Category Archives: radio

Ham Radio Operators Unite at EARC Field Day

As a newly licensed ham (WH6DZJ), I was excited about this weekend's ARRL sponsored EARC Field Day. It's a nationwide event that brings together hams to show off their gear, make some far away contacts and like Amy Akina, (KH6AMY) says, "make some eyeball QSO". Before social networks and the smartphone, ham radio operators were creating their social nets (nightly round table checkins) and advancing wireless communications. I remember last week when I mentioned to Noe Tanigawa at Hawaii Public Radio, right before our weekly Bytemarks Cafe, that both Ryan (WH6DZK) and I got our ham radio license, she said, "why are you guys going back in time?" To be honest, for me it was social networks. Interestingly, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become a snapshot of what is happening with your distributed community of friends and family. I started to get interested in the use of social media for news and the reporting of emergencies, especially natural disasters. I realized it would be very useful if you could somehow determine who were the trusted sources in social media and with their help, cull through the deluge of information to assist existing emergency managers during a natural disaster. Well guess what, that lead me back to amateur radio. They've been in existence for many decades doing exactly that, providing communication services in the event of an emergency. They've honed their technical expertise and communications protocol to effectively and efficiently manage information in the field and work with emergency agencies like State Civil Defense, City DEM and the Hawaii Chapter of the American Red Cross. Along with the nudging and help from Ron Hashiro (AH6RH) and Keith Higa (WH7GG), that's what motivated me to get my Technicians license. So for me, if I want to learn how to better use social media and the Internet for emergency management, it is best to start with the original emergency communicators and the emergency amateur radio club (EARC). What better way to learn than to jump in with both feet, to learn about ham radio and a chance to get back into the electronics of radio. I always wanted to build my own radio station and now I have that chance.

HPR Pledge Drive – Celebration 2009

HPR - Pledge Drive 2009Every 6 months, 10 days in April and 10 days in October, Hawaii Public Radio will augment their normal programing with the all-important fundraising Pledge Drive called Celebration 2009. It's an intense effort to raise $763K and that number keeps going up, back in April the goal was $741K. This is my third pledge drive since the inception of Bytemarks Cafe on KIPO 89.3FM. The 10 day experience is quite an exhibit of community coming together in support of a valued resource. In this day of giving everything away for FREE, why not the programming on Hawaii Public Radio. And in essence it is. There is nothing stopping anyone from tuning into 89.3 or 88.1 FM and listening to the programming streaming over the airwaves. What people like Chris Anderson believe is that the cost of delivering digital or electronic content is close to zero. But if people perceive value in the product they will pay something for it. For example he might give away the electronic version of is book FREE but the hard copy version will cost $20+ if you want to feel it in your hands. Shareware often works the same way. The programmer will allow people to download and use software and if the user is satisfied can voluntarily make a donation. Similarly in the case of public radio, if you the listener enjoy the programing you hear and find value in the news and stories presented, you can make a pledge. One big difference in the Hawaii Public Radio model as compared to other forms of digital media is the strong community aspect of the station. These 10 day marathons are an example of a real community, i.e. not one in cyberspace or a virtual world, coming together and showing support. Volunteers staff the phones, community members join radio staffers on the mics and listeners call in with their pledges. Food is always available from restaurant businesses that support the station. Restaurants definitely appreciate the concept of community. There is a real physical reason to rally together. If you are in driving distance of the station (738 Kaheka St. Honolulu), you should stop by during this 10 day pledge drive and experience the buzz. We have 5 more days to go and my sense is that the goal will be reached on Friday 10/23. Being there when that happens makes it all worth struggling for.

Wayfinder Series

Hawaii has many inspiring individuals and I consider myself fortunate when I get to meet some of them. The first thing I think of is whether there is a technology angle so I can get them on Bytemarks Cafe. But to be honest as much as I enjoy doing the radio show, sitting behind a mic and headphones separates me from the live interaction with others I enjoy. So I came up with this idea of bringing speakers into the Atherton Studio at Hawaii Public Radio and have them interact with a live audience. The series starts on Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 6:30pm with Nainoa Thompson, who was instrumental in helping to revive the art and tradition of Polynesian voyaging. He is the Executive Director of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and since 1976, played an integral part in the design, construction, sailing, and navigation of the Hawai‘i Maritime Center’s double-hulled voyaging canoe, Hokule‘a. To get a chance to hear the stories and the lessons learned from this man is once in a lifetime. On Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 6:30pm, James Koshiba, Executive Director of Kanu Hawaii will join us in the Atherton to talk about Island Values, Kuleana, and Island-Style Activism. As concerned citizens of Hawaii, what concerns us about Hawaii's future and what can we do about it? Through the efforts of Kanu Hawaii a grassroots movement is gaining momentum to make a difference. This initial three-part series will conclude on September 17, 2009 at 6:30pm with Paul Zorner. He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Hawaii BioEnergy in Honolulu, a company focused on providing energy security, renewable materials, creating a carbon neutral environment and creating local jobs within this new green economy. His integrated land use vision can fuel and feed Hawaii. The series is free but space is limited to about 70 people in the Atherton. Be sure to call in your reservation to (808) 955-8821. It is sure to be an evening of thought provoking ideas and reasons to get involved. I hope to see you all there.

