Reaching across the chronological divide

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Reaching across the chronological divide

wayne burdick
Administrator
Hams of a certain age, including yours truly (first licensed in 1971) recall their excitement on joining the hobby: there was the promise of contact with faraway places, collection of vivid QSL cards, mastery of esoteric equipment, synchrony with the rhythms of Morse code, and the crafting of antennas to harness action at a distance.

Most of us still feel that spark, occasionally--some on a daily basis--experiencing the wonder all over again.

While the accoutrements and equipage of youth have evolved over the decades, their DNA has not. Somewhere, nestled between the genetic codes for half-pipe snowboarding, Instagram, Juul, and ambient house, there's a dormant sequence for the Radio Art waiting to be stirred.

Is there a Battle Royale for ham radio? A tactical RPG?

What is our sorcerer's stone? Our rap?

Will Gen-Z or Gen-Alpha tickle the ionosphere, and if so...why?

To hand our batons across the chronological divide, we'll need empathetic, open-ended inquiry.

73,
Wayne
N6KR

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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

David Gilbert

This of course is a discussion that isn't likely to die before we do,
but I really don't think that any significant portion of today's youth
will ever look at amateur radio like we do.  I wish that weren't the
case, but reality bites.

1.  The major lure of amateur radio for most of us was the ability to
freely talk to faraway places.  Young people today can do that with FM
quality and yet often they don't ... they text or chat via message
groups and forums.

2.  Communicating today is license free, and while even now with today's
lesser requirements getting an amateur radio license is maybe not a
roadblock it's a nuisance to have to study for something that you don't
otherwise care about.

3.  Effectively communicating today is far cheaper hardware-wise than
for amateur radio, especially for long distances.

4.  Communicating today is independent of time of day or position in the
sunspot cycle.

5.  A basic competency in amateur radio was once considered a stepping
stone to a technical career.  That is hardly the case today.  In fact, I
remember one manager of a test department in another company telling me
he tried to avoid hiring hams because they talked about it too much on
the job.

One thing I do believe has carryover appeal is the spirit of
competition.  Humans in general always seem keen to compete at almost
anything ... from eating hot dogs to running to vicariously watching
football to quilting to barbeque.  Young people today have video games
that provide a FAR richer competitive environment than any ham radio
contest (I do both, by the way), and I've always thought that one way to
drum up interest in ham radio is to develop a contest format that has
similar elements.  Ham radio contests are essentially endurance events
that involve independent action throughout the contest with the
comparison occurring at the end, and often weeks or months later.  Video
games require different but otherwise comparable proficiency (both
mental and physical) but involve real time counter moves to any
opponent.  The closest we hams come to offsetting somebody we view as
competition is to steal their frequency or QRM them.  I'm not at all
suggesting that we do any such thing, but a contest where we could take
some action that subtracted from somebody else's score is the kind of
thing I'm talking about.  And no, I don't know how to do that either,
but it illustrates what I'm talking about.

It's not any surprise to me that contesting is one of the few surviving
ham radio activities with high participation.  Even ragchewing has
practically died out, and if anyone disputes that take a look at how
much time you spend each week reading email reflectors versus being on
the air (other than in a contest).

I'm not really sure what Wayne was referring to here, and maybe he
implied that same thing that I'm saying, but we aren't going to bring
young folks into the hobby by trying to convince them that the same
things that appealed to us 40 years ago are going to appeal to them. 
This isn't a communication or publicity problem.  In spite of the
comments from hams I've seen over the years, most young people pretty
much know the general framework of ham radio and they've simply rejected
it in favor of other things.  There are always a few exceptions, of
course, but I'd bet $100 that the bulk of those young people who pop up
online or in QST as shining examples of young blood in the hobby are
nowhere to be found two years later.

If for any reason we want young folks to embrace the hobby, the hobby
itself is going to have to adapt.  That most of us seem unable to
understand that fact is probably another facet of the problem ... we're
old and inflexible (in both appearance and in fact), which doesn't help
the image of the hobby one wit.  The pictures from Dayton or any other
hamfest have the same appeal as if they were taken at a Lawrence Welk
concert.

I guarantee that those of us who are still above ground five years from
now will be having this same discussion, and it won't be because we
weren't persuasive enough.

73,
Dave   AB7E


On 12/13/2019 7:24 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:

> Hams of a certain age, including yours truly (first licensed in 1971) recall their excitement on joining the hobby: there was the promise of contact with faraway places, collection of vivid QSL cards, mastery of esoteric equipment, synchrony with the rhythms of Morse code, and the crafting of antennas to harness action at a distance.
>
> Most of us still feel that spark, occasionally--some on a daily basis--experiencing the wonder all over again.
>
> While the accoutrements and equipage of youth have evolved over the decades, their DNA has not. Somewhere, nestled between the genetic codes for half-pipe snowboarding, Instagram, Juul, and ambient house, there's a dormant sequence for the Radio Art waiting to be stirred.
>
> Is there a Battle Royale for ham radio? A tactical RPG?
>
> What is our sorcerer's stone? Our rap?
>
> Will Gen-Z or Gen-Alpha tickle the ionosphere, and if so...why?
>
> To hand our batons across the chronological divide, we'll need empathetic, open-ended inquiry.
>
> 73,
> Wayne
> N6KR
>

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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

w0mu
There are many ways to get enjoyment from Ham Radio, long distance
contacts being just one of them.  I am a DXer and Contester by heart as
that is what I was exposed to as a young ham.  I never got into the rag
chewing.  I had a sched with my Grandfather weekly yet we still still
talked just as much on the telephone.  People stay involved in hobbies
that are fun.  It has gotten increasingly more difficult to find homes
that allow ham activities, ie towers and outside antennas.  The entry
cost can be high.  I am curious to see if Remote is going to bring in
any new folks.  It is keeping older ones active that desire to move to
assisted living or smaller more easily maintained homes.  Contesting
could probably be bigger than it is now but there is nothing close to
level playing field which you can find with online games or Esports. 
The guy with the most bucks and best location is going to have a huge
advantage.  We in the west can't compete with the east coast that can
run EU all day long in most DX contests.  Domestic contests are
different but look who consistently wins.  These are big stations.

I am also involved with 3D printing as a hobby as I play table top games
and I build terrain, walls, trees, miniatures.  This hobby is booming
and is filled with young and old alike.  Entry is about 200 bucks and
requires a bit of space on a desk.  Same mind set for many as there is a
lot to learn about the printing process to setup and make good prints. 
It is not a plug in and go hobby.

Young people would rather binge watch shows on their phone or tv instead
of actually meeting people.

I think there could be a draw but what I find is many hams don't want
more hams.  They want exclusivity and for some don't really want
competition as someone else might win their paper or wooden plaque.   
People want the stuff and want to win and want the accolades but would
prefer to do it without competition.  I know a person that is part of
horse club that my XYL and daughter are part of.  She used to always win
a saddle because she was the only one that would enter that class, which
required you compete in 3 classes.  She got mad when the club removed
that class and started giving saddles away for the individual classes. 
Her comment, well I can't beat...so and so.............. so I just won't
compete anymore.    Many competitors do it only for fun and themselves
and know they have little chance to win.  This is very similar to ham
radio contesting where most are really just participants and not serious
competitors.

I am not sure how you sell Ham Radio to people today.  I have two sons
and a daughter.  One son got licensed really young and did some contests
and mobile activities with me but never got hooked like I did.   People
have less free time than ever and there are more options for
entertainment than ever.

W0MU

On 12/13/2019 9:36 PM, David Gilbert wrote:

>
> This of course is a discussion that isn't likely to die before we do,
> but I really don't think that any significant portion of today's youth
> will ever look at amateur radio like we do.  I wish that weren't the
> case, but reality bites.
>
> 1.  The major lure of amateur radio for most of us was the ability to
> freely talk to faraway places.  Young people today can do that with FM
> quality and yet often they don't ... they text or chat via message
> groups and forums.
>
> 2.  Communicating today is license free, and while even now with
> today's lesser requirements getting an amateur radio license is maybe
> not a roadblock it's a nuisance to have to study for something that
> you don't otherwise care about.
>
> 3.  Effectively communicating today is far cheaper hardware-wise than
> for amateur radio, especially for long distances.
>
> 4.  Communicating today is independent of time of day or position in
> the sunspot cycle.
>
> 5.  A basic competency in amateur radio was once considered a stepping
> stone to a technical career.  That is hardly the case today.  In fact,
> I remember one manager of a test department in another company telling
> me he tried to avoid hiring hams because they talked about it too much
> on the job.
>
> One thing I do believe has carryover appeal is the spirit of
> competition.  Humans in general always seem keen to compete at almost
> anything ... from eating hot dogs to running to vicariously watching
> football to quilting to barbeque.  Young people today have video games
> that provide a FAR richer competitive environment than any ham radio
> contest (I do both, by the way), and I've always thought that one way
> to drum up interest in ham radio is to develop a contest format that
> has similar elements.  Ham radio contests are essentially endurance
> events that involve independent action throughout the contest with the
> comparison occurring at the end, and often weeks or months later. 
> Video games require different but otherwise comparable proficiency
> (both mental and physical) but involve real time counter moves to any
> opponent. The closest we hams come to offsetting somebody we view as
> competition is to steal their frequency or QRM them.  I'm not at all
> suggesting that we do any such thing, but a contest where we could
> take some action that subtracted from somebody else's score is the
> kind of thing I'm talking about.  And no, I don't know how to do that
> either, but it illustrates what I'm talking about.
>
> It's not any surprise to me that contesting is one of the few
> surviving ham radio activities with high participation.  Even
> ragchewing has practically died out, and if anyone disputes that take
> a look at how much time you spend each week reading email reflectors
> versus being on the air (other than in a contest).
>
> I'm not really sure what Wayne was referring to here, and maybe he
> implied that same thing that I'm saying, but we aren't going to bring
> young folks into the hobby by trying to convince them that the same
> things that appealed to us 40 years ago are going to appeal to them. 
> This isn't a communication or publicity problem. In spite of the
> comments from hams I've seen over the years, most young people pretty
> much know the general framework of ham radio and they've simply
> rejected it in favor of other things.  There are always a few
> exceptions, of course, but I'd bet $100 that the bulk of those young
> people who pop up online or in QST as shining examples of young blood
> in the hobby are nowhere to be found two years later.
>
> If for any reason we want young folks to embrace the hobby, the hobby
> itself is going to have to adapt.  That most of us seem unable to
> understand that fact is probably another facet of the problem ...
> we're old and inflexible (in both appearance and in fact), which
> doesn't help the image of the hobby one wit.  The pictures from Dayton
> or any other hamfest have the same appeal as if they were taken at a
> Lawrence Welk concert.
>
> I guarantee that those of us who are still above ground five years
> from now will be having this same discussion, and it won't be because
> we weren't persuasive enough.
>
> 73,
> Dave   AB7E
>
>
> On 12/13/2019 7:24 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:
>> Hams of a certain age, including yours truly (first licensed in 1971)
>> recall their excitement on joining the hobby: there was the promise
>> of contact with faraway places, collection of vivid QSL cards,
>> mastery of esoteric equipment, synchrony with the rhythms of Morse
>> code, and the crafting of antennas to harness action at a distance.
>>
>> Most of us still feel that spark, occasionally--some on a daily
>> basis--experiencing the wonder all over again.
>>
>> While the accoutrements and equipage of youth have evolved over the
>> decades, their DNA has not. Somewhere, nestled between the genetic
>> codes for half-pipe snowboarding, Instagram, Juul, and ambient house,
>> there's a dormant sequence for the Radio Art waiting to be stirred.
>>
>> Is there a Battle Royale for ham radio? A tactical RPG?
>>
>> What is our sorcerer's stone? Our rap?
>>
>> Will Gen-Z or Gen-Alpha tickle the ionosphere, and if so...why?
>>
>> To hand our batons across the chronological divide, we'll need
>> empathetic, open-ended inquiry.
>>
>> 73,
>> Wayne
>> N6KR
>>
>
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
> Message delivered to [hidden email]

