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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 03-28-2010, 11:26 PM
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Your location, "somewhere in Canada " covers one very large land mass.
May I add to what the others have mentioned:

Go to the Radio Amateurs of Canada websie <www.rac.ca>
and look at the list for affiliated clubs; also there is a list of upcoming
flea markets. Beter yet join RAC, it will help you maybe make some contacts.

Amateurs are people and they have their foibles and problems as do many of us.
Maybe give us an idea of where you are geographically and then maybe we
can give you some better assistance. Amateurs are as shy as anybody.
If your rig is mobile, keep a pad in the car, and try and write down a call
sign or two in your area when you hear them.
As with cell phone operation, pull off to the shoulder to do your talking and call sign notes.
If the rig is in your apartment, then do the RAC stuff as above and go from there.
Many areas seem to use UHF in lieu of VHF; hence VHF can seem quiet,
keep trying, leave the radio on while you're at home, keep your ears open.

You mentioned Toronto is a long drive in distance. That could mean 500 miles or not.
You've got your ham ticket (Basic) so sign your call sign after every note, at the very least. You worked hard to get the certficate, be proud of what you did and start talking.

And your handle tells me you are into a similar hobby as mine; we have something to talk about.
Don't be shy, just start talking.

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Old 03-29-2010, 12:29 PM
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I'll hopeffully be a "newbe tech" at the end of the week. I had to contact the local club via email to schedule the exam. I called the number associated with the club to verify that I was successfully scheduled for the test. I explained that I had been listening to the club's repeater traffic and net traffic and was looking forward to meeting some of the folks. I was invited to the upcoming club meeting, which is one day prior to my exam, to meet some of the folks. I think that is a very worm welcome to the neighborhood. Hoping other newbee's receive the same welcome in their neighborhoods! 73s'
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  #43 (permalink)  
Old 03-29-2010, 6:54 PM
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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.508 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/105)

PTT mikes not as bad to use when driving as cell phones. I run FM from the car and the company delivery truck all over very busy roads with no trouble. Also operate HF mobile from the car with no problems. I do turn off HF during busy times on the road, since that requires you to tune around. I use a cheap Digital Voice Record to log mobile HF contacts.

As many have already stated on this topic you just have visit a couple different clubs, since some you won't click with the members. After a while of getting on the local repeaters, doing public service events, attending local hamfests, going to club meeting you will start to make good friends in ham radio.

I have only been a ham for two years and at
least one local repeater I won't get on due the attitude of the hams on it, but that still leaves many to use.

Hope this helps.

Larry
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  #44 (permalink)  
Old 03-30-2010, 8:26 AM
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Just remember, HAM radio is for "YOU" as a hobby, or more if you should decide to get into it. i.e. R.A.C.E.S, A.R.E.S. MARS, etc. After 30 years licensed and a former net manager let me tell you that you should find the bands, modes, equipment that YOU like. The rest will all come together. I have chatted with hams who have gazillion dollar stations and I have chatted with hams like one who lived like a hermit, on a mesa, using a 40 year old rig and solar power. He went to town once a month for supplies. It takes all kinds to make a world and is we were all the same, how boring would that be? Just enjoy hamming :-)

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  #45 (permalink)  
Old 03-30-2010, 1:33 PM
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I suspect what you experienced is common, unfortunately. I've seen a lot of hams getting their Technician Class license in our area and are never heard from again. They may have encountered a similar situation which turned them off to the hobby.

Hams have a wide ranging interest in amateur radio and not everyone is motivated to helping the new folks. There are many that do, however.

To make the going easier for the new ham, amateur radio clubs should formally appoint or elect a member to be the chair of an Elmer committee. This person, and the committee, would be responsible to assist the new hams. The formation of an Elmer committee would give a strong message that the club was serious in helping the newbies and the perpetuation of the hobby.

Although an individual can do a lot on their own to become licensed and operate, from my experience, ham radio requires the advice of others as it can be very daunting.

