Nobel Laureate Joe Taylor, K1JT, to Conventioneers: Amateur Radio Will Thrive
Among the things the Amateur Radio community can count on in its second century, according to Nobel Laureate Joe Taylor, K1JT, is that ham radio will continue to thrive and serve the public interest. While his primary topic at his standing-room-only presentation on July 19 during the ARRL National Centennial Convention was “DXing with Weak Signals and Beyond,” Taylor — who detailed the development of his WSJT suite of “weak-signal” DSP software — also broke out his crystal ball.
“Radios are going to become increasingly digital,” he said, with analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion occurring “closer and closer to the antenna — in fact, pretty much at the antenna can be done already.” Taylor also said that in the future, good engineering will definitely be a combination of hardware and software. Beyond that, he said, science, technology, and Amateur Radio will continue to benefit from a healthy cross-fertilization between amateurs and professionals.
“I know that is true in my own case,” said Taylor, whose interest in Amateur Radio at a young age helped guide his career path. “My own boyhood fascination with the art and science of radio got me into this hobby, and, from there, it launched me on a path leading to advance degrees in physics, to teaching university physics, to making fundamental research contributions to mankind’s knowledge of the laws of nature,” Taylor told the rapt audience.
Taylor pointed out that in Amateur Radio’s infancy, scientists of the day did not believe the short waves could support useful communication. The government listened, and gave that part of the spectrum to hams, who soon proved them wrong. “The experts truly were astonished,” Taylor said, exhorting his listeners to make whatever contributions they can to the art and science of radio and to the public good.
“It’s a great story and it couldn’t have happened the same way without the ARRL,” he continued. “Let us also work to keep our League a strong and effective voice on our behalf. I’d like to think that someone will be here100 years from now looking back fondly on all the good things accomplished by Amateur Radio during ARRL’s second century.”