Often I complain about what we’re doing wrong or what we should be doing. This time is one of those exceptions where I have to pass kudos along. CQ Magazine has announced a “Maker” column which will be edited by Matt Stultz, KB3TAN, and will appear in several issues this year. The so-called maker movement has always been around, it’s just recently become more “hip” with the “maker” moniker and like with amateur radio the Internet provides a means for tinkerers to network, exchange ideas and information, and come together as a more organized movement. In my opinion amateur radio missed two prime opportunities with techie movements in the past, that of the open source world / Linux, and the wifi boom in the late 90s, early 2000s that led to wireless ISPs and got a lot of geeks interested in wireless but without amateur radio.
It’s great that CQ recognizes the opportunity and is taking advantage of it to bridge the maker and amateur radio worlds, and it just makes sense from a technical standpoint to introduce amateur radio to makers. Maker projects often have an element of mobility or remote control — projects that need wireless for control or data telemetry. Rather than just purchasing a mystery “black box” radio unit off-the-shelf and incorporating it into a project, makers have the opportunity with amateur radio to understand what’s going on inside the box, or bettet yet build that black box themselves. Introducing amateurs to the maker world will be beneficial as well, hopefully encouraging more amateurs to build and perhaps build projects outside of the normal QRP rig projects we tend to do. Overall this is a win-win situation for radio amateurs and makers.