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04 September 2011

ZS1I Twitter account is set to provide the latest interesting Amateur Radio News in South Africa


The ZS1I Twitter Account has come alive with the latest and interesting amateur radio news tweets in South Africa!

Twitter and Tweets in Amateur Radio? 

Everyone has heard about Twitter but not all radio amateurs know what it can do. Twitter is a microblogging platform, that allow to broadcast a tweet, a short message of 140 characters to share an information. The platform has proved useful for example during major events, such as disasters  or other world events

For Amateur radio, the "tool" can also help to develop new practices and uses.

Some twitter uses in Amateur Radio:
  •  Follow in real time amateur radio news;
  •  Subscribe to alert services from DX Cluster;
  •  Share photos, videos and live impressions during a contest, an activation etc;
  •  Tell your friends (followers) your geographical position and send a signal online to indicate his activity on air, in real time;
  • Relaying weather alerts, disaster and emergency messages, support;
  • Follow other amateur radio Twitter users;
  • Send APRS messages via Twitter and send Twitter messages via APRS;
  • I can think of many more uses, too many to mention here:
Feel free to share comments about other ideas to use Twitter for amateurs radio.

Which equipment is required for a twitter amateur radio operator?


In terms of equipment, a computer of course, but also a smartphone, a phone with a camera and an internet connection and  a GPS (optional) to indicate your geographical position during portable radio activity. Other  equipment include amateur radio transceiver with antennas.

How to register on Twitter?


Visit the registration page at: http://twitter.com/signup
Choose your username, use your CALLSIGN in capital letters for easy identification, this will also allow you to have a URL like http://twitter.com/CALLSIGN

My Twitter URL: http://twitter.com/#!/ZS1I

The first steps on Twitter


A little bit like the amateur radio Q codes, there is also a Twitter code with a new language, culture, hash tags, behavior, etc. To become familiar with the Twitter way of life, you should start by LISTEN, like with amateur radio. You will initially have to add people to follow. Their tweets will then appear on your wall in real time.
To quickly find amateur radio tweets, go to my list of amateur radio on Twitter : http://twitter.com/#!/
There are also directories of profiles such as We Follow and http://wefollow.com/twitter/hamradio

How to write a message?


A tweet is a message up to 140 characters which requires to be concise. It may contain a link, however, given the small size of a tweet, it is recommended to use a URL shortener such as http://bit.ly/. You paste the long URL to share and get a short link to copy in a tweet. Some software automatically include this feature.
It’s also recommended, during events or to indicate topic of conversation, to use hashtag #keyword, and allows to specify the name of a former event, ex. : #vhf-contest or #hamradio.
A tweet can be forward by you or a follower in  Twitter, we call this action ReTweet a message and add RT to mention it. The RT code is very similar to the QSP radio code.

Software for Twitter and Tweeter?


Besides using Twitter from the website, it’s often more convenient to use it with a software on your PC or mobile phone (Iphone, Smartphone).
TweetDeck : both web and mobile version of TweetDeck can manage multiple accounts simultaneously,  categorize tweets, shorten URL's and include Facebook, Linkedin, Myspace, Foursquare, and Buzz twitter.
Another software is  Echofon http://www.echofon.com/

Applications for Twitter


Many tools and applications are being developed around Twitter.  Here is a selection of applications for Twitter:

- TwitterFeed To synchronize RSS feed from our blog to your Twitter account.
- Social oomph A comprehensive suite of tools to optimize management of its Twitter account.
- Hootsuite comprehensive dashboards to manage multiple accounts with multiple people.
- Trends map / Interactive map to see keywords by geographic area.
- Twitpic To share photos and TwitVid for video on Twitter.
- Paper.li To create a daily newspaper based on the activity of your account and your friends. 
- Tweetbeep to create email alerts for keywords and topics, hashtag.
- TwitterCounter / Provides a set of graphs and statistics of one or more accounts twitter.
- Ustream.tv / To live stream live video from the web and an iPhone or smartphone
- Bulk: Tweetmeme , Twitoaster /

In the next few weeks I will feed interesting news and images about amateur radio to the ZS1I Twitter account.  If you want to stay ahead in what is happening in the world of Amateur Radio then follow ZS1I on Twitter


Follow me at : @ZS1I