Ham Radio status and preparations for Y2K

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I am giving a seminar about Y2K awareness and preparation to the Ham radio operators on the Big Island of Hawaii. I would like to include specific information about Ham Radio preparedness and general Y2K status of Hams around the world. I have heard rumors of many DGI's among the ranks, which is confusing, considering the nature of their service. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Keith Nealy Producer, Hawaii 2000

-- Keith Nealy (keithn@aloha.net), April 27, 1999



Here's a link that may be helpful:


-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), April 27, 1999.


This is closer to what you were looking for...


"Public Service Communications and the Year 2000"

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), April 27, 1999.

Being a HAM, I will warn you that this is the last bastion of the BIG BRAIN. We as a class may be nice enough, but you are about to go intothe lion's den and find HUGE numbers of DGI's. None of these nice folks will be able to be told anything about the problem because they (generally) already know all that is worth knowing about computers, communications, and electronics.

What? Me, bitter and cynicall?? Nah??

Chuck de N8NLL Who WILL be heard on 6m on WX8CLE, the new 6m SKYWARN coordination station for NWS CWA CLE

-- chuck, a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), April 27, 1999.


Also try this link...

http://www.altavista.com/cgi-bin/query?pg=q&kl=XX&q=amateur+ham+% 2By2k+%2Bradio&search=Search

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), April 27, 1999.


I second Chuck's take on ham ops. I was KA7VPX until I got so fed up with the typical ham's benign insularity that I let my ticket lapse in '95. Am in the process of getting licensed again so I can start up a Y2KNet on 80/40/maybe 20, preferably fone. When I get things started will post the info here, hopefully by mid or end of summer.


-- William J. Schenker, MD (wjs@linkfast.net), April 27, 1999.

DRATZ Bill, Seriously consider 10m. So that Techs like me and No Codes like my bride can participate.


-- chuck, a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), April 27, 1999.

many if not most hams are elderly and are DGIs. the ones you would be most interested in are thos who are already involved in emergency communications like Skywarn, ARES, RACES, MARS, etc. some are also in CAP and other groups. these people tend to be younger and they have the emergency equipment already, and the training. RACES is under DoD. ARES will work with the red cross, salvation army, etc. like they always do.

see you on 6m maybe, chuck, now that the cycle is up. jocelyne slough, WZ9M.

-- jocelyne slough (jonslough@tln.net), April 28, 1999.


I thot you'd NEVER ask. BIG problem with 10m and higher --- heavily discussed in old Gary North forum Ham threads way back in 1st 1/2 of '98 (Do a search of y2k.entrewave.com & look for the old threads on ham radio, communications, etc. It's all been said before.) All of the following refers to POST y2k communications.

I see the main contacts everyone will need to make will be within 500, maybe 1000 miles, occasionally 1500. Why? People won't need a ham rig to talk to the neighbor down the road -- CB rigs can be used instead -- a lot cheaper & no license needed. The usual criticism of CB in this app: "But the QRM(other people jamming the channels) is deafening -- CB has become completely worthless bec of it." Here's my take (ALL my takes are positions as or more extreme than InfoMagic's): what will be deafening, post y2k, will be the SILENCE --- as far as I can tell the CB'ers of today are all DGI's -- they won't have no stinkin' power supplies after their chrome dulie vehicles run out of petrol.

Also people won't need to talk to Luxembourg or even Tibet --- exotic DX (long distance) contacts won't give you the answers you are looking for. What will you be looking for? Well, you'll want to know what to do when your kid falls out of a tree and compound fractures his forearm bones and may be bleeding to death from the cut arteries. Theoretical? That what happened earlier this year to my friend, Will Richards, somewhere in the redneck state of AR, who runs the y2k.entrewave.com forum. Unfortunately, I was uncontactable (in hiding -- busy building my y2k homestead in TN before I relocated to AL -- no fone, no Internet, no email.)

When this kind of thing happens post y2k, u won't be able to ring up your local doc, call 911, get an ambulance, whatever (unless you're a Polly --- fortunately for them, they live on a different planet than we D&G's.) The only thing you'll be able to do is get on the air & get hold of a Doc Schenker, if he's still alive, & get some IMMEDIATE advice. Living in northern Alabama as I do, & on top of a high ridge you should be able to contact me from the East Coast to the West Coast on 40m or 80m at night. Now if you need that advice at 11AM, or 4PM, and it happens to be at a time in the solar cycle or season of the year, when the 'skip' (ability of signals to travel way beyond line of sight) is poor for those bands, then you'll want to contact me on 20m. 10m? 6m? ------ sure, if you make sure your kid has his accident right at the time that solar cycles, seasons, time of day are just right for contact (but ck the next paragraph for another wrinkle in your plans.)

An additional complication: if you're too CLOSE, like within a 100-200 miles or so, your skip on 10 or 6 could take you right past me -- I'll be in your 'skip zone,' uncontactable. Sure, 10m or 6m is great for round-the-world DX using only 'peanut oil' for fuel (QRP, or low power, rigs have always appealed to the cheapskate in me.) However, you've got other things on your mind than DX-contesting at the moment.

********************************************************************** **


"........many if not most hams are elderly and are DGIs......." I can tell you stumbled on the awful truth also; I'm embarrassed that all my generation on the HF bands are 'ragchewing' till their dentures wear out.

