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  #16  
Old 05-21-2010, 10:03 AM
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electronjohn electronjohn is offline
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Sandy...when you're rambling around the hills of East Tennessee in the Mighty Valdez keep an eye peeled for "antenna farms". You know...big towers with stacked triband beams & who knows what else. Pull in! The vast majority of hams are very friendly sorts & more than eager to show off their shacks. Presto!...you may have just found your Elmer! Odds are it'll be a person who'd be more than fascinated with your aggregation of boatanchors. Sandy...a guy like you is someone who'd be a great addition to the ham community...a wide range of interests, a friendly, loquacious sort. A prototypical "ragchewer". And...by the way...soldering up a PL-259 to RG-8 coax is easy-breezy...a big ol' fashioned soldering iron works wonders.
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:25 AM
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KD0DQZ here. First...a note to anyone who's given thought to becoming a ham (Sandy G are you listening?). Go to www.qrz.com. On the right-hand side of the homepage is a link to sample tests. Start w/Technician and see how ya do!!...
I never really gave it any thought before. But I tried the practice tests just to see how I'd do: passed the technician at 94.3%, flunked the general at 63.9%, stopped there and didn't try the extra.
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:36 AM
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When I upgraded from Technician to General just short of 25 years ago, my first attempt resulted in failing the code test by one question. I went back home, listened to W1AW's code practice sessions from 35 down to 5 wpm until I was sure I could copy at least 20, then, a month later, went back and tried the test again. This time my results were the exact opposite: I passed the code with 90 percent. I don't remember how well I did on the written test but that doesn't matter, as I do know I passed it and received a CSCE. Was able to get on the air with my newly-earned General class privileges that evening, and have been enjoying the hobby ever since -- even more so than when I just had Novice HF privileges as a Technician.

For Sandy G.: I agree with electronjohn, KDŲDQZ. There is probably at least one ham in your neighborhood, and certainly elsewhere in East Tennessee as well, so I'd be on the lookout for tall towers with beams, 220- and 440-MHz antennas (the latter often used by hams such as VK's own W6ATV who are interested in amateur TV) and so on. Where there is such an installation, there is almost always a "shack" (the term used to describe the area where a ham's transmitting/receiving gear is located, though I think the term is more than just a bit demeaning, although traditional, going back to the days when ham radio stations were set up in actual shacks) at the base of or near the antenna farm.

Most hams are, as John mentioned, very friendly folks who would be more than happy to show off their installations, especially to prospective amateurs. One or two visits to local ham shacks, and meeting their owners, may well change your mind about becoming a licensed amateur, and as a nice bonus, you will likely make some good friends along the way. You do not need to know a thing about soldering or anything else technical to get an amateur radio license nowadays; there is no code test anymore, and the written exam can be passed simply by memorizing the answers to the actual tests conducted at FCC field offices and by volunteer examiners. These tests are published in books available at electronics stores or amateur radio supply houses such as Amateur Electronic Supply of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (with branch stores in Cleveland, Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada; the Cleveland store has been my one source since 1977 for almost all the ham radio equipment I own today). These stores are also set up for 24/7 online ordering of equipment or anything else in their warehouse; go to www.aesham.com to view their price list. You can also request a copy of their latest catalog at this website. I don't remember offhand where the catalog link is, but if you do a little looking around the home page you'll find it.

Amateur radio is a very fascinating hobby, as I have found in my nearly 38 years of involvement in it. It goes far beyond just talking with a microphone to other amateurs over the airwaves; there is amateur television (which ChrisW6ATV of VK fame is very involved in), satellites (known as OSCARs--Orbiting Satellites Carrying Amateur Radio), packet radio, RTTY (radio teletype), et al. I read somewhere, I think it was in an old issue of the (now defunct) Electronics Illustrated magazine in their monthly amateur radio department, conducted by Tom Kneitel, K2AES (now deceased -- an SK, Silent Key, in ham radio talk), that the only way to be bored with ham radio is not to be familiar with it. Most people who have had their television reception ruined by a nearby ham's signals get upset when this happens (or used to; with today's digital TV and most folks having cable or satellite these days, however, I honestly don't think television interference [TVI] is anywhere near the problem today it was when television was all analog), and I remember reading in the old (again, now defunct) Popular Electronics magazine in its Amateur Radio department years ago of a non-ham neighbor of a long-time amateur wanting to actually put the amateur off the air, because the latter was interfering with his neighbor's TV reception. To make a long story short, the amateur, IIRC, eventually talked his neighbor into getting a ham radio license; in fact, the neighbor eventually admitted that, after listening for awhile to the ham's contacts over his TV, the conversations were much, much more interesting to listen to than the TV shows of the time (mid-1960s, IIRC) were to watch.

