Jake’s take on ‘Ham’ radio

Another copy but if I come accross stuf I think is interesting or topical I will post it. I think this may also be by porkchop……Trouble with amateur radio in my book it doesn’t seem to matter much what you say somebody somewhere is going to take exception to it. The whole service was based around radio and technical radio stuff from day one and it seems determined to stay that way. Thank goodness for 27mhz. Aptly named the free band. I think freebanders need a few more frequencies between 6 and 18mhz to use (I won’t use the term pirate!) when the sunspot is minimal. In Indonesia they can use 11.415 USB and I see it has now spread from 410 thru 435 so if your hear USB in a foriegn language down there that is where it is coming from. Unfortunately I believe a few aircraft and airport frequencies also operate around there. Works well throughout the islands that is for sure and the log works down there no sweat. I also heard a while back of ‘freebanders’ using SSB around 6.5mhz but have yet to pick anything up down there myself. Anybody else know of some other bands..?

 
Free Speech on Amateur Radio

This is something that really concerns everyone, not just CB and amateur operators. Observing both services, it is fairly clear which one wins in the free speech department, for better or worse. Many would say, “But that’s only because it’s totally unregulated!” That may be the case. Sometimes a little less regulation is not a horrible thing.

For some reason, amateur operators have had it drilled in their head that it is some how illegal to discuss politics or religion on the ham radio bands. Maybe OO’s (Observer Operators, the tattle tales of ham radio) were sending notices about this at one time, I do not know. Maybe it is simply the paranoia of political correctness. For these folks, I suggest a copy of the Constitution, with close attention paid to the first amendment. No politics and no religion is simply another of the famous ‘gentleman’s agreements’ that we have as radio operators. However, it is a far less important gentleman’s agreement than the ones that govern which modes are used where, QSYing for a net starting up, and others. There is no mention of modes or QSYing for a net in the United States Constitution. The only instance in which the no politics, no religion agreement holds water is when an American station contacts a foreign station. Many foreign stations have communications Commissars that listen to amateur communications, monitoring what is discussed, and making sure it does not fall into the category of ‘illegal speech.’

Tune around the ham bands at any given time, one guy will be trying to get his DXCC, another just got a new rig and his checking it out, another is talking about his prostrate exam this weekend, and yet another group are setting their 6kc SSB audio just right.

Now, that is fine. Without these meaningless conversations and interactions, there probably would not be a ham radio service. Sure, there are good groups and nets that meet to talk about so–called controversial things such as religion and politics. Nevertheless, these are rare and constantly jammed.

The people who say ham radio is dying will take extremes to keep it going and perhaps they are right in doing so. Maybe attracting more people to ham radio by dropping the code will work. I hope it does. But for the time being, much of ham radio is 90-year-old men or unemployed super amateurs who carry constant, senseless, drivel conversations.

Recently, I heard two gentlemen in a QSO on 40 meter and it started out as any other QSO. They traded names, told each other their location, and discussed their occupations among other things. Some how the conversation drifted towards the war in Iraq. Both stated their opinions on it (what they were is not important), but soon one of the parties in the QSO says, “Well old man, I guess we shouldn’t be talking about that on amateur radio,” and the other party agreed, at which time the conversation went back to prostrate examinations, sturba curtains and Heil Microphones. I left soon after.

This got me thinking. Why shouldn’t we be talking about that, or just about anything else, on ham radio? Because we may upset people? Why do they get upset? Do they have more than one frequency in their radio? Is the VFO broke?

Many of you believe that ham radio is an escape from all the politics and horrible things happening in the day and therefore has no place on the ham bands. I can understand that, I want to get away from all of it sometimes too. However, for as many of those people that are out there, there are guys like me that just cannot get away from it. It burns in our minds and we have to talk about it, no matter how controversial it is.

Ham radio does not have a personality. Why do you think they call us ‘stuck up snobs?’ Because that is how we act. The internet has opened up the ability to show a little bit of a personality to the outside world, with sites such as hamsexy.com, but we still have a way to go. I am not saying that we should all act as the ham radio version of Howard Stern, but we do have to unbutton our collars a little bit. There are many young hams. How many have you heard, in the past 3-5 years? I thought that the slow code was supposed to have them pouring in, what happened?

Now, I am a ham and a CBer, and I have this little website here where I like to type my curse words sometimes and post modifications for those 10 meter and cb radios that so many in amateur radio wring their hands about. I would never, ever, ever, post my call sign on this website. Why is that?

Because I would probably get a letter ASAP from the FCC because a ham radio cop took it upon himself to rid ham radio of his perceived version of an undesirable. I know from experience. Try selling a 10-meter radio on QTH or eBay, even when you state you will only sell to a licensed ham. It is difficult to do without a little bit of scheming and when I did it, I got many letters of complaint from concerned hams. I think that it is great that they have so much time to brush off the less important things in the world, such as terrorism, social security, drugs, poverty, hunger, and the corruption of America’s youth. If people can concern themselves with 10-meter radios and so-called CB amplifiers, it is yet another example that this country is in outstanding shape.

The true problem that people say ‘ham radio is dying’ is because there are people that want to see it die, because change is much, much worse. If there is no massive organized cultural movement within ham radio to change it’s ways and open up to outsiders in new ways it will die, or be sold to the highest bidder.

73,

949Jake, callsign witheld for my own protection.

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