Nowadays a licence for transmitting on the Radio Amateurs bands is very easily achieveable, and you can buy a modern transceiver to get everywhere with a few money. Some more money, and you can afford a superb antenna system too. The trivial easiness by which you can get such things, might induce to think that in modern ages people is much free than in the past to satisfy trivial needs.
But, on the bands almost noone deals with Radio engineering. Only a few speeches about microphones, audio, antennas (usually bought already made and installed by someone else who is not the operator). Contests. Boring discussion on private matters ...
You now have some radio stuff, but often is usually used to talk of things otherwise more efficiently dealt by other means, like the telephone or the web. You have been free to do that. It is your choice.
A few Radio Amateurs work with the most recent technologies. Programmable Integrated Computers as big as a nut, Direct Digital Sinthesizers, Software Defined Radios, Digital Processing, Digital Modes ... whatever. This is a tiny group of people that assemble components performing advanced functions. It is just a matter of putting the 'boxes' properly together and you are ready to go.
You now have, probably, a radio set that has been made upon your specifications. There is nothing like that on the market and probably it is also outperforming. The satisfaction here is to operate something you built by yourself. This is good. The freedom to chose among an almost infinite variety of microchips and related development environment allows you to arrive at the same performances (or to surpass) of the commercial stuff. Unless you are in a group of friends with your same mentality and horizons in the Radio activity, you will soon be displeased to discover that you are rare and very, very, few people on the bands could understand your efforts, your knowledge and could discuss with you of these matters at the same your level. You have exploited the modern technological freedom at the highest level, but you probably would start to feel a bit alone ...
In my approach I feel free when I can understand a subject from its foundations. In almost all technical matters, the foundations are elementary. Radio engineering is for sure one of them. I feel free when I can make experiments and I can ask to both people and to the phisycal world through experiments. I feel free when I feel bound by the least contraints. Unfortunately, money is a constraint for the majority, but the curiosity is something you are not required to pay for. Then, by my curiosity, I take my time to get to know what I want to know, by my brain, hands and fighting against my limitations.
In the Radio activity I feel free because I am not bound by the need of the latest technological frill. I feel free because I don't need a lot of money to transmit and receive: my radios are simple, made with salvaged parts, and refined epsilon after epsilon, up to the performance level that fully satisfies my specifications. It might take years to reach such goal though, but the trip is rewarding, as I, in the end, achieve a DEEP KNOWLEDGE on HOW TO DO IT.
In my Radio activity I look for self education on the foundations of Radio engineering.
I don't use special APPs in my mobile phone to access a remote personal SDR (which I don't have ...). Instead, I turn knobs, I look at needles on panel meters, I refine the listening by moving slowly the tuning knob for the best reception point. I perform measurements on my circuits. I trim inch by inch my antennas for best SWR. Because I am eager to know. And to experiment in person that marvellous world of the Shortwaves.
I CHOOSE to do like that.
In my Radio activity I am used to use such things like old ex-war radio crystals, vertical keys, tubes and elementary semiconductors, to keep my radios simple but effective. Those crystals have been bought cheaply as I go for those on frequencies tha are not on the Radio Amateur bands. And I use them freely.
I - use - whatever - frequency - on - the - Shortwaves - I - need - for - experimenting.
By carefully paying attention of not doing any QRM to any other official service. Low power. On Radiotelegraphy. On some agreed crystal frequency with some friends. With whom I share the same eagerness of knowing and experimenting. I freely chose to do this, along with my responsibility. I perform traffic also on the so called 'official bands'. But, nowadays, the situation is ... just ... a bit ... frustrating over there.
I am free.
This is Freedom.
Radioman, July 2015
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