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Issue #39: The Future of Ham Radio

Discussion in 'Trials and Errors - Ham Life with an Amateur' started by W7DGJ, May 13, 2024.

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  1. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    There you have it Dave...with the "magic of radio" and a "secret language" who the heck needs a cell phone?:D
    W7DGJ likes this.
  2. G0DJA

    G0DJA Ham Member QRZ Page

    And the Kenwood TB-2000(X). Often forgotten when discussing radios without a front panel. I don't think it really caught on. I have a TS-2000X and didn't consider the TB-2000 when I bought it.
    W7DGJ and K1CWB like this.
  3. AA7FR

    AA7FR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Dave,

    It seems that the topic you raised has been a recurring theme over the years that AR has been around. I was reading a book about when SSB came out and how the AM crowd decried it and were convinced that was the end of AR. A mode war ensued, so to speak and there was some nastiness from some amateurs towards those that embraced the then new SSB mode. Nothing has changed, except now it is digital vs analogue. I like both modes, except DMR which I cannot stand, but I also will not disparage those that do like it. I do like YSF and D-star and HF digital, but I do not use those modes exclusively. Being in a very mountainous region makes analogue often the best choice where I live.

    The future is always evolving. It is fine to use the older modes and I do, but it is also good to learn at least a little something about the new modes as well. A good balance or at least some understanding makes a good operator, methinks. Disparaging individuals that experiment and want to learn/use new modes serves no purpose except to alienate or discourage them. In AR, we can have the best of both worlds. All it takes is being open to new ideas and technology. That does not mean the old ones suddenly go away, it does mean we just have a newer resource available and who knows, you actually may like it. That is the magic of AR, the old and new can co-exist. And that is how we will survive. Closed minds do not allow for this, and that one aspect would be the demise of AR in my opinion.

    Tony AA7FR
    W7DGJ likes this.
  4. N6YWU

    N6YWU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You can do that now with a Hermes Lite 2. And for a lot lower price than a Flex. The HL2 is a fully documented open source design, So I even wrote my own SDR app so I could place the controls on my iPhone where I like 'em.
  5. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Tony, good sensible comments, thanks. I wrote the editorial in this month's "On the Air" Magazine from the ARRL, and my thoughts on that last page of the magazine are similar to yours.
    Dave, W7DGJ
  6. M6NXW

    M6NXW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Digital modes are growing because they are fun, otherwise people wouldn't do it. It also enables humbler stations like my own to DX freely without being constantly drowned out by stations running too much power, screaming their callsign on repeat. Amateur radio is a dynamic hobby and it will continue to be so for many years to come. Cheers!
    W7DGJ likes this.
  7. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the comment Adam. I was also very surprised that no one in the "future prognostications" came up with anything about the growth of Meshtastic devices and the "mesh" that hooks these small radios together. I see that growing significantly . . . it's so much fun, and the devices are cheap! I've got three of them now and I'm just awaiting that mesh to grow in my backyard. To be able to Text message locally, without the use of ANY infrastructure! So cool. Dave W7DGJ
    M6NXW likes this.
  8. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think FM, especially in the VHF/UHF space, is endangered for several reasons. First, many equate FM with repeater and if their local repeater is dead, they don't think past that point. Hardly anyone considers simplex. Second, as a result of the dead repeaters, people get bored. In response, they're told FM is dead/boring and to get on HF. It's a cycle that feeds on itself.

    I enjoy VHF/UHF FM. The radios are small, the antennas are small, and except for a few outliers, the equipment is cheaper. Most hams have 1 or more HTs and you can build all sorts of effective antennas with small amounts of common materials. Starting out with an HT and supplies to build yagis, slim-jims, etc could keep a curious ham busy for some time. We all "know" an HT is only good for a few miles, but it's still exhilarating when you can make contacts out to 50, 100, or more. A mobile radio and a portable battery will take it even further. My 158 mile 2mFM contact during the recent VHF contest was more exciting than any of the UK or EU 10mSSB contacts I've made.

