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Author Topic: The Hazard of Knowledge  (Read 5167 times)
KK4AXX
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« on: November 16, 2017, 02:50:51 AM »

Over the last year and more I've been battling health issues that have kept me from the things I love.  Some I will never do again do to the permanent problems left behind.  No matter.  The issue here is what I've done with this down time.

I've read.  Ever article I could find on my hobbies.  Especially on Amateur Radio.

Here's what I've learned:  It is physically impossible for the average person to make contact with his/her next door neighbor on any band, at any time, with any equipment whatsoever!  No amateur equipment, most especially homebrew antennas, have any functionality because your average Amateur operator does not have a PhD in Electrical Engineering, nor the $100,000.00 required for the "proper setup of proper equipment".

So when I finally got back on my feet after months of reading all of this I was literally depressed when I looked at my old rig sitting there covered with its dust cover like a death shroud, and even afraid to try to make a call with my obviously useless setup.  I actually considered boxing it all up and selling out.  Then we heard of several hurricane out in the Gulf aiming for Mobile.  Before I knew it, neighbors started dropping by to ask if my standing offer to send messages in the event of a 'hard hit' still stood.

Wow!  That's right!  My second-hand Icon, my homebrew match and antennas DID make contacts in the past when it counted, powered by my Jeep pulled up to my bedroom window because the mains were down.  Messages got out, worries were eased.  That brought to mind once calling in help for some guy I found stuck off road.  Stuck so deep I couldn't break him loose with my ZJ and out of cell tower range, but in range of my 5 Watt 2 meter!  And, wonder of wonders, someone was monitoring 2 meter simplex!

Aww... what do these guys with PhDs know?  Amateur Radio was invented by guys who didn't really know what they were doing, but wanted to experiment and learn along the way.  So what was the REAL lesson here? 

Sometimes you can read too much and do too little. 

For every claim of success with a given antenna, someone will come along to show how horribly inefficient it is. Wrong coax, wrong balun, not enough radials, whatever.  What you need to ask yourself is if it worked for you, and did you enjoy yourself.  Ignore "them", turn on the radio!
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George U. Potter Lodge, #912, F. & A. M. of Alabama.
Dave Langham Chapter, #536, Order of the Eastern Star.
Chaos & Critters EXOTIC Animal Rescue - 501(c)(3).

An U.S. Navy Submarine Service disabled Veteran and a proud American Sikh!
W0WCA
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2017, 03:07:01 AM »

LIKE!
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AF6LJ
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2017, 04:54:17 AM »

Some people have nothing better to do than to over analyze the simple process of getting out of bed. These people tend to write articles in the hope they can explain the above mentioned act down to the atomic level. This serves little to no practical use in the real world but can be entertaining.

Not to belittle everyone who attempts to provide a complete explanation for events and processe4s that take place around us, but some people should give up writing technical papers, they are simply not good at it, neither am I but I try to keep it simple. Smiley

The OP really touched on the lack of good technical writers in this hobby.
Another issue is things have become so complex it's hard to express really complex software and hardware systems in language the average ham can understand.
Find someone who can accurately explain how a direct sampling, software defined radio works, down to how the functions of the "soft controls" work. 

I became interested in electronics at an early age, I look back and the learning curve doesn't seen so steep. If I was in my mid thirties, or maybe even late twenties and  my career was in a different field, that learning curve would seem to be almost vertical.
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Take Care
Sue,
AF6LJ
K9MHZ
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2017, 06:29:03 AM »

Yeah, and there is a tendency to try and absorb everything and then get overwhelmed.  A good mitigation strategy is to go with what is timeless and proven, and then improve your setup as you become more savvy.  The good thing about new SDRs is that most have "quick setup" guides, which (hopefully) will at least whet the new owner/operator's appetite for more understanding later. 

Don't get bogged down.  The fundamentals are still there.
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N2MG
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2017, 08:00:14 AM »

I can think of a couple of sayings..

Paralysis by Analysis
Perfection is the enemy of Good Enough

Mike N2MG
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K8AXW
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2017, 09:14:49 AM »

This is probably one of the best posts and series of responses I have ever read on eHam!

