Author Topic: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?  (Read 7419 times)

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Offline vinlove

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #125 on: September 20, 2019, 06:09:00 pm »

Increased popularity of digital modes. See above for a figure: ten thousand unique calls transmitting on the HF bands in a three hour interval.

I don't understand it. If someone is interested in digital mode, why not just use Skype, WhatsApp or twitter or even Facebook?  There is good old emails too.

Ham radio is for traditional  SSB / CW wireless communication operation, that's where the fun is, in my view :)
 

Offline vinlove

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #126 on: September 20, 2019, 06:14:27 pm »
I think a lot of the popularity of digital modes is because a lot of us are unsociable gits. I know I am. I don’t want to talk to anyone via voice :-DD

Edit: also to note I’m working on a digital mode only transceiver. USB lead, antenna lead, external power supply, done. I intend to retire on selling it :-DD

I find good CW contacts very enjoyable.  On SSB it seems quite difficult to meet someone whom I could talk to on HF bands now.  Even on 2015, I was having over 1 hour rag chew QSO with some very friendly and chatty Italian and Spanish operators on 20M band regularly.

But now, most of them (European operators with big antennas and expensive amps running a few kilowatts)  just want to talk to USA or Asia for quick 59 73 thank you.  I don't see what could the attraction trying to to DX only, because if anyone had 1KW amp, and 3 element beam, they can work anywhere in the world anytime.  But more so, anyone can talk to most remote places with a tiny smart phone and use chatting Apps for FREE.

It is exciting to be able to contact someone with challenging set up such as QRP and wire antennas made of washing rope, or using aluminum frame of a wardrobe in the bedroom tuned with a loop tuner, and contacting anyone out there using similar set up. :D That's where the Ham Radio fun lies, in my book :)

But on 80M, there are many nets going, and we could still find good operators to talk to :)
« Last Edit: September 20, 2019, 07:04:27 pm by vinlove »
 

Offline bd139

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #127 on: September 20, 2019, 07:17:54 pm »
SSB I don't fancy because I don't stand a chance with my little 15W squeak and as you mention it's tick box contacts only.

I only operate CW myself but the point is more that a lot of people don't want to fish out £1000+ for a transceiver and all the crap you have to have to operate digital modes on. The minimal subset of hardware has perhaps £40 of parts in it. There's a hole in the market for a black box you can connect to a bit of wire and throw it up in a tree and plug your laptop into it and operate at a couple of watts out.

Hans Summers is doing something similar but it's a whole radio. All we need to care about for digital modes is a relatively narrow band SDR using simple downconversion into I-Q signals and ADC hooked up to a USB bus. Outbound is similarly simple (I-Q modulation) and can be driven from the host machine trivially. Only complex bit which no one ever seems to solve other than expensive outfits like Elecraft, is an automatic tuner for end-feds and multi-band LPF
« Last Edit: September 20, 2019, 07:19:35 pm by bd139 »
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #128 on: September 20, 2019, 07:22:35 pm »
Yes, the communicating aspect of ham radio is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  So much to do and to learn.  I reassert the fundamental aspects of electricity daily.  I measure my transmit frequency and power, see the spectrum and the audio wave, test antenna impedance, get reports on audio quality, and the list goes on.

Absolutely. It's not about using that ham equipment, but about building and tweaking it!  ;)
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Yep, ham radio is dead but I have regular seances.

 :-DD   :-+
 

Online xrunner

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #129 on: September 20, 2019, 07:37:04 pm »
Ham radio is for traditional  SSB / CW wireless communication operation, that's where the fun is, in my view :)

Really? It's just for "traditional" SSB and CW.  :-//

What about RTTY, Olivia, PSK, FT8, JT65, AM ...


I don't understand it. If someone is interested in digital mode, why not just use Skype, WhatsApp or twitter or even Facebook?  There is good old emails too.

Uh, because, maybe, perhaps, you might want to see how your signal propagates on HF just for the Hell of it? I mostly use FT8 now and you can make lots of contacts using it, whereas you wouldn't stand a chance with SSB over a long path. FT8 is not a mode that for conversation anyway, so the comparison to FB et. al. isn't appropriate.  :--

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Offline bd139

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #130 on: September 20, 2019, 08:09:22 pm »
There's JS8Call as well now then you can chat. Slowly :)
 

Offline vinlove

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #131 on: September 20, 2019, 08:37:31 pm »
Ham radio is for traditional  SSB / CW wireless communication operation, that's where the fun is, in my view :)

Really? It's just for "traditional" SSB and CW.  :-//

What about RTTY, Olivia, PSK, FT8, JT65, AM ...


I don't understand it. If someone is interested in digital mode, why not just use Skype, WhatsApp or twitter or even Facebook?  There is good old emails too.

