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Old February 28th 08, 02:25 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?

Michael Coslo wrote on Wed, 27 Feb 2008 09:00:40 EST:

I think it is pretty fair to say that the ARS will never be a
mainstream hobby or avocation. I really don't think that that is even a
good idea, after some thought.


You managed to get that sentence approved by the moderators?!? :-)

My path to the fold was in looking at ways to apply
amateur radio to my other hobby, Amateur astronomy. Funny though, the
Ham radio took over, and is now my main hobby, I never did apply it to
astronmomy.


Back in the 1960s, my lead man at Electro-Optical Systems was both
a technician class licensee and a very hands-on telescope maker.
He had ground his own 6" mirror for the telescope he was using and
was slowly grinding a 10" for a bigger scope. I came up with a
design and breadboarded a crystal-controlled time base for a
sideral drive for the ten-incher. Done with now-obsolete RTL
from Fairchild, it would be a snap to do it today with a single
Microchip IC plus a small stepper-motor or synchronous motor
driver circuit. Doug moved to Hawaii to work on the BIG
telescopes there so the ten-incher project (and its final
drive) were put on hold.

BTW, he had been into amateur radio first, then converted to doing
amateur astronomy. Folkses mileage differs. :-)

What attracted you, and can we get some ideas from that to attract or
identify and attract new blood?


Do we HAVE to 'attract new blood?' Serious question.

I've already told my personal story. It seems to rankle
some old-timers because it is non-standard to the 'common'
experience of USA radio amateurs...so I won't repeat it.
shrug After starting in the electronics industry 54
years back, doing high-power HF communications transmitting,
the elimination of the morse code test allowed me to get
a license (told that story, too, but it is also non-standard).
In talking to the applicants a year ago and several others
locally in the past year, their interest in getting a
license vary considerably. But, nearly all of them go the
Technician class route for local radio contacts, a sort of
social order thing possible in a large urban area. It was
like the CB radio craze and then the BBSs that preceded
the Internet era. Few of those got involved via the
supposed paradigm of 30 to 50 years back that lots of old-
timers repeat. In this newer world of the Internet and many,
many components available for lots of different electronics
things, plus ten kinds of consumer electronic products
(at relatively low cost) on the marketplace, the old
concept of 'having one's own personal radio station' is
diminishing rapidly.

As I see it, the old reasons-for-being of amateur radio
aren't applicable anymore. Technology in electronics has
long since leaped ahead of any state-of-the-art advances
done by amateurs long ago. What I see are two areas -

1. The just-plain-for-fun boosting, for whatever purpose in
communications, whether in a local urban area or a bit
farther out...and an emphasis on trying out things on a
personal-enjoyment level. We are NOT required to DO certain
things in the hobby just because some old-timers say we MUST
do those besides the regulations that all must obey.

2. De-emphasizing the 'necessity-to-be-a-part-of-the-
community-as-a-service.' Now, I know that amateur radio CAN
help in emergencies and all that 'service-to-community' PR
can persuade some lawmakers to this 'amateur cause' but it
seems to me to have gotten too big a share of the open
political statements in periodicals. Those who really care
about community service can just as easily go DIRECT to such
existing organizations. With a total licensee database
showing 720+ thousand licensees today, that should be large
enough to show lawmakers that amateur radio has a large
following.

I'm no expert on PR or marketing, don't have the explicit
solution to get more newcomers. As I observe the hobby, it
will last at least a couple of decades. That's good enough
for me. USA amateur radio stands or falls by what its
publicists say and try to convince new members...seldom by
what the old-timers claim. Times have changed (many times
over in my lifetime) and all must adapt to that, not to
hold onto ancient paradigms that no longer apply.

73, Len AF6AY


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Old February 28th 08, 01:49 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?

xpyttl wrote:
"Steve Bonine" wrote in message
...
Michael Coslo wrote:



some snippage

Our Section Manager came up with a great idea. We have a very successful
youth group in the far reaches of the state. There are, of course, a number
of other amateur radio youth groups around the state, having varying levels
of success.

In April, we are going to gather kids from all these groups together, ply
them with pop and pizza, a have them tell us what it was that attracted
them, and what we could do better. What better way to figure out how to
attract new hams than by asking the new hams themselves, and especially the
young ones who we need, and who are likely to be more open than their older
counterparts.



Your group has hit on the correct way to attract the young folks - by
getting a number of them together.

If a young person comes into Ham radio all by themselves, it isn't as
interesting for them, and they can't do as many things easily as if they
were older. Its been my experience that young people (tweens and early
teenagers) can get a little lost at club meetings and activities like
Field day. And these days, there should be an approved adult to
chaperone them at events who has been cleared by one of the state police
background investigations.

