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Old 04-11-2013, 2:35 PM
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Default Nick N1IC – How to Save Ham Radio – 5 Part Series

When I was sitting back remembering how Ham – Amateur – Radio changed my life the other day it is a pretty remarkable story. I think my story is for another time but thinking about it made me want to sit back and give back to the hobby that I love so much and has done so much for me.

The best way I thought today was to think of ways we could work together and Save Ham Radio together. I of course am in no way saying I have all the ideas or answers and I would love to hear from others but I thought I would start with my opinions.

Ham Radio isn’t dead for sure: Radio Days Are Back: Ham Radio Licenses at an All-Time High | Fox News

But are we doing all we could to promote Ham Radio to a generation that loves technology. They are glued to their tables and smartphones – they love to text and communicate. I bet – with the right motivation and experiences many of them would be interested in Ham Radio.

Over the next few weeks I am going to sit down and provide the roadmap that I have followed to help give exposure to others on radio, the safety and emergency communications aspect and the pure fun of building something new.

My first part of this series is on Sharing Ham Radio News with others:

Part One of Series –

Nick N1IC
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Old 04-11-2013, 3:08 PM
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One way to save it would be to make the testing sessions a wee bit more available. At present I am working nights and the only test sessions in my area are held at 10 am Sat. mornings, every couple of months.

There are several clubs in my area, but hardly any offer testing.
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Old 04-11-2013, 3:08 PM
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Funny you mention that it's in one of my upcoming posts
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Old 04-11-2013, 3:30 PM
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For the love of Marconi, let's hope the FCC doesn't decide to go to online testing! That'll open the flood gates to open-book testing.
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Old 04-12-2013, 9:20 AM
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We already have open-book testing. If the VE organization does the classes, then it is possible (and occurs in some cases) to make the exam the final class session, open books and all.
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Old 04-12-2013, 9:38 AM
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Open book testing? I guess that just depends on what you think that means. All the questions/answers are published, yes. But having a book there to look up answers is NOT how the testing is, or should be done. That's an automatic 'flunk' at a legitimate test session, I'm not aware of any exceptions to that.
More test sessions would be a good idea, if it's possible, but sometimes it isn't. I know that locally, arrangements for times other than for club meeting dates have to be arranged. Having everyone required present for those arranged sessions depends on prior commitments, that sort of thing. Some times it just isn't possible (been there, done that unfortunately).
The present VE testing really is much more convenient for most people. It's certainly better than having to make a 200 mile trip to an FCC field office from here, been there, done that too. An amateur radio license is not a 'give away', and it shouldn't be in my opinion. Most of the test questions deal with safety and legalities with only some 'light' electronics thrown in. It isn't easy, but it's better than nothing, and certainly not impossible.
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One of the best ways to "How to Save Ham Radio" is to NOT make unnecessary changes just to be making changes. I don't see amateur radio 'dying' in the near future, or not so near future...

Last edited by LtDoc; 04-12-2013 at 9:43 AM..
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Old 04-12-2013, 9:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n1ic View Post
When I was sitting back remembering how Ham – Amateur – Radio changed my life the other day it is a pretty remarkable story. I think my story is for another time but thinking about it made me want to sit back and give back to the hobby that I love so much and has done so much for me.

The best way I thought today was to think of ways we could work together and Save Ham Radio together. I of course am in no way saying I have all the ideas or answers and I would love to hear from others but I thought I would start with my opinions.

Ham Radio isn’t dead for sure: Radio Days Are Back: Ham Radio Licenses at an All-Time High | Fox News

But are we doing all we could to promote Ham Radio to a generation that loves technology. They are glued to their tables and smartphones – they love to text and communicate. I bet – with the right motivation and experiences many of them would be interested in Ham Radio.

Over the next few weeks I am going to sit down and provide the roadmap that I have followed to help give exposure to others on radio, the safety and emergency communications aspect and the pure fun of building something new.

