Keeping Ham Radio Relevant Hack Chat

Join us on Wednesday, February 5 at noon Pacific for the Keeping Ham Radio Relevant Hack Chat with Josh Nass!

It may not seem like it, but amateur radio is fighting a two-front war for its continued existence. On the spectrum side, hams face the constant threat that the precious scraps of spectrum that are still allocated to their use will be reclaimed and sold off to the highest bidder as new communication technologies are developed. On the demographic side, amateur radio is aging, with fewer and fewer young people interested in doing the work needed to get licensed, with fewer still having the means to get on the air.

Amateur radio has a long, rich history, but gone are the days when hams can claim their hobby is sacrosanct because it provides communications in an emergency. Resting on that particular laurel will not win the hobby new adherents or help it hold onto its spectrum allocations​, so Josh Nass (KI6NAZ) is helping change the conversation. Josh is an engineer and radio amateur from Southern California who runs Ham Radio Crash Course​, a YouTube channel dedicated to getting people up to speed on ham radio. Josh’s weekly livestreams and his video reviews of ham radio products and projects show a different side of the World’s Greatest Hobby, one that’s more active (through events like “Summits on the Air​​”) and focused on digital modes that are perhaps more interesting and accessible to new hams.

Join us on the Hack Chat as we discuss how to make ham radio matter in today’s world of pervasive technology. We’ll talk about the challenges facing amateur radio, the fun that’s still to be had on the air even when the bands are dead like they are now (spoiler alert: they’re not really), and what we can all do to keep ham radio relevant.

join-hack-chatOur Hack Chats are live community events in the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, February 5 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have got you down, we have a handy time zone converter.

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io. You don’t have to wait until Wednesday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

69 thoughts on “Keeping Ham Radio Relevant Hack Chat

  1. The offroading community is certainly doing it’s part in keeping HAM alive. More and more Jeep and offroading groups are using handheld HAM radios for communications during group events. They have better range and flexibility in emergencies. Most people I know bought $30 handhelds on Amazon and then studied for the $15 test. Easy stuff.

    1. ARRL and W5YI charge for the exams. Laurel does not.

      I see a lot of off-roaders and drone operators getting their Technician license. Problem is I don’t see them coming back to upgrade.

      1. That’s because we don’t need anything more than what we get at the technician level. If I am only ever going to use radio communications within my Jeep at Jeep events, I don’t need more bandwidth access. I do need to know how to use it properly and how to get on repeaters if someone gets hurt in a remote area and the only way to call for help is with my radio and access to a repeater. CB and FRM do not have the range and there is a minimal chance that someone is listening.

        1. If you are in a scenario with no repeater and wanted to talk to someone on the other side of a mountain you could use a NVIS antenna configuration on an HF band. You can only use HF with a General or higher license. Tech license limits you to basically line of site radio transmissions.

          1. I know this however I’m sorry to inform you that while 10m is technically in the hf band it doesn’t work like any other hf bands except for very rare circumstances and usually only at the peak of the sunspot cycle which is 6 years from now. You will be amazed what you learn when studying for the General and join a local club. The average age of my club is 70 and I’m 38. Those old guys are a wealth of wisdom in many ways even beyond ham radio. Get a couple field days under your belt. There is a whole new world for you out there 20m and lower. Hope you stick with it as the effort is well worth it.

        2. NVIS HF might be fun if you end up taking some trips into the deep, deep back country away from repeaters. Not as a lifeline, but as entertainment or keep in-touch tech. You can also do things like beaconing location and status with digital modes.

      2. I’ve never understood this attitude that it’s every Technician’s JOB to upgrade. Everything that I want to do with radio can be done with Tech privileges.

        If you have a driver’s license, nobody pushes the idea that it’s JOB to get a motorcycle endorsement or upgrade to driving semis.

        Yet, most senior hams simply can’t believe that anyone could happy without HF phone in their lives. It’s an article of faith — nearly religious dogma — that everyone is desperate to get on HF. Therefore, any Tech that doesn’t upgrade is either too lazy or stupid to get what every senior ham ‘knows’ they want.

