New hams are different

This is going to be a bit of a ramble, but I need to get some thoughts down about new hams, and maybe get some feedback on these ideas from both new hams and guys that have been around for a while.

On Thursday evening, I visited the All Hands Active (AHA) makerspace here in Ann Arbor. Many of them have recently gotten their ham licenses—most of them in one of my one-day Tech classes. I was down there trying to get them interested in attending Field Day, and in particular, in operating the GOTA station.

AHA is one of Ann Arbor's cool makerspaces.

AHA is one of Ann Arbor’s cool makerspaces.

There were four of us sitting around, talking about amateur radio, the projects they were working on, Field Day, and other stuff. They have expressed an interest in doing something with WA2HOM, our station at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. While it was a great discussion, it was apparent to me that selling them on Field Day was going to be a stretch.

It dawned on me that these new radio amateurs were just not interested in the “old” amateur radio. Sitting in front of shortwave radios and exchanging fake signal reports with other guys sitting in front of shortwave radios is just not their idea of a good time. I think that if you take a step back and try to look at it through their eyes, you’ll see where they’re coming from.

What are they interested in? Well, one guy is having a blast playing around with RTL SDR dongles. He’s also trying to figure out a way to rig up wireless link to light a light at bus stops around his house when a bus is approaching.

Another is working on a Hinternet-type project. I helped him out a little bit last summer setting up a wireless node at his house.

This is perhaps one reason why there are so many more licensed radio amateurs these days, but yet there seems to be less activity on the HF bands these days. HF is just not where it’s at for these new guys.

One consequence of this is that the old amateur radio clubs don’t have much to offer the new guys. In fact, one of them told me that the one time that he attended the local club meeting, he got such a hostile response that he decided not to return.

I’m finding this all quite interesting. I do intend to pursue some kind of joint activities between AHA and WA2HOM and see where that goes. They may not be interested in working DX on 20m, but they did seem to be interested in the IRLP node that we’re in the process of installing there.

I’m not sure where this is all headed, but what I do know is that these folks have a lot of energy and creativity. If we can couple that with our knowledge and experience, then I think that we’ll be a good fit for one another. It’s going to take open minds all around, though.

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Comments

  1. As a new ham, I find this interesting. I got my tech a few months back, and after talking with a local radio club guy was so turned off by the conservative, “good-ol’-boys” club attitude they had that I never replied to his follow-up email. The problem here was the complete opposite though! It seemed they were so intent on playing around with these new echolink and IRLP things, that by the time I had gotten my General Class License not a single one of these EXTRA CLASS HAMS was willing to help me get on the air on HF properly without first making a fool of myself. Don’t get me wrong, repeaters, digital modes, and 2 meter ragchews are all fine and dandy… but I wish some of these old geezers would let the new guys try old-school radio first before shoving a ‘boafeng’ down their throats.

    73 de KD0YVV

    • Larry Lacroix says:

      After reading your comments on KB6NU’s blog I have to say: Ignore those who look down at new hams. Its YOUR license and do whatever the law allows You to do. Ham radio will never improve when there are hams like that still around. They should know better. They should of never gotten their Ham license priveilege to begin with. Take the hobby by the horns and ride the hell out of it. Ignore those in your way…
      I’ve been a ham for 30+ years and still maintain the same attitude.

      Larry VE3OEI

  2. Makes me think of a little story I wrote recently Dan. I found a link to your blog posted on Facebook.

    Eduan is my grandson and I’m the granddad :O) Enjoy.

    http://zs6bne.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/the-future-ham/

    73 de Eddie ZS6BNE

  3. Good observations. As a relatively new ham myself (2011) I can certainly understand where the new/young amateur radio licensee is coming from. Truth be told, I suspect one could pick just about any point along the ham radio history continuum and make similar comments, because the new and young are generally interested in what is new and cool. It was probably that way during the switch from CW to phone, or AM to SSB, or analog to digital. That’s exactly what is so amazing about amateur radio: It is constantly changing and evolving and pulling in the young, the creative, the ones who like to live on the bleeding edge of communications technology.

