I have to share a story with you

My love of everything electronics started when I “had” to go visit my grumpy old grandfather on mom’s side, for two weeks when I had just turned 10.

He lived on a lake in SW Colorado during the summers.  It was a nice cabin and about 3 days in, I played out the whole nature thing.  But I had access to a canoe and was told where my grandpa’s wife’s sister lived across the lake.

So, my skinny butt in jean cutoffs and a t-shirt paddled across the lake to meet them.

They had a hot tub! Omg, I was in heaven… 

So i played and played there. And then she came out and asked me what I was interested in and I said.. ‘I dunno, I like taking apart radios and appliances and stuff”.. I had no idea what made them tick so i pulled them apart.

She handed me a towel and told me to dry off, and took me to the ‘basement’…

And it was a glorious sight to behold…

Washed in white fluorescent light were cables, circuits and parts and parts and parts everywhere!

My eyes lit up.  She said she needed to make a phone call as I browsed the cool stuff.

She got off the phone and turned to me and said “My son is an engineer with UpWithPeople.”

I didn’t know what an engineer was, but I listened as she described, roughly, as parents do when they don’t understand what it is “we” do.

And said “He would like you to look over there somewhere, there’s a box and it says “30-in-1 electronics project kit” and to grab it and open it up and read the first paragraph”

And that was it.. I was done… I had my life open before me.

So. Now, today…  

A friend came by and saw my shack for the first time and mentioned their boy who is 12 is super excited about this stuff but doesn’t know where to begin, because of the pandemic etc. and just not having anyone to give him a push in the right direction.

I went to my shelf and pulled out my “200-in-1 Electronics Project Kit” and a blue powered proto board with leds and switches and 7400’s and a bundle of wires and handed them to his parents and said, give him this and tell him “Welcome to the club.”  

I’m waiting to hear how that goes. 

So what that means for us here at GridTracker.org, we are starting a “STEM” initiative, where you can choose to be a mentor and with a gentle hand show new people the world of technology and maybe they will get the “spark”, like you have.

Donation Question

I long time GridTracker user posed a question today on the mailing list. Wanting to know if they could donate again to get some more tokens “poker chips”. To which I replied…

Thank you so much for your early donation, donations from you and people like you kept me going when I thought I was spinning my wheels.

Now that GridTracker the program is officially part of:

GridTracker.org  “An amateur radio community based around free and open source software and services, fostering international goodwill”

We will be accepting donations again, but for now it is suspended pending a business id where we can set up proper accounting and accreditation. 

That said; I have a ‘metric boat load’ of tokens! 

In fact, NR0Q has come up with another cool token of appreciation that is equally, if not more cool than the poker-chips!

We are going to do something with them both.

I’m thinking  ‘Ambassadors of GridTracker’ has a decent ring to it, and I think we’ll do something special therein.

So for now, I don’t think you’ll need to donate again to get tokens, but we’ll create a path so you can get your hands on some!

Stay on frequency!


I received an email from Walt N7BTH who voted ‘No’ on the motto and with his permission I will paraphrase his concerns.

The sentiment your slogan expresses is fine.  It is not that I am a mean person or take issue with that part of the motto. It’s just that I do not want to see Amateur Radio  become polarized by social issues or politics and that is why I voted ‘No’.”

And here is my reply to Walt for you all to see our position on the matter.

I 100% agree.

One of our tenants is to remain absolutely neutral, it is not our place!

The notion of “Do not be mean to others” is not a political statement, purely a childhood lesson that some have as a gift and others need to be taught.

The motto is tucked away neatly at the very bottom of each page on the website, it is not intended to be ‘in your face’ but a subtle reminder of what we as a group stand for. 

In addition to the founding definition of the charter: 

“An amateur radio community based around free and open source software and services, fostering international goodwill”

I heard you Walt and with your permission; if I can post a new blog entry on the site, paraphrasing your concerns then posting this reply that would help others understand too.

After all we are in this together!

Thanks for reaching out to me,

– Stephen ‘Tag’ Loomis / N0TTL

Because we just kicked this off, there are and will be many gaps of information, documentation and policies (including privacy as of utmost concern!) that need to be put in place for all to read and debate. So please, give us a little time to get our ‘ducks in a row’ so to speak. Thank you all!

Poll results

Thank you all for participating in the vote for the new motto.

I think we can clearly see, that it seems like a good start. We can revisit this at any time later.

For those who you who voted “No”, would you be willing to email me directly as to why you said that? I want to understand how we can modify it so it can be a more encompassing set of values. N(zero)[email protected]

fac quaelibet; tu nescis; noli esse vilis

Do you agree that this should be "GridTracker.org" motto?

  • Yes (65%, 135 Votes)
  • I have no opinion (20%, 41 Votes)
  • No (15%, 31 Votes)

Total Voters: 207

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GridTracker.org goes NPO!

I am writing today to announce a couple of things and ask for your input.

I have taken more steps with GridTracker’s future.

GridTracker.org is now officially a non-profit entity, registered in the state of Oregon, USA.

GridTracker the program will be officially designated “Open Source” under the GNU Public License (GPL3) in the next release.

We have many, many interesting, exciting and new things planned so please check back often for updates!

And finally, I have a question to pose to all of you. My family and I have decided on a motto for ourselves and our businesses. I would like to share that motto with “GridTracker.org” and would like you all to vote if it should be the motto (for now) of our newly discovered community.

The Motto: “fac quaelibet; tu nescis; noli esse vilis

Translation: “Do what you want.” “You don’t know!” and “Don’t be mean.

Meaning: “You are free to explore anything that interests you.” , “You don’t know everything, so learn!” and “Don’t be mean to others.