    W7DGJ likes this.
  9. K8PG

    K8PG QRZ Lifetime Member #333 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I do not know who these so called famous
    hams are - NEVER Heard of them…
    they only care about #’s and views .
    I believe the new digital modes are
    popular due to ease of use - No Brainer-
    I think they are a Fad thing . CUL- 73’s

  10. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    They are all well-known in their fields of expertise. Whether it’s running a company as several are (Flex Radio or Mercury Amps or Open Research etc) — or, developers of technology such as Sean or Chip (meaningful technology that impacts all of us). Others are leaders of ham organizations, in USA, in Canada, So .Africa, etc. others are writers, speakers about AR. Only ones I can think of that need numbers and views would be me and Jason of Ham Radio 2.0. Otherwise, your post is a bit sour. Dave W7DGJ
    KI4POT likes this.
  11. N6YWU

    N6YWU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That's not waiting for the future, or even just today. It's the past. People have been using the Hermes Lite 2 kit QRP SDR for around a half a decade already (and other OpenHPSDR radios for even longer). It's smaller than my WiFi modem. Front panel has no buttons or knobs, just a network jack. I run it from an app on my iPad over WiFi. I wrote my own SDR app, so I put the radio controls where I wanted them.

    As for cell phone to cell phone. Been there, done that, fully logable as an amateur radio QSO. I connected my iPhone to my HL2. Used an SDR app plus the HL2 to transmit CW on my 40M antenna. And a friend with a matching setup (HL2 networked to their iPhone), heard my signal and replied.

    There's more to using cell phones than just connecting to telco cellular networks. Given that many iPhones are better at SDR DSP than most laptops, they are perfectly usable for QSOs as part of an amateur HF SDR radio.

    But SDRs can be used remotely as well, so you can include both the cellular network and HF DX as parts of a total communication channel, maybe even including remote station control over StarLink for part of the path.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2024
    W7DGJ likes this.
  12. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you want to use only part of the quote to make your point, not much I can do about it. I can however post the entire quote.

    "There is no comparison between amateur radio and cell phones. You give one example, but there are others.

    Show me the list of cell phone to cell phone WAS, DXCC or contests. What about experimenting with cell phone antennas? If you understand the "magic of radio" you understand the difference"
  13. M6NXW

    M6NXW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I could be wrong but meshtastic feels like one of those fads that is on a slow decline. Perhaps it is better utilised in the States! I do think it has set a benchmark for other similar systems in the future though and it keeps the spectrum in use by civilians so ultimately I'm all for it! I also think that it is vital to have a portion of the spectrum to remain licence free. I also think Meshtastic has the potential to get people hooked on radio. We shall see!
    W7DGJ likes this.
  14. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't forget HRCC. He's not the most technical, but he makes radio accessible, fun, and interesting to those just starting their journey. I wonder how many got licensed after stumbling across his channel vs the impact of any random "sad ham" on QRZ.

    W7DGJ likes this.
  15. K7JQ

    K7JQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I can see the 10+ year future of ham radio from the current popularity of digital modes like FT8. More enhancements in digital will come to fruition, and legacy modes (CW/voice) will exist only with the diehard ‘old timers’ until they eventually die off. Person-to-person communications (where you actually have to ‘hear’ and mentally process/decode the information exchange) will be almost completely superseded by computer-to-computer RF processes.

    The ITU and FCC will realize that the current amateur radio bandwidths are not needed for the service, and will allocate more segments to other commercial communication needs. Manufacturers will greatly diminish their ham radio product lines without the need/provision for keys, mics, VFO’s…just basically RF providing boxes. Computer programs will do the rest. A QSO will be a canned macro or keyboard texting.

    “Amateur/ham radio” will be renamed to “Compu-ham radio”. And that will happen only if you can get the younger generation involved in the hobby.

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