[amsat-bb] Re: Vanishing Hams

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Wed Jul 16 17:09:21 PDT 2008

> 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.  

Amen!  We need to get people talking to each other..

> APRS, ... I have yet to find a single use for it.  
> APRS, like ham radio, is a low tech solution 
> looking for a problem.  

Not really.  It is a single information resource channel that
links people together so they can find each other in the vast
dimensions of position/time/frequency domains.  On the front
panel of your APRS radio you can see everything in ham radio
happening around you no matter where you are.  

> Technology passed APRS and Packet radio 10 years ago...
> APRS... are fighting bandwidth [and rates] too low...

No, APRS has plenty of bandwidth.  It is not trying to be the
be-all-end-all data channel that everyone gets on their cell
phone.  It is the single resource info channel where each person
gets to beacon his present activity in his one-second of air
time to show what he is doing right now, here, on ham radio.
APRS is not an end in itself.  It is the common resource channel
where people announce what they are doing elsewhere in ham radio
so others can be alerted and join him if interested, in time,
position, and frequency..

> However, your competition, the commercial carriers 
> have you beat on price, availability, and reliability. 

If people are thinking ham radio is in competition with
cellphones, I think they miss the hobby.  We do it for fun.  And
APRS lets us see who is nearby in RF range and what they are
doing and what freq they are on so we can find each other...

> The world is no longer impressed with amateur 
> solutions to Telecommunications just as it is no 
> longer impressed with using horses for basic 
> transportation.

Im sorry you have such a bleak view of the amateur radio hobby.
Those who see amateur radio as being in competition with
commercial giants simply are missing the hobby completely...
Just get a cell phone and Iphone, pay your bills and be an
almost-happy consumer.  Such consumers are never happy, because
there is always the next gimic around the corner..  Lots of
folks like to ride horses.  Getting there in their case is not
about beating a car.  Its about the ride...

So think of APRS as a single continent wide channel to find like
minded people doing something in real time and showing where
they are, what they are doing, and what frequency they are
monitoring.  APRS shrinks all the dimensions of unknowns and
helps people find each other.... As you say, to talk and share
the hobby..

See http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/localinfo.html


> > 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
> > 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
> > or introduced this exciting new capability to their kids? 
> > 
> > You can even send text-messages or emails from your HT or
> > from anywhere on earth via any of the APRS satellites (ISS,
> > GO-32, PCSAT-1, etc)...  We even suggested that everyone
> > learn how to do this and exercise it during
> > Satellite-Simulated-Emergency-Tests.  You can even use any
> > 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
> > 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
> > ago, and ahead of its time we had it in Ham Radio!
> > 
> > >From an old fud..
> > Bob, WB4APR
> > 
> > _______________________________________________
> > Sent via AMSAT-BB at amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those 
> of the author.
> > Not an AMSAT-NA member? Join now to support the amateur 
> satellite program!
> > Subscription settings:
> Stay in touch when you're away with Windows Live Messenger.
> http://www.windowslive.com/messenger/overview.html?ocid=TXT_TA
> GLM_WL_messenger2_072008
> _______________________________________________
> Sent via AMSAT-BB at amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of 
> the author.
> Not an AMSAT-NA member? Join now to support the amateur 
> satellite program!
> Subscription settings:

More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list