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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

2 Meters and New Techs

Ed Eggert (K3VO) on November 6, 2013
View comments about this article!

The other day our club completed a program to prepare people to get a tech license. Without code not a difficult feat. However, one they pass the exam and get a ticket who are they going to talk to?

I drove cross-country from PA to our new home here in Northern NV and the 2-meter repeaters were all but dead. We have many super repeaters here in Northern NV but they will seldom open your squelch. Now one is going to stay in the hobby with no one to talk to.

Perhaps we should have kept the novice license with 5 wpm code and low power CW rigs. Most of us cut our teeth with a novice license and it was perhaps the most fun we had with the hobby. There was always someone to talk to.

So we better re-think our use of 2 meter repeaters if we wish to retain these new hams.

K3VO

Member Comments:
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2 Meters and New Techs  
by N4UM on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Why bother starting them out on the tech license? Why not the general license right from the beginning?
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by K8QV on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with starting with the general ticket as the goal. However, everyone seems to think Techs don't have any HF privileges - they do, even CW!!!!!!!! Limiting yourself to 2 meter repeaters is the worst way to get into ham radio.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by N4KC on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
From the very beginning, talk to them about trying for the General at the same testing session, and be prepared to offer the exam. Or at the least, always act as if the upgrade is assumed, and soon. Encourage them to get an HF rig of some kind right away, even if their only privileges are the Tech portions of HF. 10 meters is hot right now and lots of Techs can make DXCC in one weekend in one of the big contests or easily find QSOs there.

It is true that so many take the easy and cheaper route--an HT with a helical antenna--since there is no worry about outside aerials, TVI, power supplies, a mobile installation, or a shack. Then their experience trying to hit a repeater is less than satisfactory or they soon tire of talking to the same guys all the time. Or even worse, some curmudgeons impolitely decry their attempts at hitting the machine, their not taking any code test, or for not joining the hobby in 1954 like they did, when you had to know something to get a ticket. (I won't belabor the point, but I wonder how many of these tech whizzes could pass today's Extra exam, pass a 13 WPM code test, or even program that HT the newcomer buys, much less understand most of the other technology that has become a big part of the hobby in the past twenty years.)

Include in the one-day exam-cram some anecdotes about your HF experiences. Invite newly-licensed hams to your shack and let them operate. Do clubs not have club stations anymore? Let them know there is far more on 2 meters and 70CM than FM repeaters. Satellites? Moonbounce? Microwaves? And, of course, SSB, CW, digital and more.

Six meters is a viable band, too, with the winter Es season approaching and some interesting propagation coming again in the spring. They have full privileges there and a Yagi is not beyond the reach of most non-HOA hams. Plus practically all HF rigs have included 6 over the last couple of decades.

Finally, suggest to newcomers that their first investment should be in a membership in the ARRL. With that, they not only get QST each month but searchable access to digital editions of the magazine since before any of us were born. With hundreds of articles aimed at beginners, that alone is worth the cost of membership.

Look, many join the hobby and decide it is not for them. Others have a narrow interest, such as only wanting to be a storm-spotter. They may have no intention of going beyond a Tech license and an HT. Fine. No point in pushing them to HF or other aspects of the hobby. But we should at least make sure newcomers are aware of the diversity and broad spectrum (literally and figuratively) of amateur radio so they can decide for themselves which direction their interests can take them.

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
(Author of the new book RIDING THE SHORTWAVES:
EXPLORING THE MAGIC OF AMATEUR RADIO)
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KJ4FUU on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
One thing I've noticed is that the new techs start off with a 2-meter HT, and depending on where you are, you may not be able to hit a repeater. I'm in a relatively urban area, and the newer housing developments usually have covenants preventing an optimal antenna. So, HTs may not be able to hit a repeater, and HF may not SEEM to be an option. I have issues preventing me from putting up a better antenna, but I've been able to work DX, CW and SSB, with a wire and a QRP transceiver. Lately, I've been discovering what a joy an Alexloop is to use, but of course, it costs more than an HT.

I think one of the big problems is that some don't realize how expensive the hobby CAN be. If you are a kit builder, CW/QRP can reduce the cost, but a lot of techs are afraid of how difficult code is to learn.

I wish I had the answers.

-- Tom KJ4FUU
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K8QV on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I think there are many who get a Tech license just so they can be EMCOMM or weather watchers. They have no interest in ham radio at all, other than a means to an end.

Encouraging HF operation and setting the sights above Technician grade is crucial to the hobby gaining new people who get not just a license for the HT but develop a real interest in radio.

Many of us have old gear we don't use - give or at least loan it to a new ham and help him/her put up a suitable antenna. Being stuck on the stupid repeaters is a sure way to kill any possible interest in the hobby.

EVERY ham used to learn code so it's not exactly the impossible dream; people have just become lazy. Maybe showing and even demonstrating with actual QSOs how much more spectrum is available to the Tech in the CW areas could be incentive. We can't let repeaters kill the hobby.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K0CBA on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
From N4KC "Six meters is a viable band, too, with the winter Es season approaching and some interesting propagation coming again in the spring. They have full privileges there and a Yagi is not beyond the reach of most non-HOA hams."

Right Don....then they can get in on all those great, informative QSOs of "gimme your grid square and get off my frequency!"
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KF4HR on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"Perhaps we should have kept the novice license with 5 wpm code and low power CW rigs. Most of us cut our teeth with a novice license and it was perhaps the most fun we had with the hobby. There was always someone to talk to."

Agree nearly 100%, although I'm not sure "most of us" still applies, as older generations of hams are fading away.

I started in 1967 with a Novice class license and experienced some really great times and worked my way up through the license ranks, building equipment starting with a Amemco AC-1 7-watt CW transmitter and an old surplus receiver. But that's the way it was back then. I seriously doubt Novice license privileges and 60's style hamming would provide any incentive to potential hams in today's world of cell phones, plug & play equipment, and internet connectivity.

Why the noticed lack of activity? My guess is most people tend to cherish things much more when they work hard for them and unfortunately that doesn't apply to obtaining a US ham license anymore. Maybe that's one reason you don't hear many people on 2 meters anymore. Perhaps once the novelty of a new easily obtained license wears off, and the plug & play radio's are used for awhile, boredom sets in and radio's don't get turned on as often, or at all. Hard to say. But you're right, I've also noticed a definite drop in VHF/UHF FM activity, and activity in general.

It will be interesting to see what happens to ham radio over the next few decades. Based on changes over the last couple of decades, I think it's safe to assume that licensing will get even easier. Who knows perhaps someday all it will take is 3 VEC's verifying that you've collected 3 cereal box tops of your favorite breakfast cereal (make it 4 for an Extra Class).

For better or worst, like it or not, ham radio is evolving, and it is, what it is. Be thankful you experienced your good ol' Novice days, don't worry about the silence on 2 meters (it'll work out or it won't), and move the heck on! :^))

 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by K7NSW on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
This is a great article. It goes right to the heart of the problem. I am the Elmer for my club and often spend significant time with our new Techs. They passed the test but frequently do not understand any of it. They are amazed when I explain to them their hf privileges. Once they understand them most get excited to try them. I tell them why I think a new entry level rig like the Icom 718 or the Yaesu FT 450 is a good way to get started. It does not take very long to get them out of thr 2 meter HT elephant burial ground and into some fascinating experiences on hf with a simple antenna. Those that do this are almost always hooked for life.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by JOHNZ on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
With the demise of the reliable individual Elmer system, clubs are generally the way new guys enter the hobby today. Clubs will give classes and administer the exam, then ignore the new guy, which is why our club has a new ham committee. Best way to develop a new ham is to get him (her) involved in one or more activities, help them purchase a good used rig, and keep answering their questions. Assist them in putting up an antenna and setting up their station. We educate them in a fair and balanced way about the ARRL, then let them make their own decision. Our club has voted again this year not to affiliate with the ARRL. Keep them interested and involved, and they will stick around the hobby. Incidentally, the curmudgeons I know can be found nightly on 75 meters, arguing and demonstrating how many four-letter words they know, that is, after they imbibe in copious amounts of ethanol.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KB2DHG on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I SO MISS the Novice class...
I wish it would go back to that format, NOVICE, TEC, GENERAL, ADVANCED, EXTRA... It owrked very well and honestly, If I were never forced to learn CW I might have never put the effort in to learning morse code and then never know the joy of a CW QSO!
BUT, putting that aside, and if the powers to be insist of keeping it this way, then I propose that all new licensed tec's be offered a small portion of 10 meters and no more than 50 watts so they can experence HF and DX. The real thrill (in my opinon)is a DX QSO via low power...
As far as 2 mertes go,and VHF for that matter there are many hams on these bands but it depends on your location and population. I do occasionaly get on VHF but as an advid DX'er I love HF and would love to be able to talk to newbies and mentor them and welcome them to this time honored hobby...
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KB2DHG on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
This is a very good topic and we as seasond ham's have an obligation to mentor and vitilze this hobby. With all the gadgets we have today and smart phones that can talk all over the world the lure to wireless radio communications can seem antiquated. This is just the begining of the end if we do not help newbies and wouldbies coming into this hobby...
To me they have made it very easy to get a license and I guess for all the right reasons BUT not for the betterment of this hobby. What I have seen in the years is the demise of the courtious well prepaired operator.
Remembering that this is a privalage and honor having an Amateur Radio license and should always be reguarded as such.
To all you new comers I thank you for getting interested in Amateur Radio and pass the baton over to you... You will have years of fantastic experences trust me but never be afraid to ask of us seasond hams for advice or help. As for me, I am ALWAYS willing to help a new (or old) Ham, anything to keep this hobby alive and well...
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by AA4PB on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"They passed the test but frequently do not understand any of it."

That's probably because the class was structured to help them memorize the answers to a bunch of questions instead of spending the time to teach them the underlying theory.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K5LXP on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
So the testing process is passing applicants that after studying a book or online for a few weeks, then taking and passing the license test, they still have no idea what it is they've sought after or just earned in terms of what the hobby potentially has to offer beyond 2M? How much more dumbed down can it get? This isn't a 2M problem...


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KE7FD on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Our club recently partnered with a local hospital to provide emcomm during an emergency. (Did you know all U.S. hospitals are required by federal law to have a secondary comms method?) In order to make this work we needed to commit to not only be more radio-active on our 2 meter repeater but we needed to learn AND practice what it takes to pull off a successful event. A timely SET occurred right after we got organized so an opportunity to learn fell right in our laps. Here's just a few things we walked away with and what we continue to explore:

1.) Seasoned hams need to be involved. New hams need to see "how it's done" no matter what the activity is.

2.) Don't be afraid of failure, that's how we discover where the holes are and how to avoid them in the future.

3.) Continue to hold regular practices of those skills that need to be developed; in our case it's the use of the fldigi suite of software.

4.) Stick with a regular net schedule and look for other reasons to hold other on-air gigs. We hold a weekly 2m/440 net on Sunday evenings then a digital net on Wednesdays, and yes you can run fldigi just fine over a repeater. We sometimes hold a voice net on 2m in parallel with a digital net on an HF band like 10 meters. Different strokes for different folks so getting folks on the air for just a short meet will work for some folks so find a topic to devote it to even if it serves non-ham groups.

5.) When you hold your weekly net don't just check in saying that you have nothing to report but instead the net control should always have a "Question of the week" prepared that everyone needs to respond to. For example, "What was your first radio?, "What was your furthest contact or DX?" or even, "What are your plans for the holidays?" This keeps everyone on the air a bit longer and will make the net a whole lot more interesting. More check=ins have been know to occur over time.

6.) Encourage club members to carry their HT's with them to monitor in case an emergency call comes over the air. Start by setting the example yourself. If you have an HT to lug around with you in the house and as long as it won't interfere with other things going on at home, monitor the repeater and occasionally ding the repeater with your callsign; you never know who's listening and may come back.

We make the repeaters more active by making up reasons, excuses or defining a purpose [for your clubs existence] to get on the air more. Carry and use your HT more. Get one of those $40 dual band HT's, program it then drag it around with you. We shouldn't not just say that we didn't hear anything going on the repeater all week; that's our own fault. When I drive cross country I set my radio to 52 simplex and find that some folks do the same when they like me don't know what the local repeater is. This notion works GREAT going to/from Dayton. If you're on the road and don't know what the repeaters are along the way, set it to 52 and "check-in" every so often. I sometimes am surprised when someone calls me back.

