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R.F.I.---the continuing scourge of Ham radio, be it "traditional" horizontal oscillators of TVs going back to the 40's, or the raucous din of to-day's plasma televisions, exercise equipment, lighting systems, furnaces, electric fences, power line leakages, AD NAUSEAM. How have YOU handled cases where somebody's electric contraption seriously hampered YOUR on-the-air activities...?

What can be done to further Amateur Radio?

Do you consult radio beacons for propagation conditions?

Do you think social media i.e Facebook, Twitter is a help or a hindrance to the Hobby?

Do you use the 60-meter band?

View All Survey Questions

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Enter your idea!

Manager - VK5LA
Andy Williss (VK5LA) Welcome to the Survey Page.

The goal is to help us all gain a
better understanding of the ham
community... what we like... what
we don't like... about various
aspects of our hobby. Let's make
it fun and maybe kick up a little
dust once in a while. I hope you
all will participate and enjoy the

Please enter your ideas for future
survey questions yourself (click on
the "Enter your idea" link just
above) or send them directly to me
at .

I often get comments that there is
a commercial interest in the survey
questions and that some of the
questions are "rigged"...I assure
all eham users that the questions
in no way influenced by any
company, person or persons.
The questions in the survey all
come via contributions to eham or
are just plain made-up by your
humble survey manager.

Please note that there are many
potential surveys in our queue, and
many of them are duplicates.
Sometimes we combine several
questions into one. We at
make every effort to present all
content in a way that will be
easily understandable and useful to
an international audience.

Looking back to YOUR start in Ham radio, with an eye to "...the way things are in the world" to-day, do you think that you would have become an Amateur radio operator if you were somehow miraculously the same age as when you started, but in 2014?
  Posted: Sep 11, 2014   (423 votes, 18 comments) by VE3CUI

  YES---I am just a diehard techie who loves hands-on technical things.
  NO---Far too many distractions to-day, what with Facebook, Twitter, the internet, & computers in general.
  YES---Radio offers a challenging realm totally separate from the "user friendly" stuff of to-day's world, where most ANYONE is able to participate.
  NO---I probably wouldn't even have HEARD of Ham radio in to-day's popular media & social culture, so how could I have joined the ranks?
  What does it matter? The world is what it is. You can't miraculously transform 1950, or 1960, onto the present. Every dog has its day, & Ham radio's glory days are surely, for better or worse, behind it.
    (423 votes, 18 comments)

Survey Results
YES---I am just a diehard techie who loves hands-on technical things. 33% (141)
NO---Far too many distractions to-day, what with Facebook, Twitter, the internet, & computers in general. 7% (29)
YES---Radio offers a challenging realm totally separate from the "user friendly" stuff of to-day's world, where most ANYONE is able to participate. 32% (136)
NO---I probably wouldn't even have HEARD of Ham radio in to-day's popular media & social culture, so how could I have joined the ranks? 11% (48)
What does it matter? The world is what it is. You can't miraculously transform 1950, or 1960, onto the present. Every dog has its day, & Ham radio's glory days are surely, for better or worse, behind it. 16% (69)

Survey Comments
I got into ham radio after i retired and was a tec for 21yrs then at the age of 75 i upgraded to GENERAL this old saultie can learn new tricks and i sure enjoy 40 meters and 20 meters this old tin can sailor had dealing with radios for 40 yrs in police work and CB radios but ham is FAR BETTER and you meet so many folks on the airway god bless the troups and all at sea 73 N8RDP

Posted by N8RDP on September 19, 2014

I have always been fascinated with radio
since I was a child. Just how a signal can
travel through space without wires was and
still is a miracle to me. Even with such
things as digital satellite TV, digital over-
the-air broadcast TV and digital cell phones,
it still is all about a signal traveling
through the intervening space. In fact, I am
a recent ham, but this idea of radio waves
propagating through space decided my
profession and what I spent years studying at
the university.

Posted by KD8UEI on September 18, 2014

High voltage buzz
I would have still been a ham as I was
voraciously reading all I could find on tesla
and his experiments. Remote wireless control
by Tesla is what got me going down the radio
road and I still think his work is greatly
under rated, he did give AC power

One can still experiment in the same spirit
as the great experimenters and still be
surprised, pushing us onto the next project.

Posted by VE3XQQ on September 18, 2014

Probably Not
I've been licensed since I was 12. As much as I've continued to enjoy Ham Radio over the last 46 years, if I were a 12-13 year-old today I doubt I would have even heard of the hobby. If I had, it'd probably be thought of as old technology used by old men. Unfair, and in many ways inaccurate, but that is probably the general perception. I know the kids in my family have no interest whatsoever, and think it's "kinda weird" (or maybe it's me that's weird hi! hi!).

