Amateur Radio operators are usually early adopters of technology. It’s little wonder, they work with technology in their hobby, they must be interested – inquisitive, even – about it. So, it’s no surprise to see them in podcasting. No, actually, it’s surprising how long it took!
Several podcasts have come to my attention that are run by Hams. The first was Dits and Bits, by NV0U. It started out with Morse code lessons and has morphed into general discussion about Ham Radio. The code lessons were nothing special and could have been continued with practice sessions for quite a bit longer, but it seems like they just lost interest. It’s too bad, because, as long as you didn’t expect large numbers of subscribers, it was an excellent idea and should have found a niche. Big numbers are not necessary for a odcast, especially if it provides a service.
Another one is Soldersmoke’s Media. This podcast is put out by Mike, KL7R, in Juneau, Alaska, and Bill, M0HBR, in London, England who meet up on Echolink and record their QSO for the podcast. One is in England and the other in Alaska. They discuss a wide range of things from QRP kits to Mars rovers and anything in between. Every topic is fairly technical, but not so much that it will go over anyone’s head. It’s interesting up to a point, especially if you are not a Ham, but after a while, it’s just another QSO and you have the urge to spin the dial and find another one, except that it’s not on your radio, its a podcast. On top of that, it’s not even real radio, it’s Echolink. It might tie into a VHF radio at one end – they don’t really tell you, but there is an IDer and tail – but the bulk of the work is done on the internet. It might as well be a Skype call.
Another one is not overtly about Ham Radio, but you have to assume the host is a ham. It’s Radio QRM. This is what the inaugural post says: “Any man-made interference to a radio signal is known as QRM. This is Radio QRM. Noise traditional radio canâ€™t ignore.” He’s either a Ham or knows a lot about it. There is no more references to Ham Radio, just a lot of podsafe music. The same old podsafe music you’ve already heard on the Rock And Roll Geek Show or Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code. Sorry, there just isn’t enough music on the Podsafe Network for us to all play the same stuff. If he wants to make a successful podcast, he’s going to have to find a niche and specialize in it, or else find other sources of podsafe music.
And of course, there is my podcast, the Buffalo Live! Music Podcast. It has nothing to do with Ham Radio at all and I don’t mention it. Perhaps the only thing to do with Ham Radio in my podcast is that Ham Radio holds so little interest to me right now that I have time and energy to put into a podcast!
So far, no one has found a real good formula to take Ham Radio to a podcast and introduce it to the world. I have hope that it might happen. Someone could do it with some imagination. Actually, it would be a perfect application for the old Westlink Radio. It would solve all their distribution problems and let anyone listen or get it and rebroadcast it on their local repeater. In a way, what the Westlink people were trying to do was a predecessor to podcasts. All they were lacking was RSS feeds.
Actually, I just fond out that they are offering the AR Newsline as a RSS feed subscription. The AR Newsline is the successor to the Westlink effort.
I still think someone with credibility and connections to the Ham Radio community could pull this idea together and create a podcast about Amatuer Radio aimed at the general public. No, not the ARRL, although they could easliy do it and will, as a “me too” effort, if someone else makes a go of it. No someone like Worldradio, or Wayne Green or Joe Fairclough and the 22 Crew could do a Ham Radio podcast and make it work. Let’s see if it happens. And remember I predidcted it here.