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Amateur Radio Is Dying - Instant Gratification = Dumbing Down ?




 
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Author Topic: Amateur Radio Is Dying - Instant Gratification = Dumbing Down ?  (Read 20574 times)
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kf6pqt
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« Reply #25 on: October 19, 2006, 01:55:55 PM »

I'll go out on a limb and venture that I'm the youngest guy on this board. Just got my General last summer. I think cw is neato, and having been distracted by many non-cw aspects of HF, AM included Wink , I'm practicing it again to be able to effectively USE it. How else am I gonna get my ARC-5's on the air?

Its too bad they got rid of the novice class. While struggling to cram the code into my head, I often lamented to myself, hey, its too bad there isn't a way to actually PRACTICE this on the air. Sure, one could set up a sched and  do 2m/6m cw. But when work and life and the GF keep the evenings unpredictable, that sort of scheduling is a pain, theres a need for spontaneity.

I think they should have kept the old novice license, the one that would expire. Upgrade, or wash out. But it should have included some limited HF phone, providing the exciting oppurtunity to experience true HF propagation. 6m E skip was a big letdown. Wink

Like I said in my rant earlier, a lot of people get into ham radio (IMHO) for the wrong reasons. Sure, learning the code is a pain, but the requirement  was an excellent crapfilter. As well an an excellent motivator.

-Jason kf6pqt
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Ed KB1HVS
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« Reply #26 on: October 19, 2006, 04:14:32 PM »

After reading all these threads its a wonder why anyone would want to be involved with Amateur radio at all. There are other ( easier and cheaper) ways to be belittled elsewhere. I heard a young kid 12 years old who just got his Tech and was on a repeater with his new HT his dad just got for him. He was shaky as all hell but he made a call and sure enough a old bastard (call sign withheld) gave him crap about how to use I'm guessing his machine. I jumped in and tried to save him. I've only heard him on once since. I thought this hobby was suppose to be fun and educational and accepted all.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2006, 04:25:06 PM »

This thread is a little scary.  Man, what a pessimistic view we have going here.  I suggest we dump it and focus and accentuate on the positive.  I believe the positive will overcome the negative.

I also suggest each of us get involved and recruit at least one person who's interested in radio (young or old) involved in getting their license instead of complaining about it over the next year.  Screw the ARRL and whatever organization that supposedly represents us.  We can do it alone, especially the group of people on this forum and AM community.  I think here resides the most  positive group and pro ham group there is.  If I didn't think that I wouldn't be here.

I'd like to add, when I was out on the west coast recently my wife and I stayed at her girlfriends house for a few days.  I got to know her girlfriends son who is 13 years old.  When he found out I was a ham he spent the remainder of our time quizzing me on ham radio.  Over that time I think I believe I have a convert with his father in tow. Since coming back to the east coast I've been sending ham info to them.  I think soon we'll have two hams.  They're very much interested in ham as a father and son team.    I hope I prevail.


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Bob
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Steve - WB3HUZ
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« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2006, 04:34:33 PM »

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Hey "HUZ" man............I'm not the enemy!!

Never said you were. Sorry if I gave that impression.

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Hmmmm......Well in the first place it is Morse not Morris Code!  More accurately, it is International Morse Code that is utilized on the radio.  As for it being useless, my question to you Sir is what would you do to communicate in an emergency if your mike was broken, you had no other means to modulate your transmitter other than turning the carrier on and off?  My guess is, you might be trying to remember that "useless" way of communicating.

I know it's the Morse Code. Just being funny (or not).

Your question is a red herring. How would you communicate if all you had were flags? Better know semaphore. Let's put it on the test then. One can always come up with some extreme condition to make Morse Code required. So what? I could just as easily ask how you would communicate if your radio was broken? Knowing the Morse Code isn't going to fix the radio (remember this is amateur RADIO, not amateur Morse Code). The mike broken angle is an old and long discredited argument. The reality is that in emergencies, since the advent of phone, the majority of traffic has been handled by phone. It's faster and easier. There's no getting around this.