Glen - KE7FD
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by WD9FUM on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Make sure that they're exposed to HF. Watch their eyes light up during a DX contact!
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KF4HPY on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I got my Tech ticket and soon switched to 6m and as an incentive I bought an Alinco Dx70 and a MFJ 9406; built a dipole of steel threaded rod and got on air with the 9406 first and was working WI,New England and the local 6m nets. Soon I kept trying CW until I coud pass to Tech Plus. I would go to a club meeting and be assured that 6m was dead; at that time I would show QSL's from all over. When I went to a hamfest I was well known in 6m circles as well as DR. 6m is a great training ground as are the other bands open to Techs. Try it, I know you will like 6 and 10m. Mr Ed
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KB1GMX on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'd also comment that when taking the test for no additional cost if you pass the Tech you can (and should) try the General. IF you pass great! IF you fail at most it cost you some time and your still a tech with some test taking experience. Either way
is a win! I have made the following comments in several forums and the general form is the same.

If you don't like it, do something different. You
are not stuck on 2M FM with an HT.

Operating 2M FM is such a small segment of the hobby that its hard to appreciate what the rest of it can be for the user.

So lets start with the 2M problem as you describe. The biggest issue is if you listen to ANY active repeater you will find there is times of activity and times of plain dead air. The usual thing is the morning commute and evening commute with maybe a net or something between 7 and 9pm.

If one is adventurous there are the 2M FM sats but many shy away as complicated and the operating times are based on the orbits rather than work and life.

What is forgotten...

* Not everyone is near a repeater tha a HT can be heard
well on.
* Not all hams are retired and on the air 24/7.
* Those that can may have no use or interest in 2M FM
or VHF at all.
* Those that can may likely be on other bands!
* There are those that find public service for events and emergency work satisfying.

Whats to do? First expand your world. Even in the FM
realm there is 6M repeaters and simplex, 2M simplex,
440 repeaters and simplex never minding 222, 900, 1296!
The other is get a better antenna, even if its a better
whip for portable use. It improves the useful range and
everyone listening will hear a less scratchy and broken
signal.

Or better yet, there are many cheap mobile rigs that run more power and generally sound better.

While still on FM, fox hunt anyone? Hidden transmitter hunts are gobs of fun for newbies and they can play with nothing more than a HT and a five minute howto session.

IF one is willing to make an effort ANY TECH can operate SSB and AM on 6, 2 (and up through 1296)
and SSB on 10M! For those that are restricted at
home there is hilltopping and roving.

Also Tech have CW privs on a few HF bands including
80, 40, 15 and 10M. And you need CW to use them but ones feet are not being forced and most old hands at
CW are willing to put up with a new fist because of that.

There are bands that Techs can run data modes on.
That includes JST65 at high power on VHF doing EME!

The above is enough along to justify a small CW radio
or full out HF transceiver. Its also a one heck of a lot more than 2M FM with the obligatory HT.

I still use 2M to talk to friends locally and its fun.
When I first got my tech in 2001 it took me less than
4 months to establish myself on 6M SSB (homebrew) and start working the solar peak Es season that got me my first 12 countries QRP. So those that ignore the part of the fact that Ham radio is 99 hobbies in one seriously miss out on what makes this hobby great.

NOTE: some would argue that calling it 99 hobbies in one is too small a number, I'd agree. Take advantage of it.


Allison

 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by K1CJS on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
There is a partial answer that is quite do-able, but all those clubs seem to overlook it. If there isn't a roundtable or ragchew session every week, either on the club repeater or the club's favorite 2 meter frequency, then start one, and keep it going! Have some way to get those new techs on the air--including discussions about upgrading to a general ticket. Don't just get them started then drop them on their own--ELMER them!

Another thing that usually is missing IS the one thing that is needed--the general license classes so the new techs CAN upgrade! Possibly less than one in ten of the clubs or organizations that offer a tech class also offer a general class--we've got to get more of those clubs to offer the general classes.

I do visit the forums (as if that wasn't known) and I got this private note from a new ham after the comments I offered concerning being more to 2 meters than just repeaters and FM operation.

>>> I noticed your reply in the thread about a 2m rig, located in the Elmer section. Your reply was:
"All too often this is the only thing that newcomers are told (meaning HTs and repeaters)--without regard to the other capabilities of the 2 meter band."
Until the last day or so, I didn't know that there was in fact other capabilities of the 2m band. Using the big crayons, can you briefly explain to me what else you can do with 2m? <<<

I replied that there was also 2 meter DX, SSB, EME and other faint signal work, and more. How about we start pushing those things--and more--including digital modes that are available. I'll bet that most of the newcomers don't even know they can connect a computer and GPS, and even use a small APRS unit connected to their HT too.

On a sadder note, the comments here have already started to show the way some hams think of newer hams.
References to tech 'wizzes' and how they probably couldn't even program a HT.
References to the lack of the necessity to learn code to get licensed.
Comments about how the 'new tests' are somehow too easy.
Why are these things being brought up? Why can't we all--including the newbies--just get along? One thing for sure, when the newbies hear those comments (and they do) they sure don't look at them as an enticement to get more involved in this hobby. Those comments drive the newbies off too.
 
No Brainer  
by AI2IA on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Well, if ham clubs provide the exams for tech licenses, those very same ham clubs SHOULD SHOW THE WAY BY HAVING THEIR OWN 2 METER REPEATERS AND USING THEM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

Any volunteer examiner worth his salt ought to set an example by using the bands for which he gives the tests.

Oh, moan, moan, no one is on the repeaters. Haven't we heard that again and again?

If you are a ham, then you have ham buddies. Two Meters is an excellent band offering many options including Morse Code and Digital modes.

For goodness sake, if your club is going to teach and examine for the tech license, form a 2 meter net and use it.

It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KE0XQ on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The 2 main clubs in my area offer Tech classes with the emphasis on EMCOMM. There are plenty of other aspects to our hobby. Frankly, that is why I seldom go to club meetings is because of the over emphasis on EMCOMM. I helped teach a Tech class about 2 years ago and I offered to have the class come over to my shack and see what ham radio was all about. I had no takers. I rest my case.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by AF5DN on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I self studied and knocked out all three tests at one time. Having an extra (or general)license did not help out one bit when it came time to fork out some cash to buy a gear. A Chinese HT was a good way to get going. Kinda!

Yes, I had issues finding someone to talk to on the local repeaters. There are a BUNCH of repeaters here is the Dallas/Fort Worth area and only a small handful have any traffic at all. And then it’s mostly during drive time. And even a smaller number that you can hit with an HT.
One of the most difficult things was actually finding the repeaters, even with the abundance of them. ARRL could do a lot to help with this issue by opening the repeater book / database to all hams. Or at least all members. They don't need to make a buck on everything, do they?
Another issue is the old equipment is ridiculously priced. Why do hams think there old junkie radios deserve a premium price. Why in the heck would anyone pay 80 to 90 percent of new for some old beat up radio.
(like new only missing the power cable and microphone and a few 100 scratches and the LEDs don't work and I never really tested it. But it’s like new!)
Get real guys, what this old stuff really worth?. Do you want to encourage new hams on HF or only to line your pocket with cash so you can buy your next case of Polident?

Give up on wanting everyone to learn CW. NO not everyone can do it. And yes.. most could given enough time. Life is a little busier than it was 100 years ago when you old geezers learned. Let’s see.. it was either learn CW or.. read Huckleberry Finn by candlelight again.

However, with that all said, If the person is really interested in the hobby they will stick with it.

AF5DN
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KG4RUL on November 6, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
While I was still a Tech, I operated: Satellites on 2M/70CM/23CM & 13CM, FM & SSB; 6M, 10M, 2M & 70 CM SSB. I have 117 QSL cards from these bands/modes and at least that number in the log but not QSLed.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by W1JKA on November 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Current FCC license sructure,computer games,cell phones,radio clubs,funds available and ect.are all pee poor and meaningless excuses related to the future direction of the hobby when in fact the key word for it's continual existance is EXPOSURE and only at the hands of each one of us who has the ability and willingness to expose,promote all aspects of the hobby,mentor and assist to others.ACTION speaks louder than the thousands of oft repeated WORDS found in an isolated niche web site/forum/topic such as this.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by WA7NDD on November 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I helped my grandson get his Tech license. He received it last month. I gave him a new handheld, took him with me on a multi-county emergency drill covering from Jackson Hole to Twin Falls Idaho. When 10 meters opened up I set him down and he worked several hams around the states, and one Japan station. He was one happy kid. He used the whole experience as his senior high school project and passed with flying colors.

A kid does not have to be your grandson to do the same for him or her. We are working on the General now. We have a huge emergency response network in Eastern Idaho with nets every week, and conventions. Young people are all encouraged to participate in all of this, and they do.
Jim, WA7NDD
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KT4EP on November 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Agree, I know three hams who got their license solely to be weather watchers or for the emergency comms aspect. They have absolutely no interest in HF radio or any other aspect of ham radio.

But in a way, this is indicative of the hobby: people get their license and use it for narrow interests and maybe never venture into other aspects of ham radio. At least they got their license; perhaps one day they will get interested in more operating modes and facets of the hobby.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC8YEP on November 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Well, let me first start of by saying that over the past few weeks there has been several good articles on eham that sure has got people’s emotions fired up that is for sure. So let me take this opportunity to throw in my two cents as well.

Back in ’02 or ’03 I got my tech license because I was inspired to get into the hobby from a friend that I had made who was a tech and who was always talking on the radio and I wasn’t. So, I went and got my tech license which yes got me on 2m, 440, and 6; however, the appeal quickly wore off because there was hardly anyone to talk to except for folks in those blasted round tables that takes 15 minutes to get back around to you. So I got extremely bored with the tech license privileges because deep down I wanted to chase DX, work the world, and talk to the “old timers” of the hobby and learn from a real Elmer but did not have too much success finding them because…well they were all down on HF in the general, advanced, or extra portion of the bands which is EXACTLY where I would be if I were them.

Now let me also say this, my friend somewhat had an Elmer that got him into the hobby; however, he sadly turned into a SK not so long after I got into the hobby so I never had the privilege of learning from him and the “ol school” way. My friend and I had to learn mostly by on-the-job training which sometimes was a success and sometimes not.

So now let’s go back to the issue of becoming bored and my above comment of not being able to find anyone to talk to on 2, 4, and 6 except for times pertaining to the morning commute, the evening commute, and the nightly. After being a ham for over 12 years I now know the answer for which troubled me when I first got into the hobby and so here is my take and hypothesis if you will….

I have a very nice dayshift career just like many other hams; however, because of people working, like me, 2, 4, and 6m activity dwindles during the daylight hours because well people are working. So by default a majority of the airwaves on those bands are going to be dead except for a few hams who work different hours and so on; HOWEVER, HERE IS WHERE IT GETS GOOD!!!

Turn the VFO knob and hit the band switch from 2,4, and/or 6m during those daytime hours to any band from 80m to 10m(especially 10 and 12 here recently) and you will be listening to as many QSO’s, DX’ing, QRZ’ing as your heart can stand!!! And well why is what??? Simple in my opinion, ask most of the guys or ladies on the bands at that time of day what they do and they will tell you that they are RETIRED and have been an operator for longer than you have been living for most cases. And now why are they down there and not on a 2M repeater? Come on, get serious!!!

There is no freaking way that you would catch the majority of old time Elmers on repeaters when they could be down rag chewing on their Old Timers Net or DX’ing the world! Hell I’m a young man and would very much so enjoy to be schooled by an Elmer to my heart’s content; however, sadly that is an unrealistic approach in the world of ham radio today. Now why is that? Well hell I don’t know, I think I am too young to fully understand how things used to be and how they are now. But I will tell you this…You will not get a peak in interest from the younger generation in joining these “clubs” because from everyone I talk to the ham clubs consist of two types of ham’s. The first being the old timers who know everything about everything who constantly complain about the way things used to be and the way they are now and that all of these new hams are appliance operators as well as the fact that the ARRL is a rotting sewage pool. Then the second type is the new ham who is a 100% appliance operator who knows nothing about the hobby except for how to use an HT or VHF/UHF mobile if they’re lucky! So how does anyone expect new hams to learn if new hams aren’t interested in being in the club? They can’t learn if they are not there!!

So to tie a ribbon on this, I have two other main comments that I would like to make…The first is in regards to the exams, and the second is my opinion of where the hobby will eventually wind up.

