What got you interested in ham radio

Discussion in 'Youth Forum' started by K7JTO, May 3, 2010.

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  1. K7JTO

    K7JTO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Folks,

    I'm a scout and youth leader and (more important) father of three boys. I would really like to get my boys interested in ham radio but so far, total strike out. So I thought I'd turn to you - what got you interested in ham radio? Was it a field day event, seeing an applied technology (like PSK31 or something), having a QSO?

    I want my boys to have the science and technical background. Forcing them into it isn't going to work... ;)

    Thanks so much,

    73's de KF7DVJ
    John O.
    SLC, UT
     
  2. K9ASE

    K9ASE XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was origanally interested in CB radio and scanners as a boy I thought it was to expensive and difficult to get a Ham license. I loved beeing able to eavesdrop on the police and fire dept. and hear all the excitement. I liked beeing able to talk to truckers the further down the road the better. and when the skip was in you could occasionally talk to neighboring states or part way cross the country WOW! Then someone told me how easy it was to get a Ham license, a 35 question test and less than $20. I could have made that money cutting the neighbors grass. I looked and saw how much radio's were and they were about the same price as a good CB or a video game system. after I got my setup and started talking people gave tips how to use it better and even though it's only 2meter I talked to a guy in Australia WOW!
     
  3. KF6YGY

    KF6YGY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was in boy scouts when I got interested in ham radio. For me it was the ability to talk to others, I found that to be a lot of fun and interesting because you never knew who you would hear next. I also took the radio merit badge and that helped because I had to study about ham radio and then explain it to my counselor. I wish I had my license when I was younger, but 16 isn't so bad, hard to believe thats been over 10 years now.:)
     
  4. W0DV

    W0DV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Christmas of '72 my uncle gave me a transistor AM radio, one of those 9 volt jobbers. I was 10 at the time. At night I was picking up stations that I would never hear during the day. I was fasinated by that and I couldn't wait for the sun to go down. I would lay in bed with the little ear plug installed and listen to WLS. That little radio influenced my taste in music, my opinions on political issues, and sparked an interest in radio wave propagation. It was a magical time for me.
     
  5. KI6DKC

    KI6DKC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was first exposed to Ham Radio in Boy Scouts by a Scoutmaster but didn't get into it. It wasn't until Hurricane Katrina that I suddenly saw the need to have alternative communications in a dissaster. Got into it and realized all the other fun things the hobby had to offer other than emergency communications capability.

    As for getting your scouts into radio, I might suggest the Jamboree on the Air(JOTA). If you had an organized set up of radios and even worked on the merit badge that day it might get you some interest. When scouts can talk to other scouts all around the country it tends to generate some excitement. My cub scout son went crazy about radio when I got him on the air during JOTA last fall. JOTA usually has a nice patch every year that scouts can wear on their uniform as well as a certificate that you can order. My son loves his JOTA patch on his cub scout Uniform and all the other cub scouts he knows told him how great a patch he has.

    I also see that you are from the Salt Lake Area. If you troop is sponsored by the LDS church then chances are ham radio may be a part of the troops sponsoring ward or stakes ERC plan. The ward or stake person in charge of ERC might be able to lend some assistance. If it is an LDS sponsored troop the boys then could become involved in the ward or stake's ERC program which might generate some excitement. Some wards and stakes utilize their licensed boys as potential operators during emergencies and they participate in ERC nets for the ward or stake. Since the ERC programs for each ward or stake vary though it may be different where you are.

    If it is not an LDS sponsored troop you have lots of them around you and could probably still get someone to explain ERC and get the kids interested in something similar for your group.

    So there are a couple different options that might help.
     
  6. KB3LAZ

    KB3LAZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Erm..well that depends if we are looking at it materialistically or in a sense of spirit. Though as with myself many others would combine the two.

    Put it to you this way. At first my interest came by way of ear then eye then my brain started to itch. When I was just a young lad of about 7 or 8 years old I used to stay up all night (much like now so I guess nothing has changed except it is my own personal station now) and listen to my grandfathers conversations on the air. There were other times that I would find myself sitting secluded in his shack hidden away from the world around me as I spun the dial on his 757GXII ( I did this because the 75A-4 was intimidating to me at the time:p). I had realized that at night when everyone else was asleep there was this magical world faraway and it was trapped inside of this little black box (well its gray with some blue and red too but that is immaterial) that only I could hear or so I thought at the time. Every night I would visit this magical world in search of something but I was not sure what I was expecting to hear.

    Then one night my grandfather came out into the shack sat down and said you know you can find other things of interest by switching to this and listening on a different mode. I just kind of looked at him gloss eyed like a deer caught in the headlights so to speak. I said you mean to tell me that there are more magical worlds out there? Of course he laughed and said yes but it is not really a magical world it is just people communicating with one and other and experimenting with their setups. Nothing more really came out of this for some years though. I continued to listen and was amazed every time I sat down at his desk and learned how to zero in on these conversations that I once thought came from a magical land.

