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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...?
2014-07-31


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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   (1225 votes, 45 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.
    (1225 votes, 45 comments)

Survey Results
YES---I am just a diehard techie who loves hands-on technical things. 32% (397)
NO---Far too many distractions to-day, what with Facebook, Twitter, the internet, & computers in general. 9% (110)
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. 35% (424)
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? 9% (116)
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. 15% (178)

Survey Comments
Dad was right...
As with many here, my dad was a ham when I was young. I did not appreciate his interest yet built many of his kits because his Parkinson's made his hands shake. Years later, wouldn't you know that I developed the interest and would give anything to share it with him now...

Posted by KK6PDK on October 30, 2014

It's all about access.
Access to the electromagnetic spectrum is what amateur radio is all about. The ability to propagate information and content over large distances is still something that captures the imagination. Data transmission, bandwidth experimentation, the ability to try new communications platforms are all a part of the excitement of Amateur Radio.

Posted by W0LD on October 30, 2014

Quality not Quantity
For years the ARRL has been obsessed with
quantity. And as a result we have a huge
number of licensed amateurs, but the bands
don't seem any different.

Maybe, just maybe there is a lesson to be
learned here.

Since the 1960's we've spent trillions to
eradicate poverty, but some people are
still poor.

Since the 1970's we've spent trillions to
stop people from taking drugs, but people
still take drugs.

Since the 1980's we've spent trillions to
stop people from smoking, but plenty of
people still enjoy it.

Maybe, just maybe, a certain percentage of
people are ALWAYS going to be hams, and
enjoy the hobby, and contribute to the
radio art - and we should celebrate those
people - rather than try and try to make
more of them.

Just my two cents.

Posted by W8VCK on October 24, 2014

Old Tech is Cool Tech
I have a workbench full of amateur radio
related projects that are in-progress. I am a
"maker" by nature so ham radio is a natural for
me.

Posted by KG4RUL on October 24, 2014

I Just Don't Know...
Back when I first got interested in Ham radio in the late
60's, the hobby had---for that time, anyway, anyway---
a distinct attraction in that it was "...leading edge"
technological stuff, with the added bonus that it allowed
one to communicate with others across the globe...

All this BEFORE the era of Skyping, cheap long distance
phone rates, satellite communications, etc. etc. etc.

Fast forward to to-day, where, in my opinion anyway, it is
the computer hackers & kids wired into the techno world,
who have effectively taken away the lustre of this "leading
edge in technology" stuff that we all enjoyed when we
were young...

I ponder sometimes if I was somehow magically
transported to 2014 as a kid, would I not, as well, heed
the siren call of computers & the internet, rather than
shortwaves & soldering...? I hate to say it, but I think that I
would, if only because I most likely wouldn't know that
Ham radio even exists, what with all of the other
"distractions" vying for my attention...

Posted by VE3CUI on October 22, 2014

In today's day and age little excitement for young people especially in hig
I received my first ham radio license when i was 14 and a sophomore in high school. At that time my public high school had an active radio amateur club supervised by a faculty member and a vhf and hf station.

When I was first licensed back in the early 60's and when I went to college there were a number of active college and university amteur radio clubs and stations.

Today it is a different story. There are hardly any active high school or college and university radio clubs and stations. Today there is very little incentive for young people to get into the hobby.

This summer I drove up to Hartford Ct. for the day to attend the ARRL Centennial Convention. They had a special for anyone under 21 attending the convention. They could enter with free admission. I saw very few young people at that convention during my time there. The same could be said of other hamventions like D-ayton.

I have two sons ages 16 and 18. They grew up with my interest in amateur radio and with access to my amateur radio equipment. They have had no interest in the hobby.Yet they are both intereted in computers and the 18 year old in now studying computer science in college.They enjoy access to social media,

My younger son tells me that it is unneccessary in this day and age to have to study and get a government authorized license to speak with people locally or all over the world You can do this for free over the internet.

I am still active on cw and my younger son also thinks that is an antiquated form of communication in todays day and age. I perhaps am one of the very few who feel the FCC should not have dropped the code requirement for the extra class license.

As you can probably surmise my younger son and I disagree on several issues(Hi).

