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Issue #6 - Four Things Your Elmer Never Told You about Ham Radio

Discussion in 'Trials and Errors - Ham Life with an Amateur' started by W7DGJ, Dec 24, 2022.

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  1. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Please comment on our issue #6 in this forum. If you haven't yet seen the new article, it's located at this link. Thanks, Dave W7DGJ
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2022
    K0BZ and KN4ULD like this.
  2. W3TKB

    W3TKB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great article, just as the previous ones were. I never had an Elmer myself, to show me the ropes...learned everything on my own...and am still learning something most every week.

    I would totally agree with everything you said in your first point; the complete lack of courtesy and downright rudeness of some ham operators. I've run into these bozos myself on occasion, and try to make it a practice to dial away from them ASAP, so as not to get sucked into their quagmire and end up an unwilling participant. You would think that with today's technology it would be fairly easy to track down these offenders and levy some sort of punishment, but as we all know (including the bozos), nobody's actually out there doing that. More people exceed the speed limit on the freeway when there is no police presence....the same must be true for HF disruptors.

    One thing that you didn't touch on in your article, and is something that didn't hold up to the hype, luster, and allure I was led to believe existed, was the "time honored tradition" of QSL card exchanges. During my studying for the licensing tests, I read about and saw pictures of all these fabulous QSL card collections; a visual and tactile reminder of all the wonderful QSO's over the years. I took great pleasure (and a fair amount of time) to design my own QSL card that reflects my personality and style.

    Now I've come to learn that paper QSL'ing is going the way of the dinosaur. Hams are opting for e-cards more often, if they do any card at all. More often the electronic logbook confirmation is all they want. Or else you get the hams that want to hold you hostage, demanding a SASE for the "privilege" of getting one of their cards. Maybe if you're an extremely sought after DX location I can see that, but Joe Shmoe from New Jersey, Florida, or California has really got some nerve. My motto is: if I get a paper card from you, I send one of mine back in return; I don't expect you to pay me to do it. But it looks like that practice is fading into the sunset.

    Take care; have a Happy New Year.
    Brando W3TKB
    W7XLR and K4VTE like this.
  3. KN4ULD

    KN4ULD Ham Member QRZ Page

    3) CW is no longer required, but it sure is important.

    Yes, and you just eat your liver and onions too.

    Well, maybe someone on a fixed income with bills that pound him into the dust whilst he's still breathing cannot afford to send them without financial help. Sure, maybe he could sell his ham radio gear and stare out the window every day, or at the RCA XL-100 which is newer than his radio. You cannot assume to know anybody's business. People do send QSL cards and you don't need to ask for them. I send them, and international postage isn't cheap (domestic isn't either).

    Happy New Year
  4. KL7KN

    KL7KN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Brando - I don't want you r card, I already have a wall full of them. I gave up chasing paper quite some time back.
    If, however, you want one of mine, an SASE is needed. Postal rates have not gone down.

    Happy New Year to all.
    AK5B likes this.
  5. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I guess maybe I missed one . . , QSL cards. When I was a kid, I had (just like Don, above) a wall full of cards, and I loved them. It was how you would verify your DXCC for example. But, when I went away to college, I got a note from Mom and Dad that if "if you don't move this electronic equipment and those things off the wall, we're going to dispose of them." I didn't listen. I had no idea that they were serious . . . Dad wanted to use my Bedroom now that I had left the house. He made it into a "study," so he could read there. All my gear, my entire station and my ham books and QSL cards were "donated" somewhere. I can just imagine the thrill that some aspiring ham had when going into a Goodwill store and spotting all that nice Heathkit gear for $5. Makes me sick to think about it. Since then, I have not focused on cards, and focus only on interesting conversations. Dave, W7DGJ (PS, now that I think about it, I lost my beautiful stamp collection the same way . . . GRRRRRR)
    N2EY and AK5B like this.
  6. WW7GBA

    WW7GBA Premium Subscriber QRZ Page


    Great article! I am new to Ham Radio and got my General in August 2021. A long long time ago in a state far far away, Florida, I used to have a mobile CB Radio and a Pierce Simpson Simba base station. Coming from CB, IOTA (Idiots on the Air) is not new, the music players, the illegal wattage, interruptions, self-proclaimed geniuses, and downright nasty people are not new. The good news with all of this is that these IOTAs are a minority today, like they were back then. They tend to lurk in the same gutters, so avoiding these is easy, and in most cases ignoring them is a great antiviral to kill the viruses.

    Since August 2021 I have been enjoying this hobby daily. I love it. In 1979 I stopped using CB and my medical career took a different turn, left Florida and lived in the US Virgin Islands for a while, then returned to Florida in the mid-80s. Never used a CB again, just the normal VHF Marine frequencies when fishing offshore. We used non-emergency VHF channels for fishing conversations and reports. Sept 2021 when I got my ICOM 7300 was the first time I used a transceiver on land since 1979. I purchased an ICOM because of my long experience with the brand. I had 8 ICOM Marine VHFs prior to the 7300. That was an important comfort level for me given my experience. I did try looking for Turner microphones, but that search did not pan out, LOL!

