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grumpyduck

(6,326 posts)
Wed Jan 19, 2022, 01:23 PM Jan 2022

Any ham radio buffs here?

A friend has been trying to talk me into ham radio, so I wanted to ask around. I know I can buy a cheapie online and don't need a license to just listen. I know about repeaters and such and the different types of bands (he goes into a lot of detail when he's fired up). And a few other tidbits.

But, not being much of a talker, one question comes up, and I really don't want to ask him. What do people talk about? A bit of research online revealed that there's a lot of angry RW chatter, people talking about their hemorrhoids, and the guys who apparently lock their mike buttons down and filibuster away. And a lot of guys are into emergency services or just the radios themselves.

I have several other interests, so it's not like I need a hobby.

Any thoughts?

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Hokie

(4,288 posts)
1. I have been a "ham" for over 40 years
Wed Jan 19, 2022, 01:41 PM
Jan 2022

Yes, there is a lot of right wing talk. I just ignore that. Guys talk about equipment, antennas, weather, propagation and lots of things. There are many facets to the hobby. Some guys chase DX and some are into contesting. If you want to listen to get a flavor of what's going on there are some stations using SDR's (software defined radios) that you can listen to on the internet and actually control. It will give you a flavor of what is on the bands and propagation at different times of the day.

http://www.websdr.org/

I listen to the stations in Utah and Pennsylvania quite often.

CaptainTruth

(6,692 posts)
3. I have a scanner & used to listen to local repeaters at bed time, just for amusement.
Wed Jan 19, 2022, 01:57 PM
Jan 2022

What I heard were a lot of folks doing the equivalent of "is anybody there?" & then connecting with someone far away. Once I heard a guy in CA connect with someone in Australia & then just chat about general things, the weather, hobbies, shared interests etc. The same things you would talk to someone about in a phone call. It seemed like some folks enjoyed that, just to randomly connect to others far away. I imagined them putting a pin on a map of all the places they connected with, that seemed to be what they enjoyed.

One thing I found interesting was listening to ship-to-shore frequencies, the ones used to "call" to ships/boats at sea. A typical situation would be someone out on a fishing excursion for several days & friends on land would call to see how it was going. I heard lots of talk of fish & fishing, which I enjoy, along with plenty of just general friend/family talk about health, grand kids, car problems, etc. This was before cell phones & cell coverage was ubiquitous, so calls like that may all be cellular now, I don't know, I haven't listened in years.

Thankfully I never heard right wing BS, maybe I was lucky, maybe because I was listening to repeaters in CA.

mitch96

(14,012 posts)
4. Iv'e been a ham for about 30 years. Not much of a talker but I loved building stuff
Wed Jan 19, 2022, 02:15 PM
Jan 2022

I mostly did low power QRP with morse code.. Loads of fun. Talk all over on less power than my night light... Antennas also. Loved building them.. I was the designated ham radio operator at the hospital during hurricanes...
Alas all that fell by the way side when I picked up motorcycle touring again...
Too many hobbies and so little time...
m

abqtommy

(14,118 posts)
5. I've never been a ham but a friend of mine in high school was. He was really ecstatic
Wed Jan 19, 2022, 05:10 PM
Jan 2022

when he got a QSL (postcard confirmation of contact) from Barry Goldwater. This was back around 1967. I wound up working in the radio communications field for many
years. You may not be looking for a hobby but I think one just found you!

https://rsgb.org/main/get-started-in-amateur-radio/operating-your-new-station/how-to-send-and-receive-qsl-cards/

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