Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by jaygatsby, Feb 24, 2013.
Do you do it? Is it the same it used to be? Is it still fun?
It used to be a lot cooler. Shortwave radio was the internet of the old days.
For me, the internet and cell phones have taken a lot of the fun and mystique out of ham radio.
I remember being on the air at odd hours -day and night - to catch band openings, and talk to people in faraway places. Now, the web keeps the world at my fingertips day and night.
I remember the first two meter repeater in the area; I helped to build it in the 1970s. What a thrill it was to use the auto-patch to make a telephone call home. Now, my cell phone connects me to any phone at any time.
I remember rag-chewing on 75 meters with other hams about electronics. Now, there is AAC that provides unlimited access to worldwide experts.
It was more fun then than now, but I don't want to go back.
Good point. So that begs the question: Is ham radio still relevant?
I never Hammed it up. I have met 2 Hammers and they both seemed to be very odd ducks, especially when it came to talking on their radio. One look and I left, never to return.
I have a license but I never use.... hamsexy.com is a really good place to figure out what ham seems to be all about these days. A funny site. Basically emergency response wanna-bes and guys with antennas taped all over their vehicle.
Relevant to the future of communications, no. As the possible culture of tomorrows pioneers , not likely but as a hobby it's as relevant as any past-time. I've never been a ham but I was in the profession of using HF/VHF/UHF radio in the period just before satcomm and high-speed digital became common in the 1970s as a Navy Radioman.
Today the Navy badge is the same but the job is now called IT.
Unless ham radio can somehow integrate into todays digital networks like the old 'Sparkies' the hobby won't last another generation.
NSA can mean Naval Support Activity.
Spook does not.
What about MOTU 13?
What about teh tracecoms
The lack of required infrastructure and the integration of a computer to make digital modes of communication possible means that Amateur Radio is actually at the forefront of communications technology. Cellphones and internet access require infrastructure and monthly fees to service providers. A cheap distribution amplifier was recently taken out by a power surge and I was cutoff for the better part of a week because Comcast does not employ enough service technicians to dispatch one in less than 72 hours.
In TN ham radio operators are still used for emergency communications, as a matter of fact they can get "Emergency" license plates that have their callsign on them. The only other people that are authorized to have "E" tags are constables, medics, emergency management personnel. Fire, Rescue have their own type of tags.
Every hospital in the state is required to have a amateur radio installed for emergency communications in case the "normal" means are out of service in a disaster situation.
The operator doesn't have to be an employee of the hospital, but they must be available when called. In my county there is a amateur radio club that has made themselves available for this.
When we have a disaster drill we can't talk on their frequencies, but they can talk on ours (I am a Rescue Squad member). In our county we use VHF, hams use HF, VHF, and 440.
Not everyone in the spook world was a covert spy as somebody has to maintain the infrastructure. You needed a TS/SCI to replace a fuse with operational TACINTEL gear.
I had a neighbor who was crazy into this stuff. He was the local weatherman for the news. He had a whole room set up with A bunch of computers and radios. Had like 5-10 antenna's in his back yard. The computers always showed a map of the globe and other stuff I didn't understand. This was still in 2400baud BBS days. I know somehow he was transmitting data along with talking over ham across the world.
On another note I heard of one of those underground bad XXX groups was busted using ham radio's to transmit pictures around the world. This was before the internet or anything like that. It was right when modems were becoming usual here in the US. But I remember reading about the bust in the newspaper because I was interested in HAM. I was really young.
Data transmissions always been my fascination with ham. I think that has lots of uses.
There are still a handful of bad actors out there. On 75M phone there are folks who play music, and paint the air blue with the filthiest obscenities you can imagine. These are two Bozo no-nos in Part 97, but budget cuts have limited the FCC's enforcement division so we have to put up with it.
On the other hand the "Liberty Net" is a real hoot!