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eHam Forums => Misc => Topic started by: N5INP on November 25, 2013, 04:12:03 PM



Title: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: N5INP on November 25, 2013, 04:12:03 PM
I talked to a lady friend of mine the other day, hadn't heard from her in a while. She asked what I was into these days.

I said "Well, I just got back into ham radio this summer."

She said "What's ham radio?"

I said "You have never heard of ham radio? Amateur radio? You mean you've never heard of that?"

Her "Nope."

I found that hard to believe. Does anyone else find that hard to believe?

By the way, she was born in 1981.


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: AA4PB on November 25, 2013, 04:44:24 PM
Ask her if she's ever heard of CB. Many people think that CB is ham radio.


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: KB4QAA on November 25, 2013, 05:02:35 PM
Ham radio was passe' even by 1981.  ;)


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: KS2G on November 25, 2013, 05:50:53 PM
I talked to a lady friend of mine the other day...

That's probably the key.

If it was a man of similar age, most likely his response would have been, "People still do that?"  ;)


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: K8AXW on November 25, 2013, 09:05:23 PM
HHmmmmm is she blonde?


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: W1JKA on November 26, 2013, 02:43:34 AM
 Re: N5INP

Ask her if she knows what twerking is, if she does you will forget all about ham radio. ;)


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: N5INP on November 26, 2013, 04:18:28 AM
I didn't expect her to understand ham radio or anything close to that. But never heard of it? That's shocking to me.

I tried to explain it like - it's talking to people on certain parts of the shortwave bands ...

I saw no gears turning in that brain when I mentioned shortwave. I bet 99% of people today don't even have a clue about shorwave bands or anything outside of the AM or FM dial.


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: AC4RD on November 26, 2013, 04:20:10 AM
Sometimes people ask me what all those antennas are for on my car.  Very very few of them have ever heard of amateur radio as a hobby.  There isn't much time to explain in a parking lot, but I usually say something like "It's a fun hobby involving radio communications--we are the people who sometimes provide emergency communications after a disaster."  Put a bit of a positive spin on it.


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: K8AXW on November 26, 2013, 08:28:49 AM
JKA:  OMG..... I just found out about 3 days ago what "twerking" is!  I can't wait to see what is next!! Daymn!!


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: W1JKA on November 26, 2013, 09:20:56 AM
Re: K8AXW

 Same here, XYL just showed me what it was about a week ago, wish I'd known what it was about 20 years ago.  :(


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: AG6WT on November 26, 2013, 02:32:57 PM
Next time just say it's a way "I can talk or text around the world without having to pay a cellphone company a $100/month".

But we're an exclusive group and you have to take a test and get a license before you are allow to get on our network  :P


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: G3RZP on November 26, 2013, 03:28:08 PM
hey, it's just general ignorance.

I went to the optician. An Indian gentleman. He asks "What do you do for a living?"

"I'm a radio engineer"

"But nobody uses radio any more - it's all digital"

"How do you think the digits get to the cellphone?"

He was an awful optician, too.......


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: KE7TMA on November 26, 2013, 03:31:01 PM
hey, it's just general ignorance.

I went to the optician. An Indian gentleman. He asks "What do you do for a living?"

"I'm a radio engineer"

"But nobody uses radio any more - it's all digital"

"How do you think the digits get to the cellphone?"

He was an awful optician, too.......

My last optician didn't know what chromatic aberration was.  My doctor told me that a new strain of the flu was going around per the bulletin he got from a major medical journal.  When I asked how they knew it was new, what sort of genetic testing was done on the isolated virus, he said "no it hasn't been sequenced, but it's not the right time of year for the 'normal' flu!"

Sometimes you just have to nod, smile, and find a new medical professional.


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: G3RZP on November 26, 2013, 03:35:58 PM
 Next time, I went, it was a Chinese lady who knew her stuff......

But having worked in medical electronics, it gets interesting at times when you can discuss at a very detailed level matters with the doctor - like the pros and cons of capsule endoscopy!


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: KB4QAA on November 26, 2013, 04:31:32 PM
Most people under 50 have probably never heard of ham radio.  The easiest explanation is something like "It's like CB, but you have to take exams and get a federal license".


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: K9IUQ on November 26, 2013, 04:38:28 PM
Next time just say it's a way "I can talk or text around the world without having to pay a cellphone company a $100/month".

