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Is Ham Gear Too Expensive? Or, Are Some Hams' Expectations Unrealistic?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N2EY, Sep 29, 2017.

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  1. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    Almost every cent I make goes into radios. OH WAIT!! I am not being paid a nickel, nor have been for 6 months!! (except Social Security). I can spend the money my wife makes on radios!
  2. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    IOW, blind unquestioning acceptance of dogma. Preservation of cultural taboos that are really superstitions.

    Interesting idea......but....

    When was it that "everyone had to pull their own weight"?

    How would having a different.....preference......have been a weight on everyone else?

    Human societies, even small, "primitive" ones, are very complex, requiring a wide range of skills and abilities. A certain amount of "diversity" is needed, because there's so much to know and be able to do - plus everyone does not have the same innate abilities.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
  3. KB1CKT

    KB1CKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    A nomadic society living hand to mouth has little use for poetry--not unless if it was penned while herding sheep, fending off attackers, or the like. A society that has settled down and isn't worried about freezing to death in the middle of the night, getting eaten by wolves, where the next meal is from and the like has a different set of priorities. Some portion of biblical scripture has roots in oral history; not all of it was penned at moment of origin. IMO, some of it goes back to very primitive times, where survival of the group was always in question.
    F8WBD likes this.
  4. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good point!

    All true. There are "hoarder hams" who literally have piles of gear stacked up, which they will never use, and which is slowly rotting away due to improper storage. Other things, such as home and vehicle maintenance, are neglected for decades because of "poverty" and "lack of time" - but there's always time to go to a hamfest or convention or swapmeet or radio store and buy more junk.

    Meanwhile they complain, complain, complain about being on a "fixed income" and being "poor" and such. But don't dare point out what their stacks of stuff cost to acquire, nor suggest that they change their ways. Then you're a "hater".

    True! But that gets back to the second part of the title - "unrealistic expectations" - what used to be called "champagne taste on a beer budget".

    We've all seen it - the person who has to have a fancy new vehicle, but who can barely afford to put gas in it. The family who insists on a fancy, expensive vacation every year, while the roof needs to be replaced and the kitchen appliances are nearing end-of-life. The ham who thinks s/he is entitled to the latest-model rig, a legal limit amplifier, beams, towers, all bands, all modes, a fancy mobile setup, etc., etc., on a modest income.

    Happens at all income levels, too. I've encountered folks whose income was easily double my own who were up to their necks in credit-card debt - all for luxuries, not necessities.

    Of course there will be those who say that their vehicle/vacation/rig/etc. is a necessity.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
    N2SR likes this.
  5. N2EY

    N2EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good points - but they work both ways.

    Nomadic societies often have extensive use for poetry - as a memory aid, to remember important information. Human societies existed for hundreds of thousands of years before writing was invented.

    As for biblical history, yes, most of it was written down long long after the events described supposedly happened. Some of it, such as Genesis, is clearly not meant to be taken literally. The Psalms are poetry, really. Other parts are clearly the result of a particular kind of life.

    For example, the dietary laws which make pigs and some other animals "unclean" actually make some sense when you consider the conditions of those times. Cows give you milk while they're alive, hides, meat and bones when you kill them. They're pretty easy to herd. Sheep are smaller, and they give you milk and wool while they're alive, hides, meat and bones when you kill them. Chickens give eggs and feathers while alive. Etc.

    But pigs give you nothing when they're alive - only when killed. They don't herd well. Their meat must be cooked thoroughly to avoid parasites and diseases. Not a good choice for a society in a relatively warm climate where fuel isn't plentiful, and where every animal must be worth the trouble.

    All that avoids the real question: How could someone's a burden on any society?
    K7MH likes this.
  6. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Even the guy with the 100' tower may be just riding along on past success, and what his profile doesn't tell you is that the clock on his prosperity is quickly running out due to some kind of personal or family emergency. Such things are quite common, especially among people who are of the typical age for HF active hams []."

    I am of the opinion that these aspects are quite underrated in the current debates.

