Disquiet Junto Project 0577: Make That Money Shaker

The Assignment: Make a simple instrument and put it to use.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto music community, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. (A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required.) There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, January 23, 2023, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 19, 2023.

Tracks are added to the SoundCloud playlist for the duration of the project. Additional (non-SoundCloud) tracks appear in the llllllll.co discussion thread.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0577: Make That Money Shaker

The Assignment: Make a simple instrument and put it to use.

Major thanks to Jason Wehmhoener for having proposed this project.

Step 1: Improvise a shaker — that is, make a simple instrument that emits sound due to shaking.

Step 2: Improvise with the shaker you made in Step 1. Use lots of syncopation

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0577” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your tracks.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0577” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation of a project playlist.

Step 3: Upload your tracks. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your tracks.

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co: 

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0577-make-that-money-shaker/

Step 5: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 6: If posting on social media, please consider using the hashtag #DisquietJunto so fellow participants are more likely to locate your communication.

Step 7: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Step 8: Also join in the discussion on the Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to [email protected] for Slack inclusion.

Note: Please post one track for this weekly Junto project. If you choose to post more than one, and do so on SoundCloud, please let me know which you’d like added to the playlist. Thanks.

Additional Details:

Length: The length is up to you. No wrists should be harmed in the making inspired by this project.

Deadline: Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, January 23, 2023, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 19, 2023.

Upload: When participating in this project, be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: It is always best to set your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

For context, when posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 577th weekly Disquiet Junto project, Make That Money Shaker (The Assignment: Make a simple instrument and put it to use), at: https://disquiet.com/0577/

Major thanks to Jason Wehmhoener for having proposed this project.

More on the Disquiet Junto at: https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here: https://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0577-make-that-money-shaker/

Ham Radio’s Paper Trail

A new book from Standard Manual

Ham, or amateur, radio may quietly circumnavigate the ether but it has tangible components as well. There are the radios themselves. There are also QSL cards, which are sort of like business cards for individual ham operators — or more to the point, for their call signs. 

This is a QSL card from Italy
Pen Pal: Where better to begin than with a card from the home country of radio innovator Guglielmo Marconi?

A trove of more than 150 such QSL cards, formerly owned by an operator who went by the call sign W2RP, was obtained by designer Roger Bova. Bova then collaborated with the book imprint Standards Manual (full disclosure: I’ve done some work with the publisher’s parent company, the design firm Order) to collect them into a handsome volume. I’m reprinting some of the images here, with the publisher’s permission.

This is a Byelorussian QSL card, reproduced in the book.
Red Hot: A Byelorussian card reproduced in the book

W2RP, as it turns out, was no ordinary “amateur.” W2RP was the late Charles Hellman, who lived to the age of 106. The cards obtained by Bova are both a visual map and a physical manifestation of the numerous conversations he participated in over what is said to have likely been the longest continuously active ham license, more than 90 years. Hellman first obtained his license at the age of 15. Some historical context: he was born in 1910, one year after the Nobel Prize in Physics went to Guglielmo Marconi and Karl Ferdinand Braun for their pioneering work in radio. Hellman himself taught physics in Manhattan and the Bronx, and two of his students reportedly went on to win the Nobel in physics. (More on his remarkable life at qcwa.org.)

This shows a page from the book with a Ukrainian card, each bit of information highlighted to explain how the cards contain and express data.
Between the Lines: The book details how to interpret the standard information on QSL cards.

The letters QSL, as they relate to ham radio, don’t stand for anything, not in the sense that an acronym might. As I understand it, QSL is one of many three-letter Q-codes, all beginning with Q, used in radio to transmit information in a succinct fashion. “QAK” means “Is there any risk of collision?” while “QAU” means “Where may I jettison fuel?” Many involve urgent matters. “QSE” means “What is the estimated drift of the survival craft?” and “QTW” translates, ominously, as “What is the condition of survivors?” Others, given how old this form of communication is, are less currently useful. “QTC,” for example, means “How many telegrams have you to send?” 

A card from Poland in the book.

The more I read about Q-codes, the more I wondered about two things: 

First, why don’t people who make websites make cards for them?

Second, why haven’t any of these codes caught 🔥 in social media. I, for one, am going to try to make “QRI” (“How is the tone of my transmission?”) and “QRL” (“Are you busy?”) happen. I look forward to Bandcamp musicians adopting “QOI” (“Shall I send my tape?”). “QRH” and “QRN” are less likely to catch on; they mean, respectively, “What is your wavelength in meters?” and “Are the atmospherics strong?” (And to be clear, the codes aren’t just questions. They can also connote a response, depending on how they’re employed.)

A German card — with a little raccoon — from the book

As for QSL, the Q-code in question: it stands for “Can you acknowledge receipt?” A QSL is, it’s important to appreciate, more than a business card. You send it by mail to the person with whom you’ve communicated. It’s like a personalized receipt for a conversation. This time-honored convention explains the personal notes and markings on the many cards in Hellman’s collection. 

A card from, I believe, France

Now, I’m sure I’ve muddled some of the information I’ve shared here, so if you’re a ham operator, don’t hesitate to school me; I’m here to learn. And if you have some cool QSL cards yourself, please send me some pictures, and (with your permission) I’ll post them in a future edition of This Week in Sound. 

A card from England

More on the book, QSL? (Do You Confirm Receipt of My Transmission?), at standardsmanual.com. (And it’s worth mentioning that a search for “qsl card” on eBay yields nearly 100,000 returns.)