Can you define the amateur radio service of today? Most of the time people will not respond by telling what the amateur radio service is today or what it can be. Instead they respond with what the amateur radio service was back in those “good ole days.” Through experimentation and development breakthroughs by amateur radio operators have brought the amateur radio service to the cutting edge of technology. Amateur radio will always be on the cutting edge of technology. It’s those in the service that grow old. But, for some reason we are putting so much emphasis on outdated technology.
Don’t misunderstand me. That outdated technology has an important place in the history of the amateur radio service. But technology has come a long way since those “good ole days.” The voice mode is to slow and error prone by today’s standards and should be the last thing we use. “When all else fails” so will our outdated technology. It will fail because we are ignoring the fact that in order to offer a viable service to our communities we must adapt to the present technology. It will fail because the newer technologies are becoming the major systems of communication today. We must keep progressing with time otherwise the amateur radio service will die from lack if interest.
I have not used or taught the radiogram in over a decade now. It is an outdated format. We use the Incident Command System (ICS) pre-formatted forms today to be compliant with the wishes of our served agencies. That is what they know and trust and understand. Not to mention they are much faster and easier to send and receive with the new digital technology.
With the digital technology of today we have Forward Error Correction (FEC) built in to the programs. When we hand over a message to our served agencies we can look them square in the eye, and assure them that that is the correct information sent from whomever sent us that message.
Let me say “Thank You” to those who brought the amateur radio service to the level of technology that it is today. It’s time to hand the baton over and let the younger generation take the lead and start experimenting with and developing the new amateur radio service. The old technologies will die out with attrition so that the new technologies can take the lead. We cannot stop progress. If we don’t update our services to the communities, there will be no service to offer to the communities. They will be looking elsewhere for help in that time of need.
Questions and comments are welcome and encouraged. Send an email to the address shown below.
Lew Maxwell, KB5HPT
DEC, District 6, WTX Section