    The "Writing on the Wall" regarding the actual age distribution of the radio amateurs
    has been around for some while, but it seems that it not has been taken into account
    in the long-term policies (if any) of the amateur radio societies.


    In my part of the world, these writings look like the above, which are, from left to right, the distribution of ages, the cumulative distribution and finally the cumulative age distribution for new amateurs during the last 12 months.

    The situation for unhealthy or ageing radio amateurs may be somewhat better, as medical conditions here do not necessarily spell financial ruin for the individual, but sustaining a living on the base-line old age pension has become increasingly difficult in general over the last two decades.

    Here, it may very well be that the age distributions will spell the end of amateur radio in the forms that we know it, within 15 or 20 years of time. Even with the current influx increased with some 200 or 300%, it is impossible to counteract the influence of the "age-hump". It is simply not a sustainable situation.

    And, do not even start me on the concept of "instant hams"...

    N2EY likes this.
  7. W4IOA

    W4IOA Ham Member QRZ Page

    K index of 5 today
  8. K3EY

    K3EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    This thread has become the N2EY institute of higher learning, of all things, with QRZ as the sponsor.
  9. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    2EY, as opposed to 3EY:

    Almost 60% of the workers in the United States are hourly, not salaried, and, as such, by your definition are NOT on a fixed income.

    The concept of "fixed income" is generally accepted as being those persons who are retired and living off of Social Security and / or other pensions. Yes, Social Security often does give COLA increases. However, for many persons, the COLA increases are offset by increases in the mandatory Medicare rates. As such, those persons get less actual money to spend.

    Even when the Medicare Part A / Part B rates do not increase, or increase very slightly, the Part D (prescription drug) portions increase more than what the COLA increases

    My wife, and I, receive substantially more than the average Social Security payment (I generally paid the maximum deduction for quite a number of years). However, even though we got a COLA for 2017, the Part D premiums went "sky high" which meant that we would receive a smaller monthly payment. As such, I went looking for a different Part D insurer and found one. Our former Part D insurer was going to increase premiums to right at $80.00 per month and also was no longer going to pay for almost half of the prescription drugs that I take. The increase was larger than what the COLA was. Fortunately, I was able to find a Part D program that cost a little over $17.00 per month that also covered all of my drugs. The only "catch" was that the "preferred" supplier was Walmart. However, we grocery shop at Walmart every week so this was not a hardship. For 2018 the Part D premiums increase to a little over $20.00 a month but our old program goes to almost $100.00 a month!

    The pension, that I receive from my employer for just over 10-years, is "fixed" with no COLA. With inflation, the purchasing power of that pension is actually decreasing.

    My wife, and I, are not "hurting" but we definitely have to justify, at least in our minds, expenditures. Exactly 1-month ago, we bought a brand new vehicle. Since low mileage used vehicles are in a very high demand (because of the flooding in south Texas as well as in Florida), when we took our 2016 vehicle in for service, the dealer made us an offer we could not refuse on a new 2018 model (the 2016 had less than 6000-miles on it). The payments are right at what they were for the 2016 model and the vehicle has more options. So, the new vehicle does not have any effect on our cash flow.

    I do spend money on things related to amateur radio. But, I definitely am not purchasing a new transceiver. Frankly, I do not even want new equipment because what I already have does everything I need to do.

    There are those amateur radio operators who absolutely "need" to have the latest, and greatest, radio on the market even though they probably will never even come close to using all the "bells and whistles" that are included in the new radio. If they can afford the unit, then so be it. However, there are plenty of units, on the market, that offer everything that an operator can realistically use that cost a considerably less amount and, taking into consideration the wages, as well as the purchasing power of the dollar today versus that in the past, are considerably cheaper than ever before.

    Glen, K9STH
  10. WB0MPB

    WB0MPB Ham Member QRZ Page

    They give you rocky mountain oysters when they are still alive. Only once in their life time but they (boy pigs) do give something while alive.;)
    What says or who says or why do you say it "is clearly not meant to be taken literally"?
    John, WB0MPB
    K4MSM likes this.
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