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Author Topic: Tech licensees who don't want to upgrade...  (Read 40384 times)
KB1SF
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« Reply #45 on: December 11, 2013, 06:33:05 PM »

I suspect, we do not disagree that much. Although I feel there was a time when the Morse requirement was relevant. In my mind that ended about 1980.

I'm of the opinion that the regulatory justification for the Morse testing requirement ended with the demise of Spark.

Indeed, the sole regulatory reason a Morse testing requirement was put in place before that time was because spark signals were so broad that they often interfered with other "official" radio traffic (most notably from the US Navy).  

Our regulators at the time wanted to be sure we amateurs knew enough Morse so that if we were interfering with another "official" transmission (such as a maritime distress call), an "official" station could come on the air, tell us to shut up and we'd be able to both understand the message...and comply.

Now, with that all said, would somebody please explain to me what overriding regulatory need was fulfilled for retaining such a clearly arcane testing requirement in our Service well into the 21st Century?

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf@blogspot.ca
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W5LZ
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« Reply #46 on: December 19, 2013, 05:00:32 PM »

Need?  Since when does there have to be a 'need'?  The requirement just hadn't been changed yet.  Since I'm one'a them old-fogies that learned code, I don't see a huge deal about it.  Don't want, or can't, learn to do CW (boy, is there a 'cop-out' in that!) then wait till it isn't a requirement.  Contrary to popular belief, CW isn't an 'impossibility' at all.  It does require effort!  Do you get the feeling that I think those that "can't" do code are sort of lazy?  You're about as right as rain.  If I can do it,I don't know why anyone can't do it.  On the other hand, if I were getting a license now instead of when I did, I wouldn't learn code either.
 - 'Doc

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W5LZ
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« Reply #47 on: December 19, 2013, 05:03:09 PM »

As for up-grading or not...  If you don't feel a need, then don't.  Personally, I think you're missing out on a lot of thingys.
 - 'Doc
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KB1SF
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« Reply #48 on: December 31, 2013, 05:56:42 PM »

Don't want, or can't, learn to do CW (boy, is there a 'cop-out' in that!) then wait till it isn't a requirement.  Contrary to popular belief, CW isn't an 'impossibility' at all.  It does require effort!  Do you get the feeling that I think those that "can't" do code are sort of lazy?  You're about as right as rain.  If I can do it, I don't know why anyone can't do it.  

Clearly, you've never been involved (as I have been over the course of nearly 40 years) in helping hundreds of others trying to learn Morse.  It's also painfully apparent that your so-called "popular belief" is based on a sample size of one....your own (horrifically narrow) experience with it.

I invite you to read (or re-read) my experiences (based on a sample size of hundreds, not just one) with the unique psycho-motor skills required for someone to "learn" Morse expressed in a previous post.  Perhaps my observations may help you to (finally) understand just how systemically discriminatory the Morse testing requirement in our Service really was.

Thankfully, your "I-did-it-and-therefore-so-can-you" view is shared by an ever-shrinking minority within our ranks.  That's because most of those who still desperately cling to such nonsense are now dying in ever-increasing numbers.  

However, the arrogant perpetuation of such "hazing rituals" LONG after they served any regulatory purpose whatsoever has already inflicted significant (if not irreparable) harm to our Service's long-term viability and growth.  The sad truth is that, for decades prior to 2007, we were "eating our young" with an absolutely baseless testing requirement that turned off (or turned away) tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of potential hams.  

So, in that sense, the horrific damage Morse testing inflicted on our Service has already been done.

And, to me, that's been the real crime in all of this.

73,

Keith
KB1SF / VA3KSF / VA3OB
kb1sf.blogspot.ca
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 06:10:02 PM by KB1SF » Logged
K7RNO
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« Reply #49 on: January 04, 2014, 11:21:54 AM »

I don't want to speculate on others' motives for not advancing from Tech, but I can offer two pieces of anecdotal evidence: mine and that of my XYL.

At some point early last year, I woke up to the idea of adding a means of communication in case of emergency (we live on a fault line, and no, we are not moving away), so I got a Tech license, an HT, and involvement with the local ARES group. Then my past radio op soul (German Navy, 45 years ago) woke up and I became interested in reviving my code skills. MCW was not promising, so I considered HF. Not sure why everybody says you need at least General to have HF privileges. You must mean mostly phone, because my Ham Radio Bands chart shows plenty of available CW frequencies for a Tech. Anyway, after getting a KX3, I owed it to myself to upgrade to General four months after Tech. FFW >> another six months, and I was planning a trip to Greece where I wanted to get on the air. Regulations make it almost mandatory to have the Extra license, so I got that in December (in the ULS since 12/31—what a way to end that year  Smiley). I am sorry, but I will not be building or designing rigs or other gadgets beyond portable antennae or mechanical things. I'm not coming from the electronic engineering side but from the operating side.