But if you can get a fair number of young'uns who can relate to each
other well, they can become good hams and a future resource.

- 73 de Mike N3LI -

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Old February 28th 08, 02:36 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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AF6AY wrote:
Michael Coslo wrote on Wed, 27 Feb 2008 09:00:40 EST:


some snippage



What attracted you, and can we get some ideas from that to attract or
identify and attract new blood?


Do we HAVE to 'attract new blood?' Serious question.


We do need new people to replace those who leave for one reason or the
other. I want someone to talk to on the other end, and don't want the
Amateur radio community to become closed and eventually die out.


more snippage

As I see it, the old reasons-for-being of amateur radio
aren't applicable anymore. Technology in electronics has
long since leaped ahead of any state-of-the-art advances
done by amateurs long ago. What I see are two areas -

1. The just-plain-for-fun boosting, for whatever purpose in
communications, whether in a local urban area or a bit
farther out...and an emphasis on trying out things on a
personal-enjoyment level. We are NOT required to DO certain
things in the hobby just because some old-timers say we MUST
do those besides the regulations that all must obey.


I'm fortunate that I never had that experience. Of course, if someone
ever did tell me how I was supposed to use my time in the hobby, I think
I would politely decline, and go do what I wanted to do. 8^)


2. De-emphasizing the 'necessity-to-be-a-part-of-the-
community-as-a-service.' Now, I know that amateur radio CAN
help in emergencies and all that 'service-to-community' PR
can persuade some lawmakers to this 'amateur cause' but it
seems to me to have gotten too big a share of the open
political statements in periodicals.


Here we agree. While I am impressed with what Amateurs have done in
emergencies, the way that the public service genre of the hobby has
morphed is a little troublesome to me. I don't know if you were watching
the group a few weeks ago, but I related a story about an emergency comm
person speaking at a club meeting. When a member noted that the ARS
frequencies were there for use after the normal comms weren't working,
he replied " Every thing we do is a matter of life and death, so we can
use your frequencies any way we wish".

That was not only wrong, but scary that people that think in that manner
are coming into the hobby with such an attitude. He (and some like him)
come in to talk to the people who will be building and maintaining
repeaters and infrastructure, and lay one like that on them?


- 73 de Mike N3LI -

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Old February 28th 08, 02:37 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?

Michael Coslo wrote:

Your group has hit on the correct way to attract the young folks - by
getting a number of them together.


I agree, but I haven't found the secret for getting them together. How
does one publicize this first gathering? I have not found the term "ham
radio" to be effective in attracting young folks.

How about some more detail from the original poster of this scheme in
terms of how they got it off the ground, and how they manage to keep it
going?

Thanks and 73,
Steve KB9X

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Old February 28th 08, 05:22 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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"Steve Bonine" wrote in message
...

How about some more detail from the original poster of this scheme in
terms of how they got it off the ground, and how they manage to keep it
going?


Well, I wasn't the guy who got the original group going. However, my
(vague) understanding is that the DAR Girls and Boys Club (I hadn't even
known there was such a thing) was the original resource. Whether the DAR
approached someone looking for an activity for these kids, or whether some
interested ham was already a member, I don't know. Somehow they hit upon
the idea of HF Contesting, and formed the "Young Amateurs Contest Ham Team"
(YACHT). This, for whatever reason, took off. Apparently these kids enjoy
contesting. As far as I know, the amateurs involved weren't big contesters,
so this must have been the kids' idea.

On reflection, contesting seems a pretty good idea. Kids are often
reluctant to have conversations with older hams on the air. A contest is an
easy way to get a lot of contacts without the risk of being asked hard
questions.

Locally we did have the 4H approach us looking for something of interest to
the boys in 4H, since most of the activities seemed more oriented towards
girls. As it turned out, we didn't attract many boys; a few girls but a
bunch of parents! So that didn't work out for us. We still put together a
little booth at the 4H annual pancake supper, but that really hasn't been
terribly productive. One local activity that does seem to be working out is
a school club. A couple of amateurs go to one of the middle schools once a
week for a meeting of their radio club. This has gotten us a handful of new
hams. Not huge numbers compared to the population, but every little bit
helps.

Someone mentioned having mentors for the kids background cheked, and in this
day and age, there is something to be said for this. Most RACES
organizations now require background checks, so your RACES organization
might be a source for mentors for these kids that have already been vetted.

...



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Old February 28th 08, 07:26 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?

xpyttl wrote:

Someone mentioned having mentors for the kids background cheked, and in this
day and age, there is something to be said for this. Most RACES
organizations now require background checks, so your RACES organization
might be a source for mentors for these kids that have already been vetted.