Yep, also say our equipment cost thousands of $$$ just so we can say 599 TU to another ham. Cellphones are cheaper much than hamradio. Better reception too, no lids tuning up on your conversations or causing QRM..  :D :D

Stan K9IUQ


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: WB8VLC on November 26, 2013, 07:48:47 PM
When someone ask me about my antennas i just tell them they are for monitoring smart phones and pc wifi.  The look i receive when i say i intercept pc wifi and smartphones voice and text messages is priceless.

But the best joke is still renaming your home wifi from the stupid default name to something like "fbi mobile van"



Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: K8AXW on November 26, 2013, 08:53:59 PM
Peter:  My wife recently had her pacemaker replaced.  I asked the cardiologist for the old one to make a LED blinker.  He never batted an eye and in fact we had a long discussion about this project which freaked my wife out because she was upset over having this procedure again. 

He even sent it to the lab to get it set it up for me. The technician presented it to me with instructions and a special screwdriver so I could attach wire leads to it!

Al - K8AXW



Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: G3RZP on November 27, 2013, 04:44:35 AM
Does the new one have a radio transceiver inside?


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: WI8P on November 27, 2013, 07:23:54 AM
Does the new one have a radio transceiver inside?

Yeah, I'm wondering if he took out a 2 million dollar life insurance policy on her and started learning how to hack on the same day.  :D


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: K8AXW on November 27, 2013, 10:07:23 AM
Interesting thought!  I might start the rumor that Obamacare has a stipulation that the "Approval Panel" has the option of shutting off any or all pacemakers.   ::)


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: AA4PB on November 27, 2013, 10:20:42 AM
I hear that the new Obamacare pacemakers have a lifetime warrantee - the lifetime of the patient  ;)


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: G3RZP on November 27, 2013, 10:30:11 AM
There's getting on for 1 million pacemakers world wide with radio in them. Some US manufacturers use the 902 -928 MHz band: internationally, the band 401 to 406 MHz is used under ITU-R Rec RS1436. Max eirp is 25 microwatts. Getting that much outside the body with the battery limitations is very difficult but you can easily get it from the programmer. A QRO implant tx is 1milliwatt. In Europe, there's also a band from 2483.5 to 2500MHz.

Until retirement last June, I'd spent 11 years on design and standardisation on medical implant radio: for the last 6 years, I was chairman of the European standards committee for Wireless Medical Applications.


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: WA7SGS on November 27, 2013, 07:53:52 PM
This is ham radio...LOL!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-8RItOZE30

73,

Rick


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: KD8TFG on November 28, 2013, 06:00:42 AM
OMG I remember that episode of the Munsters


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: W1JKA on November 28, 2013, 06:52:48 AM
Herman has a better handle of ham operations than a lot of guys I hear on the air now. ;)


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: KK6GMN on November 28, 2013, 10:36:43 AM
I am not physically able to get on my roof and recently had some antennas installed by a nice handyman on Craig's list.  During the estimate, he asked what sort of antennas they were and I said "ham antennas".  Of course, he said "What's that? Some sort of special TV or something?"  He was in his late 20's and seemed educated.  I was really surprised.  I explained it was for radio communications, and he asked if it was like a regular radio station or something.  I gave him the lowdown about using it for communication with other hams and emergency service.  He seemed under impressed.    What was doubly funny was when he did the actual install his wife was with him and asked the exact same questions... no understanding of amateur radio at all.


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: G3RZP on November 28, 2013, 11:56:13 AM
I guess there's a lot of people in the Philippines right now who are glad there's ham radio. Like Alaska in 1964. Mexico City in '79 and so many more. Right down to where the Governor of the State of Washington said after the floods there a few years ago 'The real heroes here are the hams' .


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: N4KD on November 29, 2013, 02:19:38 PM
On the lighter side, Katy Perry knows, or thinks she knows about morse code... Skip to 2:40, or so, for the punch line.

http://www.etonline.com/music/139526_Katy_Perry_s_Back_to_the_Drawing_Board_for_Prism/


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: N0BOE on December 03, 2013, 04:08:55 PM
I've been a first hand witness to this dumbing down of the public in general. I tie it to the recent proliferation of "smart" technology - as tech gets smarter, people get dumber.

