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Last week Col from the Central Coast Amateur Radio Club visited SparkCC's regular Tuesday night meetup to present to us a demonstration of Software Defined Radio.

An impressively-proportioned temporary antenna set up in the SparkCC driveway (sadly only captured in a photograph after the presentation when the light was poor) would allow us to communicate on the 40-meter band favoured by amateur radio enthusiasts worldwide.

Of course plenty of Sparkers have built projects incorporating radio in the form of 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wifi. But most had little exposure to "pure" radio so Col started out with some basic theory and a discussion of how the various components traditionally used for amateur radio had developed over time.

Then we saw how several of these components may now be replicated by software thanks to recent advances in digital electronics - what we refer to as Software Defined Radio. Col passed around his own kit-built SDR before plugging it in and firing it up!

The number of functions available, ability to visualise signal and the precision tuning affored by SDR certainly represent a huge leap forward! And with Col's antenna we were able to pick up transmissions from various remote sources, though alas there were no Mandarin speakers present to translate...

A thoroughly interesting and educational evening - many thanks Col! We're always interested in learning about interesting maker-related topics so if you're not a Sparker but you'd be interested in giving a presentation on any topic please get in touch. We'd love to meet you!

Also SparkCC will be hosting a stand at CCARC's Annual Field Day on Sunday Feb 28th. We'll be demonstrating 3d modelling + printing as well as a few other projects that we've been working on. So come along, meet some Sparkers and see what's happening in the world of Amateur Radio.

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