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Author Topic: Not sure if I should get my license please help.  (Read 5957 times)
PLANKEYE
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Posts: 212




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« on: September 04, 2017, 02:43:31 PM »

Thank you all for letting me be part of the forum here. I recently became interested in Ham Radio and have been studying with hamtestonline for my tech and general license. I'm pretty much ready for the tests and I have been working on my code skills as well even though it's not required. A local ham loaned me one of his radios FT-840 and a wire antenna so I could listen while I prepared for my test.

I'm sure how to say this without offending anyone but what I hear on the radio troubles me a little. I have heard all kinds of arguments, threats to show up at someones house, recordings of weird things and a 14 year old was cqing and was told to by others that was their frequency and to move on.

I have listened on 80m 40m 20m and 17m. I also have a CB that I listen to because I'm by a busy truck stop.

Some of the CB guys are nicer than the ham guys I hear.

What troubles me is the fact that ham radio call signs identify you and your location. From what I have been hearing there are a lot of people with ill intent within ham radio.

I'm not sure what to do and I'm a little nervous about getting into this hobby after hearing all this on the radio. Everything I have been studying says you can't do this type of thing. Is there any enforcement of the rules I'm studying about?

Thank you all.
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WW7KE
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Posts: 576




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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2017, 03:30:24 PM »

What troubles me is the fact that ham radio call signs identify you and your location.

Your first callsign is sequentially assigned, and the number will be correct for your location.  But it doesn't identify your exact location.  It identifies a call area, which could be one state (6, which is California), six states (1, which is all of New England), or many states (4, 7, and 0). 

If you move to a different call area, you can keep your current call if you want to.  Also, if you want a vanity callsign, you can select any number you want.  There is no absolute guarantee that, for example, WA5XYZ is located anywhere in the 5th call area.

Quote
From what I have been hearing there are a lot of people with ill intent within ham radio.

While I'm sure our share of bad apples exist, my guess is the actual number is minuscule.
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He speaks fluent PSK31...  One QSO with him earns you 5BDXCC...  His Wouff Hong has two Wouffs... Hiram Percy Maxim called HIM "The Old Man..."  He is... The Most Interesting Ham In The World!
PLANKEYE
Member

Posts: 212




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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2017, 03:46:56 PM »

Not sure about the callsigns but if you think this is something that happens like almost never you might want to check your antenna.  I have been trying NOT to hear it.  I listen while I study with a very simple setup and I hear it.  17m is good though.  Not sure why.  80m 40m talk is pretty much CB not sure about 20m.   
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KC4ZGP
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Posts: 1637




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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2017, 03:48:59 PM »

Herr Plankeye,

I am Tim Kraus. I live in Warner Robins, Georgia. So good to know folks still want to get in
on the action.

Let no one keep you from what you want to do. Get you license. Get on the air.

Ham radio still has building to it. Now, most of use do use factory-made transceivers but that's
it. Everything else we build.

Well we might buy an antenna but that's it. Everything else we build.

Oh alright some us buy an amplifier but that's it. Everything else we build.

I'm a PSK-31 guy on twenty meters.

I've recently came back to Morse. I was struggling on 17 meters but the band is so
empty, I just wasn't getting enough on-the-air contacts. So Morse on twenty is my
new hangout.

I hope to get my EB-104 amplifier fixed so I can SSB it on one-sixty.

Get that license. I wouldn't worry about kooks on the air. The off switch is a great invention.

I can go away. I can ignore.

Kraus



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WW7KE
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Posts: 576




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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2017, 03:53:34 PM »

Not sure about the callsigns but if you think this is something that happens like almost never you might want to check your antenna.  I have been trying NOT to hear it.  I listen while I study with a very simple setup and I hear it.  17m is good though.  Not sure why.  80m 40m talk is pretty much CB not sure about 20m.   

I'm not sure what you mean by operators with ill intent, then.  To me, that signifies some kind of criminal activity.  We do have a bunch of bitter old geezers, probably drunk, letting off a few F-bombs and bitching & moaning about how great the good olde days were, and how ham radio has gone to hell in a handbasket since the demise of vacuum tubes.  We have plenty of those, unfortunately.  Just ignore them.
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He speaks fluent PSK31...  One QSO with him earns you 5BDXCC...  His Wouff Hong has two Wouffs... Hiram Percy Maxim called HIM "The Old Man..."  He is... The Most Interesting Ham In The World!
PLANKEYE
Member

Posts: 212




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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2017, 03:59:58 PM »

Thank you Kraus, but I don't want to have to go away and ignore things.  I don't want to have to turn off the radio that cost 500 dollars thats crazy.  I guess you can ignore it but does that mean it was never there.  I have heard the term spin the dial blah blah.  I don't know maybe I'm missing something.  Thank you for your input.    
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PLANKEYE
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Posts: 212




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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2017, 04:11:28 PM »

Well as far as the intent of the people I have heard on the air I won't speak of it here in this forum.  I'm just wondering if this is a fun hobby.  So far not so much.   
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KC4ZGP
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Posts: 1637




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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2017, 04:20:26 PM »

Like WW7KE said, the morons are few and far between. Get in there and
have fun. Does a particular facet draw you?

I like building antennas.

I am working on my amplifier. I used an EB-63, 1 & 1/2 watt keyer and homemade quarter-wave
ground plane when I first got on the air in 1991. I morsed it for about a year or so. Then the computer
arrived.

So maybe it's building I like about the hobby. I try it. Sounds OK. I try something else.

Oh and don't fret trying to set up anything permanent. There is nothing permanent in ham radio.

See you soon on the air.

