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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 04-08-2012, 4:10 PM
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Ham Radio is a Hobby??????? I get it! The Govt. does not want us to save the world.
No idea what you're asking in the first question, nor what you conclude in the last sentence.
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Old 04-08-2012, 6:57 PM
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What are you talking about?

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Ham Radio is a Hobby??????? I get it! The Govt. does not want us to save the world.
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  #43 (permalink)  
Old 04-08-2012, 7:52 PM
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Sorry Boys, To put it simply, The person who started this topic was not Happy with sky warn at all.As for the Question It was also the answer. WE are Amateurs and this is a hobby. As for the Govt. They know when the storms are about to start,They monitor conditions 24 hrs. each and every day. Driving around in a severe storm while on the radio reporting, Well I think They want I to take cover and not add to the problems that may be caused by the storm. Sky Warn can work and does in many cases. It may be a better Idea to lower the tower and disconect Antennas and seek Refuge from the storm,monitor and report from a safe location.After the storm check on a neighbor and see if they need help. Also safety is a concern If you want to help on a larger level many towns have Volunteer first-aid and fire Depts. You will get proper training and that is the key training...
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by WX4EMT View Post
If I may make a suggestion:

Join SpotterNetwork.org (free)

Take the online training. (free)

Certify as a trained spotter. (free)

Get the apporpriate APP for your phone PYKL3 for Android StormScope for iPhone (cheap)

Link the RADAR APP to your SpotterNetwork account. (free)

When you report severe weather via SN it is injected directly into NWS Chat and the forecaster sees it immediately. SPC also gets the feed and can react appropriately from there. I see almost all of my reports in the Storm Report from SPC so I know it works.

If you REALLY want to make a difference, here is your chance.
Thank you, and I have done all of the above, as well as registered with the NWS, I am now BU137 when I call the 800 number I have now!
I also have radarscope, iAPRS, spotter network and echolink on my phone.
I also brought this issue up with the Skywarn members that I've had the pleasure to meet, while still unsure how to solve issues like this in the future, it was agreed it's an issue mainly due to lack of spotters.
I have taken part in several storm spots since, but now have the tools and means to not have to rely on just one means of communication any more!
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:28 PM
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FWIW We have a similar problem here in Memphis. On air reports seem to be all or nothing. You either can't get through the traffic to make a report or there is no one to make / receive a report. We are, after all volunteers.

Those of us that really take this stuff seriously came together and formed the Dixie Alley Storm Chase Team. We are all members of SpotterNetwork and we all train to levels way beyond Skywarn. In July we will have our DASC CON Severe Weather Workshop in an effort to better align local Emergency Management, spotters and NWS. 2 Skywarn classes will be held and keynote speakers Chris Chittick of Tornado Videos dot NET and Tim Samaras of TWISTEX will give presentations on the latest research and reporting of severe weather. Lots of fun, we have vendors and exhibits as well as a storm chaser car show.

If you really want to get into severe weather come see us in July, we'll take you to the next level.

DASCCON 1 - The Dixie Alley Storm Chase Team
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  #46 (permalink)  
Old 04-12-2012, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by WX4EMT View Post
FWIW We have a similar problem here in Memphis. On air reports seem to be all or nothing. You either can't get through the traffic to make a report or there is no one to make / receive a report. We are, after all volunteers.

Those of us that really take this stuff seriously came together and formed the Dixie Alley Storm Chase Team. We are all members of SpotterNetwork and we all train to levels way beyond Skywarn. In July we will have our DASC CON Severe Weather Workshop in an effort to better align local Emergency Management, spotters and NWS. 2 Skywarn classes will be held and keynote speakers Chris Chittick of Tornado Videos dot NET and Tim Samaras of TWISTEX will give presentations on the latest research and reporting of severe weather. Lots of fun, we have vendors and exhibits as well as a storm chaser car show.

If you really want to get into severe weather come see us in July, we'll take you to the next level.

