Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Such a good example...  (Read 1169 times)
N3OX
Member

Posts: 8847


WWW

Ignore
« on: August 30, 2009, 11:19:01 AM »

http://www.boingboing.net/2009/08/30/random-ham-radio-tro.html

*sigh*

Nice, wide exposure too.

Wonder how many hams "spun the dial" on these guys...
Logged

73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
K5END
Member

Posts: 1309




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2009, 04:44:23 AM »

one op IDs as K***GK, and the other one refers to him as "GK."

How long before the FCC looks into this?
Logged
KE3WD
Member

Posts: 5689




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2009, 01:42:31 PM »

"How long before the FCC looks into this?"

About 4 decades.
Logged
K5END
Member

Posts: 1309




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2009, 04:51:03 AM »

"About 4 decades. "

I think the life expectancy of an alcoholic is less than that.

The license will have to be revoked posthumously.
Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3895




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2009, 06:01:19 AM »

"How long before the FCC looks into this?"

That depends....

IMHO, FCC enforcement is complaint-driven and evidence-based. IOW, simply breaking the rules or claiming same won't get their attention; somebody has to complain to them *and* provide concrete evidence FCC can use.

If somebody says, on some website or other, that they run 10 kW mobile on channel 32, FCC isn't going to do anything unless somebody complains of RFI or other problems that are clearly caused by that person. FCC doesn't have the resources to search the web looking for such claims and to track down each one. Same for folks selling uncertified equipment online or in stores.

Take a look at the FCC enforcement letters and actions and you'll see that every one of them started out with one or more complaints, backed by real evidence. Note how many are line-noise complaints from hams against utility companies.

It would be really great if FCC were to monitor and police the RF spectrum and the 'net for all violations of the rules. But that would take a lot more resources.

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
TERRY_PERRY_EX_W3VR
Member

Posts: 70




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2009, 06:07:26 PM »

Jim N2EY.....

You are of the number I can count on one hand whose posts here on Eham I really enjoy reading. Unlike the "theorists", and those that are constantly stating the "banal and obvious" replete with all the corny "euphemisms", "colloquialisms", asinine paraphrases, juvenile chat room acronyms e.g LOL, ROFLAMO etc et. al.,"all boils down to", "two cents", "bells and whistles (gag)", and on, and on, and on........

You use jargon less, plain talk. But most importantly you speak with a lucid, firm and friendly conviction seasoned with many years of experience.  

Jim, what were things like 20-30 years ago on the bands? In your opinion, are things really as bad as some make them out to be today?

I've heard a lot of empty frivolous nonsense on 2m FM here locally. Mostly the repeater crowd. So much so in fact, I almost never listen to that traffic when I'm at home/in town. I've heard some very similar traffic here locally on 2m FM as that in the audio link. However, it's the exception and not the rule as I remember, and according to others I know that are active on 2m FM. I don't listen or participate in CB either, and not because of what anyone says about it. I've never had any interest in it.  

My very simple, very non-scientific "gut feeling" if you will, makes me suspicious about some peoples complaints. Another one of my very "non-scientific beliefs" is that people "are what they are" regardless if they are hams or not. Having a "ham" license never made anyone special. But, that's my view for now.

I listened to a ARRL Webinar today with William Edgar and FCC's Laura Smith. She explained Spectrum Regulatory enforcement citing many of the salient points you mention.

I hope many more of the people like you will post more often. It is the experienced, and well spoken people like you that make Eham enjoyable.

W3VR
Logged
WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20612




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2009, 08:07:32 PM »

Jim (EY) you may remember as I do the "good olde days" when the FCC actually had multiple, staffed monitoring stations.

I don't know if they even have any today.

It was not uncommon in the 60s that hams were "visited" by FCC staff in vans to make drop-in measurements of amateur stations.  Possibly those were reactions to complaints, I never really knew.  But I certainly knew of a few "drop in" audits of amateur stations, including my old friend Bill W2ONV in NJ.  He was on the air, transmitting on 20m, when they visited!

As I heard it, they suspected Bill of running illegal power (probably based on complaints), but what they found was a 1500W (legal) amplifier connected to a very effective antenna system (stacked Telrex monoband 20m Yagis on a Sky Needle).  His e.r.p. was very high, but it was all the antennas.  They said, "Sorry," and left.

Although I'm sure Bill wasn't happy, this was a great example of how the FCC used to audit non-commercial transmitting stations.