    Another observation: While some new hams enter the hobby so they can legally hack comms, many will find their way to HF phone or CW simply out of curiosity, then they stay because it’s fun.

    I don’t think it’s time to lament. We should simply celebrate the fact that new people enter the hobby for many reasons, but in the end they stay for one reason: the relationships they make over the air, through the internet or across a printed circuit board.

    • Barbara Lombardi says:

      We sure do need new blood in the hobby and in our small club, we do have a few new hams. They are curious and one guy has his extra. We have to accept new ways of communicating even though it might not be our bag. 73, Barb, K1eir

  4. Hi,

    I can relate. I am from Canada, the process is a little bit different here but not much. I studied the material, got the basic with honours – if you get more than 80% at the basic exam, you can go on HF, with the power limitation, of course. Then passed the morse exam, as here you cannot do CW unless you have this exam passed. The exam was at 5 wpm, and I had trained for 12, so did not have any issues.

    Then got my HT VHF radio and tried the repeaters in the area. Everything works well.

    Now I want to get on HF. Here comes the problem. No antenna capabilities.

    I live in some condo town house, and I cannot install anything. I tried various stealth installations, no luck. Partially because the layout, partially because of lack of knowledge :). Also, there is a lot of RF noise in the area as well. Will try to get a factory made antenna, something like buddistick or similar. If I did not read stuff written by hams like AF2Q who worked a lot of DX with an indoor antenna from a concrete building, I would have given up long time ago. For now I am happy I did not give up, let’s see for how long. I don’t want DXCC, I don’t even want DX, just want to get out and be heard. Will work CW only.

    Echolink, or dStar or other stuff? I better use the cell phone rather than going for that.

    Best Regards,
    Daniel

    • A few suggestions for the condo-ham.

      A modern receiver with digital filters and noise reduction can help a lot. You work CW, let your rig do the digital stuff. If you can afford it, consider an Elecraft KX3.

      If you can run a wire out a window to a tree, consider an end-fed halfwave, like the End-Fedz antennas. With a KX3 built-in ATU, you don’t need a resonant antenna, just some wire.

      Otherwise, consider a magnetic loop, like the Alexloop. These are a pain if you change frequencies a lot, but work great if you stay in one spot, like a CW subband or for PSK31.

    • Barbara Lombardi says:

      At the ARRL national Convention in Hartford, CT we were asked to sign a petition to be given to legislators to build sponsorship for a bill that would force home owner assns. and other restrictive covenants to allow for reasonable ham radio antennas. It truly is frustrating. 73, k1eir

  5. Hi,
    I thought I would respond to this since I am kind of a bridge between the new and old hams. I have had my general ticket for 10+ years and just started to get into HF. PSK31 is what really drew me in. As a very technology orientated person, there is a major lack of “new” knowledge in most of the ham clubs. I am not saying there is not a ton to learn from the older people in these clubs but most of the “new tickets” tend to be more tech savy and shy away from the older modes. If you really want to reach this younger crowd in ham radio then have your club co-sponsor a Maker fair which merges both groups. The older hams can see some amazing tech while spreading some of the RF side of things. I saw one person hook a Sstv link to a camera that will take a picture when there is motion and send it over VHF. 20+ miles… The older hams love of curiosity and skills in designing/building circuits would be a great benefit to the newer hams while cross pollenating skills.

    Just my 2 cents..

    Thanks
    Nate
    KC0MYM
    73s

  6. Terry KK4GBT says:

    I am 69 years young (my mind is growing with my age) and got my Extra in January of this year. I have met the arrogance of some hams, the courtesy of some, and the indifference of some. I thought of changing my call because of this, but decided to keep it because of this.

    Our hobby is more than talking. There is so much more to learn, too many projects to do, too many friends to make. I have electronics and repair in my background that helps me quite a bit, but my 11 year old grandson twins make me downright envious ! I ask their help on any project i can tempt them into, sometimes i let them fail. that keeps us all humble.

    One opinion is that 1/3 of the people you come into contact with will dislike you, 1/3 will love you, and 1/3 will not care either way about you. I believe this to be true. What I try to do is to avoid the 1/3 that dislike me and just enjoy the hobby.

