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Top 25 things vanishing from America: #16 -- Ham radio




 
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Author Topic: Top 25 things vanishing from America: #16 -- Ham radio  (Read 20837 times)
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Pete, WA2CWA
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« Reply #25 on: July 17, 2008, 10:30:01 PM »

Well it is handy...the Net I mean...

The Forum is a Vely FLendly Splace OM'sess...

I want sum of them Vitamins Petes eaten...LOL...... Grin

The Vita-man - half in the morning - half in the evening

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Todd, KA1KAQ
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« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2008, 09:24:00 AM »

Many good points addressed as this thread progresses. Indeed - a goodly number of today's AMers are using new gear and of course, you have that demented group from The Dark Side who enjoy Class D and E stuff (just kidding guys Smiley ). With excellent results, I should add.

When I went off the air in the early/mid 90s, you seldom heard a ricebox on AM, modified or otherwise. Even before getting active again in 2006, I was hearing a LOT of new AMers trying out their Yaecomwood rigs on AM and newer SS rigs that actually sounded pretty darned good. Some moved into old gear, some didn't. And the only folks you still hear with the condescending attitude towards AM with a ricebox tend to be the newbs who want to make others think they've been around forever. They don't yet realize that AM is the object, regardless of the gear you use, and that attitude went out years ago.

As far as the old tube gear goes, some love it and some can't stand it. My experience has been that it's a good draw to get new people involved as it's recognizable to most as a 'radio', and a curiosity to the youngsters who have never been exposed to it with no likelihood or reason to now. In the late 80s-early 90s, the local mall used to have an event called 'Community Awareness Day' where different groups and organizations set up displays throughout the mall. I got the local club involved and organized our participation for several years. We always had a good mix of gear with several types of stations to operate (talk about a QRM-rich environment). We even had well-known highbander W1AIM on hand one year with his portable ATV station (camera installed in a hardhat) roaming the mall interviewing shoppers, and folks watching the TV at our tables. The old gear always drew a crowd and pulled people in, same with CW. The event resulted in some new hams, though never a big number.

But then again - that's pretty much the way it's always been. Amateur radio, photography, astronomy, horseback riding, knitting, whatever - are not for everyone. And thought the League does a pretty good job in this area, it's ultimately up to us and not the FCC, ARRL, or anyone else to promote and maintain an interest in amateur radio. Unfortunately, most hams just can't be bothered. This isn't a new revelation either.

As much as some like to blame technology, the removal of the CW requirement, Incentive Licensing, the ARRL, or anything else, we'll be the determining factor in the future of amateur radio. It's hard to ignore an elephant in the room, but a mouse is pretty easily missed.


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« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2008, 11:29:18 AM »

You are way more optimistic than me. ... I actually got into AM back around the time of its rebirth and watched it grow, but everything has its peak. It would be great if when I'm 90 I could whip out the old homebrew rig or even the Viking II and everything was still alive a kicking. I just don't think that will happen.


OM,

You're right: nothing lasts forever, and that includes AM and/or Ham Radio.

Everything that's alive has to grow, and everything that grows has to change. Ham Radio has gone through spurts of growth and fallow periods that mirrored the lives of we Baby Boomers as well as the pioneers who came before us. At this juncture in my life, I have more time for radio and the Internet, and that's OK.

My personal theory is that the government encouraged ham radio in the wake of the Sputnik panic, since it was doing whatever it could to get more engineers and more technical knowledge available for the space and military programs in general. Times change: the spy satellites are probably being designed by engineers in India under contract to a Sri Lanka firm with an agreements from the Skunk Works. C'est la guerre.

Nothing lasts forever, so enjoy it while you can, and remember that as long as you can grow, you're still alive.

C'est la vie.

73,

Bill W1AC
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« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2008, 12:39:35 PM »

    I was active in our local club up until several years ago. About 80% of the members were Techs on 2M. Actually, about half a dozen or so expressed a strong interest in scrotful AM after hearing it. Even carpooled some to Berryville and Butler Hamfests.
    The biggest (and strangest) obstacle I saw to their progress was the analogue dial. Interpilation between the hash marks proved to be impossible. When tuning around 75M fone, they loved the audio AND the QSO content but they always asked me what freq we were listening to. There seemed to be some psychological need to see a precise digital number in front of their eyes.
    I grew up with watches with hands. I took my Advanced exam with a Pickett slide rule. And, of course, my radios were all analogue.
    I thought it would be easy to just explain how to read the dials but apparently there is more to it than that. (my younger kids can't watch B/W movies but I have no trouble with it. Maybe it's like that...)
    Anyway, younger peoples perceptions are different because of the different stimulus they were surrounded with growing up than were us old farts.
    Maybe the class E guys will save AM! Grin
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« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2008, 12:43:47 PM »

>The biggest (and strangest) obstacle I saw to their progress was the analogue dial.

