Creativity comes with practice

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by VK6FLAB, Mar 8, 2019.

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  1. VK6FLAB

    VK6FLAB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Foundations of Amateur Radio

    Creativity comes with practice

    I grew up with Lego, plastic blocks that you can put together in infinite variety. My oldest Lego kit hails from 1964, kit 324: House with Garage and it's still in pretty good nick today. It's missing the tree and the car and the garage door is broken and a few blocks have vanished, but putting it together the other day reminded me of the art of building.

    Today I still play with Lego. In fact after a hiatus of several decades I pulled out my old boxes and started sorting my blocks. That lead to building the House and while I was at it, I managed to reconstruct my first Lego Technic kit, 850: Forklift, bringing with it a flood of memories.

    Why the Lego?

    It's been my source of inspiration for many decades. It has allowed me to imagine something and then go on to build it. Over the years I've learned that this is not a universal experience. I recall one friend who was gifted a huge Lego car, but had no idea that you were allowed to modify it and I blew his mind converting his four cylinder engine into a V6.

    That same eye for the possibility exists in all of us. You need to look at things in a different light.

    One of my friends likes to shop online, he also loves to roam through the local hardware store and I get regular photos of things that are useful. Last night I got a photo of a square washer. Plate of steel, galvanised, hole in the middle with the caption: I've got plans.

    I took one look at it and knew that I too had plans for that washer, which is why thoughtfully he bought a couple for me too - I didn't even need to ask, it was obvious to us both.

    The central hole is just the right size for an SO239, so clearly the washer is just right to act as an antenna base. You could weld it to a trailer, or drill some holes for radials, hang it from a tree, make a dipole from it, the sky is the limit and for only 76 cents, what's not to like.

    I've been looking, like all my amateur friends do regularly, for a pole. I have a large 12m squidpole. It's very helpful to make into a vertical antenna. Use a bit of wire and you're good to go. It's a little floppy if you want to hold anything more substantial, like a horizontal dipole or an inverted V antenna.

    So, back to the pole. I'm looking in my local hardware store for poles. Of course I could go with the Pine variety, but I'm not keen on carrying a 3.6m wooden pole on the roof of my car, or for that matter, several of them, so I've been looking for other solutions. Tent-poles, pretty cost-effective, strong if you can guy them and the load is vertical, there's painters poles, which will require some testing to see if you can combine several together and make a longer contraption.

    The point is, I'm not seeing a painter's pole or a tent-pole when I'm looking, I'm seeing the ability to hold something up.

    In the same way as when Calvin gets his hands on a large box and converts it into a Transmogrifier, I wander the isles of various shopping outlets looking for the possibilities that something might have, rather than the label written on the outside.

    Doing this is second nature, and achieving it is a matter of practice.

    The best advice I can give is to walk around with 'What-if' emblazoned on your brain.

    What-if I could use this as an antenna, what-if I could use this as a battery-box, what-if this fits into my car, what-if this table is big enough for a field-day, what-if.

    That same what-if attitude will stand you in good stead when you experiment with antennas. Don't be afraid of failing, the more you fail, the better you learn.

    What-if isn't scary, it's in-built into this hobby of amateur radio.

    I'm Onno VK6FLAB

    TL;DR This is the transcript of the weekly 'Foundations of Amateur Radio' podcast - for other episodes, see
  2. 4Z1UG

    4Z1UG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    When I am in the USA, I like to walk the aisles of Home Depot for ideas on other ways to use what's there for ham radio. There are two industrial zones in Jerusalem. Every few years I walk them to check out workshops for things I might use in projects. Right now I could use some pole vaulting poles for antenna projects.
    73, Eric 4Z1UG.
  3. W1YW

    W1YW XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    Creativity comes from need.

    Creativity comes from experience.

    Creativity comes from combining palates from different planets.

    Creativity comes from a knowledge base of whats been done, across disconnected 'fields'.

    Look: if you want to ENCOURAGE us to be creative, that's just awesome. But please speak from EXPERIENCE or refer to the EXPERIENCE of others. 'Practice' is a minor component in the creativity equation. It refers to the enablement of tools, not the motivation for using them.

    I have no idea what the heck you mean by: ' a what-if emblazened in my brain'. 'What-if' is equally meted by 'not physically possible'. I suggest you spend some time understanding the creative process before reducing it to a child's single- guessing game.

    Don't rely on failure-- solely-- as teacher. That's equivalent to saying you can be a master mechanic with just a single screw driver. Reliance on experiential failure will limit your path to success an likely stop it in its tracks.

    Don't ALWAYS rely on failure as teacher.

    Are you saying that people need PERMISSION to make connections across disparate pools of reality? If so, point taken.

    Otherwise you are doling out hope in a practice without support, IMO.

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
    W0PV likes this.

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