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Yes, I had to draw schematics for my license test(s)!

And I think that's cool. I personally think the technical portion of the tests should be harder and more in depth. But I didn't have to draw schematics. Does that mean I'm not as "worthy" a ham as you? Does that mean I know less about radio? Maybe, maybe not. The point is, I passed the test given at the time. That's all I could do. What we do AFTER passing the test is what really counts. So looking down on those who passed a different (maybe easier test) than you is meaningless, unless you look at what they did after they passed the test. Just to be clear, I'm not saying you do this. But plenty of people do. It's stupid, short sighted and counterproductive.

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No, it is not accurate to say that I would take it out on those new licensees who didn't have the same test...They are, afterall, really not themselves at fault.  I am however, somewhat resentful over the fact that we have collectively lowered our standards without any support for the values that got us to this point.  Voila!....as previously stated,  instant gratification and no thought about the consequences.

Then you should be resentful towards the old timers, not the newbies. After all, it was on their/your watch the standards were lowered. I understand being resentful. But at what point do we move on or take positive action?

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Hey...whatever happens, happens.  I may be only a faint voice in the wilderness when it comes to dealing with the current challenges and threats to our existence, but at least I'm not just complaining.  Peace!!!

73,  Jack, W9GT

I hope we can all take on the challenges rather than complain. There’s way too much of the latter going on here and on the air, and too little of the former. And that was the crux of my point from the beginning. What newcomer or potential newcomer is going to want to associate with people (young or old) who continually complain about how things were better in the past and how these newbies are undeserving? Hams are their own worst enemies more often than not.
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Steve - WB3HUZ
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« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2006, 04:35:52 PM »

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They're very much interested in ham as a father and son team.    I hope I prevail.

Bravo for you Bob. You have the right idea.
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John Holotko
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« Reply #30 on: October 19, 2006, 07:29:48 PM »

Jack:

I understand where you are coming from. The point is, the newbies of today can't help that the test is easier (if it even is easier, since I've seen no legitimate data or proof) than the one you took. They passed the test that was put before them. They are here. Why not welcome them with open arms, engage them and use your years of experience to fill in the gaps in their knowledge? After all, the older buzzards previous to your generation could have said the same about you. The tests in those days included drawing schematics and oral questions from the FCC examiner (no easy multiple guess).

I couldn't  agree more. This has been my argument for many years. I hear so many people whether thaey are talking about ham newbies or  young people in general  and I always hear the same arguments from the older set, "these young kids didn't have it as hard as  I had it", "when I did this I had to work harder", "these kids have it easy compared  to me"...blah blah blah.  Well there are two choices, we can complain and brag about how much we know (or think we know), or we can welcome them and help them along.I prefer the latter for two reasons. First It accomplishes something constructive instead  of just complaining and grumbling.  Second, we may be pleasantly  surprised to fuind out that a lot of these newcomers are smarter than we give them credit for and have a skillset that they can put to good use provided we give them an inducement to move forward.
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John Holotko
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« Reply #31 on: October 19, 2006, 07:33:38 PM »

Quote
Steve,
back in the early 60s when KW AM signals covered 75 there were a number of older guys who didn't care for us wipper snappers hanging on their band. We learned to strap.
Then came the slop buckets

no kids no lids no space....

Yea, there probably were always grumpy old farts and newbie haters. But ham radio have never been older and more grumpy than it is right now. Remember when 3885 kHz used to be inhabited by the New England Teen Net? When was the last time you heard a net where all the participants were even under the age of 30, let alone teenaged?

