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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Today's Ham Radio

Robbie Spain (KD7CJO) on December 24, 2013
View comments about this article!

With all of this talk about security, I wonder, is it really time to "hide our light"? Hams and others in the radio hobby now are being thought of as suspect. Because we like to talk on the radio, and listen, we are being looked at ever closer. -- This is being done by everyone from the bus driver to the nosey neighbor, and everyone in between.

There are increasingly more areas where we can’t put up antennas, or where operation is deemed "inappropriate". When someone has a number of antennas on a car, they can be stopped and questioned by the cops or anyone else. (This has happened to me.) Also, when seen with your HT, have you noticed the way others are looking?

Today a lot of folks get worried about anything or anyone they consider to be "odd". Since 9/11 we have become scared of our own shadow, which doesn't help matters. This is in part because of government wanting more control over us, (and a main-stream media that caters to them) and partly due to people becoming more self-absorbed and not paying attention.

As the radio hobby reaches its first century of existence, I wonder if it will see a second? As we get more technically advanced, we’re losing the ability to connect with our fellow man. We're more connected now than ever in history and yet, we’re more alone then ever as well. Where we were once thought of as a good thing, radio folks are now seen as a threat. This can be true anywhere, from the airport to the store, to just walking down the street.

I remember years ago, joking around with a friend when he saw a big cap on my table about me making bombs. Today if that were said in public, SWAT would be at your doorstep in a heartbeat! Yes, times sure have changed and not all for the better.

So how do we make ourselves welcome again in this brave new world? Several ways:

(1) We can let others know that we mean no harm to them by doing public service. Once cops and others see that we’re on their side, things tend to calm down a bit. We can explain what we do to others. When questioned about the car, or what that HTs for, we can tell them about ham radio and what we do and can do.

Don’t preach, get on a "soapbox", or act better than others. Just explain that we can be of help in times of need. (And how)

(2) Be helpful. This can be locally, with EMA, or elsewhere. Let people know that we’re not the "freak" or "terrorist" they might have thought at first. (And what “hollyweard” portrays us as)

Keep in mind that while it’s not unusual to us to see someone walk into the lib. With an HT and know what it is, for others that maybe their first encounter with such a scene, or person. Letting them know that we’re just like them (including our radio hobby) can be a big help to our cause, and their ego.

(3) If you’re a renter, (as I am) asking first before putting up that antenna is a great idea. It’s also a great way to introduce someone to what we do as radio folks and to who we are.

Let these people know that we have hobbies just like anyone else. It’s just that ours revolve around radio and electronics. Again, don’t be pushy or rude. -- Just friendly and factual. And who knows, you just may win another one to the cause for your trouble!

73 and vry good DX

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by KJ4DGE on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Gee, the last time I checked my HT was not loaded. :)
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by N0IU on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"Let people know that we’re not the "freak" or "terrorist" they might have thought at first."

Wow! Can you say paranoid? Do you have proof of any of this or any of your other statements?

When you were stopped by the police, how fast were you going? Did you go through a yellow light? Did the police actually say that they stopped you because of the antennas on your car?

About the only intelligent thing you said was, "If you’re a renter, (as I am) asking first before putting up that antenna is a great idea." That's a very good idea, but it has nothing to do with security or someone wanting to take away your right to communicate. If you put up an antenna without asking your landlord first, then they have every right to ask you to remove it. I have owned rental property and you do not have the right to attach any type of device to a building you don't own.

As far as the rest of your "article", I have been involved in amateur radio for nearly 25 years and I have not observed any of what you are talking about.
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by KB0XR on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'm too busy getting on with my life to worry or even care what the public thinks of my hobby. Course, it's just a hobby for me and nothing more.
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by W1JKA on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
As long as parts/components are available the "Light" in AR comms isn't going out anytime soon. Apparently the OP hasn't noticed the increase in "number" stations, pirate or other stealth type stations on the ham bands and other frequencies where the legality of doing so and FCC enforcement of such is a moot issue. As previously mentioned I am another who has never known anybody to care weather I was an amateur radio operator or not.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by K5LXP on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!

Shades of "The Monsters Are due on Maple Street".


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by KG4RUL on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
There are five antennas on my black Suburban and I have NEVER been stopped by the law! I am disappointed! Do I need more antennas?
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by KE6SLS on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!

Hi Robbie:

I think this all comes down to perceptions. I've never encountered any evil looks except from my fellow hams! :)

I think many of us already are radio ambassadors and doing a fine job exposing the fun of this hobby to others. However, some in our ranks don't really have the "peppy" personality and that is fine too!

Enjoy om. 73

de Jaye ke6sls
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by W1JKA on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Re KG4RUL

You're all set for number of antennas, all you need is a MARS or ARES decal on your side doors to gain anyone's attention.
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by K1CJS on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
With due respect to the author, this article is one of two things--a poorly thought out plea for hams to get into emergency comms or a paranoids suggestion to spread word of the hobby and its supposed purposes.

I wonder--I also like to do model railroading. Are the real, full size railroad people going to come looking for me too? How about stamp collectors? Is the post office going to go after them? Give us a break!