For my XYL, there is no radio background whatsoever. Worse, she is a brainy literaturist with two PhDs but no talent for anything technical or electronic. Which is why she has postponed her Tech license exam for the second time now. Hopefully she can manage this month. Her (only!) interest is to have a means of communication in emergencies. An HT is all she will ever have or use. Why would/should she ever want to advance? Even I can't think of a reason.

So, my conclusion is that each and every ham (or not-ham) has their individual reason for being at the license level they are at and for future evolution in that regard. Short of conducting a properly designed research study, one can only speculate about those reasons, and that I won't.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2014, 11:26:10 AM by K7RNO » Logged

73,
aRNO
NAQCC #6870, SKCC #11131
KK4LGR
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« Reply #50 on: January 07, 2014, 12:44:07 AM »

I am a Technician-class amateur radio operator.  I have held my license for less than 2 years and I've been operating for about 6 months now.  I am in my mid-20's.  So I think I'm qualified to answer this question from firsthand experience.  Maybe I'll also touch on why my peers seldom show interest in radio.

The main reason I don't sit for the General test is that I can't afford a radio that requires a General-class license to operate, but there are other factors that weigh on my decision making process.

I was raised on this here internet.  Reliable communication with the entire world from my bedroom is just a part of my reality.  I rely on it as much as I do the power grid and the sewer system.  Using equipment I already own that cost less than a modest HF setup, I can watch movies in full 1080p HD video with crystal clear surround sound, order a pizza, pay my bills, and earn my living, all from the chair I'm sitting in right now.  Using the same box, I can talk to virtually everyone on the planet--a huge pool of users conveniently subdivided and searchable by age group, interest and topic of discussion.  I can communicate by text, image, audio, video, and directly send computer files to and from anywhere in the world, all the time.  Ham radio's promise of being able to maybe talk with other licensed amateurs around the world depending on where we are in the 11 year sunspot cycle, band conditions, day/night changes in the ionosphere, and if your antenna is hooked up properly just falls a little short.

At the same time, I get the appeal of amateur radio. (Hence why I bothered to get licensed)  I understand the appeal of trying to work a contact in every state or every country.  I've set a goal for myself to land at every airport in my home state.  It's a contrived little adventure, but I've had ENORMOUS fun and made lifelong memories doing so.  Working the whole country using nothing but a chosen band and mode could hold a similar adventure.  The challenge of putting a signal all the way to the other coast or out to Hawaii could match the technical skill needed to fly a difficult approach into that short grass runway, or to navigate that big, busy airline terminal.  Applying skill to achieve a goal and succeeding is a rewarding feeling, no matter the nature of the activity.

What I don't want to do is say "ur 599, 73 om kk4lgr sk" over and over again for my remaining 50 years.  I may sound like I'm fussing about how bad ham radio is, but I've really enjoyed my qso's on 2 meters FM.  I've actually made friends on the radio with some really great guys who have been friendly and welcoming.  These guys are local so I hear them a lot.  I get to know them, one even lent a crimper to me.  That is more interesting to me than callsign, signal report, clear, next.  I don't want to buy a radio to talk about what kind of radio I have.  I want to talk about our jobs and our cars and our families.  "Wow, you're an only child, I have ten brothers."  "Each member of your family has a car?!  In my country, some whole families don't even have cars."  Sounds way more fun to me than "If anyone needs someone from Belise, there's a guy on 40 meters, you might get through the pileup."

Something I read a lot here on eHam is "No code ruined everything."  Learning morse code isn't going to help me in my everyday life.  Learning about electronics and DC power might, but morse code won't.  Sure, you can blink it with a flashlight, but the number of people who are able to understand that message, other than SOS, is a dwindling population.  I see the usefulness in a media agile, human readable digital communication scheme, but if no one understands the language, why learn to speak it?  Dealing with IRLP and VoIP linked repeater systems is more relevant to today's technology than 1880's to 1920's communication techniques.  NTS has a similar issue.  Western Union doesn't do telegrams anymore, why should we?  On a related note, I thought it would be fun to play long distance chess via the NTS.  I might start another thread with that idea.