You do not need a room full of equipment to get started in ham radio, once you get the license. Many amateurs these days start out with a 2-meter hand-held radio and gradually work their way up to HF or VHF gear. But be careful: This hobby can wind up costing a bundle if you really get into it. Many hams start out with older gear purchased at a hamfest or, nowadays, online (eBay has a special section devoted to auctions of ham and shortwave radio gear) and work their way up, as their finances permit.

Today, there is a way to enjoy ham radio without ever actually transmitting signals over the air. A software program called Echolink is available, which will connect your computer to well over 10000 amateurs in 193 nations world wide; there are some 4500 amateurs using the system at any given time of the day or night, so you will never be lacking for someone to talk to. The software takes advantage of a technology known as VoIP, Voice over Internet Protocol, which has been and still is used as the backbone of Internet chat rooms. Echolink is available as a 100-percent free download at www.echolink.org; a companion program, EQ-100, is also available for free download at QRZ.com. Look up the callsign N8AD on the latter; you will be taken to the listing for the amateur to whom this callsign is registered, Leonard A. Stefanelli, of Fairview, Pennsylvania, near Erie. The listing will also have a link to Len's personal website, which will contain a download link for EQ-100. The installation process involves installing Echolink itself (EQ-100 won't work without it), then installing EQ-100. The latter will "hook" to Echolink, resulting in an image on your screen of a "virtual" amateur radio transceiver. Although Echolink will work perfectly well as a standalone program, EQ-100 gives it the look and feel of a real hardware ham rig. I use EQ-100 with Echolink and like it a lot -- since I can now get back on HF, if virtually rather than via the airwaves, I haven't missed my over-the-air (OTA) HF station at all, even though I was totally off the HF bands for about nine years before discovering EL.

I don't know if you knew this, Sandy, but some years ago (at least two decades), a five-year-old boy in Vincennes, Indiana, took and passed the tests for Novice through at least General, if I remember the news item correctly (it was in QST and the other amateur radio publications of the time). His call sign is (or was) WB9VPG--I don't know if he still has his license today.

The reason I bring up the foregoing is to make a point: if a 5-year-old can pass a code and written exam to get an amateur license, so can you. There are people on the ham bands today who know even less than you do about electronics; their lack of technical knowledge, however, does not stop them from enjoying ham radio for what it is -- a means of communicating with other, like-minded people. Ham radio is used (and was originally intended as its primary reason for being) for emergency communications and public-service activities as well, such as message traffic handling, the latter being undertaken by hams operating within the National Traffic System or NTS. The latter is a public service division of the ARRL in suburban Hartford, Connecticut.

I'm definitely not trying to twist your arm and tell you to become a ham; it's your choice. However, in this post I have tried my best to give you an overview of what ham radio is, the public service aspect of the hobby (the emphasis being on "service"), and how much fun it can be once you get into it. Once you get your license, as I said, all that's needed to get in on the ground floor, so to speak, of this great hobby is a 2-meter handheld transceiver; you can add more gear later, as your finances permit.

I am a member of a local radio club and try to get on their weekly 2-meter net using simply my Icom IC-T22a 1.5-watt handheld radio, through a repeater about five miles from my apartment. I say "I try" to get on that net because much of the time I get involved in other things and wind up forgetting about it; oh well, one of these days I'll get back to it. Between that net and my computerized HF station (with Echolink, EQ-100, and my ten-year-old way, way outdated IBM Aptiva 595 computer), I am finally enjoying ham radio again, every bit as much as I did when I was working DX, mostly on 30-meter CW (Morse code) from my former residence in suburban Cleveland.


Give it some thought, Sandy. As I said in a previous post in response to one of yours in another thread, there has never been a better time to become a ham than right now. No more code tests, the theory exam is duck soup as well, with the exam questions now available in book form (known as syllabi) -- good grief, it is almost criminally easy to get an amateur radio license these days.

