Network Radio 1 Real Radio 0

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Network Radio 1 Real Radio 0

Postby G4RMT » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:10 am

Network radio is being talked about a lot in terms of the fact it's not 'real' radio and some people wondering if it's the death of ham radio. I've decided that I think it very well could be.

I've only been dabbling since the summer, sticking one in my van - but to get out for a good price, I had to buy rather a lot after the initial sample. I sold a few to people on Ebay - and made a small amount after VAT, import duty and PayPal/ebay fees, which are now over 10% of the cost. I showed the one in my van to one of the three users of my small localish area business repeater. He's now put them in his tractors, and his wife has zello on her phone. I have another small business with three cars, and they're having three more network radios next week. The only other user hardly ever uses his radios, so the repeater won't have any traffic at all for most of the time, as he uses it for backup and emergency use when the phone signal is bad. The other two occasionally need more distance - airport runs for one of them being common - and they go out of the repeater range regularly. To them, the difference is simply a change of radio. I'll probably get the job of replacing the odd SIM card but that's it.

So showing them the radio has cost me dearly. From their point it just works, and as zello autoloads when power is connected, they don't need to even touch the radio - one group, volume half way up - don't touch it - it just works. The huge numbers of leisure users shows how effective it is. I suspect business radio licences will drop rapidly, and then more spectrum can be sold off. There's talk about new digital airband being developed that won't use the current allocation, so I am beginning to believe that in 10 years time, we'll hardly recognise radio as we know it now.
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Re: Network Radio 1 Real Radio 0

Postby brian-w » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:52 am

I wonder too, if the likes of Zello. seeing the traffic levels increase on their 'free' platform, will decide to levy a fee on channels with more that x-number of users or some other arbitrary data throughput on their servers. Nothing is free forever.

Don't ditch your 'real radios' yet - you may need them when the bubble bursts.
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Re: Network Radio 1 Real Radio 0

Postby Darkstar » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:52 am

brian-w wrote:I wonder too, if the likes of Zello. seeing the traffic levels increase on their 'free' platform, will decide to levy a fee on channels with more that x-number of users or some other arbitrary data throughput on their servers. Nothing is free forever.

Don't ditch your 'real radios' yet - you may need them when the bubble bursts.


well said, of cousre the app developers will start charging it's another money cow, and some idiots will be happy too pay it. It beggars belief how people are singing the virtues of what is basically a mobile phone with the word radio stuck on to legitamise it, suppose it beats having to get a license, should suit all the lazy folk.
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Re: Network Radio 1 Real Radio 0

Postby CW-2E0UCW » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:01 pm

The "radio" manufacturers are already making a killing off these devices and the majority are not good to be used as a phone as they don't have a proximity sensor.

Pimped "not so smart" phones start at £120 and head up to £570 which includes DMR on UHF with 2 watts (the iPhone X is near that cost).

I've heard/seen comments stating that "there's always someone to talk to" - most of the time it's amateurs talking to amateurs - why not do that on amateur bands?

And more to my amazement is the admins saying it will help get people into amateur radio - the Network Radio Zello Groups were started by someone that doesn't have the best reputation on repeaters or on DMR.

There have been some lame excuses for using NR - "I can talk around the world and don't need a code plug or to program my radio" is the last I heard a DMR talk group this evening.
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Re: Network Radio 1 Real Radio 0

Postby G4RMT » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:17 pm

Yep - I get this, but all these things don't matter a jot when the activity on the non-business side of zello is growing so fast. Clearly, many people don't like it. I just don't quite know why? It's not amateur radio, despite the number of amateur callsigns, but it's actually beneficial - you get a G4 like me talking too a fella called backbacon. Sensible conversation, interesting fella and it would never have happened on 'real' radio, so surely it has to be a positive thing, socially?

For those who talk to hams who make the hobby sound interesting, I can see it might attract them, but I have spoken to more people in a couple of months than I have in 20 years. No crazed neighbours with TVI issues, but I still cannot use it with passengers in my van because they laugh, and my wife insists I turn it off as it's drivel. Still, she's said that for 40 years.
P
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Re: Network Radio 1 Real Radio 0

Postby Darkstar » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:50 am

Farewell amateur radio, it was nice knowing you, Now let's all jump on the internet, and pretend we are playing radio. As a tutor/assessor for 11 yrs with the RSGB I have seen the numbers of those wanting too pass their foundation license drop. Surely all this license free voip will be the final nail in the coffin. Truly pathetic.
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Re: Network Radio 1 Real Radio 0

Postby m0lsx » Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:58 pm

Darkstar wrote:Farewell amateur radio, it was nice knowing you, Now let's all jump on the internet, and pretend we are playing radio. As a tutor/assessor for 11 yrs with the RSGB I have seen the numbers of those wanting too pass their foundation license drop. Surely all this license free voip will be the final nail in the coffin. Truly pathetic.


