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Clubs, Groups and Societies For discussions about various clubs, groups and societies relating to our hobbies, such as the BVWS (incl NVCF), BATC, RSGB, APTS, CLPGS, THG, TCC etc. This is NOT an official forum for any of these organisations.

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Old 19th Feb 2021, 10:09 pm   #21
SiriusHardware
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

Done, thanks for flagging it up.
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Old 20th Feb 2021, 11:31 am   #22
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

Completed the survey as well and left some comments,
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Old 20th Feb 2021, 12:26 pm   #23
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

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The shift to it being done in clubs etc would be her idea of Hell..........If this goes ahead I might finally be able to persuade her to do the exam, it would be really handy for us to be able to use AR from time to time. She's actually quite happy to use PMR446 radios to keep me on an extended lead when we are together-but-apart at places like National Trust properties and big museums / airshows etcetera, but those radios do have limited range so it would be good to be able to hand her something a bit more powerful.
This is also my story - except we have beaten you to it. One of the first when RSGB announced the new online exam scheme. But without me to interpret the books it would not have worked.
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 5:19 pm   #24
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

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Terrible idea. The staggered timing of the old license system allows a period of experience to be built by working station etc. It also allows for mentoring from other hams and amateur radio clubs. I’m all for encouraging new blood into the hobby but The RSGB is clearly in the final death spasms of its ever declining membership

I just filled in the survey and made my objection known.
despite the fact there are people who have got to full in three weeks under the current system ?
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 5:32 pm   #25
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Given that the much vaunted 3 tier system did little to encourage either technical advancement or good operating procedure, we might just as well go straight back to the old RAE, without the requirement for morse. Do away with the first two stages completely, thus ensuring that only those with a serious dedication towards a licence would bother.
funnily enough a lot of the poor operating procedure I hear is from callsigns which are likely to be RAE holders,

i'm unsure why you think the three step system did little to encourage technical advancement (and oddly enough often those saying this do so from behind their shiny multi- thousand GBP radios, attached toa commercially made antenna via a radio fooling unit, especially when the foundation did ( and may well return to ) have practicals and the Intermediate practicals were a feature until thedecision made over remote invigilation to drop the practicals in the light of 2019 syllabus .

As others have pointed out it was possible to sit the RAE as a 'private candidate' and that is contained no practical assesments ...
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 6:56 pm   #26
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

The purpose of all vintages of the RAE is to screen people, to stop those without enough basic knowledge to keep out of trouble, getting on the air.

Thereafter, the more you learn of the technical aspects of radio stuff, the better your results will be. The more you learn of propagation characteristics, the slicker your operating procedures etc etc. It's self-examining and absolutely proof against cheating. No exam fees, no waiting.

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Old 13th May 2021, 7:57 pm   #27
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

If the exams are simplified any more then you may as well just issue the license with no exam
CB went dead after a short time due to rouge operators and Amateur radio will just do the same.
The Pandemic opened a method that filled the RSGB coffers but has resulted in so many with a license that have no knowledge of radio and electronics.
A system that only requires memorising answers to questions is just a death wish for the hobby
So many clubs provide correct courses and the all important practical tuition.my Club is very active in tuition and to loose this would start the demise of the club.
The RSGB proposals will see clubs start to vanish as no longer required, a social structure will also vanish.including all the field days and off site visits to support so many causes.
the system is not broke so , do not mend it.
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Old 13th May 2021, 8:10 pm   #28
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

Pragmatically, I'm not a 'club' type of person - I got my [Class B] RAE in the early-80s through self-study and then turning-up at a test-venue for a pre-booked test, doing it, and walking away then waiting a few weeks for the expected pass-certificate to arrive in the post.

Expecting prospective candidates to be a member of a club, or doing the training/tests in a collective/club environment, will deter many; these days i think the 'club' approach has been entirely overtaken by online learning - and online-testing, as was the norm for the sort of professional validations [Cisco CCIE/CCNA etc] I was doing a couple of decades back.