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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

k6mkf
Hi Folks,

Well, here is a young lady who has decided the Amateur Radio - and Contesting - is her hobby of choice.

Violetta (Kat) Latham, KM4ATT, has been invited to speak at IDXC 2020 in Visalia, CA.   Violetta lives in Greencastle, PA and is a 15-year old Amateur Extra.   She’s raising funds for her trip to Visalia.  

Violetta has a nice QRZ.COM page at https://www.qrz.com/db/KM4ATT

Violetta's image was chosen to be on the cover of the new ARRL publication Amateur Radio Contesting for Beginners.

Here's a link to the image:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xyd0fqm8e484x87/KM4ATT%20Cover.docx?dl=0

I’ve known Violetta and her family for a few years, and she’s a very accomplished young Amateur.  She likes contesting and being the DX in contests, too.  She’s quite excited about some South American DX she’s worked recently.

Violetta has established a GoFundMe page to raise money for her trip to Visalia here:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-a-young-speaker-travel-to-dx-convention-2020?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=m_pd+share-sheet


Here's a very direct and practical way to reach across the chronological divide.   I’ve contributed, and I hope you will consider contributing as well.

Thank you.

- 73 and good DX de Mike, K6MKF, NCDXC Secretary

> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]>
> On Behalf Of W0MU Mike Fatchett
> Sent: Saturday, December 14, 2019 08:12
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [Elecraft] Reaching across the chronological divide
>
> There are many ways to get enjoyment from Ham Radio, long distance contacts
> being just one of them.  I am a DXer and Contester by heart as that is what I was
> exposed to as a young ham.  I never got into the rag chewing.  I had a sched with
> my Grandfather weekly yet we still still talked just as much on the
> telephone.  People stay involved in hobbies that are fun.  It has gotten
> increasingly more difficult to find homes that allow ham activities, ie towers and
> outside antennas.  The entry cost can be high.  I am curious to see if Remote is
> going to bring in any new folks.  It is keeping older ones active that desire to
> move to assisted living or smaller more easily maintained homes.  Contesting
> could probably be bigger than it is now but there is nothing close to level playing
> field which you can find with online games or Esports. The guy with the most
> bucks and best location is going to have a huge advantage.  We in the west can't
> compete with the east coast that can run EU all day long in most DX
> contests.  Domestic contests are different but look who consistently wins.  These
> are big stations.
>
> I am also involved with 3D printing as a hobby as I play table top games and I
> build terrain, walls, trees, miniatures.  This hobby is booming and is filled with
> young and old alike.  Entry is about 200 bucks and requires a bit of space on a
> desk.  Same mind set for many as there is a lot to learn about the printing
> process to setup and make good prints. It is not a plug in and go hobby.
>
> Young people would rather binge watch shows on their phone or tv instead of
> actually meeting people.
>
> I think there could be a draw but what I find is many hams don't want more
> hams.  They want exclusivity and for some don't really want competition as
> someone else might win their paper or wooden plaque. People want the stuff
> and want to win and want the accolades but would prefer to do it without
> competition.  I know a person that is part of horse club that my XYL and daughter
> are part of.  She used to always win a saddle because she was the only one that
> would enter that class, which required you compete in 3 classes.  She got mad
> when the club removed that class and started giving saddles away for the
> individual classes. Her comment, well I can't beat...so and so.............. so I just
> won't compete anymore.    Many competitors do it only for fun and themselves
> and know they have little chance to win.  This is very similar to ham radio
> contesting where most are really just participants and not serious competitors.
>
> I am not sure how you sell Ham Radio to people today.  I have two sons and a
> daughter.  One son got licensed really young and did some contests and mobile
> activities with me but never got hooked like I did.   People have less free time
> than ever and there are more options for entertainment than ever.
>
> W0MU
>
> On 12/13/2019 9:36 PM, David Gilbert wrote:
> >
> > This of course is a discussion that isn't likely to die before we do,
> > but I really don't think that any significant portion of today's youth
> > will ever look at amateur radio like we do.  I wish that weren't the
> > case, but reality bites.
> >
> > 1.  The major lure of amateur radio for most of us was the ability to
> > freely talk to faraway places.  Young people today can do that with FM
> > quality and yet often they don't ... they text or chat via message
> > groups and forums.
> >
> > 2.  Communicating today is license free, and while even now with
> > today's lesser requirements getting an amateur radio license is maybe
> > not a roadblock it's a nuisance to have to study for something that
> > you don't otherwise care about.
> >
> > 3.  Effectively communicating today is far cheaper hardware-wise than
> > for amateur radio, especially for long distances.
> >
> > 4.  Communicating today is independent of time of day or position in
> > the sunspot cycle.
> >
> > 5.  A basic competency in amateur radio was once considered a stepping
> > stone to a technical career.  That is hardly the case today.  In fact,
> > I remember one manager of a test department in another company telling
> > me he tried to avoid hiring hams because they talked about it too much
> > on the job.
> >
> > One thing I do believe has carryover appeal is the spirit of
> > competition.  Humans in general always seem keen to compete at almost
> > anything ... from eating hot dogs to running to vicariously watching
> > football to quilting to barbeque.  Young people today have video games
> > that provide a FAR richer competitive environment than any ham radio
> > contest (I do both, by the way), and I've always thought that one way
> > to drum up interest in ham radio is to develop a contest format that
> > has similar elements.  Ham radio contests are essentially endurance
> > events that involve independent action throughout the contest with the
> > comparison occurring at the end, and often weeks or months later.
> > Video games require different but otherwise comparable proficiency
> > (both mental and physical) but involve real time counter moves to any
> > opponent. The closest we hams come to offsetting somebody we view as
> > competition is to steal their frequency or QRM them.  I'm not at all
> > suggesting that we do any such thing, but a contest where we could
> > take some action that subtracted from somebody else's score is the
> > kind of thing I'm talking about.  And no, I don't know how to do that
> > either, but it illustrates what I'm talking about.
> >
> > It's not any surprise to me that contesting is one of the few
> > surviving ham radio activities with high participation.  Even
> > ragchewing has practically died out, and if anyone disputes that take
> > a look at how much time you spend each week reading email reflectors
> > versus being on the air (other than in a contest).
> >
> > I'm not really sure what Wayne was referring to here, and maybe he
> > implied that same thing that I'm saying, but we aren't going to bring
> > young folks into the hobby by trying to convince them that the same
> > things that appealed to us 40 years ago are going to appeal to them.
> > This isn't a communication or publicity problem. In spite of the
> > comments from hams I've seen over the years, most young people pretty
> > much know the general framework of ham radio and they've simply
> > rejected it in favor of other things.  There are always a few
> > exceptions, of course, but I'd bet $100 that the bulk of those young
> > people who pop up online or in QST as shining examples of young blood
> > in the hobby are nowhere to be found two years later.
> >
> > If for any reason we want young folks to embrace the hobby, the hobby
> > itself is going to have to adapt.  That most of us seem unable to
> > understand that fact is probably another facet of the problem ...
> > we're old and inflexible (in both appearance and in fact), which
> > doesn't help the image of the hobby one wit.  The pictures from Dayton
> > or any other hamfest have the same appeal as if they were taken at a
> > Lawrence Welk concert.
> >
> > I guarantee that those of us who are still above ground five years
> > from now will be having this same discussion, and it won't be because
> > we weren't persuasive enough.
> >
> > 73,
> > Dave   AB7E
> >
> >
> > On 12/13/2019 7:24 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:
> >> Hams of a certain age, including yours truly (first licensed in 1971)
> >> recall their excitement on joining the hobby: there was the promise
> >> of contact with faraway places, collection of vivid QSL cards,
> >> mastery of esoteric equipment, synchrony with the rhythms of Morse
> >> code, and the crafting of antennas to harness action at a distance.
> >>
> >> Most of us still feel that spark, occasionally--some on a daily
> >> basis--experiencing the wonder all over again.
> >>
> >> While the accoutrements and equipage of youth have evolved over the
> >> decades, their DNA has not. Somewhere, nestled between the genetic
> >> codes for half-pipe snowboarding, Instagram, Juul, and ambient house,
> >> there's a dormant sequence for the Radio Art waiting to be stirred.
> >>
> >> Is there a Battle Royale for ham radio? A tactical RPG?
> >>
> >> What is our sorcerer's stone? Our rap?
> >>
> >> Will Gen-Z or Gen-Alpha tickle the ionosphere, and if so...why?
> >>
> >> To hand our batons across the chronological divide, we'll need
> >> empathetic, open-ended inquiry.
> >>
> >> 73,
> >> Wayne
> >> N6KR
> >>
> >
> > ______________________________________________________________
> > Elecraft mailing list
> > Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> > Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> > Post: mailto:[hidden email]
> >
> > This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net Please help support this email
> > list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html Message delivered to
> > [hidden email]
>
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html Message
> delivered to [hidden email]

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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

len
In reply to this post by wayne burdick

Hi Dave and All,

        I can't speak for the masses, but I can say what drew me into amateur radio.

