What Keeps ham Radio From Growing

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KD5SYH, Oct 20, 2002.

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  1. KD5SYH

    KD5SYH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, origionally I was going to write a huge article about this, but since this topic often gets me worked up, I'll keep it short.

    Reason #1: RFI - I've been off the air for almost 6 months because of RFI. I've tried every solution known...and then some! Even QRP (1/2 watt) causes fundemental overload to one of my neighboors TV's! Being that I am 15, there really isnt much that i can do, especially since he complains to my my grandparents who tell me to stop operating or "it goes in the trash." Thankfully I will be moving soon to my dad's old house where I've operated many times with no complaints (and this is in an area where you'd expect the TV's to be old junk and suspectable to RFI) In this day and age of skimpy high-end electronics, the only solution is mobile, but unfortunetly I drive a motorcycle!

    Reason #2: Lack of Intrest & Knowlage - 99.999% of the people that I know (including many adults) have never heard of ham radio, and many of them havent even heard of CB radio! Obviously, how could teens be intrested in this "ham radio" stuff when they havent heard about it. You'd be suprised in how many of my friends think that ham radio is cool, and may be intrested in it. The only way for ham radio to grow is to get on your local newspaper, TV, school, fest, etc. and show teens what ham radio is all about - get the "younger members" of the ham radio community (i.e. 13-18) to present ham radio. The teens that did know what ham radio was said that "oh thats what those old people on radio with morse code keys do" (I have no idea what thats about and where they got that from). We need to show teens that ham radio isnt just for old people, but for everyone, and it can be a fun hobby.

    Let me excuse myself for the bad grammer and lenght of the article (I tried to keep it short and clean). However, like I said, I tend to get carried away...

    EVERYBODY NEEDS TO GET TOGEATHER AND DO SOMETHING!!! I WANT TO SEE HAM RADIO GROW IN POPULATITY (EVEN IF ONLY BY ALITTLE BIT) AMOUNGST MY PEERS!

    TNX & 73's,
    Fabian Carbone-Solis
    KD5SYH
     
  2. N0XAS

    N0XAS Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (KD5JDG @ Oct. 20 2002,12:10)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">Reason #1: RFI - I've been off the air for almost 6 months because of RFI. I've tried every solution known...and then some! Even QRP (1/2 watt) causes fundemental overload to one of my neighboors TV's![/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    Using your TS-820?  What all have you tried to get rid of the RFI? Is your antenna resonant?  What are you using for feedline?  Tuner?  Have you tweaked that rig and neutralized the finals?  It sounds like something is either wrong with the rig that needs fixin', or you have a way bad antenna setup. Don't know about your local situation, but there are plenty of people here who might be able to help.

    Worst case, look for a solid-state QRP rig you can borrow and see if that causes RFI too.  Bet it doesn't.

    Dale
     
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    When I see a message like the one starting this thread, I wonder: Have these people forgotten how to spell or don't they care about first impressions?



    QRZ - When I read messages like yours, I am reminded of the term &quot;Ugly American&quot;.  The original posters name is Fabian X Carbone-Solis.  Did you &quot;wonder&quot; if English is his native language?  How many languages have you mastered to the point that you could post a message in your non native tongue that 99.9% of the people who read it, would understand it?
     
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Perhaps:

    The perception that it's a hobby for retired old fuds. A perception easily derived from the pictures in QST.

    The frightful expense of new gear.

    The fact that it is takes up a lot of room, and a lot of time.

    The perception that hams are nerds and geeks. Which, in fact, I am.

    And, as noted above, whiny whimpering sniveling neighbors who insist that the &quot;Breaker, breaker good buddy&quot; coming through the speakers of their One Eyed Moron Pacifier must be coming from the ham up the street.
     
  5. KG4RRM

    KG4RRM Ham Member QRZ Page

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (KD5JDG @ Oct. 20 2002,13:10)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">Even QRP (1/2 watt) causes fundemental overload to one of my neighboors TV's! Being that I am 15, there really isnt much that i can do, especially since he complains to my my grandparents who tell me to stop operating or &quot;it goes in the trash.&quot;[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    Cut your neighboor's telephone line. What your grandparents don't know can't hurt you. [​IMG]

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (KD5JDG @ Oct. 20 2002,13:10)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">You'd be suprised in how many of my friends think that ham radio is cool, and may be intrested in it.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    I'm 14(15 in 6 days), many of my friends seem to be interested in radio. Trying to get them to be a ham op would be 1 out of 100. They would say &quot;thats cool&quot;, then amount of time to study would turn most of them off from it. If that didn't do it the cost of the rig probably would. Lastly, the responsiblity would get the rest.  [​IMG]  [​IMG]
     
  6. W0DZ

    W0DZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    There's an interesting comment from ARRL in the September, 1973 QST, as they analyzed the hobby's stagnation that had lasted from 1964 to 1971. There's a graph that shows the growth slowing from a rate of 6%/year (1961-64) to 0% from 1964-67, then going up about 1%/year from 1967-71. The number of hams was 220K in 1961 and only about 265K in 1971. In the article, which is text of a presentation by ARRL to the FCC, ARRL said, &quot;We believe it is more than coincidence that the curve flattened notably in precisely the same year you instituted license fees - that is, 1964.&quot;

    Could it be that simple? Were license fees really the culprit back then, and could the complexity of the VE system and associated fees be enough to keep people away today?
     