Uh, because, maybe, perhaps, you might want to see how your signal propagates on HF just for the Hell of it? I mostly use FT8 now and you can make lots of contacts using it, whereas you wouldn't stand a chance with SSB over a long path. FT8 is not a mode that for conversation anyway, so the comparison to FB et. al. isn't appropriate.  :--

Yeah, I don't know those modes at all.  Long time ago I tried packet radio, and it was OK at the time.  It was like running a home page blog or mailbox or something like that.

No, I am not interested in the digital modes.  Running PC and smartphones and Ipads, I mean I get bored with these, and cannot see myself hooking up ham radios into digital mode again.

It feels refreshing to go back microphone and Morse key, and get contacts on these very traditional modes.  If without SSB and CW, yes, I am definitely going off ham radio.  But there are plenty ham operators running these modes, I am sure. It is just now the HF bands are weirdly poor, and lot of the ham operators just want to talk to somewhere too far away rather than anyone. 
 

Offline bd139

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #132 on: September 20, 2019, 08:40:25 pm »
Give it a couple of years and the solar cycle will be sorted.
 
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Offline vinlove

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #133 on: September 20, 2019, 08:46:50 pm »
SSB I don't fancy because I don't stand a chance with my little 15W squeak and as you mention it's tick box contacts only.

I only operate CW myself but the point is more that a lot of people don't want to fish out £1000+ for a transceiver and all the crap you have to have to operate digital modes on. The minimal subset of hardware has perhaps £40 of parts in it. There's a hole in the market for a black box you can connect to a bit of wire and throw it up in a tree and plug your laptop into it and operate at a couple of watts out.

Hans Summers is doing something similar but it's a whole radio. All we need to care about for digital modes is a relatively narrow band SDR using simple downconversion into I-Q signals and ADC hooked up to a USB bus. Outbound is similarly simple (I-Q modulation) and can be driven from the host machine trivially. Only complex bit which no one ever seems to solve other than expensive outfits like Elecraft, is an automatic tuner for end-feds and multi-band LPF

Yeah I dont see myself spending 1000£ +  for a ham radio.  That would be a blackbox with lot of buttons bells and whistles.  I feel they are toys rather than radio.  And you cannot repair modern radios with pcbs and SDT parts easy, if not impossible.  Something doesn't work with these modern radios, they have to be thrown out, because to repair anything, it starts from about 300£ just to see what is wrong with it, and then you add labour and parts, then that money can buy a brand new radio and more. So, why go that path?

I like simple radios, just for CW and SSB, and if it breaks or dies, then something that I could work, replace the parts and bring back to life -these radios I like.  My HF rig was a second hand about 40 year old, and got it for about £200.  I thought that was too expensive for a hobby thing.

I got another a couple of hf radios for 50-60£ because they don't work. I got them for repair project. 

I suppose everyone has different minds and prospects on the hobby.   I like buying cheap broken radios or gear, and open it up, fiddle about with it, replace the parts and trying to repair them. Sometimes it works, sometimes doesn't  But that is where my fun lies.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2019, 08:50:44 pm by vinlove »
 

Offline bd139

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #134 on: September 20, 2019, 09:13:56 pm »
Yeah I dont see myself spending 1000£ +  for a ham radio.  That would be a blackbox with lot of buttons bells and whistles.  I feel they are toys rather than radio.  And you cannot repair modern radios with pcbs and SDT parts easy, if not impossible.  Something doesn't work with these modern radios, they have to be thrown out, because to repair anything, it starts from about 300£ just to see what is wrong with it, and then you add labour and parts, then that money can buy a brand new radio and more. So, why go that path?

I like simple radios, just for CW and SSB, and if it breaks or dies, then something that I could work, replace the parts and bring back to life -these radios I like.  My HF rig was a second hand about 40 year old, and got it for about £200.  I thought that was too expensive for a hobby thing.

I got another a couple of hf radios for 50-60£ because they don't work. I got them for repair project. 

I suppose everyone has different minds and prospects on the hobby.   I like buying cheap broken radios or gear, and open it up, fiddle about with it, replace the parts and trying to repair them. Sometimes it works, sometimes doesn't  But that is where my fun lies.

Agree on all points. The killer for me is that you need to put some blood, sweat, tears and soul into something to truly enjoy it I find. Be that repairing or building something. My "main rig" is an outlier to yout points because I am coming from the same line of thought.



This is how it came.



Pretty busy inside but 100% documented, through hole and repairable!



But here I am this evening making crystal filters for a transceiver I am building from scratch  :-//. I wonder if I am just insane  :)
 
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Offline vinlove

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #135 on: September 20, 2019, 09:52:28 pm »


Agree on all points. The killer for me is that you need to put some blood, sweat, tears and soul into something to truly enjoy it I find. Be that repairing or building something. My "main rig" is an outlier to yout points because I am coming from the same line of thought.

