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Author Topic: What killed Ham Radio???  (Read 9187 times)
K5END
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #60 on: August 12, 2009, 06:45:38 AM »

Glad to hear it, Jim.

Stick around.

73
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K4DPK
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« Reply #61 on: August 12, 2009, 05:02:05 PM »

K5END

I always enjoy the literary images you paint.

In addition to describing Jim (and most likely yourself), you did a pretty good depiction of me as well.

I hope we're all around here as long as we can keep our soldering irons warm.  Smiley

Phil C. Sr.
k4dpk
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K5END
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« Reply #62 on: August 13, 2009, 01:44:13 PM »

OK, Phil

<laughing>

Thanks for noticing.

If only I could bottle it and sell it...

73
Larry
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6055




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« Reply #63 on: August 14, 2009, 05:13:26 AM »

As with anything else, ham radio is evolving.  There aren't as many people going to hamfests because the hamfest is the way of the past.  People today have less free time to use for hobbies, and try to do their hobby 'shopping' quicker.  The world has obliged by coming up with e-bay and amazon.  There isn't much time left for the fellowship and camaderie usually associated with hamfests, and it is showing.

Another thing that is changing--and not only in ham radio--is that people aren't as neighbor friendly as they used to be.  Adding to that, today people want to do things THEIR way instead of compromising.  Of course that disappears on the bands, but face to face that IS true, and that is why club participation is also down.

Ham radio isn't dying, but it IS changing.  Whether the change is for the better of for the worst is up to the individual hams--not to decide, but to determine for themselves by how they face the changes.
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K5END
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #64 on: August 14, 2009, 11:25:41 AM »

When I went to my first Hamfest my reaction was, "what a bunch of junk!"

Everything from obsolete laptops to empty chassis, and so on.

But then I went outside to the parking lot sales.

I saw some fine, restored Collins rigs I could hardly afford.

Since then I have done my homework on Collins, and the next time I see what I want, I'll have them hold it for me while I go rob a liquor store and come back with the funds. hihi.

By the way...

Do they allow Ham radio in prison?

Anyone know?
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W7ETA
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Posts: 2527




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« Reply #65 on: August 14, 2009, 04:55:11 PM »

Solid state replaced hollow state.  Ham rigs became better and better and cheaper and cheaper compared to personal income.

While hams studied theory to pass the tests, few had easy access parts to build stuff.  More over, since one could just buy a good rig, few hams gained enough knowledge to build simple rigs.

After about 30 years of playing around with different rigs, I decide it would be FUN to build a CW rig.

I didn't get a single part at a hamfest, all through the internet; all of the iron was thru eBay.  All of the components were either from Mouser or a local parts store.

I've got the iron and all of the components to build another rig using two 6L6GCs vrs one 6L6.  Again, eBay and Mouser.  I finished the home made box for the rig.

A Heathkit AA-151 stereo using PP EL84 arrived yesterday.  The oil caps, teflon caps, and HV mica caps arrived today from the Ukrane.

Once I get the HeathKit working and play around with news caps in the power supply, and changing the coupling caps, I'll add individual bias to each EL84, bypass the tome controls, replace the resistor in the CRC with an inductor, CLCR.

I plan on replacing the triode portion of the 6An8s, pentode-triode, with a 6FQ7 and a 12AX7.  That will entail learning figuring out how to set up a tube for voltage gain and how to set up a tube to "drive the PP EL84s.

I've read that changing from electrolytics to polypropeline or oil filled caps improves the sound.  I dunno?!  But, thanks to eBay, I have access to tons of inexpensive oil filled starter and run caps.

What happens to the sound if I change from and 5AR4 to diodes?  What happens if I make a SS regulated DC power supply for the filaments?  Dunno?  But, since I can solder, thanks to ham radio, and can read and partially work thru simple schematics, I can find out.

I don't know what "killed" ham radio.  

If you want to find a thriving community of people experimenting with hollow and solid state look at the audio sites.  One can find schematics and all of the parts on line and then chat with other people about how and why something works, and wind up with simple good sounding, home made phono amp, line stage and amplifier.

By far the biggest community playing around with tube based electronics is guitar players.

As I type this, I'm listening to a HeathKit UA-1 monoblock I've updated slightly.  I feed it from an MP3 with over 100 hours of blues and rock I've selected.

Ham radio exposed me to simple electronics.  And I guess, eventually my curiosity got the better of me?

Looking forward to winter so that I can play with some antennas.

73
Bob
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N4MJG
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« Reply #66 on: August 14, 2009, 07:31:57 PM »

Ham radio are fun anyway ham radio are not dead yet !!
i enjoyed mine since i be came a general lic. back 07



73
Jackie
KG4ORX
WWW.KG4ORX.COM

SOON TO BE N4MJG ( i hope )
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NO2A
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Posts: 825




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« Reply #67 on: August 15, 2009, 02:48:20 PM »

Ham radio is either in your blood or it isn`t. You cannot explain to a non-ham why you spent hundreds or thousands on your equipment. Why do i like waking up at 4 AM to listen to 40 meters,hoping to work some pacific dx? Just like a photographer waits in sub zero temperatures to get that "perfect shot" of a polar bear. Because it`s a unique hobby we enjoy very much for different reasons. The last time i called CQ on cw i had three stations call me at the same time. How is that dead? Now if you don`t like ham radio and want to talk to someone you can try in a online chat room.(you know the ones where there are 36 people in a "room" but no one is talking to anyone.) HAHAHAHAHA
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N6XXX
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« Reply #68 on: August 18, 2009, 09:01:18 PM »

How to save ham radio?

