Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: Prev 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Newbie Question: Where's the magic in the high end transceivers?  (Read 33771 times)
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #45 on: October 07, 2013, 11:57:24 AM »


If you are worried about the cost of entry level gear, then you should find a cheaper hobby. Seriously.

I have several expensive hobbies that I don't mind putting money into where the expense is completely justifiable.  As someone who has been working with computer technology and programming for 20 years, I find the pricing of entry level HF gear to be too high in general, given the state of technology today.  I'm asking why it has to be so, and the answer seems to be that it doesn't have to be so... it just is.

One of the reasons I posed the question was because I've heard people ask why so many new hams get their license, and they promptly go inactive.  Cost is certainly a factor, and so is the disorganized and dated nature of the presentation of this hobby to potential newcomers in general.

Anyway, it doesn't seem to matter now, as I see that there are plenty of people and companies who are getting involved with designing hardware and software for future radio applications that are much more affordable.  We can thank SDR for this, and it's likely to drive pricing for transceivers down across the board in the coming years.  Some of this is happening completely independently of amateur radio, such as the new HackRF board (they are planning a daughter board with HF in mind).

The biggest cost is in engineering, both mechanical and electrical. No matter if it's a computer, stereo, or ham radio. BUT with a computer or stereo you can divide the costs among millions of units and with ham radio hopefully 10,000 units. Just do the math and figure out which is going to be cheaper.

Clif

I understand this, and it's exactly why I think SDR is going to have a huge impact on the pricing of these things in the coming years.  Either way, it's going to be interesting to see what happens to this hobby within the next ten years.
Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
K5TED
Member

Posts: 780




Ignore
« Reply #46 on: October 07, 2013, 03:41:25 PM »

As someone who has been working with computer technology and radios for well over 20 years, I find the pricing of entry level HF gear to be about the same as entry level computer gear.

A barebones Intel i3 based PC kit and Windows OS will set you back about as much as an entry level Icom HF rig. The Icom rig will serve you longer than the i3 kit, in the long run.



Logged
K5TED
Member

Posts: 780




Ignore
« Reply #47 on: October 07, 2013, 05:12:53 PM »

"I've heard people ask why so many new hams get their license, and they promptly go inactive.  Cost is certainly a factor, and so is the disorganized and dated nature of the presentation of this hobby to potential newcomers in general."

Good observation.

Many new hams get their license, buy a Baofeng, find out that:

A. The V/U repeater community is interesting, a rewarding experience, and it opens door to furthering their hobby interests.

B. The V/U repeater community is not what they imagined ham radio would be and is boring.


Entry level ham radio, even with a Baofeng, is not just the V/U repeater community, but the first step towards:

1. Learning about antennas. V/U antennas are small and easily constructed from readily available parts, and the instructions for such are readily available on the internet or in handbooks.

2. Radio communication rules, protocols and conventions.

3. Integration of PC and radio for data modes, IRLP, etc.

4. Satellite communications using homebrew antennas.

All of the above can be accomplished for around $70 total if you are willing to search, investigate, follow examples, use small tools, shop Home Depot, and already own a PC of some sort.


"the disorganized and dated nature of the presentation of this hobby to potential newcomers in general"

That is a fairly subjective observation, IMO. What is it exactly that you are looking for in presentation?

The world of ham radio is open to you and all the information you could possibly need is documented and organized online. If you are looking for in-person coaching, stop by a local Field Day or other amateur radio public event. Take a look around. Meet some hams. It may take a few tries to find the group that contains what you seek. No different than any other hobby.



Logged
W4KYR
Member

Posts: 606




Ignore
« Reply #48 on: October 07, 2013, 06:51:31 PM »

Quote
the disorganized and dated nature of the presentation of this hobby to potential newcomers in general

Not disorganized, but diverse. When I became a ham back in the 90's was right around when the no code tech license (as it was known then) was wildly popular. The HTX 202 was selling like hot cakes. The 2 meters bands were packed on simplex 146.520 (the calling freq.) through 146.580. Repeaters started to get flooded with new hams. Auto patch was very popular as well, not many of us had a cell phone back then.

Two meters was the lions share of the activity and that was our starting point and that was because if you wanted a dual band radio, they were $350 and up at the time. And if you wanted six meters, well that would set you back even more. 220 mhz FM? Those radios were selling close to if not more than $300 just for that one band.