I was licensed in 1996 at 11 years old. Back then it was fairly easy for my peers to understand the basic concepts of radio and why it was appealing to me. 49mhz walkie-talkies were a pretty popular toy in my neighborhood, so the concept of over the air two way communication was pretty easily understood. Now that everyone has a phone permanently attached to their ear that does everything they want it to do and gives them instant access to multiple forms of social communication -- how many jr. high kids play with walkie-talkies anymore? I'll bet most of them have cell phones instead. Who cares about radio anymore, my phone will let me text anyone instantly, and I can get on the internet, and facebook, and, and, and....

How do cell phones work? Science, blah blah blah, I don't care as long as I can get online!

(For the record, this 29 year old doesn't own a cell phone... Believe it or not...)


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: W4KYR on December 03, 2013, 06:25:52 PM
With all the fairly recent mainstream talk about preppers, survivalists, zombie apocalypses and Mayan 2012 Calendar, End Of The World-SHTF Scenarios. I'm kind of surprised that more people haven't looked into ham radio as an alternative medium if and when the grid goes down someday.

Speaking of the grid. I remember watching reports of Hurricane Sandy hitting NJ and NY last year and there was a section very close to NYC. People had no idea what was going on, they were asking the TV reporter for the latest news. Seems their cellphones, internet and the grid were all down. They had no way to communicate or even receive the latest news because of the storm.


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: W1JKA on December 04, 2013, 05:22:36 AM
Today's communications technology is nothing but a daisy chain, break one link i.e. power grid, repeater, cable, satellite etc. and most is lost. What's left is basic HF communications and not necessarily just by hams although they are probably the best prepared for it with LOS HTs, simple radios, wire and battery/solar power. Unless that one big chain link (atmosphere) breaks this type of communications will be the last man standing.


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: N2MG on December 04, 2013, 07:34:57 AM
After explaining that it's "like CB but with licensing" I always add "...and for that we can legally run a lot more power, operate on lots of different frequencies that allow world-wide communications and in general we take the whole radio thing more seriously."  If their eyes don't glaze over, I go on, but usually they do, so I don't. ;-)

The best thing about ham radio when compared to cell phones or the Internet is that it is a "community" of disorganized, dispersed, and independent radios, antenna and operators.   No central government (other than perhaps initial licensing), no central switchboard and a minimum of (if any) infrastructure required.

With regards to SHTF-WROL situations, I agree that Radio seems under-represented. On a fictional note, one personal disappointment with "The Walking Dead" TV series is they only utilized radio communications for a couple of episodes and then its utility was quite unimpressive.  I mean, there was no EMP to kill the electronics like in some stories, so what's their excuse?  I guess, well, it's that they don't even use electricity for the most part!  

Mike N2MG




Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: K8AXW on December 04, 2013, 08:53:33 AM
MG: 
Quote
I guess, well, it's that they don't even use electricity for the most part! 

I watched a few episodes of "Walking Dead" until I realized it was a program of zombie target practice, gore and disgusting opportunities to teach the viewers a social lesson. 

However, be that as it may, it became apparent early on that there wasn't any electricity because all the power plants were down.  Apparently zombies have no interest in working.

During my 40 years running a power plant, I did observer a few operators that appeared to be zombies until they sobered up.   ::)

Al - K8AXW



Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: KB1WSY on December 08, 2013, 04:53:17 PM
Not very important to me: the low profile of our hobby/service.

Very important to me: the lack of knowledge, or even any curiosity, about "how things work" or any interest in "building things."

(Not intended as a generational comment BTW. Nowadays this curse is multigenerational.)


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: N5INP on December 11, 2013, 01:42:32 PM
And more -

I went across the street to visit some young neighbors today, because I hadn't seen their new baby yet. They are probably in their late 20s. I asked them what they were doing these days besides raising two kids, and they also asked me. I said I got back into Ham radio.


 ???


 ::)

The guy said what's that?

I said you never heard of ham radio? A lot of it takes place on the shortwave bands.

 ???

 ::)

Anyway - you all know where this is going. Amazing.


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: KU4UV on December 11, 2013, 02:39:20 PM
I talked to a lady friend of mine the other day, hadn't heard from her in a while. She asked what I was into these days.

I said "Well, I just got back into ham radio this summer."

She said "What's ham radio?"

I said "You have never heard of ham radio? Amateur radio? You mean you've never heard of that?"

Her "Nope."

I found that hard to believe. Does anyone else find that hard to believe?

By the way, she was born in 1981.