Repeat after me--"It's a hobby, It's a hobby, It's a hobby...."
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by K1CJS on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
BTW, how about computer users and hackers? Are the alphabet soup security agencies going to go after ALL of them???
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by HAMMYGUY on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'll have to admit that I haven't experienced what you have. The most I've ran into is "what's your license plate mean?". Lots of times this leads to a very interesting conversation.

Seeing you live in Wyoming, you're probably living among some very independent minded people. These type probably don't like anybody who looks the least bit unusual until they get to know them.

 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by AF5CC on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"Let people know that we’re not the "freak" they might have thought at first."

Supposed that you are a freak, though?

 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by KK4RHF on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Hmmmm. Sounds like a new challenge for me. How many different antennas can I mount on the roof of my GMC Jimmy SLS. Just for starters I think a two meter 3 element yagi with rotator, 11 meter magmount, a Sirio 5000 performer, and one of those neat looking Screw Driver antennas. And for good measure a MOXON loop. Maybe some six meter gear too.
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by K8QV on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have no idea what you're talking about. In my experience people are either only mildly interested in the radio/antenna (people still do CB?) or they ignore it completely.
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by JOHNZ on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Ever been to a hamfest? It is an endless parade of societal misfits, freaks, and assorted human debris, many of whom live off fraudulently obtained monthly welfare checks. Since they screwed up most of their lives, they crave attention, good, bad, or otherwise, just give them attention.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by JOHNZ on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
@KK4RHF
Don't laugh, in these parts, the Skywarn/ARES types mount yellow flashing light bars on the roof of their vehicles. That is, after having drilled multiple antenna holes in a perfectly good vehicle. Numerous stickers and signs mounted on the vehicle crave attention that they are "first responders." Bright orange vests and helmets complete the total farce.
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by KB3FEI on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I am a ham. Occasionally I carry an HT. If you carry an HT, and it is not for your job, you ARE perceived as being weird. (However, without my HT I may miss the call from my mother ship. :))
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by NN4RH on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The average person has no idea there is such a thing as amateur radio, and don't care if they do.

The only time amateur radio enters people's minds is when an antenna tower goes up in their neighborhood.
 
Repost on April First, please.  
by N8NSN on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Why ? Early April Fools post?

eHam - why ?

To the OP:

Being new as a KD call - I hope your observations are a bit less impactive as you grow with the hobby. Your take on things is currently amusing.

Reminds me of when my son grew his hair out and began playing guitar in a "protest" band. Suddenly, he thought every alphabet soup Gov. Agency was out to get him and "reprogram his thinking". In reality though, ALL the attention he received was positive and supportive. Or even better, when my daughter would go out with the family and swear that "everyone was looking at her". When in reality noone even noticed when she came in the room - or any of us for that matter.

If these paranoid thoughts continue : seek therapy.

Personally, I couldn't care any less about what "onlookers with disapproving stares and/or comments" think or much less say.

It'll be OK

Wow.
 
RE: Repost on April First, please.  
by AE6RO on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I think the writer is spot on. Remember the Velveeta Cheese commercial? Hams can talk to China, Mongolia, and both Koreas, you know. Without a smartphone yet. Happy Holidays! Johnny Morales
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by K0RGR on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I do get questions about the screwdriver antenna on my pickup truck. I don't usually carry an HT, but the mobile rigs are pretty obvious. I do think you're more likely to get a question from law enforcement. These are usually of a friendly nature, and more than once I've had cops ask, because they were hams themselves.

As for operating from an apartment, the less attention you call to yourself, the better. There are stealthy antennas that will let you get on the air with a minimum of visibility, such as the small magnetic loops. Low power operation is also a good idea in that situation.

For getting the word out about ham radio, I think the video 'Discovering Amateur Radio' at this website should really do the trick. If that one doesn't interest them, they are beyond salvation -
http://www.radioqrv.com/


 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by NI3S on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
There is not a chance people in today's society looking away from texting or Candy Crush long enough to notice you're a ham radio operator. If they did, odds are they wouldn't care anyway.

 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by N5RMS on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Just what we need... More CB'rs on the the ham bands!
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by KJ4DGE on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I was in a conversation on 6 meter sideband with K4GUN, now at the time he, myself and another ham were having this talk he was cruising down I-95 in his truck, said truck carried about 2 or 3 VHF and UHF yagi's (he's a ROVER) Long story short he signed off to say he was being paced by 2 VA state police cars, with lights off, they no doubt were wondering about all the metal in his truck bed. or it could be his vanity license plate, But they never pulled him over, he was doing the proper speed limit. So if those hams out there REALLY wants to be noticed, put a 22 element beam in you truck bed and cruise the interstate!

73 and
Merry Christmas to all

 
Today's Ham Radio  
by K2GWK on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
It all sounds a little paranoid to me.
 
Are you daft?  
by AI2IA on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Reminds me of an old joke:

My doctor says that I have a persecution complex, but that's only because he hates me.
 
RE: Are you daft?  
by K9MHZ on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
@JOHNZ.... Yep, way more of a concern than hardware on one's vehicle or belt, is the strange, unwashed slovenly person attached to it all.
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by NA5XX on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Boy I am glad I don't live in KC7CJO's neighborhood. In my area, antennas on the house are not a problem. The response from my neighbors is Oh! you putting up another antenna. For those unaware of amateur radio I hear, Oh that sounds fun. Most of the people at the Tech classes I teach are in it for emergency communications. Many have ask, "They still do that? My grandpa was a ham." Of course around here, a gun openly carried on the hip is a normal site. I will stay right here and put up another antenna.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by N1DVJ on December 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I think the MOST attention you'll get from LE (other than a few small areas of NYS or metro Philly) would be normal cop being curious about what agency might be in their turf without a heads-up. As I said though, there are a few areas... But then, they are more paranoid than some hams.