    Thank you for your blog. I am in the 1/3 that enjoy reading it. So don’t stop!!

  7. Good Points….
    Ham Radio is my hobby…. Plain and simple….

    I have noticed that with the newer hams…. Ham Radio is a tool they use in their hobby… and there is a difference…

    However both sides can find some common ground…. I gave a HF NVIS demonstration to some new guys who are interested in Search and Rescue who needed more distance than the Handy Talkies would allow….

    And they taught me how to program my new HD Television….

    73bob

  8. Richard N8YQW says:

    You can bet on that new hams are different. I got my license in 1992. I was harassed many times. I was run out of one club after just joining. A friend of mine was run out of the same club as I was. If you were a code less technician you had a hard time to go. I have been told to upgrade or get out of amateur radio. My favorite part of amateur radio was Public Service. I was never really able to participate anywhere. I must really love amateur radio to accept all the abuse that I have since 1992.

    • Ryan Marrs says:

      Richard,

      I was licensed in the early 90s (1993 to be exact). I stayed a no-code tech for many years, but the ARROW club welcomed me in during that time period. I lost interest for a while, but kept my license up. Now I’m VP of the Livonia club, and am having a great time. There are always a few bad apples out there who will spoil it, but don’t let them get to you. just move on. I learn something new every week with this club, and I teach them what I know.

      I still consider myself a relatively new ham, even after 21 years in the hobby, but I’m one of those computer guys. I’ve fixed computers and devices for everyone in the club. It’s a perfect mesh of old meets new.

  9. New ham — got my Technician’s license earlier this year… and just upgraded to AE last week. I’m working on learning CW. I got into it because of Skywarn, but when I was working on my technician’s license I realized how much ham radio has to do with so many things I already love. Electronics, astronomy, weather, emergency communications… even the internet. :D

    I can’t wait for Field Day! The thing that is probably the most weird for me is the antenna stuff, so I’m hoping to help set up and get actual hands on time with them. In everything else I’ve done in life, nothing is similar to antennas. :D

    Anyway, my local club was welcoming, the VEs who tested us were so supportive. We went to our first ham fest and spent twice as long as I expected because the local 4H group had such a spectacular kid’s area. (In fact, my 11yo son got his technician’s license at it!) I just wish it wasn’t such a trek to the nearest maker space. :)

    A friend of a friend sold us his old Yaesu FT-101B that he hadn’t used in 15 years, and just as soon as I’m not scared of vacuum tubes, I’m sure I’ll transmit on it. (Yeah, they didn’t teach us so much about vacuum tubes in physics in the 90s… I’m scared I’ll hurt them!)

  10. Dan,

    I am exactly the “new ham” that you’re describing. The world is going digital and amateur radio is no exception. To me, that’s exactly why amateur radio is ready for a re-invention. SDR is just the tip of the iceberg. Software can enable new possibilities that simply never existed before. When I think “HAM radio”, I think of MESH nets and new digital compression modes…not QSL postcards.

    In a certain sense, amateur radio is going back to its pioneering roots of tinkering and experimentation. Digital offers a whole new set of tools that we as a community can explore together to help create new and innovative communication platforms.

    Sometimes I look at the exam materials and laugh at how obsolete they seem. Don’t get me wrong, there are basic fundamentals to understand but I think it is woefully inadequate for the world we live in today. DSP warrants more than a paragraph and we should be getting a comfort level with things like Raspberry Pi’s and python.

    As we think about the next generation of amateur radio operators, we should be striving to build bridges with the “maker” community so that we can evolve the hobby to be more relevant to our increasingly digital world. Essentially we need to redefine and reposition what amateur radio is and the fun that the hobby can provide.

    Part of the problem I’ve found is a lack of information and dialogue in this regard. That’s why I started my blog so that I could help to document and share the “gems” that I find as I progress in my development as an amateur radio operator. I am still green and have lots to learn, but I know that digital is the future. I respect the wisdom of elmers but I think we all need to ask ourselves if we are truly open to innovation (and evolution).

