• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Is Ham Radio Doomed?

W9BU

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For the record, I have no immediate plans to jump off of a bridge.

Is ham radio doomed? No, I don't think so. It may shrink and some aspects of amateur radio may not look like they do today, but I think it will always be here.

For instance, I think hot spots are killing interest in digital voice repeaters. Why be tied to a fixed service that is run by someone else when you can run your own connection to the outside world (as long as you have Internet)?

For that matter, I think repeaters are doomed. I think it will be more and more difficult to get access to high profile repeater sites at the prices amateur radio operators are willing to pay (i.e. for free). "Garage" repeaters will proliferate which may put pressure on repeater coordinators to allow close spacing of repeaters. These garage repeaters, if they stay analog, will also have to connect to other repeaters which takes us back to hot spots or AllStar/Echolink/IRLP.

I think traffic nets are doomed. The older hams who are into traffic nets will slowly die off and so will their nets. I'm not sure traffic nets serve any real purpose any more and the "traffic" I hear on them seems to be mostly self-generated.

I think SSB DXing and contesting and ragchewing is doomed. As more and more people move into areas where they can't put up very good antennas, they will find it more and more difficult to communicate using SSB and 100 watts. Weak signal sound card digital modes, like FT8 will proliferate. Note that this would be a prime opportunity for CW to increase in prominence, but it won't because folks will go for the computer-based modes. As a result, CW DXing and contesting and ragchewing is also doomed.

I think ARES/RACES/SATERN/Skywarn are doomed. The served agencies will have less and less use for amateur radio as they become more and more reliant on infrastructure-based communications systems and social media.

The prepper aspect of amateur radio will flourish. As folks figure out that their cell phones and Internet access could disappear in a heartbeat, they will take greater interest in amateur radio. Sadly, without some training and familiarity in how to use their radios, these preppers will find that they still can't communicate. Note, this is a prime opportunity for the ARRL and every local amateur radio club to start addressing this aspect of amateur radio. These organizations need to start catering to the prepper crowd. I take the recent QST article about stockpiling water and food as a positive sign that maybe one person at the ARRL gets it.

So, chew on those topics for a while.
 

iMONITOR

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The prepper aspect of amateur radio will flourish. As folks figure out that their cell phones and Internet access could disappear in a heartbeat, they will take greater interest in amateur radio. Sadly, without some training and familiarity in how to use their radios, these preppers will find that they still can't communicate. Note, this is a prime opportunity for the ARRL and every local amateur radio club to start addressing this aspect of amateur radio. These organizations need to start catering to the prepper crowd. I take the recent QST article about stockpiling water and food as a positive sign that maybe one person at the ARRL gets it.
I learned the hard way back in the 70's on C.B. the last thing you want to do is call on or rely on total strangers on a radio when you're in serious trouble and in urgent need of help. While there hopefully may be some good Samaritan will come to your aid with good intentions but in today's climate and especially if there every was a major catastrophic event, I think the last thing you would want to do is contact others informing them of your location, supplies, capabilities and vulnerabilities. This would be a good time for throwing all the rules out the window and use out of band frequencies, some form of encryption or at the very least voice inversion or digital mode, code possibly within a tight circle of trusted friends.
 

mmckenna

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I think it's the END OF THE HOBBY!!!!!

Someone had to say it first.

No, I don't think it's the end of the hobby and I don't think amateur radio is totally doomed.
It's changing, like it always has, some chose to not agree with the way it's going.
I suspect we'll see amateur radio lose some spectrum above 70cm. It's vastly under utilized and will be very attractive to broadband users. We're secondary on some of that stuff anyway, so get used to it. Amateurs are not experimenting enough in the GHz bands to justify tying up as much spectrum as we have.
 

W9BU

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I think it's the END OF THE HOBBY!!!!!
Followed with "I'm selling all my gear!".

I agree about the microwave bands. I don't know how amateur radio has kept their allocations at 23cm and 13cm as long as it has. Looks like "Radio Location" is primary on those bands. If they are being used by the military, then that's probably why commercial interests haven't shown much interest.
 

Golay

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I think ARES/RACES/SATERN/Skywarn are doomed. The served agencies will have less and less use for amateur radio as they become more and more reliant on infrastructure-based communications systems and social media.
This is already happening in my county. The EOC don't always remember to call ARES/RACES.
The hams miss about 1 out of 4 drills because they never heard about it.
Remember the big east coast power outage back in 2003?
The hams showed up at the EOC, and were told go stand in the corner, eat donuts, and stay out of the way.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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(snip)

The prepper aspect of amateur radio will flourish. As folks figure out that their cell phones and Internet access could disappear in a heartbeat, they will take greater interest in amateur radio. Sadly, without some training and familiarity in how to use their radios, these preppers will find that they still can't communicate. Note, this is a prime opportunity for the ARRL and every local amateur radio club to start addressing this aspect of amateur radio. These organizations need to start catering to the prepper crowd. I take the recent QST article about stockpiling water and food as a positive sign that maybe one person at the ARRL gets it.

So, chew on those topics for a while.
I have frequented one of those survival prepper boards. I would not count on many of those folks to bring anything positive into amateur radio fraternity.

There are some legitimate folks on those boards who are licensed hams and have there heads screwed on correctly,

BUT, outnumbering them, are paranoid types who feel the US Govt is out to get them and therefore getting a ham license violates their "OPSEC" or whatever. But, they will buy ham gear (A lot of BaoFeng) for SHTF, TEOTWAWKI end of rule of law or whatever.

Then you have the socio-political aspect. Some of them are pretty hard core on one side (mostly) or the other, in political leanings. I really don't see them bringing good cheer to a frequency near you nor communicating tastefully to the diverse amateurs worldwide either on HF or via the linked systems.. If you have to reach out, get the STEM students, the Maker Faire kids, the geeky low income kid who has an interest in ham radio but not the resources. In short, folks with an interest and capabilities of furthering the art.

In short, Preppers and Survivalists are generally not the folks I would invite to thanksgiving dinner with my diverse extended family.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Followed with "I'm selling all my gear!".

(snip).
Over on Repeater Builder there is a guy out west who gets all worked up about "etiquette". He gets worked up if you don't sign your posting with your callsign or whatever. So anyway he took me to task, so I went and looked at his past postings and found that he had "quit the board" six years before in a huge rant. I was tempted to remind him of that but thought better of it.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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snip
I agree about the microwave bands. I don't know how amateur radio has kept their allocations at 23cm and 13cm as long as it has. Looks like "Radio Location" is primary on those bands. If they are being used by the military, then that's probably why commercial interests haven't shown much interest.
The amateur radio service is secondary because in case of national emergency they can shut down amateur operations in those bands. Commercial operations are harder to control and would fully utilize the spectrum. Here in FL the 70CM band is subject to certain power limits due to radar operations in the panhandle.
 
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