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Author Topic: The last of the real Radio Shacks...  (Read 12423 times)
KU5Q
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« Reply #45 on: June 15, 2010, 02:23:46 PM »

Len, K6LHA, you are right that broadcast radio and amateur radio are very different. With the former we have costly, high ERP stations transmitting one way over a distance of up to one ionospheric hop to listeners having no special skills. With the latter we have low cost, low ERP stations establishing two way communications world wide with the participants having special skills such as CW. Easy vs. hard; slam dunk vs. struggle; skill-free vs. skill. 

Now that you're a ham you have moved into the ranks of the real radio communicators.



It's "yo momma ham radio style"....Obama is yo momma....!!
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WX7G
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Posts: 6328




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« Reply #46 on: June 16, 2010, 05:52:38 AM »

Len, you're an interesting guy. While your accomplishments are impressive they are somewhat "last-century." What many hams are interested in is what you've done lately, such as: Built a rig, built your antennas, worked DX, participated in a contest or two (and perhaps placed well, worked a CW contest all night, made meteor scatter QSO's, used some interesting propagation modes - moon-bounce, tropo, satelites - broke a big pile-up by employing skill and not a big signal, designed a useful equipment modification, wrote a ham radio article, invented an antenna. That sort of thing.

You sight commercial radio experience to say that you're not new to ham radio. But ham radio is different than commercial radio. Ham radio is about doing some amazing communicating under adverse conditions using relatively low power. Where commercial operations may use brawn hams use brains. Hams utilize propagation modes that commercial stations do not rely on (with the exception of the military having once used meteor scatter). Tropospheric ducting, E-valley ducting, sporatic-E, meteor scatter, moon bounce, and so on. Hams, I think, possess much more operating skill than any commercial operator. The last of the skilled commercial operators were the maritime telegraphers. This is what separates hams from commercial radio. Operator skill. We have it; they don't.

I work in military communications. the equipment we design is designed such that it does it all automatically. No operator skill is required to send gobs of data from point A to point B. That is quite different than a ham striving for and achieving communications between California and Hawaii via tropo ducting.

The best part of radio lies in your future and not your past. You might make some ham radio goals for the year and make them happen. My goals for 2010 are:

  • Make at least one QSO each day
    Make 3000 contest QSOs
    Put in a serious effort in the SS contest and get a clean sweep
    Beat N7IR in the ARRL 160 meter contest
    Get 1st place in field day 1C class for the fourth year in a row
    Push my code speed to a comfortable 40 wpm
    Build a stealth 6 meter Yagi
    Do some serious 6 meter operating
    Write four magazine articles
    Set up for mobile CW
    Optimize the HF antenna






Now to bring the thread back to Radio Shack:
The Radio Shack stores near me still stock electronic components. If you work your project around what they have you can do some real electronics. Need a DMM, clip leads, coaxial adapters, coaxial connectors, coax, hook-up wire, magnet wire, soldering irons, solder, heat shrink tubing? They have it. Need common transistors, filament transformers, a few ICs, or an RFI ferrite? They have it. CB antenna parts are waiting for you. Need a sealed lead acid battery for your QRP rig? They have it.

Using all Radio Shack parts I designed and built a 40 watt DC-AC converter and a 0-250 volt, 100 mA regulated power supply for magazine articles. Another project was a 600 kHz CW transmitter. Dozens of my antennas have sprung from the shelves of Radio Shack. Even with all its shortcomings I still find Radio Shack to be quite useful.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 08:45:27 AM by DAVE CUTHBERT » Logged
K6LHA
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« Reply #47 on: June 16, 2010, 01:15:15 PM »

... While your accomplishments are impressive they are somewhat "last-century."

Tsk, tsk, "last century?!?"      Grin

Sonny, this year is only 10 into this new millennium!       Grin

Quote
What many hams are interested in is what you've done lately, such as: Built a rig, built your antennas, worked DX, participated in a contest or two (and perhaps placed well, worked a CW contest all night, made meteor scatter QSO's, used some interesting propagation modes - moon-bounce, tropo, satelites - broke a big pile-up by employing skill and not a big signal, designed a useful equipment modification, wrote a ham radio article, invented an antenna. That sort of thing.