A common corollary to "No code ruined everything" is "getting a license is so easy that new hams don't treasure their license as an accomplishment and are likely to just let it rot."  I'm sorry, but that's pure, weapons-grade bunkum.  To earn a private pilot's license, you're going to take a similar knowledge test to the radio one, except the test is 3 times longer and the question pool is 10 times bigger and it costs $150.  You're also going to spend at the very least $5,000 on flight training, 40 hours (probably more) in the airplane working on skills, and take a big practical test where you have to do it all in front of the big scary examiner.  You work HARD to get a pilot's license.  Most pilots stop flying around 90 hours in the logbook.  There just comes a day when the weather is nice and you could go to the airport and rent a plane, but there's no one to go with you, and there's nowhere to go, you don't want another $100 hamburger, so...what's on ESPN?  It doesn't matter that their private license means they could take helicopter training or fly a taildragger or a warbird or build an experimental aircraft or take instrument training or multi-engine or whatever.  The local airport just has that same old Cessna for rent, and you can't really afford to buy your own plane, and all that's within a couple hours flight from here are a bunch of quiet municipal fields just like your home airport, and one or two Delta spokes.  So they quit flying.  All that effort and work and learning amounts to a green plastic card in your wallet.

Ring a bell?  "All my 2m rig can do is talk to these repeaters I'm bored of.  All that satellite stuff sounds exciting, but I'd have to wait for the bird to pass by and I might not hear the downlink on my 70cm handheld.  Talking to the space station sounds extremely fun, but I bet they're busy being astronauts and aren't listening to the radio.  All that EME stuff is beyond what my little Yaesu can do.  I could build an antenna, but I'd have to buy an SWR meter at least, and anyway the J-pole I bought works fine, so why bother?  Is Greg on the .220 machine? ...No.  What's for dinner?"

Want to prevent the above scenario?  Get on 2 meters, and if you hear a new ham, invite him over to your shack to play radio.  Lots of guys seem to be willing to talk to me on 2 meters during non-working or sleeping times of the day, but no one has invited me to their shack to take a look at HF or, dare I say it, set me down to try out my 10m SSB privileges.  Some guys might turn that down, being happy with VHF, but I'd jump at the chance.  Show some of us new guys that HF isn't just contesting and swapping signal reports.

I would also like to address this slur that some of the guys here use:  "Appliance Operators."  Apparently, wanting to simply hook up a radio and use it is a cardinal sin.  That might be scaring more folks than you think away, just using that little slur.  I have no desire to crack open my new Yaesu and fiddle with the little surface-mount parts in there.  I'll just break the radio, void the warranty, and probably hurt myself.  I'm not even going to try to modify any factory-built rig that comes into my hands for that same reason:  I'm sure the electrical engineers at Icom or Yaesu have done a much better job than anything I--a flight instructor--could manage.

That's not to say I'm not interested in homebrew projects.  I'm interested in building antennas.  That's a project I think I could tackle.  I'm interested in solar and DC power outside of radio--I'm interested in off-grid living, so amateur radio gives me a place where I can get some hands-on learning on how to handle batteries and wiring.  I've learned a lot about the vehicle I've been driving for the last 11 years investigating a mobile installation.  Someday, I might solder together a little QRP kit with friendlier through-hole construction.  I could use soldering practice.  But at least at first, I'm going to stick with factory built radios, simple antennas that I buy or get a local ham to help me build, and learn how to operate first.  If I may compare radio to aviation again, it would be like telling a student pilot that he's somehow wimpier because he isn't learning to fly a canvas and birch biplane by trial and error like they did back in the '20's.  I'll learn the basics from a qualified instructor in a nice reliable Cessna, then maybe I'll branch out into homebuilding experimental aircraft, thanks.

And yes, I'm interested in Emcomm.  No, I didn't take a 35 question test and buy a $32 HT so that I could be a Big Damn Hero when the next hurricane rolls through.  But, I'm willing to lend a hand with my skills and equipment in times of emergency as long as I get to play with the spectrum when all is well.  I figure if we get evacuated to disaster shelters, I'm going to one anyway as a civilian, so better I bring my radio and handle "we need more diapers" kind of traffic than just sit there.  I don't look forward to hurricanes.  Helping out with local parades and athletic events sounds fun though.

Finally, I'll point something out:  By my math, all amateur allocations in the HF bands totals 3.75 MHz.  2 meters alone is 4 MHz.  70cm is HUGE, at 30 MHz wide (now if only people would use it).  As a tech, I've already got access to most of our bandwidth.  Is General such an upgrade after all?    Cheesy

Maybe those new experiments that are up alongside the cutting edge technology is in visible light data streaming, where the light bulbs in the room send your internet signal instead of a UHF wifi router.  The future of ham radio might not be in HF DX, but in lower power, shorted distance and higher frequency.