Keep in mind that the background checks for working with children are
looking for different issues.

When I was prez of an association and coaching youth Ice Hockey, I
often had to explain that we weren't looking for violations of basic
law, that no one was going to be rejected because they had an underage
drinking offense or the like. No one is perfect. The only thing that
would trigger the thing was violations involving children.

The RACES checks might be a bit different, but I'm not sure. I'm almost
certain the Red Cross' ones are.

- 73 de Mike N3LI

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Old February 28th 08, 09:52 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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"Michael Coslo" wrote in message
...

Keep in mind that the background checks for working with children are
looking for different issues.

When I was prez of an association and coaching youth Ice Hockey, I often
had to explain that we weren't looking for violations of basic law, that
no one was going to be rejected because they had an underage drinking
offense or the like. No one is perfect. The only thing that would trigger
the thing was violations involving children.

The RACES checks might be a bit different, but I'm not sure. I'm almost
certain the Red Cross' ones are.


RACES background checks are, of course, dependent on your local emergency
manager. Most, however, a looking for pretty much the same things. In the
event of an emergency you might be deployed at a shelter or other location
where there might be vulnerable individuals. That is the same sort of thing
I would suspect one would want to know if someone were to be around
children.

But it is a good caution. Different jurisdictions can be amazingly uneven.
I know of one jurisdiction where a deputy interviews the candidate's spouse.
The concern is that the volunteer work might interfere with the home life.
So clearly, YMMV.

...

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Old February 29th 08, 04:08 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?

Michael Coslo wrote on Thu, 28 Feb 2008 09:36:39 EST:

AF6AY wrote:
Michael Coslo wrote on Wed, 27 Feb 2008 09:00:40 EST:


Do we HAVE to 'attract new blood?' Serious question.


We do need new people to replace those who leave for one reason or the
other. I want someone to talk to on the other end, and don't want the
Amateur radio community to become closed and eventually die out.


That seems a tad premature to me. At present there are 722K TOTAL
licensees and the expiration rate is roughly 27K/year. If that
keeps up without any newcomers, it would be 26.7 years before all
were gone. [of course there will be newcomers...but how many
depends on the attitude of the old-timers they come in contact with]

... We are NOT required to DO certain
things in the hobby just because some old-timers say we MUST
do those besides the regulations that all must obey.


I'm fortunate that I never had that experience. Of course, if someone
ever did tell me how I was supposed to use my time in the hobby, I think
I would politely decline, and go do what I wanted to do. 8^)


Well, from my experience (at work or at play) I've had some
who INSISTED on telling me what I 'should' be doing. Some
of those got rather antagonistic about it. "We don't DO that
kind of thing in fill-in-the-blank" kind of comment. It was
so prevalent among amateur radio licensees that I encountered
that it turned me off of bothering to get a license for a long
time. That's been my experience over the last half century and
I spent that time working IN the electronics industry.

I'll have to say that the above attitude was reflected in the
older amateur-radio-interest newsgroups and was partly due to
the creation of rec.radio.amateur.moderated.

... I don't know if you were watching
the group a few weeks ago, but I related a story about an emergency comm
person speaking at a club meeting.


I was 'reading the mail' but didn't bother with it much. :-)

When a member noted that the ARS
frequencies were there for use after the normal comms weren't working,
he replied " Every thing we do is a matter of life and death, so we can
use your frequencies any way we wish".

That was not only wrong, but scary that people that think in that manner
are coming into the hobby with such an attitude.


That person was more right than wrong. If one bothers to look,
the small-number Parts of Title 47 C.F.R. state clearly that
ANYONE can use ANY radio frequency to call for assistance if
a situation is really life or death...licensed or not. True.

Phil Kane could probably quote the Part and wording off the
top of his head but, not being an attorney, I would have to
search the Parts (all freely accessible). Besides, someone
in here would want to start a whole steamy argument thread on
that, arguing minutiae on the whichness of the what...:-)
Memory says it is the Part on commercial radio licenses but
undoubtedly someone in here will say 'I am wrong.' [sigh]

Radio amateur licensees are not bound JUST to what Part 97
says. The whole of Title 47 applies, even if 99+% has nothing
directly to do with the amateur radio service. But, with REAL
life-and-death situations, anyone can use any frequency at any
time with or without any license.

He (and some like him)
come in to talk to the people who will be building and maintaining
repeaters and infrastructure, and lay one like that on them?


