[amsat-bb] Re: Vanishing Hams

Andrew Carter acarter3 at nd.edu
Wed Jul 16 16:26:13 PDT 2008

I usually just lurk on this list, but I will chime in. I am a 22 year- 
old fresh EE graduate going on to grad school, and I really enjoy this  
hobby, when I can. I absolutely love Field Day; I learn so much from  
other hams. It can be difficult as a student to have the money, space,  
and time to get on the air. However, it can be done. It also helps if  
your college or high school has a station. I agree that many  
activities ham radio currently does are anachronistic, but I find the  
core of ham radio is talking to each other; anyone can do it! I just  
hope I can keep the hobby alive when I am an old guy.

And Bob, the first definition amateur is "A person who engages in an  
art, science, study, or athletic activity as a pastime rather than as  
a profession," and the third is "One lacking the skill of a  
professional, as in an art."  (http://www.answers.com/amateur&r=67) :)

Andy, W0OOT

On Jul 16, 2008, at 7:04 PM, dsp engineer wrote:

> Bob,
> Over the past 43 years as a ham and Electrical Engineer (and  
> Computer Scientist) I have tried about everything I can think of to  
> interest kids in ham radio.  My conclusion is that we need to direct  
> ham radio toward the 40 to 70 year olds who are less interested in  
> the tech end of it and more interested in the people end of it.
> I can be counted as one of your "10% who have tried APRS".
> In the 10+ years i have been listening to you champion APRS, I have  
> yet to find a single use for it.
> Lets see, here in SoCAL I can get the weather report from a dozen or  
> so APRS stations in the LA basin.  I  can get a better WX report by  
> either listening to NOAA on a radio or by logging on to the web.
> With APRS I can see the position of several dozen ham stations in  
> the SoCAL  basin - so what?  Of what use is this information?
> Finally I can use APRS to send text messages - again so what?
> APRS, like ham radio, is a low tech solution looking for a problem.   
> Technology passed APRS and Packet radio by 10 years ago.  The cell  
> phone did the same thing for FM and repeaters.  10 years ago you  
> could not find a free repeater to talk on in SoCAL at drive time.   
> Now, you can not find anyone to talk to on a repeater at drive  
> time.    Hams were among the first to realize that the cell phone  
> was a heck of a lot faster and more reliable during a road side  
> emergency verses trying to make an autopatch call .  Thus, the  
> attraction to getting a license and using a repeater disappeared  
> just as the reason for Packet radio disappeared.
> Finally, APRS and its derivatives are fighting a basic problem - the  
> bandwidth is too low to allow adequate data rates.  56k baud modems  
> put an end to Packet radio 10 years ago.  Until you employ a scheme  
> similar to ADSL, you are limited by the bandwidth of a single fm  
> channel.  There are FM channels set aside for hi speed wide band  
> comm.  However, your competition, the commercial carriers have you  
> beat on price, availability, and reliability.  More over, they have  
> the the cost economies brought about by a tremendous number of users.
> The kids you are trying to impress with ham radio in general and  
> APRS in specific just roll their eyes and go back to their iPhones  
> and PC's.   After all, ham radio is another name for AMATEUR radio.   
> The world is no longer impressed with amateur solutions to  
> Telecommunications just as it is no longer impressed with using  
> horses for basic transportation.
> Tim AA6DQ
>> From: bruninga at usna.edu
>> To: K5GNA at aol.com; amsat-bb at amsat.org
>> Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2008 15:03:21 -0400
>> Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: Vanishing Hams
>>> Today, with CB, Cell Phones, cordless phones, FRS, etc. --
>>> everyone is a radio operator. Now, military communications
>>> is done with a keyboard or microphone -- pretty much
>>> universal  skills now.
>> Do not overlook how kids use key-pad text-messaging as the
>> greatest revolution in communications of all time...  Even some
>> old-fud adults are learning how to use it..
>> Then consider that APRS has had global text-messaging (and
>> email) via the keypad of the D7 and D700 radios for over 10
>> years now, yet how many old-fuds ever even considered using it
>> or introduced this exciting new capability to their kids?
>> You can even send text-messages or emails from your HT or Radio
>> from anywhere on earth via any of the APRS satellites (ISS,
>> GO-32, PCSAT-1, etc)...  We even suggested that everyone should
>> learn how to do this and exercise it during
>> Satellite-Simulated-Emergency-Tests.  You can even use any old
>> TNC and any old radio to do this.  See:
>> http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/sset.html
>>> Although the Amateur Radio Community shines when
>>> there is loss  of communications during a disaster,
>>> with newer technology, even that could  change.
>> What is hard in ham radio is "change".  We basically have to
>> wait for some ops to die in order for some new things to be
>> tried and to take hold...
>>> Maybe the ARRL needs to sponsor an award for bringing
>>> new Hams into the community. Otherwise, someday, no
>>> one will remember what those letters even  stood for.
>> A good start might be to sponsor an award for old fuds that try
>> something new...
>> And then show it to a kid... <wink>
>> P.S.  Only about 2% of ham radio operators use APRS, and
>> probably only 10% of them (0.2% of all hams) have tried this
>> global text messaging (or email) feature.  Yet, even 10 years
>> ago, and ahead of its time we had it in Ham Radio!
>>> From an old fud..
>> Bob, WB4APR
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Andrew Daniel Carter
University of Notre Dame

P.O. Box 37
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Worldwide: +1 847 815 8600

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