How many grid squares have YOU worked in infrared?
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"Well I'm sure glad we've got these ham radios to talk on."
--Unidentified station heard on 2 meters
HURRICAINE
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« Reply #51 on: January 07, 2014, 08:21:16 AM »

The long standing U.S. policy is that radio spectrum is a public resource that no individual owns. In order to have access to spectrum you must provide a benefit to the general public. You must provide a benefit of some sort to others beside yourself. That fact that "you" enjoy talking on the radio doesn't justify your use of the public resource.


There was a lot of very good points brought forth, and this one struck a cord more then all the others.

If you aren't going to do anything with the license beyond talk to a bunch of friends, then maybe that person should go buy a cell phone and stay off the air.
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HURRICAINE
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« Reply #52 on: January 07, 2014, 08:48:30 AM »

I had the unique opportunity to have access to every QST magazine ever written and the time to read each one of them multiple times.

The impression I walked away with from that experience was that in the early days, a man truly had to know something to become licensed and permitted to be on the air.

Amateur Radio was truly a fraternity of like minded people that had a goal to improve the technology used for communications.

Ham's invented radio!

The community was kept small, because they did not want to let every Tom, Dick and Harry in!

World War 1 didn't change things much, since we were only in the war 535 days and most communications took place over a pair of twisted lines rather then wireless communications.

With the advent of World War II, the US had to train thousands of wireless operators and even more women were left into the hobby as wireless operators.  I don't know how many of them ever got a amateur radio license or operated an amateur radio station once the war was over, but the number was probably insignificant.

By the time the solders left Korea, there was an influx of people that had the ability to pass a general knowledge test, but I don't know how many of them were ever left into the hobby, since the numbers of actual amateurs was still small - maybe less then 250,000 in the USA.

By 1958, the USA could no longer keep these undesirable people out, but at the same time, there was a need for more wireless type communications and technology of that time frame did not permit a lot of technology.

I believe the grant of the 11 meters portion of the bands to the Citizens Band was in fact the barn door swinging open.
This allowed more people to use wireless communications, while at the same time, providing them with an avenue that allowed them some room for both experimentation and experience using wireless equipment.

When the manufacturers went ahead and started making better equipment for the Citizens Band people, it became a competition of who made the best product, since the pockets were deep and there was no license requirement other then to put up the money for the license.

1958 and Sputnik was the turning point of technology, since the world realized that the USA was behind in this type of technology compared to Russia.  The point wasn't that they did it, but that they had a rocket capable of launching a payload into space that could be delivered anywhere on the earth.

At that point, the USA was at a loss for amateur radio operators, since we used amateurs to keep track of Sputnik and other space junk that was launched after that.   The Russians made it a point to put Sputnik on a frequency that was easily monitored with amateur radio equipment.

1958 Geo Physical Year was the starting point for many young people that became amateurs.  It was when the door was opened and everyone started to come in.   If you listen to many people that calls themselves old time hams, this is when they got their license.  1958 - 1963 saw a large influx of new people into the amateur radio service - hobby.

At that point, the government said we should provide a service to our country to justify our licenses.

When the tests were dummed down and the licenses were handed out to those that did not physically qualify to be licensed, the whole shooting match went down the drain.

Today, most of these people calls themselves old hams, just because of their age.  The average age of a licensed amateur radio operator two years ago was only 69 years old!

The technician class license is but a gateway to amateur radio.
It allows those that wants to talk, but doesn't want to learn anything a venue to talk.  Their numbers are still counted amongst the ranks, but they really don't have a lot of influence on the situation.

With the technology being developed today - VOIP, spread spectrum, Time Division Multiplexing, Frequency Division Multiplexing etc.  The technology being experimented on the amateur frequencies is being used in the cell phone industry.

The only problem is, the handheld people thinking that a handheld and a linked repeater is the same as a person with an antenna and a HF radio, because they are basically doing the same thing without the expense of time or money to get the license or learn anything.
The other problem being that the people who did not come by their license honestly, or got their license from a ham in a day class, does not understand that unless you understand the rules, anarchy erupts and it is no different then the CB radio we ran away from 35 years ago.

There needs to be some sort of stop gap measure to keep these people from advancing before they are qualified.  I just don't see it happening right now.

The old people hanging out on the nets and acting stupid, chases away the young people that cannot relate to a bunch of old people that doesn't do anything or try to better themselves by sitting on two meters all day talking about their aches and pains.

Without a group of young people and their own frequencies, it is hard for any of them to want to put themselves through the license process and then not have anyone their own age to talk to.
It doesn't matter if you are 15 or 35, the same is true.

Maybe the answer is to not give them privileges on two meters or 70 cm and make them operate for the first 3 years on 6 meters.

Make them keep a log and make them operate to keep their license.

Make everyone licensed in the past 3 years - retake the test if they did not upgrade to General in one year.

