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Author Topic: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.  (Read 17683 times)

gil

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Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« on: August 07, 2012, 12:59:24 AM »
New preppers should be aware that, besides Ham Radio being a great hobby and potentially life-saving in an emergency situation, they might come across an elitist mentality that does a great disservice to the Ham community. I am new to Ham Radio, though not new to radio or electronics. I will have my license soon enough, with Morse code. I am taking my time, it might be two months, it might be a year. I respect regulations. I've built my own radio from a pile of components and circuit boards. Yet, I have been refused access to a couple Yahoo groups because I was not a Ham yet. From reading many Ham forums, I also get the clear impression that some Hams feel like having passed a test most ten-year-olds can pass is something to feel special about. You know the type.. A-personality, middle-aged, out of shape, who craves attention and thinks a call sign pin, orange vest and walkie talkie will bring them status and better self-esteem. Unfortunately, these people are an active group in Ham events. I just hope they don't teach their values and attitude along with their radio knowledge.

This forum will not be like that. I will make sure of it. Everyone with a good attitude is welcome here, and we'll help you out.

Hopefully we will set-up a communications network for large-area disaster preparedness and information sharing. You won't need an orange vest or strobe lights on your car, and there will be no reporting to any three or four-letter-word organizations. You won't have to pay for classes to be able to help your community if you want to. It isn't that I don't think these organizations won't try to help in a disaster, but I have doubts. When it hits the fan, we have to think of our families and friends. I couldn't be a first responder and leave the people I love most to go help some strangers. My hat is off to those who can do that, but it isn't for me.

Have you guys seen the movie or read David Brin's novel "The Postman?" Kevin Costner plays the postman. He isn't really a postman, but in a post-apocalyptic America, he finds a postman's jacket and uses it to his advantage to gain access to communities along his way. He does however start to carry mail and his work ends up being pivotal in the rebuilding of the country. Good book by the way, and the movie is pretty well done. I think radio would fill that role after a nationwide disaster. That is why it is important that every prepper community has the means to communicate.

Take care,

Gil.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 01:36:32 AM by gil »

rah

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Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2012, 09:45:07 PM »
 :) +1 for you Gil, well said.  :)
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Todd

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Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2012, 09:49:29 PM »
For me, short and sweet, I agree with Gil.

Scott

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Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2012, 11:23:03 PM »
I think I take offense.

While it's true that a lot of ham radio operators are elitists, to paint all of us with that broad of a brush is just ignorant, and deprives you of the opportunity to share from the considerable experience of people who have been there / done that on the air, multiple modes, multiple bands, wide range of operating conditions and environments, vast equipment knowledge, etc. that the non-snooty hams have to offer.

I'm the Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator in my ARES section and I can tell you that, at least in Ohio, ham elitism is very, very rare amongst the ARES crowd.  Your mileage may vary elsewhere, but Ohio ARES hams are the leanest, sharpest, most cooperative, highest morale and "inclusive" (instead of exclusive) hams on the scene.

So check your status.  I didn't feel like an elitist when I was escorting 450 cyclists on a 4-day, 340 mile charity ride for the American Cancer Society last July.  I didn't feel like an elitist when I escorted over 2000 riders on a 2-day 150 mile ride for MS the week after that, or when I was standing by myself at an intersection from 12 - 4 in 90 degree heat and no shade for the Cleveland Marathon last Spring.

But I will look down my nose at someone who isn't involved and doesn't know what we do calling me an elitist.  :)

MIA

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Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2012, 01:12:59 AM »
Those that report to those "three or four-letter-word organizations" are usually highly trained, highly motivated, and are more than willing to pay the costs for classes to further their knowledge and sharpen their skills. You'll also notice that a lot of those that pay for these classes are not in upper incomes, but bear the costs required out of the love of service. Sorry, gil, but you came off just a tad bit "elitist" yourself in that post.

