The 3/1/99 Problem

Nolan Lee nlee at GS.VERIO.NET
Sat Sep 19 07:58:52 EDT 1998

At 02:32 PM 9/18/98 -1000, you wrote:

>On Fri, 18 Sep 1998, Nolan Lee wrote:

>Well, you can't blame the invention of television for the lack of some
>people's desire to read or do other productive activities in the evening.

Television has been turned into a tool to manipulate the masses, plain and
simple. I'll stick with the "it's evil" statement. :-) Sit there one evening
and watch the prime time "family" programming. Lot's of good wholesome
family values, huh? Nothing wrong with letting you kid watch Ellen
come out of the closet or "Suicide by Police", or.....

I guess that I'm not tolerant enough.

>I'd venture to guess that most of the folks on this fine list spend
>their evenings in the shack rebuilding gear or operating on the air.

I've got two R390A's scattered here on the bench right now performing
major overhauls. One of the R-1051B's is tuned to the BBC as I type.

>PBS, CNN, Discovery Channel, History Channel are all evil??  =:o

I was a contributor for a long time to the local PBS station. Sadly,
the quality of their programming, at least in New Orleans, has deteriated.
I've had enough black history, aids documentaries, "global warming",
and Barney's, "we're all special"  propaganda crammed down my throat
to last a lifetime. ;-(

CNN has a little too liberal of an agenda to suit my tastes. The rest of
it I can't comment on, I only have "Free TV". No cable.

>> <ROTFL> I love their reasoning. Face it, the code is dead,

>Second-most used mode on the HF ham bands.

Well, let's see:

•MARS drops CW: All CW nets and other CW activity in the Military Affiliate
Radio System (MARS) were ordered to cease operation effective October 1,
1996. After that time, no CW nets or other CW activity will be allowed on
any DOD MARS frequencies. A final MARS CW message was transmitted
simultaneously on Army, Navy and Air Force MARS frequencies on September 30. 

Yep, here's another:

US Coast Guard Quits CW
By Al Brogdon, K3KMO, ARRL Letter, Vol. 14, Nr 7
After 94 years of Morse operation, the US Coast Guard has signed off. The
occasion was marked in fine style at the USCG Communication Area Master
Station Atlantic (CAMSLANT), NMN, in Chesapeake, Virginia, on March 31, 1995. 

I haven't done any UTE monitoring in a long time but I seem to have read
that all of the coastal maritime stations have either dropped or in the
process of dropping CW.

>> there are much more efficient methods of communication.

>Not if we expand the number of variables in the "efficiency equation": I
>can collect components and build a CW transmitter in a matter of a few
>hours from scratch; that efficiency is certainly lacking with any other
>mode.I can contact more hams around the world with that homebrewed
>transmitter than one can with any other mode. Again, pretty

Sure, I can construct a CW transmitter from one tube, and old TV
transformer and a handful of other junk box parts. Or, if the power
is out due to a hurricane or other natural disaster, I can crank
one of the generators and fire up one of my T-827B's and the 1500W
amplifiers and chat using SSB or RTTY, AM, or even CW. :-)

By efficient, I'm referring to volume or traffic, accuracy of traffic,
etc. Sitor and other digital modes come to mind, RTTY, etc. I suppose
that for frequencies above HF, packet is OK. I know, CW IS digital. <grin>

>> Actually, ham radio is dead if you get right down to it.

>We've got more licensed hams in the US and in the world than at any
>other time in our almost 100-year history.

Are you saying that there are more hams in the US now than in the
1950's and 1960's? I'd appreciate your source of these statistics.
I read something a few years ago that showed a marked decrease in
the total number of US hams, both total and per 100K population.

World wide I don't know. I do remember reading that there were more
hams in Japan than the US.

Here's an blurb from the letter from the ARRL president in an August
1998 Hard Copy newsletter available at:
He pretty much sums it up in a nutshell. I'd imagine that his statistics
are accurate. It's only a few paragraphs, I'd really appreciate it if
you'd read it and give me your comments afterward:

(The following are excerpts from ARRL President Rod Stafford's (W6ROD)
letter written in response to member inquiry as to why the ARRL is
proposing changes in license structure.)