Never trust anyone over 30    Grin Grin
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W2JBL
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« Reply #32 on: October 19, 2006, 08:11:20 PM »

Hello John! i remember Elmering you, Dean B., guys like Carmine, Big Pete (N2OKJ now S.K), Dave Ucthtel, and other guys around Yonkers back in the early no-code days. you sure didn't last long on 2 meters, and found AM. what a blast it was to see you guys grow into real hams. yeah, the test is dumbed down, but so is America. the hobby is what you make of it. some stay with the G5RV ten feet up with a ricebox, and others go onto bigger and better things. the state of the hobby does worry me though- i read the other day that Gordon West was voted "Amatuer of the year" this year. something is very wrong in Newington. i left the ARRL years ago. i'm still in the NRA though- at least they actually do something for me in return for my dues!
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« Reply #33 on: October 19, 2006, 10:14:50 PM »

the state of the hobby does worry me though- i read the other day that Gordon West was voted "Amatuer of the year" this year. something is very wrong in Newington. i left the ARRL years ago. i'm still in the NRA though- at least they actually do something for me in return for my dues!

Dayton Hamvention named him; Newington had nothing to do with it:
http://www.hamvention.org/media/06ATY.htm
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« Reply #34 on: October 20, 2006, 07:08:20 AM »

[
The point is, that myself, and I'm sure many of my fellow seasoned contemporaries, really want to see younger people get into the hobby and carry on the torch.  I, for one am greatly encouraged when I hear youngsters at the local middle school radio club operating on the air and enjoying ham radio.  I look for ways to help newbies get started and I get involved in activities that get the message out.  For instance, I took a vintage AM station out to Field Day this year to demonstrate our niche of the hobby.  It was very well received and the younger hams thought is was really cool.

One of the great strengths of amateur radio is the tremendous diversity of interests that it represents.  We need to capitalize on that and embrace that wide range of hobbies within the hobby to attract new hams.

Yeah, sometimes I am grouchy, but I really enjoy ham radio and I want to see it continue for the future generations.  Hopefully, in some small measure, I can contribute to that outcome.

73,  Jack, W9GT
Quote



Well, it seems that the above comments were overlooked or ignored entirely.  I just thought I would make an effort to restate them.  I have seen my comments and my position twisted and blasted to the point that one might think that myself and all older hams are the worst ogres since Genghis Khan!!  Regardless of how my intentions or my reasons for offering comments to this discussion are misinterpreted and/or ridiculed, I continue to believe that we all have a common bond in wanting our hobby and our love of communication to continue for the future generations.
I have attempted to say, maybe not clearly enough, that regardless of any resentment about some of the changes that have occurred in the licensing process, I still very much enjoy and support young people getting into ham radio.  In some small measure, I have tried to contribute to the effort.
Samuel F.B. Morse is probably rolling over in his grave over his system being referred to as Morris code...........(I really didn't think you were serious about "Morris" code)  I am sure, however, that many young hams still enjoy CW whether it is required or not.
I will now retreat into my cave with my fellow Neanderthals and we will entertain each other by tapping out messages around the fire.  Grin

73,  Jack, W9GT
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John Holotko
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« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2006, 08:04:03 AM »

Your question is a red herring. How would you communicate if all you had were flags? Better know semaphore.

Flags can be very effective too. If you have a set of 3 red 3 white and 3 blue flags you  can make 1680 different signals.  Not bad ??

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John Holotko
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« Reply #36 on: October 20, 2006, 08:16:22 AM »

Hello John! i remember Elmering you, Dean B., guys like Carmine, Big Pete (N2OKJ now S.K), Dave Ucthtel, and other guys around Yonkers back in the early no-code days. you sure didn't last long on 2 meters, and found AM. what a blast it was to see you guys grow into real hams. yeah, the test is dumbed down, but so is America. the hobby is what you make of it. some stay with the G5RV ten feet up with a ricebox, and others go onto bigger and better things. the state of the hobby does worry me though- i read the other day that Gordon West was voted "Amatuer of the year" this year. something is very wrong in Newington. i left the ARRL years ago. i'm still in the NRA though- at least they actually do something for me in return for my dues!

Howdy Chris. Hope all is going well. Yep, I remember those days when I was just starting out. AM was the big inspiration for me.  More recently you helped me out with some good hints and ideas. Thatsa the important part of it. There is always more stuff  to learn.

