I try yet again to want to get back into ham radio, and walk away sad.

I am having fun with HF QRP portable.  The technical challenges are most of the fun and PSK31 makes it entertaining..   But once again this weekend and I turn on my tri band FM rig in the car and listen to the repeaters while I drive.... and it's silent.

Nobody talking, not even on the state wide linked repeater.  And this is Good-Old FM 2 meter.   I have never had a spontaneous conversation on a 220 or 440 repeater, except for the 440 repeater my friend and I had in college set up in the apartment building.   And that was only because friends used it, Nobody else every stumbled on the repeater even though it was in the callbook.   I look at the siren song of D-star and other digital modes of nation wide and world wide QSO's but then read that many D-star owners gave up as even those are dead.

Honestly people, get off your phones and turn on your radio.  when someone is on the repeater calling ANSWER THEM!   Otherwise all you are doing is being one of those hams that is trying to kill the hobby.

Every time you do not turn on the radio and answer a call on your local repeater you are actively killing the hobby for someone else.  I have met many new hams that gave up because "there is nobody to talk to"...  and they are right.

I keep thinking of putting a radio on my motorcycle, almost pull the trigger and then stop.... I won't use it, I will ride 600 miles and never hear a peep break it's squelch but maybe a birdie or a random kerchunk.  I keep thinking of getting a Icom Dstar handy, but that $400 would be better spent elsewhere instead of a radio that just sits on my desk next to the other icom triband handheld that has never had a conversation on 6 meter or 440 ever in it's existence,  Only on 2 meter.   So why spend the money?  The only place that is slightly active is the HF bands and sadly none of the techs can get there.  and most can't afford the $600 minimum to play the HF game, for an HF  station active.

There is no excuse for not having a thriving ham community still out there, and there are more and more callsigns added to the database every year.... so where are they?