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Old 12-28-2013, 1:09 PM
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Default Crabby hams

I have been licensed for just under a year and I have taken the time to read posts regarding question that people ask on the different forums and boards. I have been in communications since I was 19 and I am now 45. Military, public safety.
I see where different times the amateur community can't figure oiut why they membership is dropping off and why there seems to be a drop in individuals gaining their license.

It is really actually simple;

Stop telling people they are wrong in their opinion,

Stop telling people to go look it up in another reference.

Stop thinking that the amateur community is an elitist place that you have to know Morse code to belong to.

Stop being such and *** to the poor guy who has no other way to learn except by asking questions.

Stop thinking cause you are sitting behind a keyboard you can have the crappy attitude that would get your butt kicked in person.

Just because you passed a test and you have rag chewed for so many years you are not always right.

these are the things that kept me from getting licensed, and all I had to do was take the dang test. I had enough experience that all I had to do was test. I will stop and take the time to answer questions for anyone that asks, But the idiots that think because you have a license of any level it makes you the "authority" YOU ARE WRONG!!!!!

I am so tired of seeing people with an interest in this for ANY reason run off because they do fit "your" idea of what a Ham should be.

Get over yourself there are plenty of people that have less than nice names for the amatuer radio community and sadly they are closer to being right than the *** hat that spends his day correcting every post on the internet.

I enjoy my tech license I have no desire to go any further right now. If I do want to move along I will locate VE testing and or classes and take the exam.

This is the United States of America and many people have died and suffered so you can have your freedom and I hat to see anyone try to take that freedom from another.

So remember what you were taught and reach deep inside and TRY to be nice to the other people in the world. quite possibly you might just influence some person to becoming an amateur radio operator.


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Old 12-28-2013, 1:34 PM
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I'v had my license for about 10 months now, so far, the only place I ran into "a$$hats" is on the internet, maybe I'v just been lucky.
One thing I have noticed, if you show up to a local Ham meeting or two, your fellow hams will have a face to put to your callsign, as well as a name, and they'll be a lot more willing to answer when they hear you throw out a CQ.. I guess that's just human nature, I know I'm more comfortable talking on the radio now that I can put a face to the "old-timers" that I'v been hearing on the air.

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Old 12-28-2013, 2:09 PM
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I'm gonna sneak my non-ham opinion here. From what I have seen in radio world, you have a huge community of hams who made or are making a living as radio engineers; others who are very intelligent and have a natural technical knack for this stuff who competantly fit right in; and still others who went the hard route to earn their ham status when there were higher expectations of hams.
Then you have a bunch of guys-myself included, who simply love all things radio, but who learned what they could in between making a living doing non radio stuff.
To me, it seems a lot of the guys who have marked much time as hams, who had to do the hard stuff to earn their status, and with all that vast technical wisdom to boot, kinda look down upon guys who just sort of skate in radio land and just skim the cream off the top.
I think that's what is between the two "cultures". I suppose it's human nature to find newbees an annoyance.
But I still think there oughta be what I call a "common brotherhood" amogst all of us just based on the fact that we share the main passion.
I hate cliques too.
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Old 12-28-2013, 2:32 PM
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It's not just in the amateur community, but all over. Doesn't matter what the subject is, there will always be the elitist snobs that use what they know to separate themselves from others. A sign of a true professional and someone who understands is the readiness to be supportive of others, willing to work with the new guys, pass on information, and most of all be tolerant of others. It isn't so much about memorized facts and figures, but more willingness to learn, experience and most of all, admit when you don't know something.

Some people need some way of feeling superior to others to feel successful in their own lives. It's sad but true. This attitude comes out exactly as you are describing. It certainly isn't limited to amateur radio.

I learned this many years back and instead of letting it get me down, I've sort of enjoyed it. Once you recognize what it is, and why they do it, it gets pretty funny to watch/hear. Those that behave in this manner towards others are usually pretty vocal about it and don't realize it, or at least don't hide it. Watching or listening to particular individuals repeatedly make fools out of themselves while so desperately trying to sound superior is kind of sad.

Last edited by mmckenna; 12-28-2013 at 2:34 PM..
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Old 12-28-2013, 3:11 PM
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Originally Posted by olderookie View Post
I have been licensed for just under a year...
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Originally Posted by olderookie View Post
Stop telling people they are wrong in their opinion,
You have been licensed just under a year. As of tomorrow (12/29/2013), I will have been licensed for 21 years. I have been doing this longer than you so when it comes to amateur radio specifically, I know more than you. If I tell that I have an issue with your opinion, I will tell you why based on my experience and acquired knowledge.