You raise a good point. It works two ways. It's great to elmer a newbie but the newbie also has to respond to what hsi elmer teaches. If you teach the newbie how to make a good antenna so he can strap and all he does  is hang onto that g5rv 10 feet off  the ground he ain't  never gonna get  nowhere.

Gordon West "Ham of the Year" ?? Again ? I could have sworn he was HAM of the year before.  Grin
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Steve - WB3HUZ
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« Reply #37 on: October 20, 2006, 10:50:58 AM »

Jack:

I don't consider you as one of the grouchy old buzzards that are scaring new people away from the hobby. It sounds like you are engaged and do what you can to interest and bring along others.

Quote
For instance, I took a vintage AM station out to Field Day this year to demonstrate our niche of the hobby.  It was very well received and the younger hams thought is was really cool.

Amateur radio could double its ranks if each current licensee elmered just ONE person. The technical and operations competence of amateur radio could be vastly improved if each experienced ham passed on even a little of the knowledge they have. The reality is that guys like you Jack have probably forgotten more about radio than I know. You and others like you are an incredible resource that is invaluable to the next generation(s) of hams. If these newbies are smart, they will sit back, listen and learn. Most will, if given a chance.

With the Web and sites like this, that vast storehouse of knowledge is much easier to share. Hopefully we can take advantage of this capability. So, don't go into that cave! Grin
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K1JJ
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« Reply #38 on: October 20, 2006, 11:56:54 AM »

Yep, I agree, HUZ. Elmering is the key. And it doesn't necessarily mean that we need to devote months to someone, though it helps.

But here's a technique I use -  if applied over a long period of time, it pays big dividends....

Whenever I go to a ham event of any kind, I always keep my eye out for someone who seems interested in AM but is shy and just seems overwhelmed by it all. There is always someone there who probably has big potential but might just as easily give up because of intimidation. Look around at the next party or fest for the person who wants to fit in, but acts nervous. Remember the FIRST ham event YOU attended? Like me, you probably hung out alone and left early not knowing hardly anyone.

Anyway, I remember a party a few years ago at Jim/WA1UQM's place. There were maybe 25 guys there. In the corner stood a younger guy who wasn't talking, just observing. I made it a point of coming over and chatting with him for a good 30 minutes. It turned out it WAS his first AM party and he was a new EE. After introducing myself he said with a big smile, "YOU'RE K1JJ?!!" I didn't know if he was gonna sock me or shake my hand...  Grin  Anyway, after hearing about his ham interests and technical background I told him he would be the perfect candidate to build a class E rig. Well, over the next two years this guy ended up becoming a class E guru and leading the way in this  technology for AMers. Blew me away! We all know him now as the famous Bill/KE1GF.

There's more of these stories I could tell you, but you get the idea.
My point is, at every social event pick out the one new person who looks like he might need a boost. They will remember this conversation forever and it might be the turning point in their ham careers.

73,
T
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« Reply #39 on: October 20, 2006, 12:13:32 PM »


The Morris Code isn't and never was a screen or filter.

 Grin Grin
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Steve - WB3HUZ
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« Reply #40 on: October 20, 2006, 12:51:34 PM »

You are such a gracious host Tom!

Great story.
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K1JJ
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« Reply #41 on: October 20, 2006, 01:19:58 PM »

 Grin Grin Grin  You're a gracious host too, HUZ...

BTW, back in scouts there was a signaling merit badge. We had to learn Morris code at 5wpm, semaphore at 5wpm and wig-wag at 5 wpm.  I was the troop signalman... 

I'll bet you don't know what wig-wag is, right?  You already know it and could send a flag message 100 yards away...   Take a flag and wave it right for a dit and left for a dah. Pull back to the center to space between letters. We'll have to try it at the next fester using our hats.

Caw Mawn.

T
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« Reply #42 on: October 20, 2006, 01:28:43 PM »

I'll bet you don't know what wig-wag is, right?  You already know it and could send a flag message 100 yards away...   Take a flag and wave it left for a dit and right for a dah. Pull back to the center to space between letters. We'll have to try it at the next fester using our hats.

