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Author Topic: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?  (Read 2075 times)

Offline OgreVorbis

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Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« on: May 05, 2019, 0700 UTC »
So I'm interested in finding out if there is anyone under 30 y.o. on this forum. It seems to me like the only people interested in this hobby are older (maybe 50-60).
If you are younger, how did you get into the hobby?

For me this all started with an interest in computers which then moved to electronics and then to radio.
I was somewhat interested in radio when I was only 15 y.o. but I didn't have the skills required to do anything really interesting.

The part where I think I differ from most people who are into radio is that I am not into it to make contacts or to do other ham-like activities and I am not into it even to play music (but that's part of it). There is just a huge excitement I get from putting out the waves and knowing that it's going very far. The physics of it just makes me really happy. Am I the only one who's like this?
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Offline redhat

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2019, 0351 UTC »
I suspect you and I are close to the same age.  I got started with a Lindsay publications reprint of 'The Complete Manual of Pirate Radio' in the late 90's.  I also had some friends at local radio and tv stations that would pass me down gear that was destined to be thrown away.  In those days I was more interested in the technology than the programming.  I thought it would be great to be an engineer for some pirate station somewhere, as sort of a behind the scenes kinda guy.  After a while, I delved into the programming end of it, and the rest is history.  It also helps that one of my engineering mentors was also a pirate, whose musical taste and delivery style left a big impression on me.

Like you, the prospect of talking to someone thousands of miles away doesn't excite me.  Playing a cool new song I just found for them, on the other hand, is far more exciting.  Introducing people to great new music (at least the stuff I like) is a big part of what drives me to do what I do, and ensure that I do the best I can to make it easy for the folks on the other end to enjoy the music.

« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 0403 UTC by redhat »
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Offline Kage

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2019, 1619 UTC »
Does 34 count?  8)

Yeah I'm a bit over the age of your question but I am no 50 or 60. The local library was my best friend as a preteen/teen and though I always had a burning interest in pirate radio there were books like Pirate Radio Stations - Andrew Yoder, 200 Meters & Down - Clinton Desoto, and Underground Frequency Guide -  Donald W. Schimmel that threw me into obsession. Add in the ARRL/QRP Notebook books and an interest in electronic circuitry that grew from my earliest childhood memories of the wonder of electric lighting and my first transistor radio that put me to bed when I was probably 6 y/o or so.

Earliest memory I have that fascinated me with transmission was having two radios, probably not much older than when I got that first AM/FM radio and finding that if I tuned one nearby to a frequency near the one tuned in on the other it would blank out the static. This made me realize these radios weren't only listening, but also sending out a weak signal on their own (internal oscillator). It didn't take long being one of those kids that charred his hands by shoving things in the wall outlet and later tore apart all his brothers electronics to his dismay to figure out how those radios were working. Was probably only weeks later that I was poking wires around inside one from an audio amplifier output to see if I could modulate it, which I somehow managed to do and had neighborhood friends tune into by using a random wire connected somewhere near the oscillator/tuner variable capacitor as an antenna, and injected audio going God knows where into that radio.
Also had a lot of fun knocking out my mothers TV set from fun little escapades like that. Hopefully no aircraft comm. interference lol.

Years later as a teenager the bug hit me hard after toying with CB radios back in the late 90s when skip was otherworldly. At that point I was well accustomed to small RF electronics thanks to those Radio Shack springboard kits and the radio projects in the manuals. Soldering iron came next, breadboarding, Ramsey FM kits, and the rest is history.
Finally got on the air with some serious power and antenna height via 40' self erected tower in my 20s covering all of my town on FM and later the AM broadcast band which took another serious level of effort thanks to mediumwave antennas at such shortened lengths. Had some decent second or third hand equipment at that point and knew how to repair electronics so trash picked stereos and audio mixers and other gear could be had free with just some fixing. Like redhat I also managed to connect with the local station and get some basement equipment they were going to junk. Wish I still had some of that old Gates stuff.
Mics and music started coming to me as friends grew heavy interest in getting on the air with me so lots of equipment and broadcast material flooded in until things got a bit too big were we knew we were on the radar of the wrong people.
Now I mostly hang low but still tinker and run shows, just not to those extremes anymore and prefer using my knowledge to help others new to the hobby, hence the forum I run dedicated to the more technical aspects of the art.