But here I am this evening making crystal filters for a transceiver I am building from scratch  :-//. I wonder if I am just insane  :)

I can't agree more on the point that you need to put some blood sweat tears and soul into something to truly enjoy it.
That Eleccraft is a beautiful rig, and it is well thought after in design that is fully repairable and maintainable for a few generations.
And if you apply the axiom, then no, it is not insane building the filter for it. Rather it is time, effort and energy well spent for building whatever accessories to go with it to make more enjoyable to use it, I would say.
 

Offline bob91343

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #136 on: September 21, 2019, 01:50:56 am »
This conversation doesn't just apply to ham radio.  We each get different pleasures from different things.

As I said, I enjoy communicating with DX on the HF bands.  That's my big thing with radio.  I got rid of my VHF gear and have no interest.  I like CW and SSB.  I fool a bit with AM.  I did packet, RTTY, PSK, and some others; they were fun for a while but I lost interest.

With my electronics lab, I have similar feelings.  I recently acquired a digital scope and hooked it to a signal generator.  I also connected my other digital scope and my analog scope.  I measured the voltage and all four instruments agreed within a couple of percent.  I found that to be a lot of fun.

I also play old records and play along on various instruments to gain proficiency.  It's paid off; I am welcome at jam sessions and the like.

Sure I am a nerd.  At least I'm not a drug addict or a rapist or embezzler.  I have my quiet fun.

Asking if ham radio is dead is like asking if anything else might be obsolescent.  There is a surge of interest in vinyl records, for instance.  There are people who collect stamps, antiques, glassware, works of art.  There are history buffs and those who love to solve math problems.  There are astronomers who work hard and spend substantial money to do what is routinely being done at observatories.  Some build furniture they don't need.  I know people who have serious space dedicated to model railroads.  Some like taking pictures of things that have been photo subjects for a long time.

Doing something yourself without a lot of infrastructure is very satisfying.
 

Offline fourfathom

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #137 on: September 21, 2019, 03:05:23 am »
I don't understand it. If someone is interested in digital mode, why not just use Skype, WhatsApp or twitter or even Facebook?  There is good old emails too.

Ham radio is for traditional  SSB / CW wireless communication operation, that's where the fun is, in my view :)

I have fun with the digital modes because it lets me design and build stuff. 

I've got a few JS8 rcv-only gateways (in different locations, operating on 10.130 MHz) that use a RPi, a $20 RTL-SDR-BLOG, a custom anti-aliasing filter/preamp that I built (JLCPCB is great), and software that I cobbled together from bits and pieces.  I've got a RPi WSPR transmitter that drives my antenna from an output pin (through a custom bandpass filter).  Analyzing the spectral content of these synthesized signals is a lot of fun.   I've built an Arduino / synthesizer transmitter that sends WSPR and JS8 messages (canned ones at the moment).  I've been playing with a Class-E power amplifier (if you consider 5W to be "power").  I get to use my spectrum analyzer, my sig gens, my scopes, freq counters, and lots of spare parts.  Almost all of this is in the HF bands, although I'm currently building a RPi/SDR AIS receiver (VHF) to replace the big old linux box and commercial AIS receiver I'm now using.  That one isn't ham radio, but I'm using things from my ham projects.

I also have a few ham rigs; Icom 7300, 7200, and recently a Yaesu FT-891.  I use these on digital modes, and on SSB.  But honestly, I seldom spend time on the air in any of these modes.  My favorite ham radio activity is to design and build something and then make it work on the air.  Once it's working I pretty quickly move on to something new.  I'm in it for the challenge.  I think the new digital modes are extremely exciting, and while I grew up using CW, and later SSB, these days I just can't get enthusiastic about those modes.
 

Offline vinlove

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #138 on: September 21, 2019, 10:27:45 am »
I suppose everyone has different tastes and source of fun even for the same hobby.
Each to their own, as my wife's favorite saying goes.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2019, 12:11:00 pm by vinlove »
 

Offline vinlove

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #139 on: October 04, 2019, 12:53:43 pm »
This thread is still open.  I thought it might have been closed and locked.

But just to add, what kills Amateur Radio is also some of the Radio Operator themselves.
I mean the people who calls CQ DX only. Or outside Europe, looking for NA or ASIA,  I feel that they kill amateur radio.
To them maybe DX is only worth while to contact with, but there are thousands of small ant and radio stations without big amps,  and QRP stations who want to contact any stations be it DX or next door neighbors.

To these ordinary ham operators, these folks who calls CQ DX only, outside Europe or only for NA or ASIA only, are just QRM.  They put other stations off from the hobby.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 12:55:16 pm by vinlove »
 

Offline Lord of nothing

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Re: Ham Radio is it DEAD in 2019?
« Reply #140 on: October 04, 2019, 09:18:04 pm »
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There's JS8Call as well now then you can chat.
Sadly on CB are not so much People out there who use them now.
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