I'm not a fan (fanboy, if you will) of any of the foregoing, being an old-school ham (there was a code test and you had to actually know the regulations and more than just a little about electronic theory to pass the written test when I got my first license in 1972), but, as the late Walter Cronkite used to end the old CBS Evening News, that's the way it is. Some people may think that today's amateur radio is little more than nine bands of glorified CB, but believe me, it isn't -- not by a long shot. Ham radio, for one thing, is much better organized than CB ever was; the former still requires a license, whereas the FCC ceased issuing CB licenses over 25 years ago.

Listening to hams chatting back and forth is just half the fun of amateur radio. The other half is being able to talk to these people yourself over the air and, judging from how you seem to like to post to VK's various forums and you have a lot to say in those posts (I read them with much interest whenever and wherever they appear on VK), you'd very likely enjoy the heck out of ham radio as well.

73 (best of regards),
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  #19  
Old 05-21-2010, 02:40 PM
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I never really gave it any thought before. But I tried the practice tests just to see how I'd do: passed the technician at 94.3%, flunked the general at 63.9%, stopped there and didn't try the extra.
Getting the Technician ham license would be a good start in ham radio; in fact, Technician is the new entry point for prospective amateurs, as the FCC did away with the Novice license some years ago. The Technician ticket gives its holders privileges in every VHF ham band, from 50 MHz (six meters) to microwaves; it also conveys Novice-class privileges in the HF bands (80, 40, 15 and ten meters, CW [Morse code] only). You can start out with a 2-meter handheld radio as soon as you have your Technician ticket, then work your way up to HF gear later. Many amateurs start out in this hobby with used HF and VHF gear acquired at hamfests or eBay auctions (eBay has a section devoted to auctions for shortwave and ham gear), and do very well, using just about anything imaginable as an antenna; some hams have used bedsprings, the rain gutters around their homes, random wires . . . name it -- and have worked some good DX, often with low power (QRP in ham talk). I read in an old issue of the (now defunct) Electronics Illustrated magazine of one amateur who lived in an apartment building and, of course, was forbidden to install an outdoor antenna. This fellow got around the problem--well, sorta--by loading up the metal beams of his building's elevator shaft with his transmitter. The dodge worked, according to the article, well enough for the fellow to make local contacts around town; however, the building's elevator operator became more than just a bit suspicious when he started drawing sparks off the control panel. The ham was eventually evicted for obvious reasons; however, once he moved to a new location (QTH in ham lingo) and got settled in the new apartment, he began his antenna experiments once again--this time by mounting an antenna on the fire escape. The article did not elaborate, however, on how well or how poorly this makeshift installation worked.
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Old 05-21-2010, 04:47 PM
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I looked into the ham scene down here a few years back-nice guys, for the most part, but not a one of 'em was into HF-It was all 10 meter, 220 & 440 stuff, & their radios were these teeny-tiny widdle things that were about the same size as an early-day cell phone...I started yakkin' about R-390As, SX-28s, HROs, EK-07s, & they just kinda gave me the fish-eye. Went to a "hamfest" in Knoxville years ago, & the only Tooob stuff there was some guy who'd looked like he'd cleaned out the Junk Hole in one of the labs at Oak Ridge Nat'l Lab- Bunch of junky old scopes, a tube sig gen or 2, some sad lookin' VTVMs...Junk. You MIGHT have been able to make one or 2 good scopes out of the 2 pickup loads of the stuff that was there...Maybe. Some dude wanted REAL bad to sell me a radio, IIRC, it was a lesser-model Hallicrafters, or maybe it was an NC-88 National. I did get an NC-125 at another "hamfest" I went to, It was absolutely, positively, swear-on-a-stack-of-Bibles GUARANTEED to work, of course, it didn't. Did after it went to see Terry, though. Anyhow, my experiences w/the local Ham scene has been less than stellar, maybe that is affecting me. They also-HERE- seem to be a rather insular & clannish lot, not really wanting to swap stories/lies/whatever about stuff. But maybe I oughta give 'em another chance...
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Old 05-21-2010, 05:31 PM
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Well, Sandy...if the hams around there are snoots you'll just have to ragchew with somebody in Wyoming...or Alaska...or Portugal. You get my drift. One comment that some folks have made about some ham clubs is a somewhat-exclusionary attitude. Not nice. Hams should be doing everything they can to attract newcomers to the fraternity instead of some misguided "elitist" attitude. I'm not a member of the local club (prolly should join, hmmm?) but the members are more than happy to see me if I pop by during Field Day or something like that. Locally there seems to a be a big gap...quite a few older fellows, along with a number of really young folks...some of whom came to hamming through Boy Scouts. But...not as many in the 30-50 age bracket.

