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Author Topic: Is ham radio aging or not ??  (Read 7144 times)
G3RZP
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Posts: 4713




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« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2011, 10:14:34 AM »

I got my call 48 years ago today, April 29. I'll be 64 next week.

We seem to have lost the idea of getting to over young people that ham radio is a good start to realtively well paid engineering career in RF. Maybe they are like my optician -

'What do you do for a living?'
'I'm a radio engineer - I design radio systems to put radio in pacemakers and medical implants'
'But we don't use radio any more - it's all digital!'

Yet when you tell them that a good RF CMOS designer who works hard can be scraping by on $200 k a year on the west coast and a real good start towards that is ham radio, they don't believe it's possible.

Now that people are realising that law doesn't pay well anymore for the average lawyer, maybe we'll see a move back to engineering. Over here, it's discouraged by schools, because they want maximum exam passes to make the school look good. So they encourage simple subjects. Then the universities offer courses and degrees in things like 'Dance and Accountancy', 'Sports Beach management' and similar really useful productive subjects.....so more people can have degrees.
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N7DM
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« Reply #31 on: April 29, 2011, 02:52:43 PM »

Hmmm... BUT. Look inside this fool Grey Box. All circuit boards and drives. Not a THING in there to solder, tune or fix; just 'software'.  No, I'm afraid the market for 'electronics' is gone, OM.

'Course *I* wasn't an 'engineer', just a 'mere' technician! You hear the story about the Engineer arguing with the Tech about approaching a 'girl', by cutting the distance to her by halves? The Engineer says, "But you will NEVER reach her" [mathematically correct].  The Tech says, "No, but I *will* get CLOSE ENOUGH".

[sigh]

dm
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G3RZP
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« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2011, 12:33:35 AM »

But SOMEBODY has to design it in the first place! So learning from ham radio by building simple things is a start. Admittedly, fixing one of todays transceivers approaches impossible even for the factory - replacing a 256 pin BGA IC on a multi layer board is almost a no-no, although there are some companies that will try but not guarantee the result - but somebody has to design the stuff. Admittedly, it's beginning to move to the Far East - and what the west will have to sell in a few years is unknown, but that's another matter - but there are still good careers to be made.

Another problem is the reliance on simulation in teaching, because it's cheaper than laboratories. Some years back, at an international standards meeting, a PhD from Motorola created a stir when he said "Simulation is like masturbation. The more of it you do, the more you prefer it to the real thing". I guess he's probably right.
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N7DM
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« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2011, 06:16:37 AM »

HI HI.........'Tune for maximum smoke'......................
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NN4RH
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« Reply #34 on: April 30, 2011, 07:50:48 AM »

48 years ago being a ham was a much more impressive accomplishment than it is today. There was some reasonable expectation that licensed amateur radio operators knew something about electronics and communications.

Today, if I were to see someone list ham radio on a resume, I'd probably just shrug and delete the resume.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 07:57:10 AM by NN4RH » Logged
N7DM
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« Reply #35 on: April 30, 2011, 08:47:30 AM »

Man, you got THAT right! To wit: Had to be Class B [General] a year to take the test for Advanced. Had to be Advanced TWO years to take the test for Extra. Had to draw diagrams and do math AND send/receive '20'.   Coupla years ago I shared my Field Day with a nice young man... 30's or so. Supposed to hold an Extra ticket. Since it IS my station, while I didn't demand to SEE the ticket, I did talk with him a little over a cup of coffee, before 1100 Saturday. Yes... he said he had that Extra ticket. Well... NO, he couldn't work CW, but had gotten all the way up to 5 WPM once! [So, I work CW, he can work SSB...when I get my mike out of the attic]. His turn...he doesn't know HOW to conduct a HF Voice contact; been on VHF/UHF *period*.  After the feeble waste of time was over, before he left he said he had gone in to take his test(s) on one day. In the morning he was a SWL equivalent...by afternoon a Extra Class American Amateur FCC License holder.

Phooey... my lawn needs mowing
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G3RZP
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« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2011, 02:42:30 AM »

It doesn't help that the answer needed for some of the Extra Class questions is plain downright WRONG!
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N2EY
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« Reply #37 on: May 02, 2011, 08:16:06 AM »

Had to be Class B [General] a year to take the test for Advanced.

