#introduction As a polymath, I always have the feeling that I get lost in all of my different interests and projects. Sometimes I think the fediverse can help me to get things under control. But it possibly will only increase chaos.
I'm working in the humanities but like to challenge myself with obsolete technologies. Looking at the soldering iron in my shaky hands is terrible but it will not prevent me go on trying.
On the air I hate 59 - 73! contacts. If you don't want to talk, do not answer my call. (FT8 is not an option.)
Always look at the big picture and try to dive deep. If you're only interested in your niche, we'll have little to share.
Let's see if I understand correctly, what you want to achieve: You want to connect groups of up to 5 people via audio, scattered over an area large enough to comply with the distancing rules.
The obvious way to achieve this would be to use video/audio conferencing solutions via the internet a la #jitsi. It seems that you are afraid of the poor voice quality though. (This may be a German problem: from the estonian background it's hard to believe that in a city like Bonn you would have to consider problems with simple video calls.)
If you want to connect these groups 'directly' instead this is not as simple as you assume. Most people who pick up their mobile phone every two seconds underestimate the infrastructure that makes this possible in the first place. (Radio amateur repeaters provide an alternative infrastructure in a way - but as @meisam pointed out already: in order to use these, everybody in your groups would have to be a licensed amateur.)
The easiest way to connect these groups without any infrastructure would be #PMR446 (Personal Mobile Radio). This is "Jedermannfunk" limited to a power of 0.5 Watts for transmission. The hardware (handheld radio) is tiny and cheap. Here on the island the hunters are using it and I use it as well while picking berries or mushrooms in the woods. In an area with scattered vegetation - like in park - you could expect a range of 500m to pick up a decent signal.
Though FM audio signals usually feel somehow more natural, I'm afraid you would not be satiesfied with your groups talking to each other via #PMR446. The reason is that radio works simplex. That means: only one person can talk at a time. I can see that people not used to this concept quickly become frustrated (especially if they expect to have a lively discussion.)
I would suggest though that you contact the Bonn radio amateurs. There are plenty of possibilities to build your own networks but that's beyond the scope of this post. But you will be amazed at their knowledge and willingness to help.
Perhaps I am the least spontaneous person you can imagine. But sometimes things you couldn't plan may turn out better than with all the usual preparations.
Last weekend was the weekend of the #IOTA (Islands on the Air) contest. But since we had promised three years in a row to visit some relatives during their summer vacation, this weekend seemed like the time to make good on that promise. So I forgot about IOTA.
It wasn't until my wife asked me if I would take some radio equipment with me that it occurred to me that we would in fact be going to the neighboring island of Saaremaa, and that maybe I could still take a quick shot at contesting (operating portable). So I grabbed what I had on hand: a dipole for 20m, no antenna tuner, just the radio and a car battery.
When I woke up early on Sunday morning, I found a nice spot right by the sea. After the antenna was set up, I had four hours to participate in the contest. And it turned out to be a most pleasant, memorable day: hot summer weather, a beautiful view, and a relaxed but at no time boring contest. (I might even surpass my last year's result, as I got significantly more multipliers ;-).
One would think this
is a critical move. In the sense of: "You assume the #WRC being the dorkiest thing you can organise in summer in South Estonia? We can top that: Have a look!"
But no: it's promotion. Promotion for what? Estonia, negatively surprising?
I forgot to mention that this yagi is for 2m of course. But if you're interested in this stuff you'll have guessed that anyway.
It's well known that my interest in VHF/UHF is relatively low: I use it to chat with some friends late at night, but that's about it. (I don't get the thrill to make long distance contacts with equipment that actually isn't meant for this purpose. And there are almost no repeaters existing any more in Estonia - but that's another story.)
Recently, however, it came up at the Estonian hamfest that the tradition of VHF fielddays seems doomed to die: hardly any youngsters are interested in going out into the field with all the equipment (and do they even have access to it?), spending hours setting up stuff, and then making a few contacts with people they could meet on the air anyway.
I can be baited with traditions, though: don't like to see them dying. As the weather forecast is favourable, I'm considering to take part in the VHF fieldday coming weekend for the first time myself.
For preparation I put up a yagi (7 elements) and testest it at the monthly Estonian VHF Cup contest. In about 2 h I made only 12 QSOs - I have no idea how these local VHF contests work - what are the frequencies people are hiding at (more than calling)? But the antenna is working: longest distance: 262km to Sweden in SSB.
I start getting interested. Will try to get my 'big' yagi (11 elements) up and see what happens. (For the moment I rotate the antenna manually - but that's not a long-term solution.)
I don't usually make a difference between work and leisure. That's why I've never really taken a vacation until today. This year is different: under the impact of Covid-19, I could hardly wait for the semester to end. (I felt simply exhausted - the workload was insane and the line between academic and personal life was about to completely dissolve. That all deserves a much more thorough evaluation).
Anyway, about 10 days after I sent the last work email, I'm starting to feel like a human being again. Just sitting there, gazing and feeling the surroundings results in an almost euphoric relaxation.
Serendipity: We're having one of the most stable, warm summers here I've ever experienced, almost Mediterranean proportions, and no one could be more grateful for that than I am. (This weather has been going on for the whole month of June already without me being able to take part in it).
So I spend a lot of time going swimming at one of my favorite spots on Kassari Island, which is effectively the southern tip of our island, but with a totally different landscape.
Still running #firefox 88 but suddenly I realised that my bookmarks are synced (which has never worked before). How comes?
