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Posted: 6/29/2015 4:11:26 PM EDT
I have been invested since Spring and licensed/operating for a couple months now.

Only 2m/70cm. I appreciate the value of having it, but I'm really not seeing the "fun". I thought perhaps it was because I am not trying any HF stuff. A friend had his radio trailer out for field day so I sat with him for an hour or so staring at his laptop. Map/contacts/log...neat.

I do *need* ham, but I just don't think this is going to bite me like the rest of my hobbies.

Our field day was ho-hum - definitely not what I expected. I thought this was more of a what-if day and people would operate without the luxury. All were inside our EOC, with AC and plugged into AC.

No tents, impressive field-deployable antennas, gen sets, solar arrays, battery banks, etc. I told my 7 year old I was taking him to a "festival". The camera man literally followed him around and got pictures of him at every station. He was like a unicorn or something.

I am not knocking the hobby, but I may wind up being a boring, practical ham.
Link Posted: 6/29/2015 4:14:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/29/2015 4:15:10 PM EDT by Frank_B]
Every club does it differently. Some like the comforts of home, others prefer going into the wilds.
Link Posted: 6/29/2015 4:30:58 PM EDT
This hobby is so large that some people just need to find their niche. Honestly field day is handled differently for every group. It's been years since I did a "club" field day and while fun, I'm not sure I miss it.

Let me ask this: you say you need ham radio? why? what are it's benefits for you?


I'm not trying to persuade you in a direction, I drop in and out of the hobby a lot. It just crosses paths with so many pieces of my other hobbies that I always end up back.
Link Posted: 6/29/2015 4:46:28 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By sburggsx:
This hobby is so large that some people just need to find their niche. Honestly field day is handled differently for every group. It's been years since I did a "club" field day and while fun, I'm not sure I miss it.

Let me ask this: you say you need ham radio? why? what are it's benefits for you?


I'm not trying to persuade you in a direction, I drop in and out of the hobby a lot. It just crosses paths with so many pieces of my other hobbies that I always end up back.
View Quote


It fills a void. Ranch reception is spotty. Hurricane/prolonged disruption. I was without power/phone for 22 days in Martin County during the '04 Season. I want to drag a mobile setup to our house in Little Gasparilla or the in-law's cabin in NC. Hunting. I have done several horseback hunting trips and ham would have been awesome when the parties split up. Blister packs aren't so handy around mountains.

Anyway - it is a valuable tool. I'm just not feeling the gung-ho inner geek or anything about the tech.
Link Posted: 6/29/2015 5:25:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/29/2015 5:41:52 PM EDT by K9-Bob]
Operating from an EOC is probably what your club will do during a hurricane event or some other critical incident. Field Day is an excellent opportunity for them to test their stations and operating ability prior to the real thing. It may be underwhelming to see, but from a practical approach it makes perfect sense to use Field Day to evaluate their operations and make adjustments for future events.

For me ham radio is more about socializing and camaraderie than anything else. If you don't like people or find yourself being shy and introverted, it might not be a good fit for you. I have been involved with radio and technology since grade school. At almost age 55, I still find lots of interesting things to do with the hobby. For me it has always been a welcome refuge from the stresses of everyday life. As a result I have spent countless hours decompressing with ham radio. I enjoy meeting new people learning something new. For me ham radio has been a journey, not a destination.

I do find that many young folks seem to be underwhelmed with radio. Maybe growing up with smart phones and the internet makes ham radio seem kind of boring or irrelevant.  When I was growing up there was no cable tv or internet. Shortwave radio was my gateway to the world. I was fascinated then by how far radio took me from the small Illinois farm I grew up on. I was able to hear news and breaking events days before those stories ever made it to TV or newspapers. There was great magic in radio back in those days for me as I hunched over that old Heathkit receiver back on the farm.

I have noticed of that that many new ARFCOM hams seem to be either preppers or some kind of IT guru. From their comments and complaints it appears that these guys just don't seem to have the personality for ham radio. Maybe ham radio does't fit their TEOTWAWKI version of the world or provide enough cool technology to keep them interested and involved. I'm not sure, but I hope these new guys give ham radio more of a chance and try to find their place in the hobby.

If not........PM me with any cheap ham gear that you might want to sell. I might be able to help you out by taking it off your hands.

Link Posted: 6/29/2015 5:31:29 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By sburggsx:
This hobby is so large that some people just need to find their niche.
View Quote



This.

There is nothing wrong with being a 'boring ham'.


I'm a dual personality ham, myself. On one hand I am a guerrilla portable operator and on the other I am a boring ham.
Link Posted: 6/29/2015 5:41:23 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By piccolo:



This.

There is nothing wrong with being a 'boring ham'.


I'm a dual personality ham, myself. On one hand I am a guerrilla portable operator and on the other I am a boring ham.
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By piccolo:
Originally Posted By sburggsx:
This hobby is so large that some people just need to find their niche.



This.

There is nothing wrong with being a 'boring ham'.


I'm a dual personality ham, myself. On one hand I am a guerrilla portable operator and on the other I am a boring ham.