Reduce total number of ham frequencies.  Get rid of 220mhz and 6m completely.

Make one license only, called, say, "operator."  All techs, advanced, extras are now this new license.  Holders of that license can operate on any of the amateur radio freqs in any mode.

Too many freqs, not enough hams, when you start out in the hobby you don't hear anyone and so you quit.
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KC0SHZ
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Posts: 372




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« Reply #69 on: August 19, 2009, 01:52:15 PM »

Interesting to get rid of 220 MHz and 6 meters.

Not sure about either, but if we were to lose both, I would want a big chunk of usable VHF or HF in their place.  Maybe go up on 40 or 75 meters by 5 MHz?  Maybe go up on the high end and down on the low end of 2 meters by 10 MHz?

I would start with getting rid of many of the repeaters.  Maybe back in the day a town of 300,000 needed 20 repeaters, but really, with cell phones and everyone's busy schedule, they mostly sit unused.

I might suggest no more than 10 repeaters per 100 sq miles on both 2 meter and 440 MHz combined.  I would not let anyone run a repeater with an antenna that is lower than 200 feet AGL, and running at least 50 watts ERP.  

This would get the hams onto a few repeaters that would get real use.  New Hams would get some practice on this format.

Your idea about the single license is good, but probably not achievable given the electronics and math in the Extra class exam.   I might go to a combined Tech and General, and then an Extra.

Also, I would figure some regulatory standard that all EMCOMM organizations that have fixed stations (especially those paid for by federal grants), should be open as club stations when not in use as EMCOMM nodes.   More access to radios and antenna types means more people can do radio even if they can't afford a radio of their own.
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K5END
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #70 on: August 21, 2009, 11:55:41 AM »

I use 220 MHz, and we have local repeaters that are always active.
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N2EY
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« Reply #71 on: August 22, 2009, 05:50:46 AM »

"Reduce total number of ham frequencies. Get rid of 220mhz and 6m completely."

Good luck selling THAT idea!

"Make one license only, called, say, "operator." All techs, advanced, extras are now this new license."

What about Novices and Generals?

What exams would new hams have to pass to get the license?

"Holders of that license can operate on any of the amateur radio freqs in any mode."

So if somebody wants to run FM voice that's 15 kHz wide on 30 meters (a band that's only 50 kHz wide), that would be OK?

I don't think this idea will get a lot of support.
 
"Too many freqs, not enough hams, when you start out in the hobby you don't hear anyone and so you quit."

Well, when I started out in 1967 there were a LOT fewer hams than today. Back then we had maybe 250,000 US hams; today we have over 675,000. I heard plenty of hams back then, and I still do.

So what changed?

Back then most new hams started out on the lower HF bands - 80 and 40 meters. On those bands, you can hear lots of hams in the evenings, with just a fairly simple receiver and antenna, regardless of the sunspot cycle. Even with my very simple 2 tube homebrew receiver and random wire out to the apple tree I could hear hams hundreds of miles away every night.

Today it's common for new hams to start out on VHF/UHF, often with a handheld or small mobile rig. Such a setup is good for a couple of miles at most. Repeaters extend the range somewhat but not to hundreds of miles. So the number of hams APPEARS to be very small.

Those new hams who try HF often start on the upper HF bands such as 10 meters because the antennas are small. But such bands are usually dead in the evenings during sunspot minimums, and often are quiet for extended periods because everybody's down on the lower HF bands.

On top of all this, the license test requirements and methods today cover a lot of topics but not in any depth. Heck, there are "license in a day" classes now! So it's possible for a new ham to get a license but not really know enough about radio to set up a working station. Just look at some of the questions and problems posed here on eham in the forums. Such things are NOT the fault of the new hams, they're a problem with the SYSTEM.

In the bad old days (1950s-70s) most new hams started out with the Novice license. It was easy to get but conveyed very limited privileges - just small parts of 80, 40, 15 and 2 meters, low power, crystal control and one or two modes.  

The result was that new hams were guided to bands and modes where they could make lots of QSOs with minimal stations. Many built their own rigs, from kits or from parts. There were lots of rigs, articles and information aimed at helping the Novice get started and improve.  

What we need is a 21st century version of the old Novice license.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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NO2A
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Posts: 825




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« Reply #72 on: August 22, 2009, 01:42:10 PM »

Those are good points you mentioned,Jim. I always wanted to know why 220 mhz. never was popular. The arguement is that that band is only allocated to the U.S. That still doesn`t explain why it couldn`t be an alternative to crowded 2 meters. Perhaps a better idea would be to get rid of 60 meters? I like the new novice license idea. When the F.C.C. allocated phone priveleges above 3600 khz. that must have made it difficult for rtty operators,with such a small c.w. band. That`s one thing i miss about 80 c.w.
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K5END
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #73 on: August 23, 2009, 05:25:38 PM »

Ham radio has not been killed.

But the Internet has certainly given the quasi hams a comfy home.

Not that all posters on the Internet are quasi hams, but you don't see quasi hams so much on the bands--just on the Internet, mostly.

I got two new States and a new Province today on CW, 20 m, before the thunder crept in and scared the bejeezus outta me.

The noise cancelling headphones only make it so the thunder has to be closer before I am aware of it.

Close one.

So now it's back to the nasty old internet for a Sunday evening's entertainment.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #74 on: August 24, 2009, 09:35:59 AM »

Get rid of 220 mhz abd 6 meters?  That won't fly--not at all.  Although there aren't many on 220 mhz (well, not right now, but there are new 220 mhz rigs coming out) there are quite a few that still love the 'magic band'.  I doubt if you'll get them to give that up at all, let alone quickly.
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