From there some would branch off into packet radio. Weak signal 2 meter SSB. Others would get their 5 wpm and go to 10 meters SSB (probably using a HTX 100). The next step was  general class and get on the HF SSB bands on some used rig. While there were hams that had computers with packet radio tnc's that also did RTTY, WEFAX, Morse, AMTOR and other goodies. Packet was king, it was the internet of the airwaves.

So it was pretty much 2 meter FM, 2 meter packet, some 2 meter SSB, some 440 FM, 10 meter SSB and the HF SSB bands and of course CW that was the lions share. Not to mention other modes like moonbounce, ATV, SSTV and satellite communications.

Now it is different. With the addition of multiband rigs like the IC 706, FT100, FT 817, FT 897 and so on. Six meters started to get popular as well as 2 meter SSB and to an extent 432 SSB.

And with the advent of more powerful computers and soundcard interfaces like the Rigblaster and SignaLink, the digital modes started taking off. Other modes started to get popular like PSK31, so popular that Elecraft featured it on their KX3. PSK31 is one of those great modes where you can have a marginal antenna and 5 watts and work the world.

Along the way packet started dying out with the rise of the internet, but APRS took its place. Then D-Star started to pick up some. And so ham radio changed along the way and got more diverse. And then we had more fragments of the ham radio community experimenting with trail radios, pedestrian radio, ecomm, APRS, fox hunts, manpack and so on and it became even more diverse.

Whereas the entry to ham radio was 2 meters in the 90's. Today it is a different story, not only rigs have more bands, but more modes are available too. It would seem disorganized to newcomers, but it is diverse more than ever.

Quote
"dated nature of the presentation of this hobby to potential newcomers"

Imagine something like the internet but without wires. Being able to talk to other people around the world without Skype or the internet sure has it's appeal. Imagine being able to keep in contact with others during an extended blackout after some tornado or disaster rolled through town. Imagine going camping and stringing some wire up in the trees in the middle of nowhere and being able to talk around the world with a small gel cell battery and a small trail radio that fits in the palm of your hand.

Not having to rely on the internet or the cell phone to carry on a conversation is always a thrill. Ham radio with it's even more diverse range of appeal and independence from the grid has the potential to attract newcomers now more than ever. There is something for everyone.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 06:54:47 PM by W4KYR » Logged

Still using Windows XP Pro.
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #49 on: October 08, 2013, 08:09:51 AM »

What is lacking in ham radio is a "unified front" for newcomers.  Something that shows off all of the best attributes of amateur radio as a hobby and science, in a modern presentation.  As I've mentioned in other threads, the microelectronics/DIY hobby is exploding right now, and there's a lot that can be learned from the major players there to help bring ham radio up to date.

I don't want people to think I am coming down on amateur radio or bashing it.  That's not my goal at all.  I'd just like to see the presentation and entry points for newcomers get brought up to date. 

SDRs like these are getting a lot of attention in the hacker/maker/DIY scene, but few people are talking about amateur radio there: 

http://www.taylorkillian.com/2013/08/sdr-showdown-hackrf-vs-bladerf-vs-usrp.html
Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
K5TED
Member

Posts: 780




Ignore
« Reply #50 on: October 08, 2013, 05:50:25 PM »

"a "unified front" for newcomers"

"presentation and entry points for newcomers get brought up to date"

Elaborate, please. What exactly is missing?

"the microelectronics/DIY hobby is exploding right now, and there's a lot that can be learned from the major players there to help bring ham radio up to date."

umm... I can't think of any currently popular SDR or digi mode software that didn't begin with some intrepid ham leveraging his/her professional training or serious hobby skills to develop an application, for all of us to use. Most of it absolutely free of charge. That's the nature of ham radio today.

Apache Labs Anan radios began as an implementation of OpenHPSDR.

Then there's http://flexradio.com/Data/Doc/qex1.pdf

What exactly is the disconnect, as you see it, between high tech hobbyists and amateur radio?

What part of amateur radio isn't "up to date"?

If you look around this site, you'll find some seriously knowledgeable contributors with backgrounds encompassing the gamut of professional technical and mechanical disciplines.

Seems the type of guidance you find lacking is and has been all around since day one of amateur radio.

You have only to seek...

