After 37 years of being a ham, I joined the ARRL last night

timbo

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I have been spending a lot more time on the air and listening the past 2-3 years than I have in a long time. I have thought about joining the past year or so but never did until last night.

I know they have their faults, like any other organization that represent a lot of people but I know they have done a lot of good as well.

I just wish QST mag was like it used to be with lots of construction articles. I know there is QEX mag which is geared more towards tech heads like myself but that's another $30 a year.

I sure miss Ham Radio magazine which was a very technically oriented magazine. A good friend of mine was an editor of that magazine and he always sent me a new mag every month gratis. A few years ago, although HR magazine has been defunct for quite a few years now, he sent me a USB drive with every page of every HR mag downloaded onto it.

Anyway, I'm going to give it a year and see if it's worth the $50 annually to be a member of the ARRL.
 
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I got my tech license in 2016. I joined ARRL. I believe I am still active. The last time I renewed was for three years.

I don't know anything about operating a HAM radio. I have one set up in my office space. I used to listen often when I first installed it. Now I never listen. A lot of liberal BS out there and the few repeaters I did listen to it seemed like the same few mushrooms from the Waltham repeater were spewing their liberal views.

They seem to be the most active so I just stopped listening.
 

Uzi2

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QST will never be like it was.....hams aren't building radios or many accessories anymore, it's mostly all factory plug and play. Hell, most hams won't even build a simple dipole.....they buy some manufactured one for ten times the money......crazy!!!

Even finding parts would be a challenge and when found, they're prohibitively expensive. The days of tons of tables at hamfests with lots of cheap parts are long gone......like 1990's long gone.
 

timbo

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I got my tech license in 2016. I joined ARRL. I believe I am still active. The last time I renewed was for three years.

I don't know anything about operating a HAM radio. I have one set up in my office space. I used to listen often when I first installed it. Now I never listen. A lot of liberal BS out there and the few repeaters I did listen to it seemed like the same few mushrooms from the Waltham repeater were spewing their liberal views.

They seem to be the most active so I just stopped listening.

Yeah, I know what you're saying about the lib drivel. I am rarely on repeaters and when I am, it's just a 220 repeater that's local to me...just a couple of friends and myself meet on there a few times a week and chat...those friends are pretty conservative but politics rarely ever enter into our conversations. They are usually technical in nature. I spend about 99% of the rest of my on air time actually just listening. The HF bands have been terrible the last year or two but every once in a while, we get some openings. I'm hoping this upcoming cycle is liek the one we had in the 70's. Worldwide propagation on 10 meters. With 5 watts, you could work just about everything you heard.
 

timbo

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QST will never be like it was.....hams aren't building radios or many accessories anymore, it's mostly all factory plug and play. Hell, most hams won't even build a simple dipole.....they buy some manufactured one for ten times the money......crazy!!!

Even finding parts would be a challenge and when found, they're prohibitively expensive. The days of tons of tables at hamfests with lots of cheap parts are long gone......like 1990's long gone.

You are right about plug and play....I am a mixture...Back in the day, I built my own rf amps and transmitters...now I own a 1980's Kenwood TL-922 that needed work to get on the air when I bought it last year. My experience in building amps helped me fix the Kenwood amp. I also had the parts to fix it because I have hoarded parts for decades, much to my wife's chagrin, but as she says, it keeps me off the streets. I usually cruise the Ham Radio flea markets and internet looking for parts and find quite a bit of stuff. Some of the parts might be buried in equipment that may not work but the carcass is cheap and the parts you need are inside.

I want to learn more about computers like the raspberry pi and the arduino series. While I do control my HF radios with FTDI cables that I have set up myself, there's a lot that the tiny computers can do as well. There's always something to learn in ham radio which is why I guess I like it so much.
 
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timbo

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I still haven't joined ARRL. Please post a follow up and let me (or anyone else interested) if it's worth it.

The two main reasons I joined is that you have access to past issues of QST and as JimO mentioned, QEX magazine as well. QEX mag is more geared towards the techie /geek/nerd hams of which I am proud to be. I think I saw too that they have all the past Ham Radio mags too. For me, not a big deal as I have all the issues that they printed before they went Tango Uniform in a large file that a friend of mine that used to work there sent to me. Ham Radio magazine was very much geared to techies.

