So was there ever a ‘lightbulb moment’ that kicked-off my interest in engineering? Well, sort of. My lightbulb moment also involved a battery and some connecting wires. Then when I was about 11 I made a regenerative radio receiver project with my uncle. Although we never got it working, this did not put me off building more electronic circuits, and sparked an interest in radio that I still have today. The next step was getting an amateur radio (transmitting) licence. However, having written to the (UK) Home Office, I was gutted to find out that I needed to be at least 14 years of age to hold a licence. To make things worse, I would also have to pass two technical exams! In case you were wondering, yes, I did eventually get my “ticket” in my late teens.
You will be relieved to hear that future posts will not be me harking back to ‘the good old days’. I think we are currently in a golden age for electronic engineering. Fairly recent advances in microcontrollers, programmable logic and manufacturing technology have led to the development of exciting products of ever increasing sophistication, smaller size and lower cost. Much of this technology has become available to the amateur experimenter, along with open source CAD software and cheap 3D printers. Hobby electronics seems to be enjoying a bit of a renaissance, albeit rebranded as “hacking” or the “maker culture”.
Look out for future posts on electronics, radio and STEM education.
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