    All the best,

    Brian
    Twitter: @VA3BCO
    Blog: VA3BCO.com

  11. Hi,
    Several younger people in Belgium me included experiencing the same as:
    Will Keyser KD0YVV
    Nate KC0MYM
    Terry KK4GBT
    Richard N8YQW
    I don’t know what is wrong with the OM’s with +20 year of experience, they don’t let you in. It is not for all the clubs and not for every OM, but the statement of Terry KK4GBT is so true.
    (One opinion is that 1/3 of the people you come into contact with will dislike you, 1/3 will love you, and 1/3 will not care either way about you. I believe this to be true. What I try to do is to avoid the 1/3 that dislike me and just enjoy the hobby.)
    The national ham organization even started an expensive study to find out why young people are hooking off from our great hobby…. I know the answer, it’s so clear and this has nothing to do with Internet, Facebook, cellphones etc….
    73′s Karel on7ta

  12. One minor correction to your post: Signal reports are *not* part of the Field Day exchange — it’s just class and section.

    Mark AI4BJ

    “Sitting in front of shortwave radios and exchanging fake signal reports with other guys sitting in front of shortwave radios is just not their idea of a good time.”

  13. We should try talking about ham radio for a half hour without mentioning Morse.

    Imagine someone coming to the makerspace to learn about the 3D printer, and everyone in the club will only talk about blacksmithing. That is what it sounds like when we lead with CW as the most marvelous thing in ham radio. I know, I was working on digital modes in the 1980′s (military/spook stuff).

    Nothing against blacksmithing, my dad was an amateur blacksmith and there is a lot of cool science and tech there.

    K6WRU

  14. Commenter David above has captured this well: essentially that people get involved in amateur radio to learn something new. New hams may be different, but ham radio has changed, too. The Internet and the Maker Movement mentioned above have made some of the more esoteric and erudite aspects of radio quite accessible to the average ham, even one living far from a major metro area. There is simply more to do in ham radio than ever before, and it’s all accessible to everyone.

    By the way, I’m an anomaly in all of this…33 years old and licensed for just short of 21 years, 19 of which as an Extra. Fact of the matter is that “haters gonna hate” when comes to the good ol boy network in some clubs. When I operated FD with some local guys (who were largely quite encouraging, to their credit) back home in the mid 1990s, they thought for sure that “the computer is copying the code.” You just can’t win if you’re not one of them, HF or CW doesn’t matter. Keep trying until you find someone who gets it.

  15. It is good there is a discussion about how to retain the new hams..

    In the KC area.. we have about 5000 hams that are rather new within the last few years…. but as quick as they come in.. they experience the same things all are talking about.
    In an effort to create some new exciting interest for new hams and on a underused band (6 meters) a project was started last August.. (see more at gracetime.com/n0crd) to install a 6 meter FM repeater with a voter.. servicing 5 ea. remote receive links from around the geographic Kansas City Metro area (50 MIles) area.
    Just now getting node 1 on the air. Most All materials and labor donated.
    What we want to do is utilize the repeater system in a way that will in fact incorporate the new digital age. Attract new hams , experimenters and have fun!

    Because we have coordinated control link frequency and can use or control cross band techniques.. we think there is an opportunity to incorporate things that might hold a new techs / ham s attention. In all the upper vhf/uhf bands.

    We have thought about using MESH at each of the already established 6 meter receive link locations, creating a MESH network for all five 6 meter receive geographic areas.

    We have thought about using translator (software) technology to use the 6 FM
    repeater area for digital in and digital out.. linking 6 meter FM with the internet and text ext.
    We are looking for suggestions and advice on what others think could be done practically with the 6 meter FM repeater network and geographic node locations… That would attract the new techies and hams..
    Any and all ideas , advice and direction would be appreciated..
    We are open minded and at a development stage where we can do what ever it takes.
    What do you folks think?????

  16. I’m one of the “new hams” that Dan was talking to, though I probably don’t fit the bill exactly. I listened to shortwave radio for years, learned TCP/IP through the KA9Q software, and only just in the last couple of years got my technician license.