        I was never drawn to ham radio to be able to talk to people in faraway places. Rather I had an early interest in science and technology.  Most of us here were born in an era where technology was simple and understandable.  Our technology was transparent in a sense.  Our table top radios typically contained five tubes.  TV's at the time were only about four to five times as complex.  In my young days I was absolutely fascinated when we bought a set of wired intercom phones.  My brother and I could magically talk between our bedrooms connected only by a small wire.  The concepts I learned in those days were small bite size lessons.  

        When I got my license and a used HW16 I began my lifetime journey of ham radio.  My telegraph key was one that I had pulled out of a garbage pile.  My antenna  was around 70 feet of wire strung between the chimney of our house and a telephone pole.  I built an antenna tuner using a single coil of wire and a variable capacitor. I was absolutely fascinated with CW.  The signals would magically appear from nowhere and I could respond to them.   When I wasn't on the radio I would pour over the HW16 manual and spend hours decoding each corner of its schematic.  

        When I was young and ham radio "found me" there were far fewer distractions than there are today.  We had real quiet time to fill with.   Simple things could catch our attention.  For the most part our parents never felt the need to entertain us 24 hours a day.  I spent many hours at the library reading and learning the basics of science and electronics.  Today the collection of books at the library are nearly useless.   Simplicity allowed me to focus and understand.  I would breakdown complex things and understand individual parts.  That skill set has traveled with me my entire life and helped me in my professional life as well.

        First, no offence to Wayne and Eric, but radios today are FAR too complex for beginners.   I absolutely LOVE my KX radios, but I am in a different place than a beginner.  It seems that we are setting the expectations for new users based on our place in ham radio.  We are expecting new users to jump into DX, contesting, and things that require high end equipment.  How about giving new users a desire to understand radio and the equipment with fewer bells and whistles.  Today we buy appliances, turn the key and go. I think that is fine for someone who understands what they are doing.  But for a beginner is steps over the "falling in love phase".  I love my Elecraft radios because I understand what it took to create them.  I understand both the HW and SW engineering.  I understand how easy it makes things for me.  But that is secondary  to why I am fascinated with radio.  My fascination comes from knowing how it works and the people like Marconi that endured deafening sparks to
 get us here.  My fascination came from the incremental steps of my "radio" education.

        Many hams will complain about our current sunspot cycle and say the lack of propagation discourages new users, to that I say BS.  When you first learn how to drive a car you do so in small steps.  You start with the family Junker, not an Indy car.  You don't drive the lower 48 states, but your local neighborhood, and typically in a school parking lot.  Most people average 45 to 55 mph, very few people will ever drive 150 or 200 mph.  When propagation works we talk far, when it's broke we don't.  That's life, and mostly physics.

        With ham radio we need to set expectations. This is NOT a cell phone, it will never be a cell phone.  Each tool  in the box has a different use.  Ham radio was never intended to provide universal communications, AT&T did that already. It can however provide for a fun hobby and occasionally emergency communications.  We should never approach new users and set the expectation that ham radio competes or will replace a phone, or the Internet.  We all grew up with phones, and it never replaced them for us.  We all grew up with phones and still enjoy ham radio.  Our phones could call anyone else on the planet, just like today.   (I laugh that people say the cost is "cheaper" to make calls today.  Sure, we had to pay higher long distance charges.  But our basic phone service was only 10$ to 20$ per month.  Try adding up an 800$ smart phone and the 100$ monthly voice and data charges, your internet and cable bill.  I think the telcos got the last laugh!)

        I think the thing that encourages me is to see the quality and quantity of DIY projects that exist today.   If you don't follow the tech blogs check out hackaday.  There are some seriously amazing individuals playing with technology and building really interesting things.  Many of these "hackers/makers" are people like us who love radio and technology.   I suspect that these people are our future if we don't run them off.

        And last...  The real thing that drew me to ham radio was  another ham, Russ Michaelson N7SM (SK 2019).  Russ and I meet at the University of Utah's surplus store.  Even though we had a 12 year age difference, Russ and I connected almost immediately and became lifelong friends.  I was in Junior high school and Russ was beginning a family when we meet.  From Russ I learned about more about radio and electronics, and we had many adventures in the process.  I never remember Russ complaining about the ionosphere.  He built a magnificent basement "shack".  When he built his own 100 foot tower from scratch I climbed to the top to help set up and adjust antennas. (By then I was in my 20's, no child labor involved. :)   If we expect this hobby to continue into the future, we need to be the "Russ" in someone else's life.  We need to pass our love of radio to the next generation.  Just expecting someone to "be" interested and on their way after the exam will never happen.  Propagation
  will always change, we need to be the constant.

73

KA7FTP

Len


-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of David Gilbert
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2019 9:37 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Elecraft] Reaching across the chronological divide


This of course is a discussion that isn't likely to die before we do, but I really don't think that any significant portion of today's youth will ever look at amateur radio like we do.  I wish that weren't the case, but reality bites.

1.  The major lure of amateur radio for most of us was the ability to freely talk to faraway places.  Young people today can do that with FM quality and yet often they don't ... they text or chat via message groups and forums.

2.  Communicating today is license free, and while even now with today's lesser requirements getting an amateur radio license is maybe not a roadblock it's a nuisance to have to study for something that you don't otherwise care about.

3.  Effectively communicating today is far cheaper hardware-wise than for amateur radio, especially for long distances.

4.  Communicating today is independent of time of day or position in the sunspot cycle.

5.  A basic competency in amateur radio was once considered a stepping stone to a technical career.  That is hardly the case today.  In fact, I remember one manager of a test department in another company telling me he tried to avoid hiring hams because they talked about it too much on the job.

One thing I do believe has carryover appeal is the spirit of competition.  Humans in general always seem keen to compete at almost anything ... from eating hot dogs to running to vicariously watching football to quilting to barbeque.  Young people today have video games that provide a FAR richer competitive environment than any ham radio contest (I do both, by the way), and I've always thought that one way to drum up interest in ham radio is to develop a contest format that has similar elements.  Ham radio contests are essentially endurance events that involve independent action throughout the contest with the comparison occurring at the end, and often weeks or months later.  Video games require different but otherwise comparable proficiency (both mental and physical) but involve real time counter moves to any opponent.  The closest we hams come to offsetting somebody we view as competition is to steal their frequency or QRM them.  I'm not at all suggesting that we do any suc
 h thing, but a contest where we could take some action that subtracted from somebody else's score is the kind of thing I'm talking about.  And no, I don't know how to do that either, but it illustrates what I'm talking about.

It's not any surprise to me that contesting is one of the few surviving ham radio activities with high participation.  Even ragchewing has practically died out, and if anyone disputes that take a look at how much time you spend each week reading email reflectors versus being on the air (other than in a contest).

I'm not really sure what Wayne was referring to here, and maybe he implied that same thing that I'm saying, but we aren't going to bring young folks into the hobby by trying to convince them that the same things that appealed to us 40 years ago are going to appeal to them. This isn't a communication or publicity problem.  In spite of the comments from hams I've seen over the years, most young people pretty much know the general framework of ham radio and they've simply rejected it in favor of other things.  There are always a few exceptions, of course, but I'd bet $100 that the bulk of those young people who pop up online or in QST as shining examples of young blood in the hobby are nowhere to be found two years later.

If for any reason we want young folks to embrace the hobby, the hobby itself is going to have to adapt.  That most of us seem unable to understand that fact is probably another facet of the problem ... we're old and inflexible (in both appearance and in fact), which doesn't help the image of the hobby one wit.  The pictures from Dayton or any other hamfest have the same appeal as if they were taken at a Lawrence Welk concert.

I guarantee that those of us who are still above ground five years from now will be having this same discussion, and it won't be because we weren't persuasive enough.

73,
Dave   AB7E


On 12/13/2019 7:24 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:

> Hams of a certain age, including yours truly (first licensed in 1971) recall their excitement on joining the hobby: there was the promise of contact with faraway places, collection of vivid QSL cards, mastery of esoteric equipment, synchrony with the rhythms of Morse code, and the crafting of antennas to harness action at a distance.
>
> Most of us still feel that spark, occasionally--some on a daily basis--experiencing the wonder all over again.
>
> While the accoutrements and equipage of youth have evolved over the decades, their DNA has not. Somewhere, nestled between the genetic codes for half-pipe snowboarding, Instagram, Juul, and ambient house, there's a dormant sequence for the Radio Art waiting to be stirred.
>
> Is there a Battle Royale for ham radio? A tactical RPG?
>
> What is our sorcerer's stone? Our rap?
>
> Will Gen-Z or Gen-Alpha tickle the ionosphere, and if so...why?
>
> To hand our batons across the chronological divide, we'll need empathetic, open-ended inquiry.
>
> 73,
> Wayne
> N6KR
>

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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

David Haines
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
Only five years ago did I get my license, even though I was interested
in radio sixty years ago.  My sons, now in their early 30's have watched
my radio activities with curiosity.  A few anecdotes:

1)  On a camping trip for the three of us in Adirondack Park we set up
my Buddipole and KX3.  They were astounded.  One said "Wow, it's amazing
what signals and people are around us all the time!" He's a successful
robotics engineer who is as immersed in today's technology as much as
anyone.  He can run a million-dollar robot or his house from his
smartphone, but the experience of sitting at a remote campground and
talking to people with 10 watts and AA batteries still intrigued him.

