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Old February 27th 08, 02:00 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?

The ARS numbers Feb 2008 thread got me to thinking, when the topic
started shifting toward who knows about what relating to Ham radio.

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.


For myself, I am a inveterate tinkerer, and love to build things. My
license allows me to legally access some pretty high powered stuff and
work on the same. 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.

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

- 73 de Mike N3LI -


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Old February 27th 08, 02:50 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?

Michael Coslo wrote:

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.


It's much like other hobbies -- there are people who enjoy collecting
stamps or snapping pictures, but these aren't "mainstream" either.
There will always be competition for peoples' spare time, and ham radio
is one of the things that people can enjoy in their spare time.

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


I would certainly like to see some of those ideas.

I think my path into ham radio was fairly typical for the 60's -- I got
interested in radio and electronics, had a friend who had similar
interests, and ham radio was a good fit. Not only did it provide a way
to learn about electronics but it got me introduced to many people who I
would never have met otherwise.

I suspect that my analog in the current generation pursues a similar
interest via their computer. There's an interesting correlation between
meeting people at the club meeting and on the air, versus meeting them
via the Yahoo Group, the chat room, or via online game playing.

My path back into ham radio was via the public-service aspect. When I
retired and moved to a place where I could participate in the hobby, I
got back on the air and tried several aspects of the hobby -- NTS,
contests, DX, general ragchewing. None of them really caught my fancy,
for various reasons. Then I ended up in Mississippi in the Katrina
effort and that activity did capture my interest. Since then my
ham-radio activity has been primarily related to public service and
emergency communication.

I'm not suggesting that this is the only way to recruit people into the
hobby or that it's the only segment of the hobby that's worth anything.
It's MY primary interest, and if other folks enjoy DX or contests or
whatever, that's wonderful. Different people enjoy different things,
which is one of the great things about ham radio -- it's many different
hobbies, all rolled up into one. The difficulty is selling this to the
general public.

73, Steve KB9X

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Old February 27th 08, 06:42 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?

On Feb 27, 9:00 am, Michael Coslo wrote:

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


From as far back as I can remember, I was interested in technology -

how things worked and what they could do. The kind of kid who's always
asking questions, taking things apart and putting them together, etc.
I found electricity particularly interesting.

This interest was aided and abetted by reading everything I could get
my hands on. Libraries and bookstores were special places to me.

I did the usual Erector-set and battery/flashlight bulb stuff at a
very young age. Then at about age 10 I found a book called "All About
Radio and Television" which explained the basics of radio and how to
build a simple radio using a razor-blade-and-pencil-graphite detector.
I built one, strung a wire out to the crabapple tree in the back yard,
and heard WPEN. I was hooked.

The book also mentioned various kinds of radio besides broadcast radio
and TV. Of greatest interest to me was something called "amateur
radio", where ordinary people of all ages and all walks of life had
their own radio stations that they used to communicate with each other
over great distances. Also of interest was "shortwave broadcasting"
which came from other countries.

Nobody in my family was a ham, nor were any of my neighbors. None of
them knew any hams, either. Not much detail on amateur radio was given
in "All About Radio and Television", but I knew where to look for more
info - other books. Soon I had a much clearer picture of what amateur
radio and shortwave radio were all about. First order of business was
to get a receiver in order to listen to "hams" and shortwave stations,
so I built one based on information in the various books. It was a
simple two-tube regenerative set, made mostly from salvaged parts. It
wasn't the best receiver in the world but it worked well enough for me
to hear BBC, Radio Moscow, the Voice of America - and "hams"! I wanted
to talk to those folks!

The books explained that being a ham required earning an FCC license,
so I set about doing that. I learned Morse Code by listening to hams
use it on the air, and theory from the books and by building and
improving the receiver. By the time I was 12 I figured I knew enough
to pass the Novice test, so I set out to find a local ham who would be
a volunteer examiner for me. I located one by the antenna in his yard,
and he referred me to another amateur who did the tests. I passed on
the first go and built a simple transmitter while waiting for the
license to arrive from FCC. Which it did on October 14, 1967.

