Ham radio

Ham radio

This is a discussion on Ham radio within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Are there any DCer's ot there who are ham operators I am interested in getting into it but really don't know where to start. It ...

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Thread: Ham radio

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array jbum's Avatar
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    Ham radio

    Are there any DCer's ot there who are ham operators I am interested in getting into it but really don't know where to start. It seems that most of the people just try to make contacts around the world instead of having conversations with people. I don't think i would be into the competitions. I think it would be a good skill to have if SHTF.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array kb2wji's Avatar
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    I've been a ham for maybe 13 years or so? I think? I'm not into the competing and contesting either. I like to have actual conversations. I wish I hadnt sold my HF gear last year. At any rate, to get started, pick up a study guide (either online or from a book store) to study for the tests. Then we'll have to find out the next date/time they are giving the test. It's fun. I got my license back when you had to use morse code. Granted I dont ever plan to use it, but its cool to say you can :)

  3. #3
    Member Array Husker Sig's Avatar
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    Been a Ham for 30+ years great hobby. I like emergency communications. You will find something in it you like. Go to ARRLWeb: ARRL Home Page for info on getting started, testing and clubs PM me if you need more.
    Hugh

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    I used to have a real basic 10-meter setup back in 1989, I used to listen quite a lot more than I talked; the coolest part was listening to the military transmissions during desert storm 1.....I have been meaning to get back into it for the SHTF scenarios I believe are coming, so perhaps one day.....
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array Paymeister's Avatar
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    2-meter FM is pretty handy for chatting with the wife or club members: usually there's a repeater nearby run by a club you can join. My license ran out, but I was into it for some time. Check out books for the Technician license, for instance.
    Recently updated website: http://www.damagedphotorepair.com

  6. #6
    Member Array das38spl's Avatar
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    Been a Ham since 1967...was one of the first Novice "2 Year" license holders (originally only 1 yr. for Novices, NON-renewable...).....
    Got my Tech in '69 - my forte has always been VHF/UHF bands - and upped to General in '76 (my current Class)...
    Mostly on 2 meters and some 450 simplex and repeater ops....my 75M dipole blew down several years ago, and I never got around to putting it back up...
    My Dad and I used to do a LOT of the contests ('hilltoppers") and stay up all night making contacts for points and awards...
    Lots of fun.....but, like guns, stereos and cameras....it CAN be expensive!!!
    But VERY enjoyable! It's much easier today to get into the hobby....there's no more CW (Morse Code) requirement and the written test can be administered by a VE (volunteer examiner).....No more sweaty palms at an Exam Center (mine was Customs House, Boston...)
    Like any hobby, you'll make - and MEET - a lot of new friends!!
    Good Luck!
    73!
    WA1NBI

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array Sheldon J's Avatar
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    DE N8MVV.... Join a local repeater group, pick up a study guide, have one of the hams Elmer you, and to to a local VE (volunteer examiner) session, and start with your no code tech have some fun and upgrade when the mood suits you....
    "The sword dose not cause the murder, and the maker of the sword dose not bear sin" Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac 11th century

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array BRTCP88's Avatar
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    I volunteered for the Neighborhood CERT team just last October and they paid for me to get my ham license. Don't have a radio yet. Still saving up. The team has one set up in our community club house and I've been on a couple of times when we meet to check the local emergency net.
    Ron Paul 2012

    There are three kinds of Yankees: Yankees, Damn Yankees, and Floridians

  9. #9
    Distinguished Member Array Paymeister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheldon J View Post
    DE N8MVV.... Join a local repeater group, pick up a study guide, have one of the hams Elmer you, ....
    [An "Elmer" in Ham parlance is a fellow who has a license and knows the ropes, and mentors a new guy.]
    Recently updated website: http://www.damagedphotorepair.com

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array jbum's Avatar
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    Thanks guys keep the info coming think I am really leaning on getting started soon. I have a friend who wants to sell some equipment I think that is where I will start.

  11. #11
    Member Array nlax2011's Avatar
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    Come join the family!

    I'll try to fins some other good links but go check out the ARRL link above as they are the national "governing agency" here and have lots of info there.