      3. They aren’t upgrading because they didn’t get a license to be amateur radio operators. They got it to talk on 2m or control a RC model. As for the off roaders someone should have just told them about GMRS.

      4. The Laurel VEC is good to learn about. The ARRL and W5WY VE groups teams I was associated with, only charge the VEC portion. When local MD was aware of an exam session he would stop by and pay that thereby making the exam free for those taking the exams. While many go ahead and attain their general and Extra license, some question, the value of the Extra beyond the ability to give the Extra exams.

    2. Yea, but, handitalk from China(Bxxfexxg) is not talking to another enthusiast on the other side of the world. KE5QMH Out…..CQ CQ 80 Meters CQ…KE5QMH Calling CQ 80 Meters…

      1. HF worldwide chit-chat is but one facet of our hobby. As I have said to many prospective and licensed hams, there is something for almost everyone in amateur radio, and because of this there is room for everyone. HF communications are not the only reason to get licensed. Far from it.

      1. That’s not what it is about for you, but communication is at the heart of it. same could be said of many things. Some people drive car for transportation, other have passion for their vehicles and want to modify it and make it better and understand everything about it. Neither is an invalid reason for wanting a car or to know how to use a radio. If they got a license, they have enough passion to care at some level.

      2. Ham radio is about what each hams want it to be. I kniw a number of hams who “only” use ham radio to track high power rockets or communicate while hiking or 4-wheeling.

        There are many aspect to the hobby, and no one is under any obligation to do more than they want.

        I am radio is about communication and learning, as applied by each individual ham.

      3. I agree. With the elimination of the code test and no experience requirement to upgrade, there seems to have been a “dumbing down” of Amateur radio. People just memorize answers and take the test a few times to get a passing score.

        At least in the USA, I don’t see a lot of Amateurs putting in the time to build even simple receivers or transmitters, nor do they put in time to understand the actual concepts behind the theory. If they can’t buy it for $25, turn it on, and start talking, they aren’t interested. This applies to many areas in our culture, not just radio.

        The frenzy for 5G, so that everyone can stream Netflix in 8K HDR, will consume all the higher bands, and we’ll continue to be pushed into a smaller and smaller box due to the real or perceived lack of spectrum use.

        Mike Judge was a prophet: “Idiocracy” has been here for a while, we just didn’t notice its arrival.

    1. While there are a small minority of obnoxious hams, not all are Extra class. For me (AC3DH): I would just spin the dial and you will find someone like Josh or myself, who encourage new hams. Josh’s you tube channel is one of the best places to learn amateur radio.

      Also local VHF and UHF repeaters are a great place to start, plenty of kind people out there to help and encourage. Join a local club, it is a great place to share and learn.

      Ken

      p.s. After I got my ticket in 2018, I searched you tube and found HRCC I have learned so much from Josh. I finally logged a QSO with him while he was demonstrating Fox and Hound on FT8 about 2 weeks ago. Now my goal is to log Joe Taylor K1JT another one of my heroes.

  2. Homebrewing a QRP is a great way to get started, better than a not as easily hacked Baofeng.
    For $7 you can find a pixie kit to get on the air, there are some easy hacks to bend the freq a bit with an AM radio tuner variable cap but you have to have a discriminating ear and concentrating if there are any nearby operators on the band.
    But throw together pretty much a pixie with instead of a crystal a DDS controlled by any microcontroller and an LTC1060 to easily add a tight CW notch filter the audio on busy bands and you have a really cool perfboard CW rig in your pocket.
    Alternatively you can build a rig to communicate over QO-100 if you live on the right side of the planet.
    There is plenty to distract a geek in DIY tech anymore vs the 1920s-80s and I hate hard doxing myself every time I key up but the tradeoff is a community and both terrestrial and space infrastructure only matched by that available to Tony Stark or nation state military forces.
    All you need is to learn some stuff, pass a test and get/make an oscillator, some wire, and electricity.
    I would support testing online and by telephone to serve the remote and disabled as well as eliminating fees to encourage bringing everyone without regard for wealth and age into using a real callsign and following regulations.