Seriously?
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« Reply #30 on: July 18, 2008, 04:16:31 PM »

    I grew up with watches with hands. I took my Advanced exam with a Pickett slide rule. [snip]




If you see one at a yard sale/hamfest/whatever, grab it quick. They're getting so hard to find that I wish I had saved mine.

    I thought it would be easy to just explain how to read the dials but apparently there is more to it than that. (my younger kids can't watch B/W movies but I have no trouble with it. Maybe it's like that...)


They're used to FM radio and "precise" channel readouts. Just tell them "More or less" is an acceptable measurement, and remind them that FM transceivers, although they might display only one number, are actually likely to vary quite a bit within that "channel". After all, there are bands, and band-edges, for a reason, and assuming that a consumer-grade transceiver is exactly on channel is erroneous logic.

I suggest you bring a frequency counter to the next meeting, and show each guy with a 2m rig that his "precise" frequency readout is anything but. It'll be a good introduction to the concept of tolerances and significant digits of precision.

My college prof used to bring in a bag of Keebler cookies as an example of how not to do metric<>English conversions: they had four digits after the decimal point of the metric number. We bought her a Keebler Elf doll for the end of school, and she loved it so much that it still hangs in her office twenty-odd years later.

73, Bill
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« Reply #31 on: July 18, 2008, 09:25:31 PM »

Well it is handy...the Net I mean...

The Forum is a Vely FLendly Splace OM'sess...

I want sum of them Vitamins Petes eaten...LOL...... Grin

The Vita-man - half in the morning - half in the evening






LOLOL..................Excellent Pete...
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Pete, WA2CWA
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« Reply #32 on: July 18, 2008, 09:27:06 PM »

What you do the next time is make them operate the National receiver and a solid state rig side-by-side with LED readout (not LCD), but do it outside in the sunlight such as during a field day. When they can't see the readout on the solid state rig they will appreciate the old analog dial Grin

Remember the first digital watches with the red LEDs? They were useless outside in the sun.

Can't remember any of the current HF transceivers that even use LED type readouts anymore. Wasn't that a 70's or 80's thing Huh

The new rig displays can been seen in blazing sunlight:








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Pete, WA2CWA - "A Cluttered Desk is a Sign of Genius"
Pete, WA2CWA
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« Reply #33 on: July 18, 2008, 10:22:29 PM »

Well yea, after many years they finally figured that out. It’s like when they made those first digital watches with the red LED's. They never though what would happen when they were worn outside in the sunlight until it was too late. Funny...Grin

I think the slightly older rigs like Kenwood’s, etc. had LED's. I had a TS-850S, etc. until I sold every piece of SS gear I owned when I rediscovered AM.


I have a friend that has run a TS-850S on AM for several years and tells everyone that it's a plate modulated rig. Everyone he works, thinks it's a great sounding AM rig. I wonder if they would say the same thing if he said it was a Kenwood TS-850S.
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« Reply #34 on: July 19, 2008, 12:55:45 AM »

I have a friend that has run a TS-850S on AM for several years and tells everyone that it's a plate modulated rig. Everyone he works, thinks it's a great sounding AM rig. I wonder if they would say the same thing if he said it was a Kenwood TS-850S.

My only comment to that is the response he would get would probably be no.

One technical point, the carrier of the TS-850S drops down in PWR whenever you modulate it no matter how far the carrier PWR level is reduced. That rig will not work properly on AM no matter what you do. I even ordered the service manual and got inside it myself and there was nothing that could be done.


Actually, many of today's rigs operate under that design in the AM mode. It reminds many of the "old timers" who used plate modulated rigs that the rig was downward modulating, which in a plate modulated rig is not good. If you go our Section called AM Handbook and look under "Modern Rigs" you can review ideas and solutions that some operators have taken with their modern rigs with this type of design. Most of it involves diddling with the transmitter AGC. Actually, in my opinion, the design is very useful because, if you use a linear, you can set the dead carrier drive to the maximum allowed for the finals in the linear, and when you modulate the carrier in the AM mode, you'll not overdrive the linear. Even if you yell into the microphone and/or turn up the mike gain, you'll have distorted audio, but you will not, under normal operation, overdrive the linear on voice peaks.
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