First let’s start on the exams….I think it is an absolute joke of how easy the exams are and that they actually have the damn question pool listed for anyone and everyone to see the answers to the questions! What in the hell does that teach? Absolutely nothing other than it works on your memorization skills. I think they should remove the question pools and because they removed the code requirement they should make the tech exam 50 questions of theory, the general class exam 100 questions of theory, and the extra class should be a 200 question exam which consists of just about anything and everything from 2m FM repeater operation to the best of HF theory and even down to how to recap and re-tube an ol’ boat anchor. Then you will have a group of operators who actually know what the hell they are doing 40 years from now. Now, some of you might know be asking yourself why I have this opinion and I will tell you. I have been working a lot of DX lately and I will be the first to tell you that the majority of the younger generation of hams, which sadly I am a part of, who passed the exams without the code requirement have no freaking idea of what they are doing! However, let me say that knowing code does not teach electronic theory and so on. So I do not think that not knowing code is the sole source of hobby degradation. But so heres my point… Just last night, I was listening to 40m while installing a new grounding system in the shack and I heard something like this…”Hello, is this channel being used? Is anyone around?”…2 second pause…..”Ok I don’t hear anything so here goes..CQ CQ CQ is anyone around, CQ CQ CQ, is anyone around…Call Sign….CQ CQ CQ” Then nothing!

So I looked up the guys call and he is an “Extra” and was one of those I passed all in one day kind of fellas and damn did it show! There was no, “Is this Frequency in use, this is Call Sign asking if the frequency is in use” 3 times with more than 2 second pauses inserted in between or nothing. He had no clue with even the most basic of HF DX operation and has the same privileges as the ol timers and us new Extras who try and operate to the highest regards even with the watered down tests.

But this type of operation, in my opinion, is going to continue and will only get worse because it is really a simple mathematical equation that I am going to try and put into words so here goes….
The number of New Hams is greater than the number of Old Hams. There is also a rapid decreasing number of Old Hams who are actually willing to Elmer new hams. So let’s recap so far…New Hams is greater than Elmer’ing Hams so the ability for New Hams to learn the right way is decreasing. Also the dumbing down of America is an increasing variable in this equation which only worsens the outcome over the long-term.

So based on my above hypothesis/mathematical equation in 30 to 40 years there won’t be but a very few Elmer’s left if any and the hobby will be almost completely appliance operator driven which will be to the delight of big business. This is because anything and everything will be bought and repaired in their facilities because the “New Breed” of Hams will be troubled in having a clue because everything will be bought and all will need to be known is “hey…where do I plug this wire into?”!

So let me finish by saying this…I have a tremendous amount of respect for the hobby as well as a huge desire to learn. So, if you there are any of you Elmers left who want to take me under your wing and to teach me something or to teach me electronic theory it would be appreciated. Also any guidance on my current restoration project of an HT-37 I will gladly take your wisdom as well because I by no means want to be one of the above mentioned appliance operators. On most evenings you can find me on either 40m or 20m so please come on down and lets rag-chew!!!

73!
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by N4KC on November 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
KT4EP, exactly! That was the point I tried to make (but with far too many words) back up the thread there.

People get interested in ham radio for a wide range of reasons. They don't necessarily need to know how to copy Morse at 20WPM or how to build a transmitter nor do they want to. Others do. Welcome them all!

Welcome them, regardless their motivation. Gently evangelize, making them aware of what else they can do with that ticket. Then, if they dive deeper, wonderful. If they stay where they are, fine. If they go away, you did what you could.

Like it or not, that kid with the nose ring and ear buds, listening to music you hate, spending every spare moment playing Mortal Kombat, is the future of our hobby. Heck, the future of our country.

Welcome, gently evangelize, nurture.

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
(Author of the new book RIDING THE SHORTWAVES:
EXPLORING THE MAGIC OF AMATEUR RADIO)

 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by G3SEA on November 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!

The dearth of repeater activity in general has been well documented over the past decade. It often appears that only Echo /IRLP keeps some of them active.

What is odd is that 5 wpm cw code is difficult to learn for many who are involved in much more complex software codes for a living.

KH6/G3SEA
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K8QV on November 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
<<< What is odd is that 5 wpm cw code is difficult to learn for many who are involved in much more complex software codes for a living. >>>


Shhhh! We can't say such logical things when it comes to CW and Morse.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by N4KD on November 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Adding to the requirements for the tech class doesn't make sense. It's a great way to learn the "rules of the road", so to speak. Clubs and club members need to be far more proactive in recruiting new hams into the variety of activity that makes up ham radio.

If one of these guys decides handling NTS traffic is the way to go, great. If another new ham decides to latch on to Satellite communication, that's great, too. The important thing is that they have now developed an interest beyond getting a license, building a go-kit, and becoming an EMCOMM-only ham.

Anyone that wants to come by and help work a contest at my station is welcome. Call first, though.

vy 73,
Dave Kuechenmeister
N4KD
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KB1YQT on November 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I got my Tech Ticket a little over a year ago and have been active with local repeaters, ARES, and other groups. I have bought a HF rig and have taken advantage of 10 meters and have made many contacts over sea's. This has given me the drive to now study hard for me to get my General Ticket. Giving new HAM's support is the biggest issue. Some one to talk with and guidance is what has helped me. I get the feeling from some, that having a Tech Ticket is not really being a HAM.
I am moving forward and will get my General Ticket soon.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K1CJS on November 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I just remembered something I just saw on this site, I forget where. It was a statement about licenses that went something like this. People study for the three classes of LEARNERS PERMITS that are available for amateur radio operation. That IS what we get--learners permits--because we always are learning more and more.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by N2MWE on November 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
A lot of you guys, rightfully so, seem to think we should start new hams on HF. There is one big problem...cost. Get them into VHF, they can buy a fifty dollar Chinese radio and get a taste of ham radio. Let them talk on 2m or 440 to some of the older hams, let them join clubs who hopefully will give them a taste of HF!
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K9MHZ on November 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
YEP....

You're thinking way, way too much about all of this. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. The hobby is big....find a niche with some like-minded people. Reading the "why don't the old guys like the new guys?" posts gets really old.

Like most things in life that you have control over...move on if you run into obstacles. There are lots of great people out there, but you just have to put in the effort to find them. They won't suddenly come knocking just because a person became licensed.

The best advice I'd give to any new person is to lighten up, smile, and enjoy.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KJ6TTR on November 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I agree that new Techs need to be encouraged to try out their HF privileges. On the West Coast, 2 meters seems quite dead. The 70 cm band seems the main band with the networked systems, e.g., WIN System and PAPA System in So. Cal. That is a good way to introduce Techs to getting on the air and actually talking to somebody. Encouraging 10 meter activity should be part of the Tech classes. Teach them to build a short dipole for 10 meters and talk to the world. For those who want to return to the "old days" and require CW, give us a break. Nineteenth Century technology isn't going to attract any newcomers.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by JOHNZ on November 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
@KJ6TTR
Yes, as far as amateur radio, Morse is a thing of the past, meaning it is no longer an exam requirement. However, outside the world of ham radio and the ham bands it is still very much alive, and that includes its use in the U.S. military. Many hams are ignorant of the facts, when they state that Morse is no longer used by the U.S. military. Moreover, Morse remains an important communications mode for many foreign countries. Old technology often equals reliable technology.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K1CJS on November 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Lets suffice it to say that morse still has its place, but it is far from being the do-all and end-all of radio communications--being amateur, military or commercial communications--that it used to be.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K8QV on November 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The irony is that so many get a Technician ticket so they can be there "when all else fails" and get messages in and out of disaster sites, but they dismiss the fact that CW is the cheapest, most reliable and most efficient way to do that. As it is, EMCOMM hams can only offer redundancy to the established modes and backups already implemented by professional first responders, and only as long as they have power and antenna height or a viable repeater available. When everything else truly fails, CW will get through.

But enough irony. The point is that a new ham gets easily stuck on using a repeater if he isn't pushed to move on. I've seen it happen to dozens of local ticket holders. They either get understandably bored and quit or they hang out with their buddies on the repeater and are indistinguishable from CBers. The potential of ham radio offers so much, but many new Techs simply aren't aware of what they can still do even before they upgrade.

Cost? Anyone who takes up fishing, hunting, photography, golf or bowling will have to invest some money in his hobby. It's silly of me to note that the cheapest way into radio beyond the local repeater would be a little CW station - new, used, or built from a kit we're not talking a lot of money. Since that won't happen, they can get donated gear, shop the ham flea markets, look at any local trader nets. Many hams have too many radios anyway and would be happy to trade for non-radio items.

Hams don't let hams get stuck on 2 meter repeaters!
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by W1JKA on November 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Re:K8QV 8 Nov.

"get stuck on 2m repeaters" Perhaps the ARRL and it's membership could do their part in avoiding this by promoting something other than EMCOMMS and D-Star.

 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by N4KD on November 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The part that has been ignored is what to do about 2m repeaters. That doesn't have anything to do with new Techs or old Extras. Or even Morse code!

I really do find it interesting that some cities are just active as all get out on 2m, and others, like Atlanta, are covered with repeaters, but they are only used on rare occasions.

I think there are too many tone access only repeaters, but the tones are well known, so that isn't a reason in and by itself. And maybe the "Ham Cram" graduates don't have a lot of common ground on traditional ham topics of conversation with the more experienced hams. But that doesn't keep the more experienced guys from using the repeater for a discussion on a ham-related topic.

Maybe we've just said all there is to say and all that's left is RST, QTH, and name?

- Dave N4KD
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K8QV on November 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
May I address the Emperor's New Clothes?

Perhaps like Western Union Telegrams and phone patches, the repeater has outlived its usefulness. Sure there are still some desperate "traffic nets" with no traffic and the weather wacker nets, but the most useful application of a repeater might be talk-in directions for a hamfest, though GPS makes even that unnecessary.

Even seasoned hams are still people, and we, like everyone else, now use cell phones, social media and video chat to keep up with friends. Prior to modern technology, repeaters were the easiest method for local hams to stay in touch with each other; now they are a novelty and bit of history. Two meter repeaters do not sell ham radio to newcomers, they probably kill more ham careers than anything else.

There is a lot more on 2 meters than dead repeaters. Look at some modes other than FM.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by W5TTW on November 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I don't try to convince people how great the hobby is, or try to convince them to stay in it if they're bored. If someone needs convincing, this isn't a good fit. I don't care if more or less people participate, as long as those that do, do it properly. That being said, many noobs have never witnessed someone make an HF contact. If you are teaching classes, set-up a rig and SHOW them what they can do as a tech with 2 meters, 10 meter phone and CW HF. Then show them what they can do with a general ticket. Let them make some contacts under your supervision. If that doesn't work, nothing will.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KG4RUL on November 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
G3SEA wrote on November 7, 2013

The dearth of repeater activity in general has been well documented over the past decade. It often appears that only Echo /IRLP keeps some of them active.

What is odd is that 5 wpm cw code is difficult to learn for many who are involved in much more complex software codes for a living.

KH6/G3SEA

------------------

I write very complex software. I also cannot learn CW. Software is done with eyes. CW is done with the ears and that is where I have the disconnect. Nothing odd at all.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by W2UIS on November 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
If the new tech has the money purchasing a D-Star transceiver is the way to go if there is a local D-Star repeater. You get the FM as well as the DV modes with these rigs.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on November 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
K7NSW: "They passed the test but frequently do not understand any of it..."

AA4PB: "That's probably because the class was structured to help them memorize the answers to a bunch of questions instead of spending the time to teach them the underlying theory."

AF5DN: "If the person is really interested in the hobby they will stick with it."

Many other good comments as well.

The problem is that Amateur Radio just does not have the "magic" it used to for the general public. There are so many other ways to communicate and so many other techie toys available.

If we drag people in who are not really that interested, and especially if we don't keep in touch with them after they get their Tech license, then we will lose them.

If they are not interested enough to actually learn the underlying theory then maybe they were not good candidates in the first place.

KC8YEP: "I think it is an absolute joke of how easy the exams are and that they actually have the damn question pool listed for anyone and everyone to see the answers to the questions! What in the hell does that teach? Absolutely nothing other than it works on your memorization skills. I think they should remove the question pools and because they removed the code requirement they should make the tech exam 50 questions of theory..."

The exams, particularly Technician, are easy primarily because the Q&A are published and can be memorized well enough to pass the test.

I do not think the tech content should be made any harder or the test longer, but there should not be published Q & A. Then what would have to be "memorized" is the basic theory. This does not guarantee that everyone will really understand the content in depth but it will eliminate rote memorization.

I do not think removing the code requirement is at all relevant. Learning Morse code does absolutely nothing to help someone understand radio theory, and does not in itself guarantee that anyone will stay in the hobby once licensed. 75 years ago, code proficiency was almost essential to get on the air, especially if you wanted to do it on the cheap. This has not been the case for a long time.

When AM, SSB, FM became common modes and there was still a code requirement, many people learned it just well enough to pass the test, then never used it again.

A code requirement would just make it harder and less attractive to get a license. Simply removing the published Q &A increases the difficulty sufficiently.

