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Author Topic: Tech licensees who don't want to upgrade...  (Read 41192 times)
WI8P
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Posts: 256




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« Reply #60 on: January 11, 2014, 08:55:22 AM »

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.


I'm not going to argue with your logic becuase it is working well for you.  However, your computer won't do a lot of good if this country's aging power grid leaves you powerless.  While you can still power a cell phone and computer easily enough with a generator, they won't do you any good with out a cell tower or internet provider.  This isn't to say that radio should replace either you phone or computer, but there may come a day when you'll be glad you have your radio.  Grin
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KD8TUT
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Posts: 59




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« Reply #61 on: January 11, 2014, 02:52:39 PM »

@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.

Hmm.. well.

Have a good time in ham radio, and life.

Bye.
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KK4LGR
Member

Posts: 53




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« Reply #62 on: January 11, 2014, 03:42:09 PM »

@Hurricaine, $25/hour sounds like a good wage until you realize that time spent on the phone, planning lessons, giving briefings, hanging around while the student performs his preflight etc. aren't paid.  I've got the darnedest little punch clock, it's called a hobbs meter.  It starts ticking when the engine starts, and stops when the engine stops.  It's easy to spend an 8 hour day at the airport busy all day and get paid for 2-3 hours of flight time.  Same story in the airlines.  Some Regional FOs make about $15,000 a year.  Being a pilot is awesome in a lot of ways, but the only way to become a millionaire in aviation is to start as a billionaire.  I supplement my income by working online, especially when the weather is bad or students are scarce.

I don't work part-time, minimum-wage retail, but a lot of my peers do.  I brought it up in a "Why don't young people in general get into ham radio?" generalized sense, not about me specifically.

@WI8P, I'd rather spend my money on a generator or some solar panels before buying an HF transceiver.  My 2 meter mobile over there is running on a switching power supply that's plugged right into the wall, so it won't really help if the power goes out.  A used 706 or something isn't any good if I can't turn it on.  And a generator is useful for things other than communication, so it would come in handy in situations that don't require talking on the radio.

Sure I've got my handheld with extra batteries, but as we learned on September 11, the disaster at hand might take down the repeaters, too, so "I've got a ham radio" isn't the last word on emergency communications.

And can you really blame a guy for wanting to spend time with his girlfriend rather than talking to clowns like us?   Cheesy
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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
Member

Posts: 0




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« Reply #63 on: January 12, 2014, 02:08:28 PM »

The General Class license opens a lot more doors then does a Technician Class License.
With the band openings today, I worked 7 different countries with just a old CB radio antenna and 5 watts.
When the band conditions are poor, it allows many more options and it also allows you to do more things in Field Days.
It shows a level of commitment not found with a Technician Class License.
If someone was a ham, in the true sense of the meaning, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
Too much of this is lost in the "ME" generation, where all people are out for is the easiest way of doing things.
It is commendable that this young gentleman got a license in the first place, what I would like to see is for this man to get more involved and to retain him in the amateur radio service.
Even this young man realizes that he is missing out on a lot of things by not upgrading, just singling out  him as one example is not fair to the rest of the community, since we have many young hams on this forum who are reading this discussion.

The point of the commercial drivers license is moot, not applicable in this situation since you are not comparing apples to apples.
The purpose of the amateur radio license is to promote amateur radio, and the Technician class license is the gateway to bigger and better things.

A man with a technician class license is limited to what he can and cannot do.  I know of many people that would be turned off by this conversation and would be even more turned off by amateur radio if they thought that we all acted this way.

When you try to discuss amateur radio with the younger generation you meet a lot of resistance because they do not realize what all they can do with it.  It isn't just all about my antenna to your antenna and my radio to your radio.
With digital modes we can incorporate computers, lap top computers, even cell phones if a person is savvy enough to learn how to interface between them.

I use my computer for logging and also looking up those call signs to see whom I am talking to.  It is indispensable in today's world since there are no more call books to refer to and the call book would be enormous by today's standards.

Had the truck driver not earned his CDL license, he would not be permitted to operate a large truck on our highways.  This man does not own or drive a large truck.  If the truck drivers conversation was to revert to the fact that he has a CB radio in his truck and explained to the driver of the small vehicle that it is a nice thing to have that can be used to break up the monotony on those long trips and indispensable to get around road blocks during traffic jams and can be used to communicate with those on the road that do not publish their cell phone numbers on the back of their trailers, maybe the young man could see the benefits of the CB radio also.

The Italians have a saying, " These are my pants, and those are your pants!"  Which means - even if something is ok for me, it might not be ok for you.  We all don't have to be the same.