RF will always fascinate me, and I will always be an avid SWLer and RF engineer. It's simply in my blood. Pirate radio is a life mission for many I believe. Just sucks for us 30 somethings or younger that we kind of missed the boat now that most of the younger generation are mostly listening to digital mediums, but the airwaves still need to be occupied in my opinion, especially now more than ever that commercial stations are killing listenership with their trash.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 1649 UTC by Kage »
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Offline Josh

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2019, 1806 UTC »
LOl I'd say most of us here are old enough to be you guys dads. That being said, I think you should consider yourselves the elite of the elite in your generation. The rest of your generation is too busy listening to lady gagme and justine beaver via their ephones to be bothered with radio static.
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Offline IZS4

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2019, 1937 UTC »
I'm in my late thirties. Found a AM CB radio in our attic and hooked it up to a mag mount in the garage using a car battery. Around the same time I acquired a scanner, started listening to police, EMS and the cordless phones in the neighborhood. Next I bought a grundig shortwave radio, upgraded the CB radio to a 40 channel SSB rig then onto a 'Freeband rig' HR2510. After this I got my ham license and start working VHF, UHF and HF. Always listening to SW. Its not what it used to be, but there is plenty of things to listen to.
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Offline ThElectriCat

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2019, 0438 UTC »
I am 25 and remember when I first got a CB radio at something around 10. One of my friends who shared my interest managed to get one as well from a box of junk his parents had in the garage. 
We spent many hours and days trying to communicate with each other from as far a distance as possible with pretty much no knowledge of how antennas or radios worked. 

It probably started a lot earlier, walkie talkies, radio controlled cars, etc. There was not a time in my life when wireless communication didnt seem at least a little magical.
I got a ham radio license when I was 14, and my actual understanding of radio started to get a lot better. 

Thanks also to my dad, who is an electrical engineer (and somehow the only one of his peers without a ham radio license). I am sure his interest in electronics is a big part of why I was exposed to it so young. 

In another life, I could have been a telephone engineer.

Offline PresentedIn4D

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2019, 0505 UTC »
I'm 23.

I was first exposed to radio-as-a-hobby when I was really young...My grandparent's neighbor is a ham, and very young me was always enawed by his tower and massive yagis. He showed me all his radios one day and tuned around a bit and I was fascinated. Not much happened after that until 2009/2010 (age 13/14) when numbers stations really started popping up in the public consciousness (or something, I don't remember how I found out about them but UVB-76 started hitting news outlets not long after). All went downhill from there. Got my own shortwave, then another, then a ham license, etc etc etc. There's always been something magical about radio to me, something really strange and trippy about these signals from all over the world flying through you at any given moment.
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Offline Telegrapher

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2019, 1556 UTC »
For me, it all started After my granny gave me an old handheld world receiver with shortwave on it. I had no clue as to what it was, and listened to it for hours a day, started when I was 9 years old. Then later when I was at a local flea market, I stumbled across an old pile of books that were mostly covered in dust and almost unable to read due to moisture damage. One of those books I was looking at, had weird text on the cover. Leading to the reason of picking up that single book to inspect out of curiosity. I opened the book and some kind of what I think it was a reading card to mark the last page of the book the previous owner was reading to, fell out of it. As soon as I picked it up off the ground, and the guys who were selling the books were not noticing, I simply took just that little piece of paper and put it in my pocket before I put the book back on the pile it was laying. Later that day when I went back home, I decided to take a look at the weird language that was not only on the book but also on that little piece of paper that fell out of it. (I didnít know it was Russian language, especially not when I was just a little kid.) I typed in some words on the web and I found out it was linked to a radio broadcast located in Russia. And that it was transmitting 24/7 on the shortwave band. And thatís how my journey began.

Now at the age of 23, Iíve been following this station for about 10 years. And my interest has grown up to the point of collecting Russian radios dating back to world war 2 and the USSR.

The inspiration to all this work on collecting nice pieces of old shortwave related stuff all linked back to that single day at the flea market.