Overall though, I think the 'wackers' have really ruined it for hams. The guys with the 'first response' vehicles. The guys that show up at incidents to 'help' without being asked. The amber-lighted wanna-be types that intrude without being asked, or worse, actually being told to stay away.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by K9MHZ on December 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
So, a 5-year Technician comes out of the noise floor to become the latest inexperienced lid with his own observations and criticisms of ham radio. How special.

Credibility....zero.
Ridiculous and odd.....off the charts.

The Technician signs off of his homepage with "good DX". Well, good.

CJO...here's an observation.....stow your feelings and narcissistic opinions of yourself and get to work on doing something productive like learning about the hobby, getting an education (that might actually get you out of your apartment), and working hard at something productive.

Millenials really crack me up.



 
Today's Ham Radio  
by WN2C on December 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"joking around with a friend when he saw a big cap on my table about me making bombs"

Why would you even think about that??
If the reason you got into this HOBBY is to be an Emcomm guy, you can do that on 11 meters with REACT.
Try them, you might like them.
Oh, and stay off my frequency!!
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by W4KVU on December 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
K9MHZ:
Ditto
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by K1PJR on December 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Years ago I was an EMT with a local volunteer group. The only thing I didn't like we're the "yahoos". The ones with all the lights on their cars and every piece of equipment they could possibly strap to their bodies. Not to mention that they always talked in third person.

Anyway, I've been around ham radio for many years and have only had positive responses from people. I think the author is overreacting. This is a hobby. It's suppose to be fun. Treat it as such and you will have a good time.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by AE6RO on December 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Some people might remember the Red Menace witch hunts of the 1950s. Lots of people were suspicious about hams taking secret orders via radio from Moscow or Peking. Or worse, from space aliens. So this isn't anything new. Happy holidays, tovarichi! John
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by N0IU on December 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"This is a hobby. It's suppose to be fun. Treat it as such and you will have a good time."

Obviously you haven't been paying attention to the whackers and preppers. Amateur radio exists solely for the purpose of providing emergency communications. Casual operating is only to be done in between disaster preparedness drills.

And even though the FCC oversees the operation of dozens of radio services, ONLY in the case of the amateur radio service does that mean that we are required to provide a service whereas none of the other radio services have the same requirement.

 
Today's Ham Radio  
by K4EZD on December 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas about Ham Radio in this positive and courteous essay. Posting anything on this site is a real risk, making you an easy target for those who enjoy negativity and cynical criticism. Merry Christmas and nice to hear that you enjoy our hobby that is broad enough to include all types and interests.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by KB6QXM on December 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
All,

It seems that everyone is ready to jump down this author's throat. He does make a few good points, but looking at the posts, it must have hit a nerve with many hams.

I could go into details, but it is the holidays and in the spirit of the holidays, I will refrain from my comments.

73
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by K9MHZ on December 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'm sorry, I just don't get what "positive" or a "few good points" were made in his post.

And yes, it does hit a nerve.....his, along with a string of others posting here over time, that fall into a typical category...

- A new/newer, very inexperienced person posting their "observations" about the hobby, many times whining about how disappointing it has been for them. Too, the ensuing sage advice for everyone's consumption is what really strikes that deep nerve.

I'm not suggesting that there needs to be some kind of a seniority system to determine if your opinion will matter to the group. Instead, it's all about humility...there are just too many very bright, accomplished, and selfless hams out there that don't need to be preached to by these younger narcissistic people.




 
Today's Ham Radio  
by KK9H on December 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I ride a Metra train to and from work every work day. I often use my HT to talk to friends while commuting and I've had an issue. I also have a dual band mobile in my car which I use almost every day. Never had an issue with that either. Our club does lots of public service work thoughout the year.

73, Don
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by K1CJS on December 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
>>>...it's all about humility...there are just too many very bright, accomplished, and selfless hams out there that don't need to be preached to by these younger narcissistic people. <<<

Bingo.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by W5LZ on December 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I will 'inactively' recruit anyone who wants to be 'recruited' into ham radio. I'm happy to explain all that I can. If some one is interested I'll certainly help them. What I won't do is 'pressure' anyone with some type'a 'sales' gimmick thingy, I hate that crap, and it's NOT productive. Seen too much of it and after a little while those recruits sort of go AWOL.
Ham radio isn't well known, but it's certainly not 'rare' either. At least in this area. Can't say for other places though.
So, if you get 'looks' from people, smile at them. If you get asked questions answer them. I've never been stopped for antennas, and I've got more than one on almost every vehicle I own/have owned. I honestly have never heard of anyone in this area who has been stopped and questioned about their antennas without some other 'probable cause' for being stopped. As far as that goes, stop me, I don't care...
- Paul
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by K6AER on December 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
You must be a new ham.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by N4UE on December 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Not to be sarcastic (!) but maybe he could give operating lessons to the 'gang' on 14.313......

ron
N4UE
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by KB4QAA on December 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
There is no national shortage, need or requirement to recruit more ham operators!