kj6dwx

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Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2012, 01:53:35 AM »
Hi, new to this group !  While getting familiar with Radiopreppers forums I quickly found "Elitism" a interesting subject. My immediate feelings on the subject is, you will get out of it what you put into it !  I've been a licensed Tech for 3 years. I memorized the answers to the tech questions and spewed them back out. My immediate interest in Ham Radio was for off road use in areas of the desert where there is no cell service. I bought a 2 meter rig for my XJ and thought that would be the end of what I wanted out of Ham Radio. But...I had been bit by the Ham Bug and wanted to know more ! Yes, I could memorize the answers for the General and pass that test, but I wanted a better understanding of how everything works. In the past couple of years, I have been learning by immersion. I'm very active in our local radio club, participate in every event I can manage, have served as a officer and board member of our local club...and learned lots about radio along the way. I work hands on helping at antenna parties, Field Day and other events. I've not run into any Elite Hams !  I've met dozens and dozens of Hams who have  been kind and generous in sharing their knowledge. I do get "ritually" teased about "when" am I going to take the General test. Who knows !!!! Humorous thought, I was asked "Why" did I want to get a Ham License....curious as to how many of you have been asked that question !
Thanks for having this website available !
Best regards, Karen

gil

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Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2012, 01:57:45 AM »
Well, I am glad to hear that kind of behavior isn't common in ARES. I am not saying all Hams interested in emergency communications are elitists. The attitude does exist however, and it is one thing that makes me raise an eyebrow when I see it. As to the classes, couldn't they also be administered by volunteers?

Gil.

kj6dwx

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Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2012, 02:21:38 AM »
Gil, San Diego County, the Volunteer Examiners here often teach classes. In some instances the Tech class is offered as a one day course with a test at the end of it !  Stats show they have a 90-95% pass rate ! Not too sure how testing is done in other areas, but in San Diego, there is a test just about every weekend somewhere in the county ! 

MIA

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Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2012, 02:28:22 AM »
There are Emergency Communication classes that are taught by volunteers in some areas. It depends on whether there are Hams in the area that are trained, have the time, and the resources to do so. As for the ARRL classes, they are set up through a university's online course system (at least they were when I was taking them). In the years following 9/11, when the classes got their start,  there were a lot of more people interested in taking the classes than there were slots available.

Our local club has conducted three EmComm classes over the time that I have been involved. Each of the three classes began with a NOAA SkyWarn class, and would follow up 4 hours of class room instruction. In the years since 9/11 there has been a drop in interest in EmComm classes in our rural area, and it isn't feasible to do organized classes for just a couple of people. Instead we conduct training on the weekly ARES nets on our repeater. Twice a year we also conduct field exercises and/or drills that usually correspond to state wide or regional drills.

Now that I am getting older, and my parts no longer work as well as they once did, I leave most of the field work to the young guys, and mostly I work on the Net Control side.  ;)

Frosty

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Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2012, 10:29:19 AM »
Hi.  First post.  Wouldn't have registered but for the Admins views expressed in the 'Welcome' and this thread.  Sounds like you and I have similar backgrounds and views on amateur radio, and of some of the operators, Gil.  One difference is I don't ever intend to get a FCC license, partly due to the topic being discussed in this thread.   I'm sure the elitists are a minority of the HAMs, but they do tend to drown out the others sometimes. 

Either way, I think there's a niche for the communication needs of the survivalist/prepper outside of the traditional HAM role.  Hope to learn more about it here.


Scott

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Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2012, 11:27:57 AM »
Well, I am glad to hear that kind of behavior isn't common in ARES. I am not saying all Hams interested in emergency communications are elitists. The attitude does exist however, and it is one thing that makes me raise an eyebrow when I see it. As to the classes, couldn't they also be administered by volunteers?

Gil.

Sure they could.  Couldn't med school classes be administered by volunteers?  Absolutely.

I'm a certified firearms safety instructor.  I could run my classes for free if I wanted to, but I believe that people who have advanced training and skill in a particular area are well within the bounds of morality to expect reasonable compensation for their services.  I don't think high school teachers should have to starve to pursue their life's work, either.

