So you can get one and listen all you want! If your area has a lot of local repeater traffic, you could get a 'cheap' $35 radio and listen
to see if it's something you're interested in...
It'd be cheaper than buying a "scanner". But, I think the temptation would
be too great to key up instead of just listen.
However, the only time I'm on the air now is when I do my nets.
There's a ham who apparently doesn't believe in "good amateur practice",
as twice now, he has come onto a net in progress, calling CQ. When I said
"a net was in progress", he disappeared.
I told him that what I'm doing now is right before I start early checkins
to my nets, I ask if the reflector, etc. is in use, and give my callsign.
This is in case there's an emergency traffic situation in the process of
being resolved. If I hear nothing, I start the early checkins 30 minutes
before the net. Then, right before the net starts, I ask if there are any stations with Emergency Traffic, then clarify that, noting "This is Life
And Death Urgency to those involved right now".
One ham in west Texas considered it an EMERGENCY if his ROUTINE traffic wasn't given PRIORITY, as his HEALTH AND WELFARE (ego) would be shattered otherwise. He had pulled this on several other nets, and I understood that several net controls were getting ready to ban him.
Then, one night, he had the audacity to say to a net control "This is
not the way a net should be run". The guy thought that "the world, ham
radio, and nets revolved around him".
I sent him a stern warning letter, telling him that "If I had been an
FCC official, he would've had a Notice Of Liability for Forfeiture (an expensive monetary fine) and/or a Notice Of License Revocation in his
mailbox in short order. I also told him that if he got banned from a
net or reflector, and still showed up, the repeater or reflector
trustee or owner could block him...or they could turn him into the
Virtual Monitors and to the FCC.
I sent the letter overnight, return receipt requested...and I have
not heard him on the air since. I felt it was better I told him to
"cool it", rather than the FCC and law enforcement show up at his
door with an arrest warrant.
Back to the first individual, I emailed him, and said "if this
happens again, I will email the admins, and have your callsign
banned from usage of this system"...adding "if necessary, I'd get
him banned from D-Star as well".
Too many hams are so impatient...they think that missing checking
into a net is "the sin that will send them to Hell" (there is such
as sin, but this isn't it)...and they feel they can barge right in,
without asking if the frequency is in use first.
Now, I've been doing nets for 32 years, every since I first got
licensed in 1991...and have had situations where emergency traffic
broke into the net. At that point, regular net operations were
obviously suspended, until "systems were returned to regular use".
I tell folks now (in my preamble), "During the net, if you have an
EMERGENCY or PRIORITY traffic situation develop at your location,
break in with the prowords EMERGENCY or PRIORITY, followed by your
callsign. At that point, we'll stop the net, and try to help you
deal with your situation...or clear the frequency, if that'll be
the better option".
This also applies if the National Weather Service comes on,
asking to use the system for Skywarn Operations. At that point,
I immediately terminate the net, and turn it over to the NWS,
Before I quit doing weather and ham radio (which was what got
me into the hobby 32 years ago), tornadic storms had moved into
western Arkansas, and were approaching the Little Rock County
Warning Area (CWA) of the NWS Office. They called the Arkansas
Skywarn Coordinator, who called me, asking if I could start "The
Weather Watch Net", which was a precursor to "Arkansas Skywarn".
They were working to get net controls out to the NWS office, but
needed someone on the air before then.
Well, this was on a Thursday night, right when the club was
to do their regular traffic net. When I announced that "The
Weather Watch Net has been activated", one elderly ham (who
had gone bad senile after his wife died) demanded to know "Who
The Hell Made This Decision??!!". When I tried to explain it
to him, the guy went ballistic. Thankfully, the club president
was on the repeater, and I said "Mark!! Tell him!!". So, Mark
did, but it so angered the guy, that he always interefered with
me from then on. He thought checking into a regular traffic net
was far important than notifying folks of tornado warnings. (The
guy is a silent key now).
That, plus the club politics, folks wanting to know exact
specifics of severe weather or winter weather, and some other
issues (that I won't discuss here) burned me out in early 2019,
and I nearly quit the hobby. I changed my emphasis from weather
to trains and railroad crossing safety...and do NOTHING related
to weather nets anymore.
The callsign now stands for "Whistled Crossings For Quiet Zones".
Some railroads will use W for the warning to the engineer of an
upcoming highway grade crossing, and some use an X. QZ stands for
"quiet zone", where the engineer doesn't sound the whistle/horn,
unless meeting a train on another track, for a maintenance of way
(MOW) work crew on the tracks, if someone is trying to beat the
train at the railroad crossing, or they're trespassing (the
railroad right of way is private property).
I do the Trains Net on the QuadNet Array every Friday at 7pm US
Central Time...where we discuss anything and everything about trains
and railroading, and even have railroad trivia. However, I have not
been able to do the net the last 2 weeks...first for illness, and
last week for weather...and the same may be true again this Friday.
So, the ham who normally does the railroad trivia, takes the net when
I can't be there.
... Ham Radio D-Star, Echolink, D-Rats Net Spreadsheets: wx4qz.net/elk.htm
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