Technician is really the new "Novice" entry level so it should not be too hard to get. However people should be required to actually learn rather than memorize Q&A.

As far as equipment cost, if you compare the cost of radios now and say 50 years ago, in adjusted dollars, it is no more expensive. $100 in 1963 is equivalent to about $763 today. Compare the performance, features, number of bands and modes, etc., of even the most entry-level radio today with almost anything from 50 or even 30 years ago and you'll see that you're getting much more bang for the buck.

As far as people saying the hobby is too expensive, it is a matter of perspective. Many people spend $50 or $100 per month on cable or satellite TV.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by WB8VLC on November 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
In the cases where some new hams cannot afford HF equipment nor they cannot put up an HF antenna then you can also put up a VHF to VHF or VHF to HF remote base.

Why put up a simple 2 meter repeater with nothing else connected to it as this becomes boring real fast.

I did just that with a VHF to 10 FM and 6 FM remote base system.

Such a system is a learning experience for not just new but even seasoned hams.

First there was the controller and learning about PICs and Arduinos etc was fun.

Next we needed radios and Some of the locals then started converting commercial land mobile radios to 220 MHz, 10 and 6 FM and in the process learned about the differences between ham FM equipment and commercial radios.

Then there were the antennas, we started with simple verticals on the main VHF input side then we added 220 MHz to the system which required more antennas.


Next 220 MHz handheld antennas were the subject of a few months as 220 MHz became our main input side of the system and we started converting commercial mobiles and handhelds to 220 MHz.

All this required antennas and antennas and antennas and then a home brew folded dipole array for the main 220 MHz input side then there were the 6 and 10 meter remote base antennas.

We started with simple verticals for 6 and 10 meters but soon we determined these were too noisy so we migrated to single band yagis then to reduce the system size we went to a dual band yagi with a diplexer for the 6 and 10 meter radios.

In the process of coming up with a good compact dual band 10 and 6 meter yagi the various antenna modelling programs became the big subject.


Next on our list is the rotator control for the remote base yagi.

In the process of all this maintaining the various radios, the controller and antennas running 24/7 is a chore and If this isn't enough to keep the new hams involved then I don't know what is
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC1MAC on November 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I agree I am a new tech, and the carrot and the stick does not work for me. I think they need to trash the tech which is really useless except for 2 meters and put the general in place as the entry level, that or pass the concept that the tech lice. will be the same bands as general. In my OP. there is outdated stuff in the general, and things we may never use in the lifetime of the license, but what do i know I am only a lowly tech :)
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC1MAC on November 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Yep, thats what everyone told me to do, just study the answers, and I have made every fubar that a tech can make, its a bit embarrassing !!!!
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC1MAC on November 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Well said
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on November 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
KC1MAC: "I agree I am a new tech, and the carrot and the stick does not work for me. I think they need to trash the tech which is really useless except for 2 meters and put the general in place as the entry level, that or pass the concept that the tech lice. will be the same bands as general. In my OP. there is outdated stuff in the general, and things we may never use in the lifetime of the license, but what do i know I am only a lowly tech :)"

If you think Tech is really useless and General should be the entry level, then you could just consider that the requirements for General are passing a 70 question exam given in two parts.

If you are suggesting just that Tech should be eliminated as an entry level, then you are suggesting that the amount and/or depth of knowledge required for the entry level license should be increased. I don't think that is a good idea, although I do think the the ability to get a license simply be memorizing Q & A should be eliminated.

If you are suggesting that General should be dumbed down to Tech level, NO WAY.

Every ham should understand rules, regulations, operating practice, and at least basic electrical/radio theory. Anyone with long distance transmission capabilities should know more. At VHF and above, fubars generally only affect local comms. That is bad enough, but at HF, you can screw up someone thousands of miles away.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by JOHNZ on November 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
An amateur radio license no longer serves any purpose and can be obtained by anybody, even a low information voter. Oh, I forgot, the American Radio Ripoff League makes money selling exam material, so they are in favor of keeping the license.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by ONAIR on November 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Get more of these "empty" repeaters linked! Interest would be much greater if we had more activity on these otherwise quiet repeaters.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on November 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
JOHNZ: "An amateur radio license no longer serves any purpose and can be obtained by anybody, even a low information voter. Oh, I forgot, the American Radio Ripoff League makes money selling exam material, so they are in favor of keeping the license."

Since you feel the license no longer serves any purpose, you are in favor of the FCC ...

(a) Eliminating the license turning the ham bands in to CB?

(b) Eliminating ham radio altogether and selling the frequencies off to the highers bidder?
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on November 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"Perhaps we should have kept the novice license with 5 wpm code and low power CW rigs. Most of us cut our teeth with a novice license and it was perhaps the most fun we had with the hobby. There was always someone to talk to."

If there is no one on the repeaters and no one within simplex range and you want to make a real radio contact instead of Echolink, then the alternative is HF.

ALL licensed Amateurs now have access to HF CW like the old Novice.

So any licensed ham who learns code can get on CW and attempt to make contacts without being limited to the line-of-site nature of VHF and above.

So in effect the new "Novice" CW bands are
3.525-3.600; 7.025-7.125 MHz; 21.025-21.200 MHz;
28.000-28.300 MHz CW, RTTY/Data 200 W PEP
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K9MHZ on November 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>by W5TTW on November 8, 2013 I don't try to convince people how great the hobby is, or try to convince them to stay in it if they're bored. If someone needs convincing, this isn't a good fit.<<<<


You know, there was a time when I'd disagree with you, but after seeing how things have devolved so dramatically in society, the last thing I'm going to do now is to kiss the backside of someone who's bored and whining about something that the rest of us put a lot of effort into.

I must be getting old.

 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by N4OI on November 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"So in effect the new "Novice" CW bands are
3.525-3.600; 7.025-7.125 MHz; 21.025-21.200 MHz;
28.000-28.300 MHz CW, RTTY/Data 200 W PEP"

I wonder if the Techs understand what they have access to here if they give CW a try…. especially that segment of 10 meters… DX has been great the last week or so from the east coast… I have routinely had solid QSOs with Wake Island, New Zealand, and eastern Asiatic Russia (cool warbling over the pole) with an attic dipole antenna… Just saying'

73
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KB2HSH on November 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
As with anything, 2m will be what you make of it. In 1991, as a newly upgraded Tech (from Novice), I had a new Alinco DJ-120T. That HT was stellar. 7 watts of power and a decent RX...with a 2-element loop, some height, and some tropo, I worked quite a bit of stations from FN03 to the midwest and beyond.

That setup allowed me to work MIR.

Before APRS, we had a 2m AM net in Buffalo on 144.40 MHz. My old HW-30 was a ton of fun to use, and that warm AM sound was incredible.

We had a 2-to-10 FM cross-band repeater here once.

Packet on 145.01 was ALWAYS hopping.

So the times have changed. APRS is chirping away at 144.39.

The "emcomm" folks do their thing on some repeaters and some simplex frequencies.

The ISS still operates at 145.825 primarily.

And digital? The ARRL did a story a few years ago about using Domino-8 with an FM rig. I tried this. Even with milliwatts it is capable of providing INCREASED range over what you'd expect from FM voice.

One of the local radio clubs here in town transmits various digital modes over their repeater to give membership the chance to play with these modes (such as MT63) and properly set up suites like fldigi.

Bottom line...want 2m to be something else? Make it happen.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K3RKU on November 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
10 meters has been open to the world almost everyday recently. The tech SSB portion is busy. The ARRL 10 meter contest in December is a good time to show the techs what they can do. My club has a mini contest at the same time among ourselves to encourage techs. We help them make a dipole and show them how easy it is to work DX after the big gun stations are done and DX listens for our 100 watt into a dipole stations.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on November 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I lent my HTX-10 and a dipole to a relatively new Tech and lucky for me, the weekend that he set it up 10M was hopping. He made a bunch of contacts.

He was already planning to upgrade at some point, but now studyiong forthe General is moving up his priority list.

 
Nothing new here.  
by WB4M on November 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
In the late 70's when I got my license, Techs were getting stuck on 2 meters even back then. After buying a HT, 2 mtr mobile rig, putting up 2 meter beams, etc, they got burned out after a short time. Then they just left. I also wish we still had the old Novice license. I think it was the better first step.
 
RE: Nothing new here.  
by K9MHZ on November 12, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"After buying a HT, 2 mtr mobile rig, putting up 2 meter beams, etc, they got burned out after a short time."

One good thing for them was that they weren't too deep into the cash outlays before quitting. Were they just an example of the silly nature of humans....many so fascinated by the next novelty they discover, but quick to move on?

Dunno.

 
RE: Nothing new here.  
by AI4WC on November 12, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I've read this one for days, and there are a lot of good points to consider. I'm 73, and I have (had) lots of hobbies: ham radio, airplanes, sailboats, power boats, sports car racing, SCUBA diving, hunting, fishing - I have done them all. I have two favorites: flying and ham radio. I can't pass the medical for flying now so I have ham radio left. Let me say that I can't think of a more fun, challenging and cheaper hobby than ham radio. I am distressed to read so much (mostly justified) criticism, yet I have to believe that there are so many others out there that simply love the hobby because there are so MANY aspects to love. I will close by saying that while I agree with many of the criticisms, I love the hobby and do all I can to help and perpetuate it,
and I hope all of you will, too.

Best regards to all and, 73
 
RE: Nothing new here.  
by KC2WI on November 12, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
WB4M: "I also wish we still had the old Novice license. I think it was the better first step."

In effect we still do, except newly-licensed "novices" now get an entry-level Technician license and have a lot more operating privileges and options.

Any new Technician can do anything the old Novice license allowed, plus a lot more. If they care to learn CW, they can make world-wide contacts on HF. They can do it on a good used radio that costs a few hundred dollars or on a kit or homebrew radio, if they care to. For about a $100 investment, they can get a HTX-10, HTX-100, or equivalent "modern" radio and use 10M SSB. They are not stuck on 2 Meters unless they want to be.

Perhaps the blame is to be placed not on the license or the new operator, but on those who try to attract new people by waving a $50 HT in front of them and only demonstrating 2M FM voice through the local repeater; then getting them licensed through ham-cram or other teaching to the test methods. If they don't really learn any theory and don't really understand what they are doing, then they are afraid to get anything but a shiny new appliance radio and store-bought antenna.

Some people may be on a really limited budget and can only afford the $50 Chinese HT, but I doubt that's the norm. If the hobby is only worth a $50 investment to them then I don't think you can assume they really have much interest. Many people have TVs that cost $500 and they spend $50/month or more on cable/satellite. A decent bicycle costs $500. Etc. So the excuse that ham radio is too expensive is bogus.

How many hams demonstrate or encourage or try to teach CW even as an option in a Technician license class? How many spend much time demonstrating HF voice or digital so as to encourage students to continue on to General, or even to try digital modes on the frequencies that Technicians are licensed for?

How many people really elmer new hams after they get licensed?
 
RE: Nothing new here.  
by K9MHZ on November 12, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"by AI4WC on November 12, 2013......I have two favorites: flying and ham radio......."



There you go, Jim! I'm always amazed at how many people actually do both. At the company, we have many guys who are also hams....probably some DNA deal, I guess. Sorry about your medical....keep trying, there are AMEs who specialize in problem cases.

Best,
Brad, K9MHZ

 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by WA7SGS on November 12, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Having just set up my 2m mobile in a base station configuration, I got the list of county repeaters (Coos) in Oregon. One that was owned by our radio club turned out to be somewhat active but it was when I found another repeater that was part of a statewide network that I discovered the "ham party line"!

One thing I quickly noticed is that repeaters in networks or repeaters with net activity tend to be active repeaters. Perhaps if an area has a dead repeater community, get a net going or hook the repeater into a larger network.

There is also the Echolink system to look at for 2m activity. Toss in some FM simplex/SSB DX and 2 meters can light it up!

For hams in metro areas where 2m is crowded, there is also the 440Mhz/70cm repeater scene to check out as well. Even though I am an Extra, I find something going on every day on 2m to the point that I leave my little Kenwood TM-281 on all the time I am home these days. I live on the southern Oregon coast in a county of only 65K population that is 2 hours away from the closest medium sized city and 4 hours away from the closest metro area. If we ot here on the edge of nowhere can be "radio"-active anyplace can be active it would seem!