Multiple personalities comes to mind.
Link Posted: 6/29/2015 5:44:57 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Keib:


It fills a void. Ranch reception is spotty. Hurricane/prolonged disruption. I was without power/phone for 22 days in Martin County during the '04 Season. I want to drag a mobile setup to our house in Little Gasparilla or the in-law's cabin in NC. Hunting. I have done several horseback hunting trips and ham would have been awesome when the parties split up. Blister packs aren't so handy around mountains.

Anyway - it is a valuable tool. I'm just not feeling the gung-ho inner geek or anything about the tech.
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Keib:
Originally Posted By sburggsx:
you say you need ham radio? why? what are it's benefits for you?


It fills a void. Ranch reception is spotty. Hurricane/prolonged disruption. I was without power/phone for 22 days in Martin County during the '04 Season. I want to drag a mobile setup to our house in Little Gasparilla or the in-law's cabin in NC. Hunting. I have done several horseback hunting trips and ham would have been awesome when the parties split up. Blister packs aren't so handy around mountains.

Anyway - it is a valuable tool. I'm just not feeling the gung-ho inner geek or anything about the tech.



Then it's a tool. Things like field day should be used for the opportunity that it is. First of all it shows you what the bands would be like in a complete cluster. Secondly it would give you the chance to see how far out you can reach and can't reach in a large emergency like a hurricane. Or.....avoid field day all together. It looks like local VHF type communication is your goal.
Link Posted: 6/29/2015 5:55:18 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By K9-Bob:
For me ham radio is more about socializing and camaraderie than anything else
View Quote


I initially got into ham radio hoping it would be useful somehow, like the OP, but quickly found it wasn't all that useful, at least not in my neck of the woods. Lost/hurt in the backwoods of Maine--better have satcom because there's no repeater or cellular coverage and it's hard to get HF antennas into trees when you've broke and bleeding. I do check out my ability to run HF email quarterly, but again if I have to use HF email I've probably got more important things to worry about than yackin' on the radio, like heat, water, food, shelter, security, etc.

For me it's about the technology and the art. Definitely just a hobby. I keep on trying new things, tending to get bored with different aspects of ham radio quickly. For instance I just spent a ton of time setting up for contesting and tried out all this cool contesting software. I'm not a contester and don't plan to be one, but I found setting up the tools to do it very interesting and after I validated that I could indeed work 4 or 5 people per minute in a pile-up I kind of scratched that itch. I like building antennas. And fooling with the few satellites that are left is on the horizon (hah, a pun!) I like hanging out with the gear more than the people, so to speak.

Link Posted: 6/29/2015 6:18:25 PM EDT
We had a great Field Day.  It was much better than last year, and we're already talking about improvements for next year.  It really depends on the club.  Here's a link to ours.

Field Day 2015
Link Posted: 6/29/2015 6:30:41 PM EDT
I'm a boring practical ham. Welcome to the club.



I went to visit a local club during field day a few years ago and upon pulling into the parking lot and seeing the conglomeration of generators, huge tents, a rats nest of coax, etc. I promptly turned around and left. No thanks. Not for me.




I find my own fun in working with QRP stuff. The gear is minimal, I play around with antennas trying to find the perfect balance between performance and portability, I try to do things people say is too hard to bother with. If something isn't practical I don't mess around with it. The science of bouncing RF energy off our planet's ionosphere and having it end up hundreds or thousands of miles away fascinates me and I play around with different ways to do it.




I could go spend $5000 and get a sweet station and work DX left and right but that's like hunting deer in a tree stand...i.e. no fun.




95% of the "hobby" has no appeal to me.




To each their own, and no one way is better than another. That's the beauty of it.
Link Posted: 6/29/2015 6:33:39 PM EDT
So many quotables in one message!

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By K9-Bob:
Operating from an EOC is probably what your club will do during a hurricane event or some other critical incident. Field Day is an excellent opportunity for them to test their stations and operating ability prior to the real thing. It may be underwhelming to see, but from a practical approach it makes perfect sense to use Field Day to evaluate their operations and make adjustments for future events.
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By K9-Bob:
Operating from an EOC is probably what your club will do during a hurricane event or some other critical incident. Field Day is an excellent opportunity for them to test their stations and operating ability prior to the real thing. It may be underwhelming to see, but from a practical approach it makes perfect sense to use Field Day to evaluate their operations and make adjustments for future events.

Our club did this.  We brought the ham radios OUT of the EOC to our remote location to run them for a bit.

Originally Posted By K9-Bob:
For me ham radio is more about socializing and camaraderie than anything else.  

We also shutdown the radios at 6pm local and had dinner together, about 2 dozen hams/friends/family.

Originally Posted By K9-Bob:
If you don't like people or find yourself being shy and introverted, it might not be a good fit for you.  

Or you could go digital, then you don't have to talk to people. Perfect for the introvert.

Originally Posted By K9-Bob:
I have noticed of that that many new ARFCOM hams seem to be either preppers or some kind of IT guru. From their comments and complaints it appears that these guys just don't seem to have the personality for ham radio. Maybe ham radio does't fit their TEOTWAWKI version of the world or provide enough cool technology to keep them interested and involved. I'm not sure, but I hope these new guys give ham radio more of a chance and try to find their place in the hobby.

