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Journal sv_libertarian's Journal: Learning morse code

I finally decided I want to learn morse code. And the response I get from my friends are either "why do you keep playing with radios, when the internet is so much faster", or "cool, you know we could take an arduino board, a transceiver and some other stuff and make ham radio netbook out of it."

The first response is what bugs me. Sure, the internet gives us rapid communication all over the world, and yes you don't need to know morse code to use amateur radio, but I have to wonder why people are so quick to dismiss something because it isn't trendy. Or is it because it isn't easy? Anyone can plug in a computer and start communicating with people fairly rapidly and with a minimal of technical skill. When you factor in the latest trendy social networking system, and the ability to be plugged into a huge swath of humanity with a minimal of effort, I can see the attraction for some minds. New is good, old is bad. Shiny pop culture has to be better, right?

As a marketer I understand and play on that all the time. As an individual, I seek challenges and things that work. Twitter may not be around in another ten years, but morse telegraphy has been with us for over 150 years. Amateur radio for over a century. If I'm in the backcountry, a cellphone with a twitter client won't do me as much good as a little 5 watt morse only transceiver and a portable antenna. When the big one hits the Puget Sound, and communications backbones are broken or overloaded, I can still use my radios to communicate.

There is a danger in rejecting technology simply because it isn't hip, trendy or shiny. And it is tantamount to a sin to reject a method or technology simply because it is perceived as "old". We value artesianal food, and hand crafted goods. We play vintage video games, and like classic cars. But reject morse telegraphy and printed books and newspapers? It is a strange world that will toss out fundamental building blocks of society and communication simply because they aren't branded as "iNewspaper" or "eRadio". But then we sit down to a salad made of heirloom vegetables, drink a craft wine, and enjoy a free range chicken.

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Learning morse code

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