We don't need to 'sell' the hobby to a reluctant public. While I'm proud and more than willing to tell people about amateur radio since I was a teenager, I've seen too many people who were 'convinced' to get licensed without any strong, sincere interest in it.

Approaching twenty years now, over 250 million people have been sold amateur radio as variously: "An easy way to talk into a box with minimal training or knowledge" and later as: "Emergency Communications Super Heroes" again with minimal training or technical knowledge.

At heart, ham radio is a Self-Taught electronics and physics hobby. While there are myriad specialty areas, and plenty of room for people who just like to talk, the vast majority of hams are technicians at some level.

This was a great hobby when there were 25,000 (1930's), 50,000 (1950's) and 300,000 (1980's). But shear numbers don't make the hobby better. Especially, when Amateur Radio is sold as something it is not! b.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by KB4QAA on December 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Correction: "250 Million" should be "250 Thousand".

But what's a few hundred million more disillusioned ham licensees? ;)
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by WB4M on December 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Same here; I don't recruit anyone. If someone shows an interest, I'll explain it to them. But I have never had any experiences the author mentioned.


 
Today's Ham Radio  
by WB4M on December 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
When I get any of those reactions, I immediately whip out my ham radio operators badge and let them know who's in charge!
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by K1FPV on December 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Hmmmm..." As we get more technically advanced"? When I was first licensed over 50 years ago, 9 out of 10 hams were able to repair their own equipment. Now I'd be willing to bet that it is only maybe 2 out of 10 if we are lucky! Too many of the amateurs are appliance operators and not skilled technicians or engineers as years gone by or willing to learn what is needed to fix their own equipment.

Don't get paranoid! I don't think we need worry too much. A couple years ago, I was pulled over for going a bit to fast in a particular area. The policeman was very courteous, and let me go with a verbal warning as he quoted, "Because you hams do a lot of good public service work!"

Maybe it is good I have my Ham Plates on my car along with the antennas.



 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by N1DVJ on December 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"9 out of 10 hams were able to repair their own equipment"

Interesting observation. Of course, there was a lot more home-built equipment then. Even so, most hams could service their factory built stuff as well.

But I don't think it's disparaging to say only 2 out of 10 hams today could repair their equipment. Oh, if anything, I personally think it's less. I would venture to say that less than 10% (or 1 out of 10) could even handle simple problems on their equipment today.

But... If you take those 9 out of 10 hams from 50 years ago and adjust for technology, I think the adjust rate of hams from back then to today is probably less than 1%. Probably WAY less.

Ok, I know some will take offense at that statement. But really, how many hams today, of ANY caliber, could design a PLL circuit? How many hams today even KNOW what a dual-modulus prescaler is? How many hams could even use a flash chip, other than complete devices like SD cards that plug in?

When I hear some of the hams today putting down todays hams, I ask them, what's the ratio in the prescaler? How does the error correction amp work? Or how to erase a flash chip. Heck, 99% of the 'elite' don't even have a clue as to what I'm talking about. But at least SOME of the 'nerdy newbies' will.

Heck, make it simple... Explain WHY they use DDLs in a lot of repeaters.

THEN you can at least present your opinion as to why newbies aren't up to technical snuff. But the people complaining should really look at themselves first.

It's the same old age old situation. When a lot of the ranks think that their ham license is the final exam, when it really is an entrance exam.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by K1CJS on December 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Could well be even less than 1 in 10! With the sizes of components and the construction techniques today, a ham almost has to have special equipment to even replace one single component on a typical PC board!
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by N1DVJ on December 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I didn't even want to touch the issue of the form factors. I was referring strictly to the technology, 'as-if' it were user servicable.

My K2 was fairly modern, but built with all through-hole. Other things from the Elecraft line have a mix, but there's still a lot of through-hole. But the smallest I'm comfortable working with, and then under protest, is 0805 stuff for small passive components. Even there I have to work almost totally under glass.

And putting down some 100+ lead parts that are about 1" square like a 9S12? I've done it, but I sure as hell don't like it!

You know you're in trouble when you have to buy special after-market 1/64" chisel tips for your Weller...


 
An article on RF service & Homebrewing = cool  
by N8NSN on December 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
After reading the previous few responces...
I'd love to see some eHam articles on

* true homebrew -vs- kit assembly

Today a lot of hams consider purchasing a kit & plugging in modular boards and perhaps soldering a hand full of connections "home brewing". I'm not knocking kits. They are cool in the purpose they serve, but I really don't consider many of the kits actual "homebrewing".

To me, homebrewing with my monkey paws revolves more in the hollow state, high voltage realm.
1: my eyes are still good for most descrete components
2: no overly specialized tools are required

I believe this OPs article has been highjacked :-)

 
What's important and what's not.  
by AI2IA on December 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
In our current times, repairing your own equipment has become to a great extent impractical. You need magnifiers, de-soldering tools and irons, IC pullers, and many other specialized things. Many hams have vision problems, too!

