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 Post subject: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:06 pm 
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Location: Whitemarsh MD.
I’ve had my tech ticket for a little over a month. Having a great time learning the in’s and out’s, experimenting with building antennas, and presently surprised with the distance I’m able to get with my set up. Definitely some good skills that might come in handy.

But I have to honestly say, aside from picking up a lot of pointers from folks I talk with, the overall conversations are kind of dull. I know a lot more about the dietary habits and physical ailments of total strangers then I’m actually interested in.

I think I’ve found yet another hobby that I’m the youngest in the crowd.
:lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:56 pm 
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NYKh, I know exactly what you mean. Somewhere between RST/QTH/73 and "I just had my colonoscopy" are some good rag chewers. I'd suggest checking out some nets centered around things that interest you: message traffic, old radios, county hunting, etc. Once you meet like minded people there is more to talk about, but I guess that is obvious. Are you working any HF at all? 10 meters has been great lately, and I think you'll find a lot of DX stations like to chew the fat. Ask them questions about their kids, country, culture and they will open up.
A couple of us east coast ZSers have had some decent luck lately hooking up, if you can get on 10 Meters let me know and we can try to connect.

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:44 am 
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Location: Georgia, USA
I feel your pain. HF is usually filled with weather/garden reports, radio gear talk, and DX pile ups. I guess it really depends on why you get into amateur radio to begin with. For me it is about emergency comms so I do very little rag chewing unless it is for a comm test. I have a prepper friend who lives about 60 miles away on the other side of Atlanta and we do regular NVIS contacts to make sure our equipment is in order.

Also, don't underestimate 2m and making local contacts.


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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:13 am 
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This is why I never got into HAM. I could never imagine talking about anything of much interest to me. My real friends and even my internet friends have voice comms with me; I don't really need to make "HAM friends" to discuss the same interests. But the point about local contacts is a very good one - trying to figure out who else may be a prepper nearby could be very useful.

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:24 am 
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IMHO, ham radio isn't a means to socialize with other people. It's primarily a means to experiment with radio. For me, a very minor secondary benefit is the ability to communicate in emergencies.

Actually conversing with other people is just an incidental aspect. I doubt if they find me interesting to talk to, and the feeling is mutual. :D

That's not to say that I don't occasionally have interesting contacts. And most of my best friends happen to be hams. But that's just incidental to the main purpose.

That is why contests are so popular, even for those who aren't hard-core contesters. It's a good opportunity to see how well you're getting out, and you don't have to worry about the other guy discussing his health problems.


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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 5:47 pm 
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Location: Texas
Wait for an emergency...then you get to see what HAM is all about!

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 11:07 am 
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I'm with ya! I've had my license for 10 years and barely even plug the mic into my radio anymore. I use it as a VHF scanner most of the time. However, I'm kind of a weather buff, and my local club has one of THE best weather nets I've ever come across. Many of the HAMs in the club are employees of Rockwell Collins, and the main campus is in Cedar Rapids. Rockwell has their own HAM station, and their own friggin doppler radar! So with an ATV setup, you can monitor their radar feed, and listen/talk to them. The club also has a station at the county EOC.

When bad weather hits, the operator at the RADAR station gives out live radar updates, and directs field units to areas of interest to visually verify certain radar readings. The net control at the EOC takes all the reports and coordinates the net. Very regularly, the national weather service in the Quad Cities (DVN) goes direct with our spotters in the field via their 2m beam all the way from the quad cities so they can get real-time immediate reports from our spotters in the field for their information in issuing warnings and such. It's a far step above most nets I've listened to in various states.

That's about the only thing I regularly use mine for, and I'm certainly glad to have the top notch net that we do. When Cedar Rapids flooded real bad in 2008, they had guys out and about checking water levels for the duration of the flood, that was pretty cool too.