We gotta find a good ham in East Tennessee to take ol' Sandy G under his wing.
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:23 PM
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their radios were these teeny-tiny widdle things that were about the same size as an early-day cell phone...I started yakkin' about R-390As, SX-28s, HROs, EK-07s, & they just kinda gave me the fish-eye. .
Man ! you still playing with the little bitty stuff ! Just joking, of course... but you might enjoy this saga of a Ham/Broadcast Engineer carting a real "boat anchor" home:

http://www.sbe124.org/old_xmtr_rescue/our_old_xmtr.html

(from the SBE 124 website)

jr
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:05 PM
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Now THAT'S some "Heavy Metal", that is...My EK-07 is West German, & it apparently spent a LOT of time quaffin' brewskis at the Hofbrau Haus, 'cos it weighs in at a rather porcine 152 lbs...Not many radios can make an R-390A look svelte, but Der Weinerschnitzel does...It was designed in the mid-late 1950s as a cost-be-damned general purpose receiver for the newly re-formed Bundeswehr. Operator ease, receiving superiority, & stability were prime design concerns. Size, weight, cost, complexity, were of little or no consequence. Incredible selectivity was a hallmark of these sets-their ability to ferret out a Combloc fleapower source deliberately placed adjacent to the VOA, BBC, Deutsche Welle, or one of the other Western blowtorches was almost unbelievable. So was their sensitivity-I've been able to pull in one-lunger daytimers from Kentucky, Virginia & North Carolina w/it, stations whose range is usually barely even the local county line. There were only about 1000 made 1958-73 thereabouts, & possibly no more than 3-4 dozen in this country. It has 25 "Rohren"-tubes, & a fair number of transistors. It even has a built in self-diagnostic test, which is kinda advanced for then. This marvel cost the Germans some $6K back in the early-mid '60s, which partially explains why there are relatively so few of them. Even today, some aspects of its use are classified, & its rumored, that like its American counterpart, the R-390A, it is still in use somewhat by the German army.
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:37 AM
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It's a shame - every hamfest I've attended seems to be composed of about 85% senior citizens. Most folks I've found to be pretty friendly. Free time is the biggest reason I never looked further into becoming a ham; I really wonder what some of the hamfests are going to look like 5-10 years from now when a good chunk of these folks are gone.
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Old 05-23-2010, 04:57 AM
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It's a shame - every hamfest I've attended seems to be composed of about 85% senior citizens. Most folks I've found to be pretty friendly. Free time is the biggest reason I never looked further into becoming a ham; I really wonder what some of the hamfests are going to look like 5-10 years from now when a good chunk of these folks are gone.
Ten years from now, many of today's amateurs will be in their fifties, sixties and older, so these are the people you, I and everyone else will see at most hamfests (and hear on the air) by that time. Amateur radio is not lacking for participants at this time (there are over 640,000 licensed amateurs in the US), but there don't seem to be as many licensed hams these days as there once were. The reason for that is, in large part, the Internet and online chat rooms; many younger folks today would rather chat online than over the airwaves.

I don't see this killing amateur radio any time soon, but I do see it cutting into the number of new hams licensed every year. The FCC has dropped the Morse code requirement for every class of license, but the written test is still difficult to pass without studying for it beforehand; the passing grade is 74 percent, which means seven or more correct answers out of ten (assuming a ten-question test; most written amateur license examinations, however, have far more questions, but the passing mark is the same). The problem is that many younger people today are not interested in technical fields such as electronics. They may have an interest in computers, but quite a few teenagers and younger kids use their Windows 7 computers just to play games; they could not care less about the nuts and bolts of computers or the Internet, as long as the systems work.

If you should get the chance to listen in on the ham radio bands, don't let the old-school "one by three" call signs you will hear every now and then fool you. These callsigns, known as 1x3 due to their format (W#xxx/K#xxx, where # is the call area numeral and xxx is the callsign suffix) were originally assigned to amateurs in the 1930s through the fifties; at the time, their holders were, by and large, younger folks who are now senior citizens in their 80s, deceased (silent keys in amateur radio lingo), or former amateurs who have let their licenses expire. The FCC has made these old callsigns available for reassignment under the "vanity" callsign program, which was implemented several years ago so, more often than not, if you hear a 1x3 callsign on the bands today, there is no telling how old the holder may be -- he or she could be sixty years old or more or just a 17-year-old or younger kid. The chances are, however, that most of the time when you hear a 1x3 callsign these days, the holder will be quite young. The Extra class one-by-two calls are mostly all available for reassignment under the vanity callsign program these days, as most if not all the amateurs who originally held these callsigns 50 years ago or more are almost certainly silent keys by now. This means that, if you hear a 1x2 (e. g. W#xx/K#xx) callsign on the HF amateur bands today, the odds are in your favor that the holder is probably much younger than 50 years of age.