I went on the air and began making contacts. It wasn't easy with the
equipment I had and my basic skills, so I learned to be a better
operator and how to build better equipment.

Now it's more than 40 years later and it's as much fun to me as ever.

What attracted me was the idea of building my own radio station and
using it to communicate with like-minded folks all over the world.
That the results were random and unpredictable only added to the
attraction. I didn't think radio was "magic" or "mysterious", just a
lot of fun.

A big factor in the attraction was the attitude expressed in the
books. None of them said learning radio, getting a license or building
equipment was difficult. None said a ham had to be older than a
certain age, have a certain income, education or IQ level, be of a
certain gender or ethnicity, etc. The required math, physics,
chemistry and electricity, and Morse code, weren't presented as
obstacles; just stuff that anybody could learn. The whole process was
and is a lot of fun. A challenge, not a "hoop" or a "barrier".

None touted amateur radio as a replacement for other communication
methods or as a social community, though they did mention the public-
service aspect. Sure, there was no internet back then in the 1960s, no
iPods, cell phones or video games, etc. But we had radio and TV, long
distance telephones, music, movies, etc. Amateur radio wasn't a
replacement for those things, it was fun in itself.

IMHO the way to "sell" amateur radio isn't to present it as a
replacement for something else, but as a unique activity with many
facets. Some will get it, others won't, no big deal.

73 de Jim, N2EY






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Old February 27th 08, 07:17 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?

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



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


I would certainly like to see some of those ideas.


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.

By the way, that successful group out in the boonies has started another
chapter in the state, and yet another in a neighboring state. They're doing
something the kids lke.

...

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Old February 27th 08, 08:35 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?

wrote:
[...]
A big factor in the attraction was the attitude expressed in the
books. None of them said learning radio, getting a license or building
equipment was difficult. None said a ham had to be older than a
certain age, have a certain income, education or IQ level, be of a
certain gender or ethnicity, etc. The required math, physics,
chemistry and electricity, and Morse code, weren't presented as
obstacles; just stuff that anybody could learn. The whole process was
and is a lot of fun. A challenge, not a "hoop" or a "barrier".
[...]



Let me clarify one point: I never suggested that Morse code was an
obstacle because it was too hard. I have known any number of people who
were put off by Morse, myself included, because it was archaic and
unrelated to electronics. I have worked in the electronics field and I
have met any number of people who knew a substantial amount about
electronics in general, as well as ham radio, but were not hams. They
often mentioned Morse when asked why that was.
If you can look at it objectively (I realize that it is an
emotionally charged subject), you cannot make a plausible claim that
there is anything inherent to radio or electronics about Morse. Morse is
a linguistic construct, like a semaphore flag code, that was devised in
order to enable communications using a device that was incapable of
transmitting voice. It is as if prospective hams were told that before
they could be allowed to handle electronic gear, RF emissions and high
voltages, they first had to learn how the ancient Egyptians wrote with
hieroglyphics. Then, they would have to write a page of hieroglyphics
themselves and then read a page that someone else had written. If you
think that that is absurd and that hieroglyphics have nothing to do with
radio and that you would not be willing to waste your time on such a
pointless and irrelevant digression, then you understand the frustration
of electronics enthusiasts with the old system and with those who
embraced it.
As far as the difficulty is concerned, I went from SWL to Amateur
Extra in 9 weeks (3 separate test sessions, 3 weeks of studying per
test). After leaving the material for about a month, I resumed studying
and obtained a General Radiotelephone Operators License with a Radar
Endorsement in about another month. I felt that the entirety of the
material, on all six tests, amounted to the equivalent of about a
semester of General Chemistry.

--
Klystron



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Old February 27th 08, 08:36 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?