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Stop telling people to go look it up in another reference.
Why should I stop telling someone to look something up? Speaking of acquired knowledge, some of us "OFs" still believe in the old (Chinese?) proverb, "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." I can't speak for anyone else, but that is my goal.... to teach you how to be on the other side of the forum and be the one who answers the questions instead of asking them all the time. You will never make it to that side of the forum if someone just keeps giving you the answers and nothing more.

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Stop thinking that the amateur community is an elitist place that you have to know Morse code to belong to.
OK, well this one I wholeheartedly agree with. There is a guy who made a comment (on another forum) who still blames the dropping of code tests as the reasons the bands are in such a state of disarray today. I did not pull any punches and told him this attitude is crap and he needs to get over himself.

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Stop being such and *** to the poor guy who has no other way to learn except by asking questions.
No other way to learn? Sorry, not buying it. Yes, please ask questions, but when we tell you how to find the answer or where to find the answer, don't come back with an attitude. I have been associated with the egress end of the alimentary canal more than once for telling someone how or where to find the answer to their question.

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Stop thinking cause you are sitting behind a keyboard you can have the crappy attitude that would get your butt kicked in person.
I won't say anything here that I wouldn't tell you (or anyone else) in person.

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Just because you passed a test and you have rag chewed for so many years you are not always right.
I may not always be right. Just ask my wife! But as I said above, when it comes to amateur radio specifically, my opinion is based on more knowledge than you have.

And by the way, I live in Wentzville. If we meet, the coffee is on me! Just pay attention and you might just learn something you young whippersnapper!
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Old 12-28-2013, 3:45 PM
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I have been licensed for just under a year and I have taken the time to read posts regarding question that people ask on the different forums and boards...
It's fast approaching 40 years since I've been licensed. One thing I learned early on was that even the most curmudgeonly cranky ham could be a good friend and source of knowledge if one starts off leaving the "know it all" attitude behind.

Many of your gripes are more oriented toward the internet and the way forums operate. Don't paint amateur radio with the same broad brush that you characterize internet forums. In reality, most of those cranky old guys on the radio are actually gems, if you take the time to know them.
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Old 12-28-2013, 3:55 PM
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I've been licensed 38 years and there have been crabby hams for longer than the internet! When I started out, the same things went on, but it was over the air. The elitist old fuds on certain HF bands, the know-it-alls on 2m repeaters, the elitist closed 440 repeaters, etc. etc. There's nothing new about it, it's just human nature. (Bad behavior abounded - it was hard to believe back then why people who went through the trouble to get a license (at the FCC, no less), and either spent a lot of bucks or worked to make a radio work would simply spend their time jamming repeaters!)

I agree with many of whippersnapper NĜIU's points - especially that far too many people come here and ask a question with no research whatsoever - like there isn't a search button for each forum! There's no excuse for "I just bought a <insert name of common radio> and want to know how to program it!" It's being lazy and wanting someone else to do your work for you.

In a form, ham radio *expects" you as a higher level (e.g.; it ain't CB) hobbyist to find things out for yourself. Operating most of the digital modes is that way - you WILL need to do a lot of reading to find out how it all works, there's no easy way to explain it. Ham radio is somewhat elitist - that's what it's supposed to be. Regretfully, it's been diluted by people who don't embrace the hobby aspect and just want a two-way to yak on. So I salute your desire to know more - over time you'll go from newbie to know-bie!
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Old 12-28-2013, 4:14 PM
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Over my 15 plus years as a ham this topic has at times made me somewhat of a outcast to some of these elitist hams you speak of. I find it can be the worst on 2 meters / 440. Which is unfortunate as that is where techs and new guys start out. I said screw em a long time ago and simply have fun. If they don't' like it they don't have to talk to me. I find it is a much better scenario on HF. However even on HF I still come across the odd crabby group. I have learned to identify those types and just tune somewhere else. No one else on the band? Well then I just go call a CQ. You would not believe how many wonderful fun loving normal people I have met doing just that. I have tons of fun with amateur radio and I do not allow those crabby types to ruin it. They can drown in their own mysery. If all they want to do is talk negative about their own ailments and turn their noses up to people then good for them. I think deep down they must be very sad people behind those big voices they try to put out over the air. Oh and another thing to add. On CW there is a TON of cool guys. They love newbies learning and they are a step above these crabby power trippers. My advice to you is just to ignore these guys and do your own thing. The other real people will come to you!! Avoid these fake personality less, emotional less, crabby hams!

