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Thread: Is it me?

  1. #1
    park
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    Default Is it me?

    First off, I would like to say I enjoy this forum when I need to get a radio fix and can't get to a radio. But have you noticed a lot of threads titled " I'm clueless, have no idea what I'm doing, what radio should I buy, what antenna, how do I use a repeater" etc.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm willing to help a new ham if I can and I would like help too when I need it. But some of these questions are so basic. I'm 53 and got interested in radio as a teenager and started off with CB radio and did not "have a clue" but I was not licensed! Then later I learned the basics of setting up a mobile or base station BEFORE I was a licensed ham.

    I guess what I am saying is I'm amazed at the number of people who have a ham license and don't know (or can't figure out) how to operate their "rig".


    AC5PS / Ken

  2. #2

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    Ken,

    That's an interesting observation that you have discovered. I think that the Noobie crowd of ham radio operators just want to Plug & Play thinking that Old Timers will be there to hand feed them every bit of information about their radio equipment, antennas, RF amplifiers and every basic bit of information. They don't posses the curiosity to how anything works, the ability to purchase handbooks as reference material, capability to read those books, several times over before anything sinks into their brains or personal memory and to heck with reading the operators manuals which are full of information. Ham radio is a constant learning curve no matter who you are, no matter what educational background you come from and although the internet website forums are handy, these new operators should join there local Amateur Radio Clubs for more one on one training.

    I'm also amazed about how they think a handheld portable transceiver is their Base Station, Mobile and Portable transceiver all wrapped up into one unit. These people have a tendency to complain about the cost of the ICOMS, YAESU, KENWOOD, TEN-TEC, ELECRAFT and many more transceivers as being too damn expensive as if everything should be priced like the Cheap Junk coming from China (my own personal feelings) ... Dream On.

    Ham Radio is a hobby, no different than any other hobby so whatever a person puts into this hobby ... time and money will determine their out come will be and personal achievements ... no more, no less.

    Dan
    WA9WVX

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by park View Post
    I guess what I am saying is I'm amazed at the number of people who have a ham license and don't know (or can't figure out) how to operate their "rig".
    No, it's not just you! It seems to me that about 2/3rds of the posts here from new sign-ups are along the lines of "Me want's a ham radio" or "I've just passed my *insert lowest possible level of license* license but know nothing about radios" type of posts.

    The first type, I can understand, there poster has heard about amateur radio, thinks it my be cool/interesting and hopefully wants to learn more. But the second type of post leaves me wondering WTF do they teach nowadays for the license! Some of the questions are really basic, like what sort of aerial to use and so on. I understand that maybe dumbing down the requirements was thought to be a good idea to get new blood in, but maybe they've dumbed them down too much. Or is the idea that if 2000 people get thethe most basic license, then hopefully, by the end of the next year, 10 will continue with the hobby? That way, when the likes of the RSGB and ARRL need to go head-tohead with the RA or FCC, they can say, look we're still a valid group of people, we've got over 30 000 (or 3 million in the case of the US)* licensed users!

    *Figures subject to wild speculation...

  4. #4
    Super Moderator 2E0FVL's Avatar
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    Have to agree some of the questions asked makes me think - why do you have/want a licence when you know nothing about the hobby?
    I tend to reverse the saying from zero to hero as in UK the full licence gives the M suffix, so people go from hero to zero in a very short time just by remembering the answers to the questions but still know nothing about the hobby.
    At the club yesterday we had a radio quiz oh boy did that prove my point, people with a recent full licence saying that didn't come up in the exams when they got an answer wrong, no it's what you learn with hands on (ie as a SWL) not by answering a few set questions.
    And those that have held a full licence for some time but don't have a clue on the latest regulations, they would come unstuck if some of their rights were taken away they wouldn't know, and how many full licence holders know you now get 5MHz without an NoV not all it would seem!!
    Seems a ham licence is just something to have for some people because they can, when I took my first exam there were seven in the class there are only two of us that were ever active and still are!!
    Pete - 2EFVL
    The QRM Formally Known As M6PAP!!
    www.selseylifeboats.co.uk
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2E0FVL View Post
    And those that have held a full licence for some time but don't have a clue...
    I think the same applies to driving as well - restest most folk and they'd fail...

  6. #6
    park
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    I knew how to drive before I took my first driving lesson, I knew what a propeller and rudder was before I took my first flying lesson (I was a commercial pilot for 20 years). I taught my son how to handle a gun years before he got his CHL.

    AC5PS / Ken
    Last edited by park; Thu 4th Jun 2015 at 12:49.

