Jeff KE9V Ponders on Band Saturation, Numbers of Hams, and Minimal QSOs 17 - January - 2013Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
Tags: K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, KE9V
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Jeff KE9V, author, blogger and QRP enthusiast poses some interesting questions at his current blog “Smoke Curls”:
…if you step back and examine where the hobby seems to be headed, a reasonable person might conclude that preparations are already underway…
Check out his whole question and current blog at: http://ke9v.net/blog/2013/01/unintended-consequences/ (Note Jeff KE9V revamps his website often – sometimes relaly often, so if you want to save something to sudy I suggest you email yourself a copy.)
I commented to Jeff:
Hi Jeff KE9V
Your question seems to have three parts:
- If we achieve much higher licensees and corresponding higher on-band activity, what do we do about saturation of the bands & stop recruiting as a result?
- What are the motives told, actual motives and net benefits of the bandwidth reducing technologies?
- What is the point of link establishing minimalistic QSOs (like JT65)?
My take (and YMMV):
- License & Band Saturation Question
I’d like to comment on the Band Saturation part first. We are seeing some peaking of band usage as the demographics are seemingly changing. Weekends are heavy and contest weekend very saturated. Added is the better outlets for self-promotion of contests & events increasing involvement and the general improvement of many ham’s station capabilities.
Saturation can be short term addressed by displacing peak loads during the week to avoid climbing on top of each other. Increasing the award prestige for lower power (100w and QRP classes) or increasing the hurdles for QRO might help. Promoting alternative areas of the hobby can help.
Otherwise saturation will be what it is. If it gets too bad – the QRM will put off involvement pushing back to an equilibrium. I am certain I’m not the only one to have hit such a wall of contesters that I went off to do something else rather than fight through the wall.
So basically I see saturation as self-limiting and a lesser issue.
On the overall number of licensees we are replacing a lot of retired folk with newly retired and middle age hobbyists. That we have no reoccuring test requirements means he have a lot of “paper licensees” with no station or regular activity. Some hobbies have retests and currency requirements. Perhaps we should follow the Private Pilot route of separating license and privilege? I have a pilot’s license but am “not current” requiring me to meet a series of requirements before I would be legal to fly solo. Perhaps Amateur Radio could do something like this?
My point is it makes it very difficult to draw conclusions what level of licensees is license saturation? If every ham was active HF every weekend contesting we likely have too many already. If many just want their ticket “in case” or for VHF/UHF Emcomm work, and others are inactive then who knows what number is good?
- Bandwidth reducing technologies
Bandwidth reducing technologies are, as you point out, a double edges sword. I’ve had visiting hams usually not on HF complain that HF DX isn’t as nice & clear as their EchoLink and VHF experiences! I should hope the different technologies have differing characteristsics. WHat they are telling us though is that they want their ham experience to be like a cell phone. Not much adventure in that.
Digital modes is whole different animal, where outside of the extremes like JT65 there is potential for some sort of QSO, often in band conditions that SSB is dead during and CW may even be troublesome.
So where is the hobby with bandwidth reducing technologies? Is it good or bad? Afraid the answer is in all cases “it depends.” More underused repeaters is a waste (though the tin-foil-hat crowd will tell you they see a dark side to the D-Star repeaters as a central authority can stut them down). Why do it, except for the experimentation and fun? Wait – isn’t that much of what this is all about – Experimentation and Fun? DItto with the extreme modes.
- Minimal Exchange QSOs
As for minimal exchange QSOs, like contesting in any mode and JT65, they offer a lot less but more off it.
JT65 is a mode that I liken to running around high-fiving everyone you can, rather than taking their hand in a handshake clasp and exchanging pleasantries. It is a “Hey You?!” and “Yah, Gottacha and Hey You Too” mode. I do run some JT65 myself, as the technology interests me, but only when everything else on the bands is dead. There is some satisfaction connecting in highly adverse conditions with minimal power. I couldn’t see running it exclusively or all that often though.
Contesting is a different animal, one where the operator self-challenges themselves on stamina (self and station) and technique. Again the QSOs are like high-fiving, but are more like high-fiving touching the basketball hoop’s rim! A bit more accomplishment there.
I’ve rambled on enough that I am going to self-post this at my blog, linking to your question. I’ll follow up with my thoughts on the future of amateur radio in a few weeks.
Of course YMMV,
Interesting Article – “What’s all this Multiple Bandscope Stuff, Anyhow?” by Roger W3SZ 9 - December - 2012Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, Flex-6000, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
Tags: Flex-6000, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, KE9V, W3SZ
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A tip of the hat to Jeff KE9V for bringing attention to the Cheese Bits ham radio club newsletter - and the first first issue I looked at from Jeff’s suggestion turns out ot have a nice article on ”What’s all this Multiple ”What’s all this Multiple Bandscope Stuff, Anyhow?” by Roger W3SZ.
The article starts on page three: http://www.packratvhf.com/Cheese%20Bits/Cheese%20Bits%20December%202012.pdf
I couldn’t agree more with Roger W3SZ on using multiple bandscopes, though I am not on many of the bands he covers.