All of that has been promoted by amateur radio publications.  IN THE LAST CENTURY!       Cheesy

You aren't at all "interested" in what I've done, only to have an opening so that you can feature yourself and how much "better" you are than myself.  That is oh, so typical, of messaging on these so-called "discussion" forums.  The impression you give others is that you need to "triumph" over newbies, to put them "in their place." 

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You sight commercial radio experience to say that you're not new to ham radio.

The word is cite, not sight.  My sight is quite good, thanks to ordinary corrective lenses.

Since you are allegedly born in 1956, the year I was released from US Army active duty, you are unaware of the fact that the Department of Defense had already set up and maintained a worldwide network that ran on HF 24/7, sans benefit of any comm sats, no opterational troposcatter yet, no fiber-optic cable, no solid-state devices to speak of and certainly no personal computers.  The discone antenna, the log-periodic antenna, the directional-discontinuity ring-radiator were already known in all of radio.  That last one never got off the ground in amateur radio for HF, possibly because it was too strange for ham magazine editors to understand.  The log-periodic was too hard for single-person-station hams to build.  The OT zombies of that time just didn't believe in "discones."    Cheesy

The Yagi-Uda parasitic beam had been invented prior to WWII, so that was okay to "re-discover."  Very popular because it had sight bling to show everyone that your house had a beam!  Woo-hoo!    Cheesy

Did I get ALL my experience from commercial radio?  No.  Check out Ham Radio magazine's Table of Contents and masthead (the name for the list of editors-publishers-staff) in the last few years prior to their stop.  My name is there on many articles as a contributor...later as an Associate Editor...all while I was NOT licensed in amateur radio.  [amazing, but true]  Note the byline for each author...gives my present postal address...a suburb of Los Angeles, rather bigger than Salt Lake City.  I've been a hobbyist in electronics since 1947, NOT to have my very own international-reaching station,, just because it was personally satisfying...and promised some great things for all mankind in the future besides coast-to-coast long-distance wired telephony, television and FM broadcasting.

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... Ham radio is about doing some amazing communicating under adverse conditions using relatively low power.

Riiiiiight..."just like" JPL's Deep Space Net communicating with remote-control robots on the planet Mars.  "Just like" precision radio astronomy covering the rest of the universe and discovering enough data to prove part of the "Big Bang" theory.  "Just like" the now-common radio watch and radio clocks synchronizing to WWVB precision signals from Fort Collins, CO, little bitty loop antennas in those radio watches accurate to within a second a day.  "Just like" full communications and bio-medical data from astronauts ON the moon.  "Just like" the first HT, the SCR-536 operational in 1940 on low HF, self-contained battery set with tubes good enough for a half mile in combat conditions.  (were you ever in the military?)

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Where commercial operations may use brawn hams use brains.

Not much evidence of those "brains" in use in this forum topic.   Cheesy

What is the brawny power output of a cell phone?  There's only about 100 million of them in use today.  How about a Bluetooth full-duplex cell phone extender?  :-)

Ever see a comm satt transponder assembly?  One powered by solar panels.  I've been up close and personal to them.  Their broadband TWTs aren't powerful and they are transmitting from 23,000 miles away from earth (more or less) in geosynchronous orbit.  What about the GPSS?  Can you use a sextant and your Bowditch to find your location anywhere on earth better than a GPS?  I don't think so.

There are far more on-off-keying CW ultra-low-power transmitters in use throughout the world today than all the amateur radio licensees in that same world.  Those are called "alutomobile keyless entry devices" or more commonly, "key fobs."  Yeah, on-off keying CW, but at a rate rather higher than the best morse operator can hear.

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Hams utilize propagation modes that commercial stations do not rely on (with the exception of the military having once used meteor scatter).

Oh, my, that is SO LAST CENTURY!!!    Cheesy

The military used meteor scatter?  Tropospheric ducting?  Noooo...the correct term is troposcatter and there are whole Signal Battalions in the US Army organized around such stations.  Meteor scatter isn't reliable nor predictable for warfighting.  The US military has its own comm sats (the GPSS is actually part of that), uses the spectrum of 30 to 3000 MHz for tactical communications, such as radio control (and return visibility) of UAVs half a world away.  Want to contact any military base or facility today?  Use the DSN, the Digital Switched Network, the governments own Internet...with the proper authenticating terminal, you can call it up on the standard Internet or through a regular telephone connection.

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Hams, I think, possess much more operating skill than any commercial operator.

