Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Democracy (Score 1) 100

by bobbied (#46834127) Attached to: DC Revolving Door: Ex-FCC Commissioner Is Now Head CTIA Lobbyist

And this is one of the many reasons why the US really isn't a democracy.

Being nit picky... The USA is not and it's never been a democracy. We where founded as a constitutional representative republic, which is decidedly NOT a democracy.

What are they teaching in school these days? We tried democracy, determined it didn't work very well for large groups. So the founders went with a representative republic instead. Kids...

Comment: Re:Airchat, or as I like to call it, CB Radio (Score 1) 121

CB Radio === Total waste of a good ham band.

CB radio at 27 MHz has been around since 1958. The radios were cheap --- remain cheap --- and have significant usable range without the use of repeaters.

CB radio survives because the cell phone isn't the answer to every problem.

Ham Radio: When all else fails, it works. I've never had an issue finding assistance on the ham bands. Even my unlicensed wife managed to get help by using my radio once. On the ham bands, it's about emergency communication and community service. They are there to help.

CB? Good luck finding somebody who 1. cares and 2. knows how to get you help when your cell phone dies. Last time I listened to CB it was a pile of mindless operators who where jawing all the time and never listening. Heaven help you if you needed help. Few cared to listen long enough to ever be helpful, and many where running so much power arguing with the guy next door that I doubt you would actually need a radio to hear them because the light bulbs would be making enough noise.

So I think it was a mistake to give 11 meters to the crazies on the CB band. Wasted some great HF spectrum space on what turned into a horrible mess. But, alas, it's done now and there is no going back.. Which is why I bid 11 meters a fond farewell...

Comment: Re:Airchat, or as I like to call it, CB Radio (Score 1) 121

CB is very useful on the road. I don't transmit much at all and usually don't even connect my mic, but it's great for traffic monitoring.

With the advent of cell phones most of the idiots moved off CB. Having a "public" frequency rather than yet another ham band used by a few gummers to chat about each others piles is a handy thing during disasters etc. Keeps public comms and hamspace separate.

Historically, the CB spectrum used to be part of the Ham allocation. So it got taken from the gummers in the first place... But you missed my point.

I do not begrudge the creation of CB radio, I do however question the selection of the spectrum for CB. There was no need to put it in the HF spectrum and should have been moved up above 6 meters. There would have been a lot less trouble with CB because they would have been limited to spectrum that was a lot less subject to long distance propagation, making it more useful for what it was intended to be, local communications. Antennas would have been smaller, and the problem with linear amps would have been greatly reduced, mainly because nobody would need them.

Comment: Re:Oh really? (Score 2) 121

Obscenity and talking in code is legally frowned upon, but almost everything else is fair game as long as it's not business related on the ham bands, at least between two US stations. International communications are usually limited to technical discussions or communications of a personal nature (how the kids are doing in school, the weather etc), but if you think about it, that makes good sense. Most hams do stick to noncontroversial topics, but that's not legally required. I've heard some pretty heated debates over religion and politics at times, but it's like standing on the street corner and yelling at people when you do that. You can start some lively debates, but nobody but the debaters will care. Not to mention, HF spectrum is a world wide resource, and using it to argue with somebody is a waste.

But all that aside, the issue is the band they used, not that they gave the CBers spectrum space. I'm complaining about the spectrum they selected. It should have been higher frequency, well above 6 meters, say where FRS is now would have been great. It would have avoided lots of the troubles we have with CB radios, allowed for smaller antennas and better overall usefulness because they could have easily increased the legal power output to make local communications much less difficult. As it stands, CB is a total wasteland, with little real purpose, that takes up valuable HF spectrum.

Comment: Re:The ARRL wants its technology back (Score 4, Informative) 121

Armature Extra here, how can I help you get licensed? It's not that hard and these days you don't even need to learn Morse code like I had too. Entry level license requires only basic understanding of Ohms Law and Power calculations, a little about RF safety and some basic things about the rules (like what privileges your license gives you, who the FCC and ITU are.)