I haven't heard about anything like that happening in a very long time.

73

Steve WB2WIK/6
Logged
K4DPK
Member

Posts: 1077


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2009, 09:05:54 PM »

Jim, Steve...

I got a pink slip back in the fifties for key clicks, and it absolutely scared me to death.  I think I must have stayed off the air for a couple of weeks.

Nowadays, everyone thinks we can get away with anything.  This idea is supported by just tuning around.

Phil C. Sr.
k4dpk
Logged
WD4ELG
Member

Posts: 875




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2009, 10:18:05 PM »

I still have my warning letter when I was a young teen of 13 in Northern Virginia, May 1977.  An FCC monitoring station in Maine heard me calling CQ on 7150.2 kHz and sent me a warning notice.

I GUARANTEE you that this had the desired effect.  I wrote back a letter promptly, and made sure my old Johnson Viking Ranger transmitter dial never got too close to the band edges ever again.  Back then I viewed the FCC the way I view the IRS now: not someone to be trifled with, and definitely an organization to avoid by making sure my operations (or in the case of IRS, taxes) were in order and no gray areas.

I viewed the license as a privilege, and the FCC as deserving of my respect.  After all, they granted the thing and could take it away at a moment's notice.  Although I was never visited by an FCC rover, I kept my shack in tip-top shape for that eventuality.

These days, I don't thing anyone trusts government or the people in it.  And they certainly don't respect it.  Can't say I blame them for some of this, but without some sense of order (via enforcement) we will have unmitigated havoc on the bands.

My 2 cents

Mark Lunday
WD4ELG
http://wd4elg.net
http://wd4elg.blogspot.com
Logged
TERRY_PERRY_EX_W3VR
Member

Posts: 70




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2009, 08:58:43 AM »

"RE: Such a good example...       Reply
by WD4ELG on September 12, 2009    Mail this to a friend!

My 2 cents"

Thanks for the clamoring and "original jargon" to wit.
Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3895




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2009, 04:38:03 AM »

W3VR:

Thanks for the kind words. Means a lot...

I try to use friendly persuasion at all times.

"what were things like 20-30 years ago on the bands?"

The recollections of WB2WIK, K4DPK and WD4ELG are pretty close to my own. There were a few bad apples back then too. But 99.99% of ham radio that I encountered was G-rated and well behaved.

I think there were many reasons for that, not just one. Here are a few.

First of course was the visible enforcement others have mentioned. We hams all knew that FCC could knock on your door at any time you were on the air, and that as a condition of being licensed you'd already agreed to let them in and let them inspect your station. Looking back, the actual number of such visits was probably quite rare, but the knowledge that one could happen to any ham at any time had its effect. Same for the fact that FCC had direct monitoring of the ham bands and would send violation notices for any rule-breaking, from failure to properly ID to key clicks to splatter.

In those pre-Watergate times there was an automatic respect built into any agency with Federal in the name. Most US hams had earned their licenses by passing exams given by FCC Examiners, who took the whole process very seriously. Getting an envelope from the Federal Communications Commission was a really big deal.

The process of taking the license tests was quite involved for many hams, and such that most hams overlearned the material. There were no published Q&A pools, no do-overs, no partial credit, and if you failed there was a 30 day wait to retest. Earning the license involved a kind of personal investment of time and effort that made it valuable to most hams beyond the dollar cost.

Most hams back then started out relatively young (teens and twenties) and as Novices. Until the mid 1970s the Novice was only good for one or two years and was a once-per-lifetime license, so most new hams spent lots of time listening to the ham bands, reading books and magazines on ham radio and radio in general, and learning all they could before trying for the license. Most new hams had already set up a receiver and antenna before they got a license, and only needed to add the transmitter to go on the air. The short license term of the Novice meant an intense year or two of training and learning in order to be ready to upgrade.

30 or more years ago it was common to encounter older hams who'd been licensed before WW2, and occasionally one would meet hams who'd been active in the 1920s and even before WW1. From such elders we young'uns learned much of the history of amateur radio, both technical and operational. We learned how amateur radio had been shut down twice due to war, how folks in other services wanted our bands, and how some folks in government would have been glad to see amateur radio legislated out of existence completely. We also heard about the contributions of amateurs to radio and our country in war, peace, emergencies and technical advancement, and of famous people who had started out as hams or who were hams today. It was a culture that encouraged and challenged us to live up to high standards to preserve and improve the ham radio that had been handed down to us.