Looking on QRZ, you can see the number of failed VE test sessions by the number of people that are allowing their license to lapse.
The sad thing is when multiple family members with Amateur Extra Class Licenses lets their license expire,  Surely they all didn't die.

Add to that the fact that two college campus amateur radio stations allowed their license to expire.  Both Gannon University and John's Hopkins University chose not to renew their license.
Even the Penn State amateur radio club has fallen on hard times due to a lack of participation and a lack of interest.  There has been no activity at Penn State for over two years and the club has disbanded and the radio shack dismantled.

We have to look out for the next generation, as much as we look out for ourselves in this type of situation.  What kinds of people are we producing if we let a tradition as firmly embedded in our society as amateur radio fall by the wayside.

How can we teach new hams or encourage more hams to participate or what will be lost when no one understands how wireless communications works when all we have is cell phones and everything is provided for us?
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N0IU
Member

Posts: 1245


WWW

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« Reply #64 on: January 12, 2014, 06:05:52 PM »

How can we teach new hams or encourage more hams to participate or what will be lost when no one understands how wireless communications works when all we have is cell phones and everything is provided for us?

We need to make sure they understand Ohm's Law!

With the Kenwood TS 590 @100 watts, I only see about 4 amps draw on my Astron RS35M.

Your radio needs to go into the Smithsonian Institution because it defies the laws of physics! Since the typical modern radio runs off of 13.8 VDC, there is no possible way that you can generate 100 watts of power with 13.8 volts and consume only 4 amps of current!
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N2EY
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Posts: 3835




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« Reply #65 on: January 13, 2014, 10:48:23 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.

So have I. I own every issue from the mid-1920s on paper, and the earlier ones through the QST archive. Plus other historical stuff.


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.

Sort-of.

In the USA, there was essentially no mandatory licensing of radio at all until December 1912. The original license requirements were fairly basic - 5 wpm code, a simple written exam, and that was about it. There really wasn't much of a boundary between "amateur" radio and other kinds until after WW1, and amateur radio did not become a truly separate radio service by international treaty until 1927.


Ham's invented radio!

No, hams (plural, not possessive) did NOT invent radio. Not at all.

Hams did contribute many things to the world of radio, but so did many others. Our case should be stated accurately; exaggeration destroys credibility.

For example, SSB voice was described theoretically about 1915, first used on wire lines about 1918, and the first use on radio was in the mid-1920s, for transatlantic telephone service (started commercially in 1927). A handful of hams first used SSB in the mid-1930s, but did not take to it in large numbers until the 1950s.

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

No, that's not what happened at all.

The reason there were relatively few hams in the early days was simple: A radio station was expensive and complicated, required skill to operate, and  the results obtained weren't all that impressive except for a few really top stations.

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.

Actually, WW1 almost ended amateur radio completely. All non-government radio was shut down for the duration, receiving as well as sending, and there were more than a few folks who wanted radio to stay under tight government control after Armistice Day.

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.

You just jumped over an enormous part of history - the 1920s and 1930s.

Once hams got back on the air after WW1, they began trying to extend the range of their stations using techniques learned during the war. The Atlantic was spanned one-way in 1921 and two-way in 1923. More important, it was discovered that the "short waves", which had been previously thought useless for long-distance comms, were actually quite useful, and all sorts of radio services followed hams into the HF spectrum.

The number of US hams grew from about 10,000 on Armistice Day to about 20,000 in 1929. And then the number exploded; by the mid-1930s there were over 46,000 US hams, and by Pearl Harbor Day about 60,000.

After WW2, the growth continued. From about 60,000 US hams on VJ Day, we grew to about 100,000 by the early 1950s. Many of them had learned radio (code and theory) during the war.

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.

There was never any sort of quota as to how many amateurs could get a license. Nor were the license requirements all that difficult if someone knew a little radio. The number of US hams did not reach 250,000 until the early 1960s - but when you consider that there were only about 60,000 US hams at the end of WW2, a quadrupling in 15 years or so isn't bad at all.

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.

No, that's not what happened at all.

The Citizens Radio service was started soon after WW2 ended - on UHF, where FRS/GMRS are now. The idea was NOT about experimentation and experience; it was about 2 way radio as a tool for business and personal stuff.

For example, there already existed land mobile and marine mobile radio services, but the equipment was expensive, and the "small user" couldn't afford it. The FCC created the Citizens Radio service to fill that perceived need - say, a small heating oil company with a few trucks, or a construction crew, boaters with small boats on lakes, etc.  All stuff that the other services (including amateur radio) didn't cover.