In article ,
wrote:
From as far back as I can remember, I was interested in technology -

how things worked and what they could do. The kind of kid who's always
asking questions, taking things apart and putting them together, etc.
I found electricity particularly interesting.


Same here.

Nobody in my family was a ham, nor were any of my neighbors. None of


I had an uncle living some distance away, who sent me an old ARRL
Handbook that I loved to flip through, more looking at the pictures
than reading the text, thinking how neat it was to be able to build
stuff like that. Also there was long ago a radio section in Popular
Mechanics with construction articles. And the days when just about
every family had a radio receiver that would get shortwave as well
as broadcast band.

What attracted me was the idea of building my own radio station and
using it to communicate with like-minded folks all over the world.
That the results were random and unpredictable only added to the
attraction. I didn't think radio was "magic" or "mysterious", just a
lot of fun.


I guess I was that way too - it's only fairly recently that I have
come to realize it is almost magic that you put a few watts of RF
into an antenna, and the energy is radiated out into space, and
induces a tiny signal in every conductor it passes, and if that
conductor is an antenna then the tiny signal is enough to amplify
and detect and use for communication.

I know another thing that pushed me along was RTTY - I had always
been fascinated by Teletype machines, and when I learned that hams
could have them and use them to communicate I was really excited.
Without that extra push I might have delayed getting a ham license,
or maybe just continued as an electronics experimenter and SWL.

Jim, W6JVE

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Old February 27th 08, 09:41 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?

wrote:
On Feb 27, 9:00 am, Michael Coslo wrote:
What attracted you, and can we get some ideas from that to attract or
identify and attract new blood?


From as far back as I can remember, I was interested in technology -

how things worked and what they could do. The kind of kid who's always
asking questions, taking things apart and putting them together, etc.
I found electricity particularly interesting.

This interest was aided and abetted by reading everything I could get
my hands on. Libraries and bookstores were special places to me.

I did the usual Erector-set and battery/flashlight bulb stuff at a
very young age. Then at about age 10 I found a book called "All About
Radio and Television" which explained the basics of radio and how to
build a simple radio using a razor-blade-and-pencil-graphite detector.
I built one, strung a wire out to the crabapple tree in the back yard,
and heard WPEN. I was hooked.


I remember my first crystal set. It worked not very well, and my kid's
mind thought "maybe if I put a battery in the circuit it might work
better." Lot's of crackles and noises in the earphone, and pretty little
sparks at the pencil/razor blade interface. Still didn't work, but I was
still hooked.

That battery reaction should have held a clue why it didn't work in the
first place. But hey, I was a dum liddle kid! ;^)


The book also mentioned various kinds of radio besides broadcast radio
and TV. Of greatest interest to me was something called "amateur
radio", where ordinary people of all ages and all walks of life had
their own radio stations that they used to communicate with each other
over great distances. Also of interest was "shortwave broadcasting"
which came from other countries.


My first exposure to amateur radio came from a Boy Scout merit badge
cook in which the scout would learn Morse code. I didn't get that badge,
I stumbled over... well you know. Set mo off on the road to perfidy, hehe.


Nobody in my family was a ham, nor were any of my neighbors. None of
them knew any hams, either. Not much detail on amateur radio was given
in "All About Radio and Television", but I knew where to look for more
info - other books.


I was taking a lot of household appliances apart, and not being real
clever about putting them back together. This caused quite a problem
until my Grandfather decided to send me a "care package about every two
months that had old radios and other electronic junk that he salvaged
from where he worked. Joy!

IMHO the way to "sell" amateur radio isn't to present it as a
replacement for something else, but as a unique activity with many
facets. Some will get it, others won't, no big deal.



Sounds good to me.

- 73 de Mike N3LI -

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Old February 27th 08, 09:41 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?