If I know something you don't, and I put in the effort to prepare a class and teach it to you, it's fair that I'm paid for that effort.  It's also fair that you expect to pay for it.

gil

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Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2012, 12:58:05 PM »
Oh yes Scott, I agree. Emergency radio is not a profession though like being a doctor or a teacher.. It can be in some cases probably, but usually isn't. So, what is the motivation here? We have to be honest with ourselves when talking about serving a community. In many ways, of course, helping your community is beneficial to yourself and betters the world around you for everyone. I don't think however that people usually think that far. So, there are I believe two kinds of individuals that would be willing to pay to help others. Those who are smart enough to realize that they are creating a better environment for themselves and their families, or simply enjoy the hobby and want to do a little more while providing a service, but there is also the kind with an ego problem who crave recognition for their services (maybe not consciously). The later are the people I do not like. Not that they are prevalent, but they are around...

Gil.

Scott

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Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2012, 01:44:22 PM »
EMTs serve their communities.  So do cops and firefighters.

All of them still pay for their education.

DISCO!!

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Re: Elitism in Ham Radio and Further Thoughts.
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2012, 02:47:24 PM »
 I am new on this forum, and joined for many of the reasons stated by others. My primary interest was just what is being discussed here. I took my first HAM class around 1995. I still don't have a license, because of these kind of attitudes. Quite frankly every time my interest in radio leads in that direction I realize that I just can't handle the attitudes of alot of people. This elitism is by no means universal, but it is just as common as dirt. I respect the experience and knowledge of the old operators, and understand some of the attitude toward CB, but a dentist with a harley is not a real biker, and too many HAMs are just rich kids with expensive toys.

ConfederateColonel

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Re: ... and Further Thoughts (The Postman)
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2012, 03:30:04 PM »
Since the thread title includes the words, "... and Further Thoughts", I'd like to pick up on Gil's statement, "Have you guys seen the movie or read David Brin's novel "The Postman?" Kevin Costner plays the postman. He isn't really a postman, but in a post-apocalyptic America, he finds a postman's jacket and uses it to his advantage to gain access to communities along his way. He does however start to carry mail and his work ends up being pivotal in the rebuilding of the country. Good book by the way, and the movie is pretty well done. I think radio would fill that role after a nationwide disaster. That is why it is important that every prepper community has the means to communicate."

I have little interest in discussing personality types in the ham community. I've been involved with it deep enough and long enough to have encountered the full range. People are people and it's rather pointless to do more than decide that you're just going to have to deal with it and work around it.

Getting back to the "Postman" line of thinking - this is something that has gone through my mind quite a bit over the years. If we consider the possibility of a no-holds-barred, total collapse, then there are a number of important services that simply will not exist unless point-to-point HF networks are formed to take on the task. The post office is one of those. There are several potential scenarios that would mean an end to any kind of message delivery service (email and the internet disappearing long before).

It is an interesting exercise to consider how ham radio might be used to provide a nation-wide message service. Another thought is a replacement for the National Weather Service - something that would have far greater need in a post-collapse society than it does today when most folks are working in an office. There are others as well, but those are the two that immediately come to mind.

Gil, may I suggest two discussion categories that could turn out to be highly valuable?

1) The Post Office - Discussion of how ham radio might be used as a replacement for services like the post office, weather service, and similar services following a collapse.

2) Digital Modes - While voice and CW are well suited to much of what hams to today, digital is be the only way to move the vast amounts of information through the airwaves that would be needed for serious use. Discussion of modes, equipment, as well as operations and procedures for a very robust and high-volume network.

For discussion purposes, I would also propose that we completely dismiss the current prohibition on accepting compensation for radio work. If things fall apart, you have a valuable skill and equipment that others will be willing to barter for. Consider it a post-collapse business opportunity.

Just a few thoughts to toss out for discussion.

Radio Preppers

Re: ... and Further Thoughts (The Postman)
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2012, 03:30:04 PM »