    Let us fast forward a few years down the road...lets say about a decade. It was early autumn and I was spending a lot of time at my grandparents house as I did in times past. My grandmother was ill so I spent as much time with her as I could before I lost her and while doing so it seemed that I fell back into the habit of listing to the people trapped in this magical land (ofc I was much older now and knew what it really was but still it felt magical). And then it happened; one brisk night my grandmother was taken to the hospital never to return home. Part of me was lost so I spent a lot of time in solitude in that room that I once thought of as a fortress of solitude became more of an escape from my everyday life and I was now interested in how thing worked.

    Well, a few weeks passed and my grandfather told me that his friends around the country offered him to come visit them. To take a trip and meet the people that he had been talking to for years and maybe that would take his mind off of things at home at least a little bit. He offered me along and away we went.

    On this journey I met many amazing people and learned a significant amount about this world that I once held as a fantasy land. I learned what exactly it was called, how to join in, why and how things work. I learned a lot about people and myself too. But what really swept me off my feet was seeing W4CLM's shack. There are decades upon decades worth of history in that shack. Form working rigs to repairs, restorations, kits, and so much more. From the era of tubes and xtals to layered circuit boards. It really was astonishing to see. And that is when I realized that I was right. This was a magical world and there were many of them. All of them unique in their own way. The ham shack is very intriguing to me. It seems that even with the same gear no two people visualize and build their setup the same way.

    So what got me interested? The gear, the history, knowledge, and most of all the memories created while partaking in this journey (and by this I mean amateur radio but the trip that I took with my grandfather is part of that). These are also the reasons that I continue to partake in this wonderful world I have come to know as amateur radio.

    So the attributes of which you speak are surely a factor but are merely a small piece of the pie when you view it as a whole. Much like with any other aspect of life think of the times you would share with your boys and the memories that you will create over the years. Not knowing the age of your children I will not even begin to fathom what their thoughts on such a matter are at this point but a day will come when such things pop into their heads and they will say I'm really glad I took the time to invest with my father and I have all of these wonderful memories to look back on. Surely I am not stating that this can not be done by other means but it is just one way of doing so.

    On a side note; I think you will notice that many of the stories that you will hear from youth and elder generations alike will have the same essence to them even if the stories falter a little.

    Well for now that is all I have to add.
     
  7. KU5Q

    KU5Q Ham Member QRZ Page

    John, some things are different from 39 years ago when I got interested in electronics, and mechanics. What's inside a person hasn't changed. My dad gave me the gift of learning about life and how to survive. In very abbreviated idea, it is something you have heard before worded differently for the times, but says to give a meal is to feed one for one time, but to teach one how to find the meal will feed them for their life. There are many eloquent expressions of what I say, but the message is the same. Young people today do not receive enough proper nurturing when they desperately need it growing up. If you want to help this world and pass something good to the future, start with showing young people love and what it means to care for each other. A child without love and nurturing is scared for life. Some recover, and many don't, but all children need love and attention, and knowing they belong to someone. It should start from the cradle and it develops their very being. Don't let anyone tell you it does not because there are countless examples. You read about them everyday.

    If you can do your part of this through Scouting, Ham Radio, etc, then do it. The main thing is that what ever vehicle you do this with, is that you are sincere, and take 100% responsibility for what you teach.

    Every young mind you shape will determine the future of this world. It is an awesome responsibility that you can be proud of if done with a good and proper conscience. You shape the the future of the world in the minds of these precious youth.
     
  8. K7JTO

    K7JTO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the replies

    Folks, thanks a bunch for the replies, I really appreciate it. I've been away for a while, which is why the thread languished...

    I'm hearing people got started:
    • Because of the experience of talking to people far away.
    • Because of the interesting technology behind it.
    • Personal one-on-one mentoring

    In other words, it's really a personal interaction thing, and there's got to be something there that sticks.

    KI6DK: affirmative, my troop is LDS-sponsored and we have several ERCs around. I, in my role as communications chair for my city's Citizen Corps Council, call in most every week on the ERC net (with my boys in earshot). Not appealing to them yet.

    We did JOTA last year; six boys earned the merit badge but so far none of them have gone on to get a license. I am putting together a class this fall for our city, and I've already informed my boys their attendance is mandatory (attendance only - passing the test will be rewarded with a used HT or HF radio; their choice).

    I'm considering stepping into the SOTA lead for '7-land' and hoping that might intrigue the lucky 6. I have an FT-817 and have been figuring out antennas and such - maybe if I let them put a summit on the list, a few will get interested too.

    I sure appreciate the input!

    John O.
    KF7DVJ
     
  9. N0WUE

    N0WUE Ham Member QRZ Page

    oops, sorry about that
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2010
  10. KC9RGW

    KC9RGW Ham Member QRZ Page

    My friend got his license in 2006 and had been advertising it to all of us in our troop. We did the radio MB as a troop in August and another friend and I decided that we would earn our licenses. I earned my tech in late January and just passed my general last Friday. One big thing that stood out to me was the scholarships offered to hams going off to college. I think the offer of a free radio is great but be sure not to force them into it. Another thing to try is bringing them to a local club meeting if you are a member.
    Good luck,
    Jack (15)
     
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