    Like has been mentioned there are a lot of different aspects to amateur radio and pretty much something for everyone.

    I got into it with my dad when I was a teen (~12 yrs ago) and mainly became involved in the emergency communications aspect of it.... Which IMHO is a terrific SHTF skill to have. When the normal infrastructure goes down it's pretty simple to throw antenna up in a tree and be able to contact someone across town or across the world with a truly portable setup. In Florida our main worry was hurricanes and a lot of local counties around here have active radio groups that play a big role in shelter communications.

    There's also a growing group of amateur radio operators that are playing with some of the Ghz spectrum. Technically some of the wifi channels that 802.11b/g wireless routers use is actually amateur radio spectrum and so with a license some folks are running higher power for longer range around town.

    Something you may want to check out is the upcoming ARRL Field Day which is the fourth full weekend in June. It's a nationwide event where local clubs and individuals setup mostly portable stations as part of a weekend exercise mainly for the purpose of practicing portable communications, and it's a good way to interact with the local community. On the ARRL site I think you can search for a local club (or use google) and contact them to see what their field day plans are. You don't have to have your license to participlate and it's a good chance to see multiple modes of operations (morse, voice, short range, long range HF, digital modes, satellite work, etc), and a good way to see how a station actually gets put together and works.

    You can get started with a simple VHF/UHF handheld that can be used to talk around town using repeaters. I always keep my handheld in the car, especially nice to have when travelling and i'm out of cell service. Even for long distance communication you can pick up a small used HF transceiver that could be put in a vehicle.

  12. #12
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    I let my license lapse a long time ago. My grandfather, now 101 years old, was a ham before the FCC was commissioned if you can believe that. At least that's his story. He finally threw in the towel with a bunch of liability legislation from the Clinton administration. He now surfs the net. What a trip.

    All that said, ham is the only thing that can keep going when it all falls apart. A radio and a generator keeps communications online. Worldwide, natural disasters or otherwise have been GREATLY improved by ham. Good for you.
    Savage Heartland

    What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about?

  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array CT-Mike's Avatar
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    I have a general license but have never been on the air nor do I have any equipment. I keep meaning to get into it, but other things come along to spend my money on.
    "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground."

    - Thomas Jefferson

    "I'm the arrow, you're my bow, shoot me forth and I will go"

    "Do not let any individual posts put a knot in your Big Boy Under-Roos"

  14. #14
    New Member Array Zotter's Avatar
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    Extra, VE and a volunteer ARRL instructor here - big whoop. No real contesting, some casual - rarely. Mostly run automated kit for APRS, PSKReporter, weather and some beacon spotter stuff. Unless something unusual is going on, after about 2 minutes of talking, all that needs to be said has been said - usually twice. My HF rig doesn't eve have a mike on it any more. I guess I'm just not social enough to be a rag-chewer. I spend more time hosting and maintaining the club's web site, discussion board and the section site than 'chatting' via RF. If I do chat, it'll more than likely be via one of the digital modes, (RTTY, PSK, Hell, Olivia, MFSK, etc...)

    We do have some traffic on the local repeaters - one is linked to a state wide system - another has an autopatch for local phone calls. We've enough of them you can always find one to talk on - no matter what's going on. We're ready to lend a hand if nothing else works - but we actively and strongly discourage the "whacker" traditions. Ham radio is a hobby and an avenue to experiment and learn. Not a ready reserve for local municipalities that can't or won't plan and prepare properly.

    In a way, Amateur Radio is about like the shooting sports in that there are so many facets, methods, ideas and ways of doing things - there's something for almost everyone. If you've ever met a ham, you've by no means met them all - or even come close.

    With apologies to Jeff Cooper:
    "Having a ham ticket doesn't make you an effective communicator anymore than having a guitar makes you a musician. "

    Passing the tests and getting your license is the FIRST step - not the goal.

    Gee, for not being a rag-chewer I sure can ramble on. Maybe I aughta check out 80m phone..... 73
    "You see, wire telegraphy is a kind of a very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? Radio operates exactly the same way, except there is no cat."
    -- Attributed to Albert Einstein

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