Amateur Radio is Dying Or dead

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I’m not licensed. I’m just a listener. Based on what I hear, I will probably just remain a listener. Hear me out.

When I monitor, this is all I hear. Wk3J2 listening. That’s it. After maybe an hour or so, the call sign will be repeated. Then some other guy will get on, give his call sign and now the watching of paint dry begins.

“How is the weather where you are it? It’s cold here. What radio are you using? That’s a good radio. I used to have some other unrelated radio years ago. Silence. So what are you doing today? Not much. Just relaxing. Walking the dogs. Taking it easy. Well Jim, I have to run. The wife just set up dinner. Good talking to you.”

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It’s dying because not many people want to go through all the trouble to get licensed to have no one to talk to. I’m in that situation. I don’t want to get licensed just to have small talk with a stranger. Every conversation goes exactly like the one I described above.

Here’s an idea that can fix ham radio. If the rules were different and it only involved one licensed individual talking in a conversation, then there would be more users. Someone like myself can get licensed and register another person as a Registered User” like a wife or friend or neighbor that doesn’t want to go through the hassle of getting licensed. We could use local repeaters on camping trips or road trips when traveling in separate cars. It would create more interest.

All registered users that aren’t licensed would get their own call signs. Eventually if they want to talk to others, they can get licensed and have the ability to register other users.

That’s the main thing. Ham radio is dead because there is no one useful to talk to. If they loosened up the restrictions on who you can talk to, many more people would become enticed into the hobby.

Because I have no one worth talking to, I’m stuck with simplex MURS or FRS. Most of the time it doesn’t get used at all because of the simplex limitations. Sure I can get licensed on GMRS but there aren’t very many if any repeaters in the area and when you do find one, it’s private. So what does that leave me? The damned cell phone if I want to talk to someone that I want to talk with.

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13 replies »

  1. I have been a licensed since 1954 and have seen many different phases of Amateur Radio. The whine is ALWAYS the SAME….The Morse Code is too difficult to learn and I don’t really want to use it anyway. Then came CB radio with ALL of the privileges, but none of the RESPONSIBILITY. What a Circus that was… illegal operation, TVI and foul language with people fighting over their HANDLEs. Next came W5YI with NO-CODE and hundreds of thousands of Wanna-Bes came on the air to SAVE Ham Radio….what a JOKE. That was the REAL BEGINNING of the DEATH of Ham Radio. Everybody wanted to talk but no one wanted to buckle down and learn anything technical….so what was there to talk about ? The Hobby of Ham Radio hinges on Responsible Operation monitored by the FCC and the input of some sort of Worthwhile effort to advance the Hobby. If you just wanna talk, Charge Up your Cell Phone and GO AT IT …..FREE OF CHARGE !

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  2. You don’t want to put in the hard work. It’s not that hard to get a technician license. You’ll teach your kids responsibilities. What a concept. We only have so many repeaters to share. A fact you don’t resolve. Get an extra license and a whole new world will open up. If not go fishing, find another hobby, etc

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  3. I am afraid that you don´t know what you are talking about and guess that you are only able to switch on your scanner and listen to a local repeater.

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  4. You can’t be anonymous in ham radio. Where is your responses to the above? Do your homework. Grow up!

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  5. i speak to hundreads of stations a year in europe and lots of local stations in the uk dont no what you have been hearing must be cb . its one of the best hobbies out there, best thing i ever did was to get my licence.

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  6. It seems to me that everything the author wants (at least in the U.S.) has been tried on C.B. and look where it is. It seems to be “dying” too. The real problem seems to be that people, in general, aren’t that interested in talking at all. Listening to the C.B. here in the Midwest you hear only a few signals. They don’t even have personal licences, no tests, and very little enforcement of the rules. The last sentence says it all: “The damned cell phone if I want to talk to someone that I want to talk with.” That’s probably why modes like FT8 are so popular. Get that new country, zone, county, whatever, without all the excess chit-chat. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am. For a small fee you can get a cellphone to talk to who you want when you want. No antennas, no towers, wires in the trees, super expensive radios, etc.. And no propagation issues. When you don’t want to go fishing (for contacts) there’s always the internet. Just a sign of the times.

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  7. Amateur Radio is what you make of it. It is a diverse hobby that allows you to pursue your own interests. That is why it has survived this long. If you are into local rag chew, ham is there. If you are into CW, ham is there. If you are into digital modes, ham is there. If you are looking for long distance contacts, we have DX. If you are the competitive type, we have contesting. If you are into tinkering and building your own rig, we got that too. Hopefully you are getting my point. Most of all, Amateur Radio is what YOU make of it. If you have initiative and get off your backside, you too can find what makes Amateur Radio right for you. If you think you can simply buy a radio and sit back and the world is going to come looking for you, then I suggest you put your bucket by the lake and see how many fish choose to jump in it and be your dinner! And sorry, I’m not flaming on you, but rather I hope it will motivate you to explore the possibilities of a hobby…..be it Amateur Radio or fishing. 73, David, N4OLD

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    • Nice discussion but we have yet to hear from the one who initiated. Perhaps some learning has taken place? By the way, most hams are eager to help if ham radio sounds like something that might be of interest. 73, Ed W8EO

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  8. I have no idea what you are talking about. I am an active ham radio operator and there is as much, if not more activity, then I have seen in my lifetime. Between DX’ing on HF, ragchewing on VHF & UHF, digital modes, internet connected modes, and activating hill tops with my homebrew CW rigs, I am having more fun than I ever had. You really don’t know ham radio. I encourage you to learn more, get your license, and enjoy! You would be welcome! — Joel W9JFK

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  9. Canada reporting in here (VY2CRV) – lots of activity, but it’s pretty obvious (despite the picture) that it’s VHF/UHF repeaters they’re listening to.

    Nobody comes on HF and gives their callsign and says “listening” or “monitoring”. That’s a repeater thing. And, there are lots of areas where repeater activity is near zero. I’ll give them that.

    But the HF bands have lots of activity. Granted, we’re coming out of a solar minimum, so it’s not very good in terms of propagation, but a few years from now the signals will be booming in again.

    Which the author would have known if they’d actually done any study of amateur radio.

    I always love it when non-hams tell us how our hobby is dead. It’d be like me telling a group of train engineers that trucking has killed their industry. What the heck do I know about it? Nothing, that’s what.

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