DASCCON 1 - The Dixie Alley Storm Chase Team
If I am off work that day I will be there!
  #47 (permalink)  
Old 04-17-2012, 12:17 AM
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WOW! What a week this has been! I've lived in KS my entire life, I'll be 43 in August, and I've seen two tornadoes, Saturday night I called in three tornadoes from my back yard!
Last count I heard we had 97 tornadoes total in KS alone and at any given time 40% of the state of KS was under a tornado warning! It was really bad folks! Really, really bad, shook me up something fierce!
But due to warnings and preparation, there were two serious injuries, A few small injuries, and NO fatalities! That is incredible to me!
The local and national media where all over this storm and Skywarn was right in the middle of things, it could not have had a better out come! I sincerely hope and pray I never have to spot another storm of that magnitude again! Everything about it was scary!
It was bad enough the county CERT guys have invited me to their monthly meeting for a Q&A on what I saw and how to prepare for another one!
So I must humbly say I'm sorry for starting this thread in the manner I did, but I'm very glad to have the meaningful and constructive conversations, and the education, that we have had from it all at the same time!
I'm really thinking now that being over prepared isn't even enough when having to deal with things of this nature!
  #48 (permalink)  
Old 04-17-2012, 11:35 AM
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Dissent is the life blood of progress. If a person doesn't like the direction being taken they can voice their opinion and after it is all hashed out things are usually better. When the ones in charge gets the "40 year plan" attitude and stifles dissent the end is near.

Skywarn systems are rife with this type of thinking so when I encounter it I simply adopted the "end run" by using SpotterNetwork and direct call-ins.

Just think where you would be standing right now if you hadn't voiced your dissent if we hadn't had this discussion and you hadn't explored your options. You are better - stronger - more knowledgeable and your efforts may have saved a life or two. NEVER adopt a "40 year plan" strategy.... NEVER.

For folks that aren't familiar with "40 year plan" that's when the Fire Chief says, "That's the way we done it fer 20 years so that's the way we're gonna do it fer another 20." I hated that man, he killed a couple of good firefighters and ruined the attitudes and careers of countless others....... NEVER
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WX4EMT View Post
FWIW We have a similar problem here in Memphis. On air reports seem to be all or nothing. You either can't get through the traffic to make a report or there is no one to make / receive a report. We are, after all volunteers.

Those of us that really take this stuff seriously came together and formed the Dixie Alley Storm Chase Team. We are all members of SpotterNetwork and we all train to levels way beyond Skywarn. In July we will have our DASC CON Severe Weather Workshop in an effort to better align local Emergency Management, spotters and NWS. 2 Skywarn classes will be held and keynote speakers Chris Chittick of Tornado Videos dot NET and Tim Samaras of TWISTEX will give presentations on the latest research and reporting of severe weather. Lots of fun, we have vendors and exhibits as well as a storm chaser car show.

If you really want to get into severe weather come see us in July, we'll take you to the next level.

DASCCON 1 - The Dixie Alley Storm Chase Team
Just so happens I'll be down there in Memphis starting my annual 3mo get-away at my family's about then. I'd love to go a step beyond just basic Skywarn. Is it a free thing for the classes? Gotta preregister?
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  #50 (permalink)  
Old 04-18-2012, 12:44 AM
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Just so happens I'll be down there in Memphis starting my annual 3mo get-away at my family's about then. I'd love to go a step beyond just basic Skywarn. Is it a free thing for the classes? Gotta preregister?
Free!!! I like FREE!!

DixieChasers.net click the banner get the info and come on! We'd love to see you there.
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  #51 (permalink)  
Old 04-18-2012, 1:51 AM
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To one of the posters above, you realize that the thread is about a year old

To sum it up in my personal, professional and ancidontal observations...

Skywarn is a non-interconnected network of ham radio operators that formed years ago.

Skywarn groups that operate under the guidence of their local NWS office typically perform well

Skywarn groups that operate outside of the gudience above, do not fair as well (usually)

Skywarn groups that operate in the midwest typically perform very well compared to other areas of the country that do not experience severe weather as often - and due to lack of events and expereince, again, operate poorly.

