What is it we're supposed to do?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KD9NKJ, Jul 19, 2019.

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  1. N3HGB

    N3HGB Ham Member QRZ Page

    There has to be more than one ham with hearing issues. I am surprised there isn't some kind of digital mode net for them. Maybe there is? Did FT4/8 wreck all the keyboard QSO opportunities? I used to chat a lot on PSK31.
  2. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

    Perhaps one solution is to feed the audio from the radio to your computer (that has noise-canceling software installed)--or a dedicated peripheral--so the audio out frm it will be less noisy? (I'd search the 'net for you but I'm pressed for time this morning.)
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Without going into legal mumbo-jumbo, I'd focus on the actual problem, which is RFI to your wife's hearing aids.

    That shouldn't happen, period.:) But 80 meters is often a worst-case scenario because even when an antenna's 55 feet away from you, that's very, very close at less than 1/4-wavelength separation -- almost like sitting next to it. Also, "most" 80m antennas, unless well-engineered (which usually means installed by someone with a lot of antenna knowledge and experience), will absolutely have common mode problems -- this is RF carried by the outermost surface of the outer conductor of the coaxial transmission line, so it not only conducts RF back into the ham station but also acts as an undesired third element of the antenna itself, and radiates.

    If your "Elmer" is very knowledgeable (a lot of hams really aren't, even old-timers and perhaps especially old-timers unless they're RF engineers or have kept up with modern conversation on this subject), ask him to help re-engineer your antenna installation; make sure you have a good current balun at the feedpoint of the 80m antenna; another choke balun that works on 80m installed in the transmission line just outside the ham station can help; making sure the outer conductor of your coax is well earth grounded where it passes through and enters the home; and trying to achieve a good RF ground on the transmitter itself (at 80m, this can usually be accomplished, if you can keep that earth ground reasonably short and direct) can all help minimize RF exposure in the ham shack.

    You should, with effort, be able to reduce this to about "zero," so your wife's hearing aids will not be affected at all.

    It also might pay to contact the hearing aid manufacturer and ask about technical resolutions they might provide. If hearing aids go whacky in a ham station, I can image what must happen if you drive past a 50kW AM broadcast station's towers.
    K8BZ likes this.
  4. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sorry if we were too critical, especially to a "newbee" (no malice intended) here. You WILL find 99.44% of us are willing and able to HELP, and only a few that are not. Please don't go away. QRZ can be a valuable resource, whether you contribute on a regular or not.
    We ALL were "newbees" at one time or another. In time, (probably shortly) you will know those who are helpful, and those who are not.
    N7UJU and WQ4G like this.
  5. W5LZ

    W5LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I wear hearing-aides and haven't been affected by RF at all, so I find your wife's aides are a bit unusual because they are. I think I would talk to the company that makes them, not the seller, but the manufacturer. There's also the possibility that the 'telephone' feature may be a source for the problem. No idea really but worth checking (which you've probably done anyway).
    As for rudeness, what can anyone say? It happens. That piece of paper they sent you handles the 'bootlegger' thingy very nicely. It doesn't really matter what anyone says/thinks, the thing tells you what you can/can't do. Abide by the rules and be reasonably courteous and you/she's got it. Then it's a matter of personal attitude, sort of. My attitude is that I'll treat people as they treat me. Passed a certain point, 'you' asked for it, and will 'feel' my displeasure, sort of. That "flashpoint" is different for everyone, so take that for what it's worth. One of the worst 'telling off' experiences I ever had was so polite it was amazing (for me)! And it's my goal in life to be just as polite!
    Basically, don't sweat the small stuff...
  6. KB9BVN

    KB9BVN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Throw away your microphone. Get setup to do RTTY, PSK31, JT65, FT8 and FT4....all very fun digital modes. Then learn CW if you want to. You won't run into the Alpha Hotel patrol on those modes...usually. SSB on 75 and 80m is swimming with angry old farts and know it all CBers. Enough that the good ops there don't stand a chance.

    Welcome to the hobby and best of luck to you
  7. N3HGB

    N3HGB Ham Member QRZ Page

  8. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    The issues as I understand them:

    1) Passing the General exam - Just have to keep at it with determination. Perhaps your wife as a General can quiz you using the practice tests that are widely available on line.