Where should we send your National Science Foundation award medal?  Sorry, but the Kennedy Center Honors program is already booked into 2011.

I'm sure a lot of USN and USA military operators will take issue with you on your smart-ass remark.  We (I'm a vet and proud of it) also had to go out and kill the enemy when required.  Are you ready to close with and destroy the enemy of the Constitution of the ARRL?

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The last of the skilled commercial operators were the maritime telegraphers.

In the USA maritime telegraphers are still required on the Great Lakes if a vessel master commands it.  Don't write them off quite yet.  Otherwise, the USA requires water vessels in harbors, other inland waterways to use VHF voice.

Quote
I work in military communications. the equipment we design is designed such that it does it all automatically. No operator skill is required to send gobs of data from point A to point B.

...and what company is that?  Tsk, even the AFCEA will agree that warfighting isn't accomplished by beeping the enemy to death with morse code!    Cheesy

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That is quite different than a ham striving for and achieving communications between California and Hawaii via tropo ducting.

So, they just can't pick up a telephone and direct-dial either state?  Really, the direct lines between Hawaii and California work very well nowadays!    Grin

Quote
The best part of radio lies in your future and not your past.

Oh, knock it off, Cuttbait.  After 77 years on this planet, I really think that I can decide for myself what I - personally - want to do!  Except for answering certain over-stuffed totally-amateur blowhards, I'm doing just that.

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You might make some ham radio goals for the year and make them happen. My goals for 2010 are:
                              <LIST elided>

Oh, my, isn't that whole list SO LAST CENTURY and already given to you by the ARRL in that SAME LAST CENTURY!

K6LHA
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WX7G
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« Reply #48 on: June 20, 2010, 02:24:15 PM »

Len you misunderstand what I am saying.

What I'm saying is that 50 years of commercial radio + 3 years of amateur radio does not equal 53 years of amateur radio. You missed out on experiencing firsthand half a century of amateur radio evolution. This includes, but is not limited to, the amateur evolution - including the birth and death - of many amateur radio companies, operating modes, FCC licensing, incentive licensing, contesting, radio clubs, and a few sunspot cycles. Commercial radio is not amateur radio and amateur radio is not commercial radio.

I don't think that anybody considers you a novice by any means. However, you are also not considered to be a 53 year man either. Your no-code extra will forever create doubt in the minds of some.

Your considerable experience in the commercial side can be a continued asset to amateur radio if you make it so. Feel free to help the amateur radio community with circuits, antennas, and whatever else you can. And let us know how you are evolving as an amateur.

Now some amateurs might be offended by you saying that they are "pretending" [to be commercial operators]. I don't think that amateurs are pretending; they are setting up two-way radio stations, operating them with considerable skill, and contacting other amateurs the world over under adverse conditions, and doing it for the fun and the challenge.

I think at this point I think we should agree to respectfully disagree on our points of disagreement.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2010, 06:25:58 AM by DAVE CUTHBERT » Logged
K6LHA
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Posts: 349




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« Reply #49 on: June 25, 2010, 09:53:36 PM »

Len you misunderstand what I am saying.
And I am saying two things:  You can't write well and you can't do proper arithmetic.  See the following sentence of yours now that you want to keep on this personal-attack schtick instead of going Radio Schtick:
Quote
What I'm saying is that 50 years of commercial radio + 3 years of amateur radio does not equal 53 years of amateur radio.
Say whatever you want but GET IT RIGHT.  My first key-on of an HF transmitter was in early 1953 and my last RF transmission as a commercial license holder was in mid 2009.  Thats a difference of 56 years, not "50."  Further, military radio is done whenever there is a need; i.e., 24 hours a day 7 days a week if needs be.

Commercial radio, any kind, can consume 8 to 12 hours a day on the job.  Amateur radio is done whenver free time is available and MUCH less than a full-time job...unless a ham is fully retired and has nothing else to do in retirement except mount and run their brag tapes on the Internet.

You are trying to twist words around that (somehow) I am equating commercial radio experience "with" amateur radio experience but that isn't what I've said.All radios work by the same laws of physics.  After a few decades IN various radio services they all have obvious similarities and the differences are due primarily to regulations (official) and self-imposed "regulations" (which really aren't official).

