2021, New Year Prospects (UK)

Whilst we can, at least in Tier 4 regions (being stuck at home bar very limited permitted reasons to stray), see in 2021 with a lot of potential listening, QSO’s and experimenting whilst the Co-vid hangs around like a poltergeist on steroids. But generally we’re finding more time to occupy with three different strains plaquing the circumstances (so far), so online and radio tends to be the techies preferred entertainment it seems.

We can, eventually, expect to find post-Brexit revision to ham licenses here mostly affecting what was CEPT integration - but given the minefield and how much EU integration exists amongst most two-way radio comms services, it’ll be later than sooner I suspect.

On the ham side, where we’re mostly TA exempted regarding equipment, existing and new EU spec kit and most other sources of kit won’t be a TA nightmare thankfully - as long as it’s not specifically prohibited from UK import, TA’s and specs will be no issue provided such kit is setup/used within license provision limits and the usual avoidance of interference to other User Services (irony that despite higher equipment TA specs, it’s amazing how many commercial users generate RF garbage in denial because they believe dubious TA certificates on the low-end cheap kit are genuine).

So there’s uncertainty in the hobby and co-vid uncertainty affecting traditional indoor/outdoor group and club ops - but I believe the hobby will outlive the restrictions, ■■■■ it survived WWII and Cold War limits, so it’ll be there still long past CO-VID and Brexit.

But given the scope out there (at home and internationally) of networked crossfire and digital voice and tunnelled networked data gateways, the future of Ham Radio just looks more like what’s bee n half dark magic digital and internet crossovers being more the norm.

■■■■, who knows, the most mythical of all none sinister darknets - which was always a potential back in AX25 data mode days - could actually start to make sense, in a sense we’re already halfway there with the tunnelled gatewayed use of DV modes.

Mind you, the old-school proportion of the ham world (mostly those old enough to remember the days of make do and mend and rolling your own gear) are also some of the most likely candidates to not be around to see how it all evolves, I know of at least five who’ve gone SK due to Co-vid directly or as a contributory consequence of it.

I guess we can just settle for hoping for the best and being around to see the aftermath (irrespective of where you are).

Mind you, if there’s one AR/HR prospect potentially waiting to be utilised rather than being a technical provision inherent to all classes of licenses, we may find ourselves in the UK finding us getting more involved in creating emergency networks etc beyond RayNet as it stands.

I guess we’ll see and whatever happens, there will be some aspects surviving at the very least. Who knows, maybe the value of DMR demonstrated as has been found in HR will migrate into becoming the future of CB whether aspects are adopted as a digital mode on 11m or CB ends up being an occupier of unwanted/unpopular VHF/UHF segments - which if done right and a gateway/hotspot analogy gets allowed, could legitimise what already has kinda started to evolve for the 11m crowd as an alternative option.

Notably I include that because just as 11m kit was a notable entry to cheap 10m ham operations here, migration of the more tech minded and curious of 11m helped keep the uptake of AR/HR continue during one of it’s less popular eras.

What we do know, is there’s as much uncertainty as highly probable near-certainty currently, as ever we’ll adapt and carry on, after all - adaption, evolution and inventive use of limitations is part of the bedrock underlying AR/HR.