The problem was that with the technology of the 1940s-50s a UHF radio that worked well was expensive and complex, while an inexpensive one didn't work all that well. After more than a decade, FCC created 11 meter CB because the technology for that frequency was simpler and cheaper.

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.

Sort of. A decent 5 watt 11 meter set could be built with a few tubes and could sell for about $100. The most expensive part was the crystals.

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.

The point was that they did it before we did - and that we'd had no idea they had the capability.

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.

Not really. In fact, not at all.

The Soviets did indeed put Sputnik 1 on 20 MHz (and 40 MHz). But not just because of hams - it was because SWLs and pretty much anybody with an SW radio could hear it. It was also a propaganda tool. On top of all that, the parts they used couldn't operate much higher!

Within a very short time after October 1957 (when Sputnik was launched), there was no need for hams to track satellites. Many did it for fun, or to be part of the game.

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.

Not any more than previous years. Amateur radio had been growing all along.

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

Nope. Not at all.

Amateurs had been providing service to the country since WW1 - this was a major selling point for the continued existence of amateur radio. After WW2, the FCC insisted that ALL radio services have a "Basis and Purpose" section in the rules, and one was written for amateur radio that is pretty much the same as today. IIRC, it was in place by 1951, long before Sputnik, the IGY, etc.

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.

When were the tests "dumbed down"?

Today, most of these people calls themselves old hams, just because of their age. 

Huh

The average age of a licensed amateur radio operator two years ago was only 69 years old!

According to whom? What's your source for that statistic?

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.

Sorry, but that's not the case at all.

The Technician is the entry level license, nothing more or less. A Technician can do almost anything any other US ham can do - above 30 MHz. Many do.
If a ham isn't interested in HF radio, there's very little reason to get a General or Extra.

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.

Except that the cell phone folks were using it before hams.....

And all that stuff is on VHF/UHF - where the Technicians have full privileges!

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.

They said the same thing decades ago.

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.

None of those are good ideas, IMHO.

All that's really needed is more enforcement by FCC, and more good examples by existing hams of all ages.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K7RNO
Member

Posts: 279




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« Reply #66 on: January 13, 2014, 11:20:26 AM »

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

That's not a novel idea.

When a similar concept was first applied in the US, it was called Eugenics.
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73,
aRNO
NAQCC #6870, SKCC #11131
AA4PB
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Posts: 12669




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« Reply #67 on: January 13, 2014, 11:41:05 AM »

At one point in time the novice license was the entry point and it was limited to one year with no renewal option. I've known several people who got the novice and then dropped out of ham radio.

There was also a requirement to operate on the air (for 2 years, I think) before you could test for the Extra.
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N2EY
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Posts: 3835




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« Reply #68 on: January 13, 2014, 11:56:15 AM »

At one point in time the novice license was the entry point and it was limited to one year with no renewal option.

From its creation in 1951 until 1967, the Novice was 1 year, no renewal, one-time-only (if you'd EVER held ANY class of amateur license before, you couldn't have a Novice).

From 1967 until the early 1970s, the Novice was 2 years, no renewal, one-time-only.

Then, in the mid-1970s, there were a bunch of rapid changes.

First, the rules were changed that you could get another 2-year Novice by retaking the exams - but you had to be off the air for a year before you could try again.

Then, the year-off-the-air requirement was dropped; you could get another 2-year Novice as soon as the existing one expired.

Finally the Novice became 5 year renewable just like all the others. (All those changes happened within a few years at most).

I've known several people who got the novice and then dropped out of ham radio.

Which is why the rules were changed. Too many hams were reaching the end of the Novice term and weren't yet ready to upgrade - and were being lost.

There was also a requirement to operate on the air (for 2 years, I think) before you could test for the Extra.

Not exactly.

From its creation in 1951 until some time in the early 1970s, you had to hold a General, Conditional or Advanced for at least 2 years before you could even try the Extra. Time as a Novice or Technician didn't count. You didn't have to operate at all; you just had to be licensed for those 2 years.

In the early 1970s the 2 years went down to 1 year and then was eliminated.

The old Class A license, which was renamed the Advanced in 1951, required 1 year experience - and again, Novice and Technician didn't count. Advanced was closed to new issues from Jan 1, 1953 to November 22, 1968. When it was reopened to new issues, there was no experience requirement.

Until some time in the early 1950s there was a requirement that, in order to renew your license, you had to operate a certain number of hours. Originally the requirement was Morse Code operating only, then any mode, then the requirement was dropped. There was a special exemption after WW2, because ham radio had been shut down for the duration.

