Information Net for September 9

Seven misconceptions about amateur radio

Posted on August 27, 2013 by Dan KB6NU

Read by: RICK N9GRW

Despite all the information about amateur radio that is available on the Internet, and the efforts of our public relations folks to set the record straight, there are still quite a few misconceptions about amateur radio floating around out there. Here are the top seven:

  1. Amateur radio is a dead hobby. This is far from the truth. There are now more than 700,000 licensed radio amateurs in the U.S., and the number keeps growing.
  2. You need to know Morse Code. This myth persists, even though the Morse Code test was eliminated for the Technician Class license more than 20 years ago, and it has since been eliminated for the other license classes. You don’t need to pass a code test to get an amateur radio license!


  1. Amateur radio uses old technology. Yes, some hams enjoy using vintage equipment that uses vacuum tubes, but modern transceivers, are very sophisticated. They have multiple embedded processors and perform some very advanced digital signal processing.You need to be an electronic genius to be a ham. To get the most out of amateur radio you do need to have some knowledge of how radio works, but you don’t need to be an electronics engineer to enjoy the hobby.


  1. The Internet means the death of amateur radio. Far from it. Rather than railing against the Internet, many hams have embraced it. Using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology, for example, amateur radio operators have networked their local repeaters with repeaters all over the world. And, the Internet provides a wealth of information about amateur radio, more than we would have dreamed of in the days before the Internet.


  1. It’s only for “old men.” Yes, the median age of amateur radio operators is probably somewhere north of 40, but there are still plenty of women and kids in amateur radio. 30% of the members in our club, for example, are women, and I have had many women and young people in my amateur radio classes.
  2. All amateur radio operators are nerds. This is a commonly-held misconception. Actually, only 95% of licensed amateur radio operator are nerds. We can’t figure out how the other 5% got their licenses.

[I got this information from Maurice Taylor’s KJ4ZJL facebook page…Thanks Buddy – George KC4TMV]

On the Web: Vanity HQ Website Pulls the Plug

Read by: PAUL KJ4WQN

After serving the US Amateur Radio community for 14 years Mike Carroll, N4MC, has shut down his Vanity HQ website. “Vanity HQ is closed,” now greets visitors to the site. “It’s been a good 14 years. Thank you everyone for participating, sending bug reports and comments, and I especially thank all the Elmer volunteers who have helped me over the years. It is time for me to move on. Regards to all.”

Read by: ED KE4JWS

The site has had its ups and downs over its lifetime. Carroll made a similar announcement in 2004, citing “a shift in my priorities,” but the site eventually remained open. Over the years Vanity HQ often was the first stop for radio amateurs seeking a vanity call sign. Among other information, it provided a list of recently issued vanity call signs as well as available call signs and active vanity call sign applications.


In 2008, the ARRL Board okayed a partnership with the Vanity HQ site to have QST Silent Key listings included in the Vanity HQ history project in an electronically searchable format.

After Carroll announced he was shutting down in 2004, Eldon Lewis, K7LS, inaugurated his RadioQTH website, which offers essentially the same information Vanity HQ did.

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