During last year's fall season, VE7CA (Markus), VE7BDQ (John) and myself were getting prepared to venture into the nanowave world....that part of the electromagnetic spectrum that lightwaves of various wavelengths call home.
Over the course of
many months, I had become intrigued by the lightwave experimentation being done
by amateurs in the UK and particularly those being done by Roger, G3XBM. Like
many of the UK builders, Roger had been building and testing simple low-power
LED lightwave transmitters along with simple receiving systems. It was
fascinating to follow his progress thanks to his daily blog (read his '481tHz' optical postings here) which documented every detail...both failures and
successes. Even though not amateur radio per-se, to me it represented the best
of what is so wonderful about our hobby and experimental homebrewing in
particular. Unknowingly, Roger had me hooked and eventually I started to
seriously contemplate building a lightwave system.
What finally pushed me
over the building-brink was an amazing series of articles by Stuart Wisher
(G8CYW) published in Radcom magazine and now available for download on
Yahoo's "UK Nanowave Group". This four-part series was full of ideas,
schematics and inspiration. I would challenge any homebrewer to read them
without wanting to start building almost immediately! The group itself is an
excellent source of circuits and up-to-date information regarding the latest
activity amongst the UK amateur 'nanowavers'.
Now.... just having a lightwave
system would not be much fun without having someone else to talk to. My first
challenge was to find someone, preferably another ham, with whom I might be able
to communicate once I had a system built and....they would need to be a
homebrewer as well since none of this stuff was available 'off the shelf '. I
contacted Markus (VE7CA), a very skilled homebrewer and sent him the
series of Radcom lightwave articles. I did the same with John (VE7BDQ), another
ardent builder and the main motivator (although he never knew it at the
time) in me becoming hooked on ham radio as an early teenager. Both
immediately called 'all-in'....our nanowave project was off and running!