Great hobby with lots of interesting things to look at. We do community service like weather spotting for the NWS, event and emergency communications. Don't like talking on the radio? There are lots of computer based things to play with, Digital modes like PSK, packet or HSMM stuff. We have software defined radios you can build and program too. I'll bet we can find something of interest for you to play with.

Don't like taking tests? Well, what if I told you all the questions and the correct answers are published in advance and the test is multiple choice. 35 questions are asked and you only need 26 right. You can practice online (usually for free) and know almost for sure if you will pass or not before taking the test. Tests are likely given regularly and very close to you, no matter where you live and cost $15 for as many as you can take and pass. Pass all three to get your Extra and enjoy the full set of Armature privileges available. If you pass, your license will be good for life as long as you keep requesting renewal every 10 years (renewals are currently free if you file yourself online).

Go ahead.. Take a look!

Comment: Re:Rail made "suburbia" before autos were availabl (Score 1) 389

by bobbied (#46832421) Attached to: Will the Nissan Leaf Take On the Tesla Model S At Half the Price?

The problem isn't da burbs, the problem is they were built without integrated light rail.

The "problem" is that light rail is *never* a cost effective way to service the burbs. Infrastructure development of light rail systems is hugely expensive as are operating costs, so large in fact that nobody would be willing to pay the fares required to cover these costs. They end up being supported by government and subsidized out the wazoo in all but the most densely populated urban areas.

Buses are better options financially. They require much less costly infrastructure, are cheaper overall, and a whole lot more flexible. But even then, they cost more than you can charge in fares.

Comment: Re:Mass transit (Score 1) 389

by bobbied (#46832345) Attached to: Will the Nissan Leaf Take On the Tesla Model S At Half the Price?

sounds like suburbanite who hasn't traveled outside the US, or even outside his suburb.

I've been a few places outside the USA a number of times. South America generally has ZERO public transit infrastructure, even in the larger cities. Out of the three midsized cities I've visited "south of the border" only one really had public transit, San Jose Costa Rica, but it sure didn't run where I wanted to go, ever. In Santiago Chile there was nothing but my shoes and taxis to get around, at least where I was staying. I think they had buses, but they didn't help me any.

I've made one trip to the UK, which was much better in it's public transportation setup, but it still didn't really cover where I wanted to go in Manchester so we had to take a lot of taxis. When RailTrack did service our needs, we took it, but I understand that Rail in the UK is HIGHLY subsidized because fares just don't cover the costs.

In all these cases, you simply walk, distances which most Americans consider excessive. In America, these distances are longer, simply because we did not pack our homes and businesses in as tightly. We didn't have to, we all owned cars. So now, we are stuck with it, at least for now.

Comment: Re:It's not about the money (Score 1) 350

by bobbied (#46827441) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

Dirty, 14 hour shifts, and working in an under-served skillset--not exactly the environment that lends itself to working on things you could take pleasure and pride in.

Farming was the primary motivation for me into a STEM career. Getting up at 3 AM to milk the cows then spending all day in the fields picking up hay only to return to the barn at 5 PM to milk again is a great way to motivate the lazy. I also got a fair amount of experience in mechanics, building and raising cattle so a skilled trade (mechanic, various building trades etc) wouldn't have been a problem, I just decided I liked Air Conditioning better than the great outdoors.

NOW they tell me that I should have been a welder? Um.. No, don't figure it's a good idea to spend my life in cramped spaces, berating heaven knows what welding something. Go ahead and get the engineering degree if you have the aptitude for math and science, but you might want to have a skilled trade or two up your sleeve.

Seriously, STEM isn't dead folks.. It will never be dead. But it's not a seller's market anymore in the engineering world. Right now it's a buyer's market because there are a bunch of us old geezers with decades of experience filing up the ranks, all the young whipper-snappers with the ink still drying on their bachelors degree don't have many jobs to choose from. But give it 5 years, maybe a decade and a lot of the engineering talent will be retiring, aging out or dying off. THEN your degree with 5 years of low level experience will be worth something..

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]