73,

Rick
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by K3CLT on November 13, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Lets put the blame where it belongs, on the Elmers. They start a class and get a few students to show up. They teach them the basics and give them a test. When they pass they kick them out the door and get another notch in there belt for giving the test.
Nowhere in the process did they talk much about how the radio works, how to access repeaters, doing offsets, doing tones.
Oh they cover what is in the book but they should have them come back for another class to explain how it all works. Proper procedures to follow when getting on a repeater.
These new license holders are like deer in the headlights on 2 meters and you want to put them on HF.
Think of the things you could teach them in a 2 hour class now that they have their head cleared from worrying about test.
Take a few minutes and help them locate a repeater around their house. Walk them through programming a repeater pair.
Most important is that we as seasoned operators take the time to talk to the new operators when they come up on the repeaters. Make them feel welcome.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by K0RGR on November 13, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I will try not to write a book on this topic, but I probably will anyway, because this is my biggest worry for amateur radio.

All that lovely gear and all those fine antennas are worthless without somebody to talk to. Unfortunately, that's the first lesson most of our new Techs learn. They get on VHF, and if they are very lucky, there is a small group of regulars who are on the repeater, day after day after day. BORRRRRRINNNNGGGG! If I got my first ticket these days, I'm not sure I would have stuck around.

I just finished teaching a new Technician class last week. My three students - all ladies this time - passed the exams with ease.

When we started, none of them had a clue what the limitations on the Tech license meant. These are all smart, educated people, but they all went into shock when told what it meant to be restricted primarily to VHF/UHF, unless they learn the code. Two of them are hoping to use ham radio in their travels.

We sell the 'sizzle' - working DX and making new friends around world, and when all else fails. And then we polish up a pile of dung and give it to them when they manage to pass a Tech written exam. If President Obama did that, we'd impeach him!

Typically, at that point, they are on their own. Most decide to start with 'something cheap just to get started', and within a few weeks, their new radio is in a box somewhere and they are off to the next hobby. There are exceptions, and those folks are to be applauded for their effort.

My biggest hope for my latest class is that all three want to learn the code, now that they know what it will do for them - they got to hear and play with HF in the class, too.

For ages, I've advocated giving the Techs more HF privileges - even just granting them digital privileges where they currently have CW would be a big boost. It would make all those things we sell them on true for a change.

But really, I'd like to see another restructuring. The current license structure is based on one divided by code speed - and the code tests are gone and not coming back. Today, most new Extras will never use the primary privilege their new ticket gives them - the exclusive 25 kHz of CW at the bottom of the band.

One suggestion has been to create a new entry license. We could just start issuing a new kind of Novice license. We DO NOT NEED TO MAKE THE TESTS EASIER!!!!!
The new Novice would actually be a higher class license than the Tech in my view - but it should be a true entry ticket. You can get to General by either the Tech or Novice route - your choice.

The big thing is that in some way, we need a much more balanced entry license, without it being concentrated on either VHF or HF, but instead, to provide a taste of both.

I'll be honest - I visit a lot of radio clubs around here, and I see a big schism in our ranks. It's a divide between the VHF only guys, and the HF only guys, and it's seriously hurting the hobby.

There aren't enough of us older guys to Elmer all the new guys, and not all of them are interested in the stuff that excites us. The only way that will change is for both sides to work on making it better for everybody, and by making it as attractive for newbies as possible.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by K0RGR on November 13, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I will try not to write a book on this topic, but I probably will anyway, because this is my biggest worry for amateur radio.

All that lovely gear and all those fine antennas are worthless without somebody to talk to. Unfortunately, that's the first lesson most of our new Techs learn. They get on VHF, and if they are very lucky, there is a small group of regulars who are on the repeater, day after day after day. BORRRRRRINNNNGGGG! If I got my first ticket these days, I'm not sure I would have stuck around.

I just finished teaching a new Technician class last week. My three students - all ladies this time - passed the exams with ease.

When we started, none of them had a clue what the limitations on the Tech license meant. These are all smart, educated people, but they all went into shock when told what it meant to be restricted primarily to VHF/UHF, unless they learn the code. Two of them are hoping to use ham radio in their travels.

We sell the 'sizzle' - working DX and making new friends around world, and when all else fails. And then we polish up a pile of dung and give it to them when they manage to pass a Tech written exam. If President Obama did that, we'd impeach him!

Typically, at that point, they are on their own. Most decide to start with 'something cheap just to get started', and within a few weeks, their new radio is in a box somewhere and they are off to the next hobby. There are exceptions, and those folks are to be applauded for their effort.

My biggest hope for my latest class is that all three want to learn the code, now that they know what it will do for them - they got to hear and play with HF in the class, too.

For ages, I've advocated giving the Techs more HF privileges - even just granting them digital privileges where they currently have CW would be a big boost. It would make all those things we sell them on true for a change.

But really, I'd like to see another restructuring. The current license structure is based on one divided by code speed - and the code tests are gone and not coming back. Today, most new Extras will never use the primary privilege their new ticket gives them - the exclusive 25 kHz of CW at the bottom of the band.

One suggestion has been to create a new entry license. We could just start issuing a new kind of Novice license. We DO NOT NEED TO MAKE THE TESTS EASIER!!!!!
The new Novice would actually be a higher class license than the Tech in my view - but it should be a true entry ticket. You can get to General by either the Tech or Novice route - your choice.

The big thing is that in some way, we need a much more balanced entry license, without it being concentrated on either VHF or HF, but instead, to provide a taste of both.

I'll be honest - I visit a lot of radio clubs around here, and I see a big schism in our ranks. It's a divide between the VHF only guys, and the HF only guys, and it's seriously hurting the hobby.

There aren't enough of us older guys to Elmer all the new guys, and not all of them are interested in the stuff that excites us. The only way that will change is for both sides to work on making it better for everybody, and by making it as attractive for newbies as possible.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on November 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"Today, most new Extras will never use the primary privilege their new ticket gives them - the exclusive 25 kHz of CW at the bottom of the band."

Upgrading from General to Extra also gets you a lot more on phone: 3.6-3.7, 7.125-7.175, 14.15-14.225, 21.2-21.225
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on November 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
correction 3.6-3.8 on 75M
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC8UPJ on November 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I became a tech in roughly 2001 with my dad. Then, somewhat forgot about it. Finished grad school, renewed the license without using it much, and went on with life. Over the last year, I have been brushing my HT off and looking at going to General. If I hadn't taken the tech, I wouldn't be trying for more.

I am going to be building a rockmite, studying for general, learning CW, but sadly I am too scared to get on the repeater because no one has walked me through it. I just don't know what to say. The few contacts I have made in my 10+ years have been with fear and trepidation.

Please, encourage the techs to make contacts on 2m, 6m, and 70cm. Get them to field day and have them try everything else (DX, data, etc). Thats what re-inspired me. But, talk with them and help them learn to reach out. It can be intimidating.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by K7FD on November 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I think a huge hunk of new licensee's are preppers or church members preparing for the end. Used to be we'd get a few SWL's or CB'ers interested in shooting skip, thus the jump to HF and growth in the hobby was natural. A sizeable chunk of today's batch of new op's are content to zero in on VHF EMCOMM activities...not a bad thing necessarily...but maybe not enough to keep 'em interested over the long haul.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on November 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
for KC8UPJ:

The New Ham's Guide To Repeaters:

www.ecse.rpi.edu/courses/CStudio/ham_radio_docs/Repeater.ppt&#8206;

Just listen to the local repeater(s) for a while to get an idea of who is on and the general procedures being used in your area.

Find out if there are any scheduled nets and listen for a while. Many times there are informal round-table type nets where there is just general conversation going on.

If you know some other local hams you could call them on the phone and arrange to make your first couple of repeater contacts 'predictable' with someone you know.

You don't call "CQ" on a repeater, you just indicate you are looking for a contact by transmitting your call, for example "This is KC8UPJ listening."

If no one comes back, after a short time, you could transmit again and say "This is KC8UPJ, is anybody around?" or something like that. The object is to make a slightly longer transmission because someone might have a radio that is scanning and therefore miss a really short transmission.

If you have a fairly decent radio and antenna (such as a mobile rig) try calling on the simplex national calling frequency 146.520. In some areas there is simplex activity or even just one or two hams that monitor the frequency. If you call on simplex, make your transmission a little longer. "This is KC8UPJ, listening on 5 2 simplex, anybody around?" or something like that. If all you have is a HT you probably don't have enough range unless someone is within a mile or so of you.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by JOHNZ on November 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
@K7FD
How would obtaining an amateur radio license be beneficial for someone preparing for "the end"? End of what? Tell me more.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by K5BWJ on November 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I still remember fondly when I got my tech and a radio shack 2 meter ht and another tech came back to me immediately, we had a great short chat, I was pretty nervous about it truthfully, and I remember he invited me to the local club meetings. At the local meetings I met a bunch of great, and very experienced, operators who let me visit their homes and see what real shacks looked like; that was a real eye opener for me. I bought a used HF rig, put a 10 meter wire antenna in the attic and had a good time. I really think its all about the people. Personally, for me, i'm a builder not a talker, i really don't do much rag chewing and competing, but i enjoy the science and the solder and the friendships :). Keep sharing what makes it interesting for you!
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KK4OSI on November 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Hello - My two cents. 1. I am a technician licensed in February of this year. 2. My first radio was a 2 meter HT. I have read most of the comments and a lot of them are spot on. I currently live in an area that has A LOT of 2 meter Activity for which I am extremely grateful for. I have learned a great deal from hams all over the NC area. In listening, learning and asking questions, I was able to branch out and do 70cm as well, learn how to link repeaters, etc. Now when I go on road trips I use my mobile 2m/70cm to try and make contacts while travelling. Because of all the people that have encouraged me I will test for my General Ticket on Sunday. I have dabbled in the 10 meter band 28.3 - 28.5 only of course. and have had a great time. That being said had I gotten my tech ticket and a radio and heard nothing on either of the bands.. I would have lost interest and probably not known about HF and how fun it is. Trust me it is extremely frustrating to throw your call out tehre over and over and over and get no response. I had this experience while in the Chicago area.

Bottom line is 2 meters is where everyone is getting their start. If everyone spent a couple of hours on 2 meters catching up with local friends and encouraging new hams to go further... I think the hobby would be a lot better off.

Wish me luck on Sunday, Testing General at JARSFest so I can get out of 200 kHz entrapment and explore the world of HF>
KK4OSI.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KD3BG on November 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
You are correct that we leave our new Techs and others to fend for themselves. I have started an Elmer's net where new hams and any other amateur can ask questions about anything related to amateur radio. The net is only in it's second month and the participation is better than expected. We have had questions related to identification, grounding, license renewal and other subjects. I am happy with the response of the older Hams willingness to get involved and answer questions. When all questions have been answered, then the net is open for some good old rag chewing. Wish us luck in this. I think it can be a very good thing for newcomers and gray beards like myself.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K6CRC on November 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"EVERY ham used to learn code so it's not exactly the impossible dream; people have just become lazy."

THAT will enhance the standing of the hobby! Yes, young people will be standing in line for the Tech exams when you tell them they have to learn an arcane method of communications and will be subject to name calling by angry old men.




 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on November 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"EVERY ham used to learn code so it's not exactly the impossible dream; people have just become lazy."

No, that's not it.

It used to be that there were many fewer technical and communications alternatives available. If you wanted a neat technical/electronics hobby and/or effective wireless and/or long distance personal non-commercial communications, ham radio was about the only option.

If you go back long enough, then CW was the only viable option, or at least the only mode where you could easily and inexpensively build a transmitter.

In any case, there was an incentive to learn CW even if you planned to switch to phone once you got the license.

That incentive has disappeared. There are now so many alternative "technical" hobbies and gadgets and ways to communicate that being _forced_ to learn a 150 year old code is not very attractive.

You can tinker with robotics, computers, etc. Most people have $10/month unlimited long distance on thier land line phone or it is no charge on a cell phone. For as little as about $100/year you can get a Tracfone and have effective personal wireless comms with all your friends. Nearly everyone has Internet access and you can use it for all kinds of communications.

There is now little perceived novelty or advantage to ham radio because you can do a lot of wired and wireless communication with all kinds of appliances like cell phones and FRS radios. So there is little incentive to learn Morse code that you never intend to use. The Heathkit era is long gone. You generally can't build any electronic gadget that is less expensive or works better than the 'appliance' that you can buy. For most people, the 'magic' of radio no longer exists.

CW is great if you want to do it and those that never learn code are missing out. Then again all the old farts that refuse to learn to even use a computer and everyone who has never even tried any digital mode is also missing out.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KD8VTU on November 15, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I am a new Tech..received call on 10-29 of this year..currently on 2 meters and 10 meters.. my opinion of 2 meters is that it is ok for local and repeater use but 10 is more fun than 2...currently studying for general so i can have more frequencies to operate on and more dx..
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K9MHZ on November 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
These discussions come up frequently, in one form or another. Nothing ever gets accomplished after the mild disagreement or all-out mudslinging. New guys....man up and get over your tender, hurt feelings. Old guys (me).....we're not "all that" just because we learned code and built stuff back in the day. And let's face it, the equipment kind of sucked, so why are we such real men because we know how to use a soldering iron and remember the "magic" (rolling eyes) of tubes?

