Some of you may catch some information that could prove useful. I hope the tags I add to the post helped direct you here for some useful purpose (if not your intended search).
The biggest thing (for me) that was not allowing the Amateur Radio Community to “recruit” me was the small but very public group of what I call “loonies”. The online ham community calls them “Whackers” or “Orange Vests”. These are the people that at any SLIGHT emergency will push themselves into the middle of the problem, often causing more harm than good. That is not the objective of ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services). ARES members are there to support the existing EMS/EMA in the case of malfunctioning or disabled communications systems. ARES drills may take place, but are planned in advance and coordinated as to not cause any portion of the pool of emergency resources to be strained.
What has become a bit of a joke with the online community is how often these “whackers” will cover their vehicles in antennas and fill their dashboards with various equipment much more than is necessary to complete the task. Hamsexy, the website and forums of those hams and citizens turned off from the “loonies”, has put together a few articles showing the extent of their craziness. People have echoed their views of ARES from the non-ham public with anecdotes explaining the extent of the Orange Vests’ involvement in where they aren’t needed.
To complete my post, I’m going to insert a log from a conversation I had with some other hams that hang out in an IRC room I’ve been attending for a couple days now. It has been insightful, I’ve received a bit of feedback on a couple of the hot issues in Amateur Radio currently (D*Star was yesterday).
During this past weekend spending some time with my parents in Virginia (it was my mother’s birthday and she wanted to spend some time with her mother and sister) I’ve come back somewhat interested in getting into some of the more geeky hobbies of the years past Amateur Radio. Don’t be confused by the name Amateur Radio simply means it is non-commercial and they cannot be paid (with very few exceptions) for operating various stations across much of the US. Most of the “Amateurs” are very highly skilled electronic engineers (many without formal training) and build their own antennas and equipment for transmitting and receiving radio signals as well as analyzing.
A couple years ago for Christmas I got my dad a 2-Meter HT (Hand-held Transceiver) shortly after he received his Technician’s license (callsign KI4NDF) for operating a limited set of frequencies on Amateur bands. I had very little interest at that point, and was basically feeding his hobby. I saw modern day technologies as more interesting and my dad’s interest in repeaters seemed to be as close to talking on Skype or Ventrilo as anything else with a considerable less cost involved by using the latter. He has since tested for his General and Amateur Extra license and now has the callsign of AI4ZV.
It wasn’t until this past weekend that something actually piqued my interest… [Read more…]