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Author Topic: Why would I be ineterested in HAM? (long)  (Read 11756 times)
K8AXW
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Posts: 3839




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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2013, 08:50:51 AM »

SEANM:

You do need to understand one thing.  Ham radio and age has nothing to do with each other.  I had one good friend who got into ham radio when he was close to 70 years old.  The reason for the delay was work, family, sick wife and a few other things that kept distracting him.

We became acquainted after he got his ticket and I became his Elmer even though I was much younger than him.  (Once again, age means nothing in ham radio)  As his Elmer he kept me on my toes and actually introduced ME to the integrated circuit facet of electronics.  When he passed at 92 he willed me his almost new TS-830S, which I still use today.

I don't understand "Having an interest in something and not being able to understand why." (Paraphrased)   Perhaps it's time to get in touch with your 'inner feelings."   Roll Eyes

7DX:  Nothing was meant to be funny.  

IU:  This capitalization discussion of HAM, Ham, and ham has been ongoing for some time.  I was under the impression ham was meat and Ham was a term describing an amateur radio operator.  HAM might also be considered the same as Ham.  At any rate, if ham is considered correct by the majority, I stand corrected.  Until then I consider an amateur radio operator as a Ham.  

No offense meant.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2013, 08:58:20 AM »

SEANM:  While typing my last post you also posted.  So you're an IT guy.  This little bit of information explains why you might might have an interest in electronics and/or Ham radio.

Whenever you ask a question such as yours it would be nice to know something of your background and present interests and especially the kind of work you do.

I mentioned that my two kids had no interest in electronics or Ham radio while growing up and living at home.  However, my daughter has spent all of her working life in the electronics testing field and is a certified IT.  Apparently something rubbed off that way.
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ILDARIN
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Posts: 27




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« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2013, 10:11:44 AM »

I'm in very much the same position you are - interested as a kid, stopped by the Morse requirement, reinspired by a flyer for a class run by the local sheriff's office, but wondering just what it's good for.

So I took the tests a few months ago (that's pretty cheap) and got one of those Chinese HTs (Baofeng UV5R, $50 at Amazon).  Many old-timers badmouth those, but there's plenty of help on the internet for programming them, and the hardware seems pretty rugged. 

HF radios cost a lot more, and I haven't bought one yet (putting up antennas is another problem).  My local club has a club station, so I plan to operate there for a while under the supervision of an 'Elmer' to find out what it's all about.

I'm a retired airline pilot and a bit of a computer geek, so the technology doesn't scare me.  I am still wondering a bit about what I can do with radio that I can't do cheaper and better with a cell phone, a computer and the Internet.
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KJ4FUU
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Posts: 162




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« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2013, 10:49:47 AM »

I got into CB radio right after high school. I was interested in ham radio then. I actually got up to 5 wpm in Morse code, and was planning on getting the Technician license (this was about 1978-1980). However, money needed to go elsewhere and I dropped the idea.

Years later, I found that Morse code was no longer a requirement. At the age of 51, I took the tests for Technician and General. Three months later, I took the test for Extra. I wasn't ideally set up for an antenna, so I got an antenna tuner, and strung some wire out the back. I operate QRP for the most part on my Yaesu FT-817ND.

Recently, I got a Ventenna HFp, and a Ten-Tec Argonaut VI, and have been setting up portable with those, trying to figure out what I can and cannot do with them. I noticed during the MD/DC QSO party using 40 meters that the antenna seemed to shoot over a lot of MD, since the only decent signal report I got was from a county over 100 miles away. On 20 meters this weekend, with less than ideal conditions, I was actually able to make a few contacts in the Kansas QSO party (I overshot Ohio, so no contacts there), using 5 watts.

What you can do with ham radio depends on your budget and antenna situation. You can get a VHF/UHF handheld fairly cheap, and if you live near one or more repeaters, you may find some enjoyment there. I check into local nets using an old Yaesu FT-212 radio that I picked up for about $50 (I also paid about $10 for the used power supply, but that was a lucky find, and about $70 for the antenna).

Even if you aren't a club kind of person, you might check into one anyway for advice.

73,

-- Tom
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KK6GNP
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Posts: 158




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« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2013, 10:52:03 AM »

I'm in very much the same position you are - interested as a kid, stopped by the Morse requirement, reinspired by a flyer for a class run by the local sheriff's office, but wondering just what it's good for.

So I took the tests a few months ago (that's pretty cheap) and got one of those Chinese HTs (Baofeng UV5R, $50 at Amazon).  Many old-timers badmouth those, but there's plenty of help on the internet for programming them, and the hardware seems pretty rugged. 

HF radios cost a lot more, and I haven't bought one yet (putting up antennas is another problem).  My local club has a club station, so I plan to operate there for a while under the supervision of an 'Elmer' to find out what it's all about.

I'm a retired airline pilot and a bit of a computer geek, so the technology doesn't scare me.  I am still wondering a bit about what I can do with radio that I can't do cheaper and better with a cell phone, a computer and the Internet.

Well, for starters, if you have some backup power, your radio will work when the cell phone, computer, or internet fail you.  I'd run down the list of reasons this can and does happen, but I think you get the picture.  I appreciate the utility of radio from this standpoint, and I also have an interest in emergency communications groups too, so I can potentially help other people if asked to do so.

One cool thing about amateur radio is how it meshes well with other activities you may have in your life.  As an outdoorsman, I'll be taking a radio with me when I go camping and hiking as another activity to do while out there.  I love the idea of making contacts from remote locations, and getting into things like SOTA/IOTA.  Some people travel with their radios and try to make contacts from exotic locations.  I'm interested in learning to track and listen for satellites too, and taking a shot at contacting the ISS at some point.