    I’m a lot more interested in digital modes than analog modes, and I’m trying to explore the hobby with minimum expenses. That means an inexpensive Baofeng and a cheap RTL-SDR receiver are the extent of my purchases to date.

    I’m about at the point where I feel like my next steps in the hobby are learning to solder (so I can put kits together) and also learning something – really, anything – about antennas. The All Hands Active space is in a basement so learning what I need to do to get decent radio reception down here is a real-world challenge with real results.

  17. I don’t really get it.

    Excluding video all digital modes are available on HF. Why would hams say they are not interested in HF because their interest is in digital? If you want to be involved in experimentation I would get involved with the Codec2 people and meet them on HF! Or, if you prefer non-vocal stuff that’s available on HF too.

    HF radios are much easier to build. Ok, I don’t know of anything cheap to buy for HF like a Baofeng is to VHF/UHF but there is no reason why some comapany couldn’t build/sell such a thing. It should be easier that what they already are building!

    Did I mention that HF radios are easier to build? They are great projects for electronics hobbyists. Some use as little as one transistor plus a handful of passive components. (Look up AA1TJ’s projects for example). Or, if you prefer something a little more modern try building something with an Arduino controling a cheap DDS chip. Add a few other parts and you can have a nice transciever project. Or just use that to build the transmitter and build an upconverter to pair with an RTL-SDR as the receiver.

    HF has range. That’s nice that your VHF/UHF project works for a couple of miles. HF can work across the whole planet! And you don’t even have to pay for celular service.

    HF typically is used with SSB where VHF/UHF are typically FM. That is important when you are talking about digital modes on radios that are designed for voice. Using SSB several conversations can occur at the same time within one voice channel. This doesn’t work on FM. Ok, you can use SSB on VHF+ too but that isn’t as common and there goes your cheap radios!

    I can understand where today’s hackerspace dweling maker ham isn’t going to get too excited about sitting in front of a store-bought HF transciever shouting you are 5/9 all day but I think HF has much more maker potential than that!

  18. I’m from a small town in Arizona where the average age of a club members 60-70. There is not a lot of activity at the once a month meetings nor is there a lot of outreach to the younger crowd. The EAARS repeater system is pretty extensive and connects most of southern Arizona and a part of New Mexico so there is always someone listening. I’m studying for the General license and hope to expand my horizons a bit more.
    That’s the extent of the Amateur Radio fun here.

  19. Mike KE7TXZ says:

    Hey Tom, I think we are close, If you want to talk radio give me an email and we can figure a time

  20. Steve WD8DAS says:

    I would suggest that ham radio has always had a wide variety of facets, far beyond the “guys sitting in front of shortwave radios exchanging signal reports” manner of hamming. Think of all the different modes and techniques that have been in use. I know a lot of hams who prefer building/experimenting to operating, guys who only contest or pass traffic, guys who like low frequencies, guys who like high frequencies, guys who operate digital modes, CW, SSB, AM, on and on.

    The problem seems to be that quite a lot of hams think their particular interests are what constitute “real ham radio” and they discourage others who have different interests. I hear it on the air all the time, and I definitely read it on the internet all the time – “That’s not real ham radio blah blah blah…” or “Real hams only do xxx”. This self-limiting attitude irritates veteran hams who appreciate a variety of aspects to the hobby (me), and discourages newcomers the new hams you mentioned).

    As far as clubs go, you mentioned that one of the new guys said “he got such a hostile response that he decided not to return.” The reception given to new visitors (not just new hams, but any newcomers in general) seems to be pretty poor in many, many clubs. I’ve experienced it myself. In my 38 years as a ham I’ve gone to perhaps ten ham club meetings in several parts of the country. In only two cases out of those ten I’d say I was welcomed.

    Usually I was just ignored but in several cases I was actively repelled. I recall one club in Idaho which aggressively advertised its meetings and encouraged all hams to attend – yet when I introduced myself and offered to help with a project they were discussing, I was asked “why are you here?” in a suspicious tone of voice. In a meeting at a club in Pennsylvania I was told, “We don’t really have any activities for new hams.” Of course they were mistaking me for a “newbie” only because they hadn’t met me before – at that point I’d been a very active ham for more than twenty years!