Same idea in regards to the “slices” featured with the upcoming Flex-6000 series.
A thank you to Jeff KE9V for the great suggestion.
Complements on a nice write up – well done Roger W3SZ, and well done Cheese Bits!
KE9V’s Cornbread Row Audio Ham Mystery Available (Briefly) 15 - September - 2012Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
Tags: Cornbread Row, K9ZW, KE9V
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Jeff KE9V did a really neat audio ham radio novel “Cornbread Row” which is up & down in terms of availability.
He has reissued it and for a few weeks will have it for download.
Cornbread Road originally debuted on the 21st of June, 2010. Thirteen audio episodes released one week at a time – from the Summer solstice to the Autumnal equinox. And now, it’s back for a final run. Thirteen audio episodes, one released each week – from the solstice to the equinox. It’s a ham radio mystery unlike any other and if you didn’t catch it the first time around, this might be your final chance. **This archive will be deleted on September 29, 2012.**
LINK IS http://ke9v.net
No Idea why it needs to come down in a few weeks, but if you enjoy a good story grab it while you can!
Selling a Radio Blog? Will Blog Subscriptions Work? 12 - January - 2012Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
Tags: K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, KE9V, Kindle, Kindle Blog
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Jeff KE9V is experimenting with a subscription service to his every evolving blog:
Amazon.com: Signal & Noise: Kindle Store: KE9V Jeff Davis
Signal & Noise [Kindle Edition]
Amateur Radio Adventures
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Monthly Price: $0.99 includes wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
Kindle Blogs are auto-delivered wirelessly to your Kindle and updated throughout the day so you can stay current.
This subscription comes with a risk-free 14-day free trial and are auto-delivered to your Kindle. Learn more about subscriptions.
Licensed since 1977, I’ve been writing about the world’s greatest hobby for over a decade.
Kindle blogs are fully downloaded onto your Kindle so you can read them even when you’re not wirelessly connected. And unlike RSS readers which often only provide headlines, blogs on Kindle give you full text content and images, and are updated wirelessly throughout the day
Wishing him well with the Amazon Blog format. Amazon imposes the minimum fee to “push” content to your Kindle.
Not having a Kindle it is hard to say if the format and subscription would work for me, though I rather doubt the cost would put off subscriber from a solid blog.
Yet it does mean a hefty monthly if one would subscribe to a number of blogs – I would expect I would be able to keep my costs down to $150-200 a year, which is more than I pay for my print radio magazines.
Regardless, this Blog “With Varying Frequency – Amateur Radio Ponderings” is content enough to just have your readership as it is.
Cornbread Road – A KE9V Audio Amateur Radio Novel Fully On-Line 5 - September - 2011Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
Tags: Cornbread Row, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, KE9V
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Jeff KE9V has released all 13 episodes of “Cornbread Road” his audio Amateur Radio Novel.
I’d heard the first 6-7 episodes earlier and can highly recommend his work.
From Jeff KE9V’s website:
Life seems tranquil and easy in the farmlands of East Central Indiana. The weather is good, the rain is plentiful and the Earth seems pleased to yield its goodness in acre after acre of corn and beans. It’s an ideal location for a radio amateur – flat land, wide open spaces and no antenna restrictions for hundreds of square miles.
But things aren’t quite what they seem just outside the limits of Paradise Valley on a slab of blacktop known to the locals as Cornbread Road.
The mystery unfolds in thirteen episodic adventures and it’s not like any other ham radio podcast you’ve ever heard…
Subscribe to the podcast feed: http://ke9v.net/podcast.xml or download individual episodes (MP3) below [links are live at Jeff site]:
Episode #1 – Finding Paradise [10min 35sec]
Episode #2 – The View From on Top [11min 24sec]
Episode #3 – Secrets at the Anchor [14min 8sec]
Episode #4 – Midnight in the Desert [11min 33sec]
Episode #5 – Lazy Days of Summer [15min 27sec]
Episode #6 – The Heart of the Matter [11min 0sec]
Episode #7 – Getting On Board [10min 12sec]
Episode #8 – The X Factor [9min 42sec]
Episode #9 – Footprints in the Snow [11min 03sec]
Episode #10 – The Onion Relay [10min 15sec]
Episode #11 – Revelation [13min 26sec]
Episode #12 – Fox Hunt [14min 15sec]
Episode #13 – The Sad Goodbye [12min 04sec]
Here’s a little more about this audio program.
My iPod is just downloading the whole lot, and I will be giving the series a listen this week!
Enjoy and 73
Jeff KE9V’s Cornbread Row, Amateur Radio Audio Story returns 14 - July - 2011Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
Tags: Cornbread Ro, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, KE9V
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Cautiously announcing the return of Cornbread Row, with
five seven of the episodes now back online.
Jeff KE9V has sad it will take a few weeks to get all 13 episodes online, which include the 7 previously released then withdrawn and the concluding 6 episodes which were not available previously.
Looking forward to the whole set and perhaps Jeff KE9V will also provide a Feed or iTunes option to make it quick and easy to add into my iPod.
The URL is http://ke9v.net/cornbread-road/