This would weed out the undesirables and the ones that were not sincere about actually getting a amateur radio license or being on the air.
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HURRICAINE
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« Reply #53 on: January 07, 2014, 09:23:47 AM »

I am a Technician-class amateur radio operator.  I have held my license for less than 2 years and I've been operating for about 6 months now.  I am in my mid-20's.  So I think I'm qualified to answer this question from firsthand experience.  Maybe I'll also touch on why my peers seldom show interest in radio.

The main reason I don't sit for the General test is that I can't afford a radio that requires a General-class license to operate.
 A Kenwood TS 520 / 530 or even a Yaesu FT 101 can be had for $300 - probably less money then what you spent on your new I-phone.

  Using equipment I already own that cost less than a modest HF setup, I can watch movies in full 1080p HD video with crystal clear surround sound, order a pizza, pay my bills, and earn my living, all from the chair I'm sitting in right now. 
My HP P-7 was almost $1000.00 after a couple of upgrades and a monitor.  I could have bought a decent mobile all mode transceiver for $1000.00

 Using the same box, I can talk to virtually everyone on the planet--a huge pool of users conveniently subdivided and searchable by age group, interest and topic of discussion.  I can communicate by text, image, audio, video, and directly send computer files to and from anywhere in the world, all the time. 
Computers , the internet and social media, offers you the opportunity to screen whom you talk to or which group you join, amateur radio does not offer that exclusivity.

 Ham radio's promise of being able to maybe talk with other licensed amateurs around the world depending on where we are in the 11 year sunspot cycle, band conditions, day/night changes in the ionosphere, and if your antenna is hooked up properly just falls a little short.
I feel really bad for you, due to the fact that you were not able to find any real hams in your area that were willing to expose you to the positive side of amateur radio.

What I don't want to do is say "ur 599, 73 om kk4lgr sk" over and over again for my remaining 50 years.
This is because for some people, this is what amateur radio has been reduced to, trying to make as many contacts as quickly as possible, to show everyone just how good of an operator they were.

  I may sound like I'm fussing about how bad ham radio is, but I've really enjoyed my qso's on 2 meters FM.  I've actually made friends on the radio with some really great guys who have been friendly and welcoming.  These guys are local so I hear them a lot. 
You found your niche, there is nothing wrong with that.

  Dealing with IRLP and VoIP linked repeater systems is more relevant to today's technology than 1880's to 1920's communication techniques. 
This just goes to show you that the world is round and things changes with time.

 NTS has a similar issue.  Western Union doesn't do telegrams anymore, why should we? 
The National Traffic System was devised at a time when other forms of communications was not available.  In an actual emergency, the NTS performs a viable service, relaying traffic from one point to the next.  If the phones stops working, so will the internet, then you would see the benefits to the NTS when someone from your area could relay a message to you or for you.  As with anything you do in life, you don't get good at it unless you practice.  Being able to send traffic in official ARRL format teaches you how to properly communicate.  If you tell a story enough times, eventually someone will change the story.  If you count the number of words in the story, and confirm the story before it is relayed, it's much harder to change the story.

 To earn a private pilot's license, you're going to take a similar knowledge test to the radio one, except the test is 3 times longer and the question pool is 10 times bigger and it costs $150.  You're also going to spend at the very least $5,000 on flight training, 40 hours (probably more) in the airplane working on skills, and take a big practical test where you have to do it all in front of the big scary examiner.  You work HARD to get a pilot's license.  Most pilots stop flying around 90 hours in the logbook. 

And you just said that you did not have the finances to buy a decent HF radio, and you complained about having to buy a SWR meter, yet you can justify spending $7000 to get a pilots license that you won't ever use.  The amateur radio license never expires as long as you renew it and it does not require a physical.


  Lots of guys seem to be willing to talk to me on 2 meters during non-working or sleeping times of the day, but no one has invited me to their shack to take a look at HF or, dare I say it, set me down to try out my 10m SSB privileges. 
The reason why that happened was because there are no REAL HAMS in your vicinity, at least not any that you have met! 
Did you attend any amateur radio club meetings in your area, or did you even seek the assistance of an Elmer when you got your license?  Probably not!


That's not to say I'm not interested in homebrew projects.  I'm interested in building antennas.  That's a project I think I could tackle.  I'm interested in solar and DC power outside of radio--I'm interested in off-grid living, so amateur radio gives me a place where I can get some hands-on learning on how to handle batteries and wiring.  I've learned a lot about the vehicle I've been driving for the last 11 years investigating a mobile installation.  Someday, I might solder together a little QRP kit with friendlier through-hole construction.  I could use soldering practice.  But at least at first, I'm going to stick with factory built radios, simple antennas that I buy or get a local ham to help me build, and learn how to operate first. 