That doesn't surprise me, given the time in which she grew up.  I was talking to a young lady over the phone several years ago that I had met through an online dating site that told me she was born in June 1981.  She asked me what I like to do for fun, and one of the things I mentioned was that I was a ham radio operator.  She also asked, "What's ham radio."  When I explained what ham radio was, and the fact that I had contacted stations in all 50 states and heard astronauts on the International Space Stations on my radios, she said, "Oh, that sounds really cool."  So, no, it doesn't surprise me that the lady you were talking to hasn't heard of ham radio.  Most kids born after about 1981 or 82 have most never talked on a CB radio either, so odds are they aren't going to have clue what ham radio is all about.  I was born in 1974, and my dad had a CB radio in his compnay car up until about 82 or 83 when the CB craze was starting to dry up.  I was always interested in radio and Electronics, and they spurred me to get my ham license shortly before I turned 18.  We have to remember that our hobby simply doesn't receive the exposure today that it did some 40 or 50 years ago.  Just watch some of the old TV shows like, "The Munsters" or "The Addam's Family" that featured ham radio use.  Kids today have way too many other video games and electronic gadgets to occupy their time, so no, it doesn't surprise me that a girl born in 1981 hasn't heard about ham radio.

73,
Mike KU4UV


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: KA4NMA on December 15, 2013, 10:45:38 PM
Several years ago I was looking at an apartment.  The lease agreement mentioned that no radio transmitters are allowed.  I asked the property manager if that included my cordless telephone, microwave oven and cellphone.  She got all flustered and tried to claim that they were not radio transmitters. After several minutes of discussion, she would not budge as she did not understand basic science.  My ex wife kept giving me the eye roll. Later, I got permission to load up the rain gutter for my HF antenna.

Randy ka4nma


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: K7MEM on December 16, 2013, 02:17:04 AM
The guy said what's that?

You get use to people not knowing what ham radio is.

Before I retires, one of my jobs was to manage the Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Engineering (CAD/CAE) installation where I worked. At the time it was 100% Unix. I did all of the workstation setup/maintenance and installed all of the Engineering software. I then had to teach all the Engineers how to use everything. I did this all by myself for a long time until the management realized it was too much for one person. So they hired a recent Engineering graduate from ASU. I wasn't involved in the hiring process, so I didn't have much to say about the candidate I received. After four years of Engineering school, the person they hired never heard of Ham Radio and never heard of a Unix operating system. Talk about starting from scratch. To his credit though, he also didn't know what CB radio was.

But it opened up a new world to this person. After teaching him everything for two years, he found out that these skill were very much in demand and got a job somewhere else at twice the salary. Not bad for two years of work.

Then I have a neighbor. The neighbor knew full well that I was a radio operator but apparently was not aware of the association to "ham". One day last summer she came by and said she was in the town west of me (Williams, AZ) and saw a sign for a "ham fest". She wanted to know what kind of weird people have a festival about hams. She thought they were some kind of nuts that couldn't go to the Ostrich Fest and made up their own fest.

Martin - K7MEM


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: AG6WT on December 16, 2013, 07:23:33 AM
...So they hired a recent Engineering graduate from ASU. I wasn't involved in the hiring process, so I didn't have much to say about the candidate I received. After four years of Engineering school, the person they hired never heard of Ham Radio and never heard of a Unix operating system. Talk about starting from scratch.

In my book that would have been a red flag. While Unix(tm) might not be as popular as it once was, Linux is a main stream OS especially in university STEM departments. If this person never actually sat down and worked on a Unix/Linux computer, at the very least this grad should have become aware of the OS through conversations with his or her classmates. This leads me to believe that this new hire is incurious about technology and probably won't make a good hire unless they are on a business track like sales.


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: K6LCS on December 16, 2013, 11:03:25 AM
EVERYone should have a prepared "30 second speech" on whatever they are doing in life ...
You never know who you might meet on an elevator ... or at the mall ... or at the park ...

And keep it to 30 seconds for starters - you may not have the person's attention for
more than that. If it is a well-prepared 30-seconds, it will "grow" to a conversation. Other-
wise, it just "planted a seed" in someone else's mind ...

Clint K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: KF5ZGZ on December 20, 2013, 09:20:45 AM
I'm not too surprised someone from my generation doesn't know what ham radio is. Society is so uneducated these days.


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: JNK247 on December 26, 2013, 01:05:41 PM
hey, it's just general ignorance.

