Radio Shack Electronic Kits



Sooner or later, one would hope that that kid in the mall would like to see beyond the "magic" and have a sit-down chat with the man behind the curtain. The Internet, cell phones, etc. ARE very cool, but if one can start to understand the technology behind them, hopefully they'll also understand why something like HF radio, simple AM/FM receivers, etc. can be cool as well.
There was an article in some IEEE magazine not too long ago where the author was lamenting the fact that not only are things like digital radio and video very complicated to understand in the first place, but in nearly all cases today the details of their formatting/modulation/etc. are purposely obfuscated and the content itself encrypted, so pretty soon it's going to be pretty much impossible for a motivated youngster to build a contemporary radio receiver even if he or she did have access to the appropriate hardware. A good example would be something like IBOC -- something like GNU Radio is inexpensive (i.e., something a youngster could reasonably obtain access to), yet there's no way to demodulate it since the standard behind it is proprietary. :-( This despite the fact that it's being broadcast on the "public" FM frequencies...
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    --Ya know, now that I think about it there's one other component to the puzzle that also seems to be lacking these days. When I was a kid and getting interested in these subjects there were science clubs that met on saturdays; I'd go there and meet like minded kids and fiddle on this and that, with some adult guiding our efforts and answering questions. Nowadays we try to do the same thing with the web and it ain't the same.. I believe that if you reeeeally want to get kid's attention with the fun that can be had with electronic kits (or any other kewl pasttime with a future) you've got to set up a social environment, too.
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Whatever happened
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : to Tom Nelson?
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