Skywarn will consist of ham radio members that:
-Invests in new technologies and practices
-Resists advances in technoliges and practices
-Older members that like to do things how they were in the 60's and 70's and resist change
-Newer members that want to do things a different way and resist change
-Know their place in emergency service
-Believe they are the SWAT team of weather with emergency powers
-Never wrong
-Always right
-Know more than a forecaster
-Is a forecaster

Now, some will get a kick out of the above, some will protest, others will agree or agree to disagree.

Since being in public safety in 1996 (and a licensed ham since 1997) I have seen the whole gammet of ham operators. Some good, some not so good. A few of us in the county public safety community (as well as the director for the 911 center) sat in a Skywarn class - where two of the "head hams" as well called them....informed the local NWS officer that they - the local ham group - was the back up communications team for the county 911 system. Kinda took as by surprised as we were sitting in the back watching this unfold. I wish that was the first time it happened.

As I get older and wiser, I see two distinct groups and its effect.

The older guys are set in their ways and do not want change, and stick with the rules that have been voided years ago. They will run the weather net (and any other net) with an iron fist. You could be getting hit by lightning and trying to make an emergency call but if its not your turn on the net - beware of the wrath thats coming down. After they are done getting reports, they may forward it off to the NWS after they check into a HF weather net to see if there is any similar stuff going on 150 miles away.

The newer guys are in two groups.

Group A - Have the technology, are up on whats going on and are proactive. These may or may not included Skywarn/NWS spotters and will take the inititive to report directly or in indirect ways of true hazards. They will check in with the net if required, but will inform they have already made the report or send an update at that time

Group B - Newer to moderately seasoned hams that believe that their spotter class and CERT classes give them (along with non-hams) the right to run amber/white/sometimes red/blue lights and sirens to severe weather locations to do "their duty" and make it known that they are Lt Col Hammy and pass themselves off as an authority figure. They demand that NWS put out warnings, call in to local 911 and do all sorts of weird stuff. They have vehicles outfitted to look like legit emergency vehicles or like a rejected prop from Mad Max. The ARES people and not mentally all there type of people are included in this.

We are our own worse enemy, and with all the emphasis on homeland security/CERT, public weather awareness and generally the internet and the ease of doing what you want, I don't think its going to get any better anytime soon. With the advent of storm chasing being "mainstream" in the past few years - its a downhill slide all the way around. A recent (though not a well authored article out of Kansas that went nationwide) about amateur storm chasers clogging up backroads is just the beginning. As more and more people jump on the Storm Chaser dream, more local officals will call for some time of legistation to curtail the activities (though difficut and usually with poor/bad/trumped up incidents).

I hate to say the end is near as its not, but I think you may see the hammer come down from various angles that will make life difficult.





















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  #52 (permalink)  
Old 04-18-2012, 11:08 AM
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Sorry Boys, To put it simply, The person who started this topic was not Happy with sky warn at all.As for the Question It was also the answer. WE are Amateurs and this is a hobby. As for the Govt. They know when the storms are about to start,They monitor conditions 24 hrs. each and every day. Driving around in a severe storm while on the radio reporting, Well I think They want I to take cover and not add to the problems that may be caused by the storm. Sky Warn can work and does in many cases. It may be a better Idea to lower the tower and disconect Antennas and seek Refuge from the storm,monitor and report from a safe location.After the storm check on a neighbor and see if they need help. Also safety is a concern If you want to help on a larger level many towns have Volunteer first-aid and fire Depts. You will get proper training and that is the key training...
ACTUALLY here in Texas many SKYWARM members DO go out in heir vehicles and set up in areas to observe weather conditions [they are also reminded to stay in safe areas.] THIS does help NWS as many folks such as myself cannot get a good line of sight in areas [I live in an apartment complex and have many building around me AND i don't climb roofs!!] these folks stay out of danger while reporting conditions and funnels or tornadoes. Many Police andn Fire may be with them also in these areas as well and I've never heard anyone say anything bad because a SKYWARN guy was there as well. Different regions have different problems. and mindsets. Nany iot is with the Hams andnothers it's with the public safety folks