    The two times I was welcomed with open arms it was because I introduced myself *and* mentioned my profession. These clubs needed some help with electronic repairs and their eyes lit up when they felt I could get their repeater tuned up or club station fixed, whatever it was. Sigh… So I’ve given up on established clubs, preferring instead to form ad-hoc “interest groups” among people who share specific interests – the Internet is great for this.

  21. Zack W9SZ says:

    Yes, in some aspects “The times they are a-changin’” and 2014 is not 1967, nor even 2007. I was first licensed as a teenager in 1967. I noticed then that there were people in the local radio club who were cold to me, and people who were warm to me and willing to help me out. There were quite a few teenagers in the club at that time. Although the average age of hams seems to have gotten older, I notice the same thing in my local club now. There are a few who are willing to be Elmers. I am hoping it is the same everywhere. It only takes one Elmer to get someone going.

    I’m assuming the group that was approached was part of the makers movement. In this realm ham radio has greatly changed. Compare a 1980 transceiver with a 2014 transceiver. Back in the 60′s we built many things with tubes. Then in the 70′s transistors took hold. Later, some digital equipment began to appear. MMIC’s and frequency synthesizer chips appeared. These days I’m having fun with RTL SDR dongles and other types of SDR equipment, too.

    I have always been interested in operating; I’ve had some wonderful ragchews, even with DX. I’ve always thought that radio was magic. The propagation vagaries, the sound of fluttery weak signals coming over the North Pole, unusual types of QSB, etc. I once heard a Long Delayed Echo on 15 meters. My main interest these days is in VHF-UHF-microwave-mmwave weak-signal (CW/SSB) construction and operating. I have built and use antennas and transverters for all the ham bands from 50 MHz through 24 GHz and I’m working on 47 GHz. This is one of our big areas of technology advance. You cannot buy a complete, ready-made plug-and-play commercial rig for any band above 10 GHz (I could even extend that down to 2304 MHz). There are only maybe four people in my entire state with 24 and 47 GHz capability. I wish there were many more. It’s fascinating stuff. Not only is the equipment fascinating to build, but propagation on these bands is nothing like on HF and is mostly unpredictable. Rainscatter is an example. Some people are even playing around with airplane scatter these days. And I’ve had ragchews of an hour on 10 GHz SSB. That was with someone 120 miles away. I’ve made QSO’s in the 500 mile range up through 10 GHz with a handful of watts.

    Maybe construction and operating on these higher bands is something to promote. Most of the microwavers I know are more than happy to teach someone new about it. It’s great for people who love to solve problems. I don’t know anyone who has not, at some point, built something that didn’t work as expected, and then the builder had to figure out why not and correct it. It[‘s still a lot of fun! When it stops being fun, I’ll quit doing it. But that hasn’t happened yet in 47+ years.

  22. Steve AE7HD says:

    I had negative experiences with the ham club in Missoula, MT when I was in high school. It put me off of wanting to be a ham for quite a long time. Why would I want a license to talk to a bunch of people who don’t seem to like me?

    Just a few years ago, I said to heck with it, and got my license. From all the studying I did back in high school and some cramming, I managed to pass all three exams in one sitting.

    Yet I’ve barely been on the air since then. My experience with the two clubs near me now has been that most don’t give a rat’s ass, and a few are openly hostile. At the Tacoma, WA club, when they say the Pledge of Allegiance, there are a few who shout out “under God!” while looking around to see who isn’t saying that part. When I was studying for the test, I figured I’d buy the official Novice Study Guide from the club to support them, rather than just buying it on Amazon. Yet I could not get the person assigned to teach new hams to return my calls most of the time, and I never did get him to sell me the damn book.

    I took the tests at the Tacoma clubhouse. I watched as other people got congratulated and slapped on the back, people they clearly knew. Meanwhile, I sat there for an hour after taking all three tests, I finally had to go ask someone. They’d forgotten about me. Same person who wouldn’t sell me the book.