The only other defunct magazine that had tons of construction articles was 73 magazine. It was a good mag too as long as you could get past Wayne Green's diatribes (Wayne was the owner/head editor and very opinionated).

The other reason I joined was so I could take advantage of the QSL bureau, a clearing house for QSL card exchange which is not used as much today as it was in the past but I do like getting "real" QSL cards. It's slow, but then, so am I. :cool:
 
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NHCraigT

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I got my tech, general and then extra in 2016 thru the Nashua nh ham radio club.

I signed up to aarl then.

The thing is, if you have an active ham club in your area it can make a big big difference. Nashua is extremely active, busy, and always doing events, education, instruction, and very much Involved in cutting edge radio technology . They've won multiple awards.

They currently do their monthly meetings by zoom, and record their tech night classes and meetings.

The above being said, I have so little free time to do more with it. I wish I had more time to put into it.

I set up my home station in 2017 with an icom 7300 with a g5rv atenna and a 272' end fed antenna. The 7300 is A really super fun radio rig to use. I've also set up a kenwood tm-v71a set up at the home station.

I mainly got into HAM radio for emergency comms, but find it a very intriguing and educational hobby.

(After getting my extra class, I was discussing that with my dad and surprisingly found out that he built his first radio and got his license in the 50's).
 
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NHCraigT

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Did he tell you his call(s)?
No. But Thanks for asking.

It's been a long time for him. Unfortunately he did a lot in his life, and moved around alot over the years, including military contract work overseas. A lot of stuff is no longer around and he's in his 80's now.

He did not have the money for a college education, so he enlisted in the military and became a radio operator in the early 60's. Using his GI bill he was able to become an electrical and computer engineer. A very smart man. Unfortunately, I seem to think my sister got all his smart DNA (but that's just me).

Being able to actually get my extra ticket was "interesting" for me. It was a nice discussion with my dad, as he was impressed and proud, and it was one of those rare occasions that made me feel a lot closer to him (it's always a funny thing when you think you don't have as much in common ..... but you find out you actually do).
 
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AHM

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No. But Thanks for asking.

It's been a long time for him. Unfortunately he did a lot in his life, and moved around alot over the years. So a lot of his old stuff is no longer around and he's in his 80's now.
In your copious free time, check this out:

Amateur Radio Call Books; Sort by: Date Published
Caveats:
  • The OCR text scanning is pretty iffy, so doing a text search for an overly long string is likely to miss some instances because at least one of the stored letters will be wrong. For example: searching for "Blackington" could fail when searching for "Blacki" might win.
  • The Callbooks are broken into 10 PDFs of the different call zones. Do not click on the wrong link; for instance in the latest scanned Callbook, New England (1-Land) is denoted by "2 1997_Radio_Amateur_Callbook_District_1.pdf" - the "2" is just a stupid arbitrary counted list number - you have to look at the filename itself for the "..._1.pdf" suffix.
If you keep coming up empty,
feel free to PM me his name and home address(es), w/ year ranges.

No pressure, no rush.
But I've been slightly successful:
I found the one ham who went down with USS Thresher (Tilmon Arsenault/W1SNO, RIP),
and I found a late colleague who was licensed as a high-schooler around 1960.
Neither had their calls obviously published after they become SK's,
and neither stood out like a sore thumb in the scanned Callbooks at the distance of decades...

Being able to actually get my extra ticket was "interesting" for me. It was a nice discussion with my dad, as he was impressed and proud, and it was one of those rare occasions that made me feel a lot closer to him (it's always a funny thing when you think you don't have as much in common ..... but you find out you actually do).
I kind of know what you mean. I discovered my late father's chest of drawers contained a cache of League CW practice tapes and at least one League Novice training book. I never realized he was trying to upgrade from CB to ham radio. But (despite 5 of his 40 years as a PanAm mechanic working electrical systems; and being able to play guitar and banjo), he probably had too many miles on the odometer to pass the written elements and learn code by the time he tried to get licensed.
 
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