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Author Topic: Whats the point- No traffic and boring  (Read 6258 times)
KD8PMK
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Posts: 10




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« on: April 09, 2012, 08:35:38 PM »

Well I have been trying to decide whether or not to post this, but I decided I will to see what peoples thoughts here were.

I got my license a year ago, and was very excited about it at first.  Now I feel like what is the point to amateur radio.  Locally there is nothing happening.  In fact the local club has pretty much shut down because of a lack of interest.  In the past year I have made one, yes 1, contact on 6m, 2m, 70cm.  I can call CQ all day long and never get a response.  In fact I can leave my transceiver on scan and not pick up anything but once in a great while.  However it is quite clickish with the few people that are on and they are rude and do not want to include an outsider.  So I am getting pretty tired of this.

I have been trying to learn CW thinking that might be better as it at least takes someone that has some skill to communicate.  However I don't know if I want to invest anymore money into something that is really loosing appeal quickly. 

Also I have noticed that the conversations I have listened to are usually people that really have nothing to talk about but insist on talking about nothing.  I find this a bit odd.  Then there are a lot of other rude and pointless people on that seem like they just want to piss others off.  So again what is the draw to any of this.

I am a bit frustrated because I thought it would be cool to get my license.  However I feel like it was a waste of my time and money.  I can get a lot more satisfaction out of having real conversations with people on forums.

Anyways this is more of a question as to why I should bother staying in the hobby.  I like the concept, but I just don't know about the whole thing at the moment.

Well thanks for listening.

KD8PMK
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KD8DEY
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Posts: 352




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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2012, 08:45:51 PM »

On HF- 6m
 What kind of antenna? are they working properly? How efficient?
If they can't hear you they are not going to talk to you.
If you can't hear them then you dont realize that they are out there....

On 2m70cm
 do you need a Pl tone? wrong repeater shift? or operating simplex,?.....
If you are trying to operate into a repeater and the radio is set to simplex........(yes you can eventually live it down)

BTW
Nobody knows your a newb on digital modes
ever tried 10m PSK??
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 09:28:04 PM by KD8DEY » Logged
K8AXW
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Posts: 3672




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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 09:10:10 PM »

You hated to make your post..... I hate to make this one.  But.... for what it's worth.

Your choice of where and how to operate sucks for air.  I'll tell you why.  If you live in an area of relatively few operators and or repeaters, those you're going to find are NOT hams.  They're people, perhaps like you, I don't know; who passed a simple test, bought an HT or other V/UHF transceiver and plan to communicate. 

They are mostly former CB'rs, ham wannabes and have limited knowledge of radio, electronics and other modes of communication and have absolutely no intention of going any further in their ham careers.  They buy a rig and antenna and most of the time someone else shows them how to connect the two together.  So what is there to talk about?  Answer.  Nothing but BS!

Now that's for an area with relatively few "hams."  If you are in an area with several repeaters that are busy then your experience will be somewhat better.  But then again, most of those who hang out on these upper bands are there for just one reason and that is to talk to others of the same mentality.  So again, what is there to talk about.

Before investing in equipment and or even working to pass the test, you should have investigated what you would be getting into.

Now, if you seriously want to play ham radio, you're going to have to operate from 6m down.  You don't  have to learn code.  Just upgrade to General and you have phone privileges.  Then you can find people who can and will talk.  You'll also find some lids and plan and simple AH's.  But for the most part, a good group of people to talk to....all over the world!  Learn CW and this group of people almost doubles and the gear becomes less complicated, expensive and perhaps even more fun.

Before writing off ham radio, you need to expand your horizons!  I think you'll be passing up the greatest hobby in the world if you don't.

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AD6KA
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Posts: 2232




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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2012, 11:15:27 PM »

What K8AXW said x 1,000!

