How Amateur Radio is like AI (and vice versa!)

I met someone in December 2017 who had participated in a team of people providing emergency communications after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Maria was a devastating category 5 storm that left much of the island’s infrastructure inoperable. Ham radio operators, like my new friend Matt, had volunteered to travel to Puerto Rico and set up portable stations. Matt was at a hospital.

I decided to gain some skills so I too could be available for that kind of relief work. I did not need to study hard – I had joked that I would need to send my degrees back to MIT if I didn’t pass the all three of the exams required to become an Amateur Extra, the highest class of license, and in February of 2018, I did. (I’m callsign AI4QA). (Back in high school I got a Novice license but never did anything with it.)

Becoming licensed is just the beginning. Practice and practical experience are required, and I have been participating and learning new skills. I have also become an accredited volunteer examiner and became the Trustee of the club’s FCC license of the local ham radio club where I live (callsign N4CRC). Ham radio strikes many as anachronistic, but it serves its place. When a disaster strikes, it is a valuable resource that can supplement the emergency communications of local police and fire and provide broader communications for both governmental agencies and non-governmental services such as the Red Cross. Over the past two years I have noted some parallels between Ham radio and AI. The parallels apply to both the communities of people and the disciplines. Perhaps this might make a fun presentation to a monthly meeting of N4CRC and I thought I would share it in my blog.

For now, I am jotting down only a few notes and will come back from time to time to complete my thoughts.

  1. Neat vs Scruffies
  2. Tribal - so broad it creates opposing camps
  3. Export successes
  4. Import innovations and inspirations
-	Niches and niche mindset
-	Rag-chewers vs contesters
-	Experimenters vs Operators
-	SDR vs Analog
-	Brand X vs Brand Y
-	HF vs VHF