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Ham just obsolete, or friggen ridiculously obsolete?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by rsilvers, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. rsilvers

    rsilvers Guest

    When I was a kid I wanted something better than toy walkie-talkies to communicate. I wanted a pro quality handheld. I got a Technician as that seemed the solution (although business band radios might have been a better solution since you can say more anything and not have to give call signs). Then cell phones came out. Then handheld cell phones. Now we even have Nextel and they have a professionally maintained repeater network they call 'cell towers.' I guess they still don't work point to point, but we have GMRS now, which is nearly license-free and has a few watts and it can communicate with friends who only have FRS which you can buy for $25.

    And then we have both internet forums and instant messaging, even with video cameras. This should satisfy any need to talk to like-minded complete strangers -- except now rather than just talk to people who also like HAM radio, you can talk to people who just like Glocks.

    I propose that any remaining interest in amateur radio is from childhood nostalgia of the people who are still doing it, and in another generation it will be totally dead and perhaps the bandwidth should be reclaimed for other uses.

    Does anyone have an interest in this form of communication that is not based on a childhood memory of when it was new and exciting because there was nothing else?
     
  2. KC8QKE

    KC8QKE

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    Amateur radio is not an old timer hobby that is obsolete and hanging on by a thread. Im glad you mentioned the ever so wonderful Nextel phones. If you ever have a tornado spotted in your area,and you need to get in touch with your family,grab your Nextel and see how well an overloaded phone network works. This is exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago.Im glad I had my ham radio which can access a repeater system that allows me to talk from one end of the state to the other.

    Emergency communications via amateur have been used time and time again to save lives. Whether it be a ship stranded at sea, or providing communications after a terrorist attack(remember 9/11?)
    Hams have provided support for many years without compensation (against FCC rules), and will continue to do so for many,many more.
    It is hard to beat knowing that I can talk around the world with a radio that can be powered by the battery in my automobile.

    regards,
    KC8QKE
     

  3. pjones5

    pjones5

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    Very well said
    pat
    W4FO
     
  4. rsilvers

    rsilvers Guest

    Yes, excellent point. You can reach someone and then they can send an email for you, etc -- to reach an endpoint for someone that has some other form of communication.
     
  5. AWMP

    AWMP

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    I can understand you thinking that ham radio is outdated, but if you check every red cross headquarters in your town, every civil defense building headquarters, nasa (space shuttle has atleast one ham on every mission), when the power goes in your local town look around and see how many cell phones work, when there is a disaster in any major area anywhere in the world what communications always gets the word out (ham radio).
    Yes there are other easier forms of communications in our microwave society (I want it quick and easy), but none with the people, history, and dependability record that ham radio has. Just my .02.
     
  6. 4TS&W

    4TS&W 2A RKBA 4EVER

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    The thread title made me laugh though! ;z

    It takes a cult following, kinda like shooting I guess..
     
  7. rsilvers

    rsilvers Guest

    Actually I don't think it is outdated for emergency communications. I do think it is outdated for social entertainment value since chatting with strangers who have common interests is much better the way we are all doing it now, on this forum.
     
  8. leadbutt

    leadbutt

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    Well after Isabel blew thru the only way we had to reach any one was our next door buddies, he use his hand held ham to call the PD and let them know of the problems. I wouldn't say it was outdated, but I'm not a HAM, never could get the morse code down right.
     