And yes, I'm interested in Emcomm.  No, I didn't take a 35 question test and buy a $32 HT so that I could be a Big Damn Hero when the next hurricane rolls through.  But, I'm willing to lend a hand with my skills and equipment in times of emergency as long as I get to play with the spectrum when all is well.  I figure if we get evacuated to disaster shelters, I'm going to one anyway as a civilian, so better I bring my radio and handle "we need more diapers" kind of traffic than just sit there.  I don't look forward to hurricanes.  Helping out with local parades and athletic events sounds fun though.
The first step is to find a viable amateur radio club and join the club and participate in their events.  One man cannot do it alone.

Finally, I'll point something out:  By my math, all amateur allocations in the HF bands totals 3.75 MHz.  2 meters alone is 4 MHz.  70cm is HUGE, at 30 MHz wide (now if only people would use it).  As a tech, I've already got access to most of our bandwidth.  Is General such an upgrade after all?    Cheesy
The amateur radio can open doors for you if you apply yourself.
The HF bands can teach you more then just give your call sign and 59 and 73 if you find the right people to play with.


Maybe those new experiments that are up alongside the cutting edge technology is in visible light data streaming, where the light bulbs in the room send your internet signal instead of a UHF wifi router.  The future of ham radio might not be in HF DX, but in lower power, shorted distance and higher frequency.

How many grid squares have YOU worked in infrared?

There are some positive articles you might be interested in - in QST Magazine.
Might I suggest that you join the ARRL.
Most club members will give away their old QST Magazines to new club members, the key is to attend the club meetings.
If possible, find a club that has a radio shack and a loaner radio that you can operate in the shack without any outlay of money on your part, other then the cost of joining the club.
This is the key component that most clubs lacks today.
As more and more old club members die's off, you will become more and more desirable as a club member - tomorrow, if you participate today.
Just as with operating an airplane, the only way to gain skills is to practice your trade with others that are like minded.
You can start your own club with just 4 members, but you need to have at least some club members that knows what they are doing in order for your club to be successful.
I can attest to the fact that 10 meters is open to someplace most every day if only you had the proper equipment.  The lack of operators is the only thing keeping more people off 10 meters.
The longest journey starts with but a single step.
Someone has to be the first to call CQ in order for there to be someone on 10 to talk to.
Even Babe Ruth did not hit a home run every time he stepped up to the plate!
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K7RNO
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« Reply #54 on: January 07, 2014, 01:44:33 PM »

KK4LGR,

that was a very good read and an eloquent account of your view.

I understand the "curse" of your generation is that available technology might foster a sense of entitlement, of instant gratification. In such a world, why would one go back in time and do something that doesn't instantly deliver the utmost performance at the highest convenience?

Why? Well, maybe because it is a challenge to walk again when one could drive or even fly. And since flying is your business, I can offer this experience: I was flying in a small passenger plane, a DC-2 I think, from Dakar to Ziguinchor, Senegal. It was an old plane, rattling, with cockroaches in between the dual pane windows, it was refueled by hand from a drum. None of that may sound very confidence inspiring. During the flight, however, I had the feeling that, should something go wrong, one could repair it just there, in the air, with some hand tools and a skilled mechanic. It felt like we were airborne because of good workmanship, good engineering, and good maintenance.

I haven't had such feelings in today's jetliners. There, one feels like being a sardine that voluntarily subjects itself to a narrow tin can and puts itself into a trance in order to survive the impersonal transit from A to B.

That, my dear fellow ham, is why I enjoy CW and would never think of even using a microphone (on HF), let alone a computer to aid me with my hobby, where I can chew the rag and never have to end after RST unless I want to.

That said, getting into HF can be significantly less expensive than getting into VHF/UHF. It all depends on how instantly one wants his gratification and how much of a challenge one wants  Wink


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73,
aRNO
NAQCC #6870, SKCC #11131
KD8TUT
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« Reply #55 on: January 10, 2014, 11:12:37 PM »

I am a Technician-class amateur radio operator.  I have held my license for less than 2 years and I've been operating for about 6 months now.  I am in my mid-20's.  So I think I'm qualified to answer this question from firsthand experience.  Maybe I'll also touch on why my peers seldom show interest in radio.

The main reason I don't sit for the General test is that I can't afford a radio that requires a General-class license to operate, but there are other factors that weigh on my decision making process.

I read all of your comments and have considered them carefully.

I'm in the middle, 48 years old. I'm not with the young hams or the old hams. In fact guys my age seem difficult to find.

