Ham Maker or Home Brewer?

It seems pretty clear that RF circuit design is something I’m moving towards pretty quickly, so when Hackaday posted Michael Ossmann’s talk on the subject it seemed a pretty obvious thing to watch and was quickly added to my YouTube “Watch Later” list. I expected to enjoy his talk because I’ve seen another he did at a QRP group sharing his projects and views on the future of home brew. He generally embodies what I imagine a maker ham to look like.

I did leave wondering what the older home brewers might think of his talk. Certainly the body of work from Frank Harris (K0IYE) varies dramatically from what Ossmann is doing. I also understand that Pete Juliano  and Bill Meara of the Solder Smoke Podcast work entirely differently. The most glaring example of this is that Michael Ossmann suggest using as integrated a part as possible while any of the other fellows I mentioned certainly avoid that and work from copper clad board instead of ordering designs from a manufacturer.

I’m fairly certain no ill-will exist between these guys. I get a general attitude that there is plenty of room for everyone from all sides, but I wonder if there is a distinction to be made between a maker in ham radio and a home brewer. Perhaps a home brewer is enthralled with working with the most simple parts practical, even to the point of collecting rocks from the mountains of Colorado like Frank Harris. Perhaps a ham maker is then someone looking to create first and explore and learn second; therefore, quite willing to accept a module or IC that does exactly what they want instead of making it themselves.

So that left me with a question. Which one am I looking to be? I’m not sure at this point. While I think about it, watch the video and share your own thoughts.


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