Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by AA7BQ, Nov 5, 2005.

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  1. K1MVP

    K1MVP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey Jim, Keith,
    Here we go again,--we have come "full circle" again,
    "morse is obsolete",--I`ll let you guys respond to this
                             73, K1MVP

    P.S.,-- am beginning to think ham radio is "obsolete",
                            "cheers"      [​IMG]
  2. VA3KSF

    VA3KSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, first of all, Todd, welcome to Amateur Radio!  I’m very glad you have decided to join us.

    Second, please accept my apologies for the sometimes boorish behavior now being shown by some of my fellow Hams.  As you may have guessed, the issues being discussed here are very emotional, and the proponents of this or that particular approach to licensing and testing are often speaking based on their many years (often decades) of deeply held tradition and beliefs.  However, that fact still does not justify launching verbal attacks at someone just because their beliefs may be quite different than those you (or I) may hold.

    Third, I learned long ago that people aren’t “just” an “anything”.  Each of us brings our own unique perspective and experiences from the world to these discussions and, therefore, each of us always has something uniquely different (not to mention valuable) to share.  

    For me, nowhere was this concept more apparent than during my time as the President of AMSAT-NA (the Ham Radio Satellite folks) back in the late 1990s.  Our ranks (then as now) were as diverse as the day is long.  Our “experimenters” (as I called them) brought some of the best and brightest minds in Amateur Radio (or anywhere else) to our group.  I was continually amazed at just how blessed we were as an organization to have these fantastically educated and broadly experienced people on board with us.  

    However, while most of these folks were an absolute whiz with all the high tech “rocket science” involved in building space satellites, by their own admission, getting some of them to coherently compose just some simple words for a Press Release regarding their particular work on the satellite to date sometimes took them weeks to accomplish.  In fact, I never DID get that information out of some of them…even after the satellite had been launched!

    On the other hand, yours truly often didn’t have a CLUE as to which end of the satellite was "up".  However, as you might have guessed, my particular forte in the organization (and the job I enjoyed most) was in doing all the administrative, media writing and “people” work involved in helping to keep everyone (members, fund-raisers, volunteers, experimenters, office staff and our internal and external media contacts) all "in the loop" and headed in the same direction.

    So you see, each of us had a totally different skill set at work.  But, in the grand scheme of things, each activity was no more (or less) important to fulfilling our mission.  Each was absolutely critical to making the whole organization “go”.

    Now, with that all said, you have stated in your post that “Morse is obsolete”.  To which I must then ask you, “As compared to what?”  If you mean that Morse is obsolete as a mainstream, high-speed means of communication that is able to handle large volumes of commercially based message traffic quickly, then I would very much agree with you.

    However, if you believe Morse is obsolete in the sense that it has long outlived its usefulness as a unique, elegantly simple, and relaxing form of communication among Ham Radio Operators, then I would argue that Morse is no more obsolete than are sailboats to a recreational sailor, or a fishing pole is to a weekend angler.  I also contend that Morse will most certainly be with us as a wonderfully unique form of communication (but just one of MANY ways modern Hams communicate with each other) for many decades to come.

    In fact, personally, Morse is my preferred mode when I’m operating on the HF bands.  I like to work HF DX (long distance communication).  However, I’ve only been in one place over the years where I was able to put up a decent antenna to “work the weak ones”.  However, during my first days as a Ham many years ago, I discovered that with my “peanut whistle” CW signal (and a good ear) I could work almost anyone I heard.

    However, if you go back and look at my now (yikes!) SEVERAL posts on this thread, I think you’ll find my own particular “beef” with Morse is in the FCC’s continuing need to test us for Morse PROFICIENCY on their exams.  In addition, I have a strong disagreement with the way some people view Morse proficiency as a “rite of passage” to some “inner sanctum” of the hobby (or as a filter to keep the “riff raff” (spelled “newcomers” or the “CB crowd)) out.  Over the years, I have found proficiency in Morse actually accomplishes none of these.  Maybe that’s because all a test for Morse proficiency measures is one’s proficiency in Morse.  