What is more important is to have or to acquire the knowledge to troubleshoot your own gear, to be able to adjust it, and to match it effectively with associated gear. It is important to have a solid foundation in basic electronics and component theory and fabrication, and also how circuits function. It is also essential to know the basics of propagation. Understanding all this is at the very heart of ham radio. Repair? Well, it is nice. It can save you a lot of money to do it yourself, but in the light of these other aspects, repair is not so important anymore.

To know how to use all the bells and whistles on your rigs to best advantage, to understand when something goes wrong, to squeeze the most efficient operating efficiency out of what you have - this is being a good ham in today's world. If you think about, you'll probably agree that this is where it is at today.

de Ray, ai2ia
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by KD2AKG on December 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
As I was reading this "essay" I was wondering how it would be received. Just another paranoid guy who thinks people notice/care about hams. The few people I have met in the last two years that asked, I told them what it is, why I do it, and where to get more info. It's the yo-yo's with the hard sell, the emcomm, etc. nonsense that make hams look like wackos. I guess it's pretty easy to get an article published on Eham.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by N4JTE on December 26, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Well this type of article always has more response than anything of a technical nature but I am guilty of the same thoughts as previous posters, I will look up the contacts/ qrz, of any "author" before I respond, for a quick understanding about who is writing the article.
As the author is a Tech perhaps a little more real, on air, experience on HF will season him and allay his misconceived paranoia.
Bob
 
A little kindness  
by AI2IA on December 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Okay, so this ham's thoughts are, let us say, a little unpopular with most of you, but look how many comments he generated in this thread so far, and still counting. Sometimes things like this help to clear the air on issues, or bring out the emcomm haters, the new ham ridicule folks, and other vermin.

Welcome to the eHam community of the good, the bad, and the ugly,Robbie Spain,kd7cjo, and never forget, you are every bit as good as the rest of us. What the goons forget is this:

HAM RADIO IS AND REMAINS FOREVER WHAT YOU MAKE IT FOR YOURSELF.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and keep on posting.

de Ray, ai2ia
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by KJ4RHB on December 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Note to self: I need to start carrying my HT and adding additional antenna's to my car.

Seriously though, I have not had anyone comment about this hobby negatively to me. When they see the antenna on my car - folks often think it is for CB.

When I'm out with friends in a park to do QRP - we might get some curious folks stopping by to ask questions. This is normally the best time for me to inform them about this great hobby of mine.

Many folks that come up to me believed Ham Radio to be extinct... :)
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by N7IBC on December 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have been asked, "why do you have a fishing pole on the front of your truck" -or- "Man, that is a big CB antenna".
I have been asked once by a law enforcement officer what I was doing while I was testing a mobile HF antenna. But to his credit, and being watchful, I was in the middle of a large urban, empty parking lot, at night. Once explained and demonstrated what it was, he was happy and off he went.

I have had one nosy neighbor complain to my wife that I was messing with his television on the CB radio.I wasn't even home and the radio was off at the time.

The only other time I had a question, I was setup for a test of the state HF ARES net in a state park. Again, once explained to the local ranger, he stayed there to watch how it went.The park was remote enough and not used a lot, so all was well. And, the ranger became a ham, so, it was better than expected.

I don't believe I have ever been hassled about my gear at all really, except by the city P&Z department. That is on-going as I want to put up a 50 foot tower.I will probably toss PRB-1 at them, but as I work there, I am going to have to wait until I retire next year before I get vocal.
Other than the above, I have not seen the paranoia complex from people. What I usually get, is, "people still use ham radio", when I tell them about it.
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by KB4QAA on December 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Analogies:

-"Golf; it's all about fashion"

-"Fishing; the place for tanning folks"

Don't recruit people into hamming with the idea they don't need to have in interest in electronics. Until the day every piece of equipment is Plug-n-Play, operators will necessarily have to know and used technical electronics knowledge just to set up the equipement and make a contact.

Don't recruit people with the idea that it's a fun hobby because the entrance test is easy and 2m handhelds are priced to be throw-aways. 2m repeater activity is sparse and entirely one dimensional.

Don't recruit people with the idea ham radio is about Emergency Communications. Most people will never do more than help out at a few parades and races. Ever. Send them to the VFD, Rescue Squad, Search and Rescue team, Red Cross or Salvation Army.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by KB4QAA on December 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Let's not forget:

"Runners: The Snack People!"
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by WA4HBK on December 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I believe in Florida your "loaded" HT would be covered by your concealed carry permit.
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by WA4HBK on December 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I believe your "loaded" HT would be cover by your concealed carry permit in Florida.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by KE7FD on December 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Let's just all try to portray the best image we can. We may not be successful in our recruiting efforts but there may be some things we can do that work better than others when it comes to building a positive image about hams. Being smug, arrogant, and disinterested in others is inappropriate. If we treat non-hams as ignorant or uninformed we've done far more damage than can often ever be undone. If someone is truly abrasive about radio, just don't give them any more reason to be negative; go on your way and let them alone. There will yet be others you encounter who are simply not interested or even remotely curious. Again here do not telegraph to them that they are ignorant or uninformed; they simply have other interests or even bigger issues on their minds.

Still there will be those who may be somewhat interested yet very “green about the ears”, so don't say or do anything that will chase them away. Perhaps you feel that you're not the best people-person and someone else with better people skills should hold their hand; that's OK. Work with another Elmer and as a team you can bring these folks closer to becoming hams. The golden rule applies to hams just as it does to everyone else. Remember too that first impressions go a long way so put yourself in their shoes when it comes to how you're portraying ham radio to others.