Life in times of #covid19:
Back in the office (physically) for the first time since the beginning of December 2020: all the laboriously rehearsed procedures have been forgotten by the body and the mind: where are the keys? What do I have to take with me? How do I enter the classrooms? etc. The preparations for the way to work feel like preparations for an expedition.
The biggest surprise: walking to work, through the ever more sparsely populated city streets, get the mind going. I'm completely lost in thought, as I have not been for a long time. That doesn't work at all in the countryside, where walks in the landscape have a calming but always draining effect.
Could it be that I hate memes? In any case, they are really annoying. Like ads. But worse. Ads want to sell you something. But #memes want to be ... quick-witted? creative? I can't come to terms with this downgrading of the idea of being creative. Generally a festival of bad taste.
When did this #meme thing start? I should have a look at the before and after. A turning point, maybe. Is there somebody out there working on a meme blocker?
But look at my #wspr test on 20m Saturday (24-04): receive only from 12UTC-00UTC.
First image shows the stations transceiving #wspr signals in Europe and second the signals ES0MHI received. All in all they look quite similar: I received most of the European stations except for northern Europe (but that's due to the N-S orientation my dipole). Received total: 236 spots.
Now have a look at the next two images: totally different story. Image 3: stations transceiving #wspr in North America and image 4: North American stations received by ES0MHI. No reception at all! Now you'll say that's possibly due to my antenna not being suitable for dx. But no, have a look at what I received a year ago (April 2020) and what is much more like what to be expected: https://tilde.zone/@es0mhi/103987932712399149
Conclusion: there is absolutely no propagation to North and South America at the moment. That said, direction Asia is working fine. Had contacts to Lebanon and Afghanistan on 20m in SSB on Friday, strong signals, no problem to copy.
On April 26th through May 3rd, join the team over at @jitsinews for a #hackathon focused on education. Influence and help build new features that will provide an #opensource option to the web conferencing arena. https://jitsi.org/blog/winning-over-the-classroom-with-jitsi
So how would you describe the difference of 'being with sb' in contrast to a video call? Is it the bodily experience that makes the difference for you?
The current situation only confirms what I already knew: I hate telephone calls. (I never owned a phone, I never use one, except for emergency calls.) I'm lost in a conversation via phone as I do not see the other person's reaction.
Now the weird thing is that I love to talk to people on the radio. On the radio you usually talk to total strangers but the entire process of communication is ritualized. That makes it an adventure with a very low entrance level.
Video calls seem perfect to me: It is intimacy where the bodies are kept in check. (So there is a (last) higher level, RL, where we can unleash the bodies, but I try to save this for those rare encounters where body boundaries become irrelevant.)
Is it all video conferences or just family events? I've been living in video conferences only - work and private - for a year now and I'm already afraid of the time when "real life" starts again.
Sain just teada, et Lea Liitmaa suri 4 päeva tagasi. Mul on südamest kahju. Ja see kõlab minu suust imelikult. Ma ei tea, kas ma olen seda kunagi öelnud kellegi kohta, keda ma isiklikult ei tunne. Ta oli hea laulja ja suurepärane inimene. Vähemalt nii mulle tundus . RIP
Digged up in #peertube:
Boris Johnson's Tech Sermon
"fintech, biotech, edtech, minitech, midtech, nanotech, greentech, every kind of tech"
I also paid attention to the billboards that we don't have so many on the island.
Have a look at this one. It says:
"Estonian kids voluntarily spend less time outdoors than prisoners."
That's some effective advertising campagne for sure. But then again: As a kid I would refuse to go outside voluntarily. My mother had to force me. I think I was well prepared for the lockdown.
I haven't been in town for month (the pandemic - you remember). It's quite interesting to go out for a walk - very different to pre-lockdown times. Whole areas are deserted, you can perceive the city architecture almost without the interference of human beings, like in a 3-D installation. It's very comforting.
I also visited a supermarket inside a shopping mall. Great pleasure to see all the shops closed. As if a high-precision weapon had hit the excesses of consumption and left only what's necessary for survival. It's like a dream.
I haven't talked about this, but one of my New Year Resolutions of 2020 (yes, last year, not this year) was to stop reading Postimees, the main and oldest (established in 1857) daily newspaper in Estonia. Reason was the web edition that - over time - turned into a pure tabloid. One of the worst excesses was the unmoderated comment section that just made me feel sick. I've been clean now for 15 months.
In the beginning I wasn't sure about how to replace it but I opted for the website of the public service broadcaster (err.ee). But it did't take long before their articles were also commented on by the same morons without the publisher doing any moderation. I wanted to pull myself together and write a letter to the broadcaster that they should just make the decision and pull the plug for the comments. But what can I say? I didn't have to. They came to the same decision without me interferring. (The covid pandemic certainly contributed to this goal.)
Now it's more than a week that I "enjoy" news like in the old days - without idiots commenting on every bit of information (that in fact exceeds their horizon).
It is sad: One reason I'm into Ham Radio is because I like to talk to and get to know everybody - no one excluded. But on the internet it just doesn't seem to work.
Help me decide!
I kinda really want a smart watch, but a hackable one that I can have complete control over.
As far as I can see there are thee options
What else is there? What would you suggest?
homo universalis, radio amateur, unix enthusiast, floss advocate, emacs user, bibliophile, anarchist, teaching at the Estonian Academy of Arts
masto instance for the tildeverse