I know that the ARRL claims that the number of amateur radio licensees in the USA has slightly risen in recent years. However there is no breakdown in the ages of the licensees. Most of the newer licensed radio amateurs I have contacted have been middle aged or retirees. Are there many young people attracted to the amateur radio hobby?

Nobody actually knows what percentage of licensed radio amteurs in the USA are actually active on the radio or even on such computer links as Echolink or CQ100. I would presume ,and it is just a guess, that less than 40 percent of all licensed radio amateurs in the USA are active on the air or on the computer for radio amatuer purposses. I could be wrong on this assumption but I don't think so.

Whereas I believe there always will be amatuer I believe the number of radio amteurs in the USA and around the world will remain stagnant.

73
Alan-K2ACB

Posted by K2ACB on October 21, 2014

Becoming a ham
My first FD was at the age of 13 months in 1948. Dad was G8ON: I got the callsign at age 15, 51 years ago, and it led me into an interesting and relatively remunerative career in radio engineering. Plus an XYL who had her own call when we met at the radio club.....

Peter G3RZP

Posted by G3RZP on October 18, 2014

Maybe.
I started late (age 30). By that time ham radio had seen its better days. I got licensed anyway. It's been a good ride.

Posted by W3DBB on October 18, 2014

Love Ham Radio
Lots of people get stuck in the past and miss
out on all the wonderful stuff going on right
under their nose, I just try to keep up with
all the great things happening in the hobby
seems every day something new and exciting
comes along I tell people grow or go I do not
have time for old fart mentality those are
people that are not happy unless they have
something to cry about.

Posted by KK4CZT on October 15, 2014

Gloom and Doomers - Pah!
With topics like this you get the gloom and doom hams and their same old swan songs. - Pah!

There will always be those who hear the call of ham radio. The internet is mostly a "you watch it" pastime. Otherwise, it is an ego trumpet on the social nets. There is no building things to speak of. Those who like to learn by doing, by putting their hands to the task, who want to not just learn, but to experience propagation will be drawn to amateur radio, today, tomorrow and forever.

Emcomm is also a big part of ham radio, and never mind the emcomm haters, a bunch of anti-social fools. As long as the FCC and similar government entities in other countries offer ham radio, they will come.

Posted by AI2IA on October 12, 2014

Quick add to my previous comments
Everyone yells, "EMCOMM! EMCOMM!" but people don't think of that until its too late. This is why our microwave bands are in danger: hams don't want to lose the real estate, but that real estate is now VERY valuable!

Or how do you intend to cater to the newer generations when you can have a *VIDEO* call to virtually anywhere in the world from the palm of your hand?

Or show how wonderful HF is when the shortwave broadcasters (and most MW and LW broadcasters, the USA being the exception as usual) of the world are shutting down because there are no listeners--they get everything off the Internet, with no atmospheric conditions to interfere and with superior audio quality and even video!

Ham radio is not just not hip: it's been in the nursing home for decades. Sad but true.

Posted by N7MSD on October 11, 2014

(almost) All of the Above
I can't vote because I feel all the options are correct to some extent, but the negative ones more so:

A. I *DO* love tech things, as do lots of other people, but today those are called "makers" (in the hardware realm) and ham radio is just one small subset, and subject to a license at that. Being called a "maker" apparently pisses off some here, but it is what it is, like "hacking" is NOT equal to "cracking" (as in safe-cracking).

B. The Internet--no, let's expand that to The Digital World, including smartphones and such--is so far advanced above amateur radio that it makes ham radio look ancient. This isn't helped by all the cranky old farts decrying the death of CW and such, which just serves to drive an even bigger wedge between newer generations and the older ones.
Add to that the emphasis on EMCOMM, CW, and HF instead of microwave, digital (especially combining hardware and software), and homebrew, and there's simply no contest: todays generations views amateur radio as an old fart hobby, a joke.

C. Tied with "A" above and mostly a restatement of it EXCEPT the "anyone" part: it has been said that, to be a radio guy these days, requires a college education, ideally a combo CS and EE. You can do simpler stuff that was done 50+ years ago, but the modern stuff you need more knowledge.
This isn't necessarily true with other technical hobbies.