    My experience has been very positive when it comes to QSOs, both nationally and internationally. For now, I use QRZ to document exclusively and net logger when I go on the daily nets. I just turned 65, and in addition to my internet business, this hobby is something that is going to keep me busy moving forward, and it was an ideal time in my life to get into it. I am very much looking forward to continuing to have lots of fun with this, and our local group of operators here in the Heber Valley and Park City Utah. Snow is a new thing for this Florida boy, but I love these mountains and the low almost non-existent humidity. These days when I fish, I fly fish on the Provo, or head to Cabo, Kailua Kona, or Pompano Beach Florida to do some offshore fishing, which is my niche when it comes to fishing. We have three local VHF/UHF nets. Most of my Ham Radio activity is HF SSB. I use the 40 through 10-meter bands only. Living in an HOA and limited space restricts me to that, but it is all good! POTA is next on the list, that is a really cool thing, and given that I live within 10-20 minutes of both state and national parks/forrests, POTA is a shoe-in.

    K4VTE likes this.
  7. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the great commentary Louis. You certainly made my day. That's funny about IOTA, as I didn't know that there was an official term for that type of character. I'll bet you were surprised when you heard that some of those IOTA's had moved up from CB radio as well! Please come back and keep reading . . . Dave
  8. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just a general FYI . . . every other issue of T&E (or thereabouts) has a "Short Takes" supplement which is indexed separately here on QRZ. We don't promote those, so they are relatively hidden. As there's no one-page Index of the column on the site, I'm hoping that people will still find it. If you don't know what I am talking about and haven't yet seen any of the Short Takes supplements, please let me know.
  9. W8ETD

    W8ETD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do not be disapointed with ham radio because of some of the people who make strange noises or whatever, the Amateur Radio hobby has something for everyone with the many directions you can go be it CW, slow scan tv, satellite, EME, moonbounce, pactor, amtor, RTTY, digital, and of course voice. I have always said that there truly is something for everyone in this hobby. I, myself try to ignore the LIDS, that are out there cause they are just trying to get a rise out of you and get recognized so I just ignore them. This is a family friendly hobby (for the most part) and something you can share with family and friends. I truly love Ham Radio and the many people I have met on the air over the years from all over the world. ENJOY...
    W7XLR, W9FL and K0BZ like this.
  10. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Steve, great comment, thank you. I feel the same way. I've never seen a hobby that has so many different sub-hobbies and directions that you can go. All of them with friends and fun globally. So -- your comments dovetail right in with mine. And by the way, looks like you are ex-USMC. Thank you for your service -- I'm buying you a virtual beer right now. Dave W7DGJ
    K0BZ, K1LKP and W8ETD like this.
  11. KM6GWO

    KM6GWO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Very good W7DGJ nicely articulated. I would like to add comment to this with my insight, I agree with you on all topics. I have been and amateur radio operator now for 6 years and looking back to entry. It was very difficult and down right depressing at times trying to figure out when and where to get on any band to get a reply. It is slow but sometimes worth it in the adjustment of independent learning curves for individuals. I myself enjoyed ever minute of racking my brain with interest and questions from local ham clubs, online chats to eventually VHF/UHF nets about how to get the results I was looking for in the hobby. Asking many questions from different enthusiast eventually drive me to my resulted positive outcomes. Not always, but even though a few bad experiences still presented a learning experience. At least that is how I perceived it. Noting that all information just needs to be sorted through and then decide the outcome and results you are looking for. Tech experience for some is all they ever want and enjoying doing. Then for others it is full out Extra and every perk that comes with it. You just really have to plan out and decide what is most enjoyable for yourself and go for it. Thanks again W7DGJ and keep on encouraging this hobby there are so many wonderful avenues to discover from nostalgia to the future.
  12. WW7GBA

    WW7GBA Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well I just made that one up. We have every type of OTA why not include the morons! LOL
    W7DGJ likes this.
  13. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks Corey! Great comments, much appreciated. You have a great profile page on QRZ.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2022
  14. K2HAT

    K2HAT Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Volunteer DX Helper QRZ Page

    Hi Brando, and everyone else.

    If you want a Paper card from me, send me a SASE. LOTW is Free.

    In 2014 I logged about 15,000 QSO's and one week in February, 2014 I got over 100 QSL Cards with maybe 10 return postage stamps. :eek:

    Chasing confirmation from DX stations, unless you want to wait 2-10 years for a burro card takes money,
    we have to pay over $2. US for overseas postage and then hope we include enough money for the DX to return another card to us.

    This was all on the job training for me, LOL.
    Especially before more of the DX Stations started to use LOTW,
    or OQRS Online QSL Request Service, which often allows us to use Paypal to pay for the return paper QSL card.
    This help avoid the postage cash money being intercepted, Stolen, on the way to the DX station home.

    Best 73 K2HAT


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  15. W9TR

    W9TR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    #3 I have an interesting relationship with CW. I hate that I lose proficiency if I don’t use it, and I love the ability to communicate over vast distances with 100W and a wire. It’s so much fun. I think everyone should try it. But I also know it’s not for everyone and I certainly don’t think those who choose not to master it are lesser hams. Change ‘important’ to fun and I’m in. :)

    #4 Definitely! I don’t trust any hams in any gear related transactions. Sorry, I’ve been burned at hamfests (works great!) and now online sales are much worse.

    As I write this somebody is using my call to sell bogus Elecraft and Icom radios.

    So unless I can deal locally, look the seller in the eye, and test the gear, I won’t buy it.

    I’ve been involved in audio forums for a long time, buying and selling some very expensive gear. I’ve never been burned, so this is a uniquely amateur radio experience for me.
    KU4GW/SK2023 and KL7KN like this.

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