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Thread: "Ham Radio" -- not so nice

  1. #1

    Thumbs up "Ham Radio" -- not so nice

    I have been a licensed radio amateur since 1946, and have always thought that "Ham" radio is a somewhat derogatory label. Amongst the general public, there is considerable confusion between "citizens' radio" and "amateur radio, and many uninformed people lump these together as a sort-of "Clod Caddidlehopper" hobby. In reality, even the label "amateur" is rather misleading -- most of the licensed operators I know are far from amateurish in style or technical knowledge. I suggest that Nadia search out those prominent persons who hold or have held these licenses, e.g. Joseph Taylor, Nobel Laureate, etc. etc. The list will be a very long one, and should give the lie to "amateur" and "ham."

  2. #2
    YukonJack: Language is an amazing thing. It has the ability to completely change meaning over time (awful used to mean full of awe, intercourse used to talking/communicating) and either flatter or offend depending on context. That's partially why I wanted to know where ham came from...I wanted to make sure we weren't insulting anyone unintentionally.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    1
    I was not aware of any derogatory intention in the term "Ham", I took it to mean Home Amateur.

  4. #4
    The origin of the term "ham" has never been positively settled. The history of the hobby itself may be "concisely explained" as Livvy mentioned in her editorial, but the history of "ham" is still cloudy. Although the ARRL may claim it's not an acronym, there are theories that the word came from the initials H, A and M from the last names of three prominent amateurs of the early days. Another theory is that the "professional" operators were referring to the "high and mighty" attitude of people they may have seen as invading "their" territory. Keep in mind the times, where this newfangled medium of wireless was in its infancy. "Ham" may have originally been a derogatory term, but the hams adopted it and turned it into a proudly-worn name for the hobby, and we've been hams ever since. (The ham fraternity uses the term "lid" - also of unclear origin - for poor operators.)

    @YukonJack: The term "amateur" is often interpreted simply to mean that hams receive no compensation for their work and are therefore not "professional" in that sense. There's never been any question of the brains in the amateur community; nearly every mode of wireless communication in use today was pioneered by hams. You're right about the public lumping "CB" and "ham" operators into the same pool, but this has always been the case. The non-technical public isn't aware of any difference. In most cases all they know are CBers from TV shows or their trucker buddies. It's sad, but people often only learn about amateur radio when we're in the news after a major disaster, and media outlets tell how we provide the only working communications when the normal ways fail. (BTW, I've been licensed since 1972, so you've got a few years on me, OM!)
    Last edited by SolKA3O; 03-12-2014 at 06:45 AM.

  5. #5
    The ARRL story is the one that is spread, but is not conclusive, even by their own wording.

    I remember listening to the old floor model AM/SW Philco, static and all, and knowing the difference between short wave stations and ham radio transmissions. I did not know the term Amateur, but after I always took the term as a quick way to refer to Amateur Radio Operator. I am an "Amateur Radio Operator" is quite long... I am an "Am"... Ham...

    Perceived by the general public as hobbyists., yet when the non-ham visits the station, they learn otherwise. And when the new ham learns more, we all learn otherwise: highly knowledgeable and technical people in the "hobby." yet have the skills to aid in emergencies and disasters where common communications will fail. *not the internet.

  6. #6
    Yukon, I was going to reply in the same vein, but you did a much better job of it. I wanted to make the point that amateur radio is NOT glorified CB. And that it requires some effort and training to get a license. Actually, I don't see why Jameco is trying to attract the amateur radio enthusiasts anyway. Not likely to get a pair of <you put in the number> output tubes here anyway. Ha.

    I held a Novice class license many years ago, then graduated to Technician class. Could never get the Morse Code reading past 5wpm. Do they still require Morse Code? I think I read that it was dropped. Anyway, personally, I don't mind the moniker 'ham'. I just don't want the public thinking that we're just a bunch of 'good buddies' filling the airwaves with illegal kilowatt garbage. Sorry, I say 'we' as though I still hold a license.

    Larry (WN2VPD circa 1975; forgot what my tech class call letters were).

  7. #7
    @YukonJack: The term "amateur" is often interpreted simply to mean that hams receive no compensation for their work and are therefore not "professional" in that sense. There's never been any question of the brains in the amateur community; nearly every mode of wireless communication in use today was pioneered by hams. You're right about the public lumping "CB" and "ham" operators into the same pool, but this has always been the case. The non-technical public isn't aware of any difference. In most cases all they know are CBers from TV shows or their trucker buddies. It's sad, but people often only learn about amateur radio when we're in the news after a major disaster, and media outlets tell how we provide the only working communications when the normal ways fail. (BTW, I've been licensed since 1972, so you've got a few years on me, OM!)
    NAT

  8. #8
    The non-technical public isn't aware of any difference. In most cases all they know are CBers from TV shows or their trucker buddies. It's sad, but people often only learn about amateur radio when we're in the news after a major disaster, and media outlets tell how we provide the only working communications when the normal ways fail. (BTW, I've been licensed since 1972, so you've got a few years on me, OM!)



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  9. #9
    I agree that the general public is unaware of the existence of ham radio for the most part. CB, on the other hand, has become shorthand for "everything bad that happens to my electronic devices". Any semblance of radio equipment is called CB. At my home I put up a vertical antenna. Before I even had my radio the HOA got complaints that I was interfering with cell phones, satellite TV, and even kitchen appliances.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    8
    Amateur means not commercial. We are Ham Radio Operators, We are Amateur Radio Operators.

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