Let me preface this post by saying that for sometime I have been rather disillusioned with amateur radio as a hobby. The reasons are varied but can all be distilled down to a couple of core issues and the main one is that what attracted me to the hobby, namely home brew and electronics, which at one point was the core point of doing ham radio, is now, rather non existent.
And now what masquerades as a technical hobby is nothing more than Adult CB for those who passed a test one time that made them instant experts of everything or Amateur politics for small men with no life who want power, IE WIA and RASA. How many of these people do you ever hear doing radio? Other than Chapman and Smith, who i think are both shit stains on the hobby, I have never heard any of the others on air ever. So essentially you have people who for the most part do not partake in the hobby, deciding what should be done for those that do.
Take the LCD update as a classic example of how short sighted this hobby is. The WIA consulted with clubs on what to do with Fcall privileges. Have you looked around clubs? They are mostly old, grey and bald and male who has been an amateur for 30+ years with an advanced call. People who for the most part have no clue about the newbie experience in practical terms of what it is like to be a newbie, now, today. In other words, the opposite of who could give some insight into what its like to be an fcall or to be thinking about being an fcall.
If you want to know what the fcall gets right and what could be done better, why not ask some bloody fcalls or people who have been fcalls in the last 5 years? Of course we don’t ask fcalls because in reality, they do not matter, what matters are the opinions of advanced calls. Remember the title of this thread, we talk to those we value most and fcalls do not matter to the WIA because they make up such a small part of the membership as to be irrelevant. So what remains is Advanced call confirmation bias.
Oh sure, I can see some now who are reading this going, well that is not me. I do stuff and am part of a silent majority . And yeah you might do stuff, but is your voice one that is ever heard? A none heard voice is irrelevant. Take a tune though 40 and 20 meters any day of the week and have an actual listen to what transpires. I am running a transceiver i bought into an amplifier i bought, with a signal running through a feedline i bought into an antenna i bought, which is mounted on a tower i bought, so I am the king of ham radio.
You know this SKILL bullshit that people always go on about, my skill as a DX’r means I work more DX. Well, the actual skill is not in electronics or radio for that matter, its in comparative shopping methods and who has a bigger wallet, bigger yard and ultimately bigger amp, because the main skill in VK is who can run the most power without getting caught by an ACMA that is not looking.
One you get passed the dick waving about whose IcYaWood is bigger than someone elses, you get all the other stupidities. Sexism, racism, homophobia, misogyny, fcall bashing and other assorted hate passing as rag chewing. Yeah this is the pinnacle of amateur radio, there are less hateful people on the Brisbane UHF CB repeater and it takes a lot of class to out class the classy characters making animal noises on there.
So ultimately for me, I look at the dominant voices in this hobby and think to myself, I do not identify with these people, i do not relate to these people, I do not like these people and I certainly do not respect these people, so why the hell would i want to associate with these people. And as for people like myself who are trying to self educate in electronics and construction, who are trying to build a station from scratch that is worth using and is not just a novelty, well, they just don’t seem to exist or have been marginalised to the point where they just do not bother operating anymore.
You see, we promote the things we most value, and it would seem that the things we value the most are talkie talkes, wackers, contestors and those who want to be amateur politicians. The real ham radio, the stuff from the pre 1970’s where the first part of building a station was to own a soldering iron and know how to not make cooked chicken smells, well that no longer exists. It has been replaced with the Baofeng.
As for me, well I still have some goals left to achieve amateur radio. Yeah goals. A foreign concept to the talkie talkie crowd. But once they are achieved, I certainly do not see any compelling reason to remain in the hobby. I can easily switch to other forms of electronics where I can continue to learn and to grow. I have come a long way in 5 years, from not knowing what a resistor does, to now being able to design and build a transceiver that has practical use, covering everything from schematic capture and pcb layout to mechanical design.
But when i look at the hobby and those who are partaking in it, i don’t see myself represented anywhere. I see a lot of back in my day, old, white, bald, grey and male, i see a lot of conservative politics, anti science and fake news. But i don’t see a lot of ideals, morals and ethics worth emulating. And without people to look up to, people who are prominent and stand for something more than self interest and self indulgence, then there seems little reason to keep bothering. The very thought of turning a radio on, including the one i have just finished building, and making a qso or 2, just seems cringe worthy to me.