Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018

Radio Amateurism – Twitter on Radio Waves

Radio Amateurism - the old twitter on radio wavesI am a romantic tech junkie and there is nothing I can do about it! Not too old, not too young, I am at the right age to contemplate and adopt new technologies and tools, yet old enough to bring up memories of the past century. One of these memories was recently triggered by Kristen Daukas (@KristenDaukas) blog post called “Amazing online Friends” posted on (@Soulati) Jayme Soulati’s Happy Friday series.

If you are a Millennial  you may as well skip this blog post. I talk about things that probably trigger no associations in your mind, about radio amateurism and Morse code and memories of the times when radio waves had the power to transcend borders and connect people across the globe. I talk about an era of no Internet or mobile phones, no text messages and mostly black-and-white, no-flat TV. I was young and restless, a social butterfly driven to technology. The only way to satisfy my thirst for communication based on technology was the radio amateurism. And what a way it was! Dah-di-dah-dit, dah-di-di-dah-dit, the Morse code resonating from my headphones was like a song to my ears. Once mastered, it gave me the ultimate liberty. I could break the distance barriers in an instant, talking to people I have never met and will probably never meet in person. I could share my thoughts and enjoy other people’s messages, build an ever expanding community of virtual friends across the country and beyond!

I look back and bring those memories up and realize that ham-radio, (pejorative for radio amateurism) was just like Twitter on radio waves! We each had a unique ID and desire to connect. The Morse code was just like the 140 characters limitation  your message had to be brief and you had to develop amazing abilities to express yourself briefly. We even had our hashtags, only we called the “the Q code”, a code of abbreviations all starting with the letter Q. We started our radio sessions with CQ CQ (such amazing intelligence behind it: seek you!), QRV-are you ready, QRS-should I send more slowly, even the equivalent of RT (re-tweet): QSP-relay a message to someone else. Searching through my memories I remember how emotionally charged were the moments of in-person contact with the fellow radio-waves-twitterers, radio amateurs we had been talking to for months or years before having a chance, if ever, to shake hands with. The bond was always strong and we always acted as old friends, offering unconditional support to each other.

It is amazing to realize how fundamentally sound and solid are the social norms, so deeply entrenched in our (western) society and the way we do things, communicate and use the so-called “social media”. It is amazing to discover we can find community through the spirit of the work, based on the same principles, with only the tools varying. Twitter has been around for a long time under the shape of radio amateurism, a version of twitter on radio waves while today we enjoy it’s version over the internet. The world’s evolution is circular, getting back over and over again yet every time on a higher level, on an upward spiral. So my fellow twitter-on-radio-waves junkies, QRX (will call you again) on my next blog post. @AntonelNeculai over and out.