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2017 Review – Looking Back at the Year

2017 Review
Downtown Calgary on a Winter Night

Time for a 2017 review. During the year, my interests shifted more towards software defined radio, but the variety of articles remained broad on my web site, Making It Up. 

During 2017, I became increasingly interested in SDR. In part, this activity grew with my selection of a new ham radio, the Flex 6300. I also added the SDRPlay RSP2 to my collection of receivers, which includes the Perseus and RTL-SDR. The Flex led to explore a bunch of digital modes like FT8 and new logging programs such as Log4OM.

I did a few more NodeMCU and Arduino projects, including a Morse Decoder. Life became simpler when I switched to Micro USB connectors for powering 5V projects. On the 3D printing side, I started the year making a small plastic drill press for printed circuit boards. On the family front, the most popular 3D printer project was a key chain shopping cart release tool sized for the Canadian loonie. I think all of my wife’s friends now have a few! Go figure.

This year’s most substantial DIY project was building a new deck. Not something I wanted to do, but it needed doing. That was followed by replacing my antenna rotor. Next year I hope to apply the 3D printer and CNC machine to a couple of small antenna projects.

Older articles about Arduino, NodeMCU, digital fabrication and other electronic making projects remain popular. But my big surprise was the response to an article on closed-circuit broadcasting in the old Soviet Union. For some reason, that placed #1 for the year.

As I move into 2018, my emphasis on SDR and DSP will continue, particularly using tools like GNURadio and Matlab to explore and learn more about how these work.

2017 Review – Popular Series

The main really new thing we did during 2017 was grouping related articles into serials, or mini-books. All of these had a radio orientation. The most popular series were the Arduino Ham Radio Starter Kit and RFI Survival Guide.  Both of these got great reception from hams and hobbyists around the world. Thanks to the various ham web sites and newsletters for their help in spreading the word.

Learning from history is important. So, I decided to increase my historical content with two series worth mentioning in this 2017 review. The first was the History of Broadcast Radio News, which was traced from Fessenden’s first broadcasts up to the modern day. I learned a lot researching this book, including the fascinating Press-Radio wars of the 1930’s.

The second effort focused on Wireless Intercept during World War 2. It includes the story of the Y-Service, radio direction finding and development of radar. Along the way, I discovered my new hero Robert Watson-Watt.

Thanks for your interest and feedback during 2017. Also, I really appreciate your use of Twitter, Facebook and other social media to spread the word. Look forward to Making It Up as I go along in 2018. 73 John VE6EY.

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