  3. I really love the idea of HAM radio, but I don’t really feel the “Analog will always be there for you when SHTF” as deeply as some. Provided the disaster ends before your radio heat stops working, modern digital can be fantastically reliable.

    Plus, the fact that it can’t be commercially used means… You can’t use it officially at commercial events, which basically limits it to things where everyone brings their own gear. That kinda limits exposure of new people, and limits commercial interest in making new gear.

    I’m a fan of GPL style freedom, free for any purpose, use the same stuff at home and at work. I think we just need *way* more ISM spectrum.

    If you listen with a scanner, most of the spectrum is totally unused. All the licensed business bands couple go away and be replaced with a digital IP based solution that doesn’t need so much empty space. The IoT possibilities would be worth the cost of giving them all free replacement digital radios.

    If they somehow managed to open up another 500MHz or so of spectrum, a lot of wireless related issues would just go away.

    1. The whackers and preppers both frustrate me. It’s like, ok, SHTF bad enough that the corporate cell infrastructure is unavailable. But the whackers would have you believe that all those VHF repeaters are somehow not affected? And I honestly don’t know who the preppers would be talking to; you’d think the answer is “each other”, but they’re too paranoid even for that.

      It’s a cool hobby, but as with most cool hobbies trying to “justify” it with some practical use case (beyond, you know, “I want to talk to people who have the same hobby as me, which is 100% valid) just makes you look foolish.

      1. “And I honestly don’t know who the preppers would be talking to; you’d think the answer is “each other”, but they’re too paranoid even for that.”

        Yes, if you have spent years storing up food, water, fuel, First Aid supplies, toilet paper, batteries, ammo, etc.,
        it is in your best interest to keep your mouth shut and blackout curtains on your windows.

        1. Then, as your supplies run low, fire up the radio, to hear if anyone out there is “broadcasting” they’ve had enough fuel/food to have survived that long and stupid enough to let strangers know.

          “Honey! Grab the backpacks and ammo! I’ve RDF’d that station! It’s about a days journey from here, they’ll be surprised when we drop in for a “visit”!”

    2. Early fascination with fm bugs and electronics did not translate into a desire to get licensed because of all the tornado/disaster preparedness material in the arrl handbooks of the time that put me off.

      What eventually got me licensed was excitement about the possibilities of the emerging domain of software defined radio – google “software defined radio for the masses” – a fusion of software and relatively simple hardware to achieve pretty amazing things. With cheap fl2k dongles and rtl-sdr hardware, and open source PCB layout tools like pcb-rnd, gEDA PCB, and KiCad, and distributed development tools allowing collaboration across continents, I reckon we are living in a golden age for experimentation.

      Having said the above about emergency preparedness, while driving a few hundred kilometres a few weeks ago in the midst of extreme fire danger ratings and ongoing bushfires, i made sure i was carrying my multiband FT-817, as I knew it was the only way I could reliably communicate in the event of mobile phone outages if I ran into trouble.

  4. I have been a ham since my 20’s (SWL listener since a few years before the VIC-20 came into play). I see many facets in the way we communicate on radios, be it AM, FM, Sideband, Digital modes, etc. The field of amateur radio is ever evolving. As an amateur radio operator, I give an open ear to those with questions. I make the one who wants to learn comfortable in their own environment and give them the knowledge to continue on in their interests in the field. I have been building kits since grade school, and still do today. I just fear that the hobby may not be viable in some areas, but those where communications is necessary (EMS, Fire, Police, etc.) It wouldn’t hurt to get an understanding of how things work instead of just push-to-talk and release-to-listen. That’s my 2 cents, and I hope to get in on the chat Wednesday. 73 de KC8KVA

  5. I picked up a Software Defined Radio kit (RTL-SDR) for about $30 last fall. I’ve always been curious about HAM and radio in general, but was unwilling to drop the amount of money to really get into it. I know with my current setup I’m just a passive listener (to TX, only RX), but it’s been a great crash course on antenna theory and seeing what I can pick up here in Juneau, AK where I’m wedged between two massive mountain ranges at the bottom of a valley, and I’m in an apartment. So there are many challenges, but it’s been a fun experience well worth the $30 to test the waters. I would love to get in the HF world wide frequencies, but that’s going to take some more research and probably cost me significantly more than I’ve already spent since I’ll probably need a really good antenna or way more space for the antenna.

