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A Phantom Hobby.




 
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Carl WA1KPD
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« on: September 03, 2019, 04:58:48 PM »

In the last several weeks I have encountered 2 young adults (mid to late 20's) to whom I said something about "ham radio".
Neither of them had ANY idea of what I was talking about. Had never heard of the hobby or really understood what it was about.
These were not technonerds, but commmon everyday Joe's. Did I just hit a bad streak or are we really disappearing of the radar that badly?

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Carl

"Okay, gang are you ready to play radio? Are you ready to shuffle off the mortal coil of mediocrity? I am if you are." Shepherd
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2019, 05:38:17 PM »

Carl....  You must live in the real boonies and I'm just out in the sticks.  I've been encountering that for years.  When I ran a large HF mobile antenna on my truck, I would occasionally get asked by teenagers and 20-somethings what it was.  Very early into a very brief explanation their eyes glazed over.    "So, like. it's some kind of chat room thing?"  I occasionally get questions about my tower and yagi at home, from people walking by. Some slow down and peer out the window at it.   Same reaction.  But I keep the lawn nicely mowed so they seem to think I'm harmless.
My work has taken me to many overseas military bases in the last couple decades, at communications sites of differing types, and I have met many fine folks serving our country but have never met a ham among the ranks or among the officers.  That goes the same for the Brit bases as well.  Last year at a Japanese base there was some dirt moving and construction going on, and some of the dump truck drivers had their amateur call signs on the windows, and two-meter whips on the trucks, but none of the engineering crowd were hams.  None at any of the four installations I visited last year in India either.
Whether it be HF, VHF or microwaves, I just don't know who is going to make wireless communications stuff work when we old guys croak.  The kids are whizzes at software and apps, but how they are going to get the next generations of bluetooth, 5G and Satcom to work, I have no idea.  I can see 70 coming up in the windshield and I still get contracted to go out and make stuff work.  The asteroid might just as well hit now and kill off us old dinosaurs early.  We're on the way out anyway.
de Norm W1ITT
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2019, 08:34:16 PM »

There are three active AMers who are 30 and under and show tremendous promise. Perry fully restored a DX-100 and uses it more than his Anan on AM. Bill restored a Johnson Viking and home brewed an outboard solid state modulator. His latest project is building a dual 810 rig for 160-10. Daniel is still in college, is president of the ham radio club, encouraged several classmates to get their tickets, and converted a Collins 20V3 broadcast transmitter to 80M. Iíve had several QSOs with him.

Thereís definitely hope for the hobby.

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kb3ouk
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2019, 08:25:46 PM »

I'm 25 and have been licensed since i was 13. Most of my operating has been on AM since the beginning. My main transmitter right now is a pair of 814s modulated by 811s that i built myself, i also have a push pull 813 RF deck that i also am looking to get on the air soon

Shelby
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Patrick J. / KD5OEI
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2019, 02:10:02 PM »

Carl....  You must live in the real boonies and I'm just out in the sticks.  I've been encountering that for years.  When I ran a large HF mobile antenna on my truck, I would occasionally get asked by teenagers and 20-somethings what it was.  Very early into a very brief explanation their eyes glazed over.    "So, like. it's some kind of chat room thing?"

Yeah, it's a chat room with no ads, tracking, or fees.
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Radio Candelstein - Flagship Station of the NRK Radio Network.
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2019, 03:32:14 PM »

It's the end of ham radio!!!
Please remain calm.
Do not panic.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6zaVYWLTkU
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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2019, 07:35:37 PM »

I don't worry so much about the end of the ham radio hobby as I do about the loss in the technical capabilities of our country.  Some of the old hams told of the days just after Pearl Harbor when they, a high school lad with a ham license, could enlist in the Army or Navy, get accelerated through basic training just enough to know who to salute, get a stripe or two, and get assigned to a useful radio job.  Some became instructors, some were seconded to industry and others were put in actual radio operator slots.  Ham radio was a good feeder route for technicians and engineers.
Part of the "basis and purpose" section of the Communications Act said that hams were there to provide a technical cadre to serve the nation in time of need.  And hams did that back then.  After the war ended, many went on to the electronics and communications industries with a good head start.    It worked out well both for the country and for the fellows' own careers.
In my years in broadcasting, the majority of the guys in the engineering department, and particularly the transmitter crew were hams.  I suppose the closest thing we have now is the kids in high school who work and learn for the robotics competitions.  That's great stuff, but it doesn't keep RF flowing through the ether.  And that's still something that needs to happen.  The few young hams that we have now are good, but we need many more unless we are willing to wait for the Chinese to develop our next generation radio devices.  We old guys in the industry are getting past our sell-by date.
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KA0HCP
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2019, 08:53:37 AM »

-Most people today have never heard of amateur radio
-Most people today are not familiar with HF or Shortwave radio
-No, an amateur license won't get you a job
-HF is obsolete for most commercial and military purposes
-There are few electronics technicians because most devices are not economically repairable. This has been true since the late 1970's.
-WWII is as far away today as the Civil War was in 1940 (80 years).  Stop using it as an example of skills or technology.