Glen - KE7FD
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by KK5JY on December 27, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Yeah, I have to second KB0XR on this one. I just do my thing, and nobody notices. Only one neighbor has mentioned the various antenna projects in my back yard, and then only because he is an engineer and such things interest him.

Only one state trooper has ever asked about the antennas on my car, and I've been stopped a few times by different agencies. Now, a few people have asked me if I was a cop myself, but of course I say 'no' and then explain that I'm into ham radio. I never get follow-up questions.

Even the people at the service department at the car dealer never notice my antennas or the control heads in the car. I do mount them professionally with NMO holes, so they do look nice, as antennas go.

I have been stopped momentarily by TSA at airports when carrying ham gear through the checkpoints. One poor TSA girl got a little freaked by the pelican case full of cables and ham gadgets, but they swiped it, ran the swipe in their little detector, found nothing, and sent me on my way. Maybe sixty seconds of delay. Only one TSA agent correctly identified the gear as communications gear (at a military airport). A few have asked "what's in the box". When I explain it's ham radio gear, they get a bored look on their face and move to the next person in line.

One thing I did to help when passing through TSA was to put a copy of my license inside the pelican case, on top of all the gear. When they see the FCC seal on the license, that chills them out a bit. ;-)

A few coworkers have noticed my call plates on the truck, and used that as an excuse to ask me for some mentoring in ham radio. One of them is now an extra, and the another is getting ready to take his general test. So the mobile gadgets seem to advertise radio on their own. I do attractive installations that look professional, so that probably helps some.

My old landlords never said a word to me, and they were in my apartment every three months to change air filters (at least, that was the story they told to tenants...) Not once did any of them complain about any of my projects, which included a 40m indoor dipole hung from the ceiling, a magnetic loop, a couple of verticals, and probably some others that I don't remember. One of the maintenance guys stopped me one day out on the sidewalk to brag about his own CB days. That was kind of funny. :-)

I have even walked around my neighborhood with a handheld yagi antenna, looking for power line noise, pointing it at poles, houses, electric fences, cars, everything. I try to be cool and discrete, but that's kind of hard sometimes. I never appear to be aggressive with my actions. Not once has anybody called the cops on me (if they did, the cops didn't respond). A couple of neighbors asked me what I was doing, and when I explained that I was finding noisy power poles so the city could fix them, most of them thought that was a fantastic idea. :-)

If you listen to the police scanner in any city, you'll realize that a guy with a ham radio doesn't even register on the radar of any reasonable police dispatcher. It doesn't even register at an airport. There's just way too much other stuff going on for them to care.

My advice to the OP -- just stay cool, maybe chill out a little. Do your thing and be confident and enjoy it. Others will pick up on your confidence and cool toys and may ask you to mentor them!
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by WB2AMU on December 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have been doing portable VHF work for over 20 years now. As part of this, I operate QRP portable from a hill in a park not too far from my home at least three times a year during the ARRL VHF contests. At least once a year, a park police officer or regular county police come to check me out as the result of someone calling in about "suspect activity" because of the portable beams that I set up. I have paperwork regarding permissions to operate at this park, which I show the officers and then all is resolved. Years ago, this may not have happened all that much but because of the times that we live in, there is more vigilance towards anything that looks out of the ordinary. Make sure that you have proper paperwork with you and hopefully, it answers most questions.
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by KE4ZHN on December 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Mr. Spain, may I suggest therapy for your paranoia? The general public doesn't have a clue nor do they care about amateur radio or CB. Many have no idea what they even are or do. And the last time I went to a ham fest, it was painfully obvious why many hams get funny looks from the public. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to public relations.

Some dude who weighs 400 pounds riding around on a scooter with 15 antennas on it does not set a very good example for amateur radio does it? Or some strange looking whacko with so many antennas on their vehicle it looks like a porcupine, with flashing yellow lights,wearing orange vests and huge AREAS/RACES emblems emblazoned all over everything is sure to get funny looks. Any regular Joe who sees this automatically assumes a mental case is around. And in many cases, they would be correct.
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by KC5CQD on December 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
About a year ago I was listening to a morning AM talk radio show and that particular morning they were discussing unusual businesses in the area and how they stayed in business. Some elderly woman called in and said, "I always see this store in town called Ham Radio Outlet. My God....do people still do that?". Haha! Not only are they not afraid of us, most people either know nothing about us or our hobby or they think we went extinct long ago.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by K6CRC on December 28, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Stop listening to so much late night talk radio. No one is out to get you.

Ask the average citizen what they think of Ham Radio, the answer will be "I don't."
 
HOBBY  
by LEON on December 29, 2013 Mail this to a friend!

THIS IS ROBBIE:

Let these people know that we have hobbies just like anyone else. It’s just that ours revolve around radio and electronics. Again, don’t be pushy or rude. -- Just friendly and factual. And who knows, you just may win another one to the cause for your trouble!

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

LEON HERE:

Well Robbie your article is interesting to say the least. I don't know you personally or how long you have been in this hobby. You spoke about some things that you feel is important to you and felt compelled to share it with us here on E-Ham. I don't agree with everything you said, but at least you had the gumption to say it.

