U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Hobbies and Recreation
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-27-2022, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
18,099 posts, read 11,905,689 times
Reputation: 8892

Advertisements

Anyone here into Ham radio? I'm a soon-to-retire software developer, and thinking of getting into this.

There seem to be a bit of "maker" ethos to it ... people designing and building their own antennas and the like. That would not really be a "thing" for me. I would buy everything and I would not personally be 35 feet up on the peak of my roof rigging up a dipole antenna or something.

There seems to be a couple of clubs within an hour's drive of me and they have some sort of round-robin discussion every morning and meet in person once a month. They have some contests (e.g., collecting postcards of HF contacts in other countries). They are available to help out in emergency situations with local and regional LF contacts, setting up relays, and the like.

I'm looking for insight into how the community works, if it tends to be ideological in any way, or more relaxed than that, etc. On what levels one can be involved, etc.

I know that Ham is sort of past its prime in terms of its heyday by probably 40 years, but it still has a place in the world. But maybe I'd be just as well off with a shortwave receiver and maybe a citizen's band setup -- and those have the virtue of not needing operator licenses. And, of course, cheaper.

Any & all thoughts appreciated.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-27-2022, 03:45 PM
 
Location: In the Pearl of the Purchase, Ky
10,255 posts, read 15,993,842 times
Reputation: 41368
Can't find the story on our local TV station's web site but they had a story the other day of a man broadcasting music to Ukraine and Russia. Said people don't want to hear any news so he just plays music and messages from people from around the world. I think that would be interesting to do.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-28-2022, 08:34 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
18,099 posts, read 11,905,689 times
Reputation: 8892
Quote:
Originally Posted by kygman View Post
Can't find the story on our local TV station's web site but they had a story the other day of a man broadcasting music to Ukraine and Russia. Said people don't want to hear any news so he just plays music and messages from people from around the world. I think that would be interesting to do.
That is cool but at least in the US my understanding is that it's illegal to broadcast music on amateur frequencies, as you need a commercial license for that. In other countries, or in wartime, that might not be the case.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-01-2022, 03:53 PM
 
Location: equator
10,007 posts, read 5,139,289 times
Reputation: 23447
Well, it's a VALUABLE hobby, unlike many others that don't necessarily benefit anyone else (well, some do: cooking, gardening, etc.)

Ham radio was my ex's biggest hobby next to flying. We DID have the huge 70' retractable antennae in our suburban backyard. Sure that would never be allowed now.

Learning Morse Code is a real challenge for an aging brain. It uses so many different neural pathways. I got up to the required 5 words a minute but don't remember any of it now. Got a few QSL cards. Ex built all his own equipment, but I'm sure there's commercial stuff out there. I'd go for it, OP. It may be a needed service one of these days----like in war time!

Current DH likes to listen to shortwave.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-01-2022, 10:52 PM
 
2,410 posts, read 1,019,846 times
Reputation: 5933
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand&Salt View Post
Well, it's a VALUABLE hobby, unlike many others that don't necessarily benefit anyone else (well, some do: cooking, gardening, etc.)

Ham radio was my ex's biggest hobby next to flying. We DID have the huge 70' retractable antennae in our suburban backyard. Sure that would never be allowed now.

Learning Morse Code is a real challenge for an aging brain. It uses so many different neural pathways. I got up to the required 5 words a minute but don't remember any of it now. Got a few QSL cards. Ex built all his own equipment, but I'm sure there's commercial stuff out there. I'd go for it, OP. It may be a needed service one of these days----like in war time!

Current DH likes to listen to shortwave.
Good ? News: they don’t require Morse code for a HAM operator license now
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-05-2022, 11:52 AM
 
3,423 posts, read 1,309,515 times
Reputation: 6933
...if it tends to be ideological in any way, or more relaxed than that, etc

Officially, your ideological leanings are supposed to steer clear of the airwaves. Unofficially, just by the nature of the thing, the hobby is more weighted towards senior citizens, and so is the general sense of politics - whatever that means in your community. Mainly though, you'll hear very little of that in routine conversations. It's a safe neutral habitat. But like real life, their are nuts in every hobby!



Anyway - yep, NO morse code now. First level is Technician, the test material is available for review in its entirety. You show up, take the test, and that's that! Some small cost is now involved. (Morse code, though, known as "cw" opens up a whole new world on the airwaves - fun and kind of exclusive as we age...)



I encourage you to do it! It's fun, easy, cheap, and if it turns out to be useless for you - you still have that certificate on your wall that says you've managed to do something new!


