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Issue #31: Women of Amateur Radio

Discussion in 'Trials and Errors - Ham Life with an Amateur' started by W7DGJ, Nov 21, 2023.

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  1. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hey Tom, thanks for the great post. I agree that outreach into these communities has been poor to date, and that there could be a lot of new interest in radio by hitting these same hot buttons for groups like these. These younger folks, all genders, appear to be receptive to any technology topic where you can experiment, build, hack, and so on. That's a whole 'nother category of new ham prospects to dig into. There is a magazine published by the "Maker community," which I can't remember the name of now, that has occasionally featured ham radio stories. More of this would be great. As an aside, the women in my article this issue were of a different generation, where those topics had zero appeal to them when they decided to license. Dave, W7DGJ
  2. N2BTD

    N2BTD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    N2EY and W7DGJ like this.
  3. KI4HPU

    KI4HPU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I can only speak to my own experiences as a female ham, so here they are.
    I was made to get my Technician license in 2004 by a dad who is a very enthusiastic Extra (Hi K4GLM!) when I was 14 and therefore *so* interested in my dad's radio club of old guys and their wives, haha. I tested 4 times before I finally passed and figured I'd gotten the old man off my back and it was fun to carry my handy-talky to school occasionally, but apart from that I never really got the bug from being brought along to ham club meetings, field days, and hamfests. None of that was for me, a kid without spending money sufficient for the cool toys or the desire to listen to meeting minutes after school. I had the license and some knowledge but no passion.
    As far as the technical aspects of the hobby, I'm reasonably tech-savvy. I can solder, I have taken classes on cybersecurity and computer science of varying degrees throughout my adult life, and I served in the Navy for ten years as a cryptographer. However, the method that I've found works best for me to learn copious amounts of technical information is hands-on (I prefer to have a mentor show me what to do and set me tasks, and correct me if I screw it up) and learning the why of it backwards and forwards. When I got my Information Warfare qualification in the Navy I hand-copied the study guide seven times or so for all three books, for example. As a kid the problem was that my only real option for a mentor was my dad, and I was a teenager with all the prejudices inherent in that period of life. As an adult, I'm a full time employee, a mom, and my free time and income are both spoken for. A lot of what I need to do to finally step up to General feels like so much work and I'm already really, really tired.
    Additionally there's not many folks in the hobby that I can see fall into the same age/morals/politics/fill in demographic of your choice here as me; in short, not many people I can see myself becoming real friends with. I enjoy lots of other stereotypically male-dominated hobbies like mini painting, gaming (both video and tabletop), hunting, marksmanship, woodworking, etc. The difference is that those hobbies are largely executable by oneself as easily as in a community, and that they're so accessible that there are very visible community members of all kinds of demographics. I'm hoping that after nearly 20 years away from the hobby and as a Real Adult now as opposed to a resentful 14 year old wasting her Tuesday nights against her will, the community will be more diverse and relatable than my first experiences and I can find my people on the airwaves (and finally get General).
    WN5BDN, N2EY and W7DGJ like this.
  4. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Wow, Kelly, that was a really interesting post. You've certainly had an unusual upbringing and come into the hobby a different way than most. While many Dads have been responsible for the first "Elmer" role of a daughter or son, your Pop seems as if he was really heavy handed about it. Geez, I can really imagine how painful it must have been to attend those ham radio meetings at age 14. Hopefully, in today's world, you'll find fellow operators who you can build friendships with and who have common interests (both in and out of the radio hobby). It's an extremely diverse group of people who work with the amateur radio services. Judging by the arguments I hear when two parties start to discuss politics (ugh!), I know that both sides of the political spectrum are represented. And there are so many different age groups and different "mini" hobbies inside the one big tent of radio. Let us know what you need to take it to the next step. We want to see you succeed with that General, and while you are at it, get the Extra test taken the same day. You probably already know that this site (QRZ) has practice exams, and there are a lot of great books out there and study materials. You can even find flash cards for all the test questions, and if you're good at multiple choice questions, that makes it not all THAT much effort! Good luck to you and write me at my QRZ email address if you need anything. There are many helpful people here online in these forums as well, Regards Dave, W7DGJ
    KI4HPU likes this.
  5. KI4HPU

    KI4HPU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the encouragement! Bless his heart, the old man tries haha. He and I are very different, especially in our learning styles and mathematical ability. Luckily I've struck up a friendship with a coworker who was delighted to find I was a Ham, and I think that'll go a long way to getting me over my rough start. It's been enlightening browsing the forums and seeing the ANKI flashcard sites and the hamexam app, much easier to use than what I had back in '04. I'm also really intrigued by the applicability of computerized radio operations and would love to play with the programming to automatically calculate antenna properties and ideal operating conditions! The post elsewhere in the forums about creating programming that attributes a license-holder to their broadcasts for accountability was really interesting too. Widening the scope from "you can talk to people far away" makes my ears perk up in a world of free long distance calls, text messaging, and social media where that isn't very interesting any more.
    W7DGJ likes this.
  6. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I agree with you on that post from Brando (W3TKB) about how we might find a digital "signature" embedded in amateur radio transmissions. Wow, that could be super cool, and it's got other positive attributes as well. Dave
  7. KC3TEC

    KC3TEC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Regardless of whether a amateur is owg. Or yl. Or youth,
    Etnic or religion or even orientation.
    We all tend to fall into our comfortable niche. And develope tunnel vision with other facets of the hobby.
    I enjoy the interaction between other amateurs young or old.
    Technology changes and so should we! But its also important to keep history and knowledge alive.
    WD4ELG and W7DGJ like this.

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