[OT] Socializing over Ham radio? (as a "young person", and the usability of the upper HF bands)

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[OT] Socializing over Ham radio? (as a "young person", and the usability of the upper HF bands)

Jason White-20
Hi everyone,

I'm a fairly recent college graduate. The socially awkward engineering
type. I was wondering if Ham radio could be a viable way to "expand one's
social circle" - perhaps by participating in local ham club nets.

My impression is that ham radio consists predominantly of retirement age
folk. And, that outside of university/college run ham clubs that I'd be
unlikely to encounter many people my own age.

With the advent of "advanced" digital modes - the distinction between the
experience of talking over the radio and talking in an internet chat room
is blurred. I find myself questioning the value of investing in tbe
purchase and setup radio equipment/antennas.

I got a technician license in 2015 and a Boefeng UV-5 handheld radio. At
the time the goal was to tinker with and build some RF circuits and
socialize. I found that the local 2M nets were not much to my liking - my
transmit power was low, and even on close repeaters I rarely could manage
to get a single word in due to the eagerness of the other participants to
speak.

I was recently granted a general class license. The thinking being that
perhaps DX (international contacts) and local nets on the HF bands might
provide a better experience. However, now that I have gotten my license and
am looking at the investment involved in getting a radio and a 40m dipole
set up in a suburban area - I find myself wondering about the value that it
would provide to me.

Additionally, I've read that the sunspot cycle is at an all time low. My
limited understanding of ionospheric radio propogation is that many of the
shorter wavelength bands (that use more reasonably sized dipoles) can be
marginal without high gain antennas and high transmission power levels at
this point in the solar cycle.

I'm going to cut off my post here. I look forward to hearing the advice of
others - even if only tangentially related.

-Jason White




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Re: [OT] Socializing over Ham radio? (as a "young person", and the usability of the upper HF bands)

Chris Smolinski
Hi,

Yes solar activity is low right now, and probably will be for at least the next year.  But the HF bands are still open, you just need to be on the right band at the right time(s).

If you don't have a lot of room for antennas, you could go with a 20m dipole, which obviously is half the size of a 40m :)  20m tends to be fairly active during the daytime.  40 and 80 meters are active most of the day and night here, 80m is not as busy daytimes now but that may pick up some in the winter when D layer absorption is less of an issue.  10m is of course dead most of the time except for some brief openings.

If you don't wan't to spend a lot of money on a rig, there's a lot of used options, eBay and such. Hamfests are a great way to get a used radio for a good deal and see what you're buying beforehand, but the virus has pretty much stopped them this year, at least around here.  In the nw radio dept, I got an IC-7300 about a year ago and have been very happy with it, it replaced my ancient IC-735 which I had actually bought used off eBay some time ago.  I also have a Johnson Viking II which I occasionally operate on 40,80 or 160 meters for fun :)

A dipole is not a large investment, some wire, a balun, and some coax and your'e done. What sized property do you have, any good trees for supports, any HOA Nazi issues regarding antenna restrictions?

I don't tend to operate much myself lately but do run an SSTV decoder on 14230 USB 24/7 to see what rolls in. And occasionally transmit SSTV, but that doesn't really expand the social interaction much.

Most of my lack of activity on the air is that the usual CQ calling and random conversations aren't that interesting to me. And contests give me a rash :)

Maybe we need to start a ham net for all of us socially awkward engineering types :)

Chris Smolinski, N3JLY
Black Cat Systems
Westminster, MD USA
https://www.blackcatsystems.com





> On Sep 13, 2020, at 8:35 AM, Jason White <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi everyone,
>
> I'm a fairly recent college graduate. The socially awkward engineering
> type. I was wondering if Ham radio could be a viable way to "expand one's
> social circle" - perhaps by participating in local ham club nets.
>
> My impression is that ham radio consists predominantly of retirement age
> folk. And, that outside of university/college run ham clubs that I'd be
> unlikely to encounter many people my own age.
>
> With the advent of "advanced" digital modes - the distinction between the
> experience of talking over the radio and talking in an internet chat room
> is blurred. I find myself questioning the value of investing in tbe
> purchase and setup radio equipment/antennas.
>
> I got a technician license in 2015 and a Boefeng UV-5 handheld radio. At
> the time the goal was to tinker with and build some RF circuits and
> socialize. I found that the local 2M nets were not much to my liking - my
> transmit power was low, and even on close repeaters I rarely could manage
> to get a single word in due to the eagerness of the other participants to
> speak.
>
> I was recently granted a general class license. The thinking being that
> perhaps DX (international contacts) and local nets on the HF bands might
> provide a better experience. However, now that I have gotten my license and
> am looking at the investment involved in getting a radio and a 40m dipole
> set up in a suburban area - I find myself wondering about the value that it
> would provide to me.
>
> Additionally, I've read that the sunspot cycle is at an all time low. My
> limited understanding of ionospheric radio propogation is that many of the
> shorter wavelength bands (that use more reasonably sized dipoles) can be
> marginal without high gain antennas and high transmission power levels at
> this point in the solar cycle.
>
> I'm going to cut off my post here. I look forward to hearing the advice of
> others - even if only tangentially related.
>
> -Jason White
>
>
>
>
> --
> Jason White
> --
> http://www.piclist.com/techref/piclist PIC/SX FAQ & list archive
> View/change your membership options at
> http://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/piclist