However, I started in radio when I was a kid doing 11 meter and a lot of SWL. And I'm part of the internet generation- and was on the internet before it was public.

One thing needs mentioning: The technician exam is not the General or Amateur Extra exam. Promise.

The other issue is the ageism detected in your post. Amateur radio is one of the avocations in life where age should be respected. This is commonly true of any technical discipline. This is why I run the IT department rather than change tapes at 48 years old. It's why my brain is relied upon to tell young people, like you, what to do. Because I have made (and recovered from) all the mistakes that you are *about* to make.

Instead of complaining about old hams talking about their aches and pains, try breaking into the the conversation with a technical question you can't seem to get answered. Much of the time that guy, that old guy, with the bad bladder, is going to school you in a manner where you are simply *put in your place*. At that point you may find yourself respecting that "old man" as a man, rather than a wrinkled throw away.

Personally, in my mind, it's an adventure to get to know older people. You should try it. It broadens your horizons in ways you probably cannot appreciate yet.

73
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KK4LGR
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Posts: 53




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« Reply #56 on: January 11, 2014, 04:09:07 AM »

@Hurricaine:  I know how much used rigs cost, my statement on what I can afford stands.  I'm one of the (very many) 20-somethings who are stuck with part-time, minimum wage retail or worse.  $300 for a rig means saving up my pennies for a long time, perish the thought of $1000.

I have one nearby active ham club within reasonable driving distance to attend meetings.  They have 11 meetings a year, and since I've been operating (about 6 months), I've been busy those 5 Thursday nights.  My application to that club sits on my desk, filled out and ready to turn in.

I've had trouble communicating this concept before, so I'll use small sentences.  I earn money with my computer.  I pay my bills with my computer.  I order goods with my computer.  I communicate with work with my computer.  I can't do these things with a radio.  The FCC doesn't let me.  A computer is way more useful than a radio.  $1,000 for a computer is a much more justifiable expense than $1,000 for a radio.  Especially when you only make $12,000 a year.

Another thing I'll point out about my generation in general, one I've had in mind when making some of my points:  We're some communicating fools.  We'll communicate even if we don't have anything to say (which is how lolcats happened).  We're less interested in transmitting the signal, as we are in sending the message.  Ham radio right now more emphasizes the technical aspects of sending the signal than the content.  We're more about content.  Several of my friends, when I describe a radio net as "kind of like an internet chatroom," they say "What's wrong with the internet?"  That also explains my lack of interest in contesting.

Let's talk about the NTS.  I will fully agree on the following points:

*The phone network is being moved over to an entirely VoIP system, doing away with the old frame relays entirely.  This puts ALL of our "normal" communications eggs in one flimsy little basket maintained by IT professionals.
*Amateur radio is an ideal backup to our internet-based communications systems because it is diverse from and redundant to the internet.  Further, it is usually not occupied with important traffic in peacetime (If you're always using your backup, it isn't a backup.)  It is also useful in communicating over arbitrarily long distances, from across the street to around the world using little to no intermediate infrastructure.
*A universal system needs to be in place so that radio operators carrying critical traffic in times of emergency can relay and deliver those messages quickly, correctly and reliably.  Those operators need practice using that system should they be called to service.

It is that last sentence that I was speaking to.  We hams practice for our emergency roles by playing during peacetime.  We get familiar with operating our transcievers by chewing the rag and contesting.  We get familiar with our off-grid power equipment on field day.  And we practice NTS message handling by handling all these radiograms that people won't stop giving us.  Uh, wait a second...

The emergency purpose and function of the NTS is valuable.  Our peacetime application of it is not.  So that our skills are sharp when the next Cat 5 hurricane makes landfall in Nebraska, we should change the evolve the NTS from a telegram service we offer to the public to one of our radio games.  Keep the net protocols and message formats themselves, but hold contests for most messages handled, most accuracy, etc.  That's why I mentioned NTS chess.  It would be a fun way to generate messages for the system to practice on.

KD8TUT, I'm sorry my parents had sex in the '80's.  I'll try to correct the error immediately.

Seriously, just where do you get off?  Your very first sentence is an obvious lie.  You said you carefully considered all of my comments and yet you failed to address a single one.  You then state your level of experience to try to establish yourself as my superior, and then attack me for being "ageist" when in fact I never once addressed the age of other hams except possibly by stating my own age in my preamble.  It is you who slur both the old (with their aches and pains and bad bladders) and the young--"like me."