PJH,
I think you hit a lot right there. BUT some PS folks ALSO have a complex with hams. [BTW I've was in Public Service Comms for several years myself]. it takes BOTH working together to work right. ALSO you MIGHT need these hams if your system ever fails for any length of time. [very rare chance BUT ya never know.
  #53 (permalink)  
Old 04-18-2012, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
PJH, I think you hit a lot right there. BUT some PS folks ALSO have a complex with hams. [BTW I've was in Public Service Comms for several years myself]. it takes BOTH working together to work right. ALSO you MIGHT need these hams if your system ever fails for any length of time. [very rare chance BUT ya never know.
Based on my observations and friends throughout the US, it seems to come down to the local groups, and geographically where you are (city/town). Some hams have the notion that they can handle all city traffic, but have no concept of what goes on at the other side of the scanner which makes them inefficent. Emergency services want to pick up the mic and talk, while many hams want to run it as a formal net. Also the likelyhood in many major cities are that comms are so redundant that a single point of failure is unlikely. I will agree that it can occur, but these days it is in the less than 1% catagory. You also do not see active EMA as intense as you see as you go west. Many towns are self sufficent and are their own kingdoms.

Now as you start moving west, you don't have the budgets as the east have, and the Sheriff's department may be running the whole show with one dispatcher on duty and using a mobile radio as the normal base station. However you are also looking at populations and call volumes that are well under that you find on the east/west coasts or major population areas or suburbs.

To bring the ham community onboard and into emergency communications requires a true ham leader with a game plan and hams that are willing to scede a leadership role to that person(s) within a chain of command and be able to train regualarly and be profiecent.

There is no one right fit and must be tailored to each area, but with the advent of cell phones, internet, smartphones, reliable communications systems, its harder (but not impossible) to justify.

/rant
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:07 PM
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Awesome post PJ, lotta truth in that!
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Old 04-18-2012, 2:37 PM
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A lot of truth indeed! We have some "young guns" that run up and down the road at 85mph with Skywarn magnets on the truck, yellow lights etc., overly ambitious is what I call it. They are in for the chase.
That is not what Skywarn is about! The majority of us follow what net control suggests, note I said suggests as they do not ever tell us what to do other than move from our location as it's a dangerous place to be. They want to know where we are and will say yea or nae if it's a good location to be in.
If anything comes up net control always asks the operator if the cell is moving in a direction towards them and encourages them to move elsewhere if it is.
I can't stress enough, Skywarn isn't about chasing, it's about spotting from a safe location! I have no cameras, no video, no signs and no flashing lights that are "drunk magnets" ! Just a plain pick up, a ham radio and a cell phone with some apps that may or may not work in the area I am in.
I chased in my younger days, I have no desire to do so again! I've really come to appreciate the efforts my net controller puts in to make sure we are all a safe distance from danger!
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Old 04-18-2012, 2:38 PM
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This is straight from Skywarn's site. If an 'official" group such as Skywarn, REACT or others are unavailable and a HAM wants to help out their neighbors then by all means get on a good repeater and get some people together in case maybe someone outside the trouble area to check in with. While things are in motion then make sure you and your neghbors are safe and then jump on and give an unofficial report.They can help make phone calls if someone is hurt or contacting family members. When living in Los Angeles, their dispatch center had a HAM shack set up with an operator if they needed it. Not sure if they still do it has been a few years. Here is the ABOUT page from Skywarn what it is from their viewpoint.


About
The effects of severe weather are felt every year by many Americans. To obtain critical weather information, NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, established SKYWARN® with partner organizations. SKYWARN® is a volunteer program with nearly 290,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.

Although SKYWARN® spotters provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, the main responsibility of a SKYWARN® spotter is to identify and describe severe local storms. In the average year, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes occur across the United States. These events threatened lives and property.

