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[aprssig] Igateing a Non Amateur

scott at opentrac.org scott at opentrac.org
Sun Oct 2 06:19:52 UTC 2005

Tell that to Kenwood and Icom!

I've made a point of trying to be true to the spirit of amateur radio with
my projects.  You can build your own OpenTracker without ever paying me a
dime, and make all the modifications to it you want.  The source code is
freely available, and reasonably well documented.  Same with the schematics.
I'll even ship you a free PCB in exchange for a postcard.  I grew up
scavenging parts with my friends to build circuits out of magazines,
building fox hunt transmitters and CW ID'ers from publicly available
designs, and it's very important to me to maintain that tradition.

On the other hand, there's a considerable investment of time and money
involved.  Last month I spent the equivalent of my entire monthly salary on
parts and overhead.  And I'm a systems analyst, not a burger flipper.  A
fair amount of that goes to development of new projects, covering
components, prototypes, tooling and setup fees, and so on.  I'm investing a
lot, with a fair amount of risk, to be able to offer cool toys to the ham

Things get even more difficult when we're talking about intellectual
property, especially software.  Developing complex software requires huge
amounts of time to do properly.  Just because it's virtually free to
distribute software doesn't mean that the people who produce it don't have a
right to ask for compensation for their work.

And there are plenty of open source projects like Xastir that ARE free.
There are many people willing to contribute to this kind of project out of
altruism, but you can count on the almighty buck being a much more reliable
motivator when it comes to devoting countless hours to designing, building,
and debugging a product.

Scott, N1VG

> I can fully support bringing in money to support a service as 
> with the FINDU service, but I throught that making money as 
> in a profit, was not in the letter or the spirit of the 
> amateur radio service.

> > Ham radio is not just about sharing ideas. It is also about 
> providing
> > service and making money, among hundreds of other things. 
> People have
> > rights to their intellectual property just as they have rights to
> > their physical property, and that includes the right to do with that

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