Monday, 17 November 2014

Musings of a Radio Enthusiast

Well, having been licenced as a Foundation Level Radio Amateur for about seven months, I have a few observations to note about the hobby.

First, it's a fascinating hobby, highly addictive and consuming - perfect for the inner Geek. There are many facets to the hobby and some are of interest to most and some have no interest for many, but they are all relevant to somebody and those who pursue certain aspects of the hobby certainly enjoy them. I personally (at the moment) have no interest in data modes, although I may pursue this in the future. I also have no interest in competitions, again maybe for the future. At the moment I'm just keen to get something working where I can actually talk to other people,  this being an achievement in itself.

I notice that VHF and UHF are not used much at all, except for repeater use, and I feel that this is something of a shame as it's great experience to make it work well. It would seem that the emphasis is on HF which has its merits but it isn't the only mode. I can't afford an HF set up at present - having spent a small fortune on VHF and UHF equipment. That isn't to say that I don't crave HF capability as I do (very much).

There seems to be something of a "holier than thou" attitude when it comes to newbies. A lot of the M0 and G operators look down upon the lowly M3 and M6 guys and take every opportunity to "put them right". Whilst this in most cases is helpful we are somehow expected to revere them and stand in awe of their superiority. I have passed an exam and have displayed competency to operate and am currently studying for my Intermediate Certificate. I'm a 48 year old, fairly intelligent individual and I certainly don't appreciate being looked down upon. Just because my shack is not possessed of 14 laptops, SDR radios for man and boy and an array of antennas to put Jodrell Bank to shame it doesn't follow that I am any less enthusiastic - it merely displays that I'm operating on a budget and simply don't have the disposable cash to splash on expensive equipment (yet).

Having said all that,  I do find that members of Radio Clubs are very helpful when discussing problems and amongst the gentlemen that attend my club I cannot say that there is a superiority attitude. It seems to manifest itself when on air in the main. Brief QSO's when they realise that you're only pushing 5 Watts,  or that you're mobile.

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