You didn't hear phrases like "it's just a hobby", either. Hams would react to that the same way a sports fan would react to someone saying the World Series, the Superbowl, Wimbledon, or the PGA were "just a game", or that the Indy 500 was "just cars going around in circles".

The rigs of those days required at least some smarts to set up and operate, and were very intolerant of mistakes. There was nothing in most of them to keep you from transmitting out of band or blowing up an expensive transmitter except your knowledge and skill.

There's a lot more, the above is just a sample.

The old days weren't perfect, by any means. There was the occasional ham who'd put a transmitter on the air with a messy signal, causing QRM and TVI and giving us all a bad name. There was the classic "no kids, no lids, no space cadets" curmudgeon sort of ham, who were rare but vocal. There were a few hams who looked down on the way things were done and were always itching to change them. Etc. In fact, if you read T.O.M.'s stories of Young Squirt, Final Authority, Radical and the others, you'll see that some things haven't changed much at all.

"In your opinion, are things really as bad as some make them out to be today?"

I think it depends where you listen and what you expect to hear. Some frequencies have become havens for bad behavior. Some things that would never have been tolerated are now accepted, not just in amateur radio but in broadcasting and other radio services.

But IMHO the vast majority of hams I encounter are polite, considerate ops who do their best to be friendly and pleasant. Particularly if you meet them halfway.
 
It should be remembered that for quite a long time in the 1980s and 1990s there was almost no FCC enforcement of amateur radio at all. Budget cuts and deregulation caused FCC to just let things slide.

At first that had no real effect, just as the a neighborhood doesn't instantly go downhill because somebody doesn't keep their place up. But over time the bad apples learned they could push the envelope and FCC wouldn't do anything, so they pushed it more. Riley Hollingsworth was brought on board through the efforts of ARRL and others, but as it took a long time for things to get bad, it will take a while to clean them up. Ms. Smith has taken over but she doesn't have a magic wand to instantly cause change either. Problems that took years to create won't get fixed overnight.

"I've heard a lot of empty frivolous nonsense on 2m FM here locally."

Not sure what you mean by 'empty frivolous nonsense'. If it's just idle G-rated chit-chat, saying hello and howya doin', ham radio has always had a lot of that. If it's stuff that pins your ears back and makes you ashamed to be a ham, that's a problem we didn't used to have.

"Mostly the repeater crowd. So much so in fact, I almost never listen to that traffic when I'm at home/in town. I've heard some very similar traffic here locally on 2m FM as that in the audio link. However, it's the exception and not the rule as I remember, and according to others I know that are active on 2m FM."

I was very active on 2m FM from the late 1970s to the late 1990s because I spent a lot of time mobile alone. In those pre-cellphone days it was good to have somebody riding along with you. We had a very active morning drivetime group. Once in a while there would be a problem, and the control ops would just shut down the repeater until the bad apples went away.

But as my car-use patterns changed, I'm not on 2 meters much anymore.

"I don't listen or participate in CB either, and not because of what anyone says about it. I've never had any interest in it."

Same here. A lot of good hams have come from cb - and a few that need to learn new habits.

"My very simple, very non-scientific "gut feeling" if you will, makes me suspicious about some peoples complaints. Another one of my very "non-scientific beliefs" is that people "are what they are" regardless if they are hams or not. Having a "ham" license never made anyone special. But, that's my view for now."

Well, I sort of agree and disagree.

Yes, there are some folks who will be what they are regardless of what others do - good, bad or indifferent. But I think most people are influenced to some extent by their surroundings and companions, even if it's to the extent that they leave.

I think being a radio amateur has affected a lot of hams' lives for the better, getting them interested in new things and setting a career path.

I grew up in the 60s and 70s when drugs were all over the place and "the counterculture" was urging young people to "turn on, tune in and drop out", but because of amateur radio I never got into any real trouble -  it might have cost my license and station!

I wonder sometimes what path I might have taken without that influence.

Mahatma Ghandi said "You must be the change you want to see in the world", and I think that applies double in amateur radio. If we want change, we must set the example.

73 es TNX de Jim, N2EY
Logged
TERRY_PERRY_EX_W3VR
Member

Posts: 70




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2009, 10:05:27 AM »

Thanks a lot Jim-N2EY.

You've answered a lot of questions. If your response was the only quality information I got here on Eham all year I'll feel like I got my monies worth for the being a subscriber.

