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Author Topic: Financial hardship and Amateur radio  (Read 2799 times)
K4JJL
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Posts: 1127




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« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2019, 12:39:35 PM »

I once worked with a guy who was so frugal, he would remove his license plates before going through the E-Z Pass tolls,to avoid paying. I asked him what he will do when he gets caught.  Not only the fine but oweing back tolls. He said it hasn't happened yet. Oh well... Undecided



What colossal waste of time.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2019, 01:51:18 PM »

Ham radio has never been cheaper in real terms than it is today. Even when the market was flooded with surplus, turn 1945 $ into 2019 $ and see what you get now for the stuff compared with what you paid then....

The downside is that, if back then, you had bought a load of the stuff and put it into dry, relatively temperature controlled storage, you would have a hell of profit waiting for you even after expenses, of which you could doubtless end up giving a substantial portion back to Uncle Sam!

The only two things certain in this world are death and taxes. With modern medicine, even death isn't so certain....
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KC6RWI
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« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2019, 01:59:27 PM »

Never owned a phone or spent a cent on one. If I want to use the internet there is a computer. I'd sit on that phone and crack it first day or it would fly out of my top pocket. I also figure that daily driver, an older chevy van will probably be destroyed by another driver looking at a screen.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2019, 02:01:57 PM by KC6RWI » Logged
K7MEM
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« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2019, 04:16:54 PM »

Never owned a phone or spent a cent on one. If I want to use the internet there is a computer. I'd sit on that phone and crack it first day or it would fly out of my top pocket. I also figure that daily driver, an older chevy van will probably be destroyed by another driver looking at a screen.

You know, you can still buy flip phones. That's what I have. They are very cheap, don't need an internet connection, and are difficult to break. Takes up less space in your pocket than your wallet. It has a camera in it, but I have a real camera for pictures. It makes phone calls very nicely. Of course, when you flip it open in the grocery store, people will look at you funny.
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Martin - K7MEM
http://www.k7mem.com
SOFAR
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« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2019, 04:44:39 PM »


You know, you can still buy flip phones. That's what I have. They are very cheap, don't need an internet connection, and are difficult to break. Takes up less space in your pocket than your wallet. It has a camera in it, but I have a real camera for pictures. It makes phone calls very nicely. Of course, when you flip it open in the grocery store, people will look at you funny.


I carried a Smart phone for two years.
Went back to a flip phone, perfect size.
(Although I also have an Android at home for a backup.)

I did feel a little self-conscious the first few days, using it in a grocery store.
That passed quickly, I'm really happy with a flip phone.

If I ever feel like upgrading, I'd look into Military spec, waterproof flip phones.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2019, 04:47:34 PM by SOFAR » Logged
KD8MJR
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« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2019, 02:04:55 AM »

If your retired a cheap flip phone on a Prepaid plan is fine. If your still working you need a good smartphone.  A lot of things at work today require that you have WhatsApp, a browser, email and the ability to take pictures and send them out via email while out of the office.

No way I could do my job without a $750 phone and a good phone plan.

As for radios and antennas, it’s all dependent on what you want out of ham radio.
If your going to be a serious DXer your going to need a lot of good equipment or be super patient and take the chance that you will eventually get through by spending a lot of time looking for openings when the competition has died down.
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“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  (Mark Twain)
KX4QP
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« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2019, 02:24:37 AM »

I detect a note of disbelief, even scorn, that I'd spend $750 for a top-line, flagship phone.

I wonder if the folks who reacted that way have an HF rig that cost twice that?

My phone takes photos I can't take with a DSLR -- hand held night shots, including HDR (high dynamic range), automatically and internal to the phone, macro, excellent sharpness, and enough pixels to print large if I choose to.  It also stores and plays back my entire digital music collection, acts as a portable web browser and book reader -- and that's all in a package that will fit in a pocket (or, by preference, on a belt clip that mates with the Otterbox case).  That $750 bought 128 GB of internal storage, too.  Video calls, got that right here.  Heck, it's science fiction hanging on my belt.  Oh, did I mention turn-by-turn navigation?  All still in a single compact package with enough battery life to get through a second day if I forget to charge it overnight.

THAT's why I spent $750 on a phone.

And far from "disposable", at two years old, it's still doing fine.  The upgrade models that have replaced the one I have are very marginal improvement, if at all; I'll likely carry this one at least until the battery starts giving trouble (and while the battery isn't user replaceable, there are shops around that can open up the device and replace the battery when I'm ready).

My first touch screen phone lasted me four years.  The one before that, a flip phone, ran for two years in daily use, then sat in a drawer for two more years, and still had a partial charge in the battery when I pulled it out and reactivated it to give to a partner who had an even clunkier one.  By comparison, the digital camera I bought (for $300) a few months before that first touch screen phone lasted less than two years before the battery swelled so much I couldn't get it in and out of its compartment, and replacement batteries lasted no better -- and by the time the second set had failed, the camera itself didn't work any more.
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AF7JA
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« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2019, 03:56:14 AM »

sing it in a grocery store.
That passed quickly, I'm really happy with a flip phone.

If I ever feel like upgrading, I'd look into Military spec, waterproof flip phones.

I know that there are mil-spec smartphones. I purchased one when I was teaching at a PLAF training centre in China. I could, quite literally, use it to hammer a nail in a wall. I only got rid of it when my US carrier stopped supporting g2.

I felt a bit dumb after I got the phone and realized that there was a model that also had a built-in 440 radio, I should have gotten that one; but, as stated, I didn't know about it until it was mentioned well after my purchase.
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K1QQQ
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« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2019, 02:54:12 PM »

One does not have to buy a $15,000 Icom or Kenwood with 100's of bells and whistles that they will never use.