    I lived 1/2 mile from the Tacoma club’s repeater. I tried to get someone to respond to me, I had one person in a car talk to me. When I said I was using a 5W Chinese radio, he signed off immediately. I signed into one Net, but there is no conversation there.

    We moved, and I thought I’d try the Olympia, WA club. I went to one meeting, and I may never go to another. No one talked to me, no one made notice that I was a new face. I tried to join in to some conversations and had backs turned on me. I sat and watched someone give a class in beginning radio, apparently part of a series, and heard mistake after mistake.

    It isn’t just me. I have friends and acquaintances who’ve stopped going to club meetings because of the sometimes open hostility, racism, and uncaring attitude. In one case, a friend of mine, also a ham, was also part of the Red Cross. Part of his responsibilities included giving a report at the Olympia ham club meeting. Some members of the club were so openly hostile that at one point, one of them burst out “why do we have to listen to this shit at every meeting?” Did I mention that they -meet- in the Red Cross building?

    It isn’t age related, either. I’m a little over 50, my friends range from 20-something to 70-something. It feels very much like an us-vs-them, good-ole-boy (not related to age) club thing.

    Since we moved, I’ve bought an HF set and an uncle of a friend has given me a 43ft all band vertical. I do plan on putting it up, seeing about making some non-local contacts, and seeing if I can learn CW. I’m ever-hopeful that I won’t end up on the receiving end of a rant about “you aren’t a Real Ham(tm) because ….” or “That n……. in the White House is an alien reptilian Muslim terrorist who hates America!” or “All libturds are retarded communist Nazis who hate America!” Because I’ve already heard that sh!t in person.

  23. Bill Cheney says:

    If a club is not welcoming, start your own. Though I have been fortunate to never experienced such an attitude in Amateur Clubs, I did get the Bums Rush from an American Legion Post after Viet Nam.
    If they have forgotten that helping new Amateurs is what this hobby is all about, don’t waste your energy worring about them.
    I have been critizied for not “doing” CW. My response is “Hey, itz not my thing! SAR and Emergency Services lead me to Amateur.”

  24. Well times do change. Back I the 70′s when I was first licensed, there was no Internet, email, texting or smartphones. Socializing was done on the local repeater and the world was much ‘larger’, hence the lore of shortwave. Listening to far away places really felt as though they were far away…because they were!

    Well you know the story. It’s a small world now. You can play Halo 4 with a guy from Tokyo and talk to your buddy in England on Skype just like they were there in the room with you. So needless to say, Ham Radio is not you dad’s window to the world like it used to be.

    Stands to reason that tech and radio sport are the lure of Ham Radio now. Contests seem more competitive than in my early days, and the kinds of tech that you can play with could not have been dreamed of back then. Imagine the concept of actually doing moon bounce with 100 watts, one long Yagi and WSJT?

    Some clubs are a way for some, and in mean just some of the old timers to keep ‘their’ comfort zone going. Nothing wrong with that I suppose, but it doesn’t help newcomers who have no history. Nor does it help when you want to talk about SDR and someone is waxing on about a Collins S line.

    Yup, our hobby has changed, but I like it just as much now as before.

    Wax nostalgic. It’s OK. just don’t expect the way back machine to take you back to another time.

  25. Tim N8NQH says:

    I can’t agree with you more.

    One of the reasons we have an influx of new hams – is due to the fact of the Ham Radio hobby has many facets. There is something (one of these facets) within the hobby that has attracted this new ham.

    What seasoned hams need to celebrate is any & all of these varying facets… even the ones they don’t find appealing.

    Instead, it appears some seasoned hams are only grateful when a new ham is interested in their specific corner of the hobby; and may actually turn negative towards a new ham who shows interest in a different realm of the hobby (than what they have settled in to).

    I seriously dislike DSTAR (though I like other formats of digital). But I don’t think negatively of a new ham who is all gung-ho about DSTAR. It’s all about supporting the overall hobby; and shouldn’t be about pleasing my personal ego.

  26. Dan KB6NU says:

    A very similar topic is being discussed over on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/amateurradio/comments/2aiqjb/where_are_the_young_hams_at_and_why_do_some_old/. Take a look and comment there as well.

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