Let's take that IN context. Consider that the attending radio
amateurs might ALSO have an 'attitude' going. Consider that
lots of government infrastructure radio facilities are kept
going 24/7 expressly FOR the purpose of life-and-death comms
needs. Amateur radio repeaters aren't. Amateur repeaters
are there primarily for the benefit of other amateurs.

I don't know about your local group, but I've seen (in real life
as well as in print) some groups that are simply too full of
themselves with self-righteousness. Such folks have a terrible
attitude and couldn't negotiate anything unless it was in their
favor. Anyone coming in contact with them would tend to reply
in-kind.

Now, in my area, I'm GLAD that the commercial, professional
radio services ARE there for anyone's benefit 24/7. LAPD and
LAFD are up and running as are the neighboring incorporated
cities of Burbank and Glendale (with nice cooperative ties
between all the government facilities). The Greater Los
Angeles Emergency Communications Center is staffed and ready
to go into action any time there is a REAL emergency and they
can tie into dozens of utility companies and other firms for
unusual emergency situations. It was put to the test on
17 Jan 94 with the Northridge earthquake and passed. Since
then it was improved via the LAFD Emergency Communications
Service which donated old, unused buildings and bought or
converted busses and radio equipment. I took my amateur
tests at an 'Old Firehouse' that is now part of that LAFD
sub-organization. Nice civic cooperation by the LAFD.

I experienced that Northridge earthquake first-hand and helped
a utility company restore services. All the electric power of
an area populated by 10 million or so were WITHOUT electric
power for half a day. Didn't see ANY sign of 'amateur radio
emergency' groups until two days AFTER the 17th. FEMA flew in
RF-plus-video terminals and put them in service the day after.
I'd like to say something positive about amateur radio since
I am a licensee in the radio service, but there wasn't much
evidence of it. I've been a commercial radio licensee for 52
years and can't forget that...I have to give credit where it is
due from REAL experiences, not some nebulous 'future plans' or
PR write-ups that appear only within amateur radio interest
groups.

73, Len AF6AY

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Old February 29th 08, 04:11 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Kudos to those working to bring new folks, young and old, to ham
radio.

Some observations from a ham who started out in ham radio at the age
of 13 (in no particular order):

1) Don't just go for high schoolers. Middle-school and even
elementary schoolers can be hams if they're interested enough.

3) Don't try to sell amateur radio as a substitute for cell phones,
the internet, or other communications methods. Sell it as a unique
activity with its own unique attractions and rewards.

4) Scouting has a long history of connection to amateur radio. Some
councils have pretty serious amateur radio programs, and always need
more help.

5) Don't assume what parts of amateur radio young people will or won't
be interested in. Emphasize the wide variety of activities hams do,
and how much choice there is.

6) Don't assume that younger hams only want to associate with other
younger hams.

For me, part of the attraction to amateur radio was the opportunity to
be part of a community where one's age, gender, income, etc. are not a
factor. Morse Code operation made this possible - on the air with that
mode, nobody knows how old you are. You can interact with other hams
of all ages. You're judged by your skills and signal quality, not how
much you spent on your rig, etc.

73 de Jim, N2EY

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Old February 29th 08, 03:20 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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AF6AY wrote:
Michael Coslo wrote on Thu, 28 Feb 2008 09:36:39 EST:


When a member noted that the ARS
frequencies were there for use after the normal comms weren't working,
he replied " Every thing we do is a matter of life and death, so we can
use your frequencies any way we wish".

That was not only wrong, but scary that people that think in that manner
are coming into the hobby with such an attitude.



That person was more right than wrong. If one bothers to look,
the small-number Parts of Title 47 C.F.R. state clearly that
ANYONE can use ANY radio frequency to call for assistance if
a situation is really life or death...licensed or not. True.

Phil Kane could probably quote the Part and wording off the
top of his head but, not being an attorney, I would have to
search the Parts (all freely accessible). Besides, someone
in here would want to start a whole steamy argument thread on
that, arguing minutiae on the whichness of the what...:-)
Memory says it is the Part on commercial radio licenses but
undoubtedly someone in here will say 'I am wrong.' [sigh]



It is not as simple as that. What constitutes an emergency? If an
ambulance crew is transporting a 90 year old heart attack victim, it is
certainly a matter of life or death for that one patient. However, if
the ambulance breaks down, they can't commandeer your car. For a
government agency to seize private property (a category that includes
repeaters, transceivers, etc.) for their own use, they must have a
declaration of emergency, declaration of martial law, or, in individual
cases, a court order. The fire department employee who claimed that the
FD could take over an amateur radio club's repeaters anytime that they
wanted to do so was dead wrong.

--
Klystron



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