  9. N1PJ

    N1PJ NRA Member

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    I was not brought up on ham radio it is just something I have an interest in. There are many forms of amateur radio, it is not just sitting infront of a radio anymore. You can do aprs, send messages all over the world or up to the ISS for example. You can use amateur radio to track non commercial things, I am using aprs in my RC plane to see how high it goes and if I loose it in the air I will be able to home in on it with my tmd700 radio. It will give me the direction and the distance to my model and if it is still flying it will say the speed it is flying at. I am also using amateur radio to fly RC planes, my Futaba 9CAP is on ham channel 03. You can help the National Weather service out by becoming a Skywarn storm spoter. You can join emergency groups like Ares, Races, American Red Cross, FEMA, Department Of Homeland Security, to help out with communications in a disaster. My favorite thing is Dxing Just yesterday I added Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic to my long list of DX contacts.
    I don't see ham radio as being obsolete. There are always new forms coming out. For example look at Icoms new Dstar digital radio, it is on our 1.2 ghz frequency. You will be able to use 1.2 ghz analog and digital voice. If you register your callsign to verify you are a ham you will be able to send messages like aprs and you will be able to hook your laptop into the radio via the 10BaseT cable. You will then have a static IP adress to the internet and a data download speed of 130K. You will be able to talk on the radio and surf the internet at high speeds at the same time.
    They shouldn't take away the bands. The more bands they take away for commercial uses are the more bands and the more equipment that becomes useless in disasters. In a disaster Nextel is the first system to go down due to its infrastructure.
    73's
    N1PJ
    Worcester County Skywarn Coordinator
     
  10. GSD17

    GSD17 Thread Killer

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    i love ham, it is very primitive, but very fun, and when all else fails, it ALWAYS works
     
  11. Alex_Knight

    Alex_Knight

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    HAM applications extend throughout the communications world.


    There is so much basic information learned from being involved HAM.
    Electronics, antenna, radio frequency, communications in general.

    I stumbled into HAM by accident while researching radio frequency research material for long range 2.4Ghz communications.


    So IMHO, HAM is far from being obsolete, even beyond the emergency applications that it offers.
     
  12. vafish

    vafish

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    Morse code hasn't been required for Technician class license for about 10 years.

    You can become a ham without learning code.
     
  13. TammiJ

    TammiJ No Member

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    I've got a Technician class license and I'm sitting here at work right now listening to the storm spotters on my 2m handheld as a big storm comes rumbling through...I love it! :cool:
     
  14. k8ysv

    k8ysv Thecakeisalie.

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    Obviously you've never sat and "chewed the rag" on a DX contact with a ham in Russia or Japan or Australia or England (they're BIG TIME rag chewers). Ham radio is NOT all about using a walkie talkie to blab with your friends. That's what CB is for.

    There's nothing at all obsolete about it either. Ham radio technology is often on the cutting edge. There have been many advancements in our everyday lives that have direct links to Ham Radio origins. To discount the service as outdated is foolish and narrow-minded. I'm not even going to bother with the public service aspects. The others on this thread have beat me to it.
     
  15. David_G17

    David_G17 /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

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    i don't think it's so much nostalga as it is curiosity. the desire to learn and understand will keep HAM radio alive until telepathy is developed. ;)

    to claim HAM radios will be replaced by cell phones is like claiming Linux will be replace by Windows.

    it will never happen. There are many people out there who enjoy the feeling of having control over their tools. you really can't do much with a cell phone (aside from play games and change the annoying ring tones to more annoying ring tones). Also, HAM's don't ask "can you hear me now?" If they can't be heard, they can build their own tower and make it powerful enough until they are heard.

    another analogy one might make is that newspapers were supposed to go away when radio was invented. radios were supposed to be obsolete when television became popular. tv was supposed to expire when the net could play streaming video... but we still have newspapers.
     
  16. uhlawpup

    uhlawpup Gentle Soul

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    Obsolete? Not by a long shot! And trained ham operators are valued highly in just about every profession, even those not connected to electronics or communications.

    When the folks I work for now learned that I was a ham, they made me second emergency backup to the Big Boss, and even insisted that I install in my office. And I'm a friggin' government attorney for cat's sake!

    Oh, I'm u and v on 2, 1 1/4 and .7 meters. The two meter and 440 are fed to a window mounted roll-up jpole, and the 220 goes to a 1/4 wave vertical made out of brazing rod and an SO239 sitting on top of a cabinet. Those antennas and a Kenwood tri-bander and I can hit EOC's in 3 counties from my 3rd floor office!

    Not obsolete. Not at all!
     
  17. G36pilot

    G36pilot

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    Can't beat amateur radio for emergency communication. Between my handheld, mobile, and home shack, I can comm just about anywhere in any conditions.