There used to be a statement on the license renewal form in which you certified that you could pass all the current exams for your license - code and theory. That went away some time in the 1950s too.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KK4LGR
Member

Posts: 53




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« Reply #69 on: January 13, 2014, 09:23:56 PM »

Quote
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.

I think that's a little extreme, but I think you might be on to something.  Maybe the ham community at large should encourage--not force--more new guys to get on 6 meters.

I'm standing on the outside looking in, but the way I see it, 6 meters would be great for beginner hams.  There are FM repeaters out there for local ragchewing with your friends, and there's SSB/CW DX during band openings, everybody gets the whole thing, even Techs.  You could really hunt for the mode and kind of operating that appeals to you.

There are tons of advantages to 6 meter antennas.  They're reasonably small; a dipole is roughly 10 feet long, so a horizontal one can fit in almost any residential structure with no problems.  Verticals with ground planes or radials are manageable too, so getting on 6 meters is doable for those living in apartments, HOAs or even dorm rooms.  Even mobile is reasonable (people put 11 meter whips on their cars, after all).  And since you've got 4 contiguous megahertz, you could get away with one antenna and no tuner, so the antenna system as a whole is pretty inexpensive.  Get a local ham to help you (and lots of guys I talk to are into building antennas), and you can get away with borrowing an analyzer or SWR bridge, and get an experienced ham to teach you some antenna theory.  After all, it's one antenna.  And since it's one, reasonably small antenna, we can put some good materials and craftsmanship into it, because as all us Real Hams(tm) know, performance is really about the antenna, not the transmitter.  Even beams and more advanced antenna projects are doable, so there's room for those interested in antenna experimentation.

By contrast, a 160-10 meter rig gives you 3.75 megahertz or so that are very spread out, requiring a huge antenna farm, a serious antenna tuner or some combination of both to take full advantage of.  Sure, you could borrow an analyzer or bridge to get on HF, but the antennas are bigger (too big for the space I have available, really, but that's not a problem for some hams), and putting up one antenna only gets you a few kilohertz of bandwidth, some of which you might not have access to unless you're a General or Extra.  (I get about a fifth of 10 and none of 20.  Much lower than that and the antennas are too big.)

Lots of new hams like me get kinda stuck on 2 meter FM because 2 meter rigs are commonly available and cheap ($30 for a handheld, $130 for a mobile with gravy and all the trimmings).  FM simplex isn't realistic on 2m; I've tried to QSY conversations from repeaters over to simplex like a good operator but I've got a J-pole in my attic about 4 feet from the air conditioner 15 feet or so above the ground, and that's about the best I can do, so invariably I can't make good contact with other stations with 2m simplex.

Unfortunately, there are two 6 meter rigs on the market today:  An Alinco FM-only rig (is it pronounced "AL-in-ko," or "uh-LINK-oh"?) for about $240, and that Ranger all-mode for $320.  None of the big three have bothered, at least not anymore.  You're supposed to buy their go everywhere, do everything rigs for a grand, and then start on the options list.  Affordable used 6 meter rigs aren't that common, really.

But imagine if one of the big three (or even Alinco) made a 6 meter all-mode rig for about $250.  I know that's not much less than that Ranger rig, but the Ranger has a couple problems:  It looks like it's from the mid-80's, and it's made by a relatively unknown CB factory with a questionable website and an almost complete lack of dealer presence.  And since Ranger isn't a major player on the ham hardware market, it takes awhile for a new ham to hear about them.  With a modern-looking case, a Yaesu badge, and a spot in HRO's catalog, you've got a winner, especially if those three guys giving the VEC test say "Check out a 6 meter rig, this one's ideal for you."

BAM! You've got newbies engaging in Real Ham activities, learning Real Ham skills, and having Real Ham fun, all without breaking the bank.  Power supply, radio, antenna and feed line could be had as a package for under $400 shipped to your door, all brand new.

Why not?
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--Unidentified station heard on 2 meters
AF5CC
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« Reply #70 on: January 14, 2014, 10:05:19 PM »

MFJ still makes a 6M SSB/CW rig.

John AF5CC
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KK4LGR
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« Reply #71 on: January 15, 2014, 01:59:25 AM »

Ok, so there's three (four, MFJ seems to make a SSB/CW and a straight SSB rig for 6 meter.  I think the difference is the more expensive one has a jack for a key).  I'll admit I haven't familiarized myself very well with MFJ's huge catalog.