Thanks for pointing out your unfortunate introduction to ham radio. Keep at it as the hobby will reward you with great satisfaction. You will meet some of the coolest folks as well. Take from this experience and please become an Elmer for others too.
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  #46 (permalink)  
Old 03-31-2010, 2:46 PM
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I had similar experiences when I first got my amateur license back in 1988. I joined the local radio club and found that most people wouldn't give you the time of day. I found that the old guys wanted only to talk about their health concerns and ***** about this or that. There were a few new people that did talk to the new people, thankfully for this or else I probably wouldn't be at all active in Amateur Radio.

So .. after letting my membership lapse to the local radio club and letting 20 years lapse, I am finally back into amateur radio. Why ? Because even though the first year was kinda like getting punched in the face a few times, I learned that there are many wonderful aspects about amateur radio.

Today I am experiencing a resurgence of interest, everything from working some good DX on HF, to maybe a conversation on 2 m (I really don't like talking on 2m much, but do listen occasionally).

Even though I live in an apartment where I can only put up a meager antenna, I have had very good success on HF and have found a new reason for loving amateur radio. I am currently hoping to make my DXCC in the next few years of amateur radio.

So .. I would recommend to the people that feel that they are being ignored, to keep at it. Amateur radio is wonderful .. where else can you ragchew with a complete stranger and walk away fulfilled and hopefully a little more knowledgeable about something.
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  #47 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2010, 1:18 PM
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** 1-UP ** please check your private messages on here
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  #48 (permalink)  
Old 04-10-2010, 9:32 AM
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Unfortunately, that's the way some hams are. Also, ham radio isn't as popular as it was back in the 80's. Repeaters were active at all hours of the night and day.

I think most of us have come from the CB era, and back in those days anyone and everyone would talk to you. Ham radio seems to be the opposite extreme. Some guys are really anal. Oh well.

If your in the Toronto area we have a bunch of truckers operating on 145.350 at all hours of the day. Swearing and talking dirty seems to be the norm with these guys. I think a lot of old timers have just given up the hobby because of this type of behavior. I digress...
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Old 04-10-2010, 4:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by multisync View Post
Unfortunately, that's the way some hams are. Also, ham radio isn't as popular as it was back in the 80's. Repeaters were active at all hours of the night and day.

I think most of us have come from the CB era, and back in those days anyone and everyone would talk to you. Ham radio seems to be the opposite extreme. Some guys are really anal. Oh well.

If your in the Toronto area we have a bunch of truckers operating on 145.350 at all hours of the day. Swearing and talking dirty seems to be the norm with these guys. I think a lot of old timers have just given up the hobby because of this type of behavior. I digress...
I'm guessing these guys aren't licensed?

I tried going to another meeting of the local ham club.. 2 out of about 50 people spoke to me. On the good side. I had lots pf space around me since nobody sat near me.. I don't plan on attending another meeting, nor joining. I wanted to get involved with CANWARN and/or ARES, etc.. but not so sure now since I'd be dealing with the same people. I may just go HF only and sell of my VHF HT..
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by ModelTrainGeek View Post
I tried going to another meeting of the local ham club.. 2 out of about 50 people spoke to me. On the good side. I had lots pf space around me since nobody sat near me.. I don't plan on attending another meeting, nor joining.
Are there any other ham clubs nearby, or at least within a drivable distance? That one doesn't sound like it's worth the trouble.

One club meeting I attend, makes it a point to see who the visitors are at every meeting, and gives them a chance to say something about themselves and what they're interested in. If they're looking for something in particular to learn about, someone will pull them aside and steer them in the right direction.

Good ham clubs are out there, it can just take time to find the right one for you. Don't give up! Losing the HT and moving to HF isn't a bad idea, though. Keeping the HT and moving to HF is better.
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  #51 (permalink)  
Old 04-11-2010, 9:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ModelTrainGeek View Post

So it left me feeling like I just don't belong in this hobby if that the way I'm going to be treated. I passed my test, on my own, so I've proven I have at least the right to be on the air. But I haven't had any real conversations, other then briefs nets-type check-in. Is this typical for new ham to experience? Or should I just accept this is a "just us" type area and go back to online games and model trains? ...
I started in almost exact situation as you. Just took awhile for me to find a group of people that were friendly and involved newcomers.
There is the Echolink thats worth a try. I tried CQ100 and Hamsphere.