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:09 pm 
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I got my license at 11, and it was really cool for a while. A friend of mine had also got his license, so we talked on there, used AutoPatch for a while, and it was nifty. He moved well out of range, everyone got cellphones, and now I turn it on maybe once a year.
Still have one of them nifty hand held quad-bands and an IC-202.


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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:40 pm 
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For us, really, HAM is about having comms when SHTF. It may be the *only* way we will get reliable information about what is going on in other parts of the country. For example if I'm being told by local officals "just evacuate to here and its all good" but on the radio I am hearing this same message is being said to every single american city then I know we are looking at a potential INCH scenario and I can bug out accordingly.

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Birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, zombies gotta shuffle around and eatcher brains. Why do sharks eat divers? Why not swim around and starve to death?
Why do tornadoes zero in on trailer parks? Why not just blow around harmlessly? It's the way of the world, man.


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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:52 pm 
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Try new com modes like PSK, digital UHF, microwave, satellite, etc. There is always more areas to learn. Also activities like ecomm, contesting, DX'ing, building radio's/antennas or even extraterrestial RF astronomy.

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:34 am 
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For me it's about emcomm. I got with a very active club which provided comms for the Red Cross during hurricanes. I became an assistant Emergency Coordinator for my Parish RACES group and eventually took over as EC. I am lucky to live in the Greater Baton Rouge area which has several different clubs with many fine repeaters. I regularly volunteer for public service events such as bike-a-thons and matathons.
I admit that I have heard many of the same QSOs the OP discussed which all seem to concern the latest medical problems or nothing but tenichical discussions about antennas I would never build or equiptment I'd never heard of. Then I found that repeaters, like the clubs which run them, seem to have "personalities".
Some are populated by seniors who are never going to talk about anything more then CW and their doctor visits.
Then there are other repeaters with younger crowds and the conversations range from fishing and motorcycle riding to who bought the latest handgun and how it performed on the range. We talk about our jobs and the news and sometimes things get pretty political.
Scan around to and listen to other repeaters in your area. Different groups tend to migrate and populate certain machines and you may find a nitch in which you fit.
73,
Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:41 am 
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rpc wrote:
IMHO, ham radio isn't a means to socialize with other people. It's primarily a means to experiment with radio. For me, a very minor secondary benefit is the ability to communicate in emergencies.

Actually conversing with other people is just an incidental aspect. I doubt if they find me interesting to talk to, and the feeling is mutual. :D

That's not to say that I don't occasionally have interesting contacts. And most of my best friends happen to be hams. But that's just incidental to the main purpose.

That is why contests are so popular, even for those who aren't hard-core contesters. It's a good opportunity to see how well you're getting out, and you don't have to worry about the other guy discussing his health problems.


I dont really have any interest in experimenting with radio. I understand how they function, and I know what the limits of my personal engineering and assembly abilities are.

I dont build radios, I use them. Looking at the latest HRO catalog, I see very few HF kits and very many $3000 HF monster rigs. Based on that, I'd say that the industry and hobby has moved away from DIY radois and has moved to consumer products based around integrated circuits and sophisticated functionality.

How many people do you know say their hobby is hammers and chisels, or sockets and screwdrivers, as opposed to woodworking or mechanics?

I take a very pragmatic view of radio, I see it as a tool. My hobby is reliable communications, not radios.

That said, I have very little to say to a bunch of people that want to whine about their computers, their health problems, their gardens, their politics, or the government. The internet works much better for those things, and when the SHTF, we'll have more important things to talk about.

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:53 am 
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Half of a lame conversation in which one is involved is always oneself. And, I'm not saying I haven't been involved in some boring QSOs, but they seem better when I have something new to say about something that is not radio. People are usually interested in hearing about hiking/camping etc.; that said, there is a lot of talk about radio gear and prostates, I'll give you that.

-Nate

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:33 pm 
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Call me crazy, but I dont really enjoy talking to strangers who know my name and address.

