, it's reduced size leaves out more facts than it conveys. What for example is an EVA shell? Or come to that NXT speakers? We'll never know, because that information didn't make it into the space the editor had to fill. - A really good example of poor editing and production. It's complete tat.
So, what's the link to 500k activity?  Well, this group largely consists of very capable individuals who can use a soldering iron and many of those can actively design equipment of some sort for 500k. The thing we all lack is time and frequently we like to save those long designing tasks for something that's right at the top of our interest agenda. There would undoubtedly be more 500k operators if tested and widely published designs were available. But we need more than that. To really kick start 500k, someone needs to produce either kits or finished modules and that is where RadCom can be vital.  In the past I have produced designs and kits for 136kHz. The 300W amplifier kit was one, and the completed ready to go 136kHz preamp, designed by Dave G3YXM, was another. I was really surprised that although the preamp was only a handful of components, people would choose to buy it assembled and tested rather than build it themselves. Somewhere out there are 150 preamps and 50  300W transmitter kits which must have had some effect on 136k activity.
Unfortunately, it costs quite a lot to make a kit available. You need minimum order quantities for PCBs to make it cost effective, and a kit that contains a few inches of say, 28 SWG wire means you have to buy a reel......and so on and so on.
Having an article published in RadCom was key to making a kit viable.  But now, there are no significant articles being published. If, I submit an article am I going to be told, we don't do that any more, or we like most magazines commission articles?
Basically, last year I looked at 500k as a possible opportunity for designing a DDS driven transmitter. 100W out, little 2 line LCD, PIC microcontroller running a DDS. - All fairly straightforward and if run from 12V, a project that would attract people onto 500k. But the single reason why that didn't happen was because at the time when I had the idea, Rad Com hadn't published a single significant construction article in the previous 12 months.
It takes about 300 - £400 to get something like this started. With no means of promoting it, those components just sit around selling one or two every 6 months. The people who buy them arrive at an uninhabited 500k and mostly give up. It needs a certain momentum to get it started. If 30 people arrive on the band in a short space of time, others think, that sounds like fun, I'll join them and you have sustained interest.
 Of course you can just put a design on the web, but then you lose the ability to get a 'critical mass' of people on the band.
With RadCom going to a newspaper format with almost zero 'freelance' technical content, small kit suppliers and individuals are simply unwilling to take the risk.
Hope that helps
David G0MRF
In a message dated 17/07/2008 08:22:10 GMT Standard Time, [email protected] writes:
To me the important point that I tried to make in my posting, which has
drawn no comment, is the one I made about getting people to write up their
experimental work for publication, and specifically that concerning 500kHz.

To maintain progress on gaining a long-term allocation around 500kHz we will
need to raise the profile nationally and internationally of work undertaken
on 500kHz.  One way of doing this is to get a few good technical articles
written, not just sharing knowledge but encouraging others and providing
suitable designs to enable them to join in; good construction articles can
do just that.

73 John, G3WKL
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