  7. #7

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    My biggest issue here is the inability to look up information. A forum is a great place to get clarification on questions, but the initial answers are out there and easy to find. Youtube videos showing how to program a repeater in to any radio. Repeaterbook that easily shows the repeaters around. Just about anything you need is Googled easier than asking on a forum and waiting.

    Full disclosure, I have only been licensed for 2 years and passed my Tech and General together by memorizing answers. First amateur radio was a Baofeng but I own 2 Icoms as well now. What was different for me was I started a few years ago with CB. I went cheap because I didn't know if I really was going to stick with radio as a hobby. But that is how I learned to build a wire dipole. So I learned and am still learning. Made my first attempt at a DXpedition this year for Navasa. Did the reading and learned how to operate split on my 718. I *gasp* looked it up in the manual! Didn't get through but at least wasn't transmitting over him!

    So, I get annoyed at it too, but try to be patient. I learned a while ago I can't expect everyone to be as capable at figuring out things on their own.

    From my HTC One via Tapatalk

  8. #8

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    I'm a new ham. Unfortunately you can't blame the people that are undertaking the courses because you have to undertake the courses and pass the exams that you are set.

    You should be criticising ofcom, as I think they set the syllabus and run the exams.

    I recently had no idea about ham radio and having passed the foundation exam only have a little bit more than no idea about ham radio.

    I've got myself a ft 817 radio, a manual tuner, yes a manual one, just because I thought I should learn how to do it, rather than just pressing a auto tuner button.
    I've got myself a slim Jim portable dipole antenna for 2m and 70cm and also an end fed for HF bands. Hoping to do QRP portable when camping etc. so I've got myself the line to put up a tree or the fibreglass pole that I bought from sota beams to set up a portable antenna.

    I've got my feed lines and patch leads a lipo battery which I even managed to crimp some power pole connectors on myself with the crimper I have just bought.

    I've also bought some books of RSGB and even become a member. I've also bought a portable antenna book and QRP books from Amazon that I a reading.

    So far I have managed to do this myself with no help from anyone. The foundation course was pretty basic and what I have learnt I have self taught myself, watched loads of you tube videos and blogs from experienced amatures.

    So I will probably ask loads of stupid questions but with a bit of effort I have managed to get myself sorted a portable QRP setup.

    I might even join the local club.

    So far so good, and maybe I'll do the intermediate course when I feel confident enough.

    But don't be too hard on me as a foundation holder as this is the course I had to do to become an amature, no fault of my own. A sat the test that they told me to do.

    Was it easy, yes. Was it too easy? For me yes.

    So I won't ask what antenna question as I'm afraid I've already bought them.

  9. #9

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    In the America exams, are you told the questions before you sit the exam? Because I am wondering how can you memorise the questions unless you know what they are?

  10. #10
    M0TTB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adventurer View Post
    In the America exams, are you told the questions before you sit the exam? Because I am wondering how can you memorise the questions unless you know what they are?
    The question and answer bank are in the public domain in the US ...I know it sounds odd but there's a lot of potential questions, so it's not totally straight forward.
    73
    Andy

  11. #11

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    So is it easier to learn and memorise a whole syllabus book or lean and memorise a long list of specific questions?

    Should be focusing or criticising the licensing, training, syllabus and exams in a particular country rather than the individual.

    If you feel an amature does not seem to know much when they pass their full/advanced licence then it's probably not the amature themselves but the system they went through.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator pmh's Avatar
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    In the UK, once questions reach the public domain they are removed from the question bank. This can put quite a strain on the question banks if papers are copied after exams, then circulated as a training aid for future candidates. Clubs are, of course, discouraged from doing this.

    The best way to pass is by learning the subject, and understanding the principles. After the first exam pass, on air and practical experience are an essential part of progressing.

    Kind regards,



    Phil

  13. #13

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    Here in the United States from what I know is the American Radio Relay League, Inc. has set up many existing radio clubs to teach the new people about ham radio through a 6 week course maybe 2 hours a session taught by all volunteers and the Exams are administrated by ARRL authorized VECs. Twelve hours is hardly enough time to cover the theory for electronics, antennas, operating practices, selection of equipment and the F.C.C. Rules & Regulations plus the Frequency Bands allowed to operate for the entry level Technician, then the General and finally the Extra Classes of licenses.

    From talking with other hams locally, we've decided that the ARRL is at fault for the type of operators we have today, it seems that all the ARRL is interested in numbers rather than quality of the new ham operators. Of course there's a hidden fact that the ARRL was hoping for bigger numbers of the new Amateur Radio Operators were going to Join the ARRL for QST magazine which equates out to more USD "MONEY" or revenue ... I believe they have fallen short of any projected new membership. Then consider what the big Amateur Radio Manufactures must have envisioned as for their products being sold to the new ham operators ... more $$$$$$ revenue.