That was true until they closed the Advanced to new issues at the end of 1952. When the Advanced was reopened to new issues in 1967, it had no experience requirement. A person could go from no license to Advanced in one test session.

I went from Tech to Advanced in one test session in the summer of 1968. A few weeks later I entered high school.

Had to be Advanced TWO years to take the test for Extra.

Nope. That was never the case. When the Extra required license experience, that experience could be as a Conditional, General or Advanced. The experience requirement for Extra was dropped more than 35 years ago.

And, until 1967, the Advanced gave no more credit towards Extra than the General did.

Had to draw diagrams and do math AND send/receive '20'.

The written exams were transitioned to all-multiple-choice starting about 1961. They had to use up the old ones first, so it took a while, particularly for the Extra. In 1970, when I got my Extra, the written I took was all multiple-choice questions.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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N7DM
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« Reply #38 on: May 02, 2011, 08:28:35 AM »

It's been just a little while ago, for me, OM.... I tell what I remember...which...may be a tad foggy. But... that's Life, eh? I started studying for my Class B in '47

The point is...MY ticket [and your's NO doubt]... indicates a little knowledge and experience. The piece of Kleenex my young friend has..........

His is about as useless as my [now] 'Life-Time' Second Phone wallpaper. In fact, now that Hams can have multiple licenses, LEND them, and the things are good for ten years....[almost] Who Cares?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 08:51:37 AM by N7DM » Logged
N2EY
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Posts: 3894




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« Reply #39 on: May 03, 2011, 09:06:32 AM »

The point is...MY ticket [and your's NO doubt]... indicates a little knowledge and experience.
Yes, license requirements have changed dramatically over time. I have a theory about how all this change came to be.

In the early days of radio, it became clear that there needed to be Licensing. The Titanic disaster played a big role; radio regulatory legislation that was back-burnered suddenly got lots of attention and became law soon after the ship sank.

Next year will mark 100 years of mandatory Amateur Radio licensing in the USA.

Licensing of radio in the USA took two main forms: licensing of transmitting stations and licensing of operators for those stations.

Licensing of operators meant official recognition of the need for skilled, knowledgeable Radio Operators to adjust, repair, test and operate transmitting stations. In commercial radio, there were a variety of Radio Operator license types, classes and endorsements, all of which took some knowledge and skill to obtain. Each transmitting station had certain things that could only be done by a licensed Radio Operator. Radio Operators had to meet government standards, not just employer standards.

Ships over a certain size had to have a "Sparks", land stations of all kinds needed them on staff, and adjustment and repair of all sorts of radio sets could only be done by a Radio Operator with the appropriate license. The work could not be outsourced, exported or delegated; US Law required an FCC-licensed Radio Operator.

Thus there were created a considerable number of jobs that could only be done by a licensed Radio Operator. The jobs weren't all easy, and you had to know your stuff, but they were decent jobs that did not require a college degree. Part of this was due to unionization but a major cause was the license requirement; even without a union there was a relatively-limited number of folks who could do the jobs legally.

In fact, a Ph.D in EE counted for nothing in the world of Radio Operators unless the person also had a license. A First Class commercial license with endorsements could be a Golden Ticket to a decent career, protected from competition by unlicensed workers.

The "captains of industry" didn't like that setup, however. They saw the licensed Radio Operator as an added expense, and the license as a form of "government interference". They'd probably shout "SOCIALISM"! today.

So they sought to decrease the license requirements and the need for licensed workers. They sought to destroy the very concept of the licensed, skilled, knowledgeable Radio Operator.

They called it "deregulation" and "getting the government off your back" and "right to work", but what it really meant was "we don't want to pay". And they succeeded; commercial radio operator licensing in the USA is now much simpler, and the GROL is not the Golden Ticket that a First 'Phone once was.

With commercial licensing so drastically changed, how could amateur radio justify so many license classes and even semi-rigorous testing? So amateur licensing had to follow the trend, regardless of what amateurs wanted.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KF7OCD
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Posts: 24




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« Reply #40 on: May 09, 2011, 12:53:15 AM »

I think amateur radio attracts a certain kind of person and that is:

Someone who:
Is precise
Enjoys self education
Has a strong interest in electronics (especially hands on projects)
Is community oriented
Likes to talk and/or listen (a social person)

These days I see less and less people who fit this profile and that in of itself is sad.

Ham radio is not ageing, just fewer people who fit the above demographic.



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