To me the most important thing in this hobby is fellowship. I don't care what people think of my antennas and how they look in my backyard or on top of my truck. I'm not trying to win anyone over for some type of cause you speak about.

My advice to you Robbie is to get on the air, have fun, be respectful, and always remember to treat folks like you would like to be treated.

And for goodness sake, don't ever forget that this is a HOBBY.

Best 73 and God Bless!!

LEON


 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by AE6RO on December 30, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you!" Kurt Cobain. 73, John
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by KF7CG on December 31, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Slightly off topic, but could become important at some point. With drones becoming more prevalent, what will drone flight altitudes, flight patterns, and pilot visibility capabilities do to antenna height limits?

Currently the ultimate limits if no others apply are those put in place by the FAA. With drones flying at low altitudes and not from specified air fields, will our tower and wire antenna limits be changed?

I can see where a lot of small drones could have problems with the taller and larger, but still unlighted Ham arrays.

KF7CG
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by K4PIH on December 31, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
At least he had the courage to mention his concerns. I have been a ham for many years, and I bet there are some citizens and law enforcement people who would think that a guy with antennas on his house or vehicle might be worth watching. After all, the US Government (think FCC and its ancestors) stopped all ham activity for WW1 and WW2 because they were afraid it might be used by the bag guys. One poster here also mentioned that he was shadowed by 2 Virginia state troopers. They may have just been curios, they may have thought he was using some device to thwart the speed limit (remember folks, RADAR detectors are illegal in Virginia), and they may have been looking for easy way to round out their ticket quota for the week. I think the latter 2 are the most likely. In the past, Virginia law enforcement officers were known to target Amateur and CB operators because of a state law that banned "scanning receivers" in vehicles belonging to the general public. They would pull folks over on the highway and "express" interest in the equipment, then pop the 64$ question: Does that radio have a scanning capability? Of course the proud operator would reply, and promptly have his equipment confiscated, receive a ticket and given a court date. Many a ham and CB'er fell into this trap. So to say he is paranoid, maybe not so much as concerned. Another "bad rap" Ham's get is from TV. Every watch Ice Road Truckers? I do, it's a great show. However did you pay attention to the types of radios they are using, specifically North of the border? They are using radios marketed as HAM but in fact are the mod-capable ones to CB or "Freeband". Watch closely next time, you will see a 27 or 28 MHz readout with a CB channel number next to it. The guys travel out of Yellowknife and go north on 200 mile trips and talk all the way to their destination. Think a 4 watt CB can reliably do that? Not much cell phone coverage up there. Off topic a bit, but the point is, you never know what or what that person is doing with a radio, and in these post 911 times I bet the concern level is there. So, let's not skewer the poster for expressing a concern.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by KF7VXA on December 31, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have 7 antennas, verticals, flat tops, 6 M loop and inverted V'S" in my back yard.
Some neighbors have asked about them and I've explained about the hobby and the ability to talk all over the world, all have been impressed, having heard of such things, but not knowing anyone who did so.
I have also been asked for help by members of the LDS church in helping them set up emergency communications in my area. I'm not LDS, but will help anyone who is serious and have worked with more than a few of them including setting up a radio display at one of their Emergency days.
I am also involved in EMCOMM work in the small community in which I live. The County Emergency Coordinator is quite pleased as I have some things that they don't in their Emergency Center and is glad for the help I give. I've put emergency comms in our local hospital, both voice and digital.
Overall, I've had zero problems due to Amateur radio. Those who understand the need for EMCOMM are pleased there is another who could communicate to get help if necessary, others just look at it as my hobby.
I have got 6 people to get their tickets so far as a result of them stopping and asking about the antennas, so all in all, it has been a good thing.
I don't live in one of those communities where every house is the same except for a choice of 3 colors and can't hear my next door neighbor pass wind when on the crapper. This of course helps a lot.
I'm fairly sure that if I did live in one of those communities, some would dislike my antennas, but I paid for my property and will do as I wish. I have done my best to keep everything behind the home and keep it as decent looking as possible.
I won't appoligize to anyone for my hobby and don't give a hoot about others hobbies, to each his own.

Being decent and explaining how things work and what they do goes a long way in getting understanding. Should someone not like what I have up, I'd be polite, but would not lose sleep over their dislike. It's their problem. I may not like things they have in their yard, but it's theirs, not mine.

Pointing out all the positive things that go with our hobby will not work on every one, but I've found it works well for me.
Helping when asked goes a long way in building support.
And no, no lights or a dozen antennas on my vehicle, Just a Comet CA 4X4 wide band for VHF/UHF gear. I have antennas I can set up quickly for HF from my vehicle if needed. Nothing wrong with a screwdriver, I just don't drive and communicate all that much.

John KF7VXA
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by W1ACC on December 31, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Oh my god.... put the joint down dude...dont worry about what they think your doing ..just grab the mic and call cq cq cqdx
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by WZ3O on January 1, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
“by KG4RUL on December 24, 2013 Mail this to a friend! There are five antennas on my black Suburban and I have NEVER been stopped by the law! I am disappointed! Do I need more antennas?“

Maybe the Black Suburban with antennas IS the reason you haven't been stopped. TV shows always show that as an “Agency du jour's" vehicle of choice..... :-p


I had a mini screwdriver mounted on the front passenger door of my Black F150 4 door, did get looks, but never stopped either....