What's sad about that is that there are few hobbies that allow so many avenues of interest: Digital, analog, vintage gear, SDR, satellites, homebrew, off-the-shelf plug-and-play, contests, rag chewing, low frequency to microwaves, fixed, mobile, even near-space in balloons, and that's not a full list.

I know I've enjoyed the technical evolution over the years. I enjoy that I can mess with a boatanchor for a bit, then switch over and work with an SDR set-up. Try out a new digital mode, then pull out the straight-key for some CW. Work local. Work regional. Work DX. You can even operate via you iPhone if you wish.

Quite a hobby if you ask me. My career in electronics comes straight out of my interest in amateur radio.

But honestly? If I were a teen today I'd likely either have no knowledge of AR or be turned-off by misconceptions. I think some of it is that times are different. People are different. If I had the magic answer I'd offer it. Still, some get through and join the ranks, be they 8 or 80, and that's a good thing.

Posted by W5PJW on September 18, 2014

Radio is still "Magic"
Most all consumer electronics is geared toward
personal entertainment. That gets boring and
nothing is achieved collectively. Ham radio is
magic, creative and multifaceted; something for
everyone. When one mode no longer challenges
you; try another one, meet new people, set new
goals and enjoy the ride. I am 76 and have
been a licensed amateur radio operator for 59
years. It's still "magic" to me! Ned/W8VFM

Posted by W8VFM on September 17, 2014

In My Blood
My father and cousin were hams. Most of my father’s friends were hams back in the 1950s. Radio is in my blood. I used to listen to BCB DX in the early 1960s. CKLW, in Windsor, was my favorite.

I upgraded to Extra in 2007. I was very self-conscious about possibly being the oldest one at the testing session. I was not. The face of ham radio has changed. There were always “old timers” with the 1X2 calls, but now the seniors (of which I have been one for a while now) have taken over.

I have an SDR IQ receiver and several 2M HT and Mobiles. I love the new computer-driven technology in ham radio and vividly recall (but don’t want) the old “boat anchors,” except as a novelty. I restored several and only kept a Heathkit V-6 VTVM that I restored (just like the one my father had in the 1950s) and gave a Simpson 260 VOM - that I restored - to my brother.

Would I be a ham today? Yes, because I really don’t like the Internet as a way to meet people; too many misrepresentations (remember the cartoon: “On the Internet no one knows you’re a dog”).

Posted by K7BAB on September 17, 2014

All Consuming Back Then
At 14, 1957, a friend of my parents showed me a one tube radio he built on a Folgers coffee can powered by batteries. The rest of my life centered on that one tube radio. It got my creative juices flowing, and I built a lot of equipment from scratch and kits.

In 1960 I received my ham license and became a member of a group of other high school boys, all building and using the Heath kit 6meter AM, lunchbox, as we called it. The big contest between us, was who could get their #47 lamp the brightest when comparing output power, it was fun. I built over 25 Heath Kits. Passed my First Class Radio Telephone License, and spent 45 years repairing broken electronics.

The 50's and 60's in ham radio was exciting and fun as can be, and it was basically new to every body, I wish it was again! If I have learned anything, it is, you can only go back in your memories, and the reason, in my opinion, so many hams fill their shelves with boat anchors they will never use, but always takes them back to their youth when seeing them.

Posted by WA7NDD on September 17, 2014

Too many distractions..
I think there are just too many distractions today. Plus most younger people aren't interested in ham radio; to them it's an old man's game. Oddly enough, the only person who has shown any interest in it at all is my 32 year old daughter-in-law. She seems quite fascinated with Morse Code, and wants to learn it even if she doesn't get a license! How's that for ya? If I was 27 today, the age I was when first licensed in 1978, I doubt I'd be interested enough to pursue a license. Just too many other things going on. But I do agree with the last answer, at least partly, being ham radio's glory days are behind it.

Posted by WB4M on September 16, 2014

Ups and downs
Of the 30+ years I have been a ham it has been
a love hate thing. I started out in CB in the
70's, decided there was more to life that "good
buddies and skipshooters" Started listening in
on the local Skywarn repeater and was hooked. I
have been off and on the air a few times over
the years. I get tired of the BS on the bands
and take leave for a few
days/weeks/months/years as it feels right. Now
days I am sick of the endless "radio Checks"
and "10-4" and the other CB crap that has come
with the influx of new hams on the VHF and UHF
bands. Did you know that the 2 meter band is
channelized? since no one can hardly program
their own radios they all use the same list and
just mark the repeaters as a channel with no
idea where it is or what the frequency is. So
nowdays I limit my time on those bands to a
minimum and chase special events on HF when i
can. The golden age of Amateur radio is way
past. It will soon be expensive "CB" bands.
Am I going to sell my rigs? NO Am i going to
give up on "ham" radio..NO...But it sure it not
as fun as it used to be. IMHO.