73

Kraus
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PLANKEYE
Member

Posts: 212




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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2017, 04:30:03 PM »

Thank you again Kraus but the crazy people are not few and far between, at least from what I hear.   
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KC4ZGP
Member

Posts: 1637




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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2017, 06:16:59 PM »


Herr Plankeye,

I avoid sex, religion and politics.

I talk baseball, the moon and its phases. I ask a crossword question. There are so many things
to discuss, I cannot understand why folks want to narrow down their choices and talk the three taboos.

You'll be OK. Nothing says you have to talk to someone if you see disaster ahead. Just politely end
the conversation.

Have you a particular 'first' rig on your mind. I own an Alinco SR-8T. Almost $500.00. It'll get
your feet wet. There are other radios. Lots of radios. Don't have to have everyone.

And an antenna. Start with a single band antenna. You might hate the hobby after a month.

Have fun.

Kraus





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PLANKEYE
Member

Posts: 212




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« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2017, 06:29:50 PM »

Thank you again kraus for the advice.  I can't talk I just listen.  What I hear though is disturbing me.   
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WW7KE
Member

Posts: 576




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« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2017, 07:34:24 PM »

If you can get your General Class license, you'll have access to the digital modes (RTTY, PSK31, JT65, JT9, & the new FT8 are the most popular, but there are many others).  Granted, they (other than the first two) aren't ragchew modes, but they'll get you on the air and give you experience, as well as some decent DX.  Better class of operators, too.

Given what you've said in this thread, I'd avoid SSB on 40 and especially 75 meters, as well as 2 meter FM -- too many of those bitter old men hanging out.  Oh, BTW, I'm 62 years old, retired, and I've been licensed for 47 years.  They drive me nuts, too.  Not all of us geezers are bitter and angry.  Life's too short for that. Grin

To start, keep your setup simple -- a small, easy-to-use rig and a simple antenna, bought or built.  I'm not familiar with the Alinco that Kraus mentions, but for the price it's worth looking into.
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He speaks fluent PSK31...  One QSO with him earns you 5BDXCC...  His Wouff Hong has two Wouffs... Hiram Percy Maxim called HIM "The Old Man..."  He is... The Most Interesting Ham In The World!
KK6RPX
Member

Posts: 113




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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2017, 09:14:39 PM »

I'm a new ham myself, licensed a couple of years. Don't worry about the idiots. I have met a lot of great folks and made quite a few friends. I just did my first real portable operation while on a trip and it was great to be able to reach my pals.

It's like a big city. Some areas are rough and best avoided. Some areas are awesome and fun. Don't let the few cretins put you off. There are idiots living in YOUR neighborhood right now, are you going to move because of them?

Get your license, hook up with cool folks and have fun! If you are on the West coast, shoot me a PM and I'll be happy to share where me and my pals hang out.
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K8AC
Member

Posts: 1763




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« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2017, 10:35:33 AM »

Plankeye: I've been licensed for 58 years now and have been involved in most areas of the hobby over that time.  The first thing I'd advise you to do is to think about why you're interested in the hobby in the first place.  If the answer is that you want to chat with guys on 40 and 80 meter SSB, then you should be aware that you've chosen the cesspool of the hobby and as you've already heard, it can be an unpleasant place indeed.  You asked if there's any enforcement of the rules and the honest answer is - NO!  Decades ago, the rules were enforced pretty strictly and FCC field people had the authority to seize your equipment if you were blatantly violating the rules.  These days, repeated violations over a period of years may get the attention of the FCC, and they could even issue a fine.  But, I've never seen any record of people actually paying the fines.  In many cases, the violator simply says he's unable to pay and they either forget or drastically reduce the fine.  My grandson used to like to tune across 40 meters and listen to people talk, but I put a stop to that after hearing some of the stuff he tuned into on 40. 

If you're drawn by technical things, you'll find a wealth of areas to explore and you'll rarely be exposed to the trash on 40 and 80 SSB.  When the sunspot cycle starts upwards, the higher bands will come alive and cross-country QSOs and DX QSOs will again become common place - 17 and 15 meters are especially good for that.  If you're interested in CW, you'll find almost no bad behavior or language on that mode regardless of band.  Of course, in a big DX pileup, bad behavior is common place even on CW. 

Sorry to say that the hobby has evolved to a point where there are a lot of bitter and cynical old men in the ranks.  (I'm allowed to say that as I'm older than most myself).  If you want to avoid most of that, stick to things involving new technology where change is happening rapidly and the old guys tend to stay away.   Someone is sure to take issue with some of these comments, so keep in mind that I'm giving you generalizations and not absolute truths.  If you listen long enough on 40 SSB, you may even hear someone involved in an informed and technical conversation, or a reasoned conversation on politics, etc.  But the odds are about the same as the Browns winning the Super Bowl.

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K5WLR
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Posts: 226




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« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2017, 10:51:10 AM »

Hi Plankeye!

Not sure where you live, but I'm in the MidSouth US. Yes, there are problems on the ham radio frequencies, but one must remember that ham radio is a reflection of the population of the USA! We have good and bad.

I get to join in with several nets on 75 meters that are a pleasure to be a part of here in the MidSouth. Little or no politics or religion discussions, just good old hams enjoying the hobby and sharing the good times with their friends. I've only lived here for about 7 years and was welcomed with open arms. It is really a pleasure to be part of ham radio here.

On VHF, I am the trustee of a local repeater system and have observed the same welcoming nature from this group. Suggestions were made to improve the system and it is indeed a fine, robust pair of machines.

So then, Plankeye, come on in, the water's fine. I look forward to having a QSO with you further down the log! (Translation: Looking forward to meeting you on the air!)  Cheesy

73 (Best regards)

Will Rogers
K5WLR
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