getting back on air: mic fright

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RetroBandit

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After taking a break from ham radio, i've decided to get back on, and I'm going to be buying a used radio this weekend.

When I was on before I never got in to much of the way of conversations and stuff. Mostly what I did was brief net checks-ins, special event stations and so on. And lots of JT65 digital.

I'm on the mic shy/fright side of things. for various reason, one of the first times I ever got the nerve to answer somebody' general CQ call I got bluntly told the he only spoke to US operates. which put me off on the experience (yes I still remember his callsign). but another factor that has more recently occurred to me is stuff that happened growing up, as my father, and on my mother's side my grand parents and uncle (but not my mother,she was supportive of me) made it clear to me that what I had to say about anything wasn't important and that nobody would be interested in what I had to say about anything. as a foot note, they are all deceased now, with the possible exception of the uncle since I broke off all contact with him 15+ years ago

So I'm just looking for suggestions on how to get on the air this time, and actually get talking more then just brief contacts. Like good frequencies to try, or methods.. or anything useful for a mega shy operator.

I'm not asking for sympathy, just help. I have an advance class Canadian license. Being in an apartment I'm limited on antennas, but I can set up on 6, 10, 20 and 80 meters for sure.

His is probably a over share, and I apologize for that, I just want o make go of this hobby and actually enjoy it. btw: before anybody suggests the local ham club, it's pretty much none existent..
 

RetroBandit

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Retro sorry to hear that what a horrible experience. I would be honored to have a QSO with you.
I appreciate your reply. I've been into electronics and radios akk my life. as a kif in the 70s I remember laying in bed at night listening my ghetto blaster on the shortwave bands, I didn't really understand what it was all about, but it was so great just hearing stuff from all over the place. It was even fun to listen to WWV some days. And I still have that radio today, and it still works. Then I was on CB radio until the band got horrible - CB was a victim of it's own success.. Today I have a old DX-160 shortwave with a digital frequency display. not high end by any means, but still a classic workhouse So I want to take another shot at HF ham radio and see what I can do.
 

dsalomon

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I'll also have a QSO with you, we can sched for nearly any time. I work from home, so it's relatively easy for me to schedule. However, I am awake somewhat odd hours, usually from about 3am - 9pm (eastern). Let me know a day/time/frequency that you'd like to try.

It helps if you have someone to chat with who you know won't be a jerk. It's too bad about your relatives. It's unfortunate that some people aren't supportive.

73 - David, AG4F
 

k6cpo

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You might consider becoming involved with a local club. You might have an easier time talking to someone you've become acquainted with.
 

wtp

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never myself

i have a license and have not gotten on the air, but, will pass on what i have been told.
listen, listen, listen.
get used to what they talk about first.
answer in your head first, to get used to the lingo.
also guys talking about computers or digital would probably not like to switch to rig talk.
and relax, just have fun and forget the naysayers.
if someone just wants to talk to americans, let him.
like everything else there are idiots.
 

RetroBandit

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You might consider becoming involved with a local club. You might have an easier time talking to someone you've become acquainted with.
I did go to a few meetings when I first got licensed, but found they weren't too interested in new comers until it was time to put the chairs away..
 

Jimru

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I did go to a few meetings when I first got licensed, but found they weren't too interested in new comers until it was time to put the chairs away..

Depends on the club, I guess. I've belonged to three since getting my ticket in 2003, plus two ARES groups. Some were warm and welcoming at the outset and one was more like your description (although after awhile, several of the members warmed up and did their best to make me feel welcomed).

Try this; go to another meeting. When it comes to "new business" during the meeting (usually after the reading of the minutes from the last month's gathering) stand up and introduce yourself. If you need help with some aspect, go ahead and ask for help. While you are at it, if you are able, also offer to help anyone that needs it (such as installing a new antenna, or a mobile rig), in any way you can. That would also be a good way to learn new stuff!

Good luck!
 

robertmac

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A lot of clubs do public service events like races, car rallies, parades, etc.. Listen and look at local club websites and when these occur VOLIUNTEER for them. I am sure they will need the help. That gets your foot in the door and you will meet a lot of other hams in your area. A lot of clubs have coffee clatches or get together at local coffee shops so look on websites for these or listen on the air to see where and when. Watch for ham fests in your area as well. Listen for nets and start putting your call and name out. This can be done on HF, VHF, UHF. As you have an Advance license, this allows you to install repeaters or keep them running so let the clubs know if you are willing to help out with repeaters. You don't say where in Ontario you are at but if the club is not in your area, they may be within driving distance. I belong to one that is 70 kms from my home. So do some computer searches and look at RAC website for further information.
 

jwt873

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As mentioned above, getting involved is the best way to make friends. Once you know people it's much easier to carry on conversations that it is when contacting a strange voice for the first time.

In our digital age, you don't even have to speak to anyone. If you're not that comfortable keeping a voice conversation alive on HF, you can spend hours chatting keyboard to keyboard using PSK, RTTY or one of the other popular digital modes.

If you really want to speak and don't have much to say, you can pass the time working DX when the band is open. Check out a DX cluster and start spotting European, Asian, Australian, South American stations.

Often a contact with DX is nothing more than call, name and signal report. Sometimes there will be a huge pileup trying to work the station. Breaking the pileup and making the contact can be half the fun. Another benefit to this type of operating is that you'll wind up accumulating a stack of QSL cards from around the world. Then you can start looking for awards. DXCC, WAS etc...
 