Digital Imagery Exhibit

I just got word of an upcoming show called Digital Imagery in Hawaii 2009 featuring local photographers. The show is juried by David Ulrich and Jerry Omo, Jr. and will be held at the Canon Gallery, 210 Ward Avenue, Suite 701. The exhibition is sponsored by Pacific New Media and is designed to provide a snapshot of the "state of the art" of digital media in Hawaii. According to the requirements, you must have taken the image digitally; i.e., cell phone, digital camera, or scanner. Image must have been created within the past two years and not previously exhibited. The show runs from March 2nd to March 31st. The exhibit opening is on Monday, March 2nd from 11am to 2pm. Several friends of mine are in it including Craig Ellenwood, Lisa Hoang (@windwardskies) and Carrie Matsunaga (@oreogirl). It sounds like a cool show and certainly a great way to spend a lunch hour getting lost in the imagery.

Public Radio iPhone App

Now you can stream your favorite Public Radio station where ever you go with your iPhone or iPod Touch. Of course with the iPod Touch you have to be within wifi access to use the Public Radio Tuner. This application just became available on iTunes as a free download. You can scroll through quite an extensive list of public radio stations across the country but of course my fingers stopped on KIPO 89.3FM home of Bytemarks Cafe. Several people have recently told me that in spite of the power increase at KIPO they still cannot catch the station in certain pockets on the Windward side of the island of O`ahu. Well here is the perfect solution. I am listening right now and it sounds so fine! Here's how you can get the Public Radio Tuner app.
From your iPhone or iPod Touch: 1. From your iPhone or iPod Touch, click the App Store icon. 2. From the App Store, click the Search feature. 3. Type "public radio" and click Search. Public Radio Tuner will appear in the search results. 4. Click Public Radio Tuner. A description of the Public Radio Tuner application displays. 5. Click the Free button. It changes to an Install button. 6. Click the Install button. 7. Wait for the Public Radio Tuner application to be installed. 8. Click the Public Radio Tuner icon from the iPhone or iPod Touch Home screen and listen! From the iTunes Store: 1. Go to the App Store section of the iTunes Store. 2. Search for "public radio" and the Public Radio Tuner will appear in the search results. 3. Click the Get App button on the Public Radio Tuner application page. 4. After the application is finished downloading to your computer, sync your iPhone or iPod touch with your iTunes account to add the Public Radio Tuner application to your iPhone. 5. Click the Public Radio Tuner icon from the iPhone or iPod Touch Home screen and listen!

KIPO Power Increase

KIPO Power BoostOn Saturday, Sept. 20th Hawaii Public Radio fired up its new transmitter effectively boosting the power level of KIPO 89.3FM to a whooping 29,000 watts. This power increase has been something in the works since 2005 when the station applied for a power increase with the FCC. Three years later, a new transmitter is installed at Puu Ohia up on Tantalus. On Saturday, the station was getting calls as far away as Kona on the Big Island saying that they could now catch the station signal. My story is less dramatic. I work only a couple blocks down the street and until the power increase was able to only get the signal mixed in with a lot of noise. Now it comes in loud and clear. The photo is of Michael Titterton announcing the cutover live over the air. There was what seemed like an extremely long period of static as the transmitter at Palehua was switch over. Once completed everyone gave a sigh of relief. Bytemarks Cafe, as the new kids on the block benefited from the years of work to get to this point. We're 8 weeks into our show and already beaming across the state. Life is good!

Bytemarks Cafe

I just got word this past week that I'll be doing a weekly radio show on KIPO-FM 89.3, one of the Hawaii Public Radio stations here in Honolulu. Of course the show will be called Bytemarks Cafe and will be about tech and the Internet, mainly oriented around the people doing cool and interesting things in our community. It'll be a magazine format with news bytes, interviews, cool websites and an audio pick of the week. I am always on the hunt for information like this so if you have any suggestions please send them by way. Over the next few weeks I will put up a blog and wiki for feedback but you can also contact me directly at bytemarks [at] gmail (.) com or Twitter me at Bytemarks. The air date for the show will be this coming July which gives me a little time to gather my resources and develop a format. I am totally excited about this opportunity. I've always had this love affair with radio dating back to my days at Stanford when I did a radio show there. Believe it or not, I know a couple of people (not including myself) who've actually heard that show. Another interesting side note, it'll be 10 years, this year since Bytemarks debuted in the Honolulu Advertiser as a tech/Internet column. Anyway, more details to follow. In the meantime, if you've got any show ideas, please let me know. You know me, I am game for almost anything.