The MFJ rig has a lot of the problems the Ranger rig does.  It's not made by a major label, it looks even more like an antique than the Ranger, it's got a tenth of the power, no FM capability, and it costs almost as much.  Not very ideal for the new guy on a budget.  I'd rather spend $30 for the Ranger and get FM/repeater capability.

Or find one used for a bit less.  No one is selling used 6 meter rigs.
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--Unidentified station heard on 2 meters
FRANKLIN
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« Reply #72 on: July 10, 2014, 09:43:54 AM »

Quote
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.

I think that's a little extreme, but I think you might be on to something.  Maybe the ham community at large should encourage--not force--more new guys to get on 6 meters.

I'm standing on the outside looking in, but the way I see it, 6 meters would be great for beginner hams.  There are FM repeaters out there for local ragchewing with your friends, and there's SSB/CW DX during band openings, everybody gets the whole thing, even Techs.  You could really hunt for the mode and kind of operating that appeals to you.

There are tons of advantages to 6 meter antennas.  They're reasonably small; a dipole is roughly 10 feet long, so a horizontal one can fit in almost any residential structure with no problems.  Verticals with ground planes or radials are manageable too, so getting on 6 meters is doable for those living in apartments, HOAs or even dorm rooms.  Even mobile is reasonable (people put 11 meter whips on their cars, after all).  And since you've got 4 contiguous megahertz, you could get away with one antenna and no tuner, so the antenna system as a whole is pretty inexpensive.  Get a local ham to help you (and lots of guys I talk to are into building antennas), and you can get away with borrowing an analyzer or SWR bridge, and get an experienced ham to teach you some antenna theory.  After all, it's one antenna.  And since it's one, reasonably small antenna, we can put some good materials and craftsmanship into it, because as all us Real Hams(tm) know, performance is really about the antenna, not the transmitter.  Even beams and more advanced antenna projects are doable, so there's room for those interested in antenna experimentation.

By contrast, a 160-10 meter rig gives you 3.75 megahertz or so that are very spread out, requiring a huge antenna farm, a serious antenna tuner or some combination of both to take full advantage of.  Sure, you could borrow an analyzer or bridge to get on HF, but the antennas are bigger (too big for the space I have available, really, but that's not a problem for some hams), and putting up one antenna only gets you a few kilohertz of bandwidth, some of which you might not have access to unless you're a General or Extra.  (I get about a fifth of 10 and none of 20.  Much lower than that and the antennas are too big.)

Lots of new hams like me get kinda stuck on 2 meter FM because 2 meter rigs are commonly available and cheap ($30 for a handheld, $130 for a mobile with gravy and all the trimmings).  FM simplex isn't realistic on 2m; I've tried to QSY conversations from repeaters over to simplex like a good operator but I've got a J-pole in my attic about 4 feet from the air conditioner 15 feet or so above the ground, and that's about the best I can do, so invariably I can't make good contact with other stations with 2m simplex.

Unfortunately, there are two 6 meter rigs on the market today:  An Alinco FM-only rig (is it pronounced "AL-in-ko," or "uh-LINK-oh"?) for about $240, and that Ranger all-mode for $320.  None of the big three have bothered, at least not anymore.  You're supposed to buy their go everywhere, do everything rigs for a grand, and then start on the options list.  Affordable used 6 meter rigs aren't that common, really.

But imagine if one of the big three (or even Alinco) made a 6 meter all-mode rig for about $250.  I know that's not much less than that Ranger rig, but the Ranger has a couple problems:  It looks like it's from the mid-80's, and it's made by a relatively unknown CB factory with a questionable website and an almost complete lack of dealer presence.  And since Ranger isn't a major player on the ham hardware market, it takes awhile for a new ham to hear about them.  With a modern-looking case, a Yaesu badge, and a spot in HRO's catalog, you've got a winner, especially if those three guys giving the VEC test say "Check out a 6 meter rig, this one's ideal for you."

BAM! You've got newbies engaging in Real Ham activities, learning Real Ham skills, and having Real Ham fun, all without breaking the bank.  Power supply, radio, antenna and feed line could be had as a package for under $400 shipped to your door, all brand new.

Why not?

While this thread is a bit dated I'm finding interesting reading here.  I'm not licensed but interested in getting into amateur radio.  The initial draw is the low cost HT radios that would allow me to get into it without much investment.  Some of the posters suggest more restrictive entry level licenses which I would not like to see and would discourage me from participating.  So it's good to see hams such as yourself with the perspective to be more accommodating to get new comers in and letting them decide where their interests go from there.
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