Another pastime of mine is amateur radio. But it is has been replaced by a more fun hobby that does not have the politics and other bullshit that has become amateur radio. That is shooting and hunting. As I mentioned in my home page there are good people in this hobby and there are a lot of idiots who are better off spending their money not on amateur radio but on good psychiatric help. For them getting on a local repeater and causing interference is fun. They get their kicks out of jamming weak signals, cross-banding, playing music, hitting touch tones, 911 crank auto patch calls. With a total lack of enforcement by the FCC and the surge of bad or just poor amateur operators the hobby is slowly dying. Then there is the saving the world through amateur radio crew. They feel Homeland Security should spend billions on amateur radio and training because when the shit hits the fan the only ones talking will be HAM's. They refuse to believe that with todays satellite and Cellular on Wheels that we've been relegated to health and welfare. With the ARRL and others pushing for dumbing down to get numbers we find ourselves starting to look like the Citizen Band. But there are some good people still left that have such interesting jobs or hobbies. Getting to talk to these individuals is a real learning experience.
Through ham radio I've gotten to know Tom (WN3L), who helped "Elmer" me. An "Elmer" is someone who has been in the hobby for some time that can help teach you the finer points of amateur radio. Through Tom I also learned more on computers and he is the one who got me to switch from Windows to Linux. Tom has become a great friend to the family and we often can really can get into politics and current events discussions that well if Washington had talks like these maybe something would get done. Unfortunately Tom as given up on the hobby and moved on to his computer business.
Also if you're in the Pennsyltucky area and have an amateur license try out my coordinated 2 meter open repeater. The frequency is 145.230-with a PL tone of 77. Or if you want try my UHF repeater. The frequency is 448.475 - with a PL of 123. This is linked to my friend Ed's (N3MSK) UHF system. The Two meter is an on command linked to a other two meter machines and UHF machines that give us a systems with good wide area coverage for our Thursday night, 9:00PM.Skywarn Net. Or if needed in a severe weather emergency. We have most of the Mount Holly National Weather Service surrounding area covered. We still have some holes that we are trying to fill in. I am the Skywarn Coordinator for Carbon County and Coordinator for Monroe County. Also I am on the Mount Holly Skywarn Technical Committee.
Another person who has been a real help in learning about this hobby and turned out to be a great friend is Mike (N3DZM). Mike is the constant experimenter. The guy who is never satisfied the way something is and is always looking to improve, tweak, or just better something. He has done a lot of weak signal experimenting. But his claim to fame is repeater work. He has repeaters down to a science. But like many other amateurs he is sick and tired of the state of decay of the hobby and also has moved on to bigger and better things.
There are still some great amateurs in North Eastern Pennsylvania. Amateurs that go out of their way to teach or to help you learn or go out of their way to help with a project of your own. Such as Dave (W3SJ) who went out of his way to teach me the basics of Morse Code. A form of communication in radio using (.)dit and (-)dah on the carrier wave to form sentences. A (.) dit and a (-) dah together is the letter [A]. Or (-)dah and a (.)dit is the letter[N]. It is a very hard form of communication for me. I had a hell of a time getting my five words a minute. I have trouble copying voice or for that matter typing. Two college courses and years of hacking away at this and I can only type with two fingers. Then there is Ed (N3MSK) and Mike (N3BUB) who went out of their way to help me install a tower. These and others are what used to make this a great hobby.
We have amateurs who give up their time and effort to help out the National Weather Service predict severe weather and give weather alerts in a timely manner to millions of people across the nation. These amateurs help give notice through what the National Weather Service calls Skywarn. Dangerous weather conditions such as tornadoes, large hail,damaging wind etc. the Skywarn program along with Doppler II has been giving the communities across the nation the extra time they need to get to shelters in severe weather and saving lives.
Then there are the amateurs out there on low bands who for hours pass traffic after both natural and man-made disasters. So by all means if your interested in electronics, radio and are willing to listen to some experienced people out there, go for your license. Just be prepared for the other side of this hobby!
My Favorite Carry Pistol!