Caw Mawn.

T

Your left or his left and does left-handed/right-handed make a difference Grin
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Steve - WB3HUZ
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« Reply #43 on: October 20, 2006, 01:48:31 PM »

Pete, it depends if you are above or below the equator.

I bet the scoutmaster loved you Tom. Any special visits to his house?


I'll bet you don't know what wig-wag is, right? You already know it and could send a flag message 100 yards away... Take a flag and wave it left for a dit and right for a dah. Pull back to the center to space between letters. We'll have to try it at the next fester using our hats.

Caw Mawn.

T

Your left or his left and does left-handed/right-handed make a difference Grin
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Steve - WB3HUZ
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« Reply #44 on: October 20, 2006, 01:50:20 PM »

Quote
I'll bet you don't know what wig-wag is, right?  You already know it and could send a flag message 100 yards away...   Take a flag and wave it left for a dit and right for a dah. Pull back to the center to space between letters.


Is this where the saying, "I'm wavin' my hand!", came from?
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« Reply #45 on: October 20, 2006, 02:21:36 PM »

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Amateur radio could double its ranks if each current licensee elmered just ONE person.

I wish I could find just one interested person. Last weekend I got permission to set up a HAM table at the local Fire Department Open House. I figured this would be a good place to get some exposure since there
would be lots of young people and families. I had all sorts of handouts about HAM radio with my name and phone number in them. During the three hours about 700 people came through the fire station to get free pizza and watch the 'jaws of life' and other fire demonstrations. A few came over to my table to see what I was listening to on my radio and to ask a few questions.
Six people took the HAM handout and nobody has yet called me.
Now I am going to take the left over handouts and bring them to the local schools science department chairpersons. If I can get just one new ham in my community I'll be happy!

Regards
Q
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W1EUJ
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« Reply #46 on: October 20, 2006, 03:32:57 PM »

Why neglect engineering students?

Dave Goncalves
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« Reply #47 on: October 20, 2006, 04:32:10 PM »

                                  "Why neglect engineering students?"                   

Offers of beer and pizza get their attention...  Although, Steves 'special visits' may be problimatic for some......  klc






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« Reply #48 on: October 20, 2006, 08:52:42 PM »

    the most valuable and gratifying (not by special visits, Steve) activity i have found in this hobby is Elmering. Dad was for years a "professional" Elmer, teaching a credit ham radio course in a local high school. we have put a lot of people on the air over the years. one thing you can't predict though is where they go- some into CW (imagine that!) DX, sideband, VHF, whatever. it's all good. Tom hit the jackpot with Bill KE1GF- head first into AM, but you never know where they will go in radio. i consider Elmering my duty, and obligation to return something to the hobby. folks i have elmered have often go very far in radio, and some go nowhere. my latest prodigy is over in Afgahnistan mopping up bad guys while trying to find time to hang a dipole for some 20 meter slobucket "portable YA1". he has collected a house full of boatanchors back home while on leave, and when he returns for good we are gonna build a strapping AM station. a young kid i work with and elmered did not get his ticket, but has become a stone  professional radioman, and went into the NRA shooting sports. ya never know!
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Steve W8TOW
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« Reply #49 on: October 21, 2006, 09:04:46 AM »

Just had to clarify...someone several pages ago mentioned 'CW lost its usefulness by the lated 30's or so...'well, not so, since cw was the primary communication in WWII, Koeran War, & Vietnam...to begin, weather reports were sent from ships via cw, encoded in enigma. then supplied to U Boats...ALL CW, In Vietnam , encoded traffic was intercepted by guys called 'ditty boppers' ....I believe from my collection of radio mags eliminating cw has been an issue since the 30's...aafter 65 yrs, it happened, almost....when the AM freqs get too much for me, I am glad my rigs and I can run CW!  73 steve
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73  W8TOW
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