But even before that I was already interested in the shortwave band. As I heard low quality amateurs voices through that simple world receiver. I became hooked to it. I had no idea what I was listening to. As a kid, I was always wondering what it could be, and my mind was like ď is this the police? Are those people military agents? Is this the phone in the living room Iím listening to? And the list of thoughts goes on and on.Ē

I remember me always sitting alone in the dark attic while my other sons were playing video games or watching tv. All I needed at that time was my little world receiver that has been a real gift to me especially as I was still a child who always was busy with discovering things. And like now, 10 years later, I never changed my habits. I canít sit still doing some pointless stuff like watching propaganda tv or news that was always about negative things. Iím still the same as I was back then. When I just listen to shortwave, it makes me feel young again. A lot of memories pop up every time at night when the tubes are glowing and keeping me warm at night.

When I was at the age of 6 or so, I always started building things from simple disassembled components. I had a simple science kit based on electricity that I played with a lot. And I also used radio transmissions to drive a wireless car on the local road. So I can understand now when I look over my past life, I have been dealing a lot into radio even without really thinking about it. Like driving a radio controlled car. I enjoyed that for many many years. And often modifying electronic stuff also bought me to the collection part I am into since a few years. Repairing computers was the first successful project I have been diving into. And now to this day, I want to do more than just building and repairing computers only. So radio comes into my next hobby to have fun with.

I feel really really uneducated when it comes to radios, as it is completely new and different than what I already did with pcís. So I am just entering a whole new field of opportunities and fun to spend years of time into. Especially now as all the pcís I once bought from the dumb are recovered and working fine. I need something new to work on and learn from.

I hope that I will be able to repair all kinds of old radios especially in the future. Just like I did with those old vintage pcís. But itís still a lot of hocus spocus to me. New stuff like the life of tubes, SWR meters, and antenna designs are really confusing at the moment as I never heard about those topics. But I have enough spare time so I will be diving into those things little by little.

Overall, me as a 23 year old guy, am extremely interested and hooked to shortwave and all about radios. Especially the older ones. My experience with new stuf is that it is easy to fail over time. So now I need to see if that applies to old tube radios (which I doubt, due to their long history and the fact that they still work like new).

So thatís my short overview of how I got into radio at the very early age of 10.

If you made it to this end, I hope you enjoyed my little writing about my early experiences and how it evolved into what I am now. :)

Kind regards,

Offline R4002

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2019, 1856 UTC »
I'm in my very early 30s and I've been interested in radio since I was around 8 years old.  My father noticed my interest in electronics from an early age (basically I was taking every clock radio, car stereo, etc. I could get my hands on apart) and introduced me to a colleague of his who is a ham operator.  This was back in the mid 1990s before the Internet was what it is today and the idea of talking to somebody on the other side of the planet had that magic (it still does).  The friend of my father who was a ham gave me a cheap 40 channel AM Realistic (RadioShack) mobile CB, a magnetic mount CB antenna and a Hammarlund HQ-180-A shortwave/HF receiver.  He didn't give me any instructions on how to use the Hammarlund other than "hook this wire up to this screw terminal on the back of this radio, then throw the wire out your window". 

Basically I had to learn how to do use these radios by myself, which was part of the magic of radio (at that point there was a lot more broadcasting on shortwave).  By the time I was 10 I had my ham license and the rest is history. 

There are still younger guys that are into radio.  Most of my friends my age see the practical applications of radio (especially two-way radio/land mobile radio and CB radio)...but in this age of smartphones and instant worldwide communications capability via the Internet the "magic" is a little different.  Of course, when I explain that there's no "network" involved in long-distance HF communications, for example, technically-minded people appreciate it. 
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Offline Mr. Saturn

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2019, 0241 UTC »
I am mid-30's. My Pop (Grandfather) was a trucker from NY and was a CB cutup from way back. I also dabbled making the old boys on the CB get HBP as a kid in the late 80's/early 90's... Back then that or if you were lucky, a BBS system were pretty much Facebook/chat/DMs. Used to also listen in on scanners but not as much anymore.