Equipment today is fabulous, and the learning possibilities are endless. Many, many hams of all vintages are really good people and very talented. If you want universal, immediate, and unqualified acceptance...go to church (that's a good thing), or buy a dog. Otherwise, get out and befriend some good people...they're all around, but YOU have to make the effort, not the League, not your Elmer, and not the local ham club.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by N4KC on November 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Brad K9MHZ:

Thank you for what is, in my opinion, about the most profound post I have seen in any web forum in a long, long time.

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com


 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KD8NGE on November 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'll agree that, with nobody to talk to, interest takes a nose dive.
I went tech to general in one sitting, started with an HT and was lucky enough to buy a used HF rig ... then with help of forums such as this, built a variety of wire antennas (and still in that process, hi hi)!
I will speak only for myself: I will not presume to attribute anyone else's interest levels, abilities, skills or intent: I find 2 meter to be a workhorse, the Burning River Traffic Net practices message-handling nightly and we are active on Skywarn.
This, along with club involvement, guarantees my installing the dual-band in the new Jeep.
Believe me, I would not go to the trouble of an install unless I had an actual use for it!
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by JOHNZ on November 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
@K7FD
Your silence is deafening?
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by JOHNZ on November 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
@K9MHZ
How does going to church give one (your words) universal, immediate, and unqualified acceptance?
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by N8RFI on November 19, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
In our local Dayton area, we have a great group of operators that promote simplex communications on the 2 meter band. We have a call in net once a week which has grown pretty nicely with a new influx of Techs. To continue their growth we have started a 10 meter weekly net, just to get them talking and on the air. Once they get on the air...they take off. Many are starting to upgrade.

They are now seeing the fun and the difference in that 2 meter handheld and the challenge of operating HF, with the occasional fun of getting in some DX!
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by G3SEA on November 19, 2013 Mail this to a friend!


KG4RUl writes :

I write very complex software. I also cannot learn CW. Software is done with eyes. CW is done with the ears and that is where I have the disconnect. Nothing odd at all.

KH6/G3SEA Replies :

Ultimately it's the BRAIN that DOES THE LEARNING ;)


KH6/G3SEA
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on November 20, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Repeaters are generally boring. Especially if there's no one listening 95% of the time, which is pretty common nowadays, even in areas with a lot of hams.

One thing you can do is get a group together and start a net on a regular basis. It can be an ecom practice net, a round table discussion, whatever.

Adding Echolink to a repeater can make it very interesting. I had a nice 45 minute chat with a station from Japan a few weeks ago. Echolink does not take the place of real DX contacts but it is fun, and certainly can inspire anyone "stuck" on 2 meters to upgrade so they can make real long distance contacts.

The other thing that can make it interesting, as N8RFI pointed out, is just to operate simplex with your 6m, 2m, or 70cm radio.

It can be a challenge to make simplex contacts on VHF and this alone should relieve some of the 'ho hum' factor of repeater operating.

Building antennas for VHF/UHF is not hard or expensive and they do not require much space. There are all kinds of designs and construction plans available if you can't or don't want to design from scratch.

Even if all you have is a 5W HT, connecting it to a decent antenna will vastly increase the range. Making a 25 or 50 mile contact with 5W VHF simplex or even hitting a distant repeater can be as thrilling and give you as much sense of accomplishment as making a 1000 mile contact on HF, especially if it is with an antenna you built yourself.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by W3WN on November 22, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
You want your new Techs and Generals to stay on the air?

Great! So, after they've taken the test, what have you done?

Does your club have a newsletter? Give them a copy.

You did invite them to an upcoming meeting, right? Made them feel welcome? How about having a nice after-meeting topic -- speaker, trivia game, scavenger hunt, fox hunt,construction project...

How about other events? Monthly club breakfast? Local hamfests?

Do they own a rig yet? Have you recommended something?

OK, so they have the rig. What about an antenna? Running coax? What have you done to help them get their station on the air? Surely you don't expect them to just hang a "shack on a belt" and be ready to go... right?

Does your club have a weekly net? Have you invited them to join it? Have you helped them program their radio to the right frequencies (and don't forget the PL!)?

...you can't wait for them to come to you. You have to go to them. It doesn't take much, just a few gestures, but you'll get a club member AND a local active ham for life -- just take that first step & reach out to them.

From that, all else will follow.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KB9TQN on November 23, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Is there a reason why clubs don't have newbie nets on the local repeaters for the newly licensed? Especially clubs that have frequent classes and graduates? We've all had a run-in or two with the grumpy old guy on the repeater when we first hit the repeaters. The newbie net would be a criticism free zone where mistakes are made and happily corrected. A continuing education of sorts without the worry of being nailed by Mr. Perfect Ham. I dare say as the new hams get more experienced some will continue on with the net as they learn and become the gentle guides to the next crop of newbies.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KF5WTB on November 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Down here in the Coastal Bend Area of Texas , 2m repeater use is very much alive and well, there are groups that begin a 3am each morning and several more at various times during the day,into the early evening. Also at least 6-8 nets both on repeater and simplex 2m during the week usually after 7pm. Also quite a few 2m/70cm repeaters linked on different systems (ex. SaltGrass, SWLYNX,even echolink etc).
Of course there are also the HF nets in use too.
I got my tech back in July of this year, I really like the area repeaters for keeping up with my new friends. I guess we are lucky to have this much activity.But even the linked systems stay very busy,folks from all over the place always on.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KQ0J on November 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My area has many nets that an HT user in the Metro can check in to on both 440 and 2M multiple days a week. We have IRLP linked and Echolink linked wide area repeaters. One nearby city has 2M nets every night and a technical roundtable one night a week where anyone can come on and ask technical questions. I run a 6M roundtable Net once a week and we have 2 10M SSB ragchew nets in the Tech portion of the band for people that want to yak with local folks on those bands. So in my area, if you are not talking to anyone its because you are not looking to talk to anyone. I always advise the new HT owners to get a aftermarket whip or jpole or mag mount or other more decent antenna those rubber ducks are pretty worthless.

That being said, I think another poster had a good point - a lot of the newer licensees DO NOT WANT TO TALK to anyone! They want to do occasional storm spotting, do EMCOMM or Public Service work, listen or just say they have a license.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on November 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
@KQ0J "... a lot of the newer licensees DO NOT WANT TO TALK to anyone! They want to do occasional storm spotting, do EMCOMM or Public Service work..."

The problem with not wanting to talk to anyone is that unless they do something on a fairly regular basis it is likely they may not really be familiar enough their equipment to adjust and improvise when the worst happens.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K5TEN on November 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
It was a joy and a GIFT to be a novice licencee from '80 to 85. Why so long? I was having an awesome time! It was sweet with a pair of Kenwood Twins, a bug, longwire and 80 to 10 meter ground mounted vertical (with only 3 #6 solid buried radials) on a postage stamp of a city lot in Lake County Gardens in Waukegan, IL.

Worked plenty of DX. Worked my first two Novice Round-Ups my CW speed tripled in a week. I went to General in '85 but still spent over half of operating time on CW...and split the rest between 10m/15m SSB and some on 2m.

Two meters has almost always been the new ham's first taste of contacts. That was great in the 60's and 70's, but by the late '80s many repeaters became ghost towns, similar to today. Reason(s)? Many.

PL tones were both a blessing and a curse. Bad Seed, all it took was a few jackwagons to mess up an entire machine. Supreme boredom, many contacts being hi, name, call, and -- "well I am (YIKES) destinated" contacts. The art of meeting new people on 2 FM has gone extinct in some areas. Luckily there are some great folks here locally, but it's almost "Clique-like" on some machines.

NEW HAMS--Look on ebay for good seals on rigs that cover the bands where Techs can get on CW. Stow the mic in a drawer and learn hand (manual, not PC sent) CW. You are going to work far more DX on CW than SSB anyway. Besides, the juciest DX in on CW anyway.

Good Luck!

Bruce
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KD0WUS on November 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
It's the expense, people. The money. The Chinese HT's opened up the possibility of getting a license and on air for less than $100. Now I want on HT and I'm told "Don't buy used; you don't know what you're getting". (Not that it's much cheaper in any case.) So I look at decent machines costing $1000-$3000 and that's all I do: look. The days of vacuum tubes and winding coils are dead. We can pretend we can get cheap, reliable HF rigs or (cough) build our own and some of us will, but most won't. HT is out of the beginner's reach not because of laziness, no-code, boredom, easy tests, or ignorance. It's because of price. It's overpriced ICOM, Yaesu, and whatever 1 other company ARRL allows to advertise in their material. Where's the kits? And if there are some companies selling them, how long before they disappear? Two years? And techs *are* limited to vhf/uhf. Do you really expect them to pass the test, then be told they can get on HF if they shell out a few hundred dollars for an SSB rig or spend a few months learning code? Maybe one in 20 will but don't mislead them into thinking they're going to get on HT without about $1000 (the cost of a couple computers). Echo-link, SDR, Chinese (i.e. cheap) radios lie in the future, not a return to CW and tougher exams. What happened to hams embracing technology instead of grumbling "back in my day"... I say this as someone who does enjoy learning CW, but I realize it's not for everyone. I'm also someone who's spent weeks surfing the net for low-cost HF rigs and finding Heathkit material just isn't there. There's always more than a few caveats. One place I certainly don't find them is in ARRL material.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KD0WUS on November 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Pardon my mistyping HT when most of the time I meant HF.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by N4KC on November 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
KD0WUS:

I can't imagine cost is as big an issue as you say. I just checked with Gigaparts. You can get an all-band, all-mode transceiver that covers HF through 70 CM--the Yaesu FT-857D--for $805 with free shipping.

The FT-450 HF/6M-only radio is just $858.

You can get an Icom IC-718 from DX Engineering for $690.

HRO has the IC-7200 for $879.95...again with free shipping.

Gigaparts will happily sell you a brand new Alinco DX-SR8T HF transceiver for a whopping $519...with no shipping and, depending on your relationship with your state and local sales tax folks, no sales tax.

These are all perfectly usable rigs that would make--along with a basic wire antenna--a good start-up station for a newly-licensed ham, and all for considerably less than $1000. And ALL of them are advertised in QST every month. Most of them have also been reviewed by the magazine.

Now, $500 to $800 may still be more than what some would consider to be inexpensive. However, I doubt that those prices are far from what Heathkit sold their kits for when you factor in inflation. Also, have you priced a fishing boat, a good set of golf clubs, the necessary tools for woodworking, setting up a shop to restore old cars, a decent camera to pursue photography, or the entry cost for most any other hobby?

By the way, the ARRL has a most helpful web section on this very subject at http://www.arrl.org/buying-your-first-radio

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
(Author of the new book RIDING THE SHORTWAVES:
EXPLORING THE MAGIC OF AMATEUR RADIO)

 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on November 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The statement that equipment is more expensive than the old days is nonsense.

According to http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/relativevalue.php the value of $100 in 1973 is about $513 today. You can argue the exact number but it is clear that equipment is not more expensive.

A Heathkit HW-101 kit that you had to build cost $399.95 in 1970. That is the equivalent of over $2000 today.

The HW-101 is an 80,40, 20, 15, 10 meter CW/SSB rig. No general coverage, no noise reduction, no notch, no variable bandwidth/IF shift, no AM, no FM, etc.

The coveted Collins KWM-2 cost $1250 in 1959. That's equivalent to $7600 today, on par with many current high-end radios.

Neither of these rigs have half the features, capability, and overall performance of current HF radios.

For less than $1000 (or less than $200 in 1970 dollars) you can get an an all band all mode 160M-70cM 100W general coverage transceiver.

You can get decent late-model used transceivers for under $400. I friend of mind just sold a nice Alinco DX-70T for $350. I have one of those radios and it is a nice basic HF rig.

There is nothing wrong with a good used transceiver. If you actually learn the basics of electrical and radio theory rather than just memorizing Q&A then you should not be afraid of doing minor repairs or building your own power cables, antennas and other accessories.

No, ham radio is not as inexpensive as some other hobbies. But it is not really that expensive. The cost excuse is an excuse. It just depends on how interested you are.

A decent computer costs $800. Granted the computer is useful for other things, but for a lot of people it is primarily an entertainment device. If you're a gamer, you've probably spent $2000++ on a computer. If you have a cable / DSL high speed connection you're spending $30-$50/month for that as well.

