What kind of programs are
The source-code language of G4FGQ
programs is Turbo Pascal. Unlike BASIC and various spreadsheet calculators,
when compiled into a stand-alone program, as they all are, the Pascal source
text is inaccessible and cannot be modified. Programs can be run only as the
author intended. Integrity and authenticity are preserved.
Subject matters are technical and are
necessarily dealt with quantitatively. At the heart of each program is a set of
mathematical functions and procedures. Properties of the 'parts' used to
construct the model are stored within the program. Other procedures accept from
the experimenter the details specifying the model. The program then proceeds
with its analysis and its conclusions are displayed. Advice or warnings may be
given to the experimenter as appropriate.
Entry of numerical input data obliges
the experimenter to clearly visualise the system modelled and approach it
logically. He will learn to ask himself the right questions. The relative
importance of the various factors affecting behaviour of the system will be
better appreciated. This conforms with one of the purposes of amateur radio
activities: self-teaching in the art of radio communication.
But before the amateur who takes pride
in being purely practical and ignorant of theoretical matters now leaves, don't
go, these programs have been written with you in mind.
To use these programs you need no more
than the ability to estimate the number of rolls of wallpaper required to
decorate your shack. That's not maths - it's only arithmetic. Authors of
articles published in radio magazines often confuse these
Programs are intended to relieve the
user of the labour and tedium not only of mathematics but of arithmetic too.
But the quantitative visualisation of a model cannot be
If you have not yet mastered the sizes
of enamelled copper wire in terms of milli-metres and still work in 'thou of an
inch', or 'mils' you will be at a slight disadvantage - all the programs are in
metric units. But down-load a program anyway and let me know how you get on
with it. You'll be back.
Actually, most of my programs are more
than 10 years old. Most of the basic research had been done and the
mathematical procedures had been developed by then. Recent work has been to
extend their range of application, to combine related subjects into single
programs, to generally tidy up loose ends, and to make programs presentable and
At present, several more are in their
final testing stages, being cross-checked for mathematical inconsistencies,
bugs, etc. More effort is spent on later quality-control than on producing the
first useable version of a program.
It's good practice to put a supposedly
finished program on the shelf for a month or so, allow one's mind to forget it,
concentrate on something else such as producing this web site, even spending
some time on the 'bands'. It is surprising how previously unnoticed defects
then become obvious. However, these discoveries do not improve one's
self-confidence - how many other hidden boobs remain?
Until recently I have never actually
finished a computer program. The self discipline of saying "It's done. Date it.
Archive it. Make it available on the Net" has not come easily.