You don't need to be a member of a club to learn how to drive or take your driving-test and so get to pilot a couple of tons of metal at 70MPH. Why should the RAE be any different?
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Old 13th May 2021, 9:39 pm   #29
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

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If the exams are simplified any more then you may as well just issue the license with no exam
CB went dead after a short time due to rouge operators and Amateur radio will just do the same.
The Pandemic opened a method that filled the RSGB coffers but has resulted in so many with a license that have no knowledge of radio and electronics.
A system that only requires memorising answers to questions is just a death wish for the hobby
So many clubs provide correct courses and the all important practical tuition.my Club is very active in tuition and to loose this would start the demise of the club.
The RSGB proposals will see clubs start to vanish as no longer required, a social structure will also vanish.including all the field days and off site visits to support so many causes.
the system is not broke so , do not mend it.
MM0HDW https://www.qsl.net/ms0fnr/
I can't see why clubs and field days would cease to exist, just because you're not happy at other people joining the hobby.
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Old 13th May 2021, 9:55 pm   #30
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

RSGB Limited is a commercial book publisher that exists primarily for profit.
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Old 13th May 2021, 9:59 pm   #31
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

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RSGB Limited is a commercial book publisher that exists primarily for profit.
Yes, they do publish books which make a profit. I hardly imagine anyone doing it for free.
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Old 13th May 2021, 10:29 pm   #32
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

Has it escaped the notice of some people that the country has been effectively shut down for the last year and a half?
There just aren't the opportunities for people to attend clubs in person. Venues have remained effectively closed and will continue to do so for the short term as social distancing pretty much means you need a big room to put 12 people round a table with a 1 metre radius around them, never mind 2 metres.
Add to that the club stalwarts and senior members who have been isolated either by choice or necessity.
The RSGB had little choice but to overhaul the system, otherwise no new people would join the hobby at all.
Yes an awful lot of newcomers have signed up for and taken licences, being stuck at home with time on your hands makes you do this sort of thing and most will have had an interest beforehand anyway.

Even if clubs had been allowed to carry on, its an 80 mile round trip to my nearest affiliated club, hardly an incentive to attend night classes, and assuming the club has enough willing and qualified members to take on the teaching aspect.

I have been fortunate here, as we have an informal group of enthusiasts who welcomed me into their fold, and accepted my somewhat eccentric penchant for playing around with audio. AS far as they were concerned if it used electricity and needed wires it was relevant. (Not my words).
Anyway Lockdown was my trigger to get off my derriere and get some sort of formal qualification, not least so i could be more than an eavesdropper on the twice weekly nets the folks run here. One of the guys sneakily lent me a kenwood mobile 2m rig to listen in as I didnt have a VHF receiver. Anyway i was exhorted to get my foundation ticket so I would at least be part of the group via the local repeater.
I haven't looked back.
And the radio hobby can accommodate a vast range of interests. I've taken a somewhat unhealthy obsession with aerial layouts, to the point of working out a set of neighbour friendly masts to allow permutations of wire arrays.
Others may get into the details of the electronics or layout and design of circuit boards.
And so on.............
And here's a thing, the foundation licence IS simple but it at least majors on the regulations, and if it gets a 12 year old on board with a £25 baofeng and the kid decides is a good idea to carry on advancing then it's a win, for everyone cos that's a kid who will go on to greater things.
I am very appreciative of the volunteers who do the online invigilation, I think to denigrate the system as it stands now does no favours to anyone. If you think the world will go back to how it was even 2 years ago then you'll have a long wait.

Just my opinions, but to look down on those who took their tickets in these times does no favours to anyone.

73

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Old 14th May 2021, 12:44 am   #33
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

Some amateurs have always looked down on anyone with a newer callsign than theirs, and when there were lower level licences they suddenly had whole new vistas of personal superiority.

Just ignore them. You'll never change them. Just realise that from what they're saying, you must be enjoying life a lot more than they are. If you tell them this, their heads may explode which only makes a mess to clean up.

For some reason, amateur radio has been infested with grumpiness. It flourished on the air and in the letters pages of Radcom and QST, spilling over into other magazines long long before the internet. They took to the internet like vultures to carrion. Other internet areas I frequent are much more pleasant than the destructive flamewars of rec.radio.amateur.misc. - the horsey web areas are friendly and welcoming.

So just ignore the Colonel Blimps and get on with exploring some new technologies and having some fun.

