not fitting in with the locals

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ModelTrainGeek

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I'm a fairly newly licensed ham (Canadian "BASIC +") . I studied for my license on my own, why no help from an elmer. I had gone to a local club's meeting a couple weeks before taking my test, and I was pointed at somebody that "could help me", I talked to him briefly, but that was it, no contact info, etc.

I bought myself a used 2 meter radio on ebay, and works good and all. I've tried different time on the various local repeaters for radio checks and just the general "[call-sign, monitoring" type announcements and have never gotten a response. I have done check ins on "nets" events, and got the change to do the basic 'this is how my day is going' talk. So I know I can be heard ok.
I was listening in on another conversation the other night, and the two guys were having trouble hearing each other so they move to a repeater, so I followed to listen, when one took a break, i poked my nose in a call the one that was waiting to say I had been able to here.. Talked a about twice, and on the second, he just went right back to the other guy. and neither ever acknowledged me again, nor my comments on the reception.

So it left me feeling like I just don't belong in this hobby if that the way I'm going to be treated. I passed my test, on my own, so I've proven I have at least the right to be on the air. But I haven't had any real conversations, other then briefs nets-type check-in. Is this typical for new ham to experience? Or should I just accept this is a "just us" type area and go back to online games and model trains?

I'm in a apartment where HF antenna probably won't work except 10 meter band, so just DXing is not a big option.

Is there much DX on 10 meters??? If thats a viable option, I may consider just getting a 10 meter radio and stay down there..

I know this sounds like a bit of a rant, but I"m very discouraged with the hobby right now...
 

newsphotog

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Let it roll off your back and just keep going. This isn't really anything unusual for some places. Often, no matter who you are, you'll ID on the local repeater and no one will come back to you even though you just heard someone on there five minutes ago.

Part of it could also just be that they're afraid to branch out and meet someone new. "New things" can be scary to some hams. Often, I'll be on the road out of town and I'll check into a repeater I've never checked into before. I know there's people on it, because they either just talked five minutes ago or I hear two people talking on the repeater just five minutes after I put my call out.

You'll find that there are many different personalities in amateur radio... from the very very helpful to the grumpy old curmudgeons. Keep going to the club meetings and find the right person to befriend.

Just keep putting your call out and someone will bite.
 

W6KRU

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Some cliques welcome newcomers and others ignore them. There is a good repeater a few miles up the freeway from me. I went through the coverage area everyday during my commute. The repeater is listed as being open in the ARRL repeater guide. I never got anyone to answer me on that repeater. There is another repeater in the other direction that I used several times. The guys on that repeater are very friendly and welcome newcomers with open arms.

Just keep listening and see if you can't find a more friendly group.
 

texasemt13

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Agreed. Repeaters are funny like that. Some people just don't wanna talk to someone they don't know (how'd they ever meet anyone that way right?).

If repeaters aren't your thing, try 2m simplex. You'll generally find that most people on 2m simplex are looking for people close to their area, and since most simplex frequencies aren't "hang-out" spots like repeaters can be, you'll generally find most simplex-ers are looking to start a conversation with just about anyone.
 

kjfswkr

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congrats on getting your license. Everyone else had good advice. I am licensed ham also and have been for about 20 years now. I get the same thing, I will hear someone talking and when I get on to say hello I get no reply. Move on, plenty of frequencies.

73'

kevin
 

zz0468

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Branch out. find out all the local radio clubs in your area, and attend a few meetings. See if any of them are receptive to newcomers. Try different repeaters. Try simplex. Keep the 2 meter radio, and look into HF. 10 meters can be pretty busy, even in the low part of the sunspot cycle. If the apartment is a problem, get in to HF mobile. Try UHF. Try 6 meters. Listen to the local repeaters, and when someone else puts out their call, you call them instead of waiting for them to call you. If the qso is short, gracefully sign off, and do it again next time. Find interesting things to talk about.

Whatever you do, don't get discouraged. It can be hard to enter a tight repeater community, but remember... all those guys had to do it, too. And if they're THAT unfriendly, you really don't want to play with them anyway.
 

ModelTrainGeek

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Thanks for the replies. At least now I know it's "not just me"... Maybe I just hit them at a bad time for all I know.

I believe there is a club in a small town about 15 minutes out of the city, so I'll try to find out more about them.

I'm really thinking 10 meter is a good option, I've seen used Radio Shack radios for under 100$US online, and I could easily pick out a CB antenna and trim it to size with the help of an SWR meter. AT least this will give me a DX option, and there could even be locals that stay on there for all I know... I am pretty limited on money, so I want to think out stuff before spending the little that I have to spend.