Sir, I am a flight instructor (I don't try to mention that every time I post, it just comes up a lot).  I teach people how to fly, and most of my students are older than you.  This means two things:  First, my brain is relied upon to tell old people--like you--what to do, because I've made (and recovered from) all of the mistakes that they are *about* to make, because letting them make those mistakes might mean crashing the plane and hurting themselves.  Second, in order to draw upon my students' past experiences in order to build effective lessons, I spend lots of time getting to know them one-on-one.  You could say I've tried getting to know older people.  I've given it a shot.  Getting to know my students is one of my favorite things about teaching.

As for being "Schooled in a manner that puts one into one's place."  It flies in the face of one of the six basic principles of learning, the principle of effect.  To wit:  When associated with a lesson, a negative emotion (such as fear, anger, humiliation, the dark side of The Force) tends to make the student avoid thinking about the lesson, thus the subject or skill is not retained, whereas a positive emotion (pride, joy, amusement, kittens) tends to make the student willingly rehearse the lesson, thus the subject or skill is reinforced.  "Putting him in his place" embarrasses the student, and is thus counter-productive to effective teaching.  NEVER put a student down, ALWAYS elevate them.  Double plus never put a student down when he has voluntarily sought your help.  He'll quickly decide that ignorance is preferable.  A new ham will take away one idea from mean spirited elmering:  "I don't want to be a radio operator."

Your company have a high turnover rate of junior employees in the IT department?

And finally, K7RNO, two words about that DC-2:  Metal fatigue.  80 years is a lot to ask of structural aluminum.  Wink  Fly safe and have fun pounding the brass.
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"Well I'm sure glad we've got these ham radios to talk on."
--Unidentified station heard on 2 meters
HURRICAINE
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« Reply #57 on: January 11, 2014, 06:20:59 AM »

I'm confused, this man claims he makes $12,000 a year.
He works part-time minimum wage jobs, earns a living by working on the computer - internet, and is also a flight instructor?

Are you also Jamaican? There was a family of people like you on a old television program called In Living Color.  It was basically the first all black comedy program featuring one or two white performers - Jim Carey being one.

http://youtu.be/Opq8YCkFV9s

My question is - are you afraid of heights,  would you like to climb cell towers for a living?

Most people will wait until they are in their 50's and 60's before they start their amateur radio career.  So it is no wonder this young gentleman does not want to get involved at this point.

Most times at a VE test session, when you license a youth, they only last a couple of years, and when they discover girls and partying they disappear and you never see or hear from them ever again.

As my Elmer would say, the only thing you can make someone do is Quit!
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AA4HA
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Posts: 1377




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« Reply #58 on: January 11, 2014, 06:31:30 AM »

This is meant to be humorous;

A small car pulls into a truck stop along the interstate, midway through a long trip across the country. The driver gets out and goes in to have some breakfast. He sits down at the counter and orders up something to eat.

A truck driver is sitting next to him and they start up a casual conversation;

Trucker; So have a long trip in front of you?
   Car driver; Yes, I do this quite often, back and forth across the country.
Ah, so you must be a pretty good driver.
   Oh, I am ok, it is just a way to get from one place to another.
Sure, but you must know that the professional drivers are all running the big rigs.
   Yea, you guys are all over the place. It seems like a tough job.
Yep, it sure is. That is why we all have commercial drivers licenses and you four wheelers dont.
   I cannot imagine being behind the wheel of a big truck, day in and day out.
Well, if you are serious about being a driver you need to have your CDL.
   I just drive my little car and try to stay out of the way of you big boys.
You know, you should think about getting your CDL if you are serious about driving.
   But all I drive is my car..
Son, you don't get it. Nobody is going to take you serious unless you have the same class of licenses as us.
   I don't drive a truck, I know that you guys need your CDL for what you drive.
Listen, you just need to put some effort into it. Don't you want to have the ability to operate a big rig if you might be put in a situation where you might need to?
   But, but, I don't think of driving that way. This is just a way to get from one place to another..
Son, get serious about your driving. You have been coasting by with your easy car drivers license while we big rig drivers are making this country work.
   Maybe you have a point. I can still drive my car if I have a CDL.
Now you are seeing it the right way, you will earn some respect with a real license. Think about it, you are eating in a truck stop. This is for TRUCKERS. We are letting you be in here out of the kindness of our hearts. You really do not fit in as you are.
   Well, I do want to do the right thing. I can spend the time to earn my licenses, who knows, maybe I might need to use it someday in case of a disaster and the only vehicle I can find is a big rig.

-With that the trucker gets up to continue down the road. With a smile on his face he is happy that he has set an uninformed car driver on the right path to true enlightenment.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
W1JKA
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Posts: 1613




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« Reply #59 on: January 11, 2014, 06:54:22 AM »

LMAO: Ms. Tisha you should have posted this as the first response to this Topic as it would have saved a lot of screen space.
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