HF is where ham radio gets REALLY fun!
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K7MH
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Posts: 328




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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 11:42:22 PM »

Yup.
If you are not on HF, you don't have any idea of what you are missing out on.
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WN2C
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Posts: 429




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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 01:28:39 AM »

David, don't let someone else make the decision for you as it seems that you are.  Your enjoyment of ham radio is up to you and what you do with it.  I looked at the repeater guide for West Virgina and looked you up on QRZ dot com.  You have quite a few repeaters around you but maybe you can't get into some due to the mountains in your area? Or poor antenna? Have you tried IRLP or Echo link? Are you learing any thing about antennas or other aspects of the hobby.  You need to decide what it is you want from ham radio! It is or can be a real learning experience as you go up the licensing ladder. Study for your General, get on HF were you can work the world!
Any way, good luck with what you decide.
73 de Rick wn2c
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STAYVERTICAL
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Posts: 854




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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 01:37:59 AM »

Hi David,

I totally agree with you on VHF/UHF.
Even in my city of millions, it is full of cliques, and is sort of like moving to a small town where it takes five generations to lose the outsider label.
I don't even bother to work VHF/UHF for that reason, and would really encourage you to get to a licence level where you can work H.F.

You will find it is like becoming a well travelled person as compared to someone who has never left sleepy hollow.
For a start, the number of modes used is diverse, the propagation will give you the most surprising results when least expected, and you will meet people on the air from foreign countries who will generally be interesting.
I have also made a lot of foreign ham friends who have visited me and vice versa, making this a great personal experience.

Of course you will also get a lot of "ur 599 thanks for the fb qso 73s " type of qso's, but like mining for gold you sometimes have to pan a lot of dirt to get to the grains of gold.

Leave VHF/UHF Podunk behind and get on H.F. - you won't regret it.

73s
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 12:49:14 PM by STAYVERTICAL » Logged
W1JKA
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Posts: 1619




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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2012, 02:19:43 AM »

     Before you abandon ship you may want to consider building or buying a used small 40 meter qrp cw rig(MFJ Cub for ex.)With your technician license you will be able to improve your cw skills with plenty of slow code hams on the band.Regardless of what you hear about starting out with qrp you will find out that with 2 or 3 watts and a decent dipole antenna  you will have plenty of contacts.If it works out then you may decide to upgrade your license.Just a thought.  Jim
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K1DA
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Posts: 473




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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2012, 04:11:59 AM »

When you convey the attitude that other hams don't have "anything interesting to say"   you may cause them to think the SAME about you.  I  have avoided more my dshare of "hams" ove rthe years who jump into a QSo with the intent of turning it into a rant about "green energy" or "my favorite political hero".  Oh yeah....
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KD8PMK
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Posts: 10




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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2012, 08:18:32 AM »

Hey I want to thank all of you for commenting.  Let me tell you more about my situation. 

First my wife and I moved to WV from Alaska just a few years ago.  Bad move really, but we are here for a few more years.  Anyways in Alaska people used 2m / 70cm for local communications, just like people use their cell phones down here.  When people were out at camp or living in the bush you could radio into your family or friends.  If you needed help you could contact the police station directly.  To me this is what amateur radio is, and this is where I am coming from. 

Then enter West Virginia.  It is very clickish in general and if you were not born and raised here along with all of your family you are an outsider.  So I guess that it wouldn't be any different on the air however I had hoped it would be.  I appreciate the fact that some people are talking to others locally, it is just that they wont acknowledge me.  I know my signal is getting out because there is one ham that listens across town and has told me my signal is strong and clear.  He is at the farthest point of our little town and if he can hear me, others in between us certainly can as well.  He has told me that even though he has had his Extra class for years he has been thinking of getting out of it for the same reasons.  So I don't think it is just me.

Also a good portion of the repeaters are not functional I guess.  I was told by a guy that was in the now defunked ham club, that no one seems to care here and therefore there is not a lot of money put into them to keep them operational.  I talked to the guy who ran the club and he thought it was great for me to get my license but said I wasn't going to find much happening here.  Also I have tried to get on the IRLP but I cannot from my location.

So this brings me back to HF.  Like a lot of you said I think this is where I would like to be.  I have been learning CW and enjoy it.  It is something that I have been interested in since I was a small kid.  Back then I wanted to get involved in it, but my only exposure was CB in a large city and that was not the place to be as an 8 year old.  So I never pursued the ham thing because at the time I did not know any different.  In the last year I have learned a lot, but still must be a wannabe ham in K8AXW words, because it is hard to be anything else and learn if no one is active and no one wants to help you.  I think this is where I have run into a problem.  If there was an elmer around that could give me a hand with things that would be easier for sure.