    However, and as I’m sure you’ve already seen, there are many folks (both here and elsewhere) who will passionately argue that I’m very much “out to lunch” on these and similar issues.  And, that’s perfectly OK with me.  For, such disagreement is simply one more indicator of the wonderful diversity of our hobby.

    Anyway, once again, Todd….Welcome Aboard!


    VA3KSF / KB1SF

    P.S.  I see you list your home QTH as Tipp City, OH.  I was first licensed (WD8CMU) and spent 10 years of a 20-year USAF career stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB.  Might we have crossed paths there at some point?
  3. KD8CLA

    KD8CLA Ham Member QRZ Page


    Perhaps I used a poor choice of words, what I meant by obsolete is that you can now purchase computer software and/or other hardware to both encode and decode morse code.  I know someone will say what do you do if your coder/decoder is broken, to that I say what do you do if your radio is broken.  How many hams out there can actually repair their radio?

    I grew up in Beavercreek, did nine years active duty in the Marines all over the world and then 3 years in the Air Force Reserve (Grissom AFB).
  4. VA3KSF

    VA3KSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello again, Todd.

    Well, yes, certainly few Hams these days repair their modern radios.  However, there are still a lot of Hams around who love to build some of their own equipment (like HF amplifiers) or to work on (restore) older equipment.

    Also, if you grew up in Beavercreek, then you are probably familiar with Beavercreek Township.  I lived out there on Fairgrounds Road (between Trebein and Hilltop Road) for about 10 years just before I moved here to Canada in 2001.


    VA3KSF / KB1SF
  5. KD8CLA

    KD8CLA Ham Member QRZ Page


    When I was growing up there was only Beavercreek Township, I don't remember exactly when part of the township incorporated (sometime in the 80s) but I know exactly where you are talking about, I lived near Kemp and N. Fairfield for about 10 years then moved over by the High School until the late 70s. My parents and my wifes parents still live in Beavercreek.
  6. kd4mxe

    kd4mxe QRZ Member QRZ Page

    k1mvp- Rene every thing got Here on the same day 11/26/o5 so you will Here from me this comming week , and all of it got here just like you sent it , and thanks it will Be a Big help ,I will start to get up the Parts and when I get them all I will start on it, 73 Bill
  7. N9WWR

    N9WWR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Typical OLD "HFer" cring about the "current , and future crop of techinicians."  You have encountered to much stray RF from your old tube radios, ladder line, and wire antennas.

    Ok lets be serious. We are all hams and we must work together to keep the bands that we have. Yes I'm a Tech and I have no use for the code.
     By the way, I operate on HF. Your thinking how can he? He's only a TECH. I hold a M.A.R.S. Station License. Which supersedes your extra license. [​IMG]

    Everyone have a great holiday and pray for our troops.

    Serving those who served.
    Semper Fi
  8. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Of course you can, but that hardly makes Morse Code (the code itself, not the test!) obsolete.

    For example:

    Do automatic transmissions make stick shifts obsolete?
    Do power boats make sailboats obsolete?
    Do calculators make basic arithmetic obsolete?
    Do supermarkets make gardening and hunting obsolete?


    You can buy software that will permit your computer to
    play almost any music ever written. Does that make
    musical instruments and learning to play them obsolete?

    I can. Of course the fact that I built most of them helps...

    73 de Jim, N2EY
  9. KD8CLA

    KD8CLA Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Do calculators make basic arithmetic obsolete?"

    Have you been to a McDonalds lately where the kids behind the register can't even figure out the change without the register telling them how much to give you. [​IMG]
  10. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yep, been there, done that.

    But is it a good thing or a bad thing? Our educational
    systems spend billions to teach basic arithmetic - is
    that teaching obsolete because of calculators?

    Does the invention of a machine that can do a task
    make the manual version of that task obsolete?

    73 de Jim, N2EY
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