D. Again, kind of a stealth restatement of "B". Also very true. I've been trying to get my niece and nephews interested, but their my, my sister, keeps putting me off saying they wouldn't be interested. Likewise, when I've tried to interest others. Otherwise, most people may have heard of us, but know about as much as a CW crybaby here knows about Linux or the microwave world that his wifi is using (assuming he's that modern).

E. What does it matter, indeed? With the emphasis on EMCOMM, HF, and narrowband modes, there's no room for the wideband advanced stuff, and there are fewer still in that field that have a license: and often they can't share anyway because most of that stuff is covered in NDAs, Top-Secret classification, and requires a heavy math background just to understand it.

VHF packet is what got me into ham radio in the first place back in the late 80's since the nearest BBS was a long distance phone call away. I did some 10 meter work, but got bored with working the same countries over and over again--I wanted to do something useful. Unfortunately, that never happened.

As of this writing, I am contemplating selling all my equipment. I've turned them on a few times in the last year and it's just boring. This is an expensive way to look back at your late teens and early 20's, just prior to the Internet being released for public consumption, and that was WAAAAY more fantastic than ham radio could ever be.

That said, even the Internet is degrading, with the governments and corporations bearing down to spy on your in a way ham radio never could, and this is just one of many symptoms of society itself degrading. People aren't as friendly as they used to be, and this is a prerequisite of ham radio or any other hobby where sharing is a big part of it.

Posted by N7MSD on October 11, 2014

Doesn't matter the decade.
I have wanted to become a ham radio operator since I was a little kid. Various circumstances beyond my copntrol blocked me until 2013.

I have 3 e-readers, 2 laptops, and 2 desktops with various operating systems on them.

I had at one tmie, 16 web sites of my own. I got them down to about 5 now.

I still got my ham radio license. Next I want to get electricity to my ham shack so I can start in working HF.

Facebook and twitter, I don't have accounts there, will not distract me from my goal of working HF.

Posted by N4AAB on October 8, 2014

A shame
I was glad to join ham radio when I did, as the world was a different place as it is now. I was able to build friendships all over the world as I was able to carry on some long-winded QSOs with DX countries without some paper-chasing rude ham trying to tell me to move on as he wanted to get his prized ARRL wall paper.

I was able to experience a brotherhood in ham radio when you were able to announce a tower party and people would line up to help you versus no one lifting a finger now or asking how much that they would be paid. You also did not have to worry about CC&Rs back then also.

I also got to know real hams that really knew electronic theory and code, as the ham ranks were not diluted by a bunch of whiner that said that the code was an outdated technology or that they had some disability that they could not learn the code. In those days, either you learned the code or you found another hobby. You had to deal with the inconvenience of driving to the FCC office and actually take the test in front of a FCC examiner.

In those days the ARRL was about the advancement of the art and not trying to swell the ranks by pressuring the FCC to lower the privileges. The ARRL was also not trying to advance themselves by pushing thousands of contests and calling it "radio sport"

I had the privilege of actually providing a service during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake passing health and welfare communications before the advent of cell phone technology. In those days, hams really served a service in emergency communications.

I also got to know many friendly and hams that were polite and had courtesy. Not rude as many hams and the society in general is now.

I remember a day when the FCC drove around in vans tracking down and fining hams that violated part 97.

Do I love ham radio today? Love no. Like yes. If it wasn't for ham radio, I would not have enjoyed a very successful career in the silicon valley.

Will I keep my ADVANCED class license. Yes. Not Extra, because all they offer is this EXTRA LITE ham license. No 20 WPM.

Am I happy that I joined the amateur ranks? Yes. Do I like what the ARRL and the FCC have done to the hobby? NO! Will I ever join the ARRL. They say never say never, but in this case. NEVER!!!!

73

Posted by KB6QXM on October 4, 2014

A shame
I was glad to join ham radio when I did, as the world was a different place as it is now. I was able to build friendships all over the world as I was able to carry on some long-winded QSOs with DX countries without some paper-chasing rude ham trying to tell me to move on as he wanted to get his prized ARRL wall paper.

I was able to experience a brotherhood in ham radio when you were able to announce a tower party and people would line up to help you versus no one lifting a finger now or asking how much that they would be paid. You also did not have to worry about CC&Rs back then also.

