Got my 2nd “ticket” to the amateur radio airwaves.

Successfully passed my 2nd ham radio license exam - “General”. I can now “legally” start to make radio contacts around the country and the world.

Ham radio seems quaint or even nostalgic with the current ubiquity of devices connected to the internet, but its a pretty fascinating and deep hobby. So much to learn, try and figure out.

With new software radio technology (SDR) and digital modes - I can apply my software and electronics skills to this seemingly “aging” hobby. And if another super storm comes along and takes out the internet and cellphones I’ll be able to help.

You can get started in amateur radio for literally $50 with a cheap Chinese radio (Baofeng UV-5A $36 on amazon), a little studying using free apps on your smartphone (search ham radio tech test), and a $15 license fee. Nothing is stopping you from buying a radio and listening in, just don’t hit that transmit button until you get your license. The FCC is listening too…

CQ DX (ham code that loosely means calling far away) to my friend Scott Swanson who passed a few years ago and was an active Ham, if there are spirits out there, I’d think the most likely way we could talk to them would be via radio waves.

Lamenting the demise of instant messaging as a popular communication method

I’ve been thinking alot about instant messaging lately. I miss having my ALL of my friends and co-workers quickly available via iCHAT, AOL IM, or MSN messenger. Video and voice are great, but instant messaging was so efficient and it was supported across all hardware platforms. In March, Microsoft is shutting down MSN messenger to push people to their expensive investment in Skype, but most people don’t even know Skype can do instant messaging. Social has muddied the waters of one on one text chat. And IM platforms feel more fragmented than ever. What do you use know for “instant messaging now? SMS?, Skype? Facebook? Do you still use instant messaging platforms and keep them open on your mobile or desktop?