    I’ll be trying to make it to the talk on Wednesday.

  6. I was intensely interested in things electrical as a rural New Zealand youngster & used to string up antenna for distant radio reception & roll assorted circuitry (initially thermionic ! )This was pre TV in our region & as few e-parts were available locally I tediously imported from Britain ! A chance contact put me on to ham radio, which I moved into during the mid 1960s. Although a magnificent start on my subsequent electronics career, ham radio’s “signal reporting/gear boasting/quaint jargon” focus turned me off by my late teens… That & of course the need for simultaneous availability at both ends for voice/CW comms -the Internet age has been MAGNIFICENT for time shifting ! I still have electrons in my blood 55 years later, & am very involved with IoT VHF/UHF wireless (especially LoRa),but have no ham gear beyond a cheap Baofeng for emergencies. 73s -de ZL2APS

    1. Our editor-in-chief Mike Szczys suggested that to me yesterday, and I thought it was a great idea, but I wouldn’t have had the time to get it set up. Plus, Josh is ducking out of work on his lunch hour to do the chat, so I don’t think he’d be able to get set up.

      But it’s a great idea for the future, and suggests that maybe a “Hackaday Ham Club” could be a thing. Scheduled nets, etc. Working on the idea, would love input. Watch for a project on Hackaday.io where anyone can contribute.

  7. As an example of what access to spectrum can mean for HAMS… Some 2.4 GHz WiFi equipment (like older Ubiquiti firmware) can be tuned out of the WiFi band, but remain within the Ham allocation. Or operate on 915 MHz with much more than 1W. Perfectly legal if you are licensed.

    As for talking… I used to have a VHF/UHF radio in my car, but my wife kept asking why I need to talk to strangers when I can talk to her?

    1. “As for talking… I used to have a VHF/UHF radio in my car, but my wife kept asking why I need to talk to strangers when I can talk to her?”

      Don’t you mean, she wants you to “listen” to her?
      B^)

  8. Amateur radio began after Marconi spanned the Atlantic in 1901. Nobody really had much idea of what to do with radio once it was out of the lab, and no laws. So hobyiststs started building, and basicallly staked out a place in the spectrum. It’s not clear if the lure was building or “talking on the radio” but you couldn’t do the latter without the former.

    A few iterations of laws kicked in, though things were pretty easy in the beginning. And since little was known about radio, some of the rules, like relegating hams to “useless” frequencies turned out to ve incredibly generous. Hams showed value in shortwave, and the allocation was cut back. Imagine having all the frequencies above about the current AM broadcast band.

    After WWI the US armed forces wanted a monopoly on radio, they were reluctant to give back anything to hams. But lobbying saved the day.

    I can’t remember (I’m not that old, but from reading) if emergency was presented at that point, I think that came later. But providing a pool of technical and operators did kick in. It’s still valuable today. Despite an illusion of a technology-savvy population, using “tech” isn’t the same as being tech.

    Once emrgency was proposed,it seemed to reinforce the hobby as “talking” rather than technical. If value is only numbers, then you’re stuck with always seeking more numbers.

    What value is people who want communication for their own purpose?

    We’ve seen reductions in ham bands, but mostly an illusion. Fifty years ago I think the rules said anything above 40,000MHz belonged to hams. That’s on top of the allocations up to that frequency. But such high frequencies were never used except by the occasional experimenter. There has been some loss at lower frequencies, but not really significant. There are more ham bands on shortwave than when I was a kid, and we even have some longwave slices.