You can take a cue from some of our more driven contributors who've taken it upon themselves to create their own in-depth websites around their own particular avenues of interest in amateur radio.

Create your very own "unified front" of aggregated information highlighting all of the missing pieces, and share it with all.









 


Logged
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #51 on: October 08, 2013, 07:27:41 PM »

"a "unified front" for newcomers"

"presentation and entry points for newcomers get brought up to date"

Elaborate, please. What exactly is missing?

"the microelectronics/DIY hobby is exploding right now, and there's a lot that can be learned from the major players there to help bring ham radio up to date."

umm... I can't think of any currently popular SDR or digi mode software that didn't begin with some intrepid ham leveraging his/her professional training or serious hobby skills to develop an application, for all of us to use. Most of it absolutely free of charge. That's the nature of ham radio today.

Apache Labs Anan radios began as an implementation of OpenHPSDR.

Then there's http://flexradio.com/Data/Doc/qex1.pdf

What exactly is the disconnect, as you see it, between high tech hobbyists and amateur radio?

What part of amateur radio isn't "up to date"?

If you look around this site, you'll find some seriously knowledgeable contributors with backgrounds encompassing the gamut of professional technical and mechanical disciplines.

Seems the type of guidance you find lacking is and has been all around since day one of amateur radio.

You have only to seek...

You can take a cue from some of our more driven contributors who've taken it upon themselves to create their own in-depth websites around their own particular avenues of interest in amateur radio.

Create your very own "unified front" of aggregated information highlighting all of the missing pieces, and share it with all.



You are missing my point completely, and I see no reason to drag it on.  You cannot share my perspective, and that's perfectly OK.
Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
K5TED
Member

Posts: 780




Ignore
« Reply #52 on: October 08, 2013, 08:29:42 PM »

I didn't see a point. That's why I was attempting to assist you in defining one. That's OK, though. I've seen more than a couple of fellow IT professionals go into the hobby and come right back out. Others have stayed. I hope you do.
Logged
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #53 on: October 09, 2013, 10:22:06 AM »

I didn't see a point. That's why I was attempting to assist you in defining one. That's OK, though. I've seen more than a couple of fellow IT professionals go into the hobby and come right back out. Others have stayed. I hope you do.

Thanks for the reply.

I'm not going anywhere.  I'm trying to contribute to the betterment of the hobby by explaining ways in which I think it could be presented in a more organized and modern fashion to interested people.

Coming into this hobby fresh requires a good deal of research to even get a basic shack setup, and that assumes you already understand what you are trying to setup, and why.  I came here bright-eyed not even really having the slightest clue what I wanted to do, but I knew that I found the basic idea of communicating long distances via radio to sound exciting, and I liked the idea of radio as a way to stay connected to others during emergencies.  I have since come to understand a lot more about how deep this hobby is, and how many activities there are, and I'm still blown away by it.

The Tech ticket, for example, barely introduces you to the concept of ham radio, let alone assisting you in getting started from scratch.  Yes, an intrepid person, as I am, can do the research and find all the information they ever needed, and they can also waste a lot of time sifting through *opinions*.  I've already spent more hours learning the basics of ham radio than I have learning any technical subject for the past 20 years (feels a lot like going to school), and I'm enjoying it, but maybe I'm a glutton for punishment Smiley.  I've invested in gear for UHF/VHF and HF, so I am well on my way.

I'll give you an example:  I came to this site before I even took the tech test and when I asked about getting started in radio gear, I was given 8 million opinions, many of which devolved into arguments between hams. All of the replies assumed I understood what bands I wanted to work (everyone assumes HF), and why.  Many people suggested expensive equipment, or told me to trust buying used equipment from people I don't know.  It was confusing.

What I would like to see is a complete website dedicated to getting people started in the hobby.  It should look and function in a modern fashion, using High Def videos where possible, and provide much of the information that one would need to *become interested* in radio and then get started.  While there are various "getting started" guides out there, many of which I have read, they could be massively improved upon, and presented at a single point of entry for the hobby.

Think of it as a "digital Elmer", a modern How-To / FAQ format. "Standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us" is something I believe in.  I've come across many tech geeks and programmers over the years that have an elitist attitude about how much effort they put into learning their skills, and they like to throw it in people's faces by saying "go learn yourself".  Either that, or they have been doing it for so long they have completely forgotten what it's like to come in green.

