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Working in two way radio

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W2MR

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I worked in two-way radio for 36 years.

Does anyone else feel, as I do, that there is something special about this line of work. There's more to it than just collecting paychecks. Many techs are licensed hams which indicates to me that there is a high "Working at my hobby for a living".

How do you feel?

Mark
 

iMONITOR

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It's great that you like your job so much, you view it as an extension of your hobby.

I used to be that way with computers. But after doing it for 24 years, I began to hate the job, and the hobby. Now that I'm retired, I still hesitate to answer the phone!
 
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Peoria, IL
I worked in two-way radio for 36 years.

Does anyone else feel, as I do, that there is something special about this line of work. There's more to it than just collecting paychecks. Many techs are licensed hams which indicates to me that there is a high "Working at my hobby for a living".

How do you feel?

Mark
If working in two way radios is something you like I think you should still pursue that career. I dont work in your line of work. It is like being a teacher. Teachers do not get payed alot of money but they do the job because they like helping educating kids. Just my option. I think it is cool to work around radios.
 

mm

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I have been a ham for 39 years and a design engineer in commercial Avionics, (Nav RADIO, AM Com radio, TACTICAL FM/P25 helicopter radios and avionics antenna design for 26 years).

A good deal of my time in the past 5 years has been spent dealing with the FAA and the FCC on numerous useless time wasting day to day legal issues instead of designs after which I find it hard to even turn my ham radios on, at the beginning of my career it was 90 % hands on and fun but not anymore.

That is how disgusted those 2 above mentioned Government agencies have made me feel about electronics, I'd rather spend an entire bad Year Fishing and catching nothing than even 1 day, no 1 hour, spent dealing with any Government agency.

I have family and friends who do the same as I but they work in commercial land mobile and marine radio design and their feelings are pretty much in line with mine.

Next to congress the FAA and FCC come in a close 2nd and 3rd on my list of technology stiffiling agencies.
 

12dbsinad

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The 2 way radio business is certainly a unique business. You are right, as in a lot of tech's are hams as well because they find it interesting as a whole. I will say that I find less and less of the Ma and Pa radio shops as the years pass. They just cannot compete with the larger companies.

Depending on the types of radios sold, profit margins can be a lot less than 25-30 years ago. Back in the day, a crystal controlled mobile or portable radio was easily 800-1000 dollars. If I am not mistaken, a Motorola Maxar 80 mobile radio with PL was anywhere between 1000-1200, A GE MPI 2 channel portable sold for around 700 bucks. In most cases the radios could be ordered on frequency and tuned from the factory out of the box. Just hand over the box and good to go. No computers to maintain, no software, no spending 3 hours programming a 100 channels or trunking protocols, less over head, more profit.

It is still a fun and interesting business today. there is always something new and something new to learn.
 

krokus

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In most cases the radios could be ordered on frequency and tuned from the factory out of the box.
The radios my dad used to sell are how I learned to swear like a Sailor. The radios out of the box were pretty nasty, and he had to do a lot of tuning.

Sent via Tapatalk
 

rrbum

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Feb 28, 2012
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I worked in two-way radio for 36 years.

Does anyone else feel, as I do, that there is something special about this line of work. There's more to it than just collecting paychecks. Many techs are licensed hams which indicates to me that there is a high "Working at my hobby for a living".

How do you feel?

Mark
Yes, I really enjoyed the years that I worked for a communications outfit. I was bitten by the bug as a young teen when I first got to mess with my brother in law's VHF high band receiver. I wish I could remember just what it was, but it wasn't anything special. I guess this was in the early seventies. From there it was a lifetime of monitoring and owning many different radios, reading and understanding the basics of antennae, running coax and climbing up on many a roof.
The few years I spent in the industry were great as I look back. I was no tech by any means, but I installed many mobile radios as well as set up base stations. I loved to climb towers and install antennae or adjust microwave dishes, and the places I got to go, I remember fondly some of the places I got to go to service/install equipment. Inside prisons, inside the superstructure of bridges, weird places that the average guy would never think there is communication gear housed or an antenna mounted. I got to work with some of the old timers who were the guys that set up the first systems back in the sixties, what great stories they would spin.

Yes I've held many jobs but I remember fondly those years when I was doing something I truly loved.
 

fasteddy64

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Jun 28, 2005
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Abilene, TX
I have been a firefighter for 25 years.
I have never had the "zeal" for firefighting that many of my co-workers have, to me it has always been just a job.
About 8 months ago I was given a position in administration taking care of all of the department's communications needs and I am in heaven when I go to work everyday now!
 

rbm

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Jan 25, 2005
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Location
Upstate New York
My first love was radios and electronics as far back as I can remember.

I built my first radio from scrounged components before I was eight years old.

I built my own metal detectors before there was much commercial stuff available.

Then, got my ham license and my first class FCC license with a lot of endorsements at a young age.

I worked in RF (satellite and government/military communications) for quite a few years.
I worked on a lot of exciting projects that I wish I could tell my family about. I still can't.

Then I realized that the real money (at least back then) was in computers.

So I went back to school and became a software engineer, and then moved into system design.

After 30 years, I made enough/saved enough/invested enough that I could go back to work in RF. So I did.
By then, they didn't even have to pay me.
But they did. ;)

It was fun just to be able to show up and work in RF again.

Rich
 

samk9oic

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Sep 22, 2014
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Mark, I feel just as you do, although I was not fortunate enough to work in the field as long as you did, I felt as if I worked at my hobby. I have also worked as a law enforcement telecommunicator in a small county. That job also "got in my blood" and became a part of me.



Sam k9oic
 

davidgcet

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in my part of the country the vast majority of 2way tech are not in any way affiliated with HAMS. You will find maybe 1 in 10 holds an amateur license, though when I first started in the industry 23 years ago the number was more like 7 in 10. Most of the newer techs just look at it as a job, and have no interest in playing with radio after work.

I've never held a HAM license either, thought about it but just never got around to it. Every time I start to get serious about it we get some big project at work that takes up all my spare time. Then when that is over I am "sick" of radio again for a bit.

I can say we have had some pretty interesting installs too. I've seen stuff done by the most professional of crews and stuff done by the rejects from the gong show. And folks wonder why if we take over an account it is usually cheaper to rip out and start over than to keep running back to straighten out issues caused by poor install from the original vendor.
 
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