I never watch any amateur radio videos or listen to any amateur radio podcasts all the way through. And this includes the episodes that I appear on! The exception that proves the rule, however, is the recently released episode 345 of Ham Radio Now,featuring noted maker, Jeri Elsworth, AI6TK, and her friend and co-worker, Amy Herndon, KM6FZE.
One of the reasons that got me to watch this video to the end is the obvious chemistry between Gary, KN4AQ, and his guests. That’s something that you don’t normally get on podcasts like this for some reason.
Another is Jeri and Amy’s takes on amateur radio. While Jeri is a celebrity in the maker world, and an electronic industry entrepreneur, she has only recently taken up amateur radio. Her QRZ.Com page notes that she has only been licensed since October 2016. I think that her combination of technical expertise, entrepreneurial chops, and recent license make her opinions on ham radio worth listening to.
For example, at about the 28:00 mark of the episode, Ellsworth and Herdon bemoan the complicated user interfaces of most amateur radio equipment. (Anyone ever try to manually program a memory channel on a Baofeng UV-5R?) She notes that this difficulty even threw her for a bit, and she’s a very sophisticated user of electronics equipment.
About the 34:15 mark, she says, “I think that there is a way to make amateur radio more ‘snackable.’” What she means by that is that the out-of-the-box experience should be more immediately gratifying. “It would be awesome if the radios did JT-65 right out of the box. You put in your password and your station showed up on QRZ or LOTW.”
I like this idea a lot. And, it’s something that we—and the ham radio manufacturers—should think about.