PS: If you are licensed then you are entitled to do everything they do! Do not let them intimidate you. Just get your license in check and go for it!

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Old 12-28-2013, 4:50 PM
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People used to say the same thing about H.P. Maxim...know-it-all elitist.

Amateur operators are supposed to teach each other the art of radio - the "Elmer".

In my 34 years as a ham (and 44 years of being involved with electronic communication in general) I've discovered two types of folks:

The teachable sponge;

The unteachable know-it-all.

I'll go to great lengths to help the former and even greater lengths to avoid the latter, particularly when they want my technical services for free.
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Old 12-28-2013, 4:54 PM
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Having been licensed less than a year, and forming your opinion of amateur radio operators bnased on internet forums, how much time do you have talking to people on the air? Do they all treat you like a fermented dog turd or are you basing your opinion of the entire hobby based on crankly old farts on the internet? Apples and oranges dude.
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Old 12-28-2013, 5:11 PM
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I find that the best approach is to always use the Golden Rule. I always try to be understanding to newcomers and people who might have less knowledge and experience, and to lend them a helping hand if I can. Of course there will always be some operators who are rude, egotistical, uppety and downright nasty, and for those clowns I will always give them back exactly what they deserve.
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Old 12-28-2013, 5:16 PM
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It's good to see that some of the replies have born out exactly what "olderookie" was saying! Of course some of the 40 year Hams think they know it all - they probably have spent many thousands of dollars ensuring they have the big rig to expound their theories to anyone who will listen. Just leave them alone to get on with it. They have to get someone to fix the rig when it goes wrong.
The name escapes me but someone said "The more I learn, the more I realise I know nothing".
I'm still learning. It may be trivial to some technically highly qualified people, but I enjoy building, modifying, repairing and mostly operating radios of all varieties. I'm quite prepared to pass my experiences on to others without judgement. I do get annoyed with those who ignore without acknowledgement any advice I donate, and then complain that they have made a wrong turn somewhere that I have warned them against.
Oh, I qualified as a professional radio operator 50 years ago, but I won't ram it down your throat. I do have a full ham ticket too - with CW! Do I use it? Not for a very long time!
...and I do agree with Ridgy.
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Old 12-28-2013, 5:42 PM
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From my nearly 40 year licensed perspective, I can't say as I have a problem with anything any of the more experienced hams have said in this thread. What happens in ham radio is simply a cross section of what happens in any specialized group of people. You get some people that have been doing something for many many years, and you get people coming into the hobby with various levels of knowledge.

What seems to be more prevalent these days is an attitude of entitlement whereby what's been earned the hard way by the old timers is expected to be given away for free to the newcomers. Cranky old men have been around forever, but the entitlement attitude is new.

I can understand the OP's frustration, but he's asking people who were told to "look it up" 40 years ago to "give me it" now, and that isn't the way to open doors and make the information flow.

I always found the old timers would warm up and share their knowledge when I would say "I'm new, this is what I think I know, what else do I need?" I was helped and taken under the wing of some of the most intimidating crankiest old farts you could ever hope to meet (or hope not to), and because I ask, not demanded, I received a TON of help when I was getting started.

Like I said before, the internet isn't representative of real life, so to judge the entire hobby on posts here is wrong. Radio people are not noted for being social butterflies, so don't expect them to act like they are.

Back when I was a kid, I mostly operated on cw. I ran into a bunch of old guys on 20 and 40 meters who would not slow down for me. They were friendly enough, but kept pushing me and pushing me until my cw abilities matched theirs. I earned their respect by putting forth the same level of effort that they did when they were young.

