Antenna Farm – Article 15 – Jan 2, 2023

By Charles KC6UFM

Hiatus and Editing Offer

Hello ECR Family, and welcome to The Antenna Farm. This is your friendly Antenna Farmer Charles, KC6UFM.

Due to my hand surgery on 13 DEC 2022, I will be in a cast on my right hand for about six to eight weeks, and that makes it pretty much impossible for me to type. Also there’s the whole using a mouse left-handed that I have yet to figure out.

This means that there will be, sadly, a hiatus of about two months, perhaps a little longer, in the flow of articles for The Antenna Farm. Rest assured, however, that I will be back as soon as possible!

In the interim, there is a matter I wanted to bring up to all of the East Coast Reflector family, and that is the writing of articles…

As a professional author, I firmly believe that everyone has something to share and something to say that others will find interesting and/or helpful. This is especially true in our shared hobby of Ham Radio. The technology changes rapidly and is very wide. No one person can be an expert in everything!

Everyone has done things in the hobby that not everyone else has had the chance to do. Maybe you’ve built some piece of equipment, or set up an AllStar node using a Raspberry Pi Zero, or perhaps you bought a new radio and have learned to use it. All of these things—and myriads of others—are topics worthy of an article so you can share the experience with your fellow hams.

The sharing of knowledge and skills has a LONG history in Ham Radio. We even have a name for hams who share with other hams: Elmer. This practice shows no signs of slowing and, in fact, is actually on the increase as the Internet allows an Elmer to share with a group of thousands instead of just a handful.

Do you have any idea what percentage of people in the general public write books? The accepted number in the industry is about 0.001%. Guess how many write articles on a regular basis, not counting journalists…that is about 0.003% or so. Does that mean YOU can’t write articles about Ham Radio? No, not at all!

The thing that stops most people from writing (either books or articles) is the fear that they don’t have the skills needed to communicate in writing in an effective manner. This is no one’s fault…it’s just that most people have never been trained or had the chance to get the experience.

This is where an editor comes in…

Editors are a writer’s best friend. (To be fair, there have been times when I have had dreams about an editor that involved liquid nitrogen, a wood chipper, and hogs.) Editors have the knowledge needed to catch those spelling errors and make the grammar, punctuation, and other esoteric nuances of the written word work like they should. Editors also catch what I have always called “Idiot Mistakes” like omitted words, run-on sentences, and other things of that nature. And editors help the writer stay focused and moving forward…we all get distracted sometimes and go down one rabbit hole or another in the middle of our writing.

All publishers keep a stable of editors. When they buy a book from an author, the editors take over and go through a process we in the business call “Polishing” the work. The editors work with the author to find and fix problems and, in general, make the work as good as it can possibly be. Many books and articles actually go through several layers of editing that focus on specific matters. Of major importance is that an editor does NOT rewrite the work…only help the author make revisions that might be needed.

So, what I am saying is that I KNOW there are many members of the East Coast Reflector family who have the knowledge and experience needed to write articles that other Hams will find interesting and beneficial. I know this from talking with you and from listening to you talk to others. You have the technical skill to make it happen. There is no question about that.

All of this comes down to me making an offer to each and every one of you…

Come up with an idea for your article, and then just write it. Spend some time making sure you have fixed some of the small errors like spelling and such. Then, send your article to me via an email attachment (I’m good on QRZ) and I will edit the article for you. When the editing process is done, I’ll send the article back to you, and you can then send it off to K2SHF (Michael) for publication in the East Coast Reflector newsletter!

Who knows…you may find that you like writing as much as I do (I’ve been at it for well over 50 years now) and decide to keep doing it. Your name and picture could end up on the cover of QST! Or The Rolling Stone, but I digress…

I can see you now…you’re wondering what the heck to write about. Let me give you a tip…product reviews are always a great place to start. Hams love new gear, but they do tend to be selective and research a product before they buy it. This means that they will like a good, well written, detailed, unbiased product review to help them decide where to spend their money. And it doesn’t have to be the brand new super-whiz-bang radio…it could be a common, older rig. For example, tell us why you like the old Midland Syntech I you got on eBay and pressed into service for 6m FM work…like the fact that you can also use the radio as a jack-stand when you get a flat tire.

But don’t worry too much about that…acting as your editor, I’ll help you decide if a particular topic will work for you. Then I’ll help you polish the work to make it as effective as we can. In other words, let’s talk about your topic ideas.

I want to help you write your articles for the East Coast Reflector newsletter!

What’s in it for me? Well, other than creating a workload for myself, that is. Simply put, the joy of helping not only a fellow ham, but also the pleasure of helping another writer. I really can’t explain that last bit to you, but another writer will know exactly what I mean. As you grow into better ham—and writer—you will come to understand that as well.

So, put on your thinking caps (or capacity hats) and start brainstorming some ideas. Contact me via email with any questions (again, I’m good on QRZ) and let’s talk about your articles.

Then we can get to work!

In the meantime, thanks for all the well wishes for my surgery and recovery, and The Antenna Farm will be back soon!

Take Care & 73