At thebigword, we take pride in our employees and the activities they take on outside of the work place. From interesting hobbies such as travelling and writing to raising money for charity, we are proud to have so much diversity and passion in our community of over 600 employees. Research has proved that hobbies and interests outside of work not only refresh the mind, but also help with performance in the workplace.

The beginning of a new hobby

From a young age, I’ve always taken an interest in technology. From my first transistor radio that my grandparents bought for me, listening to far off radio stations and news broadcasts on Long Wave and Medium Wave in the mid 1970’s. I always paid close attention to how radio works and how electronics pull it together.

When I was 15, I joined the local amateur radio club and began studying to get my amateur radio licence. When I left school aged 16, I took this as a more serious involvement. I managed to enrol on an electronics and communications college course and took my amateur radio exam whilst I was at college.

What is amateur radio?

Amateur radio is classed as a service. When there are national events that need coordinated communications, such as mass casualty, extreme weather and rescue events, we are there to help. I like to help and mentor amateur radio mates. I have over 8000 members in one of the software groups that I run on Facebook!

I’m mainly interested in the more technically challenging stuff, for example, Very High Frequency Ultra High Frequency bands. I’ve recently being practicing a radio signals tactic called Earth Moon Earth (EME) which requires a lot of planning (and luck!), and so far, I’ve managed to communicate with the USA and Russia by bouncing radio signals off the moon. One day I hope to reach someone in Japan!

We also do competitions, where radio clubs go to the top of hill sites or other premium locations – the competition being to make the most contacts and furthest distance contacts in a set time frame. It may be a couple of hours, 24 hours, or 2 days! I’ve been lucky to be part of teams that have won a few of the UK based competitions.

I have my own radio shack, where I build electronics circuits, modify equipment and do any repairs that I need.  On most weekends, I spend a few hours in the radio shack, building something or trying to make improvements to the equipment.   I have a reasonable collection of electronics test equipment, so I can troubleshoot and repair things when they break.      

Radio and travelling

Through amateur radio, I’ve gained friends all over the world. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to travel and meet some of our friends in the USA – we go to a large convention in Florida. I’ve even given a talk about amateur radio to the guys at the Disney Emergency Amateur Radio Club (D.E.A.R.S) in Orlando!

Performance in the work place

My hobby gives me an opportunity to communicate socially with people from many different cultures. This definitely helps me at work as it gives me a thorough understanding of different cultural attitudes when resolving technical issues.

Robin Moseley – Support Analyst