Friday, June 10, 2016

Put The WOW Back Into Ham Radio!

We have a couple of older Ham's {Licensed in the mid 70's} having what is a typical conversation of how the "newbies" have destroyed Amateur Radio, and the hobby is dying. The claim that "newbies" ruined the hobby by using computers to track propagation, useful tools such as DX Summit and these new fangled things called Grid Squares.
I started to think about this, do they have a point? A lot has changed since I got into the hobby, and we will see many more changes in the future, but the honest truth is that the hobby is not dying, it is growing and is in fact larger than it has been any time through out history. The simple truth is that "older hams" have been complaining about the "newbies" killing the hobby since the first Ham was licensed back in the spark gap days. When AM first started to come on the scene Spark Gap Operators complained about this new fangled mode of operating and how it was going to destroy the hobby, then few years later as SSB operating started to enter the picture those old AM operators complained about the Donald Duck Operators and how it was destroying the hobby and who can forget the day that CW was no longer required to gain a license, to hear from some old timers the planet Earth itself was going to stop rotating.

The simple truth it is the evolution of Amateur Radio that keeps us growing and the excitement and the WOW factor. Yes, it is true that today very few Hams build his or her own radio, the simple truth is that we no longer need too with more modern transceivers on the market today and it is also beyond the capability of home technicians today with modern advancements such as surface mount devices, etc. Let's face it the average Ham does not own and cannot afford wave solder technology nor do we have the scopes and super vision required to place micro-circuitry, so it is actually impossible to build you're own high end transceivers with modern features and functionality. And modern technology has opened up many new and exciting aspects of this hobby. Just modern filtering would amaze a Ham as little as 20 years ago.
What we need to do is embrace the changing technology and learn to use it. RETURN THE WOW FACTOR to the hobby. Here's a shocker for some of you. Ham Radio is COOL AND HAS A HUGE WOW FACTOR. We do really cool stuff with cool radios, I mean really how many hobbies let you talk to the International Space Station, Bounce signals off the moon to work stations around the world, play with Satellites, AND HOW MANY PEOPLE GET TO SAY "THEY CAN PLAY WITH METEORS." And this is just the fun stuff we get to do in Space; there is an entire host of exciting activities and innovation awaiting us on our very own planet. HAM RADIO HAS A LOT OF WOW FACTOR. No matter what your interest from Wood Working, Electrical, Kit building, Circuit Design, Antenna design and building it is all there in our exciting hobby. So to say the "hobbyist and experimenter" is gone from our hobby is out right false.

What we need to do is get all this WOW FACTOR out to New Hams, make sure they know they can do all so much more than simply talk through a Repeater on 2 meters.
WHEN YOU GET NEW HAMS OR INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS say WOW, then we will continue to grow the hobby, we will continue to appreciate ourselves what we can do within our hobby and we will continue to advance technology and capability of our hobby.

Ham Radio is a WOW HOBBY, and even the simple aspects of Amateur Radio can create some strong WOW factors. Take a Ham Radio Operator who has only experienced 2-meter Repeater use, introduce them to SSB 2 meter operation and show them how to work stations daily 100 to 200 miles on frequencies that the average ham believes is only good for 15 to 20 miles.
MODERN TECHNOLOGY has opened the doors to allow the average ham to enter new and exciting worlds. Today thanks to Digital Technology Hams today with modest stations can bounce signals off of the moon and talk around the globe. Modern Technology has opened the door to allow the average ham with a modest station communicate 1,000 to 1,500 miles by using the comet trails of passing comets.

LET'S CHANGE OUR ATTITUDES AND BREAK THE CYCLE OF NEGATIVITY. SUPPORT THE HOBBY WE LOVE BY SHARING THE WOW FACTOR and down the road rather than bemoaning change and advances in technology let's EMBRACE IT AND THE NEW HAMS ENTERING THE EXITING WORLD OF AMATEUR RADIO. Ask yourself, what have the guys who are always putting down the hobby and "newbies" and declaring it a dying hobby, just what have they done to promote and encourage growth in the hobby or themselves.

The next time someone ask you what Amateur Radio is reply, "WOW what is Amateur Radio NOT!" then share with excitement the ability to talk to the Space Station, bounce signals off the moon, of comet trails, talk to far away people and make good friends. I can truthfully say that some of my dearest friends came from this WONDERFUL HOBBY.
Written by Greg N5XO

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