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Re: [OT] Socializing over Ham radio? (as a "young person", and the usability of the upper HF bands)

louijp@gmail.com
In reply to this post by Jason White-20
Jason,
Welcome to the world of Ham radio.
I have been a ham since 1963, so I have seen a lot of changes in the
equipment and the propagation ups and down across more than four eleven
year solar cycles.
To do HF in urban environment,  I suggest that you either buy or build a
small magnetic loop, and get a used HF transceiver to y contacting a local
ham radio club. You will be amazed how far you can go with little power.
Digital modes will get you the whole world with less than 10 watts of RF
power.
But you need to understand that ham radio purpose is not social gathering,
but more experimentation, contest and emergency help.
If you need to know more about any topic on ham radio, feel free to contact
me off list, and  I will be glad to help

73 de Jean-Paul
N1JPL



On Sun, Sep 13, 2020, 8:38 AM Jason White <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Hi everyone,
>
> I'm a fairly recent college graduate. The socially awkward engineering
> type. I was wondering if Ham radio could be a viable way to "expand one's
> social circle" - perhaps by participating in local ham club nets.
>
> My impression is that ham radio consists predominantly of retirement age
> folk. And, that outside of university/college run ham clubs that I'd be
> unlikely to encounter many people my own age.
>
> With the advent of "advanced" digital modes - the distinction between the
> experience of talking over the radio and talking in an internet chat room
> is blurred. I find myself questioning the value of investing in tbe
> purchase and setup radio equipment/antennas.
>
> I got a technician license in 2015 and a Boefeng UV-5 handheld radio. At
> the time the goal was to tinker with and build some RF circuits and
> socialize. I found that the local 2M nets were not much to my liking - my
> transmit power was low, and even on close repeaters I rarely could manage
> to get a single word in due to the eagerness of the other participants to
> speak.
>
> I was recently granted a general class license. The thinking being that
> perhaps DX (international contacts) and local nets on the HF bands might
> provide a better experience. However, now that I have gotten my license and
> am looking at the investment involved in getting a radio and a 40m dipole
> set up in a suburban area - I find myself wondering about the value that it
> would provide to me.
>
> Additionally, I've read that the sunspot cycle is at an all time low. My
> limited understanding of ionospheric radio propogation is that many of the
> shorter wavelength bands (that use more reasonably sized dipoles) can be
> marginal without high gain antennas and high transmission power levels at
> this point in the solar cycle.
>
> I'm going to cut off my post here. I look forward to hearing the advice of
> others - even if only tangentially related.
>
> -Jason White
>
>
>
>
> --
> Jason White
> --
> http://www.piclist.com/techref/piclist PIC/SX FAQ & list archive
> View/change your membership options at
> http://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/piclist
>
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Re: [OT] Socializing over Ham radio? (as a "young person", and the usability of the upper HF bands)

Harold Hallikainen-3
Jason,

As stated by others, welcome to ham radio! I was first licensed in 1968. I
mostly got into it as a high school student for the technology. Back then,
I ran all vacuum tube equipment on AM, CW, and RTTY. Today, I have a model
15 Teletype that I have running on a local loop and am SLOWLY working on
getting on the air. Here, again, it's a chance to play with technology.
I'm building a terminal unit (modem) using DSP in a PIC32MZ. My chance to
play with DSP instead of the 88 mH loading coils I did as a kid.

Otherwise, I'm mostly on CW (generally 40 meters at night) and SSB
(generally have a radio on 14.2 MHz USB during the day). More info at
http://w6iwi.org .

On HF, I use an inverted V and a 3 element Yagi. The Yagi covers 10, 15,
and 20 meters. It also acts as a steerable dipole on 40 meters. I can
drive the inverted V on any band with an automatic antenna tuner. My
existing tuner is good for 150 W. I'm working on one for higher power
built out of old AM broadcast station parts. It will, of course, be
controlled by a PIC.

I generally run 150 W or 1 kW. I have had good conversations with stations
running low power. Just got a QSL card yesterday from someone 985 miles
away that was running 5 W into a half wave end fed wire when we talked on
40 meter CW.

An interesting way to get on HF is to use something like
http://remotehamradio.com . There, you rent a transmitter by the minute.
I've used it while traveling. I've done some CW from my sister-in-law's
dining room table and from an Amtrak train. Also, for just listening,
there's http://websdr.org .

I've had some interesting discussions on both CW and SSB. These often
involve technology or someone's work. So, there's a certain amount of
socializing there.