I do have a TS-820S that I bought last year.  I had it up on 10m and again had no luck.  The intention was to get it set up on 40m, but it has just been sitting on the desk here.  I had the rig tested and it worked fine however after sitting all winter the display now just reads either 0 or 2.  You can find that post in the Elmer Section.  So I am considering selling this unit to get some of my money back.  I am also thinking of selling my VX-5R and was hoping to try to put some of that money into a small set up like a Small Wonders SW40, however they are not longer being made.  So what to do what to do.

Well that will be all for now as it is getting very long winded.  I am sorry about that.  I also need to get off this computer and get to work in the shop as I have orders to get sent out today.

Thanks,
Dave
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N4MJR
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Posts: 7




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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2012, 10:08:56 AM »

Hi David, I had a conversation with a new ham at a QRP field event.  He was in his early 20's and really excited about radio.  He asked me what repeater I hung out on.  My answer was none of them, I mainly in chased DX on 5 watts or less.  This taught me a valuable lesson, to monitor and talk on the local repeaters.  After all, what is the point of becoming a ham if there is no one to talk to? 

The attitude that techs aren't really hams does nothing except discourage new hams and drive them out of the hobby.  I think some old timers have had too much RF and lost the ability to reason as well as any semblance of social skills.  This give ham radio a very bad name.  You are a tech and I'm an extra,  the only difference between us are the bands we can use.  Remember,a lot of new hams are very technically adept and can teach us old timers some new tricks, too.   

Ham radio covers a lot of real estate.  With an HT and a fairly inexpensive Yagi you have satellites and mountain topping to get you talking with other areas.  I wish you were closer because we welcome new hams in the KY QRP club.  We are even planning a miles per watt field event on 2 meter FM. 

Learning CW and using your HF privileges will open up a lot of opportunity.  And don't give up on 10 meters, when its open you can work the world with 5 watts and a dipole.  The fact is that there are a lot of options, but you may need a little help figuring the one that works for you.  What you need is an elmer.  If you can't find one locally I'll try to help long distance, look my call sign up on QRZ.com and email me.  You can join the KY QRP club here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ky-qrp/ too. 

As far as conversations go, I've had them ranging from run and gun contest exchanges to hour long rag chews.  The subjects range from call sign - RST - location to other hobbies, careers, each other's country / city, etc., etc..  The people I've met have ranged from boring to fascinating.  Other people find me anywhere from boring to fascinating.  People are all individuals and we don't always connect, a radio isn't going to change that.

For some great ideas on ways to expand your horizons try looking at: http://twit.tv/show/ham-nation/42  http://www.amateurlogic.tv/blog/
http://arvideonews.com/hrn/index.html

Good luck, Michael N4MJR


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K8AXW
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Posts: 3672




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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2012, 09:25:50 PM »

Quote
The attitude that techs aren't really hams does nothing except discourage new hams and drive them out of the hobby.  I think some old timers have had too much RF and lost the ability to reason as well as any semblance of social skills.  This give ham radio a very bad name.  You are a tech and I'm an extra,  the only difference between us are the bands we can use.  Remember,a lot of new hams are very technically adept and can teach us old timers some new tricks, too

DAVE:  Please note that I said "I hated to make my post" and above is one of the reasons.  Let me point out a few things here to help explain my thinking on this subject.

First of all, you got an introduction into radio through CB.  Although I used CB for several years I was a ham first.  I have nothing against CB'rs. Most of them are satisfied to be CB'rs the rest of their lives.  CB serves the purpose they want.  OK?

You then spent a great deal of time in Alaska and used 2m and 70cm for communications, even to the police dept.  While technically this is ham radio at the same time it can honestly be classified as using ham radio frequencies as public radio...FRS.  The advantage of 2m and 70cm is that you can use large antennas and high power.  It served that purpose and that is all.

