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Author Topic: Comfortable as a Technician?  (Read 6807 times)
KE7KTR
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Posts: 15




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« on: January 04, 2012, 09:40:03 AM »

Hello all -

I'm new to the forum, but I have been lurking / reading here for quite some time and finding good info.  I've had my technician class license for about five years, and I have been intermittently active during that time, mostly due to other family / life responsibilities taking much of my time and resources.  Recently I have been Tx-ing and Rx-ing more than ever before. 

Currently, my only rig is a trusty handheld that I have gotten very familiar with over the years, but I'm mainly limited to 2m / 70cm at 6 watts.  Even with this limited transceiver (compared to a base station) I can do quite a bit in my area and mostly get great reports on my signal strength and clarity, both simplex and via repeaters, granted with an after-market antenna.

With that background, here is the point of my post...  I know this may sound like utter heresy to some here.

I'm not really interested in HF.  Dx-ing doesn't really appeal to me.  I'm not likely to pay for a vanity call sign.  I find that essentially what I want to do with the hobby, I can do with a technician class license and an FM handheld. 

*gasps*

Now for some clarification...  Part of what limits me to the handheld is the fact that I currently live in a very small condo, and I would never say I'll never upgrade my license / transceiver or never be interested in any of the things listed above.  If you love HF or are a champion DX-er, that is fantastic.  I'm not trying to demean your interests or accomplishments.  I'm simply saying that from where I stand right now, I find I have so much to learn and do in the technician envelope that I'm not ready to look further yet.

Is that strange?  Would you try to change my mind and urge me to upgrade my license ASAP, or would you say that my current mindset makes sense (for me)?

Many say that people who don't work on upgrading their licenses quickly lose interest in the hobby and fall off, but I don't see that being the case with myself.

Just curious as to whether or not I am the odd-man-out in amateur radio.
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M0HCN
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Posts: 473




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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2012, 12:22:30 PM »

Not really, do whatever works for you.
Plenty of fun to be had up in the VHF/UHF/Microwave bands if that is your thing.

Personally I wanted the whole thing, so my UK equivalent of the extra exam rolls around at the end of the month, but if VHF QRP is your thing I see absolutely nothing wrong with your approach.

You will of course get the occasional lid pulling the 'you are not a proper ham, I learned code before dashes were invented, yada yada', just ignore them and spin the dial.

Regards, Dan.
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AK4KZ
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Posts: 84


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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2012, 12:51:56 PM »

Is that strange?  Would you try to change my mind and urge me to upgrade my license ASAP, or would you say that my current mindset makes sense (for me)?

Many say that people who don't work on upgrading their licenses quickly lose interest in the hobby and fall off, but I don't see that being the case with myself.

If amateur radio is meeting your need, by all means, stay there. There are people who get ham licenses just so they can use VHF. Certainly, when I got my tech license about 20 years ago, it was plenty for me to be able to get on packet over VHF. I liked to listen to HF but had no desire to get on.

As far as falling off.. as long as you know there's more on the other side of a license upgrade, you should be fine. I mean, really.. if you lose interest, what's the natural thing to do? Start looking for where you can stretch out, right? But there's no pressure to. Or shouldn't be, anyway. It's a hobby not a contest. (well.. sometimes it's a contest.. but that's a specific thing.. not the hobby in general..)

Does it make you the odd-man-out? Well.. perhaps in a minority. But we all are. We're hams.

Do as much or as little with it as you'd like. By all means, hang out on VHF/UHF. Someone has to use those bands ;-) But remember.. if you get bored, there's more.

73,
Chris
AK4KZ
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KE7KTR
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2012, 01:19:34 PM »

You will of course get the occasional lid pulling the 'you are not a proper ham, I learned code before dashes were invented, yada yada'

This is what I have found via many face to face and radio contacts, so I thought I would post here to see if many thought this way, or if I was missing something.

Thanks to all for the replies.
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KG4NEL
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Posts: 373




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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2012, 09:15:18 PM »

I know where you're coming from - I was stuck in an apartment with no easy way to put up an outdoor antenna (no balcony, roof access, etc). My station for a long time was an IC-746 with a mag-mount antenna stuck to some metal bookshelves :p

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W5DQ
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2012, 01:52:16 PM »

I'm not really interested in HF.  Dx-ing doesn't really appeal to me.  I'm not likely to pay for a vanity call sign.  I find that essentially what I want to do with the hobby, I can do with a technician class license and an FM handheld.  


Egads!! May the DXing gods strike you down with bad SWR and RFI to boot Smiley

Seriously, the nice thing about ham radio is the varied facets of interest that can be applied to one's activities. If VHF/UHF handheld FM activity is what you yearn for, by all means, enjoy it to the fullest. I, on the other hand, live for the thrill of the hunt and chase of DX and the excitement of the competition of a contest. I enjoy modifying and experimenting with antennas. But that's is just my level of activities.