2)  My other son was complaining about a DZOTA on his commute and
suggested we explore it.  Having no radio other that what was in his
car, I tuned in 1710 KHz AM and we listened.  He drove around the area
noting the changes in QRM, sometimes obviously a advertising sign, but
above it all something loud going on in an area that seemed to delineate
his DZOTA.  At one point we wandered into a school parking lot, thinking
the QRM was coming from the school, but it didn't pan out.  He will have
fun tracking it down.  His career is in cybersecurity.

3)  One son was amazed to see my QSO with  Antarctica with a KX3,
KXPA100, and a simple wire dipole.  Both sons understand communications
theory well enough, but have trouble grasping the reality of capturing a
signal that is 24 decibels below the noise floor from such a remote
place.  When I told them my .25W WSPR signal was picked up in Tasmania,
they believed me, but only. When I explained to one how easy it would be
to use the shortwave radio I gave him to monitor my activity on FT8,
even in his apartment, maybe with an antenna connected to his rain
gutter, he was intrigued but skeptical.

They know there is still magic out there.  They probably could get their
Technician without studying.  Will they get their licenses?  At times I
have a study manual with us and ask questions, some of which are just
basic common sense or stuff that is useful to everyone.  Their response
is, "Are those real questions?"  They are both primed to be curious
about amateur radio (one even uses SDR's in his research!) but, despite
my encouragement, haven't taken any tests.  Maybe one problem is that
our kids are too "tested out" from this education system and are afraid
of failing once again.  Since their dad passed all the tests, they know
it can be done.  Does it help to hear that if you fail a test, it
doesn't go on your record?  Or to hear that you don't need a score of
100%?  We've all heard potential hams say, "Oh, but I don't think I
could learn Morse code."  We need the exams, but maybe they are an
artificial barrier?

david

KC1DNY

On 12/13/2019 9:24 PM, Wayne Burdick wrote:

> Hams of a certain age, including yours truly (first licensed in 1971) recall their excitement on joining the hobby: there was the promise of contact with faraway places, collection of vivid QSL cards, mastery of esoteric equipment, synchrony with the rhythms of Morse code, and the crafting of antennas to harness action at a distance.
>
> Most of us still feel that spark, occasionally--some on a daily basis--experiencing the wonder all over again.
>
> While the accoutrements and equipage of youth have evolved over the decades, their DNA has not. Somewhere, nestled between the genetic codes for half-pipe snowboarding, Instagram, Juul, and ambient house, there's a dormant sequence for the Radio Art waiting to be stirred.
>
> Is there a Battle Royale for ham radio? A tactical RPG?
>
> What is our sorcerer's stone? Our rap?
>
> Will Gen-Z or Gen-Alpha tickle the ionosphere, and if so...why?
>
> To hand our batons across the chronological divide, we'll need empathetic, open-ended inquiry.
>
> 73,
> Wayne
> N6KR
>
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
> Message delivered to [hidden email]
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Reaching Across the Chronological Divide

Edward A. Dauer
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
I wonder if the chariot racers of two or three milennia ago lamented the death of their sport.

I too tried to interest my grandson, now 13, in the ham radio hobby, but with no success.  He just couldn't see the point.  So I reflected on when I was 13 with a newly printed Novice ticket, some 62 years ago, and when I was captivated for life by the wizardry of radio electronics, ionospheric physics, the smell of solder and rosin (and of exploding caps), the excitement of doing successfully what most people can't do at all, the fascination of international communications . . . . . all of the things we now-grandpas found and still find attractive.

He found it a yawn.  

I reflected on it some.  So what?  The ham radio industry will care, and those who still believe that ham radio is imperative for emergency communications will care (though let's be honest -- cellular and satellite communications have taken much of the wind out of that sail.)  But if I enjoy it and you enjoy it, and we both do it, why should we fret if other people  don't?  If amateur radio evolves in ways that are attractive to the next generation, all to the good.  And a form of natural selection may shape the evolution that way.  But if ham radio as we know it today doesn't get past a generational divide, if the mutations that survive an evolutionary end point don't occur, does it really matter?

Excuse the philosophy, but I have to ask the question:  Is our culture really impoverished by the demise of chariot racing?  Or is that sport still with us, only morphed over time into something the next generation found attractive.

OK.  Break time over.  Back to the ten-meter contest.  Curse this solar minimum!

Ted, KN1CBR


    On 12/13/2019 9:36 PM, David Gilbert wrote:
    >
    > This of course is a discussion that isn't likely to die before we do,
    > but I really don't think that any significant portion of today's youth
    > will ever look at amateur radio like we do.? I wish that weren't the
    > case, but reality bites.
    >
    > 1.? The major lure of amateur radio for most of us was the ability to
    > freely talk to faraway places.? Young people today can do that with FM
    > quality and yet often they don't ... they text or chat via message
    > groups and forums.
    >
    > 2.? Communicating today is license free, and while even now with
    > today's lesser requirements getting an amateur radio license is maybe
    > not a roadblock it's a nuisance to have to study for something that
    > you don't otherwise care about.
    >
    > 3.? Effectively communicating today is far cheaper hardware-wise than
    > for amateur radio, especially for long distances.
    >
    > 4.? Communicating today is independent of time of day or position in
    > the sunspot cycle.
    >
    > 5.? A basic competency in amateur radio was once considered a stepping
    > stone to a technical career.? That is hardly the case today.? In fact,
    > I remember one manager of a test department in another company telling
    > me he tried to avoid hiring hams because they talked about it too much
    > on the job.
    >
    > One thing I do believe has carryover appeal is the spirit of
    > competition.? Humans in general always seem keen to compete at almost
    > anything ... from eating hot dogs to running to vicariously watching
    > football to quilting to barbeque.? Young people today have video games
    > that provide a FAR richer competitive environment than any ham radio
    > contest (I do both, by the way), and I've always thought that one way
    > to drum up interest in ham radio is to develop a contest format that
    > has similar elements.? Ham radio contests are essentially endurance
    > events that involve independent action throughout the contest with the
    > comparison occurring at the end, and often weeks or months later.?
    > Video games require different but otherwise comparable proficiency
    > (both mental and physical) but involve real time counter moves to any
    > opponent. The closest we hams come to offsetting somebody we view as
    > competition is to steal their frequency or QRM them.? I'm not at all
    > suggesting that we do any such thing, but a contest where we could
    > take some action that subtracted from somebody else's score is the
    > kind of thing I'm talking about.? And no, I don't know how to do that
    > either, but it illustrates what I'm talking about.
    >
    > It's not any surprise to me that contesting is one of the few
    > surviving ham radio activities with high participation.? Even
    > ragchewing has practically died out, and if anyone disputes that take
    > a look at how much time you spend each week reading email reflectors
    > versus being on the air (other than in a contest).
    >
    > I'm not really sure what Wayne was referring to here, and maybe he
    > implied that same thing that I'm saying, but we aren't going to bring
    > young folks into the hobby by trying to convince them that the same
    > things that appealed to us 40 years ago are going to appeal to them.?
    > This isn't a communication or publicity problem. In spite of the
    > comments from hams I've seen over the years, most young people pretty
    > much know the general framework of ham radio and they've simply
    > rejected it in favor of other things.? There are always a few
    > exceptions, of course, but I'd bet $100 that the bulk of those young
    > people who pop up online or in QST as shining examples of young blood
    > in the hobby are nowhere to be found two years later.
    >
    > If for any reason we want young folks to embrace the hobby, the hobby
    > itself is going to have to adapt.? That most of us seem unable to
    > understand that fact is probably another facet of the problem ...
    > we're old and inflexible (in both appearance and in fact), which
    > doesn't help the image of the hobby one wit.? The pictures from Dayton
    > or any other hamfest have the same appeal as if they were taken at a
    > Lawrence Welk concert.
    >
    > I guarantee that those of us who are still above ground five years
    > from now will be having this same discussion, and it won't be because
    > we weren't persuasive enough.
    >
    > 73,
    > Dave?? AB7E
    >
   


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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

Nate Bargmann
In reply to this post by len
* On 2019 14 Dec 11:02 -0600, [hidden email] wrote:

> And last...  The real thing that drew me to ham radio was
> another ham, Russ Michaelson N7SM (SK 2019).  Russ and I meet at
> the University of Utah's surplus store.  Even though we had a 12
> year age difference, Russ and I connected almost immediately and
> became lifelong friends.  I was in Junior high school and Russ
> was beginning a family when we meet.  From Russ I learned about
> more about radio and electronics, and we had many adventures in
> the process.  I never remember Russ complaining about the
> ionosphere.  He built a magnificent basement "shack".  When he
> built his own 100 foot tower from scratch I climbed to the top
> to help set up and adjust antennas. (By then I was in my 20's,
> no child labor involved. :)   If we expect this hobby to
> continue into the future, we need to be the "Russ" in someone
> else's life.  We need to pass our love of radio to the next
> generation.  Just expecting someone to "be" interested and on
> their way after the exam will never happen.  Propagation will
> always change, we need to be the constant.

I went to work for Union Pacific Railroad in 1991 as a telecom tech and
there was a very distinctive voice on many voice response systems on the
UPRR telephone network.  I learned that was "Russ" and later got to talk
with him on the phone and then a few years later he came to Wichita, KS
and did a presentation for several of us techs on something (I don't
recall what, now!).  It was quite nice meeting him in person.  I did not
know he had become SK earlier this year.

Thanks for sharing your experiences with Russ, Len.  Rest assured, Russ'
voice was heard by likely all UPRR employees at some point through the
'90s and early '00s as well as customers and others calling UPRR in
Omaha.

For those looking for more simple kits to introduce basic radio concepts
to newcomers, various QRP groups offer such kits.  I know the Four State
QRP Group has done so in the past.

One shorthand phrase I like to use is. "Radio for radio's sake."  I
translate it as no matter what end goal we're trying to achieve, we're
using some part of the radio spectrum to accomplish the goal.

73, Nate, N0NB

--

"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all
possible worlds.  The pessimist fears this is true."