Vanity callsigns are nice to have, if you want a callsign that has your initials as the suffix, for example, or if, for whatever reason, you don't like the callsign the FCC assigned you on a new license. But they come at a price: The last I checked, the fee for a vanity callsign was $13.30. Once assigned, these callsigns are normally valid for ten years or until your license expires, whichever comes first. I personally do not have and do not want a vanity callsign; my WB8NHV call is my first one after upgrading from Novice, dating to my Technician days in the mid '70s and continuing to the present day. I have made probably thousands of contacts under this callsign and my Novice one (WN8NHV) combined over the last nearly 38 years; the fellows in my local club (the Lake County, Ohio Amateur Radio Association) know me by the General callsign, and I see no reason to change it at this late date.
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Old 05-23-2010, 02:14 PM
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Recently, NPRs "All Things Considered" ran a brief snapshot of Ham radio in this day of Twitter, Facebook and other competition... Surprise! it seems as if this "old fashioned" hobby has added a substantial number of participants in the last year or so, and appears to be growing:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...86&ft=1&f=1019

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Old 05-23-2010, 07:54 PM
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The thing that saddens me is the dearth of youngish boys at the events I've been to- Generally, its just a bunch of middle-older-age guys...Sometimes the REALLY old fogies will maybe talk to you about Tooob stuff, but the younger ones don't wanna hear it...They're more interested in what the latest whizbang Yeacomwood does...But when you've been raised on the internet, & its all so effortless, the prospect of learning a bunch of arcane rules, put up w/fussy old men, & there's no pictures, yeah, I can see why the kids don't wanna fool w/it.
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Old 05-24-2010, 12:39 AM
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I've had a license for 10 years (KB9WAH) but was only active for a couple years after I got it. I just didn't have much of a use for it as there really wasn't anyone I was interested in talking to or anything all that interesting being talked about. I'd just rather use instant messenger programs and chat on the internet with friends that I already know. Back then I thought I'd find the phone patch on the local 2 meter repeater to be useful, but I got a cell phone and that was the end of that. I'm not trying to be negative and bring the thread crashing down, though. I tried it, enjoyed the electronics aspect and the theory and learning all the rules and regulations, but in the end I was just more interested in not giving others the ability to listen in to my conversations, and being a computer guy, I wanted to be involved in the online conversation mediums that most of my friends participated in.
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Old 05-24-2010, 04:09 AM
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I've had a license for 10 years (KB9WAH) but was only active for a couple years after I got it. I just didn't have much of a use for it as there really wasn't anyone I was interested in talking to or anything all that interesting being talked about. I'd just rather use instant messenger programs and chat on the internet with friends that I already know. Back then I thought I'd find the phone patch on the local 2 meter repeater to be useful, but I got a cell phone and that was the end of that. I'm not trying to be negative and bring the thread crashing down, though. I tried it, enjoyed the electronics aspect and the theory and learning all the rules and regulations, but in the end I was just more interested in not giving others the ability to listen in to my conversations, and being a computer guy, I wanted to be involved in the online conversation mediums that most of my friends participated in.
There is a computer program called Echolink, developed by an amateur in New Hampshire (Jonathan Taylor, K1RFD) that will allow you to use your computer to talk to other amateurs world-wide via voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP), without having to erect an antenna. I use this program with my ancient Windows 98 machine because I live in an apartment building, and cannot erect outdoor antennas. The software works great, and has kept me making contacts on the HF ham bands despite my antenna problems. (I still use an RF-based 1.5-watt Icom IC-T22a handheld to keep in touch with the members of my local radio club.)

There is an addon as well for Echolink called EQ-100 that will give the program the look and feel of a hardware amateur HF rig. Together, these programs can transform your computer into an amateur radio station, again without the need for outdoor antennas. The program is available as a free download at www.echolink.org; the EQ-100 addon is also a free download, but to get to the link you need to look up the callsign N8AD, on QRZ.com or HamCall.net. This is the callsign of the developer of EQ-100, Leonard A. Stefanelli, of Fairview, Pennsylvania; the download link is about a third of the way down from the top of the home page. This program will "hook" onto Echolink (the latter must be installed on your computer), allowing full control of EL via your mouse, just by clicking buttons on the virtual transceiver.