Thank you OM, AXX.


Quote
Paralysis by Analysis
Perfection is the enemy of Good Enough

I have GOT to remember these quotes!!
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K0UA
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2017, 09:38:29 AM »

How do SDR's work?   Pretty darn well.  At least mine does Smiley
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DL8OV
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2017, 09:45:06 AM »

I don't have a PhD and I certainly don't have 100K USD but I still manage to get on the air two or three nights a week. Try QRP for a while then you will discover how amazing our hobby really is.

Peter DL8OV
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KK4AXX
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2017, 02:34:31 PM »

I can think of a couple of sayings..

Paralysis by Analysis
Perfection is the enemy of Good Enough

Mike N2MG

Where you a Submariner?  Can't tell you how many times I heard that on the boat!
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George U. Potter Lodge, #912, F. & A. M. of Alabama.
Dave Langham Chapter, #536, Order of the Eastern Star.
Chaos & Critters EXOTIC Animal Rescue - 501(c)(3).

An U.S. Navy Submarine Service disabled Veteran and a proud American Sikh!
K9MHZ
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2017, 02:46:18 PM »

I can think of a couple of sayings..

Paralysis by Analysis
Perfection is the enemy of Good Enough

Mike N2MG

Saw a very good video once.... 21st Century Jet.  It chronicled the development of the Boeing 777, from initial concept engineering all the way through prototyping and production, and then the first flight.  Consistent through the entire presentation was the paralysis of perfection engineering.  Alan Mulally was the project head, and later the president of Boeing's Commercial Airplanes Group, and finally president of Ford.  He was a Richie Cunningham type of leader, making everyone feel very good about their roles and celebrating, not hiding, mistakes and lessons learned.  He carried a very big stick, and with a smile and fresh muffins baked by his wife, threatened to fire the entire engineering staff tasked with designing the 777 doors if they couldn't finish their work.  In the video, he reported that the doors team suddenly got very focused and designed a very good system for the plane.

Always remembered that anecdote, because it's so telling of the nature of people, particularly "Aspergersy" engineers. 
     
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KK4AXX
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2017, 02:56:35 PM »

When my General ticket first arrived I nearly reached Warp speed on my way to Lowe's to buy the parts for my long-planned vertical.  It would be for 17 meters since I wasn't interested in contesting and I figured I learn a bit more on bands less bothered so.  I made it entirely of copper pipe, with dual locking points and a bottom pivot point, 40+ radicals, and a hand made balun.  Man, I was (am) proud of it!  In no time I was hitting g Japan, Russia, and occasionally India never turning the power knob past half way.  Happy as a pig in...  Well, I was happy.
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George U. Potter Lodge, #912, F. & A. M. of Alabama.
Dave Langham Chapter, #536, Order of the Eastern Star.
Chaos & Critters EXOTIC Animal Rescue - 501(c)(3).

An U.S. Navy Submarine Service disabled Veteran and a proud American Sikh!
W9IQ
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Posts: 1712




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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2017, 03:13:53 PM »

When I was an engineering manager, I sported a prominent sign in my office that read:

There comes a time in every project when it is necessary to shoot the engineer and get it out to production.

- Glenn W9IQ
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- Glenn W9IQ

I never make a mistake. I thought I did once but I was wrong.
K9MHZ
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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2017, 03:30:14 PM »

That's funny!
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WZ7U
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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2017, 04:20:10 PM »

Yeah it is!  Cheesy
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================================================
WZ7U ~ originating from CN86jc +/-

Yet another imperfect being created by THE perfect God. Thank you Jesus!
WW7KE
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« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2017, 05:05:18 PM »

Perfection is the enemy of Good Enough

A corollary to that is "There comes a time in the life of every product where it becomes necessary to shoot the engineers and start production." Grin
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He speaks fluent PSK31...  One QSO with him earns you 5BDXCC...  His Wouff Hong has two Wouffs... Hiram Percy Maxim called HIM "The Old Man..."  He is... The Most Interesting Ham In The World!
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