Why are some so negativity in the Amateur radio hobby?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by AB2YC, Nov 2, 2018.

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  1. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    When was that?

    It may seem that way because more than a few hams were in military service when they were young. But the reality is far different when you look at the facts.

    There were maybe 60,000 US hams when the USA entered WW2 in 1941. Of those, a considerable number were too old, too young, or otherwise unable to serve. Suppose we assume that 30,000 served in some way or another.

    While that 30,000 certainly made a contribution, the number of radio operators needed during the war far exceeded that number. We had millions in the various military services, all over the world.

    On top of that, the requirements for a military radio operator went far beyond what most hams of the time knew how to do. The Navy required copying code on a mill! So there was a lot of training required.

    Try 40+ years....or more. And it's not Amateur Radio that's the target; it's the concept of the Radio Operator. Just look at commercial licenses.

    Nothing new there either. Way back in the early 1950s - almost 70 years ago - the same sort of things were being said.

    There's a QST article documenting all sorts of questions from hams that really make one think "did these folks have even a hint of a clue?"

    It may SEEM that hams were technically competent "back when".

    But.....take a look at QST for May 1957. 61 years ago, back when hams were supposedly so knowledgeable.....

    First check out an article called "Who's Afraid Of A Receiver?" starting on page 26. It describes a condition that was apparently common in those days: "Receiverphobia" - hams who were afraid to do anything inside their factory-built-and-aligned receivers, for fear of doing irreparable harm! Several pages of really, really basic info - but clearly it was sorely needed.....

    (I particularly like the classic cartoon with the caption "He tightened all the loose screws")

    Next, flip to page 53 and read "The Careless Consumer (or, "Instruction Manuals Are Only For Beginners")". It tells fascinating stories of mistakes made by licensed hams, as told by the technical-service departments of various manufacturers of the day. All sorts of really dumb things done by licensed hams, usually with General or higher licenses and FULL privileges!

    Some of them pretty destructive. Others just silly. For example:

    The ham who bought an NC-57 receiver, hooked up antenna and power, plugged a microphone into the PHONES jack, flipped the SEND RECEIVE switch to SEND, and called CQ. Kept trying for two weeks and finally wrote National asking why his set didn't work.

    Other stories of hams complaining that their rigs didn't work, and then finding they weren't plugged in, or the RADIO-PHONO switch was in the PHONO position, or that an optional SSB adapter wasn't installed, etc. Also failure to understand meter readings on transmitters, failure to read instructions and remove packing material, failure to install tubes, and much more.

    Kit manufacturers have all sorts of stories, too - the classic "spaghetti" one is in there too.

    Everyone should read those articles....puts a new light on things.....

    73 de Jim, N2EY
    VK4HAT likes this.
  2. W4ZD

    W4ZD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wartime was, back then, a special situation, sometimes even desperate. I'm sure those 30,000 were gathered up and used thankfully, for they at least knew something. Why did we employ Navajo "code talkers" when enough was known then to fabricate a relatively unbreakable mathematically-based encryption scheme? I would wager that desperate times call for desperate measures. And, at the beginning, there were desperate times, at least until the American juggernaut built up a full head of steam. :)
  3. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The point is that they were only a fraction of those trained - and they needed training too.

    You're joking, right?

    The Native American code talkers were used for tactical communications - Marines, in the battlefield, using voice communications and needing the ultimate in fast, accurate communications. A voice encoding system with 1940s technology was simply not going to happen.

    Native Americans had done this sort of thing in both World Wars...and not just Navajo:

  4. AC3GO

    AC3GO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    O K Doctor Knowledge 10-4 over and out
  5. AC3GO

    AC3GO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sorry--- thought that was deleted:eek:

    FYI--my father told me about code talkers, never mentioned what ey here claims, he was WWII vet and war expert.

    Anyone can add true or false statements to that site, Fact.
    W4ZD likes this.
  6. WZ7U

    WZ7U Ham Member QRZ Page

    Amen and hell yeah. THAT has never been the problem around here at this locality. Anyone thinking otherwise is making it up.

    Thank You Veterans!! :cool:
    W4ZD likes this.
  7. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's hard to understand why or how anyone could disagree and argue about it but only a few posts ago, someone did just that.
  8. W4ZD

    W4ZD Ham Member QRZ Page

    You have an incredible talent for finding fault with anything and everything. Often you are correct. Indeed, more often than not. But not always. "Truth" is not always black and white, it comes in many shades of gray. We often cast it as black and white, though. Is that particular gray more white or more black? Who knows. Thus were born opinions. Just my 2 cents, and I'm sticking to my story. :)
    K1OIK and WZ7U like this.
  9. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am not interested in "finding fault". I am interested in accuracy.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but no one is entitled to their own facts.

    The question was raised about why "Navajo code talkers" were used in WW2, when enough was known about encryption to produce nearly-unbreakable cyphers. The answer is not an opinion, it's a fact: The Native American code talkers were used because they were the fastest, most secure and most accurate way to provide tactical voice battlefield communications. The technology of the 1940s just wasn't adequate to do what they did. There were only a few hundred of them, but they made an enormous contribution.

    From the Wikipedia article:

    "The Navajo code talkers were commended for the skill, speed, and accuracy they demonstrated throughout the war. At the Battle of Iwo Jima, Major Howard Connor, 5th Marine Division signal officer, had six Navajo code talkers working around the clock during the first two days of the battle. These six sent and received over 800 messages, all without error. Connor later stated, "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.""
    N2SR likes this.
  10. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's an interesting take on the "Truth" . For me there is no gray area it is the truth or it is not the truth. When a person testifies in court for example they are expected to tell the truth not give an opinion. Of course no one should be prohibited from expressing an opinion but that does not alter the truth.
    K1OIK likes this.
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