I've also signed up on Echo-Link. So if I'm understanding it right, I can basically connect from my PC to a repeater most anywhere else and try a few CQ's there. (Please correct me if I'm wrong)
 

PeterGV

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Oh, it's not just you! I've had my license for about 3 years now (got it exactly like you did... just studied on my own and did it) and I think I've had, oh, maybe two or three conversations on our local repeaters. The first week I was licensed, some guy on the repeater was talking about his sicknesses and how some part of his leg was turning black and starting to smell bad. (no, I'm not kidding) I shut the radio off and never turned it on again!!

Then, several months later, I got an email from one of the guys who owns a local repeater -- right out of the blue -- saying he noticed I was a new ham and inviting me to use his repeater any time I wanted. I dropped my call a couple of times, said "Hi"... but, you know... nothing too thrilling.

Some people just aren't repeater people, I guess.

You've got it right about Echo-Link.

10 Meters can be spotty in terms of propagation.

If you want to get on HF, don't give up. I had a QSO with a guy in Germany who was using a small tuned magnetic loop in his living room. You CAN put up an HF antenna... even indoors if necessary. You'd be surprised what you can hear and who you can talk with.

You might also consider looking into some of the modes that are very efficient in terms of low power... perhaps you'd be interested in PSK-31 or one of the other digital modes. You can make some amazing long distance QSOs with 10W and a lousy antenna. Seriously!

Ham radio is one of the most broad, strange, and interesting hobbies that you can have. Even from your apartment, you could talk to satellites, try HF, try simplex (like somebody suggested above)... If you've got the time an energy there's always public service stuff to get involved in.

So, don't be discouraged. Not at all. If you think you might be interested in the repeaters, keep trying. Check into a local net. Try different times of the day (the repeaters in my area are pretty quiet except for drive time, and on the one night that there's a net). And look at some of the other options for getting on HF, if you're interested.

Hope that helps,

Peter
K1PGV
 

SigIntel8600

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I feel your pain...........I got my ticket 10 years ago, my calls would either get no response or some pencil necked geek would drool into the microphone while nit picking the sound of my audio. Listen to VHF traffic nets, "This is UHHHH, DUHHHH, net control, DUHHH". What a joke. One time, I checked into a traffic net when net control put out the general call for stations with or without traffic, they had a piece of "traffic" for my town and asked if I could take the traffic. I replied "negative". I then got a snobby lecture over the air that "This is a traffic net and if you aren't willing to to handle traffic you shouldn't bother checking in." So I tell the guy, if the traffic is that urgent, I'll take it. He proceeds to relay one of those ridiculous ARRL canned "Congrats on your license, blah, blah, blah How copy over". I told the half a retard "thank you for keeping the "AMATEUR" in amateur radio.


HF is better, 10 meters is my favorite band. Lots of locals in my area and DX if the band is open. Don't let the jerks keep you down...........You earned your ticket use it.

P.S. Ever been to a Hamfest? Biggest collection of freaks I've ever seen. I will never be intimidated by any of these idiots.



I'm a fairly newly licensed ham (Canadian "BASIC +") . I studied for my license on my own, why no help from an elmer. I had gone to a local club's meeting a couple weeks before taking my test, and I was pointed at somebody that "could help me", I talked to him briefly, but that was it, no contact info, etc.

I bought myself a used 2 meter radio on ebay, and works good and all. I've tried different time on the various local repeaters for radio checks and just the general "[call-sign, monitoring" type announcements and have never gotten a response. I have done check ins on "nets" events, and got the change to do the basic 'this is how my day is going' talk. So I know I can be heard ok.
I was listening in on another conversation the other night, and the two guys were having trouble hearing each other so they move to a repeater, so I followed to listen, when one took a break, i poked my nose in a call the one that was waiting to say I had been able to here.. Talked a about twice, and on the second, he just went right back to the other guy. and neither ever acknowledged me again, nor my comments on the reception.

So it left me feeling like I just don't belong in this hobby if that the way I'm going to be treated. I passed my test, on my own, so I've proven I have at least the right to be on the air. But I haven't had any real conversations, other then briefs nets-type check-in. Is this typical for new ham to experience? Or should I just accept this is a "just us" type area and go back to online games and model trains?

I'm in a apartment where HF antenna probably won't work except 10 meter band, so just DXing is not a big option.

Is there much DX on 10 meters??? If thats a viable option, I may consider just getting a 10 meter radio and stay down there..

I know this sounds like a bit of a rant, but I"m very discouraged with the hobby right now...
 

kb2vxa

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Since 2M is about as laid back as ham radio gets think of your license as an invitation to a party. When you arrive how do you conduct yourself? What do you do in a crowd of mostly strangers? Attendees may be separated and talk via radio but still you in a crowded room so how do you go about introducing yourself and striking up a conversation?