But what's even more painful was to find out the awful truth about the other cohort you mention: "the ones you would be most interested in are those who are already involved in emergency communications like Skywarn, ARES, RACES, MARS, etc. some are also in CAP and other groups. these people tend to be younger and they have the emergency equipment already, and the training."

It really gets me in the craw to find out that these ablebodied boys (& a few girls) have all sorts of gear & training -- but using it for their actual public service events last usually less than 3 days, before their nicads, fossil-fuel generators, and Twinkies give out. (Oh, I forgot, y2k will only last for 3 days.) (Ya, ya, I KNOW you are 1 of those hams in Quebec who lasted it for weeks --- but please don't irritate me with the Truth while I am making my, usual, Sweeping Generalities. Tnx.)


10m, 6m, or HTs (Handie Talkies) depending on the repeater network --- WILL NOT CUT IT POST Y2K to reach me for med advice, or Lua (a gal in Colorado who's the Guru on y2k herbal medicine), or Geri Guidetti (the Guru on survival gardening), or the other PEOPLE YOU'LL NEED ADVICE FROM WHO DON'T LIVE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD.

Get a life, get a code ticket: learn Morse Code --- buy 'MTGOLD,' for $30 from the ARRL, practice on your PC four sessions a day, 10 minutes a session, and in 1 month you can read and write 8 wpm, more than enuf for your Tech Plus license. Another 3 weeks of the same and you can sit for your General license (13 wpm.) Haven't enough time? Here's my comment, quoting a placard in my dentist's office:


'73, Bill

-- William J. Schenker, MD (wjs@linkfast.net), April 28, 1999.


Clearly you missed that I AM a TPlus (actually one of the last to go at it the right way, novice then tech). Getting to the lower bands with my current schedule will be problematical. I have already started to slide some of the responsibilities of Lodge, and now it's WX season.......

Chuck de N8NLL

-- chuck, a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), April 28, 1999.

I am busy learning morse code and studying HAM books so I can get a general class license and a hi-band radio prior to Y2K (and hopefully the radio will work after y2k :-)).

Morse code SUCKS! There's like 40 different symbols and at least that many 'shorthands' using some of those to learn. What ever happened to just letters and numbers. I am teaching myself just doing a couple letters at a time, add them to what I know. I am only up to 8 letters (I do it till I can do about 28wpm on the PC before adding more). At this rate Y2K will be here and gone before I'm any good at this. Really aggravating!

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), April 28, 1999.

PS As paramedics, I doubt my bride and i will be asking for trauma advice, but there other things that can befall us....


-- chuck, a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), April 28, 1999.

and my partner and I are still studying the book from ole Radio shack- had hoped to take the test in Jan. but got busy.......one of these days.....

-- anita (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), April 28, 1999.

As an addition to this discussion let me submit the following. I just recently completed my HAM station setup. I hold an Extra class ticket, had it for about 20 years now. Got tired of the "old timers" on the air and dropped out for about 10 years. Kept the ticket current but put equipment in storage.

Got a house with enough acreage to put up a tower again and thought why not, might be fun again. Dusted off the antenna building books, found my handy dandy HP calculator and starting string wire!! Fixed a couple of problems with the rig and threw power to everything. Viola!! First phone contact was a gentleman in Australia!!

Started on the tower project, beam antenna, etc. Got it all working. I'm now waiting for my MARS ticket to be issued so I can participate in that arena. Still messing with the solar panel stuff for backup power to the equipment. Something about living in the PNW that seems to frustrate me and the solar panels!! :)

So once I got all of this stuff up I started having visits by some of my neighbors. Not to complain but to ask, are you ready, about Y2K communications!! I about fell over!! These are professional people, teacher, an MD, etc. So I'm now helping teach a theory class to about 5 people around here once a week. Boy was my theory rusty. If all goes well we should have a couple of Techs and General ready to go on the air by this summer. I have had a good time doing this and we have had some lively discussions about Y2K in the process.

I also made the rounds of the local HAM clubs to get acquinted. Mixed response. A couple were of the "old timers no youngsters allowed" mindset but a couple were more open and helpfull. The observation about HAM's being DGI holds some truth. The old timers club felt that the computer problem was real, but they weren't doing anything tangible about it. Some members of the "younger" clubs GI and were doing things but a majority were not. Suprisingly the younger members weren't even involved in RACES, MARS, etc. A mixed response all around.

So I'm kinda going it on my own here. I've logged into the local 2m RACES net to get to know who is involved. They seem to have their act together. I have not had a chance to check out the local ARES so I don't have any insight there but it's on my list of things to do. Over all the local level of preperation among HAM's is mixed.

The folks who are working on getting their tickets have decided to work on a neighborhood type net using 2m simplex for a start. The neighborhood "size" covers about 10 square miles with the average home being on about 6 acres. I can see that this summer we'll be burning a lot of coax putting up antennas. Lest anyone thinks I'm an old timer for the record I'm only 46. The average age of the people I have described is 44.

Thats what's happening here in my neighbohood and the state of HAM radio as seen from my limited viewpoint.


(Know COBOL, will code for food!!:)

-- Freelancer (mercenary2000@yahoo.com), April 29, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