2014 was a stellar year for amateur radio. The year-long celebration of the ARRL Centennial was nothing short of fantastic. The QSO Party and the summer convention were major successes. Our hobby has never received so much attention by popular media. For one entire year, ham radio became the ‘Kardashian’s’ of the hobby world. The ARRL deserves most of the credit for their hard work and vision in promoting our hobby while working tirelessly to foster future growth and protect the valuable resources we enjoy.
Amateur Radio and electronics are woven tightly together and 2014 was without doubt the Year of the Raspberry Pi and everyone jumped on the bandwagon, including radio enthusiasts. It wasn’t difficult to find numerous ways to put these credit-card sized, $35 computers to work in the shack — replacing desktop computers employed for dedicated functions. The trajectory of this trend is nearly vertical and we can expect to see even more interesting uses from it in the coming New Year.
The HF bands cooperated with the major DX operations in 2014. In fact, what appears to be a double-peak in this current solar cycle created some real excitement — about the same time the experts declared us to be on the backside of decent and headed toward minimum. I’m amazed by the courage of operations like FT5ZM that moved forward with their plans despite predictions of less than great band conditions, and brought joy (and QSL’s!) to DXers everywhere.
Logbook of the World adoption picked up steam in 2014. The online service has now crossed 100 million confirmations and the number of users could cross 100,000 in the New Year.
Operators on the International Space Station delighted the world with SSTV transmissions in late 2014 reminding the entire planet that amateur radio still has a shack in space!
Amateur Radio really took to social media in 2014. Facebook and Twitter being the primary beneficiaries of Maxim’s progeny. The ARRL Facebook page has nearly 50K “likes” while its main Twitter account has over 20K followers. Yes, we’ve been tweeting up a storm and the @CallSign label appears on almost everything #HamRadio these days. This won’t last forever, Internet time moves fast and things change in a heartbeat online. Still, these forms of social media are continuing to expand and amateur radio seems firmly affixed for the ride.
Every year it seems we lose more of the old guard, passings that leave us feeling a little off-balance in our mission. 2014 was no different in that regard. Though many of our giants have left us, their work and inspiration continues — in us. That’s the point. The tasks that we undertake and share today, are passed along to tomorrow.
It’s been that way with our passion since the basement experimenters first began to decode the secrets of radio, and passed them along to the next generation of basement experimenters in order to perfect the art and science of radio.
And that work continues into another new year — a new century — a new millennium for amateur radio.
Nostalgia is a wonderful place of retreat to warm and nourish your soul but those are chapters in a book already read. RIGHT NOW is infinitely more exciting because we don’t know what will come next, but we get to write the next chapter!