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Old 14th May 2021, 5:15 pm   #34
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

Hi.
I've has this "class" or "looking down at you" attitude from older and more "experienced" amateurs already, even though I passed my intermediate 5 weeks after the foundation. Fortunately only very few have this holier than thou attitude and most experienced amateurs have been welcoming and helpful.
Even a Foundation amateur has come across as being jealous after I passed the intermediate so quickly, I suppose it takes all sorts, I actually feel sorry for them.
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Old 14th May 2021, 5:45 pm   #35
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I think that on-line invigilated exams are here to stay. As it's now been demonstrated that they work and that they are acceptable to the powers that be, it is a genii which is not going to go back into the bottle.

So long as people are checked for having the right knowledge before being let loose on the air, then the necessary job is being done.

The club approach has its problems. As an accredited assessor I found that my accredition expired if my signature wasn't on enough assessments for two years. In a club somewhat out f the high population density regions, this became more than a nuisance. I was at first told that I had to submit all the forms again as if from a fresh start and they'd contact my referees.... One was inconveniently no longer alive...

So I'm happy to do training as needed, but the artificial hoops to be jumped also extended to those on the staff side of the exams.

I'm not sure what necessary function having people's qualification time out so quickly served. I asked if they could provide the necessary steady stream of candidates needed to meet their requirements, or at least an explanation for that requirement. I have a reasonable collection of professional qualifications, but none of them has a best before date.

I see the on-line exam as an improvement from the club side of things.

I think that one of the side effects of covid is that we now have the most approachable RAE we've ever had.

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Old 15th May 2021, 11:38 am   #36
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

People who look down on you are pathetic Trevor and should not happen in the amateur community. What are we taught ? Forgive but don't forget.

Just a point, you know more than most of those folks!
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Old 15th May 2021, 11:59 am   #37
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

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What are we taught ? Forgive but don't forget.
My mum said "You know you are better because someone thought they where better than you".

Back more on topic, the more amateurs the better.
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Old 15th May 2021, 7:48 pm   #38
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Default Re: Amateur radio licence single exam to full

Going right back as far as I can recall (back to the mid 1950s as an SWL in my early teens) through to when I became licensed aged 35 in 1974 to the present day, there's been a widespread misunderstanding by radio amateurs of the regulatory principles which govern any restrictions placed on any activity by any public body from Ofcom to HMRC, to the Government or local By-laws. A cornerstone of all regulations is the 'principle of proportionality' - any restrictions imposed on any activity must be both proportionate and necessary, to prevent whatever problems they seek to minimise or obviate. They can go no further.

If you want to go fishing, you get a licence over the counter. If you want to drive a car, you take a theory and practical test, to demonstrate you have reached the minimum standard to be able to drive unsupervised so as not be a danger to yourself and other road users. If you want a pilots' licence, the risks and consequences are far greater, so the training and tests are much harder, for obvious reasons. If anyone wants to operate amateur radio equipment, they need to meet the minimum standards to ensure that they understand the limitations of frequency bands, power levels and modes on which they are permitted to operate. That's to ensure that amateurs don’t cause interference to other spectrum users, notably the emergency services or air traffic control.

None of these licences have to be 'earned' - they are not a 'reward for effort' and they're not 'a privilege' - they’re a legitimate entitlement if we attain the minimum standards necessary to satisfy the terms of the licence. If we breach the terms, (whether a driver, a publican, a pilot or a radio amateur) we risk losing that licence. There has been (still is it seems to me), a peculiar mindset in amateur radio that we should have to ‘work hard’ to ‘earn’ a licence – not to expect to ‘get it on a plate’, or get it ‘out of a cornflake packet’ (terms often used over the years to denigrate first the now defunct Novice Licence, then the Foundation licence.

I delayed taking the RAE Course until 1973 in my mid-thirties as radio amateurs seemed to be old fogeys with whom I felt I had little in common with. I did the RAE course as my primary interest was in construction rather than operating and thought it might help. At the time, I was in mid-career with two young sons aged nine and five. We’d moved house from Nottingham to Spalding to Grimsby in nine months and I was in the final year of a professional qualification (which is now a post-graduate course) covering 11 subject including accounting, commercial law, economics and statistics. That involved two nights a week at night school, (six hours), home study and copious homework. Three three-hour exams to pass, plus a case-study to be submitted and evaluated.