On "social awkwardness," I think there's a wide range of personalities,
and the diversity makes it interesting. I think any awkwardness can be
reduced by just jumping in and doing things with people. It can be rough
going at the start, but improves with experience. Unfortunately, right now
it's not possible to do large group activities with covid. But my favorite
activity like that is contra dance, which is currently suspended. But, I
look forward to its return. Contra seems to have a lot of engineers and
teachers!

So, good luck! I look forward to hearing you on the air!

Harold
http://w6iwi.org .



> Jason,
> Welcome to the world of Ham radio.
> I have been a ham since 1963, so I have seen a lot of changes in the
> equipment and the propagation ups and down across more than four eleven
> year solar cycles.
> To do HF in urban environment,  I suggest that you either buy or build a
> small magnetic loop, and get a used HF transceiver to y contacting a local
> ham radio club. You will be amazed how far you can go with little power.
> Digital modes will get you the whole world with less than 10 watts of RF
> power.
> But you need to understand that ham radio purpose is not social gathering,
> but more experimentation, contest and emergency help.
> If you need to know more about any topic on ham radio, feel free to
> contact
> me off list, and  I will be glad to help
>
> 73 de Jean-Paul
> N1JPL
>
>
>
> On Sun, Sep 13, 2020, 8:38 AM Jason White
> <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
>> Hi everyone,
>>
>> I'm a fairly recent college graduate. The socially awkward engineering
>> type. I was wondering if Ham radio could be a viable way to "expand
>> one's
>> social circle" - perhaps by participating in local ham club nets.
>>
>> My impression is that ham radio consists predominantly of retirement age
>> folk. And, that outside of university/college run ham clubs that I'd be
>> unlikely to encounter many people my own age.
>>
>> With the advent of "advanced" digital modes - the distinction between
>> the
>> experience of talking over the radio and talking in an internet chat
>> room
>> is blurred. I find myself questioning the value of investing in tbe
>> purchase and setup radio equipment/antennas.
>>
>> I got a technician license in 2015 and a Boefeng UV-5 handheld radio. At
>> the time the goal was to tinker with and build some RF circuits and
>> socialize. I found that the local 2M nets were not much to my liking -
>> my
>> transmit power was low, and even on close repeaters I rarely could
>> manage
>> to get a single word in due to the eagerness of the other participants
>> to
>> speak.
>>
>> I was recently granted a general class license. The thinking being that
>> perhaps DX (international contacts) and local nets on the HF bands might
>> provide a better experience. However, now that I have gotten my license
>> and
>> am looking at the investment involved in getting a radio and a 40m
>> dipole
>> set up in a suburban area - I find myself wondering about the value that
>> it
>> would provide to me.
>>
>> Additionally, I've read that the sunspot cycle is at an all time low. My
>> limited understanding of ionospheric radio propogation is that many of
>> the
>> shorter wavelength bands (that use more reasonably sized dipoles) can be
>> marginal without high gain antennas and high transmission power levels
>> at
>> this point in the solar cycle.
>>
>> I'm going to cut off my post here. I look forward to hearing the advice
>> of
>> others - even if only tangentially related.
>>
>> -Jason White
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Jason White
>> --
>> http://www.piclist.com/techref/piclist PIC/SX FAQ & list archive
>> View/change your membership options at
>> http://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/piclist
>>
> --
> http://www.piclist.com/techref/piclist PIC/SX FAQ & list archive
> View/change your membership options at
> http://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/piclist
>


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Re: [OT] Socializing over Ham radio? (as a "young person", and the usability of the upper HF bands)

Chris Smolinski
BTW, I thought i would mention that I have two KiwiSDR receivers online, which anyone can use to tune 0 to 30 MHz. So even if you do not presently have an HF receiver, you can still listen in:

http://sdr.hfunderpants.com:8073/
http://sdr.hfunderpants.com:8074/

(In case you're wondering... the odd domain name is an inside joke in a small facet of the radio hobby)

Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
Westminster, MD USA
https://www.blackcatsystems.com




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Re: [OT] Socializing over Ham radio? (as a "young person", and the usability of the upper HF bands)

Alan Pearce
As well as Chris' receivers there is a list of a whole heap of kiwiSDR
receivers around the world at http://kiwisdr.com/public/. Also has a
global map at http://rx.linkfanel.net/

On Sun, 13 Sep 2020 at 18:00, Chris Smolinski
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> BTW, I thought i would mention that I have two KiwiSDR receivers online, which anyone can use to tune 0 to 30 MHz. So even if you do not presently have an HF receiver, you can still listen in:
>
> http://sdr.hfunderpants.com:8073/
> http://sdr.hfunderpants.com:8074/
>
> (In case you're wondering... the odd domain name is an inside joke in a small facet of the radio hobby)
>
> Chris Smolinski
> Black Cat Systems
> Westminster, MD USA
> https://www.blackcatsystems.com
>
>
>
>
> --
> http://www.piclist.com/techref/piclist PIC/SX FAQ & list archive
> View/change your membership options at
> http://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/piclist
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