The RSGB 2021 Convention was held online two weeks ago, I wasn’t able to “attend” however I’ve been catching up on the talks and there are some real crackers. There were two streams, An introduction to… and Learn more about… which shared the keynote talk but then diverged. So far I’ve listened to the An introduction to… talks and I’ve just started Learn more about….
For me the highlights have been Michael Sansom G0POT on Portable skills and approaches and Sean Kutzko KX9X on Intro to ham radio satellites both in the An introduction to… stream. Neither of those subjects would have been my first choice looking at the programme, but seeing a different way of operating and not using high power and tonnes of equipment is quite appealing.
From a technical perspective Andrew Barron ZL3DW on Software Defined Radio on the Learn more about... stream was fascinating, Andrew is the writer of The Radio Today guide to the Icom IC-7300 and a bunch of other radio amateur related books. One thing that was interesting about this talk were some of the comments going on in the chat alongside, and I like some of the other viewers disagreed with his opinion that a modular approach for GNU radio stifles innovation.
From the perspective of a Software Engineer it’s always tempting to start everything from scratch and do it yourself, however doing that you can just find yourself reinventing the wheel, and often not as well as it has been done by others. Having the modular/open source base to build upon can allow you to focus on new features improvements etc. There is of course the other side of the argument that having these pre-built modules means that people don’t necessarily think about other ways of doing things, it’s already done, if it aint broke don’t fix it.
I don’t have any experience with GNU Radio (or SDR development) and by his own admission Andrew Barron also doesn’t have any experience of GNU Radio, but I found it interesting to consider.
I’d definitely recommend that anyone who hasn’t watched the convention get along to YouTube and watch it, it’s free, even if you aren’t a member of the RSGB, so what have you got to lose!