I suspect many new hams coming into the ranks today would have given up and said these old timers were mean. Quite the contrary. I learned far more from them BECAUSE they made me work at it. I also found the same attitudes are present in the aviation community. The cranky old pilots and mechanics will only help the new kids coming along that are putting forth the same honest effort that they had to when they were young.
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Old 12-28-2013, 5:44 PM
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Wirelessly posted (Moto Droid Bionic: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 4.1.2; en-us; DROID BIONIC Build/9.8.2O-72_VZW-22) AppleWebKit/534.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/534.30)

Amateur radio is what you make of it. It is a sample of the entire population. Listening since 1952, licensed for 38 years, there are modes and opportunities not even dreamed of back then. FWIW I enjoyed the CW Novice bands and the bottom of the Extra bands more than SSB. Not worth the time to deal with those who make things messy. A change of the frequency or the repeater channel works me. Life is too short.

The idea of teaching a "newbie" to fish works for me too. In all my SWL and ham radio writings since 1966, I don't assume prior knowledge of the subject. If writing on an advanced topic, I always included references to introductory material. With the Internet researching is much easier than BC (before computers). A little education on how to construct search engine queries is time well spent.

There isn't anything wrong about asking questions, but I also believe one should make a reasonable attempt to research and formulate a question. Just saying "I'm new... help..." doesn't get the job done.

The amount of info in the RR wiki and searchable in the many forums is incredible. Whether it be antenna theory or comments on equipment, many questions have probably already been answered. Take a read.

My opinions, FWIW. YMMV. Happy new year.
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Old 12-28-2013, 7:21 PM
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Even with the relaxed requirement for having to learn Morse Code, I have no interest in obtaining my license. Let's just say I agree with the gentleman who started this thread. Some HAM operators are in need of anger management.

I've monitored the conversations of some Ham operators here in Texas & I've found them to be very dull & boring. I would rather slit my wrists & drink my blood than to talk to someone on a Ham radio. Watching paint peel would be exciting, comparatively.

However, having said this, there are times when I would love to be a part of the Skywarn Community. I had a GMRS license at one time, but there are only two reasons why I would ever get involved in HAM: a) the requirement some states have for operating a mobile police scanner; b) everything worthy of listening on a police scanner was out of reach through technology or encryption.

Also, the thought of another HAM operator policing the airwaves to contact "Charlie" unnerves me. I don't trust Charlie. The protocol of having to give your call sign annoys me. I don't even know if you can use a an automatic call sign identifier like police departments use.

But, I can surely see the need to have protocol rules when you consider what happened to the CB community. It was and still remains to be the sewer of the airwaves.

Oh well, that is my opinion.
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Old 12-28-2013, 8:22 PM
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However, having said this, there are times when I would love to be a part of the Skywarn Community.
So, get your amateur radio license. I know hams who only turn their radios on when there is severe weather in the area and they only talk on amateur radio when there is severe weather to report. Having an amateur radio license does not require that you participate in the other amateur radio activities that you don't care for.

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Also, the thought of another HAM operator policing the airwaves to contact "Charlie" unnerves me. I don't trust Charlie.
By "Charlie" are you talking about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)? If so, why not just say "FCC"?

The self-policing nature of amateur radio in the U.S. is recognized by the FCC. Given the FCC's budgetary constraints, if hams don't police themselves, the FCC won't be able to stay on top of the issues.

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The protocol of having to give your call sign annoys me. I don't even know if you can use a an automatic call sign identifier like police departments use.
It may annoy you, but it's in the rules...just like it is for other radio services. And there's nothing stopping you from using an automatic identifier as long as it fully complies with the rules for station identification.
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Old 12-28-2013, 9:03 PM
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You have been licensed just under a year. As of tomorrow (12/29/2013), I will have been licensed for 21 years. I have been doing this longer than you so when it comes to amateur radio specifically, I know more than you. If I tell that I have an issue with your opinion, I will tell you why based on my experience and acquired knowledge.



Why should I stop telling someone to look something up? Speaking of acquired knowledge, some of us "OFs" still believe in the old (Chinese?) proverb, "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." I can't speak for anyone else, but that is my goal.... to teach you how to be on the other side of the forum and be the one who answers the questions instead of asking them all the time. You will never make it to that side of the forum if someone just keeps giving you the answers and nothing more.



OK, well this one I wholeheartedly agree with. There is a guy who made a comment (on another forum) who still blames the dropping of code tests as the reasons the bands are in such a state of disarray today. I did not pull any punches and told him this attitude is crap and he needs to get over himself.



