Ham radio

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Ham radio

Postposted on Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:56 pm

W00t! I just passed my Technician and General Classes tests today. Are there any other ham operator gerbils out there? I'm just starting out, and I'm not sure what equipment to get. I thought I'd start out cheap, and maybe get a low power CW (Morse code) rig, and make my own dipole antenna. Any advice is welcome.
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Re: Ham radio

Postposted on Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:38 pm

Congratulations. I'm a tech+code operator from way way back in the day. They've changed the testing requirements to drop CW in the interim so I'm pretty out of it by modern standards. One of the easiest ways to get into shorter-range communication is to just get a hand-held 2-meter transceiver (many also handle dual-bands like 440MHz too).
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Re: Ham radio

Postposted on Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:12 pm

I got my No-code Tech license back in the early 90's, but allowed it to lapse at the 10-year mark because I had completely lost interest. What with cell-phones and all, I just didn't see the point of all the effort. In retrospect maybe I should've renewed it just to have, however.....

...apparently having a license means making your name, callsign, and full address public information. I googled my name a few years ago, and was very irritated to see my old callsign and physical address listed on every shady peoplefinder site. Apparently they pulled it from some old public information database. It's worth mentioning that I was 13 when I got my license.

I get pissed off just thinking about it. WTF are they thinking making the address of a 13-year-old boy public info? As a minor, how could I have even consented to such a thing? Are they out of their minds?? What if some old creeper had been listening to a conversation, wrote down my callsign, and then looked up my address to find me?
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Re: Ham radio

Postposted on Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:30 pm

Welcome to ham radio! I have a tech license and was pretty active for a while until I moved to another state and just didn't have time for the hobby, but I just took out my equipment last week and was looking at it, hoping to restart.

The best way to start out is to get a good transceiver that does the 144/440 band. There are a bunch of good brands for handheld transceivers. Yaesu radios are among the more expensive but better quality ones out there. I have a VX-170. It's only 144 MHz, and if I had it to do over again, I'd get a dual band (with 440 MHz freq as well) so that I could talk in more areas.

Once you get out there and talk over the air a bit, you can try making your own antenna. I built one out of old metal coat hangers and a bit of elbow grease (well, a lot of elbow grease). It was lots of fun and worked really well.

Ham radio is open to anyone, but you'll find it to be a wonderfully friendly and self-regulating community that attracts real talent. Many of the great advances in radio communications made since its creation were pioneered by ham radio hobbyists, many of whom are still on the air today.

You can also do some seriously cool things with model airplanes now that you have your tech license.

Morse code is cool, but there isn't a lot of it out there anymore. My advice would be to learn it via computer program. There's a free one out there called Morse Code Trainer, or something like that. I learned a few letters with it. As with any language, you have to use it a lot in order to learn it well, so search out a community for that if you want.

73,

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Re: Ham radio

Postposted on Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:34 pm

Thanks for the replies. I got my call sign today and so I'm officially Kilo Mike 4 Delta Alpha Echo. It would be nice if some of you got back into ham. BTW, the general class licence test was not too hard, so maybe some of you might give it a try. Those ARRL study books make it easy. 73.
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Re: Ham radio

Postposted on Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:54 pm

KM4DAE, welcome!

Keep this thread updated with your equipment and your overall progress. Always good to hear of fellow hams.
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Re: Ham radio

Postposted on Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:33 pm

I was heavily involved in HAM radio as my job was designing HAM hobby kits and other goodies when I used to work at Ramsey Electronics many moons ago. The problem was I met too many HAMs at the various hamfests I used to sell equipment at, and became less than enamored with the crowd. I decided to shy away since I already had my fill of techie goodness as a designer of many fun products, and well, the HAMs I met weren't the type that would help me meet nice looking ladies. My priorities back then...

I sort of wish I stuck with it, if anything just to put on a resume when I need it some day in the future. Sure I do a little RF design work, but I leave that to the specialists. I already have too many responsibilities I cannot keep up with, and one more would push me over the lip of doom. I have no time for the hobby at home, I bought too much home and land. Something has to give...

However if you have any questions, I am sure I can spew some outdated information.
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Re: Ham radio

Postposted on Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:58 pm

LS, the irony is that with all that land you could erect a monster of a tower...
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Re: Ham radio

Postposted on Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:02 pm

FireGryphon wrote:LS, the irony is that with all that land you could erect a monster of a tower...

IIRC the FAA blinking red light requirements don't start until 300' above ground level.
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Re: Ham radio

Postposted on Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:27 pm

Technician Class seems to be fairly popular at TR. Probably because, like me, many of us had the knowledge, but not the CW speed. I let mine expire without ever having gotten a transmitter, because, being 13 and soon to turn 14 and enter high school when I got my license, I soon saw the need to begin saving for a car, and once I had that, well, other interests and opportunities took over. 8)


Congratulations and have fun, OsakaJ.
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Re: Ham radio

Postposted on Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:39 pm

I have a very nice dual band car kit that I'm staring at here, on my desk. Just need to hold my breath and start drilling holes in the roof of my car :-p
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Re: Ham radio

Postposted on Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:35 pm

Hey guys, I saw this and was thinking since I listen to alot of Leo Leport the tech guy. Here is a show that you might like, it is Ham Nation on Twit TV. http://twit.tv/show/ham-nation/155
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Re: Ham radio

Postposted on Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:40 am

FireGryphon wrote:LS, the irony is that with all that land you could erect a monster of a tower...

The irony is I live on a hill where I don't need to erect a tower. A HAM operator's wet dream! I can just set one up in the attic and call it a day. Clear view of the horizon except to the south and somewhat to the East where the hills are higher. From my roof I can see planes taking off from the Rochester International Airport ~40 miles away. I can see the base of storms out on Lake Erie, but not quite the water. Whole northern horizon is Lake Ontario and Rochester. A helluva view though the trees have grown up a bit so I am losing some of it.

I am south of Rochester NY, and I can get HDTV from Toronto. There are a few dedicated repeaters down the road from me, as I live in HAM central. A lot of fine folks from Harris live near me, and many of them are HAMs. When I told some friends who are HAMs about my house that I recently purchased back then, they were all WTF!?!?! Right next to a hill where many of them have had contests. I got so much crap from them for not being a HAM nor interested in participating.

It is like anything else, it looses its novelty when you are constantly exposed to it. Like photography growing up. Both of my parents worked at Kodak, and one of the perks was free film and developing. Did I get into photography then? Nope. Not until film was well on its way out.
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