Let no one tell you that you are less of ham for not having the big HF station and using only an HT on FM. It's not about what radio gear you can acquire but rather what you do with the radio gear you have.

One other idea while using the HT on FM, if you are so inclined to explore more of ham radio, check out 6M. Even in a condo, if you have a balcony and can temporarily set out a small 6M loop (appx 18"-20" square or round, 4 foot off the floor) you will be amazed at the area of coverage 20-25 watts can achieve on 6M. The whole setup is portable enough that you could take the family to the park and set it up on the end of a picnic table. 


Enjoy the hobby,

Gene W5DQ
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 01:58:54 PM by W5DQ » Logged

Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
K3WEC
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Posts: 260




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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2012, 02:23:56 PM »

Agree with everyone that if you are satisfied then why not stay put?  An analogy would be that I haven't upgraded to my commercial driver's license because I have no interest in driving an 18-wheeler.   
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KE7KTR
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2012, 02:26:00 PM »

Agree with everyone that if you are satisfied then why not stay put?  An analogy would be that I haven't upgraded to my commercial driver's license because I have no interest in driving an 18-wheeler.   

I like that analogy.  Thanks again to all for the replies.
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2012, 12:59:36 PM »

When I got my Tech, I bought a Kenwood TS2000(X) and an FT-100D for a mobile station.  Both were used on 6M and up with great success.  I participated in several contest as a Rover and got some significant scores.  I made DX contacts on 6M and many contacts on the Easter seaboard on 2M and 7CM, SSB.  Satellites were another great source of operating fun. 

The thing holding me back from upgrading, at the time, was Morse Code.  When the requirement was dropped I immediately went to Extra.  But, when I was a Tech, I didn't lack for operating opportunities and with the 10M band open for SSB, it can be even more fun for you.
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KJ1H
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2012, 08:43:00 AM »

I went from Novice to Tech to General in about 6 months between 1989 and 1990, because I wanted to get on 2 meters as well as a slice of all the HF bands.  But since I'm not a contester, I didn't see the need to proceed through Advanced and Extra.  That, and when I looked at the license manuals out of curiousity, my head started spinning!  So I was perfectly happy to stay a General for 21 years.

Yes, I'm an Extra now, and I took it on last winter as a personal challenge more than to gain access to the Extra bands (and yes, the standards have dropped a bit in the past 20 years).  I rewarded myself with a new callsign, and I became a VE, but everything I do on the air these days - including 10 meter mobile - I could do with a Tech license.

There are some hams who will pressure you to upgrade, as though it's a moral obligation or something.  I say do what you feel is right.  There's no point in getting a motorcycle license if you never intend to ride a motorcycle!
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73 - Justin
W5DQ
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« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2012, 08:55:18 AM »

There's no point in getting a motorcycle license if you never intend to ride a motorcycle!

While I agree with your analogy, I believe that if one has the ability to upgrade early on in their ham career, I say why not do it and have the extra privileges available IF and WHEN needed rather than say well I'll just upgrade when I might need it and then miss some opportunity because one doesn't have an Extra ticket at the ready.

As a side regarding riding a motorcycle, if you've never ridden one, you are missing out on a thrilling part of life, my friend. I ride almost everyday to work and for pleasure. Couldn't imagine not being able to ride. Not many things as relaxing or invigorating as a nice ride in the springtime through the country on a curvy road.

To all I say, live life large and enjoy ham radio along theway.

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
KJ1H
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Posts: 47


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« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2012, 09:33:49 AM »

There is something to be said for going "up the ladder" while the material from the previous tests is still fresh in your head.  Like I said, I ran from Novice to Tech to General in about 6 months, and agree that there's a benefit.  Then I got stuck on the Advanced theory and stalled for 21 years - admittedly, until they made the test easier.  (And it wasn't the CW that held me up - there was a time I could've passed the 20wpm test, but didn't bother because I was nowhere near ready to test on the theory.)

As for motorcycles, you're preaching to the choir, my friend. Smiley  It's a balmy 50F here in Massachusetts today, and it's killing me that my bike's off the road for the winter!  This time last year we were buried in snow...
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73 - Justin
K0CBA
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Posts: 299




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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2012, 09:41:14 AM »

The higher your license class, the more bands/frequencies you may choose not to use.
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N3DF
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Posts: 252




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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2012, 05:08:16 PM »

Some hams find a challenge in climbing the licensing ladder and some don"t.  You could be a General or even an Amateur Extra in a couple of weeks.
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Neil N3DF
W9RKK
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2012, 09:04:21 AM »

If I were you I'd at least get my General Class license. Then if the bug bites (like on Field Day), you're a step ahead. The test is fairly easy and there are plenty of free test exams available on the Internet.

One last thought, there's nothing like hearing your call sign coming from the other side of the planet.
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