Again my unreasonable expectation of somethings cause my own problems.

After all these years in commercial aviation electronics, I had always thought that ham radio was filled with those folks that are/were extremely knowledgeable in communications electronics. In the past couple of years, I haven't met nearly as many as I thought I would.

Seems like this is not the technical avocation it once was. Take away designing, building, maintaining your own station, and what's left?

Sounds like I missed out on the best parts of the avocation. Should have got into it back in the early 1970's. The more I probe, prod, and root around in the history of Amateur Radio, the more I'm understanding the disappointment that many of the "old timers" if you will, express.

As far as government deregulation in the states, I've seen a lot of it through the various regulatory agencies over the years. I deal with the FAA on a regular basis directly, and indirectly. They also have had their enforcement resources, and resources in general cut through the years.

The fact that money drives almost all interests makes me wonder many times, (notwithstanding the basis and purpose stated in part 97 rules, and the overzealous claims of the emcomm microcosm) what is the U.S. government getting out of Amateur Radio? What has it contributed in the last 50 years that the U.S. Government values, or has value of any kind?

W3VR
Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3895




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2009, 06:43:50 PM »

W3VR writes: "After all these years in commercial aviation electronics, I had always thought that ham radio was filled with those folks that are/were extremely knowledgeable in communications electronics."

There are quite a few hams who are extremely knowledgeable in radio, anyway.

"In the past couple of years, I haven't met nearly as many as I thought I would."

How many did you expect - and where did you look? More important, what do you consider knowledgeable?

"Seems like this is not the technical avocation it once was."

It is and it isn't.

In the bad old days, a ham had to be possess at least some technical smarts just to pass the test and get a station working. Manufactured rigs were so expensive, and the pickings so few, that most hams had to build/fix/assemble their own out of economic necessity. Even the ham who could buy everything ready-made had to learn how to use it.

But as electronics has developed, what a ham absolutely needs to know in order to operate a rig has changed. Digital readouts have eliminated the need to interpret an analog dial, new rig designs have eliminated the need for tuning up a rig, automatic antenna tuners have eliminated that task, etc. Reliable solidstate components have decreased the need to fix rigs - and made it harder to do when it is necessary.

Mass production has reduced the effective price of a station, too - except for the cost of a house to put it in, and an unrestricted yard for the antenna.

Remember when everybody worked on their cars and knew a lot about how they worked - or thought they did? Same thing.

"Take away designing, building, maintaining your own station, and what's left?"

Operating!

But a lot of us still design, build, and maintain our own stations, as well as operating them. We're just not as visible.

"Sounds like I missed out on the best parts of the avocation. Should have got into it back in the early 1970's."

Every era looks good in hindsight. I was a ham back then; it had its good and bad points.

The 1970s were exciting in some ways in that VHF/UHF FM repeaters were popping up everywhere, opening up new mobile possibilities. Solid state rigs and QRP were just beginning to be really popular. There was a new magazine called 'ham radio' that had lots of technical stuff in it. Sounds great, huh? It was!

But it was also a time when the CB boom made it difficult to be a ham, because we often got blamed for TVI caused by others. More than a few ham rigs were stolen out of cars because the thieves thought they were cb sets. Popular columnist Jack Anderson wrote an error-laden article complaining about how much spectrum we hams had, compared to cb.

Inflation was rampant, as were unemployment and fuel shortages. Equipment prices were rising faster than wages, and the old stuff we had wasn't worth much.

Suppliers that we'd known and loved for years, such as Collins, Drake, Heathkit, Johnson, Hallicrafters, Hammarlund, National, and Gonset were disappearing, and being replaced by Japanese imports.

The FCC, pushed by the EIA, proposed taking the 220 MHz band away from hams and creating a new "Class E" cb service. And despite the incentive licensing changes of 1968-1969 that gave us six different license classes, FCC proposed a new "two ladder" license system that would have had seven license classes...

It all depends where you look and what you expect to see.

"The more I probe, prod, and root around in the history of Amateur Radio, the more I'm understanding the disappointment that many of the "old timers" if you will, express."

As of October 14, 2009 I will have 42 years as a ham. That makes me an "Old, Old Timer"!

I think the Big Problem, and the solution, is that amateur radio isn't just one thing, or even a small set of things. It's an enormous variety of things held together under the same name and a few similarities.