If you knock on the door and nobody opens you're at the wrong house, go find the party. If you barge into someone's "private" conversation you'll get the brush off, if you do so while the other party is taking a bathroom break you'll get it when he returns. You're better off joining in with a group, interrupting a one on one is just plain rude.

That's about the simplest way I can put it, treat it as if you were face to face being the only material difference is radio carries farther than voice.

As for the 10M question, at the bottom of the sunspot cycle there is no DX to speak of. There is however the occasional "short skip" opening but from "somewhere in Canada" don't expect anything (but there can be surprises) outside North America. On the other hand you may encounter a local "net" hanging out on a particular frequency, another casual CB like activity we happen to be fond of. The difference is you won't hear the whistles and squeaks, bings and bongs or echo echo echo echo trash talking... just a bunch of guys chatting and actually giving legal ID every 10 minutes. (;->)

"A major reason why I left the hobby....screw 'em."
Nothing personal Eddie, rather I thank you for standing up as a good example of one with too narrow a view. With SO much Amateur Radio has to offer one can easily find his niche but then there are some who when they don't fit into one won't seek another but would rather condemn them all. Sorry you feel that way OM, you could have found your niche and made your contribution but oh well, c'est la vie.
 

ModelTrainGeek

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Well I know I'm not alone in this, in fact, it sound like some of you have had it much worse then me.

Hamfest; no, haven't been to one yet. I think the locals have one in the fall, there's one near Toronto in 2 weeks, it's a long drive, I'd kind of would like to go, but probably won't.. Not sure if I'd want to buy anything that way since I'm no expert of whats good, bad, etc.. (I'm far better with computers) At least on ebay there's a bit of protection from scammers.

Psk31 could be interesting, but may be a bit pricey for me at this point, I haven't really looked at it much, but I'm guessing my 2 meter HT won't do it.. Not even an outside antenna, but have thought it would be fun to make a J-pole..

I have been checking in on the local nets, but they seem to be mostly the same people. THere are a couple that I can get the are linked by reflectors/echolink/etc, and i checked in to one of them tonight and they seemed a more talkative with me, so I'm going to make a point of sticking with it, and maybe skip the others. I just got to find the people/groups more open to new comers.

Maybe I just haven't hit the right people yet locally. The local ham club isn't the end all and be all of ham. I'm considering joining RAC..

and I'm going to poke around and see if I can find a cheap 10 meter rig. multi band rig are usually up there in price. But i won't rule getting one out at some point if I can make this a more enjoyable hobby.
 

elk2370bruce

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When I was first re-licensed, (after many decades of absense), I was very fortunate in that I discovered two club repeaters (out of many)where newbies were welcomed and encouraged to get on the air. I received a lot of patient guidance from them and have made good and lasting friends. It also encouraged me to become a member as well. In traveling, I have experienced the same dead air after dropping my call on a local repeater (like Orlando). I've also had great experiences (such as Charlotte, NC and Vancouver BC) where I was not only welcomed but got to meet a number of the local ops over a few drinks. Depending where you are in Canada, many of the more populated areas have more than one club so look around. Defintely try Echolink! You may also explore (if one of the repeaters has the capability), IRLP. Don't get discouraged. Like any large group of people, there are many friendly ones out there and always a few grumpy curmudgeons. Just the nature of our messed up species.
 
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N0IU

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Are you sure you are posting this on the correct forum?

I am also (somewhat) into model railroading. I enjoy some of the print mags and participate in a couple of forums. On the forums, these are some of the most helpful folks around, but in person at the train shows, these are by far the most anti-social people I have ever met! Sure, I will go to look around and buy things, but for goodness sake, DO NOT attempt to engage any of these guys in a conversation 'cuz it just ain't happening!
 

elk2370bruce

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We're not talking about curmudgeons and anti-social behavior/attitudes at train shows (although I would heartily agree with you). You can be trampled to death in front of some piece of rolling stock! Most (not all) hamfests are more social events than just hunting down the best price for coax connectors. Go the Radio Amateur Canada (RAC) website and find a local hamfest within a reasonable distance. When you get there, go to the hosting club table/booth and introduce yourself as a newbie and ask for help and meet some people. You might find some new friends (and maybe a free cup of coffee outta the deal).
 

KR8U

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Just keep at it. A 2 meter HT is really not the way to get into Ham Radio. Like most have replied repeaters can be fickle. Time of day has a lot to do with activity. We have several repeaters in my area and two big clubs with over 140 members in each club. Most belong to both. Even during NET nights there is only about 15 check ins on average. At drive times I hear the same 4 or 5 people every day with only a couple non regulars. Even though they are very friendly and welcome anyone that checks in to the round table after drive time the repeaters are as quiet as the vacuum of space. Ten meters is great when the band is open but there is more static than talk. We have a group that can almost always be found on 28.360 and 146.46 and most of them never get on a repeater. There are fairly cheap HF rigs out there but you will need a power supply unless you run it mobile. The antenna is where you will want to focus your attention for simplex or HF. A small home brew beam for 2 meter will work great even in an apartment but don't expect much with the 5 watt HT. Good luck and even on Echolink when you connect to a repeater don't be surprised to not get a reply. I have heard countless people connect to repeaters via echolink but never say a thing and when I have given them a call they disconnect. So I guess it goes both ways.