    2) Hearing aid noise and distortion on receive from static - I agree with K8BZ that the proper adjustment of RF gain is critical in preventing static and noise between transmissions from getting amplified unnecessarily and maximize the Signal to Noise ratio.

    3) RF disabling the hearing aid - This shouldn't normally be an issue with devices that are a tiny fraction of a wavelength in size, but they do utilize very high amplification. Is it possible to reduce the gain of the hearing devices and increase your speaker volume? Does this occur on all bands? What kind of antenna and feedline are you using? Have you tried operating at less power?

    4) Supervised control-operator operation - There's *nothing* wrong or illegal about this and it's the basis for all the GOTA stations on Field Day. Not a valid argument.

    5) Discourteous operators - Those who are insecure often show off in front of their friends at the expense of others.

    You could also depart from audible communication altogether by operating CW (very effective for DX work) with a keyboard and software that displays what is being sent. I can't imagine much criticism of this solution given your situation.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  9. KK6NOH

    KK6NOH Ham Member QRZ Page

    The first thing that pops into my mind... does her hearing aid flake out in every part of the house or just by the transmitter? If say... the bedroom or office down the hall is fine, then I would set up a remote speaker system and computer which can remotely key the radio.

    Then I would introduce her into parts of the hobby without so much static. Perhaps digital, or maybe modes which are easy on the ears such as AM or FM.
    K8BZ likes this.
  10. KD9NKJ

    KD9NKJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Everyone's a grammar teacher
    First I want to thank everyone for their helpful and courteous advice. We intend on exploring as many aspects of the hobby as our limitations will allow. We are new to this after all and most of the areas that have been described, we haven't even heard of until now. But we are still learning.
    As we are trying to locate the sources of RF interference so to make the hobby more enjoyable for the both of us, one thing needs some further explaining.
    A deaf person with the cochlear implants is still deaf as a stone no matter what. So RF is only a small part of the problem. Person's with Cochlear Implants are totally deaf. The way the implants work is they are implanted into the brain at the nerve endings to the ears.
    In my wife's case, she has at least two of the twelve nerves on each ear that are totally dead. Noise tones do not equate into the devices completely as they should anyway. So sounds don't get received from a radio as effectively as in normal conversation. There's no adjustments that can be done to her implants, like could be done to a conventional hearing aid device.
    Here is the way my wife explains it to me. A normal person can hear all 26 alphabetic sounds coming from another person's voice. Person's with cochlear implants receive these sounds through a series of tones. In my wife's case, since she has two dead nerve ending on each ear, tones are missing. So it's a challenge for her to make out what's being said over the radio. Add in the RF static and other noises, and she has a really difficult time of understanding. Where I come in is it helps greatly for me to speak what the radio is telling her. My lip movement and hand signing gestures do a lot to fill in the gaps. Making what the other operator's are saying, more understandable. It is somewhat complicated and even I must admit hard to really understand what a deaf person is dealing with.
    We've known each other for nearly 20 years now, and still she doesn't fully understand even me on a daily basis. So understanding what's being said on a radio by complete strangers, well it's challenging to say the least. Yet I have to give her credit for trying, and sticking to a hobby that started with me enjoying more so than her.
    We are still looking for ways so that she can experience the hobby through devices like one would get from their television. Where the words could be put onto a screen. I have not tried this yet. But I'm thinking I can use my SDR through my computer. With the use of a HDMI cable into our smart tv, then have the transmissions sent to close captioning. Where she can then read them in real time.
    It would hopefully then allow her to become more familiar with knowing all of what's being said. Still there is the issue of her speech patterns. They aren't always understood by even me clearly. So her speaking on the radio and being understood. This will likely require a device of it's own so others can understand what she is saying. Her speech is not terrible mind you. But she has difficulty controlling her volume ( loud or soft ). Many times even I have trouble understanding her.
    Yet I'm somewhat deaf myself from hearing the blast of 105 and 155 howitzers for years in the army. Then working in a water treatment plant for 16 years, sitting beside huge electric turbines didn't help my hearing much either. Needless to say, we do have our share of misunderstandings believe you me. I'm often just thinking as Charlie Brown does and ending things with a "good grief", and leaving it at that.
    N7UJU likes this.

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