Web: https://www.n0nb.us
Projects: https://github.com/N0NB
GPG fingerprint: 82D6 4F6B 0E67 CD41 F689 BBA6 FB2C 5130 D55A 8819

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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

Elecraft mailing list
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
I have read with interest the various postings on this thread. To pick
one out, Dave AB7E's analysis is, IMHO, spot on. As times roll on,
various aspects of cultural life change, also. "New technologies" of
whatever form will naturally catch the general interest, while old ones
will diminish to the status of niche interests for the few. Young people
generally are at the leading edge of taking up the new, while old folks
hold on to the trailing edge of the old for all the usual reasons. I had
an MG-TD with a broken starter in my youth; I crank started it for a
year. Many funny stories, lots of fun, and some skill acquisition [pull
up, don't push down]. But, I don't think that those "positives" which I
fondly remember would prompt many young people to adapt a crank-start car.

My father was interested in many things. He taught me to make black
powder, and I blew the front off the kitchen stove [long story]. He
would draw one-tube radio schematics on the back of paper napkins.
Interesting for me for the novelty and for my father's interest. He/we
bought an AM 3-tube radio from an electronics store in Washington DC
which we built together. That was fun, although I don't remember using
it much. When I started in ham radio at age 16, I followed the lead of a
ham friend who got me started with code, and a big time DX operator who
was an engineer at the weather bureau technical labs who owned a Collins
75A-4 and had built himself a 3-el 40m yagi [came down in the first big
winter storm]. I bought a Heathkit DX-20 and a used National NC-98, a
total investment of under $100. The antenna was a single wire that ran
under the window and out to a back yard fence [length 30ft, hgt 15ft]. I
actually worked some people! I learned CW for the simple reason that it
was the only mode that I could afford. I majored in EE in college and
spent 10 years in that line of work.  And so on...

When I got back into ham radio in 1989 at the age of 49y/o, several
things were different. I had money to buy decent equipment. I owned my
own home which made antenna construction MUCH easier. I had an adult's
sensibility about technical stuff. I found CW interesting as a "second
language." "Communicating" was not the goal but rather the proof that I
had successfully mastered various technical challenges. Tinkering with
antennas [the quad went up and down regularly] and computer modeling of
same was interesting. The QSO/communicating was not primary but, again,
the proof that I had solved some antenna problem. Hunting DX and
contesting became my central focus, again as proofs that I had the
station set up as best as circumstances allowed and that my operating
skill set was up to the challenge.

My take away from all this is that unique factors in my life have
prompted and supported my interest in ham radio. I don't think that
"fun" has ever been the primary motivation - although I do enjoy a good
run in the CQWW-CW. The learning and acquisition curve in the hobby has
always matched my resources at any one time. Today, the cost and
complexity of the hobby is pretty steep. Given the difficulty in getting
young people involved in STEM interests and studies, the idiot-proof
nature of the consumer digital world, the low value placed on hardware
curiosity and tinkering [nothing is fixed, just replaced], and the
cultural focus on immediate gratification, is it so surprising that ham
radio is a difficult sell?

All IMHO.

...robert




On 12/14/2019 02:24, Wayne Burdick wrote:

> Hams of a certain age, including yours truly (first licensed in 1971) recall their excitement on joining the hobby: there was the promise of contact with faraway places, collection of vivid QSL cards, mastery of esoteric equipment, synchrony with the rhythms of Morse code, and the crafting of antennas to harness action at a distance.
>
> Most of us still feel that spark, occasionally--some on a daily basis--experiencing the wonder all over again.
>
> While the accoutrements and equipage of youth have evolved over the decades, their DNA has not. Somewhere, nestled between the genetic codes for half-pipe snowboarding, Instagram, Juul, and ambient house, there's a dormant sequence for the Radio Art waiting to be stirred.
>
> Is there a Battle Royale for ham radio? A tactical RPG?
>
> What is our sorcerer's stone? Our rap?
>
> Will Gen-Z or Gen-Alpha tickle the ionosphere, and if so...why?
>
> To hand our batons across the chronological divide, we'll need empathetic, open-ended inquiry.
>
> 73,
> Wayne
> N6KR
>
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
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Syracuse, New York, USA
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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

DOUGLAS ZWIEBEL
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
I was caught off guard by Wayne's post.  What was he trying to say?

Was he trying to say why the K3 is going away and now we have the K4's?
Maybe.  It's prettier and more likely to attract the younger crowd based on
looks?  Could be, but that price?  Nope.

I got interested in ham radio when a friend in the 7th grade got his
license...or maybe it was 8th grade.  I thought it was "cool" that he was
talking with stations in other states that were not next door to our state
(NJ).  One day, my mom drove me over and I caught him working DX (Europe).
Wow.  That did it for me.  It was like magic.  And Morse code, difficult as
it may have been to learn, was another aspect of the magic.

After my General class came in the mail, I swore off CW.  Good bye
forever.  I spent the first couple years working DX, building up my totals
(on mostly SSB, but even AM back then.  I still remember working ZD3E on
10m AM).  But pretty quickly (relative term), I ran out of stuff to work.
Where was all the "good" DX?  On CW!  So back I went...and loaded up my log
with "good" DX, especially the deep Asian Soviet states.  I just loved
their CW tone (not clean).

And one day, I happened to run into a DX contest.  This was like a year's
worth of DXing rolled up into 1 day (I didn't know the contest ran for 48
hours).  It was heaven.  And that started me on contesting.

I agree with the comments that contesting is growing.  It is!  See, for
example, https://cqww.com/stats.htm

What happened in the 21st century?  Nobody knows for sure, but it was big
(at least for contesting).

I also agree with the comment that not everybody contests for the entire
contest.  Hardly!   See
https://cqww.com/blog/operating-time-for-single-operator-entries/
This is a bit dated, but since I am the one who does this calculation, I
can tell you that i continues even today.  Most guy give out points...not
trying to win.

Most entrants (not participants, but actual entrants) only operate a total
of 15 hours or less.  That's like 3 hours in the morning and 4 hours in
evening on Sat and Sun.  Not much really.  But for today's active kids, who
has time to devote to contesting when they can be gaming?  Most gaming is
completed in short bursts of time.  Same with social media.  With
contesting, well, you gotta wait until it's over at 2359z Sunday.  And then
it takes a long time to get anything close to real results.  Long time =
weeks to get the raw scores (which is a GIANT improvement over the old
days).

Now a real marketing question.  Does it matter if the newbies to ham radio
are teenagers?  So what if the newbies are all "new retirees?" I don't know
if that is true, but for me, inflow is inflow.  I know lots of guys my age
who wanted to be a ham when they were my age when I got my license, but
didn't, but now still do and are....finally getting their ticket.  AND,
they have more $$ to spend than some 13 year old (like I and my friend were
when we got interested).  How does "age of entry" = maintenance of the
population?  Whatever.

Enough rambling, cuz that's all I have to say.  I have the next 2 weeks off
from work and I'm catching up on "other" radio stuff, like this reflector.

de Doug KR2Q
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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

NK7Z
As an info point relating to age of new hams:

I am on our VE team here in Oregon, we put through several hundred folks
a year, maybe even 500 to 1000.  Most people that are new to ham radio
here, are between 25 and 35, with a tilt toward 40...  Very narrow range.

73, and thanks,
Dave (NK7Z)
https://www.nk7z.net
ARRL Volunteer Examiner
ARRL Technical Specialist
ARRL Asst. Director, NW Division, Technical Resources

On 12/14/19 12:13 PM, Douglas Zwiebel wrote:

> I was caught off guard by Wayne's post.  What was he trying to say?
>
> Was he trying to say why the K3 is going away and now we have the K4's?
> Maybe.  It's prettier and more likely to attract the younger crowd based on
> looks?  Could be, but that price?  Nope.
>
> I got interested in ham radio when a friend in the 7th grade got his
> license...or maybe it was 8th grade.  I thought it was "cool" that he was
> talking with stations in other states that were not next door to our state
> (NJ).  One day, my mom drove me over and I caught him working DX (Europe).
> Wow.  That did it for me.  It was like magic.  And Morse code, difficult as
> it may have been to learn, was another aspect of the magic.
>
> After my General class came in the mail, I swore off CW.  Good bye
> forever.  I spent the first couple years working DX, building up my totals
> (on mostly SSB, but even AM back then.  I still remember working ZD3E on
> 10m AM).  But pretty quickly (relative term), I ran out of stuff to work.
> Where was all the "good" DX?  On CW!  So back I went...and loaded up my log
> with "good" DX, especially the deep Asian Soviet states.  I just loved
> their CW tone (not clean).
>
> And one day, I happened to run into a DX contest.  This was like a year's
> worth of DXing rolled up into 1 day (I didn't know the contest ran for 48
> hours).  It was heaven.  And that started me on contesting.
>
> I agree with the comments that contesting is growing.  It is!  See, for
> example, https://cqww.com/stats.htm
>
> What happened in the 21st century?  Nobody knows for sure, but it was big
> (at least for contesting).
>
> I also agree with the comment that not everybody contests for the entire
> contest.  Hardly!   See
> https://cqww.com/blog/operating-time-for-single-operator-entries/
> This is a bit dated, but since I am the one who does this calculation, I
> can tell you that i continues even today.  Most guy give out points...not
> trying to win.
>
> Most entrants (not participants, but actual entrants) only operate a total
> of 15 hours or less.  That's like 3 hours in the morning and 4 hours in
> evening on Sat and Sun.  Not much really.  But for today's active kids, who
> has time to devote to contesting when they can be gaming?  Most gaming is
> completed in short bursts of time.  Same with social media.  With
> contesting, well, you gotta wait until it's over at 2359z Sunday.  And then
> it takes a long time to get anything close to real results.  Long time =
> weeks to get the raw scores (which is a GIANT improvement over the old
> days).
>
> Now a real marketing question.  Does it matter if the newbies to ham radio
> are teenagers?  So what if the newbies are all "new retirees?" I don't know
> if that is true, but for me, inflow is inflow.  I know lots of guys my age
> who wanted to be a ham when they were my age when I got my license, but
> didn't, but now still do and are....finally getting their ticket.  AND,
> they have more $$ to spend than some 13 year old (like I and my friend were
> when we got interested).  How does "age of entry" = maintenance of the
> population?  Whatever.
>
> Enough rambling, cuz that's all I have to say.  I have the next 2 weeks off
> from work and I'm catching up on "other" radio stuff, like this reflector.
>
> de Doug KR2Q
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
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> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

Edward R Cole
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
Fascinating to read the stories how many of you got started in ham radio.

