College Student Considering Ham Radio

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KCChiefs9690

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I've been interested in radio communications since 2001 when my dad bought me the new-at-the-time PRO-93 scanner. I've just recently thought about getting into amateur radio and I have a few questions/concerns. Are there that many younger users out there (im 20)? If not, no big deal, as long as the older folk make me feel welcome on the air. Do new operators get looked down upon while on the air? Also, I've been reading several ham sites on the web and they mention how some repeaters are private as opposed to open. How do I know whether or not I may use it without getting chewed out on the air? Also, I do have a Motorola JT1000 HT, and am thinking about purchasing a mobile unit also if I decide to get my ticket.
 

RadioCopFFFR

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The great state of Tennessee
I think you should go for it. I have been a ham for about 6 years. I had the bug when I was in my teens and had tried but then lost interest. I had picked it back up about 15 years later. I only wish I had tried again sooner. I have enjoyed the hobby extremely well. I even use some commerical equipment that I use for my public safety employments for the ham bands. I like the commerical gear better for the fact that it is more rugged. I may be fairly large compared to the ham equipment. But I like it. I wish you luck with getting your ticket. The area I live in has an awesome group of hams and they welcome all ages. There is even a couple of young operators under the age of 10. It is encouraging to hear them on the air. One of them is even a net control operator. He has called a nightly net for a while. He does a good job and everyone is patient with him and helps him where they can. The part about the private repeaters is that more than likely you won't get chewed out but you may get asked to leave the frequency or told that it is a private repeater.
 
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darg

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Jan 17, 2010
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San Jose, CA
Go for it. Youngster are having the better discipline since they are new and still go with the rules :) No, honestly, nobody is looking down on you cause you are new on the air. I'm in the SF Bay Area and have my Tech license since beginning of Januray and made yesterday my General Class. The Technician is just the lure they throw out on you, HF is the bait and forget everything about CB, it's so limited and the HAM equipment is much better.
The determination of an open or closed repeater is in general if they show their code tone in the repeater guide it's open :) OPen repeater are often run by clubs and this is how they get new members, defenitly look for a local club. It's a good starting point. I'm doing the same at the moment.
Have fun and get the ticket....
 

KB1LQC

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Rochester, NY
College Student

I've been interested in radio communications since 2001 when my dad bought me the new-at-the-time PRO-93 scanner. I've just recently thought about getting into amateur radio and I have a few questions/concerns. Are there that many younger users out there (im 20)? If not, no big deal, as long as the older folk make me feel welcome on the air. Do new operators get looked down upon while on the air? Also, I've been reading several ham sites on the web and they mention how some repeaters are private as opposed to open. How do I know whether or not I may use it without getting chewed out on the air? Also, I do have a Motorola JT1000 HT, and am thinking about purchasing a mobile unit also if I decide to get my ticket.
Go for it. It would be great to know more of your interest and if they align with your major? Such as building electronics or maybe an interest in emcomm. If you are interested in seeing the activity of amateur radio and college students check out CollegeARC which is an online community for college radio amateurs. It's aimed at helping school clubs work together and students learn more about amateur radio. Hope to see you on the bands!




Bryce
KB1LQC
 

AK9R

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Are there that many younger users out there (im 20)? If not, no big deal, as long as the older folk make me feel welcome on the air.
One of the big concerns in ham radio these days is that the average age of licensed amateur radio operators seems to be increasing. I'm not sure if our ranks are aging any faster than the general population, though. The ham radio club I used to be a member of had 1 member under age 30 out of about 25 members, if that's any indication.

Whether or not you are made to feel welcome on the air depends somewhat on you. If you get your license and just key up and start talking, you may be shunned by some of the older hams. It will serve you well if you listen to the local repeaters to get a feel for the kinds of people who hang out on them and learn the way things are done in your area. It will also help if you find an elmer. Not only will an elmer teach you things about ham radio that you will never learn from the test study guides, but they will also help you get your foot in the door with the local ham radio community.

Soon after I got my license, I was talking on the air with a guy who had been licensed about 20 years. He was quite surprised to find out that I was a new ham and complimented me on my on-air presence. I chalk that up to listening to that particular repeater for about a year before I got my license.

Luckily, you live near a large city, so there are probably a few different groups to choose from. Find out where and when the local clubs meet and attend a few meetings. Stop by Universal Radio out on the east side of Columbus as they probably know about local clubs or have flyers for local events.