No other way to learn? Sorry, not buying it. Yes, please ask questions, but when we tell you how to find the answer or where to find the answer, don't come back with an attitude. I have been associated with the egress end of the alimentary canal more than once for telling someone how or where to find the answer to their question.



I won't say anything here that I wouldn't tell you (or anyone else) in person.



I may not always be right. Just ask my wife! But as I said above, when it comes to amateur radio specifically, my opinion is based on more knowledge than you have.

And by the way, I live in Wentzville. If we meet, the coffee is on me! Just pay attention and you might just learn something you young whippersnapper!
I don't drink coffe old man.... but Mt Dew works for me LOL
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Old 12-28-2013, 10:11 PM
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This coming May, I'll be licensed for 29 years. In all that time, I've probably been active on the air maybe 12 years. My last bit of activity was for about a year on D-Star. And, that stopped earlier this year when a friend in NC changed shifts and now we keep in touch via the twisted pair. The local VHF/UHF repeaters aren't even used except by a few. D-Star is the most active. Unfortunately, all the same hams who were on 2m, are boring everyone there
I do understand about the different groups that are in radio clubs and on repeaters. I used to be an officer in at least three clubs. Won't do that again.
The greatest thing about radio, is that if you don't like what you hear, you can change frequencies, or shut the radio off.
Will I give up my license, no, because I'll never know when my abilities will be needed.
I've Elmered and taught novice and tech classes. It was always fulfilling to see how the new hams progressed through the ranks. I even had one become nationally known for his antennas.
My suggestion is to try different modes that are available to hams and see what you like.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:33 AM
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I took my test in September and had to wait for the government to start back up before I got my ticket. In November I went to my first local club meeting and joined. I have been trained since the 80's in Skywarn. I can kick myself for not getting my ticket back then. When I was at the club meeting I found out about Skywarn recognition day and signed up to take part for a 3 hour time slot. I was there for the better part of the day. I got to work 10 meters with our club president and had a blast. I know have a 10 meter rig and all my antennas for my shack I have constructed myself. I did a lot of reading on the internet to help me in my choices of antennas. I have also had good advice from the club members and have been welcomed into the "ham" community very well. I was told by an instructor when I was in diesel school there was no such thing as a stupid question. He stopped and then told the class, yes there is a stupid question, and that is the one that is not asked. He told us if you can not grasp what was being talked about, then ask, because someone else just may have a different way to explain it. I have ask questions here and have been given great advice and I am very thankful for that advice. I am not going to study and move up and get my general class. Electronics and radios have been a hobby since I was in middle school and always will be. Yes there are crab apples every where you turn. Those are the ones I try my best to avoid and ignore.

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Old 12-29-2013, 12:37 AM
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Yes, amateur radio can be a dysfunctional hobby. How many of these threads do we have to see about someone whining about, in their opinion, being treated poorly? News flash: this is life. I woulda thunk that this would have been figured out after living 45 years on this planet. You get to pick your friends and your social activities. It's a big hobby with several different niches and several different groups. We have all gone through this, myself included. I lived. I found a group of people in amateur radio I get along great with. We welcome new hams. I'm a VE. I've facilitated classes before. All of this at the ripe license tenure of only five years and only a general class. I don't even have that much technical knowledge, but I fake it until I make it. I can really look back and say I'm proud of what I've done to bring new hams into the hobby and make them comfortable once they're licensed, and keep their activity sustainable. You're demanding that hams stop telling people they're wrong in their opinion, but you're doing the same thing by saying their opinion is wrong. If this is so important to you, then go out and make a difference. You would be more effective if you actually practiced what you preach then create a great first impression to prospective ham ops or newly-licensed hams. Form a club. Become an elmer for someone if you know so much. Go teach a class then. Become a VE. Most of all, don't demoralize the hobby by posting these pity-party threads. I'm sure these make a great impression to outsiders.

Additional thoughts: at my tech test, I got laughed at by a bunch of college engineering students because I wasn't as technical as they were. There was also another older gentleman in that same group that was telling me that "D-STAR isn't real ham radio" even though I was really interested in. Instead of posting a pity-party thread on the internet about my experience, I took the test and forged through. I knew there was much more of the hobby outside that room and I didn't have to put up with these guys any longer after I walked out the door with my CSCE. And I got over all of that and improved the hobby in my area for prospective hams and new hams. So, what are you going to do about it?

Last edited by newsphotog; 12-29-2013 at 12:44 AM..
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