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Old 03-11-2014, 3:42 AM
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Default Is this Amateur / Ham Radio?

A quick question for everybody: is amateur / ham radio only the transmitting side or could you class short wave / medium wave listening as part of this? I guess my question is how can this side of the hobby be described if it does not fit in to the above?

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Old 03-11-2014, 6:05 AM
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Amateur Radio is generally 2-way communications, both receiving and transmitting.

Shortwave Listening is just receiving.
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Old 03-11-2014, 6:24 AM
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Bob is right, but I just want to add that amateur radio is what you make of it. There is no cookie cutter definition; it's whatever you enjoy - and if you ever get bored with that, there's room to explore. I have a full station set up and do far more listening inside and outside of the amateur radio bands than I do transmitting.
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Old 03-11-2014, 7:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 902 View Post
Bob is right, but I just want to add that amateur radio is what you make of it. There is no cookie cutter definition; it's whatever you enjoy - and if you ever get bored with that, there's room to explore. I have a full station set up and do far more listening inside and outside of the amateur radio bands than I do transmitting.
I agree wholeheartedly. The hobby is much bigger than the "official" ham spectrum. I listen more than transmitting also. I've operated beacons on the 160-190khz band, used lasers for communication, listened to "natural earth" at vlf, and yes... still enjoy CB.

It's all good.
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Old 03-11-2014, 8:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pb_lonny View Post
A quick question for everybody: is amateur / ham radio only the transmitting side or could you class short wave / medium wave listening as part of this? I guess my question is how can this side of the hobby be described if it does not fit in to the above?

Paul
You will find that many of us began as short wave listeners before becoming licensed. As a kid, I enjoyed the wide spectrum of international broadcast stations and collected loads of reception cards, banners, patches, pins, and other neat stuff that I still have in a box for my grandson who is starting to listen. There are still times that I enjoy listening to these national radio outlets from around the world (althous there are fewer of them these days).

While amateur radio is based on two-way communications, as others have stated, there is room for each person's interests and are as different as fingerprints.
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Old 03-11-2014, 8:58 AM
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Ok so all you hams out there that sandbag or listen,thats not ham radio,better start talking up your local repeaters or frequencies.
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Old 03-11-2014, 7:29 PM
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Thanks for the replies. So is amateur / ham radio the right term for this or hobby radio?
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Old 03-11-2014, 8:07 PM
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"Amateur Radio" is being a licensee in the Amateur Radio Service,
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Old 03-11-2014, 9:04 PM
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Thanks for the replies. So is amateur / ham radio the right term for this or hobby radio?
Following the comments by our resident purists, SWL would be a hobby activity. Amateur radio, by said definitions, is another related avocation that involves the two-way communication on the designated amateur radio bands appropriate to your license. It all ain't repeaters and there is lots of room for a wide variety of modes and special interests contained therein.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:21 PM
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Traditionally, a non-licensed person who just listens is NOT practicing amateur or ham radio. You can call the listening-only hobby whatever you want, but if you call it ham radio, or amateur radio, most of the 3 million some-odd ham operators worldwide will say you're wrong.
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Old 03-12-2014, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by zz0468 View Post
You can call the listening-only hobby whatever you want
That is my question, what would you call it?
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Old 03-12-2014, 2:07 AM
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I am an SWL and MW DXer. I monitor the ham bands almost as much as I monitor the SW broadcast bands. I've been monitoring the ham bands fairly regularly since the early 1980's when I first heard a DX pile up on 15 meters, and realised it was pretty cool to hear ham stations from all over the world, as well as SW broadcast stations.

But I would never refer to myself as a 'ham', because to me that moniker belongs to those who have license to transmit. Sometimes when explaining my radio hobby to non radio enthusiasts I will say it is similar to ham radio, but I will always differentiate what I do from ham radio, and I never refer to myself as a ham.

I think SWL (Shortwave Listener), SW DXer, MW DXer, AM Band DXer (in the U.S.), FM DXer, Scanner enthusiast (if someone's into that -- I'm not.) etc. are probably more appropriate terms for our part of the radio hobby.
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Old 03-12-2014, 8:06 AM
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Originally Posted by pb_lonny View Post
That is my question, what would you call it?
If you're a listener on the LW, MW, or HF bands, you're a "SWL" (Short Wave Listener)
If you're a listener on the VHF+ bands, you're a "scanner enthusiast"
If you're a listener of all things RF than you're a "radio enthusiast"
If you have an Amateur Radio license, you're a "ham" or "amateur radio operator"
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Old 03-12-2014, 8:15 AM
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I think we're to the point where we're playing "semantics".

In my recollection, the historical interpretation of "amateur" in amateur radio was simply meant to mean someone not professionally paid when practicing the radio "art".