Hi Hi
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by K1CJS on January 1, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
>>Slightly off topic, but could become important at some point. With drones becoming more prevalent, what will drone flight altitudes, flight patterns, and pilot visibility capabilities do to antenna height limits?

Currently the ultimate limits if no others apply are those put in place by the FAA. With drones flying at low altitudes and not from specified air fields, will our tower and wire antenna limits be changed?

I can see where a lot of small drones could have problems with the taller and larger, but still unlighted Ham arrays.<<

Heck, if those drones do hit an antenna or an array, they will probably sustain damage too--and land suddenly. (Crunch!) Just keep the thing until you get compensation. Simple enough.
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by AE6RO on January 2, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
What if the drones collide with the ham antennas? Huh?
John
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by KF7CG on January 2, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
That was the problem I was speaking of. Drone antenna collisions, the antenna almost always wins, but then come the lawyers, you know who wins there, the lawyers.

As much as I am technically savvy and appreciate modern convenience, I doubt that package delivery and "otherwise" drones are really a modern convenience.

If a drone flys through my 10000 watt erp EME signal beam and its controller loses its mind for a while and the drone goes down, whose fault is it?

I would hate to have to explain to my neighbors that I shot down their "can't wait for it" package while playing moon-bounce.

KF7CG
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by N1DVJ on January 2, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Come on, be serious. Since when is this a new problem? What is unique about it other than the proliferation of the technology? In years past, if an R/C or model rocket hobbiest hit your property or whatever, there were rules of liability. Why in the world is anyone raising this issue now, other than to 'sound important' in a discussion.

Geesh, I can't believe the amount of know-it-alls that suddenly want to be experts on drones...
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by W4AUE on January 3, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Yammer, yammer, yammer!

Beam me up Scotty, there's no intelligent life on this planet.

 
Today's Ham Radio  
by KB2SMS on January 3, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Over reaction. People crap their pants over the smallest stuff today. Ham radio is not illegal so anyone that may have an "issue" with it needs to go get lost and mind their own freaking business. Some people are so damn sensitive any more.

 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by AE6RO on January 3, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
What's LAW got to do with it? John
 
DRONES  
by LEON on January 3, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Alright here is the deal on the DRONES and my take on it in relation to Ham Radio.

DUDE REALLY!!!

Get on the air and have fun with this Hobby.

LEON


P.S. When you do get on the air and have fun, MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE in the persons life that you have a QSO with.
 
RE: DRONES  
by N3HSH on January 11, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Those of you that keep stressing amateur radio is a HOBBY are missing out on the fact it is also defined as a PUBLIC SERVICE. I realize we all enjoy ham radio for different reasons - some of us are more hobby oriented and some are more public service oriented.

I for one, like to put my skills to good use and help out in public service with ham radio when I can.

So for those of you that see this as only a hobby, I would encourage you to remember and consider getting involved in the public service side of it as well.

73,
Charlies
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by N7PB on January 26, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
Very good settings about Radio Today.One thing I've actually found is compassionate relief, and care, when people see my Handheld.I do Block Watch over a two mile Neighborhood Area, almost Daily.I carry two Radios, my old Icom 2m Ft-2H, and one of the inexpensive Baoefung UV-5RA's, dual band.One scanning both my favorite Repeaters, the second on my closest Repeater I know I can hit in emergencies. What I've found is= to Good People ask, talk, and are very happy that someone is out looking for their emergency care.That's about 99 percent.The other percentage are the Bad Ones, Distributing, or Consuming Heroin, Home Break In Guys/Gals checking a house out.This experience has been very enlightening.The Police are ecstatic because they are underhanded due to City Government and financial issues, The School District has now added a security agent 5PM-5AM Daily, who called me after her heard about me from the Police who checked me only once, and not abusive, as I was at a Police Car/Bad Guy accident on a Chase, and one Officer wondered if I was part of a Block Patrol.All the neighbors I've seen I always open the discussion first with a Great Hello, and then go into why I have Radios on me.They become z very good friends since.It's all in the approaches.They Bad Guys in Distribution Run off and haven't come back.Many have stayed long enough to be z arrested for felonies.So, there are now many people in that two mile area who either are interested in the Hobby, and the Rest are new and grateful New friends...What can I say? Paul N7PB
 
RE: Today's Ham Radio  
by N1DVJ on January 27, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
It's great if two things come together for you, as it seemed to do for you.

One is community support, ESPECIALLY the police. While police generally support citizen awareness and cooperation, WAY too often anything from a ham radio venue is quickly (and justifiably) perceived as wackers and wanabees. However, if a community needs and supports some kind of citizens watch, they police can be, but not always, supportive.

The other is the personality of the individual involved. Sounds like you mesh, and quite well. There are others, in the majority, who are the worst possible examples of wackerhood. They seem to have the only agenda of showing off what a whacker they are.

Kudos to you for having a successful situation
 
Today's Ham Radio  
by KC9AIX on January 27, 2014 Mail this to a friend!
And just try to get a young person (talking on his cellular radio) interested in radio today. Radio is more pervasive than ever and no one even realizes it!
 
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