Best of luck. Dennis KR8U
Echolink node 217289
Monitor K8BRC repeater Echolink 290881
Monitor W8VY-L Link Echolink 213532
 

iMONITOR

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Some amateur radio operators, especially on 2-meters, act like a bunch of spoiled little girls. It's all about them. :roll:
 

kb2vxa

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Yeah, some are real snot baggers but the key word here is "some". That brings me around to "the group experience" meaning clubs and repeaters. Since most are club owned and operated what you hear gives you a fair indication of what the club is about. Having "been there,done that" several times I guess I'm qualified to tell you if they're snot baggers on the air they're snot baggers in person but on the other hand there are clubs that have simply amazed me with their friendliness. For what it's worth the best club I have ever been a member of doesn't have a repeater but rather just a club call for special events. I happen to like the name, Google "Old Barney".

"Psk31 could be interesting, but may be a bit pricey for me at this point, I haven't really looked at it much, but I'm guessing my 2 meter HT won't do it."
That's why it may be a bit pricey, digital modes are SSB, not FM.

"...and I'm going to poke around and see if I can find a cheap 10 meter rig. multi band rig are usually up there in price."
Not such a good idea for two reasons, the first much the same as an HT is not a good starter rig, severe limitations. An FM mobile is better but not the best, as far as an HT is concerned most hams have little to no use for them. Give things some serious thought and don't be in too much of a hurry, slow but sure wins the race and saves you a lot of money in the long run. With few exceptions like older Radio Shack rigs, those 10M only radios are nothing more than glorified CB rigs designed to be illegally modified and illegally used AS CB rigs. Even though legal on 10M with the proper license they're still CB rigs with the very same severe limitations. Just to make life interesting many come with echo, talk back (if you like listening to yourself talk) and various noisemakers all of which are quite useless yet you pay for them.

That brings me around to multi mode, multi band rigs, there are SO many to choose from and not all cost a king's ransom. Frankly those high end models have far more features than the average ham will ever use, they're for the big guns, champion worldwide DXers, contesters and the generally fanatic lunatic fringe. (;->) I happen to be very fond of my Japanese do it all, all in one wonder box, the IC-706Mk2G didn't break the bank but it did take a while to save up the cash. You just might give some thought to an all band all mode rig, not only can they do just about everything you'll ever want to do but having all the HF bands plus 6M, 2M and 70cM they give you plenty of room for future expansion. You know what that means? Yeah, when you need it you'll already have it and won't have to go out and buy it.

Now I expect the naysayers to come on and say "but you don't need all that", they always do without ever knowing why I do things the way I do. (;->)

I leave you with this thought, not only is my Mark a ham rig but it's a general coverage shortwave, VHF and UHF receiver too and guess what, it scans.
 

ModelTrainGeek

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Are you sure you are posting this on the correct forum?

I am also (somewhat) into model railroading. I enjoy some of the print mags and participate in a couple of forums. On the forums, these are some of the most helpful folks around, but in person at the train shows, these are by far the most anti-social people I have ever met! Sure, I will go to look around and buy things, but for goodness sake, DO NOT attempt to engage any of these guys in a conversation 'cuz it just ain't happening!
Yes, I've experienced the with model trains too.. I went to a clubs monthly open house once.. Only two members where there. And when I inquired about how many usually come one of them replied "the older members don't want to bother with the open houses". Not a good way to encourage new members. So I figured if they own members didn't want to come to the open house, what should I come to their club. And sadly, this seem to be fairly common too.
 

ModelTrainGeek

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We're not talking about curmudgeons and anti-social behavior/attitudes at train shows (although I would heartily agree with you). You can be trampled to death in front of some piece of rolling stock! Most (not all) hamfests are more social events than just hunting down the best price for coax connectors. Go the Radio Amateur Canada (RAC) website and find a local hamfest within a reasonable distance. When you get there, go to the hosting club table/booth and introduce yourself as a newbie and ask for help and meet some people. You might find some new friends (and maybe a free cup of coffee outta the deal).
I plan on getting to one soon as a can.. the one in Brampton in 2 weeks is a bit of a drive.. So not sure if I'm up to that long of a drive (I do have some health issues with my back.. and such) And if I do make some contacts, I can still keep in touch via Echolink.
 
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