My first part of this series is on Sharing Ham Radio News with others:

Part One of Series –

Nick N1IC
Well since you opened up the flood gate i am going to say my part.
IMO the most drasticly needed change would be to STOP promoting the test material
with the use of memorization and and change things to promote the learning of the material
instead of memorization. The present way things are the quality of newcomers to ham radio
is low not in numbers but quality. Also another item i have is teaching all newcomers to understand
that in a way they have become embassadors of the usa and need to act accordingly.
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:01 AM
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I would add random FCC inspections of VE test sessions.
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:12 AM
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I would add random FCC inspections of VE test sessions.
Why? What would they look for?
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:29 AM
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Cheating. Open-book testing.
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Old 04-13-2013, 7:59 PM
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Cheating. Open-book testing.
Yep. Too many extras out there that have no idea how to install a PL-259 or what a VCO is because of this. It's rampant, but no one ever wants to be the whistle blower.
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Old 04-14-2013, 3:06 AM
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I too, am amazed at how many 1 shot "extras" I've heard. Recently had a QSO with a new ham with with a 2 x 2 call and an extra class, who didn't even know how to program his HT, or understand that you can't use a rubber duck inside a car and expect to work a repeater reliably from 10 miles away.

The onus is on those of us to elmer these folks- asking for FCC involvement is a BAD IDEA on any front, enforcement or NPRM- unless it's a last resort. Remember, this is the same agency too busy taking payoffs from the telecom cartels selling off radio spectrum (most of it LMR and broadcast now), let's do our best NOT to get on their radar (as if we are not already) with cries about wanting our VE system monitored.

They might just get that wild hair and do something absurd like license by rule. With the current people running things there, this might happen.

Let's work it out ourselves, and lead by example whenever possible.
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Old 04-14-2013, 9:26 AM
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Cheating. Open-book testing.
Gee, I never heard of anything like that. What would the VE's get out of doing that? Anyway maybe people could use this thread to list and discuss what they think would help ham radio? It would be interesting to see what other people have for ideas.
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Old 04-14-2013, 9:56 AM
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Originally Posted by n1ic View Post

The best way I thought today was to think of ways we could work together and Save Ham Radio together. I of course am in no way saying I have all the ideas or answers and I would love to hear from others but I thought I would start with my opinions.

Ham Radio isn’t dead for sure: Radio Days Are Back: Ham Radio Licenses at an All-Time High | Fox News)))
OK but the article says "According to the American Radio Relay League, retirees and emergency groups are among the main reasons for the nearly 30,000 new hams that pick up the hobby each year."
Retirees being the operative word. Baby Boomers.
And the rest, preppers.


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(((But are we doing all we could to promote Ham Radio to a generation that loves technology. They are glued to their tables and smartphones – they love to text and communicate. I bet – with the right motivation and experiences many of them would be interested in Ham Radio.)))
I always find statements like this full of holes.
The "kids nowadays" love technology.... MODERN technology and that doesn't mean they have any interest in HOW it works. They just turn it on and it works. They aren't reverse engineering the technology to figure out how they can do that without billions of dollars of some oligopolist corporation's infrastructure.

They don't care about 50 year old technology.
When my interest in ham radio was piqued, most people didn't even really know what a cell phone was. If you were of some importance, you had a "beeper". There was no Internet. Those were your options. Beeper or a two way radio of some kind. I wasn't interested in old technology, I was interested in the newest technology and those were two way radios that may have had all of 6 channels and on the cutting edge, were radios that were synthesized.

You said it yourself... "When I was sitting back remembering how Ham – Amateur – Radio changed my life the other day it is a pretty remarkable story. I think my story is for another time but thinking about it made me want to sit back and give back to the hobby that I love so much and has done so much for me."



Quote:
Originally Posted by n1ic View Post
(((Over the next few weeks I am going to sit down and provide the roadmap that I have followed to help give exposure to others on radio, the safety and emergency communications aspect and the pure fun of building something new.)))
I think that's excellent. I look forward to seeing it.
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Old 04-14-2013, 2:10 PM
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I would love to tell my story and there are two hams that changed my life and I mean to the point that I might not be with us right now. I was 15 and direction in life was a challenge for me. The two hams know who they are and I talk to both often... I will tell the story another time but I agree with a lot of statements that are made in this thread. The HOW is the key... I wold love more to car about the HOW.... The fact of the matter is there are many kids, younger generation and other people that are interested... the might just have old impressions.

I know all the complaints about Dstar but when I showed a family that lives down the street the other day that I could link up (on of their sons in the military) to different parts of the country where he might be, where they travel and they have another son off to college. They loved it... Yes, many of this stuff you could do on SKYPE or other technologies but they are also looking at their CERT certification and they care about the community. It was such a refreshing conversation.
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Old 04-14-2013, 2:12 PM
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Default Nick N1IC – How to Save Ham Radio – Part 2 – Pay it Forward (5 Part Series)

Nick N1IC – How to Save Ham Radio – Part 2 – Pay it Forward (5 Part Series)



Thanks for all the feedback on the first part of my conversational view of how to Save Ham Radio. Now I know “SAVE” is a strong word and it’s not that we are “IN TROUBLE” but it’s always good to do some self-refection on the hobby from time to time.



