Ham Radio, Simplified

What if you were constrained to use only the 1,000 most commonly used English words when speaking or writing?  It may be more difficult that you imagine. 

Randall Munroe writes a webcomic called "xkcd," in which he once played with this concept, and annotated a diagram of NASA's Saturn-V rocket using only this small set of words. Since the words "Saturn" and "rocket" are not among the thousand most-used words, the Saturn-V is called the "Up-Goer Five."  Take a look here - it's quite fun to read!

Later, inspired by Up-Goer Five, Theo Sanderson wrote a web-based editor that automatically limits your writing to these thousand words. You can try it yourself here. You'll be amused and surprised.

I used this editor to attempt to describe ham radio. Since there is no word "radio" it's not easy. Appearing first below is my current draft. (I may go back at this later. You often find new ways of saying things using slightly different words.)

I will accumulate other short radio-related writings from friends too.

For-Fun Space-Wave Talking

by Chris Codella, W2PA

26 July 2015

About a hundred years ago a young man made a box that lets people talk to each other even when they are too far away to to see each other or hear each other talking. The amazing new thing about these boxes is that they don't need to be touching each other in any way and can send people's talking or their words and letters through air or even empty space. They do this by making space waves. Like sound waves move in air, space waves move in space even without air and can go much further than sound waves. The boxes that make them are called space-wave boxes.

The first space-wave boxes could not send actual talking and could only send words, one letter at a time. But people quickly figured out how to also change voices and other sounds into space waves and send them through space-wave boxes. In only a few years, nearly everyone had space-wave boxes and could listen to other people sending news, music, plays, and other kinds of interesting things. Sending things using space-waves, and making space-wave boxes became big businesses in which many people worked and made a living, and still do today. In a few more years, space-wave boxes could even send pictures. This made the space-wave businesses grow even bigger.

From the beginning, though, there have always been people who really liked using space-waves and would do it just for fun. Many new ways of using space-waves and better space-wave boxes were first made by people like these. They are called for-fun space-wave people. Today there are about three hundred hundred hundred for-fun space wave people around the world. And even today, when people can talk to each other using tiny pocket computers and the world wide computer group, lots of people do for-fun space-wave talking because it is so different, interesting, and, (of course) fun.

Since for-fun space-wave talking works even without the world wide computer group and even when power lines break, it can be used to let people talk to each other when bad things happen like high winds or ground-shaking, that cause power lines to stop working, and pocket computers to not be able to talk to each other. For-fun space wave people have always helped when bad things like this happen.

For-fun space wave talking also lets people make friends around the world from all walks of life, but who all share enjoying space-wave talking and making space-wave boxes.

Space-Wave Turn-Around by Big Round Sky Rock

by Doug Grant, K1DG

26 July 2015

I am going to try something new. I am going to try to send a wave to the big round rock in the sky and back.

I will be using waves about six feet long and it is usually not possible to talk to people far away with waves that short. It can be done by sending the waves to the big round rock because they will hit the rock and come back. That big round rock is very far away - over ten hundred hundred hundred hundred feet. My wave moves very fast but it will take over two seconds to get to the big round rock and come back. Most people do not understand how fast waves move, but this will show both how fast waves move and how far away the big round rock is.

I need to build a thing to make the waves go toward the big rock, and that means I have to point it up towards the sky sometimes and I have a thing that will turn the other thing the right way. I also need a new thing to make the waves. The things I have now make waves that are too long to send to the rock.

Space-Wave Games

by Chris Codella, W2PA

27 February 2013

Our game of listening and talking around the world over the air is a lot of fun. We can play the game any time. Some games last for a few hours and some for two whole days. You can hear the world turning while you play the game as the Sun comes up and goes down.

There are very many of us who like the game and when we play, it is exciting to see how many people and places we can talk to. When we are strong we can talk to more people. We also have to listen well to be sure we get it right. It is not enough to just be fast, we have to know what we are doing, too. The game makes us better at using and understanding waves. By playing, we learn more about our selves and about the world we live in.

You should listen some time and see if you would like to learn how to play, too!

Copyright © 2015, Christopher F. Codella, W2PA.  All rights reserved