I also got to know real hams that really knew electronic theory and code, as the ham ranks were not diluted by a bunch of whiner that said that the code was an outdated technology or that they had some disability that they could not learn the code. In those days, either you learned the code or you found another hobby. You had to deal with the inconvenience of driving to the FCC office and actually take the test in front of a FCC examiner.

In those days the ARRL was about the advancement of the art and not trying to swell the ranks by pressuring the FCC to lower the privileges. The ARRL was also not trying to advance themselves by pushing thousands of contests and calling it "radio sport"

I had the privilege of actually providing a service during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake passing health and welfare communications before the advent of cell phone technology. In those days, hams really served a service in emergency communications.

I also got to know many friendly and hams that were polite and had courtesy. Not rude as many hams and the society in general is now.

I remember a day when the FCC drove around in vans tracking down and fining hams that violated part 97.

Do I love ham radio today? Love no. Like yes. If it wasn't for ham radio, I would not have enjoyed a very successful career in the silicon valley.

Will I keep my ADVANCED class license. Yes. Not Extra, because all they offer is this EXTRA LITE ham license. No 20 WPM.

Am I happy that I joined the amateur ranks? Yes. Do I like what the ARRL and the FCC have done to the hobby? NO! Will I ever join the ARRL. They say never say never, but in this case. NEVER!!!!

73

Posted by KB6QXM on October 4, 2014

Too many spectators
The social media reminds me of the guys in my high school radio club who knew everything about being a ham, They would tell you about their neighbor who is a better ham than you. But in four years, they never got their ticket. Social media is great as an aid but there are still those that think they look at the webpage and know everything about hamming in two mouse clicks.

Posted by WN2RUJ on October 3, 2014

Make a comeback
After spending much of my youth chasing QSOs I still get on the air but not every day. As a merit badge counselor in the scouts for Radio and all badges electrical I get some youngsters interested. Another leader and I run special event stations at camp but still no takers for ham radio. We plan to offer a licensing class in the summers. For now we are getting ready for the Jamboree on the Air

Posted by WN2RUJ on October 3, 2014

Being a Ham

Yes, it's 1957, I am 12, the man next door is a Ham, I am thrilled he's talking to Ohio ! He's an EE with a defense contractor, and he passes on his QST's to me. I read them even though I don't undestand a lot of it. I go into NYC to "Radio Row" I buy my first receiver, an RCA AVR-20, new in box $3.

I bring it home, construct a DC supply on a cake pan using parts stripped from a discarded TV set. It, works,I stay up all night listening to AM & CW on it's 2 bands, 80 & 40 meters. I put up a "long wire", now it really works. I learn a bit, I fix radios and TV sets for neighbors, I am now 13.

Fast forward, I am now 27, married, my brother-in-law is an Extra class Ham, CW only operator. The bug bites again, I have to learn CW, and get my license. Like learning another language, CW takes time and practice. I learn CW, quite well, I pass my Extra in 3 years, it's now 1977.

I keep it going, I pass the 2nd Class FCC Commercial exam and obtain my "ticket". In 1985 at 39, I change careers, and for the next 25 years I work for a large police department repairing, installing, designing elctrical and electronic items and radios as needed in house. All the while enjoying the Ham radio hobby. Now retired, I lament at the lack of actvity on all the bands except during one of those contests. I never liked "hi & good bye" QSO's, but it seems to me that is the standard operating procedure these days. Why is that ? I have no idea.

I keep busy maintaining the local Club repeaters and Packet system, just for fun, they sit idle most of the time, such a shame.
Ham radio has been very good to me. It gave me a career, a pension, an education and more. So, yes I would become a Ham again.

73/K2JX

Posted by K2JX on October 2, 2014

My best entertainment
Greetings I need to start at 9 year with a
radius cobra 25 gtl in which I learned to
make dipole antennas, learned good and bad
thing I retire in 95 radio and returned in
2008 with the same force that had from 9 year
now I am 39 year which will be my happy bday
tomorrow and I feel really lucky to be a god
bless amateur

Posted by WP4DT on October 1, 2014

Radio, radio!
I have been fascinated by radio since a child growing up in the 50s and 60s.
I can still remember the thrill of turning on my first radio.
Ham radio still survives but is declining as the accessibility of modern social media dominates.
But it survives because people like us want a challenge, to tinker, design,to experiment and to communicate in a unique way!
73

Posted by G6PGV on September 29, 2014

The long good night.
Ham radio as we know it now, is on a long slow decline.
What it is slowly evolving into, is not something I will like.
I find myself on the air less and less, and not enjoying
what little time I do get on. At the rate I'm going, I'll be
completely off the air within 5-10 years.