Since the program started in the 1970s, the information provided by SKYWARN® spotters, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite and other data, has enabled NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods.

SKYWARN® storm spotters are part of the ranks of citizens who form the Nation’s first line of defense against severe weather. There can be no finer reward than to know that their efforts have given communities the precious gift of time–seconds and minutes that can help save lives.

Who is Eligible?
NWS encourages anyone with an interest in public service and access to communication, such HAM radio, to join the SKYWARN® program. Volunteers include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers and other concerned private citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are also encouraged to become a spotter.

How Can I Get Involved?
NWS has 122 local Weather Forecast Offices, each with a Warning Coordination Meteorologist, who is responsible for administering the SKYWARN® program in their local area. Training is conducted at these local offices and covers:

•Basics of thunderstorm development
•Fundamentals of storm structure
•Identifying potential severe weather features
•Information to report
•How to report information
•Basic severe weather safety
Classes are free and typically are about two hours long. To find out when a SKYWARN® class will be conducted in local your area, contact your local Warning Coordination Meteorologist at: NWS StormReady Contacts

SKYWARN is a concept developed in the late 1960s that was intended to promote a cooperative effort between the National Weather Service and communities. The emphasis of the effort is often focused on the storm spotter, an individual who takes a position near their community and reports wind gusts, hail size, rainfall, and cloud formations that could signal a developing tornado. Another part of SKYWARN is the receipt and effective distribution of National Weather Service information.

The organization of spotters and the distribution of warning information may lies with the National Weather Service or with an emergency management agency within the community. This agency could be a police or fire department, or often is an emergency management/service group (what people might still think of as civil defense groups). This varies across the country however, with local national weather service offices taking the lead in some locations, while emergency management takes the lead in other areas.

SKYWARN is not a club or organization, however, in some areas where Emergency Management programs do not perform the function, people have organized SKYWARN groups that work independent of a parent government agency and feed valuable information to the National Weather Service. While this provides the radar meteorologist with much needed input, the circuit is not complete if the information does not reach those who can activate sirens or local broadcast systems.

SKYWARN spotters are not by definition “Storm Chasers”. While their functions and methods are similar, the spotter stays close to home and usually has ties to a local agency. Storm chasers often cover hundreds of miles a day. The term Storm Chaser covers a wide variety of people. Some are meteorologists doing specific research or are gathering basic information (like video) for training and comparison to radar data. Others chase storms to provide live information for the media, and others simply do it for the thrill.

Storm Spotting and Storm Chasing is dangerous and should not be done without proper training, experience and equipment.

The National Weather Service conducts spotter training classes across the United States, and your local National Weather Service office should be consulted as to when the next class will be held.

SKYWARN® is a registered trademark of NOAA’s National Weather Service. Rules for the usage of the SKYWARN® name and logo are available here.
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Old 04-18-2012, 9:25 PM
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To bring the ham community onboard and into emergency communications requires a true ham leader with a game plan and hams that are willing to scede a leadership role to that person(s) within a chain of command and be able to train regualarly and be profiecent.
Not to get further off topic, but the biggest issues in the ham community IMHO is the new "no-code attitude" and loss of all the good old timer elmers. They dropped the code to encourage more people to enter the avocation of amateur radio. Well...be careful what you wish for.

A large number of the individuals who came in since no-code have no interest in some of the basic foundations of ham radio like training in traffic and net operation for emergencies, proper on-air proceedure, and, in general, being well behaved in actual emergencies. And with the old-school generation passing on, there's less and less experienced hams to teach these essentials.

Combine that with storm chasing and well, I'm sure you guys can tell more stories than I.

But as a professional photographer (I do seasonal severe WX work in an artistic aspect), ham radio operator, and emergency responder...seeing all sides...I think if as a community hams can get back to the days of "teach, teach, teach...learn, learn, learn", there wouldn't be so many out there making a**es of the rest of us. O:-) And hams could get along with emcom again.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:03 PM
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Well, yes and no. Also depends if your are speaking of no-code techs from the late 90's or the recent no-code license upgrades

I think all the way around, the code/no code arguement is part of the overall state of ham radio adn its diverse alpha male mentaility and its strong personalailities that are prevenant in all aspects of the hobby.