    Yes, go badk a hundred years and there was a gradual loss over time, but hams got a generous allocation, spread all over the spectrum, and the loss was in effect because new uses for radio came along. I’d point out that TV got a big allocation after WWII, which was underused for technical reasons, but limited what new radio services could be added. You can’t just pull a random band into new use, propagation may make a choice bad, and for a long time above shortwave technology wasn’t there to make use of frequencies.

    Oddly, the demand is for ever higher frequencies. So selling newcomers on walkie talkies may mean they will lose their bands.

    But, bands have shrunk but never lost since 11 metres went to CB in the late fifties. And that was never an international allocation.

    The bogeyman of “use it or lose it” has long existed, I’m not sure how much it impacts things. I can remember an editorial in QST about 1971 where some country complained that hams “only talked, on commercially built equipment”. Maybe it’s quality we need, not quantity.

    I have never been a good ham, if operating is what counts. But I soaked up the technical stuff starting when I was eleven, and I also learned abiut learning. The latter is incredibly valuable.

    1. Thats a VERY good point about “an existing pool of capable operators”, which was incredibly beneficial to the Allies in WW2. Hitler in contrast had banned ham radio in Germany & Axis technical training was on the back foot all thru’ the conflict.

    1. SSH implies encryption, right?
      Ham radio, is not encrypted. it may be digital, but any ham with similar equipment should be able to receive it.
      Commercial use is also forbidden, including drug/human trafficking.

  9. The spectrum reallocation threat is a bit overblown and sensationalized in this article. Other than the 2 meter threat in France (which I think fizzled, I can’t recall HF and VHF being threatened in recent years. Some may cite the 220 Mhz chunk reallocated to UPS in the US in the late 80s, but amateur radio was a secondary allocation there to begin with. 3.5 Ghz is being threatened, but there are other services there as well and it’s going to go to 5G regardless. HF allocations have increased over the years, including 630 and 60 meters. A newbie reading this article would get the impression that radio amateurs are sitting on a dwindling, melting iceberg of spectrum.

    Amateur radio does have an aging problem and will continue to until baby boomers pass on. Amateur radio is still quite relevant, we just need to embrace the Maker movement and make the connection that amateur radio is a natural extension and path for experimenters to take when they want to go beyond simple module-based wireless experimentation.

  10. I was under the impression that people getting their license increased. What would help is a culture change maybe. There are people getting into it for different reasons but some seem to turn away from newbies.

  11. I would like to know how many of these replies are given by licensed amateur radio operators. This short article is incorrect stating that ham radio isn’t useful for communications in an emergency. Amateur radio is used all the time for communications during disasters. There has been numerous times that cell phones and the internet are disrupted for weeks from forest fires, hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. Also, contrary what cell phone companies advertise, cell coverage in hilly terrain isn’t dependable or even possible sometimes. Amateur radio is still very useful emergency situations. Also, it’s a great hobby with large variety of things to do. For example: Contesting, DXing (talking to different countries), EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) contacts, Satellite (contacts through a amateur satellite), digital modes, design and building your own equipment, antenna experimenting and construction and the list could go on and on. Many Hams use the popular Raspberry Pi to base many of their construction projects from. Anyway, I just would like to say amateur radio is very much alive and well. Try it out. It’s a lot more fun than just looking at a computer screen. Have a great day. Lou

    1. I did not say that ham radio is not useful for emergency communications. I said that using emcomms as the sole justification for hanging onto the small bits of spectrum amateur radio currently has is foolish. There are plenty of reasons to keep ham radio alive and well, but emcomms seems to be sold as the “killer feature” far too often, and I don’t think that’s true anymore. Plus, it’s not attractive to a generation that has been raised with pervasive Internet. There’s no way I stand up in front of a bunch of high schools kids in a vest covered with patches and talk about how “When all else fails, there’s ham radio” and expect them to want to dive in. If you’re going to keep ham radio relevant, you have to attract younger people, because the old timers will age out one way or another.

  12. I like the idea of ham radio because I like tinkering with technology and making things. Some people like it for other reasons such as emergency preparedness, or just ragchewing (chatting) with one another. That’s fine. There should be room for all of us.