(hopefully my mentioning these two internet services will not start the old "its not real radio debate". Its there to use and many do, enjoying what it has to offer. If you don't like it no need to deride it.)

I found the friendliest bunch on Hamshere. I was invited in on my first session and everyone seemed interested in what I actually had to say. Had a round table going with guys from US, Germany, England, Malaysia, and Australia right then and there. I know of many local hams, most usually the older retired guys living in condos or apartments where they cannot use HF taking part in CQ100 and Hamsphere. You get a free trial of the system then its an annual fee (under $30 USD).

Just another option, I would suggest trying a little of everything so that you can meet more people. I will say this, and its somethign I try to keep in mind especially when i'm on the radio, remember what it was like starting out. Then when you do encounter someone else just getting started and trying to meet others, extend the courtesy, take a few minutes and talk to them. Who knows, you may end up starting a long lasting radio friendship.
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Old 04-12-2010, 3:17 AM
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Sorry to hear you had a bad repeater experience, we all have stories I think. Let me mention a positive experience though. The Hams in Buffalo, NY were super to me while I was visiting the area. In fact they wanted to meet me for coffee! We never could work out a face to face meeting but they sure were nice folks and welcomed me to the area.

You might try other repeaters. Where I live most of the really good Hams are now on 70cm, not sure why. The DStar folks are very friendly too.

My problem is I'm a liberal in a sea of conservatives and they always want to talk politics. Even though some are good friends I had to reach over and turn the radio off. I'm really in favor of keeping politics off the radio.
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Old 04-14-2010, 2:01 PM
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Originally Posted by zz0468 View Post
Are there any other ham clubs nearby, or at least within a drivable distance? That one doesn't sound like it's worth the trouble.

One club meeting I attend, makes it a point to see who the visitors are at every meeting, and gives them a chance to say something about themselves and what they're interested in. If they're looking for something in particular to learn about, someone will pull them aside and steer them in the right direction.

Good ham clubs are out there, it can just take time to find the right one for you. Don't give up! Losing the HT and moving to HF isn't a bad idea, though. Keeping the HT and moving to HF is better.
THere's one on a town south of here... I had the webpage up a couple weeks ago.. bit it's been down for a few days now. So no way to contact them directly now.
the local club did something like that, new guests stand up and say hi.. but that was about it.

One thing about selling the HT, I could put the money into a better antenna then the weird 16.5 foot wire on the apt balcony..
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Old 04-14-2010, 2:35 PM
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I started out doing the test myself; with no club help... just the study materials and an elmer @ my workplace, sweating out the results at the department of communications or whatever it was called back in 1992. Living in an apartment I bought an HT and had very little fun....plenty of opinions of my crappy signal on some repeaters, the ignore because I was new, very similar to you. The best thing that happened was tropo ducting in the summer months and an improved antenna. ( 3rd floor ..clear line of sight to the south.. ) Started checking into nets across Lake Erie in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York state. ( Canadians only hit these repeaters under the best conditions so, you are a slight 'novelty' ) Then decided to try simplex, and had fun. Met some locals interested in; dare I say it, DXing. After a while 2 metre FM wasn't cutting it. Dxing is an addiction.....you will find a way to get a used 10 or six metre radio and a hamstick or dipole, mount it on the balcony or mobile. The majority of my contacts were on a Yaesu FT-817 QRP on 6 metres with just a vertical. Be patient. Maybe just a quick grid square and 5/9 report and you're off to the races. Mobile is great as well..you'll hear people 'in the driveway' during band openings saying " just a couple more, the wife wants me in the house..." or whatever and 30 minutes later they're still there. Field day can be great place to meet locals* ( some are * 'club only' extremely competitive events...you get a feel for that right away... ) , for the best results..be available to help with set up and / or tear down. You will usually get more seat time either logging or operating with the extra effort. Anyway...73 and enjoy the hobby give it time.
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Last edited by VA3QRM; 04-14-2010 at 3:35 PM..
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Old 04-14-2010, 3:10 PM
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Lot of good advice here.

I've had my license just a few years and I'm finally getting to know enough people on the repeaters that I find someone I either know well or know that knows one of my other friends so it's easy to strike up a conversation and get ack'd.

