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#123688 - 02/13/08 02:35 PM Re: Ham Radio: What The Heck Happened? [Re: MartinFocazio]
CAP613 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 06/22/05
Posts: 87
Loc: W. PA
The activity level has been going down in the Pittsburgh PA aera. I find a number of people during the day who drive for there work and use it to keep in touch, a larger number during the morning and evening commute. We do have an active emergency group and SKYWARN but not like it use to be. I think the loss of some of the special events we use to work has caused some to lose interest, the hit from cell phones and internet has effected it to. Let's face it there are only 24 hours in a day and there is so much we want to do.
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#123719 - 02/13/08 08:01 PM Re: Ham Radio: What The Heck Happened? [Re: Art_in_FL]
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Originally Posted By: Art_in_FL
I don't know.

I have never been into HAM. I can say that most of the people I see on forums talking about HAM are nut-case conspiracy theorists, anti-government 'freemen', gun nuts and ranters. Not the sorts I would feel inspired enough to spend money to talk to.



I have to agree with kc2ixe....that cannot be HAM. CB maybe but no way is that a descriptor of any HAM communications.

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#123723 - 02/13/08 08:11 PM Re: Ham Radio: What The Heck Happened? [Re: Schwert]
Virginia_Mark Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 80
My Father is a Ham operator and any time there is a disaster situation these so called "Ham Geeks" save the day for Law enforcement, Fire and rescue Personel, Hospitals, and other resources. Just look at 911, and Katrina were Ham operators had to be brought in. My dad just got his license renewed. When the S(does)HTF you will wish you knew one. smirk


Edited by Run2The9 (02/13/08 08:18 PM)
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#123732 - 02/13/08 08:35 PM Re: Ham Radio: What The Heck Happened? [Re: Virginia_Mark]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
I recently got my Technician's License and most of the rest of the class were first responders, including a fair contingent from the local 911 operation. I suspect that pattern could account for a drop in general traffic: those who are qualifying and training up as part of some future emergency response don't go out and chit chat much about dipoles and ducks, as enthusiasts are prone to do. They may not even join up with the ARRL sponsored disaster (emcom) response groups, but they are prepared through their protocols to transition over to Ham when the other forms of communication go down.

Not a commentary on RACES or ARES at all, they do great work. And sampling from a single technician's class is hardly scientific, but it goes along with a fairly logical course of preparing responders for when things go bad.

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#123736 - 02/13/08 08:47 PM Re: Ham Radio: What The Heck Happened? [Re: rev270]
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 1020
Loc: Germany
Now that morse code is no longer required for short wave licenses I could witness the effects in our HAM club. This winter a group of HAMs (including me) decided that they wanted to learn and get up to par for the HAM bands. One ex-army instructor was happy to help achieving that goal. So I fully agree with you. People who want to learn it will find a way. No that the way is free maybe even more people will do so.
I bought a 40 m homebrew radio that fits in an Altoids tin (the Rockmite). Now Im eager for me first QSO with it.
BTW: I know a couple of operators who lost contact with the code right after the license test. It just wasnt fun for them anymore.
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#123741 - 02/13/08 09:10 PM Re: Ham Radio: What The Heck Happened? [Re: Lono]
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
That is almost exactly my experience. I am a RACES member and of the 40 HAMs in the group I would estimate that only about 5 are active on the various ham bands. The rest are volunteer responders...and spend probably zero time on traditional ham activities. Most of us are using VHF and UHF for emergency communications and training and would not be caught dead ragchewing on a repeater.

I think this sort of activity is the salvation of ham. Ham is now the low-tech solution to communications rather than the high-tech of the past. Perfect for emergency communications....archaic for chatting.

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#123752 - 02/13/08 10:29 PM Re: Ham Radio: What The Heck Happened? [Re: Schwert]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
I let my license laps a few years ago, I just bought a General class book to study up to retake the test. Both my brothers & dad are hams. We just seemed to not use the radios any more. We all have cell phones and use them to stay in contact. But I still want to renew.
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#123766 - 02/13/08 11:32 PM Re: Ham Radio: What The Heck Happened? [Re: BobS]
figtree
Unregistered


I too am preparing to test for my license as well. I understand the tech side of cell phone, but it is just plain fun to key up and communicate sometimes. I feel cellular has its purpose, but for constant communications with members of a group, (ex.-travel in any form), it is much simpler to key up , get your point across and move on. Cell works, but its less useful for many applications when I feel i could key up and speak, vs, flip open phone, dial, connect, speak, complete call, and move on.
A great example of this is when I have been on trips with groups of people, lets say hiking for example, it is much easier to key up and speak-and never have to even pause while on the trail

-just a thought.

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#123769 - 02/14/08 12:10 AM Re: Ham Radio: What The Heck Happened? [Re: ]
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Just some random thoughts from me...


I think Ham is very useful for travel, hiking with others with radios, family comms around town or trips and a myriad of other things.

My wife got her license (tech) a couple of years ago. We both have identical handhelds (Icom T90A triband). We communicate on trips all the time. I may go on a short early morning hike before she gets up. I call her at a certain prearranged time to meet for breakfast or let her know I am running late etc. Short distances generally (1-5miles at best). We also sometimes split up on hikes...I go to the top of a peak, she awaits below. I call her to come up and see the sites or let her know I am going down a different way or have fallen and broken my leg....perfect radios for these sorts of things.

Hiking as an emergency comm tool is much more of an issue. If you are going somewhere where you know you will be able to have line of site to a repeater with autopatch you can call in. If you are counting on contacting someone when you break your leg then all bets are off. Most repeaters might be out of your line of site and even if you can hit them there is no guarantee of anyone listening. This is all based on the terrain and local radio interests.

I contact my wife all the time at night as I am driving to pick her up. She can meet me in the parking lot right as I pull up...I can tell her I have a flat etc. Cell works fine for this but ham is free. Our handhelds have decent range for this sort of application. We can use both simplex and have agreed upon communication protocols to use in the event of an emergency. She can leave me messages using our RACES group repeater and take care of herself. I can leave her messages or potentially contact her directly via an agreed upon simplex frequency. This is the best reason to get a ham license in my view....options non-dependent on any infrastructure for communications over reasonable distances.

Getting a license just requires memorization of the questions and money for a decent radio, spare battery and decent antenna. It is very useful in my view. Join an emergency group and you are part of the solution rather than part of the mob needing assistance.

Ham as an emergency responder is a good thing to do.


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#123772 - 02/14/08 12:28 AM Re: Ham Radio: What The Heck Happened? [Re: Schwert]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
Ive ad the book for 2-months and have not even opened it. Ive got 6 amateur radios around here and I need to take the test, apply for my old call sign and get back on the air.


Edited by BobS (02/14/08 12:28 AM)
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