iPhone and Ham Radio

Over the holidays, I upgraded from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4S.  It’s got quite a bit more horsepower, capability and…Siri. 

In case you don’t know, Siri is a “personal assistant” that will carry out commands via your voice.  For example, if I want to send a text message to my son, I can type it ”the old fashioned way” with the keyboard.  Or I can activate Siri and say “Send text message to my son”.  She’ll ask what to include in the message….I tell her…and away it goes into the ether.

Today, I asked Siri to check my stocks…which she did promptly and pulled back a stock report. I asked her about the weather forecast and she told me it “didn’t look too good”…and then offered the specifics (snow and sub-freezing temps expected).

You simply push a button, speak to Siri and she opens apps, send tweets, read “text to voice” messages, etc.  She’ll set reminders for you and drop them onto your calendar.   (I used it earlier this evening to remind me when to take a loaf of bread out of the oven!)  She’ll even go to the Internet and do a search on a topic for you and bring back relevant info.  It’s really quite fascinating.

It reminds me of Star Trek’s Mr. Spock and his “science computer”.   Mr. Spock, attempting to solve a complex life or death issue about the USS Enterprise always seemed to find the answer in the science computer.  And all he did was flip a switch and ask the question.  The computer acknowledged and quickly found the answer.  

This voice recognition technology makes me wonder how much longer until it can be incorporated into amateur radio .  What a great feature for any ham…but especially handicapped or blind hams… to be able to speak to the rig and have it respond with changes in frequency, mode, volume, filters, etc.     It would be a great tool for filling out QSLs or uploading to LOTW.  Perhaps “Siri” could help monitor the DX cluster and let you know when a “new one” is being spotted.   Maybe second, third or fourth generation Siri can help me work the DX station’s pileups or remind me that “HE’S LISTENING UP!” 

Bluetooth techology has been around for several years, yet I don’t think many – if any – new transceivers include bluetooth connectivity.  ( Do you know of one?  If so, leave a comment with the make/model below.) Bluetooth is a natural for mobile or handheld use, but I don’t know of any rigs or HTs with this feature.  Even for home use, the elimination of audio or headphone cabling would be welcome on many ham radio desks.

I’m hoping that the manufacturers are more quick to adopt new technologies like the “personal assistant”  in 2013. Have a great New Year’s celebration!

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