I pretty much try to seek out pirate broadcasters on FM (there are a few more than people would assume on 87.7-87.9), drive-in theater stations (there are 3 within listening range to my current location), LPFMs, college/school stations, pirates on shortwave or any oddball shortwave transmission... really just because they broadcast better music and more interesting stuff than big AM/FM stations

One of my Uncles got me into pirate stations / college radio kind of inadvertently.. He used to camp out in his shed with his big sherlock pipe and blast vinyl everything from Motown to Minutemen and even the old records of Atari game soundtracks and I loved hanging out in there with him while he played his records and talked about them all. I didn't really notice the antenna behind the shed until later at which point he admitted to broadcasting a pirate AM station for years out of the shed and said he had received "mail from the other side of Texas", which was cool to me because we don't live near any side of Texas

Offline Andrew Yoder

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2019, 0422 UTC »
Great topic! Hope to see more stories from those under 30
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Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2019, 1324 UTC »
Heck Andy, you weren't far north of thirty when I first encountered you. Are you still wearing shorts 365 days a year up on Yoder Mountain?

(That's an inside joke. Andy grew up in the area where I first saw snowmobiles used as transportation. It snowed often and deep up there. When he told me he wore shorts year round you could have knocked me over with a feather.)

Andy's a great guy, but spotting him wearing shorts doesn't mean the weather is warm.

Offline oar9fi

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2019, 1354 UTC »
For many, myself included, the radio bug strikes at a young age and gets its claws in. The resulting GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) often gets so bad that the user becomes a HAM (Had Alot (of) Money)

Joking aside, my first radio was CB and i had a base. This led to just taking apart AM/FM radios & found I could get SW by tweaking them. Then after I got my license I mostly was a listener (back in those days of 900mHz cell phones I bought a BC-855xlt clipped the diode) Then in college (still were 49mhz cordless) we lived in apartments had no cable but got to know our neighbors quite well. They were our entertainment  ;)

I mostly listen but there is so much to do under the umbrella of radio, and even with a 10w radio on FT8 the other night i got into both NZ and Russia at the same time (on 30m) thats simply amazing... this lil brick radio being heard simultaneously in both hemispheres, thousands of miles away from me as well as each other!

Though my interests in radio shift with time, there is usually something fun. And cuz I'm old I can say little matched the excitement of analog phones in Orlando in the 90's (best was a guy saying he doesn't smoke crack...wink wink... cuz people can sometimes tap the phones" we were recording it too and almost died laughing. His crackhead paranoia was RIGHT :p
-Justin (39 now)

« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 1358 UTC by oar9fi »

Offline i_hear_you

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2019, 1905 UTC »
I just turned 40, and like a time capsule opening, my interest in SWL and focus on learning the EE details of radio TX and RX has sprung forth.

In the mid-80's I saved my allowance for a couple years and purchased a yellow Sony AM/FM and cassette Sports Walkman.  I've always been interested in listening to music, and this allowed me to tune in to an FM station that played some forward-thinking music (techno was just blossoming at the time) as I fell asleep.  I also enjoyed recording things to cassette and listening to them later.

In the early 10's I got involved in ham radio.  My driving force is off-grid comms, QRP is my biggest interest.  Very recently I've started collecting "vintage" receivers, cleaning them up and seeing what they can pull in.

...I am not into it to make contacts or to do other ham-like activities...The physics of it just makes me really happy...

I feel mostly the same.  I don't enjoy VHF/UHF repeater ragchew, and the idea of SW contesting doesn't interest me.  My biggest thrill is designing a new (and hopefully improved) antenna system, then testing it out.  In that regard, I enjoy seeing if I can make a few contacts from time to time with my modest 15 watts. But mostly, I've become addicted to continually improving my wide-band SWL receive systems.

I'm a big fan of electronic music, both listening to and producing.  I'm a yank and a bit young, and so I missed the UK rave explosion.  But even more sadly, the US doesn't have the FM pirate culture the UK still has.  That brings me to the final point:  I detest the state of AM/FM and even SW broadcasting in my locale and realize I may need to be the change I want to see.  If you know what I mean.  And I think that you do.

Offline Radio Boogie

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2019, 1937 UTC »
Hi folks... I'm old enough to be your grandpa at 57. I was a radio addict by the time I was 2. Radio back then was very fun and exciting compared to the corporate drivel all across the dial now. I made a career out of radio, as a DJ and engineer. I just wanted to inject that I know of a good handful of people in their 20's which are actively into radio listening and even ham radio. I know of a few who also have become record collectors and own turntables. It is great to see this.
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