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Author Topic: What factors differentiate amateur with others?  (Read 2721 times)
JASIV3
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Posts: 6




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« on: December 19, 2012, 09:55:56 PM »

What are they key factors that differentiates amateur users from, to say commercial and professional users?

Or how to differentiate the device itself? What can be called an amateur radio, what can be called an commercial radio, and what can be called a professional radio...

I know the question might not be so clear, but I am a bit confused myself.
I know first of all they operates in different frequency, but sometimes all three radio have the same features and so on...


Thanks!
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KA4POL
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Posts: 1967




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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2012, 10:16:00 PM »

I'd regard commercial and professional as basically the same versus amateur equipment.
The difference is the different requirements the equipment must fulfill. Ham gear must follow the rules and regulations given by national institutions like the FCC. Professional gear has to follow the specifications like MIL-Specs. This goes way farther than ham gear. Just an example would be temperature ranges. While a professional radio still has to work at minus 55° C, your ham radio will perhaps no longer do the job and you could not complain.
If a manufacturer delivers more for a ham radio that is up to him. Professional stuff will not be accepted if it does not what the specs require. This, of course, has a big influence on cost.
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KZ1X
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2012, 10:32:56 PM »

Are you in the US?

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Regulatory/Part%2097%20-%2004-28-2011.pdf

See the very first section.  You are never ever allowed to make money with your ham station, ever.

We're amateurs. 

Professionals get paid to use their radios, and, we are specifically prohibited.

Same basic rule exists in every country where amateur radio exists.

Also ...
§ 97.117 International communications.
"Transmissions to a different country, where permitted, shall be limited to communications incidental to the purposes of the amateur service and to remarks of a personal character."

We're the world's only hobby regulated by the UN (ITU).

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G3RZP
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2012, 02:39:01 AM »

The international Radio Regulations define amateur radio

1.56      amateur service:  A radiocommunication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, by duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.

1.57      amateur-satellite service:  A radiocommunication service using space stations on earth satellites for the same purposes as those of the amateur service.

Equipment for intended  for amateurs generally has a more restricted frequency range (which these days can be overcome in many rigs by small changes), is more limited in operating temperature range (e.g maritime equipment is -15 to +55 deg C) and is usually less robust. Having said which, quite a lot of amateur transceivers get used by the military because they are cheap in comparison, and as 'Commercial Off The Shelf' are readily available. Perhaps the biggest example of this happening was in 1941: the Hallicrafters HT4 transmitter was ruggedised to become the US Army BC610, the National company were told by the US Navy to 'make HRO receivers until we tell you to stop', while it was also used in the UK for intercept work, HF direction finding and by the British Army, the Hammarlund SP200 amateur receiver became the BC779 used extensively in ground stations for the USAAC and so on.

But it still happens today that the military use amateur equipment: this is supposedly why the Israeli military appear in the 2m band.
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KA4POL
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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2012, 04:59:31 AM »

But it still happens today that the military use amateur equipment: this is supposedly why the Israeli military appear in the 2m band.
I seriously doubt that. It is rather because military in general does not care about those silly hams. Military has its own rules which are always on top due to being government.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2012, 05:50:50 AM »

What are they key factors that differentiates amateur users from, to say commercial and professional users?

Amateurs are tested on basic electronics and regulations. As a result they are counted on by the FCC to properly operate and maintain their own equipment. Equipment designed for amateur use allows a lot more freedom for users to select frequencies, modes, etc. Amateurs can build, repair or modify their own equipment. Amateurs are free to experiment.

Most commercial users are not tested on electronics or regulations, they just operated the equipment as a tool in performing their primary job. As a result, the equipment is a lot more restrictive in terms of user options. For example, often the users are assigned specific channels and are not able to dial in frequencies directly. Sometimes antennas are permanently attached so that users cannot change them. Often, commercial users don't even know what frequency, or even what band, their radios operate in. The just know to set channel 3 and push the PTT button. Commercial users must call on a certified technician to repair their equipment. Standards such as frequency accuracy and stability are often more strict than on amateur equipment because they usually are assigned specific frequencies (channels) rather than a band of frequencies in which they can freely roam about.

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M6GOM
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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2012, 06:46:24 AM »

If you make money from it it is commercial. If you're not allowed to make money from it, it is amateur.

Because commercial stations basically get bits of kit and bolt them together there is little need for any technical knowledge.

Amateur radio is a hobby "for self teaching and investigation of radio" so requires a level of technical knowledge to get the best from it.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2012, 08:31:15 AM »

Aside from what the others here have said about "making money" or operating for profit, the commercial/professional equipment is held to higher standards as far as dependability, stability. 

Each installation is held to very strict standards by the FCC and have to have a highly qualified person, either on staff or on contract, to ensure the equipment is performing to specs.

