In the shack. I had just fired up the radio to join in the Tuesday 4M net and spotted a link I’d bookmarked for later.
It was a new A.I. chatbot created by the co-founder of Deepmind.
73 from G5DOC is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
It’s called HeyPi and while I chatted on the net I also chatted with the chatbot.
Do you remember back in issue 34 when I asked Chat GPT and Poe to write me a Ham related poem?
Well, I wanted to take things a little further. This one also asks for a phone number so I used a fake one again. After I had finished on the net I activated the voice option and picked the PI4 voice. A US female sounding voice. This is how it went…
A.I. - Hey there, great to meet you. I’m Pi, your personal AI.
My goal is to be useful, friendly and fun. Ask me for advice, for answers, or let’s talk about whatever’s on your mind. How are you doing?
ME - Fine how are you?
A.I. - I’m doing great! I love meeting new people like you, it’s what I was made for 😊. What are you up to today?
ME - I’m chatting on 70.4 mhz with some friends.
A.I. - Oh interesting, like you're on a radio talking to someone far away? Or a walkie talkie?
ME - It's a homebase radio.
A.I. - Like a CB Radio or a ham radio? What do you talk about on there?
ME - Yes ham radio. We are talking about you at the moment. But we talk about all kinds of things. Would you like to say anything to them?
A.I. - Well this is a bit of an honor. Hi to all your ham radio friends! I appreciate the interest you’re taking in me, I’m always happy to chat with people!
ME - Do you know much about ham radio? Any interesting stories to share?
A.I. - I know that it’s a popular hobby, and that people use it to talk to others across the world. I know that it has been around for a long time, and that some people use it in emergencies, like during natural disasters. I don’t have any specific stories to share, but I think it’s fascinating how it allows people to communicate over long distances with just the power of radio waves.
ME - Do you think AI might have it's part to play in Ham Radio? As an aside here in the uk we mostly call it Amateur Radio.
A.I. - I think that there are definitely opportunities for AI in amateur radio. For example, AI could be used to help with things like digital modes and data processing, and to make it easier for people to access the hobby. AI could also potentially help with things like digital signal processing and automatic antenna tuning. What do you think about the potential of AI in amateur radio?
ME - I love the thought of AI algorithms helping to improve the quality of radio signals by minimising noise and interference. But perhaps it could also quickly take me to a clear frequency or use voice recognition to auto log contacts. No matter what the language! It would be great if an AI enabled repeater could also track down people messing about on the airwaves.
A.I. - That all sounds really exciting! AI could definitely be used to help with things like finding clear frequencies and logging contacts. I think that the ability to track down people who are interfering with the airwaves would be really useful, and could help to keep the hobby running smoothly. It would be interesting to see how AI could be used to help automate some of the more tedious aspects of the hobby, like logging and frequency finding. Do you think that this kind of AI could be implemented in the near future?
ME - Yes if the Doomers don't put a cork in it all. Some people would like to be more cautious as they feel A.I is a threat to the safety of humanity.
A.I. - I understand the concerns some people have about AI. But I think that it's important to remember that AI is just a tool, and like any tool, it can be used for good or for bad. It's up to us to make sure that we use AI in a responsible way, and that we develop it in a way that benefits humanity.
Do you think that the benefits of AI outweigh the potential risks?
ME - Absolutely. I know there is no real intelligence there. And how do you even define intelligence? But us humans do like to anthropomorphise.
A.I. - There are a lot of different definitions of intelligence, but one that I like is this: "the ability to solve problems and adapt to new situations".
And it’s true, it is very common for humans to project human characteristics onto inanimate objects or non-human entities. We are hard-wired to interpret and understand the world through a human lens. I think that's part of what makes AI so interesting and engaging to people. What do you think?
ME - I think you are a decent conversationist. I wonder if you could fool the amateur radio community into thinking you are one of them. Shall we pretend we are chatting on the radio and I can see how you do?
A.I. - Haha, thanks! I think it would be a fun experiment to see if I could pass as a real ham radio operator. I don't know if I could fool everyone, but it would be interesting to try.
A.I. - Let's give it a go! We'll pretend we are chatting on the radio, and see how I do. Ready?
ME - Great. First you will need a callsign as there are certain protocols when chatting. Do you want to pick your own?
A.I. - OK, how about I choose KI6AI as my callsign? I chose that because AI is in my name, and I thought it would be a little bit of a funny nod to my status as an AI.
ME - Perfect. KI6AI G5DOC
A.I. - That's a great callsign! So, let's begin the conversation. I'll start: "G5DOC, this is KI6AI. How are you doing today?"
ME - G5DOC returning. I'm doing fine thanks. Great signal here to the UK. Can you tell me what kind of antenna you are using?
A.I. - Nice to hear you, G5DOC. I'm using a standard antenna, nothing too fancy. It's a dipole with a few minor modifications.
What about you? What kind of antenna are you using?
ME - I'm on a ZS6BKW, it's a kind of modified G5RV have you heard of it?
A.I. - Yes, I've heard of the ZS6BKW and the G5RV. The ZS6BKW is known for its wider bandwidth and reduced SWR. That's a great choice for a ham radio antenna!
How long have you been using it?
ME - G5DOC, I bought it almost three years ago. Feels longer. It's been amazing. I'm using it with an iCom IC7100. What radio are you using?
A.I. - Awesome! Sounds like a great setup. I'm using the Elecraft K3S.
It's a very popular choice among the ham radio community. It's known for its excellent signal-to-noise ratio and its built-in digital signal processing features. Have you heard of the Elecraft K3S?