I went to the optician. An Indian gentleman. He asks "What do you do for a living?"

"I'm a radio engineer"

"But nobody uses radio any more - it's all digital"

"How do you think the digits get to the cellphone?"

He was an awful optician, too.......

 :D


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: KB1WSY on December 26, 2013, 01:43:01 PM
EVERYone should have a prepared "30 second speech" on whatever they are doing in life ...
You never know who you might meet on an elevator ... or at the mall ... or at the park ...

And keep it to 30 seconds for starters - you may not have the person's attention for
more than that. If it is a well-prepared 30-seconds, it will "grow" to a conversation. Other-
wise, it just "planted a seed" in someone else's mind ...

Clint K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com

Clint, I've been thinking about this ever since you posted this some time back.

One of my jobs is as a traveling salesman for our small business. I have an "elevator speech" about my business (and have actually used it several times in elevators at trade shows!).

Seems to me that a canned "elevator speech" about ham radio could be useful for our hobby. Haven't thought about the wording, but will try to come up with something! Do you have a suggestion?

There should probably be two speeches:
--30 seconds (elevator speech).
--90 seconds (dinner party, cocktail party, or when striking up a conversation with the person in the next airplane seat).

Come to think of it, you would expect the brass at ARRL to have devised such things, huh?

73 de Martin, KB1WSY


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: N5INP on December 26, 2013, 04:01:52 PM
Seems to me that a canned "elevator speech" about ham radio could be useful for our hobby. Haven't thought about the wording, but will try to come up with something! Do you have a suggestion?

Well let's work on one!

I first went to Wikipedia to see how they defined it -

Quote
Amateur radio (also called ham radio) is the use of designated radio frequency spectra for purposes of private recreation, non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communication. The term "amateur" is used to specify persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without direct monetary or other similar reward, and to differentiate it from commercial broadcasting, public safety (such as police and fire), or professional two-way radio services (such as maritime, aviation, taxis, etc.).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio

Unfortunately, my woman friend and neighbors wouldn't have a clue what "designated radio frequency spectra" meant, so that's out.  :(


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: KB1WSY on December 29, 2013, 01:54:01 PM
Here's a first try at an "elevator speech," pretty bad I think:

"Ham radio is a way to talk to people all over the world using your own equipment. Unlike telephones or the Internet, it's a stand-alone system that sends a signal directly from one short-wave radio to the other. The formal name is 'amateur radio' but we are also relied upon to provide emergency communications during disasters when other types of wireless are out of action. Ham radio is 100 years old but the technology is constantly evolving. It's the ultimate geeky hobby but it also includes elements of public service."

That comes out at about 30 seconds. (The italics are the words that should be aurally emphasized.)

But the more I think about it, the best response to the "what's that" question is to show people your shack and give them a demonstration of how it works! If you operate phone, you can also give them a go at the microphone (in those countries where this is permitted). Preferably while working some exotic DX.... (good luck with the timing).

I'm constantly being asked the "what's that" question and I'm not even on the air yet! I've decided to add an extra amplifier stage to my homebrew receiver so that I can connect a speaker (not just headphones), making it much easier to demonstrate my hobby.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY


Title: RE: Ham radio? What's that?
Post by: WA2ONH on December 29, 2013, 02:58:44 PM
Here's another version of attempting to explain Ham Radio to the public by KN4AQ in video

Source: KN4AQ - Gary Pearce
"Ham Radio Now" Video Episode #94 @ Shelby Hamfest
Starting @ approx 31:00 minutes into video


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn1fms04IMI&feature=c4-overview&list=UUxqXFK9ETC5CWEdDD-_HpqA

The KN4AQ "elevator speech" goes like this ….

"Ham Radio is a two-way radio hobby and service.

It's a hobby because we use our radios for fun to talk to others and have a good time.

It's a service because we are licensed by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission)
that requires us taking an examination to operate our equipment.

We use the equipment for the benefit of the public, such as during emergencies when normal communication is out or for charity events such as walks or bike tours and things like that in providing logistics and communications."


His point of view is if someone asked you what time is it, you don't tell them how to make a watch. But, hams will turn on a "fire hose" of information in trying to detail every facet of Ham Radio that exists and it's no wonder the pubic walks away totally confused and bewildered.

Afterwards, if your asked a specific question, why to give a focused answer!

I like his simple initial explanation. Check out the video.