Posted by N0FPE on September 16, 2014

Had I started out with Android-like or
computerized menu driven stuff I never, ever,
ever, would have wanted to make that my
hobby! Can't STAND IT!! When I started, I
could get war surplus stuff, get it on the
air, talk a little, do a little CW, work a
little dx and the equipment was very easy to
operate. The complexity and difficulty of
operation of stuff like my tablet, android
phone, etc. gets in the way of enjoyment,
utterly trashes it actually...

Posted by AC7CW on September 15, 2014

Depending on the bands you're talking about...
Ham radio is either alive and well--or dead as a doornail. The HF bands are still hopping, although there are too many contests sometimes, but the higher bands are not.

Experimenters still use the high UHF bands, but the 2 mtr. and the 70 cm bands are nearly dead because of the cell phone, which has replaced short distance communications that VHF/UHF used to be used for. 220? In certain areas, maybe, but the lack of equipment on that band hurts the effort on that band.

It all comes down to one point. Ham radio is what you make it. No more--and no less. In any event, it doesn't really matter, simply because you can't bring back the past.

Posted by K1CJS on September 15, 2014


Posted by N6BIZ on September 15, 2014

I said No
I said NO when I grew up in the 60's and
70's there was AM radio, at night you could
here station all over the country, FM was
almost non existent in cars so at night you
would listen to AM all over the country. And
the biggie was CB everyone had one and the
100 watt amp to go with it.

Today kids do not listen to AM, all cars
have FM so why put up with static. CB is non
existent unless you dad is a truck driver,
and you possibly never seen one. So unless
you know of someone who is a ham, or you are
a techie kind of person who just happened by
chance to see or read about ham radio and
checked it out. You don't even know it exist

Posted by KA5ROW on September 13, 2014

Magic of the Ether
The fact that you can communicate with "invisible waves" still
holds the same magic as it did when I was WN2QHN in
Newton, NJ at age 13.

Even after 33 years as a computer programmer - none of the
advances in all of the various technologies have trumped the
"magic" that is wireless.

And - when combining radio with all of the computer and
digital technologies, it gets even better and is even more fun.

I design and make all of my own antennas - it is an antidote
and great therapy after sitting in front of a computer coding
all day - it exercises other parts of the brain and making
things with my hands is every bit as important as chasing the
DX with these antennas that I built - every pop rivet or bolt.

Its all good!



Posted by KY6R on September 13, 2014

Radio Is Magic!
I was introduced to ham radio by GW3IDJ (SK), but I was always tuning around the short-wave bands on our radio and was enthralled at hearing distant stations. I got my UK full licence when I was in my 20s, and have held numerous other calls since then.

There is still something magical about slinging up a piece of wire, and being able to communicate without wires, without the Internet, telephone, or any other medium in between.

I still get a thrill from using gear I've built myself, as well as having written the software for it myself - there's nothing quite like it. Long may it continue.

Posted by 5B4AIY on September 13, 2014

Talk to the World...
When I was first introduced to Amateur Radio, I was in
my late 20s. I think I would get to where I am today, in
today's technology, if I were 29 today and not 62. With a
lot more years ahead of me to do more than what I have
time left for now.
I let that first license expire. Then tested again last year
for Technician. In July this year, I passed my General.
Then on 4 Sept, passed my Extra.

Posted by AF5SX on September 13, 2014

Magic Smoke
I was letting the Magic Smoke out of things at the tender age of 10. All my working life I was involved with technology. Amateur Radio was a natural fit.

Posted by KG4RUL on September 11, 2014

It is a calling. (Pun)
I have been a military, commercial, and amateur radio operator for fifty-two years.

The driving force behind this long adventure happened the day in high school physics class when I realized that radio receivers and transmitters when powered on and on frequency have no moving parts. This did it, and still holds me in the world of radio communications today.

Amateur radio allows you to experiment even on the air. This privilege is under utilized by most hams, and they should take full advantage of it, thereby increasing their fun and usefulness.

Nothing can compare to amateur radio.

Posted by AI2IA on September 11, 2014

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