    By playing (not working this is AMATEUR radio) together we should be better off. When the tinkerer wants to test their creation there may not be another tinkerer in range at that moment. The ragchewers always want to talk though. One of them can always come back and tell you if your newly built transmitter rocks or sucks. And how prepared are you if you never test your stuff? Having people regularly ragchewing on a repeater or a digital network that was built for emergency purposes keeps the bugs out so long as they know to shut up in an actual emergency.

    Sometimes however I think one or two kinds of ham can become overly dominant.

    In my area the local ragchewers are all moving over to digital repeaters. There’s nothing wrong with digital but these are all commercial black boxes with proprietary codecs. No tinkerers welcome. Why don’t we have black-box turnkey repeaters running Codec2 yet?

    And for some reason many hams use these proprietary digital repeaters as evidence that ham radio is keeping ham radio relevant. Why do the guys at the local ham club talk like they are keeping ham radio at the cutting edge of technology when all they are doing is installing rebranded tech that was designed for the taxi industry a decade prior?

    There are data networks here too. APRS is going strong. HamNet is growing (a mesh built from repurposed wifi equipment with higher power on ham frequencies) and there is even growth in a traditional AMPRNet not too far away with a high and directinal antenna. But those seem to be dominated by the preper types. I don’t get the impression that they take too kindly to experimenting or ragchewing on their precious emergency networks.

    1. Ham radio has traditionally taken advantage of hand me down tech from military and commercial applications….ever since the hobby started. DMR is no different in that respect. There are boatloads of surplus commercial radios and repeaters now that can be had for cheap and repurposed and used on the HAM DMR networks. Much of the innovation is happening on the SW side with protocols like Joe Taylor (WSJTX) is working on, and the DSP and embedded systems in modern transceivers. What I’m saying is Ham radio now is pretty much just like it used to be, except the tech is techier. Regards de N5SMO.

  13. When I was a kid, the Canadian magazine abiut Scouting had an article about DXing with aan AM radio. Kind of interesting, but then a letter in an issue or two later where someone mentioned ham radio.

    The library had books about ham radio. When I found tye hobby electronic magazines on tge newsstand in 1971, they all had construction articles related to ham radio, and many had a column about the hobby, sometimes aimed at the beginner. There were also ham magazines on the newsstands.

    It wasn’t uncommon to see ham radio mentioned in the news.

    You could read popular juvenile science fiction, from the library, and ham radio was in them. Even The Hardy Boys had a Shortwave Mystery.

    In fifty years the entry requirements have been reduced, but the hobby seems way less visible. The local clubs have fleamarkets, but they don’t use them for outreach. A lot more than hams might find things of interest, but if they don’t know about it, they can’t find it. If they somehow arrived at the fleamarkets, they might find out enough about ham radio to join in.

    But most of the outlets are gone. Make ran some articles s about ham radio, but I’m not sure it was the best presentation, especially since Make was about building. We see articles here every so often, but too often are “how can we save ham radio” rather than trying to reach newcomers in the first place. And too often I see a garbling, an emphasis on “talking” or emergency rather than technical. Too much talk of “expensive” , when kids used to borrow, scrounge, build or modify. You can still build a simple few transistor CW transmitter with mostly scrounged parts, and whike not perfect, a lot of portable shortwave radios are way better than the low end SW radios we made do with fifty years ago.

    My take is that there’s !ong been a shift away from the young, the rule changes made it easier for older people to enter the hobby later, and enough time has elapsed that those older entrants run the clubs and write the articles. So they don’t know what it was like to be young and how anything was new and exciting. So they can’t convey it, instead talk in their terms ( “it’s expensive, it’s about talking, it’s 2M FM”).

    I was licensed at the end of grade six. I entered the adult world then, knowing things that would never be covered in high school. There is way too much patronizing at kids today in the hobby.

    1. Well put -I recall having similar in depth/ hands on radio knowledge & skills in my teens. While later in the military, & on a remote mountainous exercise, I saved the day by organising 3rd party wireless comms that the units issued ~40MHz gear was incapable of !

