Original Social Network

What`s this about the Original Social Network you might ask, surely before Facebook, SMS, Instant messaging and so forth nobody communicated around the world by electronic means as they do today.

Alexander Graham Bell & Thomas Watson invented a harmonic telegraph and a voice transmitting device in 1877. later to become known as the telephone. It allowed only two people to communicate at the same time, not very social.

Heinrich Hertz, in 1888, demonstrated that one could produce and detect electromagnetic radiation—now generally known as radio waves.

Guglielmo Marconi began to conduct experiments based on Hertz`s work to create a practical system of “wireless telegraphy”, the transmission of messages without wires.On 13 May 1897, Marconi sent the world’s first ever wireless communication over open sea. On 17 December 1902, a transmission from the Marconi station in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada, became the world’s first radio message to cross the Atlantic from North America. In 1920 the first entertainment radio broadcasts in the United Kingdom were heard featuring Dame Nellie Melba.

Soon followed Amateur Radio, with enthusiasts building their own stations at home. Several people could communicate with each other at the same time over great distances, the first electronic “social network”. Most of today`s communication devices, Mobile phones, Wireless Internet, GPS navigation and Satellite TV have been the result of the work of these early pioneers.

In the modern world of Amateur Radio, it`s not just a bunch of old guys sitting around talking, with millions of active operators of all ages, genders, religious and political backgrounds around the globe it is truly a social activity. From Morse code to the latest digital transmissions, TV, picture & short messages to just your average conversation, Amateur Radio has many varied activities.

Radio contesting is very popular, trying to make as many contacts around the world in a set period of time, Summits On The Air (SOTA), climbing a mountain, carrying your lightwight radio equipment with you has taken off recently. World Wildlife Flora & Fauna, working from national parks to promote the environment, These and many more make up the radio community.

Many build their own equipment, some from an early age then move into the communication and electronic industry fueling future technology. Many stations are used for emergency communication, one example is the Radio operator in Darwin, Australia who was the first to call for help after the devastation caused by Cyclone Tracy in 1974, all other forms of communication being destroyed.

It may sound like a different language to some people,that is the codes of letters and numbers that we use, terms like QRZ, QTH, 59, QSL, VK2 and so on. these all stem from the early morse code days, so messages could be sent quickly. QRZ – who are you, QTH – where do you live, QSL – all understood. The callsigns that are used identify you and what country you are in, VK – Australia, ZL – New Zealand and so on. Not to much difference from the shortened language of modern social messaging today.

Politics, religion, race or creed are usually taboo subjects, putting everyone on an even playing field. Getting to know someone from the sound of their voice after you have talked to them a few times rather than what they look like, even though there are databases with photos and details, many prefer not to know. Many long lasting friendships have developed, neither party knowing what the other looks like.

Anytime, day or night you can find somebody to talk to, putting out a call, never knowing who will answer back or what country they are in, their cultural or religious upbringing, their economic standing or their age of no concern.

I have been involved in Amateur Radio for only a short period of time, some others for decades. I know I will continue for a long time to come, it seems that there is always a new aspect of the hobby to explore.

There are no Like, Tweets, Re-Blog, Post or Follow buttons, the only choice you have if don`t like what someone is saying, as with modern social network devices today ……….the OFF button.

Amateur Radio – The Original Social Network

73`s, I`m going QRT

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