This is just an idea I had after reading that you only used your ham license for two years or so before going back to online communications in chat rooms, etc.; you can use it or ignore it, of course, as you see fit. I mentioned Echolink because you said you are a computer person and don't seem to care much for the RF aspects of ham radio. EL does use RF links (transceivers connected through an interface board to the Echolink software), but they are behind the scenes, being used as "nodes" to link Echolink-enabled computers to the HF bands.

I am not trying to twist your arm and tell you to get back on the air; it is your choice. It's just that, liking the hobby as much as I do and as involved in it as I am, I hate reading or hearing about licensed amateurs who give up on the hobby after only a short time. I've had a license for nearly 38 years and am still active, both on 2 meters with the local radio club and on HF with Echolink.

BTW, you are right on the mark as far as repeater autopatches vs. cell phones are concerned. With more and more people (including hams) having cell phones these days, the need for repeater autopatch systems is nowhere near as pressing as it was in the days before cellular really took hold in the US; in fact, I don't remember the last time I heard anyone in the local club use the repeater's autopatch. I have never used the system's autopatch personally, and I've been a member of the local club for well over two decades; however, since I have a cell phone, I have no use for the repeater's phone patch.

Out of sheer curiosity, I looked up your callsign on HamCall.net a few minutes ago. Your license expired 56 days ago (from the date of this post, May 24, 2010), but you can still renew it as it is within the 2-year grace period. Again, I am not telling you to do anything; it is entirely up to you whether or not you renew your ticket, but I just thought I'd let you know that as of 56 days ago, you are no longer licensed. However, I wouldn't wait too long to renew. Two years can go by awfully quickly, and once the grace period expires, you will need to retake the written test (there is no longer a Morse code requirement for US amateur radio licenses).

73,
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Jeff, WB8NHV

Collecting, restoring and enjoying vintage Zenith radios since 2002

Zenith. Gone, but not forgotten.

Last edited by Jeffhs; 05-24-2010 at 04:29 AM.
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Old 05-24-2010, 12:41 PM
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matt_s78mn matt_s78mn is offline
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Lincoln, NE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffhs View Post
This is just an idea I had after reading that you only used your ham license for two years or so before going back to online communications in chat rooms, etc.; you can use it or ignore it, of course, as you see fit. I mentioned Echolink because you said you are a computer person and don't seem to care much for the RF aspects of ham radio. EL does use RF links (transceivers connected through an interface board to the Echolink software), but they are behind the scenes, being used as "nodes" to link Echolink-enabled computers to the HF bands.

I am not trying to twist your arm and tell you to get back on the air; it is your choice. It's just that, liking the hobby as much as I do and as involved in it as I am, I hate reading or hearing about licensed amateurs who give up on the hobby after only a short time. I've had a license for nearly 38 years and am still active, both on 2 meters with the local radio club and on HF with Echolink.

Out of sheer curiosity, I looked up your callsign on HamCall.net a few minutes ago. Your license expired 56 days ago (from the date of this post, May 24, 2010), but you can still renew it as it is within the 2-year grace period. Again, I am not telling you to do anything; it is entirely up to you whether or not you renew your ticket, but I just thought I'd let you know that as of 56 days ago, you are no longer licensed. However, I wouldn't wait too long to renew. Two years can go by awfully quickly, and once the grace period expires, you will need to retake the written test (there is no longer a Morse code requirement for US amateur radio licenses).

73,
Don't feel too bad, you're not the first person to try twisting my arm to get back into it. Now more than ever actually, as I have a couple coworkers who are licensed... and given that I work at a TV station and we host the local club's repeater on our tower. There are lots of reasons why I should do it. Also, I have a large enough back yard to put up an aerial. My place is no stranger to antennas, as I've got VHF and UHF tv antennas on the roof, and a big C-band dish in the back yard... so a 40' Rohn tower wouldn't be too out of place.

Yea I do know about the License expiring. A couple months ago I tried to renew it but there was some odd issue with the renewal website. It shuts down after a certain time in the evenings so I kinda forgot about it. I'll look back into that before time runs out.

I think my main problem though, is that I have way too many hobbies. I just don't think I'd have time for it unless I thinned out a few of my other interests.
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