    I have voiced my opinion on this situation via e-mail to my Illinois Section Manager and the Headquarters on the eastcoast, and the Illinois Section Manager thought I had a "Bad Attitude" and I never received even an acknowledgement from ARRL Headquarters. I believe the ARRL people are in denial about this whole dreadful mess and now that the barn door was left open, there's no way turning anything back to the starting point.

  14. #14

    Default

    I don't have problems with new Hams asking questions, Ham Radio can be a dangerous hobby and no fun if you don't know how to properly do it.
    The major problem here in the US is IMHO two fold, the test is too easy and really does not give the new licensee enough to go forward, then sadly a lot of people want instant gratification. Ham Radio is not something you can buy in a box and plug-n-play.

    We all have been new once I guess the difference with some of us that have been a Ham for a while (23 years in my case) is we bought books or went to a library, talked to Elmers, and with today's plethora of knowledge on the Internet (Google is your best friend) we found our basic answers.

    To me it's not someone asking for help but rather how and what they say, "how do you make a dipole" or "I got my license now what", these and other basic answers are out there. Seek, learn, then when you ask a question you can do it without coming across as an idiot in some peoples eyes. But those of us that can put together a station properly and do it without even having to guess, owe some respect to the new Hams because we were there once.

    73
    Dan, N8IE

  15. #15

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    Dan N8IE,

    Although what you have stated may be true to some extent, a lot of the newer hams want everything for nothing, complain about the price of the radio equipment and expect everyone to know the latest and greatest radio gear. I didn't start out with brand new equipment as most of it was second hand or used and some of my equipment had to be homebrew because I didn't have the money. I did have a lot of local Elmers that assisted me and I still am grateful for this fact. Although the internet and these can help, they're far from being in a local Amateur Radio Club where you can talk and demonstrate what the indidviduals want and need for one on one training as this hobby is a continuous training curve for everything you'll need to know. Most of the newbies expect to plug and chug with their Analog FM transceivers, never understanding the full scope of repeaters and the associated maintenance and cost. I even answered a newbie's question about VHF range for two different FM transceivers, one a Baofeng with a 1/4 wave and the other was a Kenwood transceiver dual RF power outout level and some kind dual band antenna. I asked they guy if he had checked the VSWR on the antennas and the RF power output on a VHF wattmeter? He had no idea what I was talking about ... Duh! This is where the local clubs and hams would come handy to teach the basic theory. Before I became licensed, I owned a 1964 AARL handbook and read through it several times. I also purchased the VHF handbook, the Antenna handbook, the Operating handbook, as we didn't have the internet in the 1960s and I ran into a problem, I would tap my Elmer for help. A lot of the new people don't want to spend any money on reference books as they thing everything is available on the internet. You say it is but I'm not so sure. I do a lot of research on the internet and I have to confirm the information on two or three websites before I'll take it as Bona Fide. I've been in this hobby for over 46+ years and have seen a lot of changes in technology and people's operating practices that they have brought along with them from CB. I too was side tracked into CB for three years but when I passed my license test, I never went back to CB as it wasn't the status symbol of being a true ham operator. Now you have an Extra and probably passed the 20 WPM test, I only have a General Class license but I have held my Commercial Radiotelephone Operators License since August, 1971 which is now a GROL so it doesn't matter to me about the Extra and find the Newbies thinking I should EXIT the hobby. I've probably been licensed longer than some of the these people have been alive. The friendly caring new operators are out for themselves and to heck with anyone else.

    Dan
    WA9WVX

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by adventurer View Post
    So is it easier to learn and memorise a whole syllabus book or lean and memorise a long list of specific questions?
    OK, for the rules and regulations parts, you need to know them fairly well, but for the electronics/technical parts, knowing the basics such as the relationship between wavelength and frequency, Ohm's law and how to calculate the values of resistance, capacitance and inductance in parallel and series means when given a multiple choise question, for example:

    A quaterwave element tuned for 18.1 MHz will be:
    a) 413 metres
    b) 41.3 metres
    c) 4.14 metres
    d) 0.41 metres

    Then you don't to need wrack your brains for that particular question because you scribble down the magic triangle for c, l and f and Hiram P. Maxim's your uncle.
    Last edited by OH8GAD; Wed 10th Jun 2015 at 17:46. Reason: dodgy typing...

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by adventurer View Post
    In the America exams, are you told the questions before you sit the exam? Because I am wondering how can you memorise the questions unless you know what they are?
    There are license guides with text, and questions and answers at the end of the book. But there are hundreds of questions, and only 35 of them on the Technician and General class test. Amateur Extra has 50 questions. So a test taker wont know what questions they are going to get, until they site down and take the test the VE has handed them.

    edit:

    Almost forgot. You have to take the tests in order. So if a new ham has their heart set on Amateur Extra.