CB cheaper? You can buy a handheld ham unit fine for local use for $35, to get your feet wet.


A CB will not reach around the world - but for about $500, you can with ham / HF. Less if you buy more used stuff.


There is no need usually to mount a complicated aerial unless you are ...seriously serious!



As others noted - playing music is absolutely illegal. On top of that, with regard to the Ukraine - it is forbidden for anyone in Ukraine to use their radio right now, so if you talk to them, you may be causing them serious grief - be smart.


Post back if you have more questions - but I'd say - absolutely do it! Zero downside.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-07-2022, 07:02 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
18,099 posts, read 11,905,689 times
Reputation: 8892
Quote:
Originally Posted by roodd279 View Post
...if it tends to be ideological in any way, or more relaxed than that, etc

Officially, your ideological leanings are supposed to steer clear of the airwaves. Unofficially, just by the nature of the thing, the hobby is more weighted towards senior citizens, and so is the general sense of politics - whatever that means in your community. Mainly though, you'll hear very little of that in routine conversations. It's a safe neutral habitat. But like real life, their are nuts in every hobby!



Anyway - yep, NO morse code now. First level is Technician, the test material is available for review in its entirety. You show up, take the test, and that's that! Some small cost is now involved. (Morse code, though, known as "cw" opens up a whole new world on the airwaves - fun and kind of exclusive as we age...)



I encourage you to do it! It's fun, easy, cheap, and if it turns out to be useless for you - you still have that certificate on your wall that says you've managed to do something new!


CB cheaper? You can buy a handheld ham unit fine for local use for $35, to get your feet wet.


A CB will not reach around the world - but for about $500, you can with ham / HF. Less if you buy more used stuff.


There is no need usually to mount a complicated aerial unless you are ...seriously serious!



As others noted - playing music is absolutely illegal. On top of that, with regard to the Ukraine - it is forbidden for anyone in Ukraine to use their radio right now, so if you talk to them, you may be causing them serious grief - be smart.


Post back if you have more questions - but I'd say - absolutely do it! Zero downside.
Appreciate the insight. I have done some more reading and can see that it has a generally ideology-free ethos. I would probably go for the higher level license ... not the extra super-duper one but the middle one. And yes morse might be fun to learn, even though no longer required. Seems like it'd be particularly useful for HF / long distance work. I have never been great at accurately hearing distorted / noisy speech.

As a software developer I am interested in the digital aspect as well. Someone has created a network protocol specifically for ham/packet radio that can be used for secure peer to peer communications. I think I'd enjoy messing with those sorts of things.

The only place I probably wouldn't fit in is the competitions, but I might even surprise myself there, who knows.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-07-2022, 10:47 PM
 
Location: Northern CA
310 posts, read 174,166 times
Reputation: 743
I got my General license (between Technician and Extra) when Morse code was still required. If you want to go digital, try DRM (digital mobile radio).

I haven't been active recently. My problem is I'm not much of a conversationalist, but I'm really interested in the technology.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-08-2022, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Northern CA
310 posts, read 174,166 times
Reputation: 743
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsb1067 View Post
I got my General license (between Technician and Extra) when Morse code was still required. If you want to go digital, try DRM (digital mobile radio).
I mean DMR, not DRM...
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-08-2022, 09:14 AM
 
3,423 posts, read 1,309,515 times
Reputation: 6933
Mordant -



You sound like you're on the right trail there. The new (I say "new" because 40 years ago, they didn't exist) digital modes - these have opened up some crazy and fun windows of new technology. While it may SEEM Ham radio is "old fashioned" - the cutting edge guys do super modern stuff all day long, in ways that were simply inconceivable before the PC was, well, everywhere.


You build each level upon the last - so we used to start with Novice. My father is STILL a "Novice" - but that level is not issued any longer. So the first is Technician. Once you have that, you can get general.


You can indeed take one - get your score of PASS - and take the next - in the same sitting / session. There is no penalty for failing - so if you believe have a fighting chance with General - after passing Tech - then go for it.


The Extra (pinnacle of this hobby) is more difficult in many ways -but a great long term goal. The test is highly technical, and all choices of answer are plausible - but the entire pool is also online, so if you're an excellent "memorizer" - you can get that too. Kind of defeats the spirit of the thing though - the Extra signifies a deeper understanding of "how things work" - and you'll find the test downright straightforward if you truly understand those things. The Extra will give you access to a few places on each "band" where only other Extras can be.



General opens up the whole HF world to you - well worth doing, over the tech. The advantage of the Extra is subtle.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Hobbies and Recreation
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2023, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top