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To: rfi@contesting.com
Subject: [RFI] BPL in WSJ
From: "Rob Atkinson, K5UJ" <k5uj@hotmail.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Mar 2004 02:38:15 +0000
List-post: <mailto:rfi@contesting.com>
One of the unfortunate things about the WSJ story image-wise for hams, was that the reporter hooked up with Rick Lindquist (actually that wasn't unfortunate, it was this:) and Rick apparently allowed the reporter to see him operating cw mobile from his car, or told him he does that. Why? Let's be honest, mobile cw may seem okay to us--some hams used to even put keys on their steering wheels, wired into the horn line to tap out cw greetings to other hams on the road (maybe that's still done)--but frankly to non-hams this looks a little, oh, frivolous or eccentric. My impression was that this helped give the reporter a view that hams are "quirky" and that we "haunt a series of short-wave radio frequencies..." I don't know about you all, but I've never thought of my operating as haunting 75 meters. The tone of the description evokes a picture of someone like Dr. Emmett Brown (Back to the Future) in a mothy attic or Grandpa Munster twiddling with a transmitter in his lab with bats flying around. I think we have to be more sensitive to the impression we make with nonhams. Claiming that broadband internet is disrupting the Service and then showing a ham station with a cw key is, to my thinking, not a good idea. Not to say that's been done; I'm merely advising against it.

Re Wireless service: I've examined the local broadband options: DSL, Satellite, Cable, and local 5 GHz broadband wireless. Wireless around here wins hands down in cost per data rate: $26/month for 1.5 Mb down and 128 K up. The local service uses the Motorola Canopy system. The catch is you really have to have a clear view to the provider's nearest site. In older neighborhoods like mine with lots of big old tall trees that's just about impossible unless you have a tall tower you can put the subscriber unit up on.

Rob Atkinson

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