What is Ham Radio

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KB7TBT, Jun 8, 2019.

ad: L-HROutlet
ad: l-rl
ad: Left-2
ad: Subscribe
ad: Left-3
ad: L-MFJ
ad: abrind-2
  1. WB9YZU

    WB9YZU Ham Member QRZ Page

    The ARRL likely paid some ad company big bucks to come up with an inclusionary sign.
    The person assigned the project went 'hmmm, let's add a woman looking figure to make sure women understand this isn't just a man's hobby'.
    Maybe they thought that since BSA decided to open their ranks to girls that showing two young hikers would be cool too.

    Unfortunately in today's world, everyone get's upset by everything.
    Everyone must be represented from the binary sexes to the alphabet crowd.
    All political points of view must be accounted for and the message must be so PC it is still born.
    People behind keyboards don't have filters.

    Poe's law runs the internet, and increasingly, the real world.
    AC0GT likes this.
  2. K0DD

    K0DD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Bonnie, I've been rereading some of the posts on this thread this morning and NOTICED a bit of an error in yours. During the 1980's phase of HAM Radio the ARRL was all worried the "WORLD" was going to crush Ham Radio as a whole but wasn't willing to get proactive about it. They went Let's Just all Get alongish... The whole PUSH towards HOA's and TVI and Audio RF interference, cities legislating against towers, Ham Radio and everything else. High Power CBers with Firebox 10 sweep tube amplifiers lighting up the planet didn't help things one bit.

    At that time The League totally rolled over on its back and sort of Gave UP... It took all sorts of lawsuits on a whole bunch of tower cases all over the country plus a lot of complaints to the FCC to formulate PRB-1 while PRB-1 didn't have any teeth in it, it did tell cities for the most part HANDS OFF our public service entities... It took a while but they realized they couldn't ordinance out licensed Ham Radio.

    MY POINT is, during this period the League had rolled over and was playing dead. At that time thjey were Preaching in QST stuff like Sell your amplifiers and Try QRP, and started promoting Mobile OPs, portable Ops and everything else that didn't include a tower, Amplifier and big antennas in neighborhoods requiring Conditional Use Permits heavy on the conditional part that left a Large Caliber Firearm aimed right at the hams head.

    It was a very dim time in radio. At the same time the NRA was building Power, Membership and Lobbying Horsepower, the ARRL was severely spinning out of control on its way out. They even tried bringing unlicensed CBers into the league to bolster members. I cancelled my membership in protest at that time. I'd rather YLRL but they are very pro league and I'll probably need to renew the thing.

    Hopefully this new guy at the head of the joint will get more stuff done than printing magazines... Well Anyway, just thought I'd bring that up... When the going gets tough, the League Folds... and doesn't stand behind the ham heaven forbid we rock a boat anywhere and risk getting our feet wet. I had words with Dave Sumner at the ARRL booth at Dayton and then again that evening at Spaghetti Warehouse over Cocktails while awaiting tables... I know he was like Oh Gawd here we go again... Dave had a way of bringing out my inner bitch. I prefer sweet and lovable ME instead.

    Erika DD
  3. K6AEA

    K6AEA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Reposted the YouTube video to my Facebook homepage. My 40-year career as an electronics technician was fueled by my curiosity about how radios work.
    I haven't been a Ham that long, I just never had the 'ear' for CW. Now that I have the time and money for the hobby, I live in an apartment building with an uncooperative landlord. Retiring next year, and moving... somewhere.
  4. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    K6AEA likes this.
  5. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Perhaps the phrase needs some.....amplification. So I'll have a go.....

    There was a time, not so long ago, when the two-way communications options (beyond yelling distance) available to most people were very limited. Go back 60-odd years, and there was letter writing (slow and written), telegrams (faster than letters, but expensive), and the telephone (real-time, but very expensive, and it didn't go everywhere).

    And....Amateur Radio. Amateurs could communicate worldwide from the 1920s onward, using a variety of modes and bands, in real time, for free (except for the cost of a station and the energy to run it). They could also do so from mobile and portable stations.

    In the late 1950s there came HF CB, but its range and choice of modes and frequencies very limited. Still, it prospered because no license was required and the equipment was cheap.

    And then it all changed, quite rapidly. Telephone calls became much less expensive...to the point that "domestic" long distance was essentially free. International telephone calls became easy and much less expensive too. Cell phones and cell coverage became ubiquitous and inexpensive. Over time, practically anyone anywhere in the developed world could call anyone else in the developed world for a nominal fee. The coverage keeps improving and the costs keep dropping. Actual "landline" phones are disappearing!

    But that's not all. Texting, emails, Skype and similar modes are even less expensive and common.

    And of course the Internet, including what you are looking at right now.

    In such a world, what is the place of Amateur Radio? What is the attraction? Why should anyone who has internet and cell access even bother?

    The reason is that Amateur Radio is all about Radio, not the enormous infrastructure required by all those other things.

    It's not so much about the destination as about the journey. Some people get that, most don't. And that's OK! We shouldn't be trying to "sell" amateur radio to those who don't understand; we should only be trying to reach those who do.

    It's been that way a very long time. VHF/UHF repeaters boomed for a while because there was no other way most people could have reliable, low-cost, portable/mobile communications the way hams could. Now everyone has a cellphone. No more repeater boom.

    But radio for its own sake continues.

    Here's an analogy:

    If you want to get something done, there is usually one "best" way to do it, depending on certain criteria (money, time, resources).

    For example, if you need to get from NYC to LAX to attend a business meeting, and you're going alone, the fastest, easiest and cheapest way is probably a commercial airliner. Other ways (driving, bus, train, motorcycle, bicycle, walking, flying your own aircraft) all either take longer, cost more, or both (if you're doing the trip alone). The goal of such a trip is the destination; the way you travel is just a means to that end.