  14. Not sure this is good 45 comments and only one that was somewhat directing the topic “Keeping Ham Radio Relevant’. Unfortunately it was s basically a whine, and offered no usable suggestion. I never logged into a hackaday chat, hopefully the actual chats are better than that, as I’ll try to log into the chat to observe the conversation. hopefully the topic stays up for time shifted us. BTW why not use UTC?

  15. I’m an admitted noob who just bought a Baofeng UV5R for security and future safety. It’s on my list of “next to do” to learn as much as I can and contribute where possible.
    I’m finding there’s a lot of info out there (YT etc) and much of it contradictory.

    1. The ARRL handbooks and RSGB handbooks can be obtained cheaply or nearly free at hamfests and club buy and sells, and provide an excellent primer in radio, electronic and antenna theory which does not change much over time.

      The internet is a reasonable source for more cutting edge things, like evolving digital modes (digimodes) and associated software, satellite operations, software defined radio topics, like rtl-sdr or fl2k hacks, High altitude balloon and weathersonde chasing, and for finding layouts or designs or components for homebrewing or reverse engineering/modifying existing hardware.

  16. If amateur radio was a war, I would not participate. Millions and millions people killed in wars but amateur radio hasn’t killed anybody. Amateur radio is not about war and hate and killing people, it’s international understanding, friendship, and peace. Think about your words!

  17. Lol. If your in a S.O.S need for help use what ever you want. If your in danger need medical help who cares if you have a ticket to use what ever band your using. Better to pay a fine than to be found deAd listening to weather channe.

    1. I classify myself as an advocate to all of my friends, family, and beyond for getting licensed and experimenting. As for Emergency situations, if it is life safety etc. then there are provisions that allow you to do what you need to do whether you are licensed or not.

      {At least in regard to the USA}

      § 97.403 Safety of life and protection of
      property.
      No provision of these rules prevents
      the use by an amateur station of any
      means of radiocommunication at its
      disposal to provide essential communication needs in connection with the
      immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when
      normal communication systems are
      not available.
      § 97.405 Station in distress.
      (a) No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station in
      distress of any means at its disposal to
      attract attention, make known its condition and location, and obtain assistance.
      (b) No provision of these rules prevents the use by a station, in the exceptional circumstances described in
      paragraph (a) of this section, of any
      means of radiocommunications at its
      disposal to assist a station in distress.

      https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CFR-2009-title47-vol5/pdf/CFR-2009-title47-vol5-part97.pdf

  18. Just joined. Will review all of the comments as the original post inviting this chat was very much in line with discussions currently going on in IARU which can be described as the “inflection point.” What is the attraction (or “value proposition”) of ham radio for those under – pick a number – 25/30/35/40? It is certainly not going to a radio club meeting where the youngest person there is older than your grandparents. In short, while the “problem” of an increasing average age of the amateur population is well known, determining a possible range of actions and then trying them out to learn what of those actions will provide some measure of success is another. IOW – do something. This note is to let everyone know that you’re not alone in your concerns and that IARU is open to any and all suggestions. Now to read these and discover somebody already posted this. de VE3YV Secretary IARU R2 ve3yv@iaru-r2.org

  19. I am licensed as KC1CCG. That’s a long call sign. I didn’t want to pay or wait for a short one or two letter call. Think I qualify for the one letter. Its long because I do CW almost exclusively and all things equal it would be easier. I built a lot of equipment over the years but now enjoy using the ICOM 7300, an amazing radio. The thing that Ham radio is valuable for in the big picture is getting young people interested in technical professions. We are in danger of having nothing but software engineers. Leaving the hardware to others. Not good. I have been on and off the air since 1957 with several calls. Go to the ARRL website if you are interested in learning more about this 120 year old hobby. Its a good place to start. CW is therapy for old brains which need all the help they can get, high high (hi hi is laughter in Morse Code) . 73 VA (73 is bye and VA is end of transmission)

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