In the same year joined the local amateur radio club and learnt that there was a night school RAE course so I decided to squeeze that in too. So: in mid career, newly promoted, a recent house move, a father and a husband, the least significant thing I did that year was to study for and pass the RAE. I passed the professional exams too, leading in time to Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I mention this not to be boastful, but as an indication that when it comes to having a ’work ethic’ I was hardly a slouch.

I applied for an amateur Radio B licence and was allocated G8JIN.

When I went to the club to say I’d passed the RAE and was now licenced, my efforts were scornfully dismissed and I was roundly told by the self-styled ‘Klarsays’ that as a ‘Jait’ (G8), I was only half an amateur without the Morse test, and to do that I’d "need to put some effort in". (There never were ‘Class A’ and ‘Class B’ licences. I still have the BR68 documents – one is headed 'Amateur Radio Licence Full (A)', the other 'Amateur Radio Licence Full (B)'. ‘Class’ is something the amateur fraternity invented).

Whatever. I bit my tongue and a more affable Club member quietly suggested I approach an elderly amateur who wasn’t a Club member but had taught him Morse. I duly contacted him, and he said: "If you come two nights a week for an hour after work, I’ll get you through your test in three months, but if you miss a night, don’t bother coming back. All I ask in return, is that you take me along to the Coastguard Station for an outing when you take your test". (He was a fluent Spanish speaker, so all the plain language he sent was in Spanish!).

True enough, three months later, he got his outing, and I became G4EBT.

The ‘Klarsay’ old guard had an 80 Metre net every Monday night, so I chipped in and gave my new callsign. They welcomed me, said my callsign wasn’t familiar, asked where I was from, and I when I told them I was local and said “I was G8JIN last week, I’m G4EBT this week. Same guy, just a B licensee with Morse’. No big deal – a little thing in a busy year. It didn't go down well - they said "the Morse test acts as a filter, to weed out the feckless and stop them swamping the HF bands".

When it came to ‘standard of operating’, these same guys didn't see the irony of using CW abbreviations in speech. They thought it was perfectly normal behaviour to say things like “QRX one while I QSY to answer a call on the twisted pair/visit the little boy’s room”. “WX isn’t up to much today”. “QTH is Grimsby’, “73 - see you further down the log/electricity bill". It seemed to me to be bizarre to talk in that way and assert that it’s ‘correct procedure’ rather than 'jargon'.

Neither did they understand that in a QSO, once contact has been established it was only necessary to announce your callsign every 15 minutes not at the end of every over. (They could discuss for an hour about how low standards had fallen when so many amateurs said ‘seventy threes’ - not seventy three’. (What's wrong with 'thanks for the chat - cheerio'. And despite several being ex Royal signals, in a net, they were never all on quite the same frequency. As is largely the case today, they all used shop-bought 'plug 'n play' equipment.

Fast forward to when the Foundation licence came in:

I was then Secretary of the (now defunct) Local amateur radio Club and some members were in Raynet. There was an annual 20-mile walk by a rambling Club of a large firm in Hull, which Raynet liked to be involved in. (All a bit pointless really, when mobile phones would have done just as well). They wanted someone who could be a ‘back marker’ on the walk to make sure any stragglers didn’t get lost. My wife and I offered to do that.

At five-mile intervals, there were amateurs who recorded the names of the walkers who had passed that point and relayed the info to the Net Controller. One amateur staffing one of those posts was a newly qualified Foundation Licence amateur. Every time he went in air, someone jammed him by playing music over him. The suspect was a local G3 who had been implacably opposed to the new licence structure which he said had 'dumbed down the hobby and sounded its death knell'. That’s what in the minds of too many, passes for ‘The Ham Spirit’.

There is a strange mindset that if the requirements of the licence are tweaked this way or that, the hobby will blossom (or wither on the vine). It won't.

