[AMRadio] AMRadio Digest, Vol 118, Issue 3

Norb Sichterman nsichterman at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 1 23:48:22 EDT 2013

Thanks Todd for the insight. I plan to get on and see what I can do with a hundred watts and a dipole. I'll probably use the lower end of 75 meters. 
Hope to hear you on sometime.
Norb KF0XO

On Friday, November 1, 2013 9:12 PM, "Todd, KA1KAQ" <ka1kaq at gmail.com> wrote:
Welcome aboard, Norb. 

I think you might have a couple wrong impressions from what you've said below. As a self-described newbie with the same goals as the rest of us, I hope you'll take my comments constructively.

On Fri, Nov 1, 2013 at 8:18 PM, Norb Sichterman <nsichterman at yahoo.com> wrote:

>The attitude is that you want new blood in the AM "community" but you seem to think that if someone uses a "plastic radio" or operates in the "ghetto" is inferior and some how not worthy of your attention. 

One part I agree with: the plastic radio comment. Sadly, there are a few who try to use the type of radio as a reason or 
means of elevating themselves above others, needing to see themselves as better. Same thing goes for the whole Citizens Band issue. Blaming an entire 
radio service for the bad actions of some of its users. If you really 
believed that way, you'd never get on the ham bands either as there are 
plenty of idiots heard regularly on our frequencies. 

But there are plenty of AMers who like new gear, and also folks who don't care for plastic radios, prefer old tube gear (I am one), *but* don't mind talking to whatever it is you're using since it's AM and that's what we supposedly are striving for - more AM heard on the air. 

As to the 'AM Ghetto' comment, I think you're perhaps taking that wrong. IIRC, and I'm sure Don/KYV can correct me on this if I'm wrong, that term was coined by the late N3DRB aka the Derb, who made a comparison one night to street fights between gangs, muggings, and other street crime, and the garbage heard on 75 meters between 3.870 and 3.890 on any given night. Though not as bad as it use to be, there's still plenty of stupidity to be heard in that region, and it's not mode-specific. Though I still pop in there from time to time to say hello to old friends (after the problem children have gone to bed or passed out for the night), a lot of people choose to spend their radio time better by operating elsewhere. Especially since the fone band expansion in late 2006. It's not a case of superiority, merely a choice of how and where to spend one's limited radio time to get maximum enjoyment vs. annoyance. 

Then after you do all of that and check into a net or round table by the time you get to talk could be up to an hour because old Elmer McLoudmouth gets on for an hour and tells everyone about how bad it is since they dropped the code (even he hasn't used it since 1953).

A couple things to keep in mind here. First, a "net" as encountered today is nothing more than a directed round table discussion where one operator talks as many times as all the others combined. Oftentimes these round tables are used as excuses for some perceived ownership of a frequency, hence the need to call it a "net". 

Second, net participation is voluntary, not mandatory. And being voluntary, anyone who checks into one deserves exactly what they get. I avoid them like the plague for the reason you mention above - the time wasted. They're great if you're working on the bench and need something simple to listen to for background noise, though. Same goes for monstrous round table discussions (or 'undirected nets').  

I have a modest AM station consisting of an old Heathkit DX 100, Hammarlund SP 600, and an R 390A and I enjoy getting on and just chewing the rag.

Sounds like a mighty decent station to me! And a far cry from the 'newbie' stations of yore, using an old Command set transmitter and dad's old Philco console. You're already way ahead of the game.

I would like to see a net maybe on Friday night that people could just give their call and when they want to talk they can. 

The point of a net is that you only talk when you're called upon, though. And with a net, sooner or later you'll end up dealing with that Elmer McLoudmouth guy you mentioned above. Even some round tables. Be careful what you wish for. 

As for operating break in, a member of this list from up in 2 Land once told me something that was incredibly astute. Paraphrased, he said something like "Have you ever noticed that the guys who complain about long-winded round tables and want to run break in seem to be the ones who have a reply to every comment and end up doing most of the talking?". 

Obviously my comments above are general in nature; there are "nets" that operate efficiently with small numbers of participants, and break-in groups that spread out the air time just fine. My point is more than ham radio is far from the ideal any of us would like it to be and it's up to us to make it an enjoyable pastime by our standards. Joining someone else's group might not yield this result. Starting your own QSO gives you the power to have the kind of contact you want to have instead of conforming to another group already in progress.

I don't mean to be too critical, my goals are the same as many on this reflector so I hope it is taken in the spirit in which it is given.

No offense taken here, Norb. My suggestion for you would be to try out 40 meters as your station would have a bigger nighttime signal there than on 75 where you'd be tough copy most nights at the 100 watt level. I learned that the hard way years ago running a 32V-2 during prime time. You're bound to find activity on 40, but don't let it stop you if you don't. Simply go to plan B - call CQ and stir up some of the other folks who are listening for, instead of creating, activity. 

And certainly don't feel confined to just a handful of frequencies. Find an empty space (within the limitations of your operating privileges, of course), kick back, and enjoy a chunk of spectrum without another AM group 5 KHz away interfering. I've had luck working 100 watt stations in NY and New England here in NC down on the 80m portion, 3.705-3.740 or so that I'd never hear in the 75m portion due to all the racket. A quiet area of the band makes a big difference.

Hope to work you sometime this winter.

~ Todd,  KA1KAQ/4

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