On Feb 27, 3:35 pm, Klystron wrote:

I never suggested that Morse code was an
obstacle because it was too hard. I have known any number of people who
were put off by Morse, myself included, because it was archaic and
unrelated to electronics. I have worked in the electronics field and I
have met any number of people who knew a substantial amount about
electronics in general, as well as ham radio, but were not hams. They
often mentioned Morse when asked why that was.


That's fine, people have all sorts of reasons for not being hams.

However, Morse Code is *not* archaic, and *is* related to amateur
radio, because
hams do use it extensively - today, right now.

If you can look at it objectively (I realize that it is an
emotionally charged subject), you cannot make a plausible claim that
there is anything inherent to radio or electronics about Morse. Morse is
a linguistic construct, like a semaphore flag code, that was devised in
order to enable communications using a device that was incapable of
transmitting voice.


That's one reason for it. But even after voice radio was invented,
Morse code
use in radio continued, because it has certain advantages over other
modes.

It is as if prospective hams were told that before
they could be allowed to handle electronic gear, RF emissions and high
voltages, they first had to learn how the ancient Egyptians wrote with
hieroglyphics. Then, they would have to write a page of hieroglyphics
themselves and then read a page that someone else had written.


Sorry, that's not a convincing analogy, because nobody uses Egyptian
hieroglyphics
in amateur radio - and they never did. But Morse Code was and is used
in amateur
radio. That's a big difference. Knowing Egyptian hieroglyphics doesn't
help one
with amateur radio operation, but knowing Morse Code sure does!

IMHO a better analogy is this: Suppose that all drivers had to
demonstrate the
ability to drive a car (in first gear, at 5 mph) with a manual
transmission in order
to get a driver's license, even if they only intended to drive
automatic-transmission
cars (which far outnumber manual-transmission cars today).

If you
think that that is absurd and that hieroglyphics have nothing to do with
radio and that you would not be willing to waste your time on such a
pointless and irrelevant digression, then you understand the frustration
of electronics enthusiasts with the old system and with those who
embraced it.


See above. Morse Code has a lot to do with amateur radio. Whether that
means it should have its own special must-pass-to-get-a-license test
is
a completely different matter. And it's been settled by FCC.

As far as the difficulty is concerned, I went from SWL to Amateur
Extra in 9 weeks (3 separate test sessions, 3 weeks of studying per
test). After leaving the material for about a month, I resumed studying
and obtained a General Radiotelephone Operators License with a Radar
Endorsement in about another month. I felt that the entirety of the
material, on all six tests, amounted to the equivalent of about a
semester of General Chemistry.


I went from Novice in 1967 to Technician and Advanced in 1968, then to
Extra in 1970.
In those days there was a 2 year experience-as-a-General-or-Advanced
requirement to
even try the Extra exam. I never thought the exams were very difficult
if someone knew
a bit about the subject.

73 de Jim, N2EY

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Old February 27th 08, 10:15 PM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?


"Michael Coslo" wrote in message


[snip]

: : What attracted you, and can we get some ideas from that
: : to attract or identify and attract new blood?
: :
: : - 73 de Mike N3LI -

I'm not ashamed to admit it, I came into the hobby from CB. Some friends
had formed a CB club back in the early 80's just when CB became legal here
in the UK (sadly using different frequencies and FM rather than AM as in
the US) but we soon realised its limitations and when a few of them became
licensed I was quick to join them.

Just celebrated my 25th anniversary, licensed on 21 February 1983 :-)

73 Ivor G6URP

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Old February 28th 08, 02:18 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.moderated
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Default What makes a person become a Ham?


"Michael Coslo" wrote in message
...
The ARS numbers Feb 2008 thread got me to thinking, when the topic started
shifting toward who knows about what relating to Ham radio.

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.


For myself, I am a inveterate tinkerer, and love to build things. My
license allows me to legally access some pretty high powered stuff and
work on the same. 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.

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

- 73 de Mike N3LI -


I don't think my path will be very useful to use as a tool. My second
husband dragged me to a class with the comment "Let's do this together".

Dee, N8UZE




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