When Hamsexy was launched and the HS vs QRZ threads were all over the place, I think that said a lot about the state of the hobby.

It can be expanded with the following topics over the past several years:

-Code vs no code
-Lip mount vs mag mount
-PL vs CSQ
-Analog vs digital
-DSTAR vs P25 vs TRBO
-Commerical vs ham radios
-Extra class = Field Marshall vs Tech = Private First Class
-ARRL is god vs ARRL is out of touch

....and so on and so fourth. The bigger problem is that so many people want to be so much without any real training by winging it and that there is no real central authority to regualate it...ham radio is running amuck and bringing it down to a point. Too many pots in the fire, and some fires have since become hot coals that some view as raging forest fires that hams need to be air dropped into.

We are our own worse nightmare.

(Just a no code tech since 1997)
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:38 PM
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And here we are, welcome to another QRZ thread! Might as well throw me under the bus now as I'm a no code flunky as well! Been a tech for two years so I must be worthless as I didn't have to walk twenty miles uphill both ways in the snow to the FCC office and have to get my license. I am but a failure! I am so sorry!
And people wonder why this hobby isn't attracting new members, people tell me to get on the radio and talk to my friends and have fun. I keep running into this wall, I'm not welcome, I didn't "earn" my ticket as many think I should have and I don't enjoy getting on the radio and rag chewing with others because I get treated like dirt because of the no code ruling.
I've always enjoyed watching the weather and have always been interested in it. Now I have a chance to be able to help people and use a tool I EARNED the right to use to do so!
But if it bothers you so much i'll stay silent next time I see a tornado heading towards population because I don't meet the expectations of a "true ham operator".
I've dealt with more jerks since getting my license than I think I've met in my entire life! No wonder this is a dying hobby!
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Old 04-19-2012, 5:55 AM
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Originally Posted by KD0LWU View Post
And here we are, welcome to another QRZ thread! Might as well throw me under the bus now as I'm a no code flunky as well! Been a tech for two years so I must be worthless as I didn't have to walk twenty miles uphill both ways in the snow to the FCC office and have to get my license. I am but a failure! I am so sorry!
And people wonder why this hobby isn't attracting new members, people tell me to get on the radio and talk to my friends and have fun. I keep running into this wall, I'm not welcome, I didn't "earn" my ticket as many think I should have and I don't enjoy getting on the radio and rag chewing with others because I get treated like dirt because of the no code ruling.
I've always enjoyed watching the weather and have always been interested in it. Now I have a chance to be able to help people and use a tool I EARNED the right to use to do so!
But if it bothers you so much i'll stay silent next time I see a tornado heading towards population because I don't meet the expectations of a "true ham operator".
I've dealt with more jerks since getting my license than I think I've met in my entire life! No wonder this is a dying hobby!
Know what ya mean, been times I've felt like a duck out of water myself. I've chatted with a few folks when i irst got my ticket [ '95] and when they found out I was a No Code tech they'd dump me in a heartbeat. [One RACES meeting we had an older guy start his yapping about no code and found out 10 of us were no coders LOL he never returned just up and quit. Don't let what others think ruin it for you. there are more out there who will chat with you regardless of code or no code.

BUT This is not coder vs no coder this is about SKYWARN and if done properly is very valuable. True many doing SKYWARN want to chase BUT I've heard many in SKYWARN tell em we don' want a chaser we want a watcher. I think a lot of this has to do with some of the movies they've comeout with in the past and these chaser shows they have now that shows the glory of the chase. FOLKS these are PROFFESSIONALS many are SCIENTISTS studying a science learning [ya I know some are in it for the glory and big TV bucks]

In many areas SKYWARN doesn't work in many areas it does work. Like RACES and ARES may work in areas but get screwed up in others. Different regions, different mindsets. What can you do?
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