    After years of interest, I made the leap into the hobby after a major storm encounter. The FM (entertainment) station we were listening to had reported a severe line of weather heading our way, so we kept a visual watch out for it. Sure enough we had to secure our site and head for cover. Since it was near the end of the day, I headed home. During the drive I cell phoned home and suggested to the wife that she put the pets, food and flashlights in the basement because when the tornado sirens went off, it was for real. The "green wall" (a hail indicator) coming in was an awesome sight.

    Well I didn't outrun the weather on the drive home and had to pull over due to lack of visibility in heavy rain. I'd only experienced this severe kind of weather during a hurricane. Due to my concern for family, I attempted to cell family and then the local airport operator to warn them of the actual severity. The cell phone didn't work. There was a widespread electricity, cell phone, and hard-line phone service outage that lasted for several days.

    Once I finally was able to drive again I followed the storms path of destruction all the way to my home. There were numerous trees and power lines down obstructing the highway. Had to go "four wheeling" several times before the authorities could arrive and shut down the highway. During all of this I was concerned for my family, unable to communicate, and feeling pretty helpless.

    I arrived in my small town to find it pretty beaten up and powerless. Pulling up to my home, I discovered a tree had fallen across my drive and into my home's office window. My family had just walked into that room to "watch the storm come in". Fortunately, they were not injured and merely shaken up. The storm was a fast mover that surprised everyone.

    HAM Radio obsolete? Not on your life!

    I have since earned my Tech license, went to NOAA weather spotter school, and participate in the local emergency net.

    Most are unaware that when a catastrophe happens normal lines of communication can become over saturated with demand and fail. Here's an example.

    Working as the Captain on a major airline flight from Ontario, CA to the Midwest, I was unofficially informed by the pushback tug driver that he had heard "American Airlines lost another one in New York". This was AA #587 that had lost it's rudder shortly after 9/11. We'd not been officially informed of any delays or airspace closures so we pushed on schedule and very slowly taxied for departure while trying to find out what was happening via company radio.

    Neither voice nor text messages were being responded to by the company. Those systems were overwhelmed with info requests. The Air Traffic Control system had similar problems and couldn't get a timely update nor confirm the rumor. Most controllers hadn't even heard of rumor at this point. Unable to confirm the rumor, we launched and prepared for a national airspace closure considering the possibility of another terrorist hijacking.

    Unable to get further information, I remembered my handheld amateur radio in my overnight bag. When we traveled in range of a Las Vegas radio club's repeater, I made a two meter call with the handheld. A member responded and was asked to tune in CNN for any information. He provided CNN's report of AA's loss as a mechanical failure and not a hijacking. Some time later the company sent a text message confirming the same and said to "proceed normally as scheduled". With the remains still burning we were wondering how could they be sure of a mechanical failure? This later turned out to be an accurate report. Kxxxxx Air Mobile and crew greatly appreciated the information.

    Though power failures and hard-line communication can be disrupted amateur radio repeaters and most home stations have generator backup. One can always install one in their vehicle, too. And generally more that one repeater covers your area as loosely affiliated groups maintain different bands, frequencies, and locations.

    I have discovered an interesting world full of fun, generous, helpful individuals and groups through amateur radio. They are good friends anytime and especially during an emergency.
     
  18. G36pilot

    G36pilot

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    For more information on Amateur Radio: http://www.arrl.org/

    NOAA's website: http://www.noaa.gov/

    Did you know that when TV weather reporters mentions their weather spotters are reporting XYZ that spotter is usually a HAM?

    73's

    G36pilot
     
  19. GSD17

    GSD17 Thread Killer

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  20. Bob T

    Bob T Millennium Member

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    No more obsolete then private gun ownership. Heck, if you want a piece of meat to eat you go to the store and buy it. The government provides us with the police for our protection. Why the heck would anyone want much less need a gun.

    Lots of different areas to ham radio. Sounds like your comparision to Nextel is strictly looking at 2 meter repeaters. If so, all I can say is the sound quality of my local repeaters is a heck of a lot better then my Nextel phone which normally sounds like it is underwater.