As amateur radio operators, we're slipping farther and farther behind on
the technology power curve, and people take note of that. Take a look at
the primary modes of communication we use: SSB, FM, CW, etc. Each of those
modes of operation have been around 50, 60, 70 years or more.... We have to
change people’s perception of ham radio being a pursuit involving 70 year
old communication techniques. One of the ways to help change that
perception is to modernize our approach to CW. We're not eliminating it,
we're simply trying to put it in its proper perspective as we move into a
new century. CW will be around for a very long time....However, as an
examination element, it carries much more weight than it should at the
present time.......Most non-hams think of ham radio as a hobby. And as a
matter of fact, most hams think of amateur radio as a hobby....The point
is, we have some very valuable spectrum that is available to us for hobby
purposes, and yes, even for our public service activities. It has become
more and more difficult in recent years to justify retaining and defending
our spectrum from commercial interests who make some very good arguments as
to why they should be allowed to use our spectrum for endeavors that will
generate jobs, used advanced telecommunications techniques and put the
spectrum to use for commercial purposes, not just for hobby purposes. Even
considering the perception that what we do is a hobby, we can counter some
of that perception that we're a dying breed clinging to old technologies
when we can show that amateur radio is a vital, growing activity. One only
has to look at the statistics in the last few years to find that to be
untrue. In recent years the average age of an active ham has crept up to
nearly 60 years old. The growth rate of new hams coming into the service is
at a very low rate of less than 2%. That doesn't even keep up with the loss
rate of people who die or simply leave amateur radio for various reasons.
The argument that we need to retain spectrum for the growth of amateur
radio in the face of such dwindling numbers is an unconvincing one to
anyone,.....The changes proposed by the League are not the total solution
to the problem. We still have to make an effort to move into more cutting
edge modes of digital communication to allow for more efficient use of the
spectrum....The League is going to have to take the lead in promoting
technological advances within amateur radio even if it is just stressing
the idea that amateurs put to use in amateur radio some of the techniques
used by the commercial's not just the League that needs a
different mindset....For example, we might persuade repeater coordinators
to give priority to sanctioning repeaters that are going to be using
advanced digital modes rather than the 50 year old narrow band FM mode. We
might even persuade radio manufacturers to market HF radios that use other
modes than CW and SSB as the primary modes of communication below 30
MHz.......I can state without hesitation that the Board acted in the best
interests of amateur radio and for no other reason."

(Tnx ARRLWeb)

>> I hold the hard line "code requirement" people to blame for this.
>I accept the "blame" for the record-breaking number of hams we have

I think that your numbers are in error. Check with the ARRL.

>> As the numbers of licensed hams continue to drop, more of the spectrum
>> will be lost,

>We were given three new bands since WARC '79, and more HF spectrum is
>being ear-marked for us as we write. There is absolutely no threat to
>our HF frequencies. (UHF spectrum will be lost because folks are on
>internet whining about the code rather than populating those UHF

They "gave" us what 2 MHz and took away how many in just the 220mhz
range? Look at the UHF spectrum being chewed up and "sold to the highest

>>  but who cares, we still have "the code". Maybe we need a secret
>>  handshake too!

>I get the feeling you might be subscribed to the wrong e-list...

Not at all. I have tons and tons of Boat Anchors. :-) I've even still
have RTTY gear that doesn't contain a single chip or transisitos. :-)
Down to only a couple of cases of paper though. Stuff is getting tough
to find at a good price anymore. I'm not someone that's too lazy to
learn the code. I passed the test. I learned the code as a Boy Scout
in the 60's. <grin> I even learned semaphore. :-)

>Enjoy the weekend!

If I can finish rebuilding a couple more R390A IF decks, I will.
You haven't lived until you replace 90% of the resistors and all of
the capacitors in one. I've got about 7 more to do. ;-)

>Jeff KH2PZ (former US Coast Guard code operator)

Sadly, no more CW operators in the CG. ;-( I grew up near the Alvin
Calendar NAS in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. They had, I suppose that they
still do, a hell of a search and rescue bunch out there. I was friends
with a Chief PO out there that managed to permission for me to go on
a practice run in one of those old Sikorsky helicopters back in the
70's. Damn interesting experience. :-)

>Teletype Corporation "High Speed Tape Punch Set
>(BRPE)" includes "Bulletin 215B" (operating manual). Physical condition:
>9; working condition: unknown. (Visually, it appears never to have been

Boy, the punched tape brings back memories. I've still got a few rolls.
Have you ever dropped a container of the chaf into the carpet?
Been there, done that! ;-)

Oh, the final nail in ham radios coffin will probably be the Internet.

As the old timers die off, very few of the youth today are even remotely
interested in radio, or shooting (Yeah, I'm an NRA Endowment Member),
reading, tinkering with a gasoline engine, hunting, fishing or any
wholesome activity. They just want to flop their ass down in front of
the TV and watch music videos while wearing their 150 dollar sneakers.
County is going to hell bubba. ;-( It's priorities are all wrong. ;-(

If you think that I'm "against" ham radio, you're mistaken. I know for
a fact that we've waited too long to ease the licensing requirements and
that as a result, we've been dealt a blow from which we'll never recover.

For what it's worth, your message is the only "negative" one from over
a dozen that I've received over that post. 


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