Maybe expensive stuff might help in a contest..who knows....


Enjoy the rig you have.


I'd bet a budget ICOM,YAESU,KENWOOD,ALINCO is all most ever need. Who cares ? It can't be that insensitive and if so get more antenna out to capture more electrons. Selective ? If it were that bad the ratings would probably be so bad nobody would sell them. (+++++)


I just see too many in these days that their importance in the world equals the radio they claim to be using.

Now with everything going digital, SDR, etc. try to avoid the money sinkholes.


Want to make a few extra millions ? Start selling your homemade antennas with endless add-ons. hmm  good idea....
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ND6M
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Posts: 848




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« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2019, 04:30:29 PM »

... edit... If your still working you need a good smartphone.  A lot of things at work today require that you have WhatsApp, a browser, email and the ability to take pictures and send them out via email while out of the office.

No way I could do my job without a $750 phone and a good phone plan....

Unless you are self employed, WHY are you paying for a phone to do company business on?
Does your company provide a desk? a computer, ect?

Unless arrangements are agreed to by both parties , if a company requires me to use a phone, computer, a delivery van, ect, then the company provides it.
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K3UIM
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Posts: 428




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« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2019, 05:00:47 PM »

RZP:  The only two things certain in this world are death and taxes. With modern medicine, even death isn't so certain....
At age 85, that's an encouragement!!! Thank You! LOL
Charlie, K3UIM
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Where you are: I was!
Where I am: You will be!
So be nice to us old fogies!!
AA4PB
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Posts: 15066




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« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2019, 05:44:01 PM »

"even death isn't so certain..."

Oh, it's certain - the only question is when  Wink
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
K5LXP
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« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2019, 08:20:14 AM »

Back to the topic of amateur radio, I put together my first station with paper route money.  It was a far cry from anything today and even compared to period equipment it was pretty crappy drifty stuff.  But I was on the air and what I lacked in purchasing power I had to make up for by fixing and building stuff.  I could go to a hamfest with five bucks in my pocket (this was a long time ago...) and come back with boxfulls of treasure.  That roll of moldy old coax for free was better than nothing.  Where I grew up trash pickups were at the curb so the night before people would leave out all sorts of stuff ripe for the picking.  TV sets, appliances, hardware, scrap wood and metal, you name it.  It was pure wonderment to spend a saturday afternoon tearing apart an old TV or radio and sorting the parts into bins and jars.  That instilled the idea of reaching radio critical mass - having enough parts on hand that if you came upon a project to build or something needed repair, I had all the parts and hardware on hand to do it. 

I think today ham radio can still be a very frugal hobby if one has an inventive mind.  All too often you see posts on the forums about folks not being able to afford a rig and when I see that I know they've got either a defeatist attitude or aren't really interested in going through the work to make it happen.  People today are more interested in immediate gratification and if it isn't what they had in mind then other options aren't entertained.  For the longest time now I make it a point to look for "budget" equipment at hamfests and it's a rare occasion I don't see a working HF transceiver for under $250.  It won't be new and it may not be pretty, and may need some attention but that's what it's all about.  The rigs I started out with were old enough to vote but today even equipment that old and older is way better than the boatanchors I had.  So, if you are really that funds limited and really that interested in making it happen, there are possibilities out there.  But it won't be the same as the UPS guy bringing a new 7300 to your door, more like going to hamfests for 6 months, picking up a 20 year old rig and going through it. 

Anymore we're an online society and if you don't have a smart device you're going to have a hard time doing any kind of commerce.  I relegate my phone to just being a phone so I get by with a rather modest device and service fee, and do most everything else online with a laptop (10 years old running linux...).  I think all of my HF rigs are at least 10 years old at this point and if I thought a new one would give me some decided advantage I could afford a new one, but haven't seen anything compelling enough to pull that trigger.  I would rather spend my radio budget going to radio outings like hamfests and conventions.  So bottom line, ham radio can be a very cost efficient hobby if one is willing to carefully assess their wants and goals, and isn't in a rush to make them happen.  It's been a tremendously worthwhile and satisfying lifelong endeavor for me and I can't imagine where I would be today without it.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
 
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KC6RWI
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Posts: 211




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« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2019, 10:59:34 AM »

Great post above.
I just saw a commercial on utube, its all about surfing, hang gliding, rock climbing, but thats not  enough. You have to do it while owning a brand new Ford pick up. I've seen this theme before with Ford. I guess you'd enjoy that ic7300 better if was in a new Ford pickup.
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F8WBD
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Posts: 146




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« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2019, 12:21:27 PM »

Financial hardship can have a number of definitions.

Amateur radio can be one of the least expensive pastimes.  But it requires some effort. If you are willing to take the time to learn Morse and consider QRP you can get on the air at very, very low cost. Used CW QRP kit-constructed rigs are available. I'm not going to list the models and prices. Do the research. A 40M dipole can be constructed very inexpensively. Even an assembled version shouldn't break the bank. A used key and a pair of cheap phones, which you probably already have, and bob's your uncle you are on the air.  As I recall Technician class license holders have some 40 meter cw privileges.

You  will have a taste of what radio was like in the very early days. CW, short distances, and no guarantees of a contact every day.

Find a copy of "The Radio Boys' First Wireless or Winning the Ferberton Prize". You might find an electronic version on-line, probably free. It's old early 1920's. Give you an idea of what it was like back then.
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