At least the present structure introduced some elements of practical work, and hats off to all the Clubs and Amateurs who have worked tirelessly to offer tuition, encouragement and support to newcomers. It's just the sort of structure that would have prepared me much better than ever the RAE did. Anyone who was reasonably literate and numerate could have answered five questions from a choice of eight with time to spare. EG: 'Sketch and describe the operation of a simple superhet receiver'.

My main hobby (apart from vintage radio restoration) is woodturning. I’ve been secretary of the local Club for fifteen years. It had grown from 40 members in 2015 to 65 by 2019, and since lockdown I’ve received emails and phone calls from people who want to take up the hobby and join the Club when lockdown is lifted. I’m having to disappoint them as the venue we use isn’t large enough to accept any more. It's ironic that you don’t need any qualifications, yet the standards attained have never been higher. As a competition judge, I often feel embarrassed at judging the work of people who – three years earlier, didn’t own a lathe, yet attain standards beyond my own level.

Sorry to bang on about it at such length when to all intents and purposes I'm out of the hobby.

Where I think the hobby lost its way, is that the RSGB was only ever focused on the RAE, rather than ‘lifelong learning’ and for example, running courses on the practical, experimental, construction aspects of the hobby as continual development. RSGB did their best, publishing a wide range of books, but ironically, it then gets labelled not as a service-provider, but as a profit-orientated bookseller.

Nothing will change.
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Old 15th May 2021, 9:27 pm   #39
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David, blimey that is one spleen well vented. I take the view that "silly b's" should be ignored and are by me, that is probably why I have never noticed them. I took my RAE ages ago and don't transmit much, still the legal ability is there if I care to do so. Funnily enough I got to grips* with morse (more of an exercise than necessity) just before the requirement was dropped. Stuck at a "lowly" G7 for life since then! Round the world on 5W is still a thrill when I have a go and no one has complained about the G7 (so far).

*Grips, meaning it just worked without thinking, maybe "lost grips" would have been more appropriate. I was determined to lean morse when I met a bloke who could read teleprinter off air while having a conversation!
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Old 16th May 2021, 9:30 am   #40
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David, blimey that is one spleen well vented!
Yes, I guess it was really, but it spanned 65 years.

On reflection, I have given the impression that I'm inferring that the whole hobby is imbued with sociopathic elitists, which clearly it isn't, but from my experience over the years there has been rather too much focus on whether or not individuals have 'earned' their right to be in the hobby, and hence, may be 'NROT' - Not Really Our Type'. Anyone with any licence has done everything they need to do to satisfy the regulatory requirements and should be welcomed and encouraged.

As to the ethos of the hobby, time moves on of course.

Until maybe the late 60s, it was, of necessity, largely a constructional, technical and experimental hobby as there was little in the way of commercial transmitters, so the tendency was to use an ex-WD much modified receiver and build a transmitter - maybe a CW one, then with a modulator to operate on AM. Then components for the amateur market became widely available, and there were many people in the hobby who had trained in the Armed Services as radio/radar mechanics, and in the radio and TV trade, so there was a lot of technical expertise and practical skills. A glance back at magazines of that era will find many detailed articles on building receivers, transmitters, station accessories and aerials.

On 2 Metres, many used ex PMR equipment such as Pye Cambridges, and later Dymar.

Then over time, commercial transceivers became available, SSB came along making it more of a challenge to homebrew equipment (albeit the likes of G2DAF did, and later, G3TSO and G3TXQ, and many were built). With rising prosperity, higher disposable income and less time for hobbies, buying commercial equipment became the norm and the emphasis swung from the technical and constructional ethos towards operating being the main focus. The marketing was/is clever and effective too: 'Command the band, winkle out the DX, penetrate the airwaves, punch through the QRM'.

I'm sure that today - as was ever the case - there will be members of every radio club that still exists, who do have considerable expertise, who welcome and encourage newcomers, offer training and guidance, arrange talks, organise rallies and so forth, and in a cheerless world, countless amateurs will derive much enjoyment from going on air. We can't create a future by living in the past, but for me, the remnants of the hobby as I once knew it, is alive and well in the G-QRP Club. (Still a joy to receive SPRAT).

I think I've taken up more than my share of the bandwidth on this topic, (some might consider it 'QRM!), so I guess I should go 'QRT' and say 73 & good DX!
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