    OTOH, if you want the experience of traveling from coast to coast in the USA, and you have the time, you may choose alternate ways. Not so much for attending a business meeting but for the experience - which is completely different from the experience of riding in an airliner.

    The person who drives from NYC to LAX will have a very different experience from the person who rides an airliner. Same for the person who takes a bus, a train, flies their own plane, rides a bicycle, rides a motorcycle, or even walks. (I know a man who ran from Huntington Beach, CA to Atlantic City, NJ, in 95 days.)

    Or consider the marathon. People of all ages and backgrounds run marathons every year, even though most will never have any chance of winning, setting a record, or even coming close to it. (My best marathon was run in a bit less than twice the time of the world record for men my age at the time I ran it). Most train for months or more just for that one day. They spend lots of money, lots of time and incredible effort just to complete a 26.22 mile course. They do it for all sorts of reasons - and all of them involve the journey more than the destination.

    (Someone will probably comment that they can drive 26.22 miles in less than 20 minutes with no training at all. Which is simply proof that they don't get it.)

    Sailing is another good analogy. Consider a person who spends a lot of time and money owning, caring for, and learning to sail a sailboat - and whose main use of it is to get on board, cast off from the marina, go for a day's sailing, then come back and tie up at the same place they started. Or, they go from Point A to Point B - yet they could get there a lot faster in a motorboat - or by almost any other means (driving, flying). What's the point of their sailboat? To have the experience of the journey!

    That's what amateur radio is really all about - the experience of the journey, not the end result. In this day and age, with the communications technologies available to us, amateur radio is rarely the fastest, cheapest or easiest means of electronic communication. Heck, I can email people in 100 different countries in a few minutes! But it's not the same thing as working them on the air. Most folks don't understand this, a few do.

    One easy way to tell whether a person "gets it" or not is to listen for one simple question: "What do you talk about?" If they ask that, it means they are more interested in the content - the destination - rather than the means - the journey.

    In amateur radio, the journey doesn't have to be on any particular band, mode, or use any particular technology - as long as it is RADIO. And if it isn't RADIO, it's not the same.


    That it takes skill and specialized knowledge to be an Amateur Radio Operator isn't a problem! It's a selling point! It's what makes it worth doing!

    For those who say "it's too hard".....

    "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everybody would do it. The hard....is what makes it great."

    Also....check this out:


    Note the date.

    Is CQ100 the same thing as Amateur Radio?
  6. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would say it is not. I'm confused why you bring that up, what does that have to do with anything I said before?
  7. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My apologies for not being clear as to the significance of CQ100.

    (Here's the link again, for the convenience of the reader: http://www.eham.net/articles/21611 )

    Note the title of the article: How I've Got My Ham Radio Hobby Back: cq100 makes this contester and rag chewer of 32 years, who almost walked away for good, glad to be a ham once again!

    The article is written as if talking to someone via CQ100 is the same as talking to them via amateur radio. The writer doesn't make the point that CQ100 doesn't necessarily use "radio" at all.

    CQ100 is certainly "easier" than Amateur Radio, for almost anyone with internet access. No radios, amplifiers, cables, etc. to buy or build. No antenna troubles. No RFI, EMI, HOA/CC&R troubles. No added space needed for a "shack". Everyone can have the performance of a top-of-the-line legal-limit station with a HUGE antenna farm, if they so desire.

    Why would anyone bother with actually getting on the air when there's CQ100?

    Because Amateur Radio is RADIO.

    Most folks - even some hams - don't see the difference. But some of us do.
  8. G4DBQ

    G4DBQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    If the younger generation really does have a shorter attention span, that may be a blessing here.
    I hope they watched the attractive video but didn't scroll too far down through this thread (especially if they were YLs).
    If I live long enough to enjoy another couple of sunspot maxima, I would love to have someone to talk to.
  9. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Doing something for the sake of something tells me that this is done only for the experience. Kind of like climbing a mountain because it was there. Okay then, to me that means someone operating a radio because it's there means that someone interested in radio would then be interested in radio in all it's forms. A radio (small "a") amateur would not just have a license for (big "A") Amateur radio, they'd be interested in CB radio, GMRS/FRS radio, or whatever else that they can get their hands on.

    As an example I'll visit a forum dedicated to aircraft. The people there come from all kinds of backgrounds. There will be people that fly the big transoceanic planes, the bush pilots, hang gliding enthusiasts, powered paragliders, and people that just like to look at airplanes. So long as you are interested in flying then everyone seems to get along. I don't see this in Amateur radio.

    What I see in Amateur radio all too often is not people interested in radio for the sake of radio what I see is a bunch of licensed Amateurs that get together and when someone comes in showing interest they immediately want to know their callsign. If someone doesn't have a callsign then they are told to go away and not come back until they get licensed. Again, this isn't always the case, but it happens far too often.

    If someone is a (small "a") radio amateur then I expect to see in their home a table with an Amateur radio (or three), a CB radio, and a FRS handheld sitting in a charging stand, and some kind of scanner or wide coverage receiver. In their vehicle I would expect to see a GMRS radio installed in the dash right next to a dual band Amateur radio. That's someone that operates radios for the sake of radio.

    Someone that limits themselves to Amateur radio is missing the point, and missing out of a lot of what radio offers.

    That's all my opinion, of course.

    It's my hope that large Amateur radio organizations, like the ARRL, would truly embrace radio for the sake of radio. That means looking for people that don't have an Amateur radio license and encouraging their enjoyment of radio operations, regardless of what form that might take. So long as they are living in the spirit of operating safely, legally, and with an attitude of learning and public service, then they should be considered part of the same team.
  10. KY5U

    KY5U Subscriber QRZ Page


Share This Page

ad: ProAudio-1