Text Document

Tuning In: Challenging Design for Communities through a Field Study of Radio Amateurs

Fulltext URI

Document type


Additional Information



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Springer London, Dordrecht Amsterdam


This paper reports a field study of radio amateurs. It details their communicative practices, interests and technologies. Radio amateurs are taken as a perspicuous in-stance of an amateur and voluntary community with the aim of informing ITC design for communities. We characterise radio amateurs as being essentially motivated by the challenges of radio propagation, of understanding it and taking advantage of it for communicative purposes. The challenges of being a radio amateur are life-long, detailed, diverse and seemingly inexhaustible. Far from being an obstacle to the formation of an enduring community, these features enable it to thrive. Based on these observations, we propose that design for communities should recognise the core challenges and contingencies addressed by that community and engage in design practices which themselves are rich in challenge.


Bogdan, Christian; Bowers, John (2007): Tuning In: Challenging Design for Communities through a Field Study of Radio Amateurs. Communities and Technologies 2007: Proceedings of the Third Communities and Technologies Conference. DOI: 31.1007/978-1-84628-905-7. Springer London, Dordrecht Amsterdam. ISBN: 978-1-4471-6239-1. pp. 439-461. Full Papers. Michigan State University, USA