A decent downhill ski package costs $1000+++, and it wears out much sooner than a radio. But you also have to spend $75+ each day far a lift ticket at any major ski area and about that half that at the local podunk ski hill, plus transportation and possibly food & lodging each time you go skiing. Anyone who is even a casual skier has probably spent more in one season than is necessary to set up a pretty decent ham station.

A year of cable or satellite TV costs $800 and there's nothing worth watching.

Big screen TVs cost more than a HF rig.

Any decent motorcycle - which in the northern part of the country is pretty much a toy rather than reliable mode of transportation - is going to cost at least few thousand dollars.

Some people spend $1000/year on a smart phone so they can watch sports and movies on line, when they could do all their essential cell phone calling on a $100 Tracfone.

etc.

It's all relative. There is unfortunately a perception that it is an expensive hobby. Ham radio does not have to be that expensive.


 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by K3BRC on November 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I am a new ham. I am now studying for my General. When I say study I mean to read W0STU's book (HIGHLY RECOMMEND). I took a technician class from him and felt like I really got it. Honestly I feel like I understand the principles in a large scope. If we drill down into the material then I become a deer in the headlights.
This is to say that not all Technicians are created equal.

However on the topic (i apologize for not reading all of the thread) the technician license is entirely mandatory and it should damn well remain so.
Topic: For real I don’t get excited for ham. I got into it for ecoms (don’t laugh).
I’m a new ham and I need help, that’s the basics.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by G3SEA on December 3, 2013 Mail this to a friend!

Good & Relative points by K2CWI.

However a good computer can be had for well under $ 400 and is much more than an entertainment or gaming device:

ie Unlimited Research tool for students & teachers & Faculty and anyone who wants to learn just about anything.

Communications for friends ,family and even Hams ie e mail,text,Skype,Video,Echolink etc

Educational and Entertainment, You tube Videos, ( Many Ham related ;).

News ( Domestic and Intl ) outlets for every taste.

Plug in a Fun Cube Pro Dongle and you have a superb SDR DC to Daylight RX with spectrum and waterfall displays to boot :)

Indeed a ' Magic Chocolate Box ' :)

KH6/G3SEA
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by KK4LGR on December 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Most traffic on 2 meters is "KK4ABC, mobile, monitoring." Which goes unanswered. Then there's the weekly net where 10 retirees officially tell each other that nothing is going on, then they "return the N4ABC repeater to regular amateur use," read, silence.

At least you can get in on that action for less than $100, what with these budget Chinese rigs. With a Wouxun or Baofeng, you can get on the air and find out you don't like it for less than a car payment. Not so for HF. For the divine and holy privilege of saying "CQ" on anything other than 2m FM, you have to buy a $600-$1800 transceiver, a $200 power supply, a $300 antenna tuner, easily $400 worth of feed line and antennas, and at the very least $100 on a morse key, if you find a crappy used one. It MUST be bought sight unseen over the internet because there are 7 brick and mortar radio stores in the hemisphere. So, you've paid $1,600 bare minimum for a toy you can use to occasionally hear someone say your callsign back to you.

For that same $1,600, you can buy a computer with enough accessories and software to play video games, correspond with practically anyone, read news/weather, access entertainment media, store virtually any information, order anything from a pair of nail clippers to a light aircraft, pay your taxes or even run a business.

Tell me again why I should sit for the General test?
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by N4KC on December 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
KK4LGR:

You absolutely should not sit for the General exam. I suggest you put your license in the shredder and forget about it. Enjoy your computer and new nail clippers and airplane and have a great life.

I could list many of the fascinating aspects of the hobby that you are missing and the interesting experiences you are summarily dismissing by your negative attitude but I doubt you care to hear it. Your mind is made up and you are clearly one of the vast majority for which amateur radio is not going to be a viable hobby. That's fine. You are certainly entitled to pursue whatever avocation you prefer.

But what are you accomplishing by incorrectly claiming that ours is a dull, boring and expensive hobby? More than a million licensed amateurs disagree with that assessment. And there are millions more who would enjoy ham radio tremendously if and when they ignore such ill-informed generalizations as yours and decide to join our ranks.

Either way, it should not concern you since you will be happily enjoying your $1600 computer. Meanwhile, the rest of us will be having the time of our lives with our dull, boring and expensive hobby.

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
(Author of the new book RIDING THE SHORTWAVES:
EXPLORING THE MAGIC OF AMATEUR RADIO)
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K3BRC on December 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I wholeheartedly agree with N4KC.
Do not get your general.
You have a really horrible mindset regarding radio.
The best option is for you to simply go away.


I wish you good luck good tidings and I hope you find something in your life that can turn you around.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KK4LGR on December 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Don,
I'm a pessimistic jerkass. Being handed an economic collapse and a $100,000 bill for college in the same week does that to a man. My cynicism aside, am I wrong about amateur radio?

This article is about how quiet VHF FM repeaters are. This observation matches my experiences. There's tons of reasons for this, from "we have cell phones now, so we don't need the auto patch anymore" to "HF is where the real fun is." To a new ham, VHF work can get old quick.

I bought a cheap Baofeng to try out amateur radio. Radio has interested me since flight school; I was fascinated learning how surveillance radar and ADF and VOR work, so I figured I'd get into ham radio and learn more. And I have. I like learning about how things work.

I never claimed amateur radio was dull or boring. I will claim that a radio is more limited in capability than other things you can spend the money on in this day and age. And Amateur radio is expensive. It's the second-most expensive hobby I've dabbled in behind aviation--and I made a career out of that hobby, something that really can't be done with ham radio. (There really isn't a stepping stone from ham to radio engineer the way there is for private to commercial pilot)

What am I trying to accomplish? Maybe I'm trying to show you what the ham community looks like through a young newcomer's eyes in my own blunt way. Maybe I'm trying to answer the question "why do so many techs stay techs?"

I got a tech license because that's the entry level license, and I'm an entry level radio man. My plan was to learn as a tech, and go for general when more experienced. I get a look at the radio market, and realize that exercising the privileges of a general ticket is an expensive proposition, and that the product lines of radio manufacturers makes even getting the full use of my technician ticket problematic. Meanwhile, you can spend hours listening to nothing but repeaters spontaneously identify themselves on what was billed as "one of the most popular bands." Hams complain both on the air and on the web about what they hear on the radio; CB jargon, calling CQ for ten minutes solid, pronouncing it any other way than "seven three," someone cussed. Every time the subject of encouraging new hams comes up, someone feels the need to say "we shouldn't be such jerks to them," because it's apparently a legitimate problem. The forums here at eham are by far the nastiest and meanest I've ever encountered. Some amateur activities interest me, Some don't. But the financial and technical barriers to entry are just too much to ask.

You claim ham radio is really fun. Granted I've kinda been standing on the outside looking in, but it looks like hams are really mean to each other. I don't know if I want to pay lots of money to join that club.

Sorry for saying something bad about your favorite toy.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by K3DRQ on December 7, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"With the demise of the reliable individual Elmer system"

Or "Mentor" as the ARRL is insisting we say instead, since "nobody knows who Elmer is".

I was licensed in the late 90s, as a 13 year old who was always interested in radio and scanner/shortwave monitoring. Started as a 5 WPM Tech Plus, was of course invited to the club that tested me, but there was an "Elmer" member that helped me out. I gave up a Christmas to help me buy my first HF rig used from another "Elmer" member. 10m on the HF rig inspired me to get the 13 WPM General the following year, in fact I had to re-take the written portion and still got the General. Got my "No-Code Extra" this summer after another "Elmer" helped me out with the boatanchor stuff.

I left that same club a few months ago as it was restructured to be entirely ARES/RACES related. All the "fun stuff" was gone as the older people were retiring, resigning, or had left due to lack of interest in ARES/RACES.

So what we need is to have regular club members *be* "Elmers" to the newer club members. The ARRL's exploitation of the recession/Obama/Mayan Calendar prepper fad of recent years can be "re-exploited" by being "Elmers" ourselves, introducing newer club members to our favorite parts of the hobby.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on December 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
@KK4LGR: “ Most traffic on 2 meters is "KK4ABC, mobile, monitoring." Which goes unanswered... “

"KK4ABC, mobile, monitoring." on 2 meters = "CQ this is KK4ABC" on HF. It is a call inviting someone to respond. If you hear it you should reply "KK4ABS this is KK4LGR."

If the people or book or web site that helped you get your license didn't tell you this, then they did not do a good job.

If the same old few people on the weekly net on the repeater talking about the same old things gets boring (and I sympathize with you there) then find some new people, get them interested, get them licensed, and talk about airplanes or something that interests you. (Then of course the 10 retirees who have no idea of what you are talking about will consider your group boring...)

Or, improve your station and equipment so you are not stuck on the local repeater. The $50 Chinese HT or any other HT is very versatile but also very limiting. It is a trap that many technicians fall in to. This is the problem addressed by this thread. You need more than a 2 meter HT to experience what ham radio is all about (but you don’t need $2000 worth of equipment.)

Get off the local repeater. Try hitting more distant repeaters or try simplex.

With a Technician license you are not stuck on 2 meter FM and the local repeater unless you want to be.

A very simple and inexpensive thing to do is get a better antenna. Get the antenna outdoors and as high as possible. You can buy one for $50, but you can just build a 1/4 wave ground plane or a J-pole or simple directional antenna basically out of parts from your junk box or the local hardware store except perhaps for the coax. Plans are freely available on the Internet. Virtually any decent antenna will give you at leasy 10 dB gain over the rubber duck on your HT. That is an effective 100x increase in radiated power.

There is much more than 2 meter FM. Technicians have 6 meters, which is not so line-of-sight as 2M and higher frequencies. 6M may be active in your area, but it also sometimes affords long distance communication with nothing more than a simple easy to build dipole.

You have 10 meters SSB. You also have CW HF privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10M.

@KK4LGR: “At least you can get in on that action for less than $100, … Not so for HF. For the divine and holy privilege of saying "CQ" on anything other than 2m FM, you have to buy a $600-$1800 transceiver, a $200 power supply, a $300 antenna tuner, easily $400 worth of feed line and antennas, and at the very least $100 on a morse key, if you find a crappy used one. It MUST be bought sight unseen over the internet because there are 7 brick and mortar radio stores in the hemisphere. So, you've paid $1,600 bare minimum for a toy you can use to occasionally hear someone say your callsign back to you. …”

Not true at all.

You do not have to buy a $600+ transceiver.

If you just want to try 10M SSB, you can pick up a Radio Shack HTX-10 or HTX-100 for around $100. Right now 10M is open a lot. I loaned my HTX-10 (bought for $50 at a hamfest a few years ago) and a home-built dipole to a Technician friend. In 2 days he made all kinds of DX contacts, with a simple dipole at 10 feet. He had so much fun that so that he jumped at the chance to get a HTX-10 for $75 from the same friend of mine who recently sold a DX-70T for $350.

If you want to do HF CW on the cheap, you can do as people did years ago - build a simple CW transmitter from a kit or from plans available on the Internet, and use any old general coverage receiver. It won’t be ideal, but it will work and you will make contacts.

There are in fact good used multi-band HF transceivers available for a few hundred dollars. You just can not expect the state of the art with all the bells and whistles, and you have to be patient and look for the right deal.

You can buy a Kenwood TS-520 in good working order for $150. It is an old radio but very well respected and it will get you on the air. I hear people on the air with 520’s and 530’s and can’t tell the difference between them and $2500 radios. You can buy a used Alinco DX-70T for $$350. It does not have the latest technology like IF DSP, etc., but it is a modern radio that works very well. I have both of those radios purchased at those prices and I know they work well.

There are a lot of other radios available for under $600. You can get a brand new Alinco DX-SR8T for $519 shipped to your door from Gigaparts.com. You can get a gently used Icom IC-718 for $500 if you look for a while.

To put it in to perspective the Heathkit HW-101 cost $400 in 1970. That equates to over $2100 today. The 101 was a 80, 40, 20, 15, 10 meter SSB/CW ham band only transceiver with no extras such as notch filter, IF shift, digital readout, memory, general coverage receive, etc. Any radio made in the last 20 years has tons more features and performance for less than half the price.

Also to put it in perspective, people spend $600 just on a high performance video card for their computer just so they can play video games over and over. Boring.

Or consider this. Suppose you want to try downhill skiing. One lift ticket and ski rental will cost you $100. If you want to actually learn to ski so you can get good enough to actually see if you really enjoy the sport, it will cost you at least $1000 in lift tickets and other expenses. If you decide you don't like it, you're out $1000. If you actually bought ski equipment, you'll be lucky to sell it for 50%.

But even if you do spend $600-$800 on a brand new transceiver, you don’t have to spend much more for the rest of the station.