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:30 pm 
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I always joke that I don't have enough disgusting ailments to be able to talk on 80m. :D

But I do enjoy most aspects of amatuer radio. I picked up some copies of the ARRL Handbook from the 50's, 60's and 70's and The Impoverished Radio Experimenters series. Between those books, I am building my own HV DC power supply and when that is completed, I will start building my own receivers then hopefully, my own transmitters. All of which I think will be useful.

I also enjoy building my own antennas and experimenting with them. Trying to make contacts with other members of this forum has got me wanting to build some more antennas like NVIS and other easily deployable types. PSK and other digital modes has re-ignited my interst in making contacts.

I check into my club's nightly net several times a week. When I started checking in, I didn't say a whole lot. Aftger I got more comfortable with it, I started making comments about my other hobbies and views. Found out that quite a few of the members are preppers.

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:39 pm 
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Quote:
How many people do you know say their hobby is hammers and chisels, or sockets and screwdrivers, as opposed to woodworking or mechanics?


Oh, I don't homebrew very much stuff either. I guess I used the wrong terminology. By "experiment with radio" I don't mean building equipment--I mean using the equipment. I guess I should have said that I enjoy being able to communicate in any situation, although I usually have very little interest in the content of the communications itself.

For example, I get a lot of satisfaction from being able to communicate worldwide, with battery power, from an extremely remote location. It's pretty trivial to be able to do so, so I'm not really proving anything by my "experiment" in doing so. But I still get a thrill out of doing it, even though I really have no interest in much the other guy has to say.

My point is that if someone enjoys communicating for the sake of communicating, then it's going to be a worthwhile hobby. If someone gets into ham radio because they want a means of meeting interesting people, then there are probably a lot of more worthwhile activities to achieve that end.


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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:56 pm 
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I have a (probably stupid) question from someone who knows nothing about the subject.
-
If there is nothing on the Ham Radio except uninteresting conversations, and many can hear at the same time; is it possible to just make your own radio show?

Uncle Joe's Homebrew Half Hour or whatever.
Just broadcast at the same time every day/week.
-
Was that completely stupid?

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:09 pm 
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No. We are not permitted to "broadcast". You must be communicating with another specific licensed Ham. You can not just keep talking unless you're talking to someone specific. Even then transmissions must be less than 3 minutes each.

If you want to "broadcast" a radio show, you need a broadcasters license, and you have to use SW or AM/FM frequencies, not Ham freq's.

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:41 pm 
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Too bad.
Sounds like it would be a good thing, oh well.

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In my day, we didn't have virtual reality.
If a one-eyed razorback barbarian warrior was chasing you with an ax, you just had to hope you could outrun him.
squinty wrote:
Safety isn't a lever on a gun, a guard on a knife or any other mechanical device. Safety is a behavior.


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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:19 pm 
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I did not read any or all the posts here but in this hobby you will find too many opinionated SOB's that hide behind the mics and know what is best for you.

Stay within the law & have FUN !!


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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:31 pm 
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aa1pr wrote:
I did not read any or all the posts here but in this hobby you will find too many opinionated SOB's that hide behind the mics and know what is best for you.


So it *IS* Just like the Internet!!

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:26 pm 
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So it *IS* Just like the Internet!!


:lol: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:50 pm 
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CitizenZ wrote:
No. We are not permitted to "broadcast". You must be communicating with another specific licensed Ham. You can not just keep talking unless you're talking to someone specific. Even then transmissions must be less than 3 minutes each.

If you want to "broadcast" a radio show, you need a broadcasters license, and you have to use SW or AM/FM frequencies, not Ham freq's.


Unless you're on the space shuttle. They have a specific exemption for broadcasting. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Enjoying HAM but…
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:24 pm 
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personally .... i see Ham as a great way to communicate with people you know. Mobile (vehicle) mounted radios are great off road, or while driving together. I (personally) see very little advantage to person to person fixed communications.

With that being said, i see the advantage of disaster communications and respect the technology.


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