The Tech License is supposed to be a stepping stone to the higher class licenses and to encourage people to get into ham radio without having to know a lot of technical stuff right off.  It really isn't supposed to be a means to an end.

I too live in WV.  Elkins is about 2 hours from me.  And I agree WV sucks for air when it comes to finding people to help you.  I too couldn't find help when I went to set up a station.  I had to actually read books to learn.  It wasn't exactly easy but it was fun.

Dave, this stuff about the only difference between a Tech and an Extra is that the Extra has more frequencies is so much BS!  If nothing else, it means the Extra has spent a great deal more time in the books to get that ticket.  It used to be even more difficult.

Finally, the way I see your situation is you have two choices.  ONE is to quit and go find something else to play with or TWO is to stop whining and go get some books and start to study.  An Elmer can help, if you can find one.  But if you can't you do what you can on your own no matter how long it takes..... that is if you WANT to be a ham.  The choice is yours!

MJR: I personally think your attitude is one of the problems we have with many things in this country.  You want to sugar coat and grease everything in the name of political correctness.  It used to be that becoming a ham was something that was worked for.  Nowadays too many want something given to them and the easier the better. Angry
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 09:36:26 PM by K8AXW » Logged
KG4NEL
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Posts: 373




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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2012, 12:55:40 AM »

I guess the weak-signal VHF/UHF guys aren't "real hams", because nothing fun happens up there.

I prefer HF too, but c'mon guys. Smiley

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KD8PMK
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Posts: 10




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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2012, 07:34:30 AM »


Learning CW and using your HF privileges will open up a lot of opportunity.  And don't give up on 10 meters, when its open you can work the world with 5 watts and a dipole.  The fact is that there are a lot of options, but you may need a little help figuring the one that works for you.  What you need is an elmer.  If you can't find one locally I'll try to help long distance, look my call sign up on QRZ.com and email me.  You can join the KY QRP club here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ky-qrp/ too. 

Good luck, Michael N4MJR

Michael,

Thanks for your comment.  I think that using CW on HF is where I am going to try concentrating.  I am still working on learning the code, but I Will get there eventually.  I need a slow net to get started. Roll Eyes  I also would like to get a QRP rig so that I could easily take out it when the wife and I go camping and backpacking.  My plan was to get a SW40 but they are out of production.  I will have to try to search for something else small and compact.  I have been tossing around the idea of getting a RockMite40, and adding a Texas Topper to get it up to 5W of transmitting power.  The idea was to use a EFHW antenna with an AA5TB coupler.  Any thoughts on that?

I appreciate it.

Thanks,
Dave
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KD8PMK
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« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2012, 07:49:14 AM »


The Tech License is supposed to be a stepping stone to the higher class licenses and to encourage people to get into ham radio without having to know a lot of technical stuff right off.  It really isn't supposed to be a means to an end.

I too live in WV.  Elkins is about 2 hours from me.  And I agree WV sucks for air when it comes to finding people to help you.  I too couldn't find help when I went to set up a station.  I had to actually read books to learn.  It wasn't exactly easy but it was fun.

Finally, the way I see your situation is you have two choices.  ONE is to quit and go find something else to play with or TWO is to stop whining and go get some books and start to study.  An Elmer can help, if you can find one.  But if you can't you do what you can on your own no matter how long it takes..... that is if you WANT to be a ham.  The choice is yours!


If I find that I can enjoy the ham radio thing I plan to get my General.  Actually that was the plan in the beginning, but I wanted to see how it would be to try out local stuff on 6m/2m/ and 70cm.  However you know how that worked out.   So at this point like I said in my post above I think I will focus on learning CW and getting on 40meters and see how that goes.

Yep I have been considering giving up the ham hobby.  I have too many other hobbies as it is, so it wouldn't really be that big of a deal to give up amateur radio.  As far as voicing my opinions, I do not think that means I am whining.  I don't know why it seems that you can't voice your thoughts or concerns these days on the net and not have someone accuse you of whining. 

I actually do have a few ARRL books that I have read through.  In fact my wife and I have more books than I have ever seen at another persons home.  However sometimes books are a poor substitute for a human that can interact with you.

Well thanks for your thoughts.

Dave
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