A Discord for Young Hams

A friend in /r/amateurradio posted a discord inviting young hams in New York Long Island. A few commenters (including myself) asked why not all young hams? So here you go!


Credit to /u/NewHamWhoDis KD2OAH

What is Discord?

Discord is a free voice and text chatting app well suited for gamers. Anyone can set up any server and have your squad voice chatting within minutes. Before, TeamSpeak and Mumble (and Ventrilo….and more) were the standard, but required paying for servers or setting up your own. Discord takes the work out of that.

It’s also become hugely popular with the rest of the internet – YouTube channels, subreddits, and many special interest groups (like ham radio) have started using it as a replacement to IRC and VoIP chat programs which are hard to use for both the users, moderators, and admins, and lack adequate mobile device support.

Rant on Chat Apps

Sometimes it’s hard to decide what chat program to use. Slack, Facebook Messenger, IRC, Skype, GroupMe, WhatsApp, Telegram, Discord, Zello, Slack…the list is ever growing, but currently here’s my favorites (because this is a blog after all!)

For groups of collegiate and like-aged (20-somethings) friends casually chatting: GroupMe

  Check out the Collegiate Amateur radio Initative GroupMe here!

For one-to-one chatting: Facebook Messenger, SMS, iMessage.

For IRC-like text and voice chatting about a certain topic: Discord

For linux help or nostalgia: IRC

Although there are a lot of very helpful and active communities on IRC, it’s mobile app support is awful since a cloud instance has to be always-on to receive messages when your device isn’t connected, then to push them to your phone when it’s back on, which costs more money than what’s worth to the casual, intermittent user…i.e. me.

For Working on a Project with a remote team: Slack

Mattermost is a good up-and-coming Open Source alternative to Slack.

For all things international: Whatsapp for 1-1 chats, Telegram for groups

YOTA uses Telegram for mass-group texting. I think they’re up to 500 members now.

For pretending your phone is a walkie talkie for a minute than forgetting about it: Zello

For video chatting: Skype.

I pretty much always organize skype chats via Facebook Messenger. Kinda funny.

For video chatting with cool features and/or using a browser only: Google Hangouts

For everything else: Ham radio. Lol.

2017 Solar Eclipse (QSO Party)

It. Was. Incredible.

I guess something not mentioned in the video above is the whole premise of operating ham radio during solar eclipses. It all has to do with the ionosphere. During totality, the ionosphere gets less energy from the sun, making it do funny things. Ham radio gets a firsthand view of what those funny things are…in other words, science.

HamSCI explains it much better: http://www.hamsci.org/node/122

Anyway, I didn’t make that many contacts so my individual contribution to science was pretty minimal. I did operate some FT8 and WSPR, and reported a lot of spots to WSPRNet and PSKReporter, and made this video, so that’s pretty cool.

Sterling’s Back

Hey internet, I’m back doing stuff.

I moved up a few floors into a new apartment with a big second bedroom, and it’s awesome. But really echoey. I could plaster the walls with sound absorbing foam, but I decided I should get an dynamic mic instead. The ATR2100 does XLR and USB (bonus) and also came with a boom arm and pop filter. So I compare it in my echoey office with the MXL990 condenser mic and my GoPro…which apparently has a broken and noisy mic. Probably float trip related.