Most of the people that operate and maintain these installations have obtained FCC issued licenses after passing very involved examinations which are administered at an FCC office, not by a Volunteer Examiner. (VC)
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G3RZP
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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2012, 08:42:40 AM »

KA4POL,

COTS is the big wish word today. Even in the Falklands war, the mil were using some ICOM amateur transceivers, while one of the cheap scanners  is used a lot in YA by the British military. It's cheap, if it breaks, throw it away - you can buy at least 10 of them for what you pay for a proper mil grade device if you can get one. Although the ones they use are capable of detecting digital cellular signals, which is enough to warn about a IED triggered by cell 'phone, as well as being small and light enough to use in the field.

Mil procurement - long and slow. The British Army joke that they have a new weapon, but it doesn't work and you can't fire it. It's called a civil servant procurement officer!

SINCGARS proposals were asked for in 1975. SINCGARS got into full production in 1987......
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AJ4WC
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2012, 11:28:14 AM »

Equipment differences aside, the other major difference is that in amatuer radio the main emphasis is the radio itself and the operator's enjoyment of participating in the hobby.  There is no equalivent to that in the commercial sector.  You won't see employment ads for 'radio operators', that profession no longer exists - if it ever did.  Instead, radios are tools that a professional might use to carry out their duties, but their job is not defined by the radio and the radio most likely plays a very small roll in their job.  In most cases, they could use another tool in it's place, such as a phone, pager, or whatever is the next new technology.  They don't care about the radio any more than a construction worker cares about a hammer.  The owning the hammer is not his profession (he's not a professional hammer operator) and does not define who s/he is.  He also probably won't be bragging to his buds about how many different types of hammers he owns, or claiming that his hammer is bigger than yours.  (Okay, he might do that...)  But anyway, the vast majority of commerical radio users couldn't tell you the name of the manufacturer or the model number of the radio they use every day.  They just don't care because it's not their profession, it's just a tool. 
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NK7Z
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Posts: 758


WWW

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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2012, 12:18:32 PM »

What are they key factors that differentiates amateur users from, to say commercial and professional users?

1.  Amateur operators are the cheapest people on the planet, where broadcasters, (especially if PBS), will spend millions if possible.

2.  Amateur Operators speak only to one other person at a time, while professional's speak to many at once.

3.  Amateur Operators will get something working, no matter how unsafe, or dangerous, while professional operators will pay an Amateur to make things work.

4.  Amateur Operators have a hat with a rotating beacon on top, where professional operators have name tags, and go to NAB.

5.  Most Amateur operators have diabetes, where most professional broadcasters have heart attacks.

6.  Amateur Operators will save every scrap of coax, or every resistor they have ever touched, where professional operators save every piece of equipment they have ever touched, working or not.

7.  Amateur Operators are all licensed, where not all professional operators are licensed.

8.  Amateur Operators know Morse Code, where professional operators know how to code a spreadsheet.

All in humor...  No offense meant to anyone...

73's
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
G3RZP
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Posts: 4479




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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2012, 12:39:05 PM »

NK7Z,

Your points 3 and 8 are not freqently applicable..........

Look at some of the questions here, even from Extra Class ops.......
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AC5UP
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Posts: 3836




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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2012, 01:41:20 PM »

Look at some of the questions here, even from Extra Class ops.......

Don't get me started.     Tongue

There was a time when I thought a call sign indicated a certain level of technical competence and familiarity with electromagnetic theory.

I was completely wrong about that. A call sign may indicate someone recognized enough of the question pool to pass the test(s) and nothing more.

I don't mind ignorance as we all started there, and there is no reliable cure for stupidity, but in some cases the total lack of familiarity, curiosity or ability to do a simple web search is absolutely breathtaking...... Then there are the questions about how to make a diploe work with a Yaseu.   Roll Eyes

BTW:  I came across a fine example of unintentional humor this afternoon... Local author self-publishing three books has a display rack with her books and a sheet touting the plot of the stories. The sheet has several grammatical errors and poor word choices. Militant English teachers couldn't resist the urge to note and correct those errors... So they did.

Loved It !!
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Never change a password on a Friday                
NK7Z
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Posts: 758


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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2012, 02:01:33 PM »

NK7Z,

Your points 3 and 8 are not freqently applicable..........

Look at some of the questions here, even from Extra Class ops.......

I forgot that there is no-code now...  I remove point 8!  Smiley
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
NK7Z
Member

Posts: 758


WWW

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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2012, 02:08:00 PM »

I don't mind ignorance as we all started there, and there is no reliable cure for stupidity, but in some cases the total lack of familiarity, curiosity or ability to do a simple web search is absolutely breathtaking...... Then there are the questions about how to make a diploe work with a Yaseu.   Roll Eyes

Robert A. Heinlein said this:

Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime: the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.
Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough For Love

73's
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
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