I would say to take a couple hours to read about some of the activities you can get into with your license, and then make a decision.  At first it's kind of hard to see the scale of this hobby, but in the end, it's very much about enjoying the science of RF, electronics and what I would call "alternative communications" these days.  How you choose to enjoy it is entirely up to you, and there are many, many options.  Trying to summarize amateur radio without writing a book, is difficult.

I think it also helps to understand that we are surrounded by "radio" today even more so than ever before.  Wifi, cell phones, wireless point to point networks, mesh, bluetooth, satellite radio (Sirius) remote radio control of a myriad of devices, etc. are all radio.  The fact that these devices use radio is obscured by the marketing machine these days, but that doesn't make it any less radio related.  RF isn't going away... Ever.  It's still as high tech as anything can get.

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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
WH7DX
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Posts: 1029




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« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2013, 12:27:14 PM »

There you go!   SDR..   sounds like you're ready.   You have nothing to lose but time and money - but you'll learn a great deal regardless.   It might stick on you for 20-30-40-50+....

Have fun.
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KK6GMN
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Posts: 148




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« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2013, 05:06:44 PM »

Yikes... I looked at the cost of SDR setups today.  Need to rethink that until the price drops some maybe. 

Actually I have seen a lot of interesting items in the resources you have all pointed me to.  I am not sure how far I will get with this, but the first step is the license.. so that is where I will start and see what happens.

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-SeanM
KK6GMN

"No man is a failure...
...who has friends." --Clarence

Weather at my shack
http://www.pegnsean.net/~sean/weather/wx.htm
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




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« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2013, 05:22:29 PM »

Yikes... I looked at the cost of SDR setups today.  Need to rethink that until the price drops some maybe. 

Actually I have seen a lot of interesting items in the resources you have all pointed me to.  I am not sure how far I will get with this, but the first step is the license.. so that is where I will start and see what happens.

You can get into HDR receive for very little money as was pointed out to me recently on these forums, and that's what a lot of standard radios do that interface with SDR software anyway.  As far as SDR transceivers... yeah, the Flex and Apache equipment is really expensive.  I'm not sure if there are any noteworthy inexpensive SDR transceivers, but someone here might know.
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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
KK6GMN
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Posts: 148




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« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2013, 05:27:26 PM »

One other thing I need to know... I joined model railroading and RC flying for the hot chicks, but I was misinformed.  I assume there are plenty of those into amateur radio right?   Grin
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-SeanM
KK6GMN

"No man is a failure...
...who has friends." --Clarence

Weather at my shack
http://www.pegnsean.net/~sean/weather/wx.htm
NI3S
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Posts: 67




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« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2013, 05:50:53 PM »

Sean,

Model railing and RC?  Sounds like you have some hands on skills.  This might be an aspect of the hobby that interests you.  For a lot of folks, contests, Worked-all-universe, and other on air activities are their thing.  They are not mine, as I enjoy building radio stuff.  Much of the fun for me is scrounging to build something.  Little of my amateur radio time is actually interacting with others. 

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KB3VQQ
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Posts: 11




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« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2013, 06:53:57 PM »

Sean,

I say "go for it!"...  I started out just a few years ago when I was pushing 40; this is one hobby that you're never too old to start.  (especially now that there is no code requirement...although I do intend to learn it at some point.)

I've always been a "tinkerer" as well.  My other hobbies are woodworking and occasional photography, but ham radio fills the slot for the "geek" in me.  All sorts of opportunities to build stuff and experiment.  One bug that has bitten me is the digital modes on HF...  Read up a bit on PSK31, JT65, JT9, etc...  With the digital "weak signal" modes, you can make contacts around the globe on just a few watts of power and even using compromise antennas.  Fun stuff for sure!  (That's the geek talking now!)

Good luck on your journey!
Josh
KB3VQQ
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AJ3O
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Posts: 124




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« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2013, 07:44:53 PM »

I got my ticket at 41 and we have "new" hams at our club that collect a pension already. All of us are having  blast with many different aspects of the hobby.

Go for it and if you decide not to stay with it, you lost $15 and the time to study. But I guarantee that you will come away with some knowledge that will help you somewhere down the line. If you do stay with it, you will meet many great people.

73 and good luck with either choice,

Joe / AJ3O
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WB6DGN
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Posts: 618




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« Reply #27 on: August 27, 2013, 12:48:34 PM »

Quote
I am still wondering a bit about what I can do with radio that I can't do cheaper and better with a cell phone, a computer and the Internet.

I see this question often.  Consider my opinion:

A cellphone and, in large part, the internet is a MEANS to an end; the end being to, for example, order a pizza, make a doctor appointment, arrange a date, etc., etc.  While the cellphone or internet is the TOOL to accomplish those things, the main interest is in the pizza, appointment, date, ect., etc and the tool is forgotten until the next time it is needed.

Amateur radio, on the other hand, is the END.  A reason isn't needed to use an amateur radio; THE DESIRE TO USE IT is the REASON.  Now, an amateur radio may well be able to accomplish some of these other tasks but that is rarely the reason for using it; RATHER, an excuse to use it.

So, a person uses amateur radio for its own sake; a person uses a cellphone for some other purpose.

That's how I see it.  Hope this made sense to others.

Tom
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KK6GMN
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Posts: 148




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« Reply #28 on: August 27, 2013, 02:25:38 PM »

Tom,

  Thank you for a wonderful piece of wisdom.  It make good sense and helps explain nicely why I would be interested in this hobby.

-SeanM
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-SeanM
KK6GMN

"No man is a failure...
...who has friends." --Clarence

Weather at my shack
http://www.pegnsean.net/~sean/weather/wx.htm
K8AXW
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Posts: 3839




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« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2013, 02:41:59 PM »

DGN:  Tom, very well put!  Never heard it explained better!
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