Posted by KK5DR on September 28, 2014

communications
When I came to alaska in 1968, I was 16 and
my dad worked for the FAA in Anchorage at the
International Flight Service at merril Feild
as aWatch Supervisor. At that time long
distance communications with aircraft over
the pole could only partially be accomplished
via HF. That is what my dad did and it
fastinated me to no end. My dad was an
Airdale radioman in the navy in WW 2, which
inspired me(when I joined the navy) to become
a radioman to. When I got out of the navy, I
worked for BLM as a Communications Operator
in Alaska for fire services and Ancsa survey
operations for a number of years. I became a
Ham i 2000 and am to this date. Am I hooked
for life, you bet I am reguardless how the
hobby will change over years. I love HF and
CW, even though Im not to godd at CW because
of a small hearing loss. Radio waves over the
airways,experimenting and building antenna
systems as well as contacts all over America
and the world. If the radio bug bites me any
deeper(it'll go all the way through).
Sincerely, Max Thomas AL1H, Palmer, Alaska
Age 63

Posted by AL1H on September 27, 2014

Being how things have changed, I doubt I would be doing anything quite the same. If I heard of ham radio but never saw in use or knew someone, probably would consider it an esoteric pastime and not practical for my needs of communications with all the options available now.

Posted by W8AAZ on September 26, 2014

De ja vu all over again
in my 67th year, at sea as captain of a
merchant ship returning from the Middle
East, I am experiencing the same thrill of
begining to understand entire words on CW
that I did at 14 in the HAM club on a
Navcomsta in Morocco. today i'm using an
HB1B velcroed to my desk so it won't end
up on the deck when the ship rolls. back
then I was lost in the warm yellow glow
from the dial of a huge SP600 and keying a
little homebrew set I built out of an ARRL
handbook. The world on the other end of
those dits and dahs was huge and magical.

Just sat for my Tech and General again
after a hiatus of many decades and several
wars. At home I'm teaching my
Goddaughter's youngest child Code. she is
enraptured with it, and she's 7 years old.
So yep, i think i would be just as
fascinated as she is if I was 14 today.
And BTW (to use a bit of modern 14 year
old texting code), the world seems just as
huge and magical on the other side of
those dits and dahs today as it did then.
I'm glad I came back.

Posted by KM4BKE on September 25, 2014

Yes, even today...
Like Chuck (KD5IXI) said... I learned Morse Code in the Boy Scouts, listened to ops on an old radio shack multi-band radio (AM FM SW) and entered to CG with a guaranteed school (RM), stayed 22 years. Got licensed in '86... now getting back into it on a more regular basis... hated it when they discontinued CW for Comle and Military... got licensed to keep up with working CW.

Posted by K0HEA on September 25, 2014

Radio has always fasinated me!
I remember antique radios with the shortwave bands as a child. I would listen to them whenever an adult would let me touch and tune them, and when I learned to read, my favorite books were about ham radio. ARRL books really inspired me, and my first station was all Heathkit. The only thing I did not construct was the HW-16. When novices were allowed to use VFOs, I bought the matching VFO kit and built it in one night. As I was working in a CB shop at the time, calibrating it was a snap, and I never went out of band. Not bad for a high school student! I have been an electronics tech ever since, as well as being a ham since I upgraded to general.

Posted by N8CMQ on September 20, 2014

Morse for hams
I was learning code as a ten year old in Boy Scouts. I always had a yen for anything that was electrical. Then I Enlisted in the USAF and was selected for radio operations. (you don't suppose my 98% Electronic scores had anything to do with that? ? ? ?Spent 4 years as a Morse Op. Spent 8 years as a Elect. Tech
Was 27 yrs Military. Got out and have been a ham ever since. About 45 yrs. General Lic.I wouldn't have it any other way.

Posted by KD5IXI on September 20, 2014

OLD SAULTIES
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
transmission.

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

LOVE IT
AFTER 50 YEARS I STILL LOVE IT...

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!

73,

Rich
KY6R

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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