I came across this Makezine post recently, and it illustrates a very straightforward presentation of getting started with an HF shack.  It assumes quite a bit of prior knowledge of the reader, but it's still one of the best 'Getting Started' guides I've seen online:

http://makezine.com/2010/08/01/setting-up-a-radio-shack/

Makezine.com, in general, is a great website to illustrate the way I would like to see the radio hobby presented.

http://makezine.com/
« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 10:35:58 AM by KK6GNP » Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
AK7V
Member

Posts: 251




Ignore
« Reply #54 on: October 09, 2013, 02:15:50 PM »

There's a tradition of in-person "Elmering" in ham radio that is much better than online sources for a beginner.

And it's better when you start young, because you don't have preconceived notions of how the hobby should be, or how it should be taught, or how things work.  You find someone who teaches you, you listen, you learn, and you do. 

Also, we have published information on how to set up a shack -- the ARRL Handbook is a great example.  It has a lot more, too.  If you read and understand that book, you're off to a strong start.
Logged
K5TED
Member

Posts: 780




Ignore
« Reply #55 on: October 09, 2013, 05:19:12 PM »

Showing a new ham how to do everything to get on the air, without requiring the new ham to put forth any effort in learning at least basic principles to be applied, is like making a website describing all the steps to starting up a helicopter, then expecting the prospective pilot will then, magically, after only watching the video, successfully jump right in and fly away with no adverse incidents..


Logged
W1JKA
Member

Posts: 1815




Ignore
« Reply #56 on: October 09, 2013, 07:42:13 PM »

Re: K5TED  reply #55

   I like your helo pilot analogy, it ranks right up there with those guys that go to college for 4-6 years to study political sci. or get law degrees then get elected to congress and expecting them to know why their there or get something done.
Logged
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #57 on: October 10, 2013, 09:24:57 AM »

There's a tradition of in-person "Elmering" in ham radio that is much better than online sources for a beginner.

And it's better when you start young, because you don't have preconceived notions of how the hobby should be, or how it should be taught, or how things work.  You find someone who teaches you, you listen, you learn, and you do. 

Also, we have published information on how to set up a shack -- the ARRL Handbook is a great example.  It has a lot more, too.  If you read and understand that book, you're off to a strong start.

Not everyone has access to, or wants to find an Elmer.  I'm not saying the information isn't out there, I'm saying it could be presented in a much more modern and efficient way. 
Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #58 on: October 10, 2013, 09:29:57 AM »

Re: K5TED  reply #55

   I like your helo pilot analogy, it ranks right up there with those guys that go to college for 4-6 years to study political sci. or get law degrees then get elected to congress and expecting them to know why their there or get something done.

I am suggesting that the hobby need an updated and modernized image, as well as updated and modernized tools to get people interested in it.  Not that we try to train them to be a contest operator with "a few easy steps".

If you guys disagree with me, that's fine, I can understand that.  It will be interesting to see what the hobby looks like in ten years if it stays on the 'Old Man' track.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 09:35:59 AM by KK6GNP » Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
AK7V
Member

Posts: 251




Ignore
« Reply #59 on: October 10, 2013, 09:42:14 AM »

I see this as an issue with what people consider knowledge these days.  What people consider adequate understanding.

People want to be able to Google solutions to their specific problems.  I admit, it's convenient.  My rig is doing something funny?  Google it.  Need to code some sort of task?  Google it and cut-and-paste.  (I do that when I'm in a hurry, or if I just want a result and don't really care about knowing much.)  There doesn't seem to be much interest in foundation-type knowledge, though.  In reading books laid out in a linear, building-on-previous chapters, manner.  In acquiring and exercising the fundamental information that allows someone to navigate confidently and competently through a technical endeavor.  It's all about making the answers easy to find at the tip of your fingers.  Copying what others have done because the result is more important and immediate than the journey.

This may be the new reality and it does have its plusses, but I argue that it has drawbacks, too. 

There is nothing inefficient with reading a book like the ARRL Handbook.  It has an index, chapters, etc.  It is written in an accessible style and covers enough of the fundamentals to generally steer people in the right direction.

I am becoming curmudgeonly -- and still in my 30s.  lol. Don't mind me.  Grin
Logged
Pages: Prev 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!