Quote
You missed out on experiencing firsthand half a century of amateur radio evolution. This includes, but is not limited to, the amateur evolution - including the birth and death - of many amateur radio companies, operating modes, FCC licensing, incentive licensing, contesting, radio clubs, and a few sunspot cycles. Commercial radio is not amateur radio and amateur radio is not commercial radio.
I've "missed" NOTHING in "amateur radio evolution" since that "evolution" in the past 70 years has been FOLLOWING commercial/industrial/military radio all that time, using it when it had been perfected by others.  The ONLY "difference" between amateur radio and every other radio service is a bunch of regulations.  THE LAWS OF PHYSICS FOR BOTH ARE THE SAME.

I EXPERIENCED FIRSTHAND the EVOLUTION of MANY things in electronics that have unfolded during my working lifetime.  I've designed them into things, analyzed them, tested them, put them to work in ways that weren't originally conceived to be.  I feel blessed to exist in that development time.  It isn't over yet.

I count myself as PART of the USA electronics industry since 1956.  Hello?  That is 54 years.  I've been aware and informed of lots and lots of electronics companies since 1947...designers, manufacturers, distributors, publishing houses, retailers, wholesalers, infrastructure electronics conglomerates (such as AT&T), the HISTORY of ALL electronics in the world.  The PLL or Phase Locked Loop was born the same year I was...1932.

"Operating modes"?  THINK.  Amateur radio is forbidden to be a professional communications carrier (that's why it is called "amateur").  It cannot use transponder techniques for radiolocation (such as radar, DME, TACAN, GPSS for example).  It cannot use multiple carrier communications because that falls under the "common carrier' definition which is illegal in amateur radio.  Amateur radio cannot use multiple-phase-amplitude digital modes unless it is in "common use"...even if such are IN common use the rest of the "amateur community" doesn't like it because it wasn't the mode of 50 years ago.

The "amateur community" pretty well stuck itself into the PAST once WWII was over and single-channel SSB started replacing AM voice.  Four-voice-channel SSB (what I call the "commercial format") was already in-use prior to WWII.  I've actually operated on all the modes I mentioned above.  I can't do that in USA amateur radio because of all those regulation RESTRICTIONS.

Did you think the transistor was born in Newington?  No, it was in New Jersey.  Bell Labs.  Did you think a "ham" company invented the Integrated Circuit?  No, it was in Texas and a teeny place called "TI" or in California at a teenier place called "Intel."  Take your pick, there's good arguments for both sides.  I began radio hobby activities the same year the first transistor was born.

Quote
I don't think that anybody considers you a novice by any means. However, you are also not considered to be a 53 year man either.
Yes, quite a few do...because I didn't do what THEY did, worshipping regularly at the Church of St. Hiram.  I haven't been able to BE a Novice class licensee for 10 years and would never consider it.

I can't be considered a "53 year man" either, because I am 77 now and was 74 when I took and passed my very first amateur radio license test.  I didn't follow the SCRIPT that all were "supposed" to follow:
1. Get interested in radio as a young teen-ager.
2. Follow the "incentive plan" to the letter, advancing class-by-class over many, many years.
3. Always consider on-off-keying CW to be the height, the epitome of all radio skills.
4. Enter every radio contest ever devised, collect as many certificates as you can.
5. Collect as many QSLs as you have wall space, add walls if you have too many.
6. Be impatient to reach your fifties when you can tell all how super-wonderful you are.
7. Be a Life Member of the ARRL to prove how "loyal" you are to the "fathers of radio."

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Your no-code extra will forever create doubt in the minds of some.
TS to them and I couldn't care less.  My USA amateur radio license, like my commercial radio license, was granted to me by the only agency that CAN grant those licenses in the USA.  There was NO "amateur radio community" that granted me anything but a lot of irritation from them.

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Your considerable experience in the commercial side can be a continued asset to amateur radio if you make it so.
Total ARRL bullcrap you blabber like a parrot.  Do you think there is REALLY some OT zombies with keys will EVER "honor a no-coder?"  Haw!  Cheesy

Quote
Feel free to help the amateur radio community with circuits, antennas, and whatever else you can. And let us know how you are evolving as an amateur.
Oh!  How magnanamous yuu are, your supreme excellency!  Wow!  You will "LET" me do all those things?  Just so you can have fun TALKING DOWN to us "lesser beings!?"  Oh, how THRILLING.  Not.
 