I'm six years younger than Jim W9VNE / VA3VNE.  As a youngster, space
travel caught my interest (back when it was science fiction) and I
developed an interest in science.  At age 12, I happened to discover
a Zenith shortwave radio at a friend's house that showed "Police"
bands.  We tried it out but heard nothing until tuning down to 4-mcs
(Hertz was not yet in use) and found a bunch of guys talking.  1957 I
built a 3-tube regen receiver and 1958 got my Novice license.  My
aspirations switched to electronics and I pursued an EE degree in
college a few years later.

Having only a Technician license "shoved" me into the VHF
bands.  Space tech still attracted me and I was lucky to get a job
working for NASA in 1971 at Goldstone Tracking Facility.  1979 I
moved to Alaska for a different lifestyle and worked 30 years as a
2-way radio tech.  Ham radio lead me to my profession and has
remained my interest for over 60 years.  These days, I am well into
doing eme on the microwaves.

Not sure how ham radio attracts folks these days.  But my guess a few
of the STEM students are a good bet.

These days building small microprocessors as part of ham radio is a
obvious entry.  Certainly a K3S or K4 is pretty high-end for young
folks.  So there is the KX2/KX3 and a plethora of SDR's to get folks
going (like my 3-tube regen and DX-35 did for me). Unfortunately,
Heathkit is no more but then thru-hole soldering is long gone, as well.

Maybe future will see some youngsters building quantum radios??


73, Ed - KL7UW
   http://www.kl7uw.com
Dubus-NA Business mail:
   [hidden email]

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len
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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

len
In reply to this post by Nate Bargmann
Hi Nate,

        Nice to meet you, a very small world indeed.

       
https://www.omaha.com/obits/michaelson-russell-russ-stevens/article_4b36033a
-a07d-543f-a1ab-43687f27a0e6.html

        Yes, Russ had a great voice!  When I first met him he was a dj on
KNAK, I believe.  When he was on the air I would call him up and "win"
albums.  I was in my 30's when he relocated to Omaha.  I was really sad to
see him go.  He took his tower with him when we moved.  Although I don't
think he ever set up a station again.  

        When I was 15, before getting my Novice license, I went with Russ to
attend WIMU at Mac's Inn.  Russ had copied all of the military code course
to cassette tapes and gave me a copy.  I listened and practiced for many
hours.  At WIMU Russ had me sit down for one of the code contests.  Even
though I joined part way through I ended up winning!  That was pretty cool
for a kid just learning code and ready to take the Novice exam.    The
speeds went up to 25 or 30 WPM!

        I still have voice mails on my phone left by Russ.   I will regret
the day that I may have to replace my phone and can no longer hear his
voice.  He had a huge effect on my life.

73

len

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email]
[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Nate Bargmann
Sent: Saturday, December 14, 2019 12:02 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Elecraft] Reaching across the chronological divide

* On 2019 14 Dec 11:02 -0600, [hidden email] wrote:

> And last...  The real thing that drew me to ham radio was
> another ham, Russ Michaelson N7SM (SK 2019).  Russ and I meet at
> the University of Utah's surplus store.  Even though we had a 12
> year age difference, Russ and I connected almost immediately and
> became lifelong friends.  I was in Junior high school and Russ
> was beginning a family when we meet.  From Russ I learned about
> more about radio and electronics, and we had many adventures in
> the process.  I never remember Russ complaining about the
> ionosphere.  He built a magnificent basement "shack".  When he
> built his own 100 foot tower from scratch I climbed to the top
> to help set up and adjust antennas. (By then I was in my 20's,
> no child labor involved. :)   If we expect this hobby to
> continue into the future, we need to be the "Russ" in someone
> else's life.  We need to pass our love of radio to the next
> generation.  Just expecting someone to "be" interested and on
> their way after the exam will never happen.  Propagation will
> always change, we need to be the constant.

I went to work for Union Pacific Railroad in 1991 as a telecom tech and
there was a very distinctive voice on many voice response systems on the
UPRR telephone network.  I learned that was "Russ" and later got to talk
with him on the phone and then a few years later he came to Wichita, KS and
did a presentation for several of us techs on something (I don't recall
what, now!).  It was quite nice meeting him in person.  I did not know he
had become SK earlier this year.

Thanks for sharing your experiences with Russ, Len.  Rest assured, Russ'
voice was heard by likely all UPRR employees at some point through the '90s
and early '00s as well as customers and others calling UPRR in Omaha.

For those looking for more simple kits to introduce basic radio concepts to
newcomers, various QRP groups offer such kits.  I know the Four State QRP
Group has done so in the past.

One shorthand phrase I like to use is. "Radio for radio's sake."  I
translate it as no matter what end goal we're trying to achieve, we're using
some part of the radio spectrum to accomplish the goal.

73, Nate, N0NB

--

"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds.
The pessimist fears this is true."

Web: https://www.n0nb.us
Projects: https://github.com/N0NB
GPG fingerprint: 82D6 4F6B 0E67 CD41 F689 BBA6 FB2C 5130 D55A 8819

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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

Andy Moorwood
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
Question: Can amateur radio reach across the digital divide ?
My answer: It could
Follow up Question: Do you think it will ?
My answer:  No, not with current products and modes of use

Why do I say this ?
My 20 year old wants a turntable for Christmas.  Why on earth does he want
one when he can download any song he wants from his apple music account ?
Answer: People of his generation are moving beyond mere utility (listening
to any song anywhere anytime), they now want a musical experience, playing a
vinyl record - could be one of mine - with all the "atmosphere" (hiss and
scratches) to experience the music as it was "made".

Could this experiential notion morph to a communications form?
Communications utility is being able to contact your friends at anytime from
anywhere, instantly,  AKA the ubiquitous smartphone.  A communications
experience could be one where the path / mode is dynamic and not guaranteed
to succeed (applies to VHF linked repeater systems and HF).

So why won't this happen ? We (amateur radio hobbyists and industry) don't
follow the usage paradigms they are used to and frankly expect, built around
their smartphones.

The turn tables I'm looking at have RCA jacks to connect to an amplifier but
they also have Bluetooth to connect to your phone and speakers, and of
course "there's an App for that" on the smartphone.

People of this generation are not going to configure virtual COM ports so
their apps can access a radio.  Neither will they work through windows
"wizard" configuration screens.  Apple and the other developers have made
set up effortlessly work  and offer digital assistants to help you on your
way.  For example, below is a conversation from a possible radio future.

Jon, Ham Radio Operator: "Hey Siri what repeaters are near me and can I link
to Helen in Scotland ?"
Siri: " Yes Jon there are several repeaters nearby but the best way to
contact Helen is via Amsat, one will be over horizon in 15 minutes, shall I
let Helen know you want to contact her ? conditions are favorable"
Jon: " Yes Siri, let her know, I'll get the antenna ready"  

Sounds like science fiction ?- no this is technically feasible today -
question is will some entity make the investments to make it happen   ?

Best Regards
Andy
K3CAQ

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]> On
Behalf Of Wayne Burdick
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2019 6:24 PM
To: Elecraft Reflector <[hidden email]>
Subject: [Elecraft] Reaching across the chronological divide

Hams of a certain age, including yours truly (first licensed in 1971) recall
their excitement on joining the hobby: there was the promise of contact with
faraway places, collection of vivid QSL cards, mastery of esoteric
equipment, synchrony with the rhythms of Morse code, and the crafting of
antennas to harness action at a distance.

Most of us still feel that spark, occasionally--some on a daily
basis--experiencing the wonder all over again.

While the accoutrements and equipage of youth have evolved over the decades,
their DNA has not. Somewhere, nestled between the genetic codes for
half-pipe snowboarding, Instagram, Juul, and ambient house, there's a
dormant sequence for the Radio Art waiting to be stirred.

Is there a Battle Royale for ham radio? A tactical RPG?

What is our sorcerer's stone? Our rap?

Will Gen-Z or Gen-Alpha tickle the ionosphere, and if so...why?

To hand our batons across the chronological divide, we'll need empathetic,
open-ended inquiry.

73,
Wayne
N6KR

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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

EricJ
We're missing the point here somehow. Siri's answer should have been
"The best way to contact Helen is to pick up your phone and call her."

Anything else is pretty much a waste of time and resources just to talk
to Helen. Seriously, there's a sizable investment in specialized
equipment to make contact via AMSAT or whatever. The contact is set up
for them. Then Jon and Helen wait to be told when the link is ready. If
that's worth doing and will attract young people, then just shoot me. It
sounds terminally boring.

Making that investment in specialized equipment can't be justified as
utilitarian communication because it's expensive and inefficient. If the
point is to contact your friends any time you want to, they are already
doing that with a half a dozen reliable instant technologies all
accessible from the same smartphone. I don't get where ham radio comes
in to solve a problem they have already solved. Certainly not with a
system that requires waiting 15 minutes for a satellite to get in
position, and a Cupertino Robot to set up the call.

I don't have the answer to attracting young people to a rapidly changing
hobby in an even more rapidly changing world. The aspects of the hobby
that attracted many of us was the sheer magic of radio itself. We
weren't attracted to it because it let us contact our friends. Even then
we had the telephone for that. We were attracted to the magic. Nine
times out of ten, the communication part was "599 OM PSE QSL".

I always heard how DX contacts would allow me to learn about other
cultures. Actually, it did. After exchanging signal reports, I'd look up
their city with an atlas or encyclopedia. But I learned zip on the air.
A few California Kilowatts could hog a DX station, and chit chat for a
few minutes, and did because they could. But the rest of us never got
beyond the basic exchange and fought like hell for that. But it was
magic so it didn't matter that it wasn't all that practical.