Takes time to build relationships and I've really found that the majority of hams are pretty socially shy and just don't handle small-talk and intro conversation very well.

I'm not like that myself. So by spending enough time around on machines and making efforts to meet unfamiliar calls, eventually you build your list of friends.

Be patient. Be persistent and get to be known as a regular on the local machines. If you aren't having fun, turn the radio off and come back when you are in a better mood for it.

Try to meet locals in person through clubs or if they are getting together for coffee try to get an invite. A lot of walls come down when people get to finally meet you....or you find out that they really are jerks...either way is a win ;-).

Work towards your upgrade too, the more modes you learn, the more frequencies you can operate on, the wider your options are. When you tire of one group in one mode, go to another one for a while.

I go from HF to FM simplex to psk/digi modes to packet radio...you name it, aside from satellites and cw, and ATV I've tried it so far.
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  #56 (permalink)  
Old 04-14-2010, 5:00 PM
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I'm guessing these guys aren't licensed?

I tried going to another meeting of the local ham club.. 2 out of about 50 people spoke to me. On the good side. I had lots pf space around me since nobody sat near me.. I don't plan on attending another meeting, nor joining. I wanted to get involved with CANWARN and/or ARES, etc.. but not so sure now since I'd be dealing with the same people. I may just go HF only and sell of my VHF HT..

These guys are licensed. I guess nobody cares how they operate. They say everything except the f word. I guess they support the stereo type of a truck driver.

Last week they were talking about a 1.5kw 11 meter amp and how they can step all over everyone, if anyone is still on 11 meters to step on...
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Old 05-22-2010, 3:15 PM
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Thumbs down the end is near...

Another follow up on this.. After almost 2 months on HF, I finally gave up on it. To much interference on the bands for one this, 5 to 9db of just noise, hiss, was typical, and some areas of the bands 9 to 20db of noise, and birdies all over. I even tried turning off and unplugging everything in the apartment except the stove.. And even though I know I was getting you (because I could see my call sign on the psk31 report pages when I was using it, I was also using voice) I only managed to get 4 contacts in all that time span. the last 2 weekends before I sold the HF radio, I sat calling CQ on 20 meters, SSB and psk31, for about at total of 40 hours. I also tried responding to calls.

So it's back to VHF or echolink as my only ham options. and still getting the same level of response as my original post indicated.. So I'm seriously thing of just giving out on ham radio altogether..
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Old 05-23-2010, 12:36 PM
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Well, that's a shame. It's really a fun hobby, and most of the people are great. As to your poor luck on HF, all I can say is, the antenna is everything. A compromised antenna will give compromised results. The high noise levels are actually easy to contend with. I highly recommend one of the active noise cancelers on the market such as the ANC-4. They make life on HF possible for me.

Making the most out of the hobby isn't actually easy, but it can be a lot of fun solving the technical challenges. If you don't like solving problems, there's always stamp collecting.
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Old 05-23-2010, 4:13 PM
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Well, that's a shame. It's really a fun hobby, and most of the people are great. As to your poor luck on HF, all I can say is, the antenna is everything. A compromised antenna will give compromised results. The high noise levels are actually easy to contend with. I highly recommend one of the active noise cancelers on the market such as the ANC-4. They make life on HF possible for me.

Making the most out of the hobby isn't actually easy, but it can be a lot of fun solving the technical challenges. If you don't like solving problems, there's always stamp collecting.
Well, I think I need a hobby that more predictable, and less stress (having other stress relate health probs to start with) So I figure when all is said and done.. I will probably refocus on trains and computers, maybe get a new scanner.. I goto in to ham finally thinking it's be more active and more social talking, which is what I wanted. But I didn't know anybody going in to it.. and that just doesn't work from what I seen.

But at least I got my license, proved I could do it.. and just move on now..
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Old 05-23-2010, 5:55 PM
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If you ever decide to play around more on EchoLink, feel free to use our club repeater, the VE6LAW. Node number is 236406. It's a little on the quiet side as our club doesn't boast huge numbers. But the users that do hang out here are friendly and easy going.

73 de Jeff, VE6EFR
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