Let's see, I'm a prepper type, kinda.  Its a big Venn diagram and I'm just a subset.  I've been getting UNIX system to communicate with each other and other types for 30 years so that probably makes me 'some kind of IT guru. :)  I hope I have the personality (or necessary lack of personality based on some of the rag chews I've tuned in) for ham radio.  I've scheduled a weekend for AUXCOMM training next month, my wife made the pulled pork and spent a good part of our weekend around hams to support me and she's trying to adjust to the idea of 50' of tower is in our future as part of the landscaping in our yard.
Link Posted: 6/29/2015 6:38:41 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By K9-Bob:
If you don't like people or find yourself being shy and introverted, it might not be a good fit for you.
View Quote


To each his own.  I'm not what folks would consider "social" or "a people person" and I love amateur radio.  I do have a bad habit of trying to end ragchews as soon as they start.  I guess I should try to be more chatty instead of giving the old "well I have to run," but I digress.  

I listened to our very own SCW being interviewed by another podcaster this morning on my commute and he did a very good job of explaining to the non-ham interviewer that the hobby has a different draw for everybody.
Link Posted: 6/29/2015 9:06:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/29/2015 9:31:22 PM EDT by K9-Bob]
It just seems sad when new hams can't find their niche. There are about 40 repeaters within 30 miles of my house and yet only a few of them ever seem to have any traffic. Back in 1991 you would have to take a number and stand in line to get into a conversation. If I were starting out today I believe that I would be discouraged too.  

Hopefully the OP will find something about the hobby that stirs his interest.



Link Posted: 6/30/2015 11:27:14 AM EDT
I feel ya OP. I have a couple HT's and a mobile dual band 2m/70cm rig. I listen to the mobile about every night and join in every once in a while to local chatter or something on the local IRLP node. Its all well and good but I just don't see the FUN in it, its something to pass the time and I can see the benefit of HAM if something bad happens. I really have no desire to spend more money on a HF rig as I just don't see myself setting around turning a dial to make contacts just to make a contact. I realize there is just so much people can talk about when they don't know each other and might never talk again but 90 percent of what is talked about over the Ham radio has no interest to me. I also realize that there is a whole lot to HAM but really what can Ham do that the internet can't do better and I don't do it on the internet with people I know so why would I do it with people I don't know. I will continue to mess around in the Tech area and you never know I might find I want to do more with HAM when I get older and slower but for right now I will keep to the practical communication in case of emergency side of HAM.
Link Posted: 6/30/2015 11:33:00 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By K9-Bob:
It just seems sad when new hams can't find their niche. There are about 40 repeaters within 30 miles of my house and yet only a few of them ever seem to have any traffic. Back in 1991 you would have to take a number and stand in line to get into a conversation. If I were starting out today I believe that I would be discouraged too.  

Hopefully the OP will find something about the hobby that stirs his interest.
View Quote


If it wasn't for the IRLP node and the HI GATE I would have probably given up. Most of our local repeaters set idle with a little on there way home from work traffic on one or two of them. The local IRLP node has traffic throughout the day so it was something to listen to when I started out. Some of the friendship nets are a good place to throw your call sign out to when new as they don't expect you to talk much so for a new HAM it can help.
Link Posted: 6/30/2015 5:17:41 PM EDT
Well - good to hear I'm not a complete anomaly.  Other aspects of ham may appeal to me in time.

Arfcom has been expensive enough on me any way. Between firearms, suppressors, bee keeping, gear and more gear, I'm catching a break with ham!

I appreciate the thoughts.

Oh - another note on field day. I finally heard a woman on the air! woot.
Link Posted: 6/30/2015 7:26:51 PM EDT
I'm not on the radio much - I enjoy getting some DX on HF but to be honest, I don't have much to talk about.... I like to ensure that the equipment is working - that I can get comms with someone but beyond that until I have something to pass I mostly just listen.


Field day got me into ham radio - it was out in a park, in tents - it was generator power but at least off commercial mains. I learned about antennas, they stuck me on 40phone and I worked all night... I was hooked. That was a great club and great (HELPFUL) guys were in it. I worked some field day from home this year - no emergency anything and still had a decently good time. Some guys go all out on the contest side, some guys go all out on the emergency side - at the end of the day they're both on the air and making contacts though.

I haven't quite found my niche locally - not on the repeaters and not at the meetings.... I keep it now for the ability, sometimes if I'm out hiking I'll check in - at least then someone knows where I am if there was a problem.


Link Posted: 6/30/2015 8:27:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/30/2015 8:28:25 PM EDT by Harlikwin]
Honestly HAM radio its what you make of it. I never cared for the local clubs, so I just struck out and did my own thing.

The local repeater scene where I am is basically a drive time net, and some Saturday morning action. Nothing particularly exciting.

Here is how I like to do it. HF at around about 14,000 ft...

Link Posted: 6/30/2015 8:44:00 PM EDT
Our ARES group stopped using the EOC and started using some church property. We had plenty of camping and would always build a special antenna to try for the event. Maybe you just haven't found the right group to FD with. In our area there are several groups to choose from.
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