The biggest problem is that Amateur radio has been sold as a cheap & easy licence to gain for chatting on. Rather than as a technical hobby to enjoy.
There has been a big growth in technical groups, whilst amateur radio has gone down the path of encouraging cheap far east handhelds as the way to go.
For example, Mens Shed is an expanding social group, who run all sorts of courses that teach everything from welding, woodwork, metal work etc etc.
Now add in groups like Hackspace & the UK High Altitude Society who does high altitude ballooning & what you see is that these groups are growing & bringing in new blood to amateur radio, whilst amateur radio it's self wants to go down the lowest technical path possible.
It is not VOIP that is killing Amateur radio, it is the fact that for far too many, sitting for hours on a repeater, whilst at home, is as technical as they get. That is not a hobby, it's a social disability.
Repeaters are there to help mobile stations, not for base operators to talk to each other via. And especially not for base stations to talk to each other via when they could easily do so simplex. The number of IQ zero's I use to hear on the inputs, who choose to use 25-50 watts into a repeater via their collinear antenna, when I could easily access it from a similar distance, or less, on 5 watts using a handled is too many to even guess at.
VOIP has the ability to expend our hobby. For example RAYNET could legally operate outside of the restrictions placed on them, as far as who they can help & what events they can support.
General poor conduct is ALWAYS going to cost the hobby people, whilst VOIP could bring in new blood & need not cost us anyone.
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Re: Network Radio 1 Real Radio 0

Postby Bobcode » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:52 pm

I spent a considerable amount of time learning all the necessary requirements for taking the foundation licence exam.I also took advantage of essexhams excellent on line course to prepare for the examination.
Time came when I felt able to sit this, could I find anywhere to do so? Initially, no.
Eventually, after a lot of enquiries, I found a club that was running the exam, cost, the price of the examination plus £20 for “ incidentals” . Could find no justification for this extra charge so never took the exam as I could find nowhere else to take it, gave up, network radio beckons !
The past serves nothing, save lessons learned for the future !
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Re: Network Radio 1 Real Radio 0

Postby m0lsx » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:11 am

Bobcode wrote: plus £20 for “ incidentals” . Could find no justification for this extra charge so never took the exam as I could find nowhere else to take it, gave up, network radio beckons !


That £20 covers the the costs involved in the club putting these exams on. The room may or may not be sitting available, but there are still incidentals involved & would you expect to rent a village hall or a car for free, even if they were going to be sitting around unused?
When I was on the management committee of a Scout group about 10 years ago, we use to charge a LOT more than £20 to rent our Scout hut out for a weekend & the foundation course is a whole weekend or several evenings. So even with say 5 or 6 candiadtes, £20 is not much to ask, for the room alone.
As a whole the trainers give their time & petrol costs etc free. But £20 per candidate does not seem much for the time & effort put in by the trainers, who provide things like.....Several photocopies per candidate , plus the whole weekend of several peoples time, plus their travellings costs etc.
Even if the trainers do not claim for their travelling costs, is it not reasonable for them to donate those costs to the club?
A simple radio for the exam, is a must, as failing to show that you can set up & operate a radio is an exam failure. And would you want to show your ability to set up & operate on, for example, one of my menu driven modern Yaesu's? Or on my old valve FTDX-500 yaesu, that requires the tuning of plate & load, before anything else?
As a trainer, I could have failed you every time by providing you with the wrong radio to do it on..Would that be reasonable?
So where do you think the training radio comes from? The answer is that often the club buys a simple radio set up, for training use.
Now add in a few free cups of coffee & tea for several volunteer trainers across the weekend & that is what it takes to put on a amateur radio foundation course.....Several people.
At one point, I had to send a couple of documents away, to get my CRB clearances with the RSGB & that involved me paying for the post office to check & certify them. Current cost is £10.30p & you complain about £20 for a whole course!!! It cost me more than £20 to become a volunteer trainer.
Also who do you think provides the laptop computer? The volunteer trainers? And what about an over head projector? is that needed? Plus all of the other bits & pieces?
Even if they belong to someone, who is happy to donate their use to the hobby they love. Is it such a big disgrace to ask £20 to cover their use?
£20 is nothing for a weekends course.
I originally took the old RAE. Those courses were run as evening classes in places like collages & schools etc & even in about 79, when I did my RAE, £20 was cheap & you say £20 put you off doing a course recently. :shocker: :shocker: :shocker:
I personally stopped training after the RSGB messed a load of stuff up & I felt the time & effort involved in getting re-registered as a trainer was not worth the hassle, thank you for showing me I was right.
Last edited by m0lsx on Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Network Radio 1 Real Radio 0

Postby Scan125 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:13 am

I date back to the 70s and was in a school small radio club with a CCF Royal Signals section. At the time to a get an amateur ticket one was required to pass a morse code test. Now with sports and other academic activities for 7 days of the week and just an hour (or was it two) once a week for radio club there was no chance for getting a license. I did Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme in stead of CCF so my radio time was less than the others in the CCF signals section. It is also no surprise that they got their kicks from the CCF radio stuff and despite being radio club members they never took the amateur radio exam either.

Another factor, which I will admit has I gather changed, is that back then you could only talk on the radio about radio technical stuff. All very dry and boring.

Come to today and we have a foundation license which is easy to take and pass. Also the "dry and boring" rigid rules have been well relaxed. So should be good and easy to jump on board. I would were I able to take the exam and practical online instead of having to hunt down a club to do so. On the other hand CB SSB is now very attractive so why bother with amateur. CB to my knowledge has no repeaters to sit on so the challenge of DXing is as good on amateur bands.

Then we have OFCOM turning a blind eye to all the illegal radio activity. Inter banding, burners, etc. They seem to only care and get involved if you are creating interference with other services and people. On this later point I think the licensed amateur with his/her own home grown kit would get words of help and wisdom and the illegal non amateur would probably get their kit confiscated.

So Network radio. I plan to take a look at this to see if it has any attraction to me.
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