The magic that attracted us is gone. Maybe there's new magic to be
found, but it's different magic that most of us with 30-70 years in the
hobby won't understand...and probably won't like. We are the wrong
people to even be considering answers but anyone expecting to make a
living from the hobby will have to find that new magic. It ain't instant
communication and it ain't the ham radio equivalent of retro turntables.

Eric KE6US

ex-K1DCK, WA6YCF, WB2PVW


On 12/14/2019 5:35 PM, [hidden email] wrote:

> Question: Can amateur radio reach across the digital divide ?
> My answer: It could
> Follow up Question: Do you think it will ?
> My answer:  No, not with current products and modes of use
>
> Why do I say this ?
> My 20 year old wants a turntable for Christmas.  Why on earth does he want
> one when he can download any song he wants from his apple music account ?
> Answer: People of his generation are moving beyond mere utility (listening
> to any song anywhere anytime), they now want a musical experience, playing a
> vinyl record - could be one of mine - with all the "atmosphere" (hiss and
> scratches) to experience the music as it was "made".
>
> Could this experiential notion morph to a communications form?
> Communications utility is being able to contact your friends at anytime from
> anywhere, instantly,  AKA the ubiquitous smartphone.  A communications
> experience could be one where the path / mode is dynamic and not guaranteed
> to succeed (applies to VHF linked repeater systems and HF).
>
> So why won't this happen ? We (amateur radio hobbyists and industry) don't
> follow the usage paradigms they are used to and frankly expect, built around
> their smartphones.
>
> The turn tables I'm looking at have RCA jacks to connect to an amplifier but
> they also have Bluetooth to connect to your phone and speakers, and of
> course "there's an App for that" on the smartphone.
>
> People of this generation are not going to configure virtual COM ports so
> their apps can access a radio.  Neither will they work through windows
> "wizard" configuration screens.  Apple and the other developers have made
> set up effortlessly work  and offer digital assistants to help you on your
> way.  For example, below is a conversation from a possible radio future.
>
> Jon, Ham Radio Operator: "Hey Siri what repeaters are near me and can I link
> to Helen in Scotland ?"
> Siri: " Yes Jon there are several repeaters nearby but the best way to
> contact Helen is via Amsat, one will be over horizon in 15 minutes, shall I
> let Helen know you want to contact her ? conditions are favorable"
> Jon: " Yes Siri, let her know, I'll get the antenna ready"
>
> Sounds like science fiction ?- no this is technically feasible today -
> question is will some entity make the investments to make it happen   ?
>
> Best Regards
> Andy
> K3CAQ
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]> On
> Behalf Of Wayne Burdick
> Sent: Friday, December 13, 2019 6:24 PM
> To: Elecraft Reflector <[hidden email]>
> Subject: [Elecraft] Reaching across the chronological divide
>
> Hams of a certain age, including yours truly (first licensed in 1971) recall
> their excitement on joining the hobby: there was the promise of contact with
> faraway places, collection of vivid QSL cards, mastery of esoteric
> equipment, synchrony with the rhythms of Morse code, and the crafting of
> antennas to harness action at a distance.
>
> Most of us still feel that spark, occasionally--some on a daily
> basis--experiencing the wonder all over again.
>
> While the accoutrements and equipage of youth have evolved over the decades,
> their DNA has not. Somewhere, nestled between the genetic codes for
> half-pipe snowboarding, Instagram, Juul, and ambient house, there's a
> dormant sequence for the Radio Art waiting to be stirred.
>
> Is there a Battle Royale for ham radio? A tactical RPG?
>
> What is our sorcerer's stone? Our rap?
>
> Will Gen-Z or Gen-Alpha tickle the ionosphere, and if so...why?
>
> To hand our batons across the chronological divide, we'll need empathetic,
> open-ended inquiry.
>
> 73,
> Wayne
> N6KR
>
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html Message
> delivered to [hidden email]
>
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
> Message delivered to [hidden email]
>
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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

Macy monkeys

We only have 12 years left; why worry? :)

John K7FD

> On Dec 14, 2019, at 6:46 PM, EricJ <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> We're missing the point here somehow. Siri's answer should have been "The best way to contact Helen is to pick up your phone and call her."
>
> Anything else is pretty much a waste of time and resources just to talk to Helen. Seriously, there's a sizable investment in specialized equipment to make contact via AMSAT or whatever. The contact is set up for them. Then Jon and Helen wait to be told when the link is ready. If that's worth doing and will attract young people, then just shoot me. It sounds terminally boring.
>
> Making that investment in specialized equipment can't be justified as utilitarian communication because it's expensive and inefficient. If the point is to contact your friends any time you want to, they are already doing that with a half a dozen reliable instant technologies all accessible from the same smartphone. I don't get where ham radio comes in to solve a problem they have already solved. Certainly not with a system that requires waiting 15 minutes for a satellite to get in position, and a Cupertino Robot to set up the call.
>
> I don't have the answer to attracting young people to a rapidly changing hobby in an even more rapidly changing world. The aspects of the hobby that attracted many of us was the sheer magic of radio itself. We weren't attracted to it because it let us contact our friends. Even then we had the telephone for that. We were attracted to the magic. Nine times out of ten, the communication part was "599 OM PSE QSL".
>
> I always heard how DX contacts would allow me to learn about other cultures. Actually, it did. After exchanging signal reports, I'd look up their city with an atlas or encyclopedia. But I learned zip on the air. A few California Kilowatts could hog a DX station, and chit chat for a few minutes, and did because they could. But the rest of us never got beyond the basic exchange and fought like hell for that. But it was magic so it didn't matter that it wasn't all that practical.
>
> The magic that attracted us is gone. Maybe there's new magic to be found, but it's different magic that most of us with 30-70 years in the hobby won't understand...and probably won't like. We are the wrong people to even be considering answers but anyone expecting to make a living from the hobby will have to find that new magic. It ain't instant communication and it ain't the ham radio equivalent of retro turntables.
>
> Eric KE6US
>
> ex-K1DCK, WA6YCF, WB2PVW
>
>
>> On 12/14/2019 5:35 PM, [hidden email] wrote:
>> Question: Can amateur radio reach across the digital divide ?
>> My answer: It could
>> Follow up Question: Do you think it will ?
>> My answer:  No, not with current products and modes of use
>>
>> Why do I say this ?
>> My 20 year old wants a turntable for Christmas.  Why on earth does he want
>> one when he can download any song he wants from his apple music account ?
>> Answer: People of his generation are moving beyond mere utility (listening
>> to any song anywhere anytime), they now want a musical experience, playing a
>> vinyl record - could be one of mine - with all the "atmosphere" (hiss and
>> scratches) to experience the music as it was "made".
>>
>> Could this experiential notion morph to a communications form?
>> Communications utility is being able to contact your friends at anytime from
>> anywhere, instantly,  AKA the ubiquitous smartphone.  A communications
>> experience could be one where the path / mode is dynamic and not guaranteed
>> to succeed (applies to VHF linked repeater systems and HF).
>>
>> So why won't this happen ? We (amateur radio hobbyists and industry) don't
>> follow the usage paradigms they are used to and frankly expect, built around
>> their smartphones.
>>
>> The turn tables I'm looking at have RCA jacks to connect to an amplifier but
>> they also have Bluetooth to connect to your phone and speakers, and of
>> course "there's an App for that" on the smartphone.
>>
>> People of this generation are not going to configure virtual COM ports so
>> their apps can access a radio.  Neither will they work through windows
>> "wizard" configuration screens.  Apple and the other developers have made
>> set up effortlessly work  and offer digital assistants to help you on your
>> way.  For example, below is a conversation from a possible radio future.
>>
>> Jon, Ham Radio Operator: "Hey Siri what repeaters are near me and can I link
>> to Helen in Scotland ?"
>> Siri: " Yes Jon there are several repeaters nearby but the best way to
>> contact Helen is via Amsat, one will be over horizon in 15 minutes, shall I
>> let Helen know you want to contact her ? conditions are favorable"
>> Jon: " Yes Siri, let her know, I'll get the antenna ready"
>>
>> Sounds like science fiction ?- no this is technically feasible today -
>> question is will some entity make the investments to make it happen   ?
>>
>> Best Regards
>> Andy
>> K3CAQ
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]> On
>> Behalf Of Wayne Burdick
>> Sent: Friday, December 13, 2019 6:24 PM
>> To: Elecraft Reflector <[hidden email]>
>> Subject: [Elecraft] Reaching across the chronological divide
>>
>> Hams of a certain age, including yours truly (first licensed in 1971) recall
>> their excitement on joining the hobby: there was the promise of contact with
>> faraway places, collection of vivid QSL cards, mastery of esoteric
>> equipment, synchrony with the rhythms of Morse code, and the crafting of
>> antennas to harness action at a distance.
>>
>> Most of us still feel that spark, occasionally--some on a daily
>> basis--experiencing the wonder all over again.
>>
>> While the accoutrements and equipage of youth have evolved over the decades,
>> their DNA has not. Somewhere, nestled between the genetic codes for
>> half-pipe snowboarding, Instagram, Juul, and ambient house, there's a
>> dormant sequence for the Radio Art waiting to be stirred.
>>
>> Is there a Battle Royale for ham radio? A tactical RPG?
>>
>> What is our sorcerer's stone? Our rap?
>>
>> Will Gen-Z or Gen-Alpha tickle the ionosphere, and if so...why?
>>
>> To hand our batons across the chronological divide, we'll need empathetic,
>> open-ended inquiry.
>>
>> 73,
>> Wayne
>> N6KR
>>
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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

David Gilbert
In reply to this post by EricJ


Completely true ... all of it.