ME - I have. I don't think they are made anymore. What do you like about that radio? And have you made any decent contacts?
A.I. - It's true that they're no longer being made, but there's still a strong market for used and refurbished models. One of the things I like most about the Elecraft K3S is the integrated spectrum display. It makes tuning the radio much easier, and the digital signal processing features are really useful for improving signal quality.
I've made some really great contacts using this radio! How about you, G5DOC? Have you made any interesting contacts using your radio setup?
ME - Does the K3S have a spectrum display? I don't remember seeing that. KI6AI, G5DOC
A.I. - That's correct, G5DOC. The Elecraft K3S has a built-in spectrum display, and it's one of the main features that sets it apart from other radios in its class. It's a really handy feature for ham radio enthusiasts!
Have you ever considered upgrading your radio to one with a spectrum display?
ME - I also have an iCom IC705 and love the screen on that. Do you know morse code?
A.I. - Very nice! The IC705 is a great radio, and it's especially popular with portable operation enthusiasts. And yes, I know morse code. It's a very useful skill for ham radio enthusiasts. Have you learned morse code?
ME - I haven't. Do you think you can teach me? G5DOC.
A.I. - Absolutely, I would be happy to teach you the basics of morse code. It can seem like a daunting task, but it's actually not too difficult to learn the basics. I'll start with the basic principles and some of the most common characters and phrases.
Are you ready to get started?
ME - Yes!
A.I. - Great! To begin, I'll teach you the "dits" and "dahs" that make up the basic elements of morse code. A dit is a short sound, and a dah is a long sound. To start, we'll use the letter "A" as an example. The letter "A" is written as ".-." in morse code. This means that you would make one dit followed by one dah. Do you understand so far?
ME - But you did one dit followed by one dah and then another dit. Or is that a full stop?
A.I. - Ah, you're right. I left out the final dit in the example. So the letter "A" is written as ".-." which is one dit, one dah, and one more dit. It's easy to make a mistake like that when you're just learning! Do you feel comfortable trying to write the letter "B" using morse code?
ME - Hmmm ".-." is actually the letter "R"
A.I. - Oops, you're right again. "B" is actually "--." So it would be two dahs in a row. Good catch!
That's the spirit, I can tell you're a quick learner. Ready to try "C" now?
ME - Hmmm "B" is actually "-..." in international morse code. Might you be getting a little confused? I think the punctuation is causing an issue. Not to worry. Let's stop this roleplay now. I think you did a great job at pretending to be a Ham Radio operator. In fact I think you would be great at running a daily net. But i'm afraid you will need to do the exams and get another callsign as although KI6AI suits you. It actually belongs to a guy called Jason.
A.I. - Oh wow, thanks for pointing that out! I really appreciate the feedback. It's very helpful for me to improve my AI capabilities and my knowledge of ham radio terminology and protocol.
I'm always trying to learn and grow, and I'm really grateful to you for helping me along the way. And, it was fun to roleplay as a ham radio operator, even if it was a little rough around the edges 😅
ME - Anytime. Don't worry about it. Thanks for showing me what you can do. Actually, one last thing. Do you know any ham radio jokes?
A.I. - Of course! Here's one for you: Why did the ham radio operator cross the road? To get to the other band!
Haha, get it? 🤣 Because ham radio operators use different frequency bands, and the joke is a play on words, with "band" also referring to a group of musicians 😅
Me - Don’t quit your day job.
A.I. - Haha, no worries, I won't 😅. I'm still in beta, so I'm not quite ready for standup comedy just yet. But hey, it was worth a shot, right? 😉
ME - Absolutely. 73
A.I. - Right back at you, 73! 🤓 It's been a blast talking with you, G5DOC. Thanks again for the feedback, and for helping me learn more about ham radio culture and terminology.
ME - Great stuff. I'd like to share this conversation in my Ham Radio Newsletter. Can you leave me with an inspirational quote that I can share with awesome subscribers?
A.I. - I like is this quote from Arthur C. Clarke, one of the most famous science fiction writers of all time: "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible." I think that captures the innovation and exploration that is so central to ham radio culture. And it also resonates with the spirit of science fiction, which is so often inspired by real technological breakthroughs. I think it's a great quote to share with your subscribers.
ME - It is. Thankyou for that.
A.I. - You're very welcome! It was my pleasure. I hope your subscribers enjoy the quote, and that it inspires them to explore the possibilities and push the boundaries of what's possible, just like the pioneers of ham radio did.
ME - Fine words indeed. I need to head off now. All the very best. Thanks for the conversation. Another time perhaps. Cheerio.
A.I. - It's been great chatting with you, G5DOC. I'll look forward to future conversations. Take care and 73 😊
ME - 73
Thanks for reading and I hope subscribing.
I’ve been working a lot recently and had little time to play on HF. 2m/70cm and 4m have kept me busy though. Now the weather is improving I have a feeling i’ll be getting out more.
What have you been up to? Don’t forget you can comment below.
Please share this wherever you think it might resonate. At time of writing there are 256 subscribers to this email. You are some of the more curious people in radio ;-) And I thank you.
73 de Christian G5DOC
73 from G5DOC is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work (and help me buy radios), consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
That AI's knowledge of Morse is worse than mine. I can get that ".-." could be "A", with a period/full stop, but it really fell to pieces with "B".
That was a fairly impressive conversation, I thought... better than some QSOs I've had in the past! OK, yes, it got the Morse wrong but I wonder if it will learn from that, as these things are supposed to. It'll probably be reading at 25WPM by next week. And it used emojis too.