Also, I've been reading several ham sites on the web and they mention how some repeaters are private as opposed to open. How do I know whether or not I may use it without getting chewed out on the air?
Closed repeaters are usually listed as such in the repeater directories. Here is a link to the Ohio repeater council's directory: http://www.oarc.com/ORD_08_09.pdf I think I see one closed repeater listed in Franklin County. In this part of the country, closed repeaters are much less common than in other areas...like California.
 

kb2vxa

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"Do new operators get looked down upon while on the air?"
Yes and no, it all depends on an individual and/or group attitude. Remember the HS bullies and the cliques? Being in college now you've probably met the BMOC and the sorority sisters, hi. Treat hams the same way, seek out those who are friendly and will elmer you along (they're the majority) and ignore the alpha hotels. If you want to fly like an eagle don't run with the turkeys.

"Also, I've been reading several ham sites on the web and they mention how some repeaters are private as opposed to open. How do I know whether or not I may use it without getting chewed out on the air?"
Very few repeaters are closed so I really wouldn't worry about it. Closed repeaters are indicated as such in the area listings but unfortunately most lists are old and out of date, some to the point as being useless. The best way to find out about any repeater is to test the waters, I found a few closed ones here and there and nobody was ever rude to me, I was simply and politely informed I was trespassing on private property. If you should happen across rude behavior you don't want to be on that repeater anyway so like I said it's no big deal.

There is a whole lot more to ham radio than repeaters so please don't focus on them or any one aspect, you may end up disappointed. Keep the wide angle lens on and look at the bigger picture, the hobby has SO much to offer and you don't know where your interests lie until you try them out.
 

N467RX

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Go for it. I got my license back during my freshman year with several other people from my college (the testing place was actually in the college's engineering building). And my friend who later became my roommate got his license last year.

We now have a small shack in our lounge and whenever we travel in multiple vehicles we always have comms.

Oh, and another guy resurrected the Amateur Radio Club this semester, which is wonderful (some people wanted to do that last semester and asked me to be the president, but I knew I wouldn't have enough time to do it, so I had to say no)
 

kd8ccy

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Potterville, MI
College Amateur Radio Clubs

Many universities have Amateur Radio Clubs, such as MSU, U of M, Ohio State, and others. Even the local community college here has a ham repeater. They are good places to get started with ham radio, and they're often associated with the engineering department (if you're into that sort of thing).

Good luck!
 

newsphotog

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+1 for going for it. Go do it! I was 22 when I got my ticket, no big deal. I wasn't even any kind of a science major, I was a journalism major at a small college that didn't emphasize science very well and didn't have any other hams on campus I'm sure. As others have said, there are definitely some old grumpy curmudgeons in this hobby, but the majority are awesome and would love to help. As for young people in the hobby, there are actually some. I am probably the youngest person that pays dues for the local club. If your college doesn't have an amateur radio club but you want to meet up with hams your age, just see if you can hook up with your nearest college amateur radio club since you don't have one. I'd bet they'd take you in as one of their own. I got my ham ticket from a nearby state university and they offered me to join their campus radio club when they found out that my college was so small and without a club!
 

hokiewheeler

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I was in my mid teens when I got my license. I had always been interested in skywarn and weather spotting. When I first got into radio, my participation was encouraged but later when the local skywarn organization changed I felt like I was being shunned. I was told in no uncertain terms that under 18 would no longer be welcomed but I would be grandfathered. At any rate they kind of cut me out of a lot of things after that and I quit the skywarn bs and found a group of younger hams and some would say delinquents and enjoyed the hobby til I went away to college. You can find as much or as little as you want in radio. Who you associate yourself with will have a big impact on that. All I can say is it's a hobby and it's supposed to be fun and hopefully you learn a few new things, but watch out for the groups that want to organize like some kind of bureaucracy because they probably won't be as welcoming of you. Oh, btw, I'm almost 30 now and just kind of getting back into amateur radio. At least I didn't let my license lapse.
 

KevinGC

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Many college age people are hams....even younger. My 11 year old daughter is a ham. As I mentioned last time you posted about this, I welcome you to attend our next COARES meeting next month. (We just had our February in-person meeting last week.) You can check out when the next meeting is on our website ( www.coares.org ) . OSU also has an amateur radio club on campus along with a decent 70cm repeater. A couple of students at OSU are members of our COARES group, and usually pitch in and help us work the home OSU games.
 