Pay it forward is a simple concept – do something that will have in impact on others and help to do it for the next person.



How does that work for us being Hams? Well, I have thought of a few things but would love to hear your comments on things I might have missed:




Nick N1IC
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Old 04-14-2013, 3:33 PM
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OK but the article says "According to the American Radio Relay League, retirees and emergency groups are among the main reasons for the nearly 30,000 new hams that pick up the hobby each year."
Retirees being the operative word. Baby Boomers.
And the rest, preppers.




I always find statements like this full of holes.
The "kids nowadays" love technology.... MODERN technology and that doesn't mean they have any interest in HOW it works. They just turn it on and it works. They aren't reverse engineering the technology to figure out how they can do that without billions of dollars of some oligopolist corporation's infrastructure.

They don't care about 50 year old technology.
When my interest in ham radio was piqued, most people didn't even really know what a cell phone was. If you were of some importance, you had a "beeper". There was no Internet. Those were your options. Beeper or a two way radio of some kind. I wasn't interested in old technology, I was interested in the newest technology and those were two way radios that may have had all of 6 channels and on the cutting edge, were radios that were synthesized.
Where is the like button?

It's very true, today's "kids" for the most part, have a short attention span, and don't really want to know HOW the advanced technology of cellphones, wireless data, IP, etc work- they are from their birth clutching an Iphone.

From a technology standpoint, ham radio is the equivalent of a cassette tape. It reached it's zenith long ago, it still has relevance, but can we simply compare it to the average LTE network when it comes to what is under the hood? The average smartphone has more computing power than what ran the shuttle program, and a multi-band, mutl-mode full duplex digital radio with encryption, auto power level adjustment, audio DSP...you name it. And I have not even gotten to the FNE yet, a single carrier cell site has more tech than any high dollar contester's dream HF rig could ever have, and makes the price of one of those radios seem so low!

Most don't care how it works, they just know it does. They freak out when it doesn't, which explains the massive prepper appeal ham radio now has. Get a pair of Baofengs and a tech ticket for you and your S/O and have them in your "buggout bag".

The problem is, many of these folks carry the same expectations over to ham radio: they really don't want to know how or why it works, they just want it to work like their cellphone.

It's up to us to teach them different, for those who truly want to stick around and "advance the art of wireless communication" and "promote international goodwill".

And that is the hard part.
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Last edited by MTS2000des; 04-14-2013 at 3:36 PM..
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Old 04-14-2013, 6:41 PM
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Where is the like button?
Unfortunately there is no like button but if you wish, you can pull my finger.
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Old 04-14-2013, 7:21 PM
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Default Nick N1IC – How to Save Ham Radio – 5 Part Series

I'm not sure that it's entirely accurate to say that "kids today" don't want to know how things work; the proliferation of "Maker Faires" around the country attest to that. Lots of kids, perhaps it would be fair to say MOSTLY young people are attending those fairs.

Do they represent the majority of today's youth? Not even close, but then, it's not the majority of kids you are looking for, it's those inquisitive ones that you want.

I know that in NYC, the Hall of Science Amateur Radio Club (HoSARC) has a table at the Maker Faire there every year. I don't know how effective their table presentation is at drawing in new hams, but it would be my bet that they have had at least a few interested parties each year.

So, one idea is to have a table demo from a local ham club at a science fair of some kind in your area. If your local club has any young uns' in it, ask them to be there, too and to demonstrate as many different aspects of the hobby as possible.

It would be a start!
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Old 04-14-2013, 11:08 PM
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I was looking around for something in the line of a build kit for a transceiver and haven't really turned up much. The kits I did find were more expensive than ready made purchase. So, I'd say that one avenue of getting another generation interested is gone. I can't even find a CB or any kind of radio shop near my house.

If you want kids to get into ham, then you better go get them and that would be through school shop projects building radios and maybe even setting up rescue clubs or the like. Say you have a mountain bike team at the school and some radio club kids build little radios to help them run races or communicate in the hills where cell phone service doesn't work well. Suddenly, the geeky kids get cool.
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