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
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
the important point that I tried to make in my posting, which has
comment, is the one I made about getting people to write up
experimental work for publication, and specifically that concerning
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.