You do not have to buy a $200 power supply. If you get an older hybrid radio like a TS-520, the power supply is built in. If you get a newer solid state rig, then you need 12 (13.8) VDC at about 20A max. An Astron RS-20A is about $110 brand new from Ham Radio Outlet. It will run any 100W transceiver. You can usually find them for $50-$75 used. If you find a 12A supply at a bargain price, then just run the radio at 50 watts instead of 100.

You can also use an automobile or deep cycle battery with a lower current power supply/charger. If you change out such a battery as a part of regular maintenance, you have a power supply. Hook up a low current supply, maybe 5 Amps, through a very low resistance to the battery any you can run the radio indefinitely. I know this works because I did it. You can pick up a low current supply at a hamfest or yard sale for a few dollars, or you can easily build your own.

You do not need a $300 antenna tuner (transmatch) and $400 of feed line and antennas.

You can build a simple wire antenna out of junk box or hardware store wire. You can make insulators out of wood or pieces of PVC pipe. You can make your own open wire line, or you can buy some coax. 40 feet of RG-8 with connectors already attached is about $40 at Ham Radio Outlet. Although most people use 50 Ohm coax like RG-8, RG-8X, etc., you can use 75 Ohm coax like RG-59 which you are likely to find at any big hardware store or at a garage sale or discarded when someone takes down a TV antenna. It will work fine on HF at 100W or less.

If you have a resonant dipole you do not need any antenna tuner at all.

You can probably use a 40M dipole on 15 meters with no tuner.

If you did not learn this, and how to calculate the proper length is for a particular frequency so you can build your own antenna, then the people or book or web site you used to prepare for your Technician exam did a bad job.

If you make a multi-band antenna like a G5RV or OCF dipole then you’ll probably need a tuner, but you can make one of those as well or pick one up used for under $100 or new for under $200.

If you need a SWR meter, you can usually pick up a “CB” SWR meter for $5 at a yard sale. You can get a brand new one from Amazon for $21. The meter will work fine on all the HF bands from 160-10 meters and maybe even up to 6 or 2 meters with reduced accuracy.

You do not need to spend $100 on a Morse code key. You can buy a brand new straight key made by MFJ or Ameco for about $15. It will be perfectly serviceable at ‘Novice” speeds of 5-10 WPM.

There is so much more than just having someone say your call sign back to you. You do not have to limit yourself to quick exchanges of call signs. You can have extended conversations. You can run nets. You can handle traffic. You can participate in volunteer emergency and public service communications groups like ARES. If just “talking” on the radio is not enough, then you can get in to all the latest technology such as digital modes, you can take on the challenge of using Amateur Radio satellites, etc.

If you are not interested in doing any of this, and only want to buy stuff and be an appliance operator and expect the radio to work like a cell phone or computer, perhaps you should not sit for the General test because it is likely Amateur Radio is not for you.

Amateur Radio is only partially about communication with other people. You can do that on the phone or computer. The ‘magic’ of Amateur Radio is that you are doing it without wires and without relying on any commercial or public infrastructure. It gets even better when you are doing it with something you built yourself, even if it is only the antenna that you built yourself. It gets even better when you learn enough to understand at least some of the science and technology. In fact, the opportunity for learning and hands-on experimentation is part of the fun. If all this sounds boring then maybe Amateur Radio is not for you.

There are jerks in just about every hobby or activity. The anonymity of the Internet brings out the worst of them. Look at nearly any Internet BBS. I would not let any comments made here get you down. Also the ease of making illegal unidentified transmissions on the air is attractive to a few jerks. However they do not represent Amateur Radio.

With only a HT listening to the local repeaters you are definitely only seeing a very small part of Amateur Radio. You have only been licensed for 16 months. The only way to really find out is to get more involved in different aspects to see what interests you.

Like very many activities, hobbies, sports, etc. it does take some financial investment. The thing is that you are not stuck with the equipment because you can generally sell it without taking too much of a loss.

I don’t know how you got involved, but as others have mentioned, you need to find an ‘elmer’ or a group that is involved in some of the aspects of ham radio that interested you in the first place.

 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by N4KC on December 8, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
KK4LGR, pessimism often results in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Optimists can be disappointed but they don't let that bother them. Being a "jerkass"...well, that's between you and the guy in the mirror.

As others have noted, a cheap Baofeng HT gives you only a very small peek at what this hobby is all about. I'd hate to see you give up based on that bit of experience.

If you truly like to see how things work, then maybe this hobby is for you after all. But if you are easily offended by Internet posts, or if you believe a few whack jobs are a statistically valid sample of the million or so licensed hams--on the web or on the air--then you are woefully incorrect.

Maybe it is that "pessimist" thing again.

I'd love to discuss this more with you, but let's do it on 40 meters SSB or on PSK31 on 80 or on 60 CW. I know I'd enjoy and learn from the QSO and I think you would, too.

73,

Don N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com

 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by W7STS on December 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The poster is right, why would we want to bring people into the hobby if there isn't anything to do. In our area, we have had several groups put on classes for newbies to get their tech ticket for emergency purposes. This is a great idea on the surface but it suffers the same end game.

I would submit, that a better approach is to have some activities for them to do. In our corner of Arizona, we have a very active group called the Maricopa County Emergency Communications Group (MCECG))that provides communications for a variety of public service events as well as being the an ARES group in the area. New hams are encouraged to participate, and are provided OJT training on events as well as an opportunity to sit through an 8 hour class on event communications.

This provides the ham with an outlet, the community with comms for a variety of events, and a group of commuicators for emergency service.

MCECG has a web presence that allows members the ability to sign up for events and generally supports more than 35 events yearly in the greater Phoenix area. You can find information at http://www.mcecg.net/guest/index.php

Additionally, we have a weekly net that meets specifically to give new hams (and old as well) a venue to practice the communications arts. This net is in it's 8th year. You can listen to audio at http://www.aen-mar.org/

Cheers
Rick W7STS
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KF7VXA on December 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'm one who thinks things should be left as is.
I got my Novice license for 2 reasons. One to talk with people who were more mature on the radio than the CB'ers (the few that are still active)although I have not been on the CB band for many years.
I found the people who were on 2 and 70 cm to be much more mature, but as many have commented, little to no activity.
The second reason was to get involved in EMCOMM.

Knowing that I was not going to be happy with VHF/UHF and a small slice of HF caused me to want to study and learn as much as possible while I saved to buy my HF set up. I'm retired, not a lot of extra money so I bought a newer used rig, new vertical antenna and made a few dipoles.
When I had my equipment together, I went and tested and easily passed the General exam.
I have found the people on HF to be a darn good bunch for the most part, at least if you are willing to listen to their rag chews for a while, see what kind of group they are and decide if you want to be a part of that particular rag chew on a regular basis. Done right, I have been welcomed by more than a few groups.
I also very much enjoy the DX. At this point, I'm not too interested in contesting, I enjoy a good chat rather than a quick exchange of info. I do keep a log of contacts just for my own use.

Those who just get their first license and then loose interest in my opinion are not really that interested in Ham radio. There are so many ways to communicate, that there is something for just about everyone. If a person is not willing to study and learn, then as I see it, they will not make a very good operator.
I see the Silent Keys every month. We are loosing many of the old timers who have been there and done that. We do need new blood, but I'd like to see the new Hams learn what it's all about. I learn something new everyday and have a long way to go. I hope to never stop learning.
In the mean time, I want to be the best operator that I can be and "do it right"

I do think anytime an experience operator or Elmer as they are known can help a new licensee, that person can go a long way in helping the new person develop and find his or her nitch(s). By being there to answer questions, it will help the new person who is frustrated because they are confused and need guidance advance in the art of radio and keep them interested until they feel comfortable in what they are doing.
Just helping them to join in with a good group that meets for a nightly rag chew and helping them to get known and feel welcome would go a long way. Of course the technical help means the world to a new person also. I read a lot, but actually having someone to help makes a huge difference.
The guys who think they know it all berating new operators do much more harm than good. There is always two ways to handle things, done right, it encourages the new Ham, done wrong it will cause them to give it up. Sometimes I think there are those who's intent is to do just that. A small minority, but they are out there. I try my best to help within my abilities, but it's the experienced ham that can make the most difference. New Hams need to be humble and realize that they do have a lot to learn and use their ears more than their mouths in most situations also.

Any way, that's my 2 cents.

73's John KF7VXA
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KF7VXA on December 9, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry, after reading all the reply's, I said I got my Novice License, should have been Technician.

73's John
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by ILDARIN on December 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"First let’s start on the exams….I think it is an absolute joke of how easy the exams are and that they actually have the damn question pool listed for anyone and everyone to see the answers to the questions! What in the hell does that teach? Absolutely nothing other than it works on your memorization skills."

I agree.

Nobody who cannot solve a first-order linear differential equation should have an amateur radio license.

That should thin the herd a bit...

 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by ILDARIN on December 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"Please, encourage the techs to make contacts on 2m, 6m, and 70cm. Get them to field day and have them try everything else (DX, data, etc). Thats what re-inspired me. But, talk with them and help them learn to reach out. It can be intimidating. "

My club has a club station with a dozen radios manned by volunteers. It's open to the public, and the volunteers try to promote ham radio.

One of the volunteers has a friend on a local repeater who generally keeps his VHF/UHF rig running most of the time. The volunteer likes nothing better than to get a kid to actually key the mike and TALK.

His friend at the other end is all set up to talk to kids, encouraging them, asking questions to get the kid to talk, and generally being welcoming.

The kids love it.

Same thing can be done for new technicians (although the new technician can be a volunteer him/herself in short order. Mike shyness doesn't last long...)
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KG4RYT on December 13, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Well said. We need to encourage new ham operators, not discourage them.
 
2 Meters and New Techs  
by K2XLG on December 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
So I put amateur radio aside for 3 or 4 years..needed to concentrate on other aspects of life..and I come back on here and folks are still pissing and moaning about the same stuff that they were 4 years ago..and even further back.I can remember hearing the same stuff even before I was licensed in '96.The hobby isn't going to change by itself,or by the FCC,or by the ARRL.It's up to the experienced members to lead the newer people and show them that there's whole world of stuff to do..even with a Tech license.It's like many never get to know anything past 2 meter repeater operation on the upper bands,because no one shows them about the other modes and bands.They get pushed to get down there and get that General and get on HF.They hear the Old Timers dissing on 2 meters,so they get away from VHF/UHF stuff.As a result,they miss out on some valuable operational experience.Like how to deal with the guy that will sit on one frequency..which happens just as much on HF.And so much more.And stop bitching about repeaters..they have their place.When your town has a major disaster and the police and fire comms are down,you'll be glad to have one.I agree that the testing and licensing structure isn't what it could be.I was surprised by the General test when I took it almost 5 years ago.But while going through the study guide,I remembered what I told everyone that asked me about getting the Tech license.I would always tell them to learn the theory..don't pay so much attention to the questions and answers.The other thing I've remembered from years past,after hearing The Old Timers dissing 2 meters,is that the bands are fine.There are no good bands or bad ones.It's the people on them.If you don't like what you hear,there are several choices.Helping the lesser experienced people to broaden their horizons is one of them.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on December 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
@N1XLG

Right - I can not understand the 'old timers' who just criticize and complain instead of helping. The 'old time' tradition of ham radio was always to 'elmer' new hams.

I can understand the dissatisfaction of 'old timers' who had to actually learn some theory at least enough to pass a test with no published Q&A and who had to learn CW, but this it is is not a reason to be negative now. The test is what it is and we have to deal with it. If you love ham radio then you do what you can to make it better and that means helping new hams.

It was in fact harder in the old days to get a license. However that doesn't necessarily translate in to being a 'better' operator. Theory learned 30 or 50 years ago enough to pass a test doesn't necessarily mean you still 'know' it and/or have kept up with new technology, and any 10 year old can learn Morse code.
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by JOHNZ on December 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
@KC2WI
Yup, and anybody can get a KC2.. call sign. You just proved that fact!
 
RE: 2 Meters and New Techs  
by KC2WI on December 19, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
@JOHNZ Really no idea what you mean by that comment. If you are offended by my comment about code, tough. It is a fact. I'm not criticizing those who know and love CW, just saying that Morse code is a skill that can be mastered by kids to young to really comprehend theory or even just really understand some of the terms and language required for the written test, although nowadays they could just memorize Q&A. Generally speaking, a kid old enough to spell and read can learn CW well before they can really understand the theory and rules. Therefore, knowing Morse code in and of itself is not a guarantee that someone will be a 'good' ham. And you don't give a call sign so you could be a kd2xxx who just got a license by good memorization skills for all we know.
 
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