Don't worry about the "End of amateur radio".  There will always be people who are interested in radio.  License numbers are not a measure of the health or success of A.R.   This was a great hobby when there were 50,000 amateurs in the US.  It will still be a great hobby if our numbers decline to that level again.  bill.
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« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2019, 09:42:22 AM »

I once met a woman who collected matchbook covers. Matchbook covers! It turns out, it's an actual hobby that some people enjoy. I suppose, with the advent of cheap disposable cigarette lighters, that hobby has seen a decline in membership. Well, that's entropy for you. Cry



I believe that using the number of licensed amateur radio operators in a given country as a measure of technological acumen is dubious at best. But if you insist, note that there are about 680,000 licensed amateur radio operators in the USA. China (with a population over four times that of the USA) has only 150,000. So don't worry. We've got the them outnumbered 4 to 1. Wink
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2019, 03:02:58 AM »

Custom printed matchbooks, small matchboxes, and collections of same, are rarer now than they have ever been and will probably be more valuable in the future than today. 2060 antiques road show: "matchbook collection: $9500!"

Used ham gear is cheap so those wanting only to be hobbyist communicators or who want to 'talk on the radio' socially have little motivation to learn much beyond what's required to pass the required tests and twiddle some knobs.

The national acumen can only come from those who really want to study and master some aspect of technology and science.
Hard work seems uninteresting to a lot of people these days. We could be grateful for the few who have a personal interest and stake in something so important as technology.

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Radio Candelstein - Flagship Station of the NRK Radio Network.
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« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2019, 03:38:33 AM »

The lack of knowledge of all things radio is leading to a huge skills gap which myself and many 'over 55's' are happy to fill.

Contracting as an RF test Engineer in the UK and EU is most lucrative.

I don't see too many young faces but when I do it's refreshing and I'm keen to give advice.

Having a work role that's also a hobby make my work/life balance managable!

JB.
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PA0NVD
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« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2019, 12:56:13 PM »

Same experiences from this side. The university of Malaga, Spain, is relly excelent and has 5 laboratories for RF, Microwave and optical communication at and extremely high level. But, no students, A few and 50% of the labs are empty. In the informatica department though, the students almost fall of of the windows, overloaded.
In the Netherlands, I know 2 schools for RF and electronics that had to close down due to lack of students.
I had a lab for high power RF technology for more than 20 years, developing big RF generators for the industry, tuners and microwave systems. Rf up to 50 kW and microwave up to 150 kW.
I found NO university or school that teaches tubes. And, for the big generators, tubes are a must. Also the pulsed plasma generators for 10 kW+ can't be made with semiconductors. All future and important technologies in the industries, RF plastic welding, material processing, wood gluing, wood drying, sterilization etc.
Who will design these things in the future? All companies that do that work, and there are (were) only a few, have old engineer that do the job, no young people. Now I am pensionist, but still receive requests for help from various countries, for 100kW+microwave generators and big RF generators and tuners.
For me my work is and was my hobby,
Becoming indeed a phantom hobby and a phantom job?Huh?
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2019, 12:49:36 AM »

What it is with the IT fetish escapes me. Reminds me of all the old ads that ran for decades to learn radio-electronics at home and make big dollars. How many of those tens of thousands of people made it past the TV shop level into high end industrial or aerospace careers? Now would be the time for young people to get into the RF-optical fields as they are unsaturated as the pendulum has swinging back toward hardware. my opinion anyway.
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Radio Candelstein - Flagship Station of the NRK Radio Network.
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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2019, 08:54:43 AM »