  7. K3UD

    K3UD Guest

    Interesting comment on the fee the FCC started to levy on new license applications. In 1964 I think the fee was $5.00. This sum is equal to $28.51 today when the CPI is taken into account.
    ( http://www.economy.com/tools/calculator/cpi_index.asp )

    $5.00 for a young person in 1964 was a good amount of money then just as $28.51 is now. It can be argued that since the VEC fee for exams today is less than half of what $5.00 was worth in 1964, that costs associated with licensing have come down.

    It is interesting to note that in 1964 &amp; 65 that ARRL dues were at the same $5.00 level. However, unlike the license fees, ARRL dues have climbed much higher than the CPI rate, possibly making them not affordable to a portion of the ARS community. I have not heard much discussion as to whether on not the costs of ARRL membership have slowed down their own growth rate.

    Although the ARRL tried to make the case of fees causing a licensing slow down or stagnation during the time period between 1964 and 1972, there were other reasons behind the perceived lack of growth in the ARS.

    Chief among them was the incentive licensing proposals at the time, and later on the implementation of those proposals. As people were segregated into haves and have nots, the ARS lost some of it's luster. There was also the high cost of entry into SSB operation during the early part of that time period. It was about this time when we first starting hearing questions as to whether or not the CW requirement was slowing down growth rates. CB was an attractive alternative for many young people in the mid 60s to mid 70s. In addition, there many other things beginning to happen in the life of young people back then, usually at the school level, which started to take time away from individual pursuits like ham radio.

    What brought growth back was the slow expansion of operating privileges, The two year Novice license and later the renewable Novice license, relatively inexpensive gear, and most of all,
    2-meter FM. After this growth spurt died, it was restarted with the advent of the no code license which largely played off of the 2-meter FM growth that was seen up to about 1984 or so. When this growth slowed down, the 5 WPM General and Extra were tried.

    Actually all of these things worked to a large extent. Since 1964 the ARS has grown a bit over 200%. How many are actually active is not known.

    73
    George
    K3UD
     
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I disagree with your comment about RFI being an issue as to the influx of new amateurs. You do however, have a rather interesting and nasty case of RFI.

    First thing you need to do is get some help with that situation. Yes, you're only 15, but that doesn't stop you from using your noodle and at least sowing the seeds of resolution. Get help from your local club or repeater association -- someone within your area has to be willing to help a 15 year old amateur. If not, then the commission needs to revoke everyone's license in your town (I'm being only somewhat facetious) on general principle.

    Since it's affecting only one television and one neighbor, you're not as bad off as you think.

    To speed resolution, talk to your neighbor and find out what channels are affected, the make, model and vintage of the television, if it's hooked to cable and if so, how it's hooked to cable. I'm betting that there's something wrong with the installation of the television, not your antennas or transmitter.

    At age 15, I had the exact same problem with a neighbor down the street. A fairly prominant somewhat wealthy guy down the street was complaining constantly about me tearing up his television. And I was! He complained enough to everyone that I became the scapegoat for everything from RFI to fleas on people's dogs.

    Turns out, Mr. Moneybag's son was stealing cable and his improperly self-installed cable drop was the cause of his RFI. I was pretty proud of bird-dogging this at age 15, with the help and suggestions of several local amateurs. Once confronted about his cable TV drop causing the problem (&quot;Cable TV? Son, I don't have cable tv&quot;), the issue was quickly closed.

    Don't give up, just get help and get the issue resolved. You also need to have a chat with your grandparents about this and help them understand what the hobby is about and that you are probably not the root cause of the TVI.
     
  9. mackinac

    mackinac Banned

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (kd5kfl @ Oct. 20 2002,15:31)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">The frightful expense of new gear.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    Why do people make statements like this? To someone who has been in ham radio quite a while, the drop in cost of getting into ham radio is amazing. Not as amazing as the drop in the cost of computers, but still impressive.

    Could it be that ham radio was more appealing when radios were more expensive? It was more of a challenge to get something on the air. But as costs come down, complaints about the expense of radios seems to get louder.

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">The fact that it is takes up a lot of room, and a lot of time.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

    Radios are not only cheaper, but smaller these days. Antennas are hard to miniaturize, so it is still nice to have some real estate to put up an antenna. But how much is &quot;a lot of room&quot;. You can get on the air, minimally, with a radio that fits in your pocket.

    Does it take up a lot of time? Well, yes. But what's the point of that statement? Any such activity is going to take up time.

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">The perception that hams are nerds and geeks. Which, in fact, I am.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

    Ham radio does attract nerds. So what's wrong with nerds? All those students you know that are in to science, math and computers are you best source of dedicated long term hams.

    Suppose you managed to create an image of ham radio that was unfriendly to nerds. You would likely attach a bunch of people who would try it out, not really be very interested, and drop out. Meanwhile, you have discouraged the potential hams who would be in it for the long term.

    You do need to discourage the dorks, though. :)
     
  10. mackinac

    mackinac Banned

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (w0dz @ Oct. 20 2002,16:23)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">Could it be that simple? Were license fees really the culprit back then, and could the complexity of the VE system and associated fees be enough to keep people away today?[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    What's the &quot;complexity of the VE system&quot; that you are concerned about?

    It is true that VE tests are given at conventions and hamfests, so you have to find out where and when these events occur.

    Back in the days when the FCC gave the tests they were quite regular and in a known place. On the down side that regular time was 9AM on Friday, so you had to take a day off work or school to take the test. And the known place was in a big office building downtown in a big city of which there might be one or two in your state. That day off to go take the test could start out plenty early as you got up in time to make a 100 mile trip to the FCC office, leaving enough time to find parking in a city that you were totaly unfamiliar with.
     
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