MARS Moves Closer to Fiction While at an Event for Writers
by Scott Taylor, N5NL
07:30 AM on a Saturday [October 12, 2019] in Mansfield, Texas. You cannot really see it, on those benches and tables were ice crystals. We just left summer and headed straight to ice. This must be Texas.
I was honored to be asked to spend the day with over a hundred writers of different disciplines and genres. Demonstrating Ham Radio and then designing a ham radio class through the lens of a writer, which was a challenge. The purpose was to show and educate what it is and what it is not.
Explaining how Amateur Radio shaped the technology that they enjoy today was only the beginning of their interests. Bringing the examples of how writers have used this hobby and technology in the past, brought it home for them as they began to understand how preppers might use off the grid power and radio to communicate with other preppers or the outside world in the event of a natural disaster.
They also understood why Morse code was used to save the world (in Independence Day) when the alien marauders came to earth to exterminate the indigenous life forms while taking our natural resources.
This, of course, was an excellent segue into the story of the Navajo code talkers, which many had never heard of.
When they witnessed radio communications with South Carolina, using only a modest wire at about twelve feet off the ground, they were visibly impressed.
Phil Golden is a close friend of mine who happens to be an Electrical Engineer that works for a battery company in the local area. He and I were the technology team for communication and off the grid technology. In the foreground, you can see the modest antenna mast, a pool-cleaning handle, and behind me on the table, I had an SDR demonstration for those writers who might be interesting in cloak and dagger, finding hidden signals and so on.
Phil’s talk on biofuel as the fourth renewable energy source left me wondering just how desperately one would want electricity.
The idea for the station was a minimalistic setup for effective communications. On the Table, I had an Alinco DX-70 with an LDG-Z100 antenna tuner. You cannot tell it from the photo, but I was wearing my MARS cap along with my t-shirt for the writer's group I represent. Carrollton League of Writers
Meeting fellow Hams that came out just for this exhibit, they now know more about MARS, and where we are.
Writers in the Field is a hands-on, gloves off event to allow writers to experience many different activities. From lock picking to black powder rifles to horsemanship, and of course Ham Radio, all had a good time.
—Scott Taylor, N5NL