ZedB wrote:Sorry it' been so long...over a year...health issues, mainly.
Well, I hope you're feeling better! A year is a long time, so must have been serious. I wish you the best of health.
I'm asking if putting your repeater on Shoutcast has increased the level of usage of the repeater ...
That's would be difficult to track. I would have to survey users of the repeater to know.
However, I do know recently of one person who listened to the repeater's Shoutcast audio and decided to get his ham license because of it. So, at least one more user of the repeater (and a new ham) now because of the streaming audio server!
... what we hams ought to be doing is increasing the time people spend on the air. Nothing else furthers the purpose of ham radio...
In spirit, I agree with that. It's the lack of knowledge that I think keeps people from doing more as hams. So many hams get their licenses then shrug their shoulders and say "now what?" Or, even worse, they do something a certain way for 50 years and hardheadedly fall behind in an opportunity to refresh their level of interest.
Have you been able to measure an increase in usage of the repeater itself?
No, nor is it the purpose of the streaming audio.
It's primarily intent was so that repeater users could listen in while they were out-of-range. Like, if I went on vacation and still wanted to listen in to my home repeater.
But, as mentioned above about the new ham it brought in, there does seem to be at least some 'backwards' listening. People find it on the Internet, and if they're local they can tune in live if they have a 2M capable radio.
How many hours per week is the repeater actively used for QSOs?
Recently, not many. The repeater has been up-and-down since winter, but will soon be repaired. That's not in my control. Meanwhile, I have it streaming a different local repeater.
However, I will record the audio for seven days and see. It's a VOX recorder (no silence is recorded), so I'll be able to see specifically how many hours it was used in that time. I'll report that number back here in a week.
I see lots of internet-related ham stuff, but always wonder if it really helps ham radio, or is a diversion to keep people from even bothering to pick up a microphone.
I often see 'old-school' types fishing for validation or applying dismissal to what they don't endorse. If that's not you, I apologize for the assumption. The tone of your replies have lead me to believe that's been your driving point. You seem to imply that the Internet has somehow diminished the hobby.
I believe the Internet has been a huge boon for ham radio. I can assure you with confidence that, if not for the Internet, we'd have fewer hams today than we do.
Besides, who cares how they use that license, so long as they're using it and sharing what they learn and experience!
Personally, I'm not in the hobby to rag-chew, though you probably couldn't tell from my verbose posts! Being an old radio-intercept guy from the Army, I still love learning about propagation, antennas, signal analysis.... pretty much anything to do with the science of radio.
For the sake of demonstration, here's one simple example of how the Internet has helped my ham radio experience:
I'm sitting here, typing this reply, while watching an HF digital waterfall on the second monitor. PSK31 traces all over the place. The old TS-830S is hooked to the computer, the computer to the Internet.
So, here I go, I'll break with you and send a CQ DX.
[several minutes later]
I'm back. Some goof in California replied to my DX call. I'm in Oregon.
Now I click one button to look at a map and I can see all the stations who've heard me. Toronto Canada, Massachusetts, several Cali stations, Texas, Florida and a local guy have all reported they've heard me. And they didn't need to be sitting at the radio with a mic in their hand to do so.
It also gives me a list of what stations I've heard. Automatically.
My last report shows that I've heard 180+ stations in the last 24 hours. From 13 different countries.
It's a near-instant propagation reporter. Imagine the benefits!*
All this would not be possible without the Internet.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, look here:
So, yes, the Internet helps ham radio. Whether you're looking up a callsign, troubleshooting a problem, taking a practice test, or just giving your two-cents in a forum; It's all good.
Vy 73, de Frank K2NCC
* I pretty much just leave the radio on all day now as it makes one a virtual beacon. With no transmission necessary. Anyone that doesn't know Ham Radio Deluxe and Digital Master 780, Google it or email me for a link to the latest download.