N4GIX

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After eighteen years, I finally took the bull by the horns and just showed up one day at my local ham club's meeting, and haven't missed a meeting since. Fast forward just a year later and I now find myself the club's VP and Program Director! :)
 

RetroBandit

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A lot of clubs do public service events like races, car rallies, parades, etc.. Listen and look at local club websites and when these occur VOLIUNTEER for them. I am sure they will need the help. That gets your foot in the door and you will meet a lot of other hams in your area. A lot of clubs have coffee clatches or get together at local coffee shops so look on websites for these or listen on the air to see where and when. Watch for ham fests in your area as well. Listen for nets and start putting your call and name out. This can be done on HF, VHF, UHF. As you have an Advance license, this allows you to install repeaters or keep them running so let the clubs know if you are willing to help out with repeaters. You don't say where in Ontario you are at but if the club is not in your area, they may be within driving distance. I belong to one that is 70 kms from my home. So do some computer searches and look at RAC website for further information.
there is a couple events the local club does every year, but my health limits what I can do, and I just can't commit a full day or most of a day to something. there's days just getting groceries is challenging for me. just for reference i'm 50, doc rates my over all health as poor.

Actually I have said on air that I was interested in helping with the repeaters any time it was brought up work was going to be done on them. I never got any response to my offers.
You ideas are good, but they just haven't worked for me.
I am thinking come field day this year, if I feel up to it I'll drive to one of the surrounding cities and see how it goes.

for now, I'm going to concentrate on get at HF. I always like getting special event stations and stuff like that, i've even worked NASA in the past:)
There's a book called "ham for dummies" that I had out from the library when I first got licensed, I think I'm going buy myself a copy as a guide, kind of do a reboot of the hobby.
 

Jimru

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there is a couple events the local club does every year, but my health limits what I can do, and I just can't commit a full day or most of a day to something. there's days just getting groceries is challenging for me. just for reference i'm 50, doc rates my over all health as poor.



Actually I have said on air that I was interested in helping with the repeaters any time it was brought up work was going to be done on them. I never got any response to my offers.

You ideas are good, but they just haven't worked for me.

I am thinking come field day this year, if I feel up to it I'll drive to one of the surrounding cities and see how it goes.



for now, I'm going to concentrate on get at HF. I always like getting special event stations and stuff like that, i've even worked NASA in the past:)

There's a book called "ham for dummies" that I had out from the library when I first got licensed, I think I'm going buy myself a copy as a guide, kind of do a reboot of the hobby.


Well, don't hesitate to ask any questions you might have right here!
 

paulears

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I don;t find them fulfilling at all - but if it's a confidence issue, then throw yourself into a contest - any contest. The fast and furious pace gets your brain/mouth and put finger into sort of memory.

The secret with any kind of public interaction is to remember that on a scale of importantness, it's very low. The fact that you still remember the guy who was blunt and rude means you let it sink in.

All my life I have had to do stuff that other find tricky, and my secret is that you need detachment. If you mess up the structure and get the callsigns wrong, then do so with confidence. I have never ever been able to do names, callsigns and other categories. I rarely use amateur frequencies but when I do, I make no attempt to remember somebodies name or personal details on a contact I know I will never repeat - they repeat my callsign, their callsign and other details, I simply respond with "G4RMT - yes, bla bla bla and at the end I've forgotten their callsign again, so I end with a question, and again my call - "Where are you located, G4RMT?" - they rarely work out that I've forgotten everything.

I never try to work out what I am going to say in advance - just the gist of what I want to say, and just go for it. If I make myself look an idiot, so what? They'll have forgotten me in an hour.

I work onstage quite often - and I'm happy talking to 5000 people. Some people cannot do this, some can. The biggest tip I ever got for overcoming what some people call stage fright was to simply stop, and smile - if you are smiling, you cannot be scared. Try it - big smile, and while you are smiling it is impossible to sound and behave 'unsmiley'.

Radio can be quite awkward for some - but I wonder if they are imagining thousands of people listening to them? Try the smile thing.
 

zz0468

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I did go to a few meetings when I first got licensed, but found they weren't too interested in new comers until it was time to put the chairs away..
I'm going to second the suggestion about the club. I understand the comment about the chairs, but there are very few ham clubs out there that don't lament the lack of new members, even as they themselves behave in a manner that chases new members away.

"Radio people" are notoriously socially awkward. Go to the meetings, and stick around long enough to put the chairs away. Get to know them, and let them get to know you, and realize that the process will take months.

Try some digital modes where you don't have to actually talk.

Offer to help, but not with things like the repeaters. Those things are usually closely guarded by the anointed few. Newcomers aren't welcome at the sites unless you do that stuff for a living and they already need the help.

Bring donuts to the meeting.

Getting involved in a new (to you) ham club is a lot like going into a room with a door that opens to the outside. The harder you push on the door, the tighter it's held closed. Step back, and let the club members open the door from the inside when they're ready.
 

crazyboy

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If you want to try and schedule a QSO on hf shoot me a pm and we'll see if we can line up
 

AC2OY

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Seriously Retro PM me if I'm off work I'll flip on the rig and we can have a Q I can successfully do 10,12,15,17,20,40,and 80. I hear people on 6 but haven't figured out that band yet...LOL
 

SCPD

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What do you mean "figure out" Ac2Oy ? You just need to get a 6 meter beam antenna!Or a better antenna for 6 meters ,go on QRZ and see when that band is Open...
 

RICH1209

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Hoping to get my lic soon. Hope I don't have mic fright but all is good. Good luck and I wish you the best.
 
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