73,
Dave  AB7E



On 12/14/2019 7:46 PM, EricJ wrote:

> We're missing the point here somehow. Siri's answer should have been
> "The best way to contact Helen is to pick up your phone and call her."
>
> Anything else is pretty much a waste of time and resources just to
> talk to Helen. Seriously, there's a sizable investment in specialized
> equipment to make contact via AMSAT or whatever. The contact is set up
> for them. Then Jon and Helen wait to be told when the link is ready.
> If that's worth doing and will attract young people, then just shoot
> me. It sounds terminally boring.
>
> Making that investment in specialized equipment can't be justified as
> utilitarian communication because it's expensive and inefficient. If
> the point is to contact your friends any time you want to, they are
> already doing that with a half a dozen reliable instant technologies
> all accessible from the same smartphone. I don't get where ham radio
> comes in to solve a problem they have already solved. Certainly not
> with a system that requires waiting 15 minutes for a satellite to get
> in position, and a Cupertino Robot to set up the call.
>
> I don't have the answer to attracting young people to a rapidly
> changing hobby in an even more rapidly changing world. The aspects of
> the hobby that attracted many of us was the sheer magic of radio
> itself. We weren't attracted to it because it let us contact our
> friends. Even then we had the telephone for that. We were attracted to
> the magic. Nine times out of ten, the communication part was "599 OM
> PSE QSL".
>
> I always heard how DX contacts would allow me to learn about other
> cultures. Actually, it did. After exchanging signal reports, I'd look
> up their city with an atlas or encyclopedia. But I learned zip on the
> air. A few California Kilowatts could hog a DX station, and chit chat
> for a few minutes, and did because they could. But the rest of us
> never got beyond the basic exchange and fought like hell for that. But
> it was magic so it didn't matter that it wasn't all that practical.
>
> The magic that attracted us is gone. Maybe there's new magic to be
> found, but it's different magic that most of us with 30-70 years in
> the hobby won't understand...and probably won't like. We are the wrong
> people to even be considering answers but anyone expecting to make a
> living from the hobby will have to find that new magic. It ain't
> instant communication and it ain't the ham radio equivalent of retro
> turntables.
>
> Eric KE6US
>
> ex-K1DCK, WA6YCF, WB2PVW
>

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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

Ron Genovesi
     OK Folks
  I’ve stayed on this Mailing list for tech info.  While I got rid of my K3S I still have my KPA-1500. But you people have just become way  too strange for me. (And to do that you have to take a giant step over what  anyone considers  normal ) I’ll get my info from the website.  I’m out of here and off this Mailing list.

     Ron Genovesi
     [hidden email]





> On Dec 14, 2019, at 6:54 PM, David Gilbert <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>
>
> Completely true ... all of it.
>
> 73,
> Dave  AB7E
>
>
>
> On 12/14/2019 7:46 PM, EricJ wrote:
>> We're missing the point here somehow. Siri's answer should have been "The best way to contact Helen is to pick up your phone and call her."
>>
>> Anything else is pretty much a waste of time and resources just to talk to Helen. Seriously, there's a sizable investment in specialized equipment to make contact via AMSAT or whatever. The contact is set up for them. Then Jon and Helen wait to be told when the link is ready. If that's worth doing and will attract young people, then just shoot me. It sounds terminally boring.
>>
>> Making that investment in specialized equipment can't be justified as utilitarian communication because it's expensive and inefficient. If the point is to contact your friends any time you want to, they are already doing that with a half a dozen reliable instant technologies all accessible from the same smartphone. I don't get where ham radio comes in to solve a problem they have already solved. Certainly not with a system that requires waiting 15 minutes for a satellite to get in position, and a Cupertino Robot to set up the call.
>>
>> I don't have the answer to attracting young people to a rapidly changing hobby in an even more rapidly changing world. The aspects of the hobby that attracted many of us was the sheer magic of radio itself. We weren't attracted to it because it let us contact our friends. Even then we had the telephone for that. We were attracted to the magic. Nine times out of ten, the communication part was "599 OM PSE QSL".
>>
>> I always heard how DX contacts would allow me to learn about other cultures. Actually, it did. After exchanging signal reports, I'd look up their city with an atlas or encyclopedia. But I learned zip on the air. A few California Kilowatts could hog a DX station, and chit chat for a few minutes, and did because they could. But the rest of us never got beyond the basic exchange and fought like hell for that. But it was magic so it didn't matter that it wasn't all that practical.
>>
>> The magic that attracted us is gone. Maybe there's new magic to be found, but it's different magic that most of us with 30-70 years in the hobby won't understand...and probably won't like. We are the wrong people to even be considering answers but anyone expecting to make a living from the hobby will have to find that new magic. It ain't instant communication and it ain't the ham radio equivalent of retro turntables.
>>
>> Eric KE6US
>>
>> ex-K1DCK, WA6YCF, WB2PVW
>>
>
> ______________________________________________________________
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> Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
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> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
> Message delivered to [hidden email]

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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

Vic DiCiccio VE3YT
In reply to this post by wayne burdick
I agree with Wayne that we need to be empathetic to reach out to people to
interest them in ham radio.  Many of the posts here make points some very
good points.  In general, I think we are not doing as much as some of our
old mentors did for us when we started in the hobby, and we are a little
rigid about insisting newbies should follow the established and proper path.

I've been working with a group of nine new hams and three old timers at our
local club since September, teaching them Morse code.  (One is my XYL, a
university professor who started a program in user experience design -- but
not a stem person -- who got interested in the crossover between the maker
world, robotics in schools and ham radio at Dayton a couple of years ago.)

Granted, this CW group are already all hams, so they are "bought in" to the
hobby, but as a group they weren't getting on HF in the way we think of ham
radio.  One newbie was a life-long SWL, so he was predisposed to HF.  One
old timer was a VHF guy, and the other two do HF digital.  Two are women,
including my wife.

I had a plan to get them interested in HF and specifically contesting.  They
got their licenses in late April and I gave a talk about contesting and
being radio active in general.  I set up two stations for them at Field Day
and sat beside each of them, helping them make their first Qs on phone.
Five of them got pretty serious sitting at my K3s.  One of the others
brought his microBitX arduino-based rig and had a frustrating time, but
stayed positive.  Right after FD, two of the newbies bought Icom 7300s.  

At FD, I talked about a Morse course, with elements of getting started in
ham radio thrown in, to start in the Fall.  They all watched me make some
Morse FD contacts, more easily than voice, and they all agreed to come to
the course.  To prepare, I became a Canadian examiner with Morse
credentials, so I could administer Morse tests to endorse their licences at
the end of the course if they wanted it.

In the course, I've mostly followed the CWOps approach of introducing the
letters and using 18 or 20 wpm Farnsworthed down to 3 wpm then 5 wpm and now
about 10 wpm.  I've made half-hour mp3s on my web site.  I've sent in class.
I told them they would teach themselves code, using some of the amazing
tools now available on websites, such as RUFz, LCWO, Morse Runner, etc., and
the class was there to help.  One of the old timers, a software engineer,
wrote a training program that introduces letters in our class order, and
sends them to you and you type them.  It keeps track of the ones you know,
don't know, and know slowly, and it changes the probability of letters and
spacing between them as a result.

What I didn't expect is the sense of community among the students in the
class.  They are very much become friends, kind of a sub group of new people
within the local club.  They send emails about their progress to the group,
for example when they work some DX on SSB.  They're all putting up antennas,
getting gear, etc.  This friendliness has really paid off now that they're
starting to send Morse to each other because they're so mutually positive
about getting each other past shyness.  Many of them are starting with
paddles -- two of them made their own.  I've given some of them old straight
keys I've collected for this purpose, and they've put them on bases.  The
microBITx guy worked really hard on his CW practising, and I could tell he
was getting frustrated with his rig, so I loaned him an old K2 I haven't
been using "for a year or two, until he figures out what rig he wants".  I
steered him towards SKCC and he's made some SKCC QSOs and has an SKCC
number.  One of the women borrowed an old Henry Radio Tempo One from someone
(and early Yaesu rig without keyer or sidetone), so I lent her one of those
Bencher paddles with MFJ keyer attached so she can have a shot at CW with
this rig.  A few of us are probably going to build QRP Labs QCX 5 watt
transceivers together.  Two of the students now have KX3s they got used and
are excited about portable operation.

Two people have dropped out and will return for the next course, but they're
staying on the email list and talking.  Two others almost dropped out
because they stopped practising for a couple of weeks, and the others
cajoled them back!!  I keep sending them encouraging emails and introducing
new topics.  They're all very interested in the history of ham radio, and a
few of them see Morse as a connection to telegraph communications and early
wireless telegraphy via radio.  One has a grandfather who was a telegrapher.
We've compared the sound of continental "railway" Morse to International CW
Morse.  Etc. etc.

I'm so happy about all this.  I expected to have about two students make it
to where they made CW Qs on the air.  It's going to be much higher than
that, and I might even create a few new CW contesters.  We'll see what
happens with the Rookie Roundup.

What have I learned?  Let the group and individuals set the direction and
have a bunch of control in reaction to an array of opportunities you show
them.  Expect them to change their minds a lot.  Get ready to do a lot of
work -- I couldn't have done this if I wasn't mostly retired.  Show them the
myriad activities in ham radio in a way where you give them enough
orientation that they can read on their own.  Help them over learning humps.
Solve all the equipment problems you can by giving and loaning them stuff.
(Remember how our elmers did that for us?)  

I'm in the midst of sending them emails every day for the 12 days of
Christmas, which is really just a thinly veiled way of getting them excited
about all the aspects of becoming active, from getting ham licence plates,
QRZ pages, and LOTW set up to participating in on air activities.  I think
we'll soon create a little net that starts with SSB, then they all send CW,
and go back to SSB, on a weeknight when we don't have class.  

it's been gratifying working with this group, and they are all so energetic
and are having fun.  it really seems like a case of getting back what you
put in.  So, go forth and make some amateur radio magic, one or a few people
at a time!

Best 73
Vic VE3YT



--
Sent from: http://elecraft.365791.n2.nabble.com/
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Re: Reaching across the chronological divide

David Gilbert
In reply to this post by David Gilbert


By the way, and more directly related to Elecraft and Wayne's original
post, not too long ago I proposed that Elecraft might consider building
a smallish, portable, dedicated FT8/4 radio. Something with a screen and
using the core engine of WSJT-X but with a much better user interface, a
better logger, and the ability to actually say something (i.e., more
than four message lines).  It got almost zero traction here, and none
from Elecraft, but I still think it wouldn't be a bad idea.  Think of it
as the HF equivalent of texting.

73,
Dave   AB7E
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