Quote
Now some amateurs might be offended by you saying that they are "pretending" [to be commercial operators].
Oh, my, you mean some actually get "offended" by being called what they ARE?  Sonny, I was never a commercial morse code operator.  I've only met a few before they expired this life.  I know how they acted.  I know of how their "followers" tried to act.  I'm not impressed with "thousand-yard-stares" while they act like human modems, playing like what they think a very old-timer did back in the dawn of radio, before their time.

Quote
I don't think that amateurs are pretending; they are setting up two-way radio stations, operating them with considerable skill, and contacting other amateurs the world over under adverse conditions, and doing it for the fun and the challenge.
"...under adverse conditions?"  What, their coffee got too cold or their soft drinks too warm?  Tsk.

When I BEGAN in radio it was under rather different circumstances.  We weren't PLAYING with radio.  The Cold War had ramped up by 1953 from its start in 1948 and the USSR had The BOMB.  We didn't "experiment," we used what we had learned to use to maintain long-distance radio communications with the USA and the rest of USA forces throughout the world.  24 hours a day.  7 days a week.

We of back then had NO commsats, had very few undersea cables, didn't have any transistorized equipment, but we all had the experience of what had been done in WWII for messaging.  Not by old ways of manual morse code but by old 5-level TTY...8 separate circuits per SSB, 4 separate circuits per time-division multiplex, 1 circuit per FSK CW transmitter...to the rate of a quarter-million messages a month just to/from ADA in Tokyo during the height of the Korean War.

Having just about ceased any professional work in electronics communications, all I can say is that the USA military has done much finer things in the 54 years since I was on active duty.  The Army alone could manage to RUN the first Gulf War from Hq in Florida.  By the Second Gulf War in Iraq and Afghanistan, it did the same plus flying remote reconnaisance and bomb-strike flights from Nevada.  Digital voice and data is now routinely sent over the DSN, in-clear or encrypted, by whatever path is open and not bothered by ionospheric conditions.  For backups to the DSN the USA has wideband troposcatter battalions, mobile satellite 2-way relay through non-military satellites, other microwave radio relay systems and fiber-optic, lay-as-needed, wideband land communications.  Oh, and for last-ditch backup on long distances there's HF SSB (commercial format)...at a level of "use only for alien beings invading from outer space."  Oh, and for the grunts who bear the brunt of all the fighting, the USA has robustly encrypted FHSS manpack radios (half the size and bulk of First Gulf War radios) for small-unit communications.  Think you can do an intercept of contents of one of those in the field when it hops carriers 10 times a second?  Rotsa Ruck, Flash.  Cheesy

Now tell us again, IN YOUR OWN WORDS IF POSSIBLE (not the ARRL PR), how you think it is SO IMPORTANT for all USA radio amateurs to learn clear-text on-off-keying CW morse code...as a "national resource."  Or are you going to raise the bull pucky meter by repeating old ARRL Maxims from 6 decades ago?

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KB2CPW
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« Reply #50 on: July 29, 2010, 12:00:18 PM »

Len driveled: "Okay, and I thought N2ZD's (was KB2CPW a year ago) was way out of line.
No harm done to me."


Len, its time for new glasses.. I've been a ham for 24 years.. So stop being a pompous jackass with your "newby" comments. But i understand that most people can act that way behind a keyboard 3000 miles away. Try growing up some, I know its hard at your age.. Richy N2ZD
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K6LHA
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« Reply #51 on: July 29, 2010, 12:20:25 PM »

Len, its time for new glasses.. I've been a ham for 24 years.. So stop being a pompous jackass with your "newby" comments. But i understand that most people can act that way behind a keyboard 3000 miles away. Try growing up some, I know its hard at your age.. Richy N2ZD
Wow...you have just a year to wait to join the "quarter century club!"    Cheesy

I am 77, like it or not, and got my first amateur radio license ever at age 74.  I started in HF communications 57 years ago in the U.S. Army.  That's not "pompous," merely a statement of chronological fact and referencible through documents more official than anything the ARRL has.

As to the crack about "3000 miles away" it doesn't matter if another is 3 feet away or 30,000 miles away, I'll say the same thing via keyboard or face-to-face...and have.

Thank you for your concern over my vision, but I am using new glasses...prescribed by an MD opthalmologist and NOT purchased through Radio Shack.    Cheesy

73, Len K6LHA
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