For example, there are hams right now building rigs that use only pre-1929 technology, for use in a special operating event in December. Simple, low power CW rigs for 160, 80 and 40 meters that require a bit of knowhow to get working, let alone make a contact with.

At the same time, there are hams right now working on the next-generation amateur satellites, using the latest technology they can get their hands on. There are hams building gigantic contest stations and backpack portables. There are hams using all sorts of modes, bands and technologies, including some, like PSK31, developed entirely by amateurs.

There's contesting, which hams outside North America often call "radiosport". There's award-chasing, public service, DXing, and plain old ragchewing. And much more.

What they all have in common is that amateur radio is "radio for its own sake". A journey rather than a destination, an end in itself rather than a means to an end.

We hams probably have more real freedom than any other radio service. Almost no channelization, lots of bands and modes, lots of activities, and we can build our own stuff. All it takes is a license that's really easy to get.

Way back in 1967 I built my first transmitter from parts salvaged from old TVs and AM BC radios. About the only thing I bought new was the crystal, because Novices had to use crystal control back then. That little 10 watter wasn't much to look at, and it wasn't state of the art even for 1937 let alone 1967, but I made contacts with it, and that's all that mattered. The FCC trusted me to do a good job with it, and didn't care that I was 13 years old and had learned radio from old books; I had the license and that was the ticket.

What other radio service lets you do stuff like that?

"As far as government deregulation in the states, I've seen a lot of it through the various regulatory agencies over the years. I deal with the FAA on a regular basis directly, and indirectly. They also have had their enforcement resources, and resources in general cut through the years."

And yet the regulations they have to enforce have grown, as has the complexity of aircraft and related technology.

"what is the U.S. government getting out of Amateur Radio? What has it contributed in the last 50 years that the U.S. Government values, or has value of any kind?"

That's a very good question! I can name a couple of things...

First is the public service communications provided by hams. Of course not every ham is involved in such things, and a lot of what hams used to do has been replaced by cell phones, email, etc., but we still do some things better. For just one example, when the space shuttle burned up on reentry some years back, search teams that had amateur radio for communications found it had many advantages over cell phones.  

Then there are the educational opportunities of amateur radio. Not every ham becomes an EE, of course, but a lot of folks learn at least something about radio.

Amateur radio gives the government a place to point to when citizens complain about not having access to radio spectrum for noncommercial purposes.

There's also the fact that the government can't just dump amateur radio, because many of our bands, and amateur radio itself, exist by treaty, not just FCC rules.

For me, the bigger question is: Who cares what the government gets out of it? The government regulates radio for the good of the people, not the other way around.

What good does the government get out of the National Park system? The parks exist for the people, not the government. They exist to preserve at least some places that are historic, or natural, or set aside for noncommercial activity. They don't have to make money or serve some agenda other than people like them.

Of course there are some rules about how the parks are used, who can access them, what activities are reasonable for each park, etc. But those rules are minimal compared to what citizens can do.

This past summer I was in Washington DC and got to go up to the top of the Washington Monument (which is part of the National Park System) for the first time. I got a lot out of it, as did the other folks who went up that day. I suspect we all got different things out of the trip, too.

Isn't that enough?

Apply the same ideas to amateur radio. It's an international park of the air, where citizens can do stuff with radio just for the heck of it. Without "pecuniary interest" or other justification. Just because they get something out of it.

Isn't that enough?

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
TERRY_PERRY_EX_W3VR
Member

Posts: 70




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2009, 04:50:40 AM »

Yes Jim that's plenty.

Speaking only for myself in this reply back to you, thanks for all the information, and taking the time to put together those replies. You are very generous with your knowledge, and I appreciate it very much.

I see you and W8JI replying more often in the Eham technical forums, and I hope you all will continue to do so. I'm thinking there are many others like you all that don't post here because they may think it's a waste of their time. That's such a loss.

Please keep up the good work, and I look forward to more good posts from you and people like you with your experience in the avocation of Amateur Radio, and good nature.

Thanks,

Terry
W3VR
Logged
NO2A
Member

Posts: 801




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2009, 02:45:26 PM »

I`m sure in the old days it was much tougher to measure your frequency accurately,even with xtal calibraters vfo`s still drifted. But with today`s stability and digital readout i`m surprised how many times i`ve heard dx working just over the band edges. It`s one thing to be on 7002 khz,with a 500 hz. filter,and another thing to be on 7000.5!
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!