IT and Network is where all the job growth is. To ignore that is to ignore reality. Everything is migrating to TCP/IP. In broadcasting we no longer have analog audio or video with everything becoming first digital and now IP network packet base. Five six years ago did my first station that was all TCP/IP with the only analog being from the microphones to the preamps and from the monitor amps to the speakers. Everything else was all network base using cat five and switches. Still have some AES/EBU runs at the transmission end but everything else is LAN, Servers and workstations. TV is fast going that way too. Canít imagine finding any analog in a modern TV studio with everything being SDI.
Just finished installing a couple new TV transmitters as part of the band migration and all our control inside the transmitters is now network base along with all our remote control functions. In todayís world understanding TCP/IP protocol, assigning routable and non-routable IP addresses, Hubs and switches are just as important as DC Ohms law was for ours. RF power amplifiers today are all solid state modular affairs and not field repairable, broad band by design and very dependable. And the weird reality is that you end up replacing technology that often still works long before it fails.
All that being said I will say that I started out as a kid back in the seventies playing around with WW2 surplus radios and learned that way. Went to tech school and learned much vacuum tube technology with a small amount of solid state and have been working with this stuff ever since. Got the Ham license eventually and went from working on TV sets to AM broadcasting and eventually TV and can say that much of what I learned about RF and Transmission line theory was from playing around with Ham stuff but cannot say for an absolute that itís because of Ham radio that I am here today. Have over the years gotten several people into the engineering field and a couple into Ham radio but myself I only have a general ticket and have no desire to study and take the Advanced or Extra or whatever that is today having had enough testing with doing the commercial license stuff. The PD at the NPR station here at work went from not having a Ham license to advance or extra in the last year and now when I see him always tell him that because he has a higher class license he must be smarter than I am now, who knows maybe itís possible? But somehow donít see the Ham ticket being what it once was in the broadcasting world, or maybe it never was.
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« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2019, 10:30:11 AM »

Quote
2060 antiques road show: "matchbook collection: $9500!"

For Fire Insurance purposes, Please insure it for................
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« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2019, 03:39:12 PM »

Quote
2060 antiques road show: "matchbook collection: $9500!"

For Fire Insurance purposes, Please insure it for................
I had asked the collector I met about the fire risk of collecting matchbooks. I was told they remove the matches and collect only the covers.
Cowards!
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« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2019, 01:52:12 PM »

   A few weeks ago I was at a family function.  My wife's brother-in-law looks into my truck and says "So what's your handle?"  Seeing my confused look, he points to my IC-706 and says, "You've got a CB in there."  When I told him that it was a ham radio, he went completely blank.  Apparently people remember the CB craze of the 70's but know nothing whatsoever of Amateur Radio.
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Patrick J. / KD5OEI
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« Reply #17 on: Today at 02:37:04 AM »

IT and Network is where all the job growth is. To ignore that is to ignore reality. Everything is migrating to TCP/IP. In broadcasting we no longer have analog audio or video with everything becoming first digital and now IP network packet base. Five six years ago did my first station that was all TCP/IP with the only analog being from the microphones to the preamps and from the monitor amps to the speakers. Everything else was all network base using cat five and switches. Still have some AES/EBU runs at the transmission end but everything else is LAN, Servers and workstations. TV is fast going that way too. Canít imagine finding any analog in a modern TV studio with everything being SDI.
Just finished installing a couple new TV transmitters as part of the band migration and all our control inside the transmitters is now network base along with all our remote control functions. In todayís world understanding TCP/IP protocol, assigning routable and non-routable IP addresses, Hubs and switches are just as important as DC Ohms law was for ours. RF power amplifiers today are all solid state modular affairs and not field repairable, broad band by design and very dependable. And the weird reality is that you end up replacing technology that often still works long before it fails.
All that being said I will say that I started out as a kid back in the seventies playing around with WW2 surplus radios and learned that way. Went to tech school and learned much vacuum tube technology with a small amount of solid state and have been working with this stuff ever since. Got the Ham license eventually and went from working on TV sets to AM broadcasting and eventually TV and can say that much of what I learned about RF and Transmission line theory was from playing around with Ham stuff but cannot say for an absolute that itís because of Ham radio that I am here today. Have over the years gotten several people into the engineering field and a couple into Ham radio but myself I only have a general ticket and have no desire to study and take the Advanced or Extra or whatever that is today having had enough testing with doing the commercial license stuff. The PD at the NPR station here at work went from not having a Ham license to advance or extra in the last year and now when I see him always tell him that because he has a higher class license he must be smarter than I am now, who knows maybe itís possible? But somehow donít see the Ham ticket being what it once was in the broadcasting world, or maybe it never was.


I had thought everything that was worth connecting to an IP network pretty much was already done, except new construction. Even the small and most remote infrastructure around here are all IP into a little black box of a radio. Most of the network-related jobs I see advertised are labor. The catbird seats are mostly filled.

The company that recently hired me for DAS engineering work specifically asked me about the GROL b/c some clients want the plan signed by an FCC licensee as well as the various PEs. Interviewer didn't know/care anything about ham. Way back, when I worked for TV shops, the owner would want a general ham license or a certificate from DeVry or somewhere, but no profesional job cared.
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Radio Candelstein - Flagship Station of the NRK Radio Network.
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« Reply #18 on: Today at 08:39:18 AM »

Young people today think 2 way radio is an app you download.  This is evidenced by the walkie talkie apps and the boost in downloads before almost every hurricane.

Sad, but true.

Or the idiotic hamsphere.  WTF are those people thinking?

--Shane
KD6VXI
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