I am interested in radio from ELF to SHF. I like, and am interested in using rf devices with the aim towards communication. I do this as an unpaid hobby. I do not make my living at it. Therefore, in the truest sense of the word, I am an "amateur radio operator" whether I am in a "ham band" using equipment or not.

If you wish to narrow the term "amateur radio operator" to someone who operates within the confines of the allotted FCC-ARRL licensing spectrum, then I'm not going to challenge your interpretation. That's what it is... a mental interpretation

As stated, I have made transmitting and receiving equipment in the 160 to 190khz band, the ELF band, the cb band, as well as the "FM" and "AM" bands under the Part 15 clause.

I would say I'm an "amateur radio operator", and would appear to be so under the definition in the above paragraphs.

It's all semantics anyway, and all individual interpretation of mental concepts.

... and definitely not worth generating much "heat" over.
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Old 03-12-2014, 8:21 AM
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I love philosophical discussion.

If amateur radio is solely the art of bi-directional communication (me to you, through a medium, battling noise of all sorts, you back to me, with encoding of meaning, followed by understanding and compliance), then what would we call building repeaters (something that I compare to NCIS' Gibbs building his boat in the basement; I find beauty in rebuilding 70s vintage stock two-way radio systems that use professional equipment for amateur use... just my weirdness), or antennas, restoring an abused Collins S-Line, or just homebrewing a QRP rig simply for the joy of doing so?

And, we have the folks who I wonder about, who are DSTAR, Echolink, or IRLP enthusiasts (I've played with all 3 and they weren't for me)? They are no less hams than we are, even if they might not even be using a radio for their QSO. (I draw the line at eQSLs, though. LOL.)

The only prerequisite to being an amateur radio operator is having a license. I'd even extend that to someone who's actively studying for a license. They are immersed in the hobby, too.
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Old 03-12-2014, 3:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 902 View Post
The only prerequisite to being an amateur radio operator is having a license. I'd even extend that to someone who's actively studying for a license. They are immersed in the hobby, too.
Would this extend to somebody who has passed the tests, held a licence for a number of years and then let it lapse but still has the certificate of proficiency?
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Last edited by W9BU; 03-12-2014 at 4:58 PM.. Reason: fixed quoting
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Old 03-12-2014, 8:05 PM
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Would this extend to somebody who has passed the tests, held a licence for a number of years and then let it lapse but still has the certificate of proficiency?
I'm not the judge of that. One of my friends grew up in ham radio and drifted away from it. He owns one of the largest mobile special event communications networks and goes all over the country with it, from event to event. He would fit that category to a T. Certainly proficient, beyond my level of proficiency. And he could waltz into a VE test and get it back if that's what he wants to do, and someday that fancy might strike him. I think all he'd need to do is memorize the current frequency charts and the most recent Part 97. But he enjoys what he does. In my mind he's maybe more of a ham than I am. He just isn't currently licensed.

And, let's not forget Edwin Armstrong (one of my personal heroes). He was a member of the Radio Club of America. He was not a an amateur radio operator, per se, but he hung out with them, invented superheterodyne receivers and the frequency modulation technique, among many other things contributing to what every one of us here does every day. If he did not do what he did, there would be no scanners today - or they would exist in some very radically different form.

I suppose what I'm saying is that if you're really into this, "amateur radio" is in your mind and heart. That's what makes a good ham a good ham. All you need to get on the air then is to take the test.
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Old 03-12-2014, 8:10 PM
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As stated, I have made transmitting and receiving equipment in the 160 to 190khz band, the ELF band, the cb band, as well as the "FM" and "AM" bands under the Part 15 clause.
I don't intend to threadjack, but can you please post another thread about what you do on VLF and ELF? This has been on my amateur radio bucket list for years. I've read up on doing this, and I tune around as low as my Icom and my son's Kenwood will go, but I've never met anyone who was very into it. I hope you will show off your station and equipment!
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Old 03-12-2014, 8:20 PM
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That is my question, what would you call it?
Traditionally, the term has been SWL, for short wave listener. That seems to apply to scanner listeners, too. The Part 15 low frequency enthusiasts refer to themselves as LowFER's.
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Old 03-12-2014, 8:28 PM
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Would this extend to somebody who has passed the tests, held a licence for a number of years and then let it lapse but still has the certificate of proficiency?
Paul, I checked out your website. When you say "Ultralight DXing" are you listening aboard an ultralight aircraft? Or is it travelling with an ultralight receiver and setting up somewhere high up or out of the way? BTW, been down that road once or twice myself. The things you do and the friends you have will get you through just about anything. Hope you get your ticket back. I can use a contact with Tasmania!
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