N0IU

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Some colleges ham amateur radio clubs. Where I went to school (that college where Bobby Knight used to coach basketball), the school's club station's callsign is K9IU. I wanted the vanity call KØIU but it wasn't available so I settled for my current call. Oh well!
 

APTN

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Go For It

You should do it. Since I've gotten into Amateur Radio, everyone I have encountered has been friendly and willing to help new people out. Also, it gives you an extra means of communications, and electronics to play with. (Who doesn't like pushing buttons ? :lol::D) As for the age of fellow operators, I can get along with codgers if they can get along with whipper snaps.:wink:
 

RadioDaze

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Getting your ham license is something you will always appreciate. Even if school gets too hectic and you drift away from the hobby, you can always come back to it later when your circumstances change. With a 10 year renewal cycle, and no need to re-test until you decide to upgrade, it can be a hobby you can enjoy and explore to different degrees as you like. I got licensed around 1992, drifted away from the hobby around '97, and just got interested in it again about 6 months ago. Now I'd love to try out some HF, but I can't put up antennas here. That will probably just make me more creative. But it's always an educational hobby, and will keep you mind stimulated throughout your life as you become interested in different aspects of it. And like life itself, you will meet people who are great, and others who are real pieces of work.
 

cquirk

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Hi If you could let us know the area where you live in we can usually tell you about the repeaters and things in your area. Most of us old guys really welcome the younger set as we need new blood in the hobby. You might also want to look into to joining a local radio club to obtain training and more information about repeaters in the area.

Closed repeaters are typically not well advertised and the PL s are more difficult to identify so I would not be to concerned about this, not a whole lot of closed systems out there versus open access
 

AK9R

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Amateur radio licenses in the U.S. must be renewed every 10 years. However, there is no requirement to ever take a test again as long as you remain at the same license grade.
 

ab9ws

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Maroa Illinois
colin,
believe it or not there are younger hams out there, i got my first ticket when i was 16, and got my extra when i was 26 ( just turned 27 in may). and once you get your ticket your more than likely get a lot of congrats, there are always a need for more hams in the world, especially in times of natural disasters. on the question on closed or private repeaters, most closed repeaters are commonly owned by an individual or club, depending on what the case is, you have to be a member to access. i live in illinois so there are not to many repeaters that are closed. now most repeaters are closed if they are used just for emergency communications or red cross communications or nets they have weekly. definately check before transmitting in a repeater directory or by a local club just to cover all the bases. if you go to the arrl.org web site it is a good site to check out if you are thinking about getting your license and study materials to help you get your license. and check with local clubs in your area most offer classes to get your technician and general class license with a group which does make it easier in a group setting with experienced hams teaching you the fundementals. i hope i answered all your questions to the best of my ability, i hope and wish you luck getting your ticket, i never regret it not one day!!

73's and good luck

J.D. AB9WS
 

jamesa53

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Amateur radio licenses in the U.S. must be renewed every 10 years. However, there is no requirement to ever take a test again as long as you remain at the same license grade.
This just made my day!!!!!!
 

canav844

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I say go for it I'd like to see someone else under the age of 25 on the radio.

Read take the test listen learn transmit; going to a few club gatherings helps put a face to some of the call signs and voices which makes it easier to track who's who on the local repeaters for rag chewing. Some groups are cliquier some aren't, go into it with a bit of a thick skin and be courteous, with your ticket you have just as much privilege and right to those airwaves as someone that's been a ham since Pre-WWII; what you'll learn in preparing for your test is, that the focus of HAM radio is communicating and good practice. We've all got to share and help each other out for that to happen. That means wait for a break before throwing your call out, be respectful of on going nets and if there's someone close and you don't need the repeater to talk, you can turn the dial and pick and empty simplex channel. The better you manners going out the better it's going to be reciprocated toward you.

I'm 23 and nobody has said anything about my age. I get the "no code tech" lecture once in a while (sort of things where so much harder when I was your age type thing) but I've made up for that in showing that I've got the technical knowledge necessary to preform as having good operator practice. Also I'm studying for upgrading my ticket which will calm those complaints. In general HAMs are pretty receptive to new people, esp if you're willing to take the time to learn and listen. So ignore what you see on the internet about the hobby because the medium is entirely different than being on the radio and the hobby is much more unforgiving online than it is in person.
 
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