    First take element 2, Technician, if they pass it, they can take element 3, the General class test.

    If they pass element 3, then they can take element 4, the Amateur Extra test.

    Flunk one, and you have the license of the level before it. Flunk Element 2, and you come back in 30 days and try again. The examiner will write down which test you took, so you wont see the same tzest during a retake.
    Last edited by N4AAB; Wed 10th Jun 2015 at 23:11. Reason: info
    --
    73, Jim/N4AAB got my Extra class license in Aug 10, 2017. Vanity call in Oct, 2014.
    My Ham radio site has no popups, no music, no banners.
    'Through the thorns to the stars' from Ghost-in-the-Shell anime.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by M0TTB View Post
    The question and answer bank are in the public domain in the US ...I know it sounds odd but there's a lot of potential questions, so it's not totally straight forward.
    The question and answer pool can be downloaded from the fcc.gov web site.
    --
    73, Jim/N4AAB got my Extra class license in Aug 10, 2017. Vanity call in Oct, 2014.
    My Ham radio site has no popups, no music, no banners.
    'Through the thorns to the stars' from Ghost-in-the-Shell anime.

  19. #19

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    As for blame on how things are now. Well, the older hams need to set a much better example.

    I have had my General for 2 years; however, I have heard hams off and on since 1961. It hasn't gotten worse or better on the air. There were jerks back then, just like there are jerks on air now. Its just that there are more people on the air. Statistically, that means more jerks.

    The other big problem, Elmering is at an all time low. I have asked off and on for 2 years for help on various topics. I thought the ARRL books would be a big help, they aren't. Look at my help request posts on qrz, you will see some helpful replies and you will also see some snide/petty remarks.

    I do have technical training. 6 years an electronics radar tech in the US Navy. A total of 56 weeks of classroom instruction, 8 hours a day. a 4-year degree in computer programming. And 30 years computer tech support experience.

    Some hams help me learn what is different with this radio thing, rather than the radar thing. And some talk down to me. Really. Oh, I don't know Morse code, except for S.O.S. And befroe I moved, I was let know I had a problem, because I ddn't know CW.

    Attitudes like that are detrimental to ham radio.

    The new folks want to learn, but they don't like being made fun of.

    Sadly, I was told to get over the snide remarks. I replied, 'I don't have to. I'm an adult, I've survived a hurricane at sea aboard a U.S. Navy Destroyer. Elmer new hams, stop making fun of them.' Most likely, if that ham hears me on air, he probably wont reply to my CQ.

    My apologies. I just had to say all that. Elmering, helping new hams, is a must. And attitudes towards those who weren't born knowing electronics and ham radio has to cease. ( Yes, I'm being sarcastic. No one is born knowing this stuff, but apparently some hamsd think they were.)
    --
    73, Jim/N4AAB got my Extra class license in Aug 10, 2017. Vanity call in Oct, 2014.
    My Ham radio site has no popups, no music, no banners.
    'Through the thorns to the stars' from Ghost-in-the-Shell anime.

  20. #20
    park
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    Quote Originally Posted by N8IE View Post
    I don't have problems with new Hams asking questions, Ham Radio can be a dangerous hobby and no fun if you don't know how to properly do it.
    The major problem here in the US is IMHO two fold, the test is too easy and really does not give the new licensee enough to go forward, then sadly a lot of people want instant gratification. Ham Radio is not something you can buy in a box and plug-n-play.

    We all have been new once I guess the difference with some of us that have been a Ham for a while (23 years in my case) is we bought books or went to a library, talked to Elmers, and with today's plethora of knowledge on the Internet (Google is your best friend) we found our basic answers.

    To me it's not someone asking for help but rather how and what they say, "how do you make a dipole" or "I got my license now what", these and other basic answers are out there. Seek, learn, then when you ask a question you can do it without coming across as an idiot in some peoples eyes. But those of us that can put together a station properly and do it without even having to guess, owe some respect to the new Hams because we were there once.

    73
    Dan, N8IE
    I have no problem with ANYONE asking questions. I guess what I was getting at it appears to me that someone just wakes up one morning and says "I want to get my ham radio license " and knows appsolutly nothing about it, and there is nothing wrong with that it's just odd, to me.
    I saw the thread where the license radio operator did not no what or how to use a SWR meter......so that tells me they woke one morning and decided to start playing with radios and that's ok, I just find it unusual. Maybe some are teens and they need help, if so let us know, or maybe it's spam from china I don't know.

    7 3
    AC5PS / Ken

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