It has been approximately fiveever since I posted to this blog. For the unaware, fiveever is one longer than forever. Likewise sixever is a REALLY LONG TIME. LIKE SEVENEVER!!!
Anyway. Where have I been? Working, moving, living and working.
1) Active with the worship team at my Church.
2) Working in Nashua NH (for a Software Company based out of San Francisco).
3) Living in Candia NH (and active with the local Boy Scout Troop).
4) Active with promoting STEM
5) A ham radio geek.
When I last posted (look below…) I was a student at the University of New Hampshire studying Computer Science. I was living with my parents, and I was dabbling with the Arduino platform.
I am now working for a software company, my office is based in Nashua NH, the team I am on is based out of Cambridge Ma. I have been with this company for 2.5+ years now. I lived in the quaint little town of Fremont for two years, and now live in the even smaller, quainter town of Candia. I put about somewhere on the order of 20000+ miles a year on my car.
My four by led cube still lives on my desk in Nashua, I turn it on when coworkers come by to ask me questions, I find it does a good job distracting them.
Anyway. I’m sure you are asking: “Why is he back all of a sudden??”
Here is the short version: A year and a half ago I got my ham radio Technician class license. Several months back I upgraded to General. In several months I will upgrade to Extra. I’ve included a link to wikipedia explaining the classes. To put it in simple terms for those who don’t want to read it all (learning a lot of stuff): if the FCC issues 100 frequencies for Ham use, then tech’s can use (that is, transmit on) 40 of them. General can use 95 of them, and Extra can use all of them. The FCC does not prohibit listening (with the exception of part of the 800 mHz range which was formerly used by cell phones (Citation needed))
Why does this matter: For me, the transition out of college and into Adulthood has been interesting (I’m not alone in this. I know this to be a universal weirdity.) Moreover, the transition out of Boy Scouts has been weird. Look at the URL for my blog. I earned my Eagle Scout. I’m not bragging here, I’m stating that to earn one’s Eagle and not serve the community, or have opportunities to serve the community, feels wrong. Service opportunities don’t walk up and slap you in the face. You have to seek them out.
Ham Radio has given me this. I spent most of the 15th on Mount Washington for the 37’th annual Mount Washington Hill Climb. Read the link, it’s worth it. I’ll dive into why I got into Ham Service at public service events later. I have worked bike races, half marathons, 5k races, hill climbs, century rides, dog sled races and parades in the last year and a half. And I have enjoyed every moment of it.
My true motivation behind this is slightly odd. The Boy Scout model is “Be Prepared”. One of the many aspects of Ham radio (there are nearly infinite aspects of Ham Radio to get involved with) is ARES, that is Armature Radio Emergency Service. The goal of ARES is to provide communication services in the event of a wide scale emergency. A great example (one that hits close to home) is the Boston Marathon Bombing. One of the lesser known details of this tragedy is that cell providers requested that users NOT make phone calls but instead send text messages. The logic behind this is when the cell towers face higher-than-average traffic they are prone to overheat and shut down to prevent damage. In most (all) cases, the cell towers shutting down is a problem. See also the Blizzard of 1978.
How do these two combine? I view community service as a chance for free practice at emergency communications. Granted: The West Rockingham ARES has a training meeting ever week on Sunday at 2000 local time (Frequency 146.850 mhz), East Rockingham is Thursday on 147.150 mHz. These weekly meetings are good practice for an emergency. I am not going to speak poorly of taking part of these meetings. I will however argue that to truly hone one’s skills, one must work CONSTANTLY to do so. The weekly meetings give this, but they the random factor. Public service gives a little more random feeling. I can tell you that 4 cyclists dropped out of the race yesterday. Two of them returned to the start under their own power, two got transportation to the summit. I can tell you that the riders with numbers 3, 5 and 80 made it to the finish line first. (You can google that one, it may take a couple days for results to get posted. (I wrote this on the 16th). (Rider 3: 53:00 minutes, Rider 5: 54.00 minutes.). What google can’t tell you is that those three riders had their positions locked in from the 3 mile mark on. The race is 7.6 miles long. Information like this is not part of our weekly training. However, details like this matter when facing a large emergency.
So why am I (trying) to reengage my blog? Any given day of the week I learn something. Be it related to Ham Radio Digital modes (with FLDIGI or APRS), building antennas, writing code in Python, IOS related or something completely random.
I have found that there is A TON OF INFORMATION regarding Ham Radio online. I have also found that it is all written in the WORST POSSIBLE FORMAT for the way I (eaglescout.jonathan) learn things. My goal is to present what I struggle to learn in a manner that is more inviting to the way I learn.
I’ll state it simple: I failed out of college once, nearly failed out twice, and left UNH without a degeree. It was studying for my General Class Licence that I learned how to study. It was exploring antenna design that I learned how I learn. My brain chemistry is not unique. I would wager that 1/10 to 1/3 people learn the way I do. I hope to provide a resource to those who learn how I do. It is my goal to share what I learn.