Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Where to Start in Ham Radio?

  1. #1
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Where to Start in Ham Radio?

    Thread capture from Anomalies Network.
    J.B.
    <script language="JavaScript1.1" type="text/javascript"> <!-- var avline = avatar_line("http://communities.anomalies.net/ubb/Avatars/23.jpg"); if(avline) { document.writeln(avline + "
    ") } // end if // --> </script>
    Member
    Member # 6119

    <hr style="color: rgb(93, 119, 144);" size="1"> I've been interested in Amateur Radio since I saw my first HAM station at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, CA. A good friend of mine was setting up the station for troops to send messages back home (training units didn't get phone calls). He had his Technicians license (not sure I'm speaking in the correct terminology here) and was working on the Morse code portion of his next test. The base was part of an emergency network in case the volcanos in California decided to become active. Anyway, I never followed up on it and now here I am wondering what I need to do to get my license and what if any suggestions anyone has for equipment for the beginner.

    --------------------
    You don't have to know everything, just know where and how to find the information.


    Answer:


    http://www.arrl.org/hamradio.html - Start here.

    Here's a rundown though. JB if you privately send me your location, I will get you in touch with the local ham club there as well, who will find someone to assist you personally in getting your license.

    In the US there are currently three classes of licenses now. According to the material I pulled from the site URL I gave you, it says that technician classes do not require a code test, but I seem to recall that all three license classes had a code 5 words-per-minute code requirement. Perhaps they eliminated it and I missed it.

    Technician:

    Hams enter the hobby as Technicians by passing a 35-question multiple-choice examination. No Morse code test is required. The exam covers basic regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory, with a focus on VHF and UHF applications.

    Technician Class operators are authorized to use all amateur VHF and UHF frequencies (all frequencies above 50 MHz). Technicians who pass a 5 WPM Morse code examination are entitled to limited power outputs on certain HF frequencies. "Technicians with HF" may operate on the 80, 40, and 15 meter bands using CW, and on the 10 meter band using CW, voice, and digital modes.

    General:
    The General Class is a giant step up in operating privileges. The high-power HF privileges granted to General licensees allow for cross-country and worldwide communication. Some people prefer to earn the General Class license as their first ticket, so they may operate on HF right away.

    Technicians may upgrade to General Class by passing a 5 WPM Morse code test and a 35-question multiple-choice examination. The written exam covers intermediate regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory, with a focus on HF applications.

    In addition to the Technician privileges, General Class operators are authorized to operate on any frequency in the 160, 30, 17, 12, and 10 meter bands. They may also use significant segments of the 80, 40, 20, and 15 meter bands.

    Amateur Extra:
    The HF bands can be awfully crowded, particularly at the top of the solar cycle. Once one earns HF privileges, one may quickly yearn for more room. The Extra Class license is the answer.

    General licensees may upgrade to Extra Class by passing a 50-question multiple-choice examination. No further Morse code test is required. In addition to some of the more obscure regulations, the test covers specialized operating practices, advanced electronics theory, and radio equipment design. Frankly, the test is very difficult, but others have passed it, and you can too.

    Extra Class licensees are authorized to operate on all frequencies allocated to the Amateur Service.

    --------------------
    Rick Donaldson
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  2. #2
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Where to Start?

    I'm going to give you some more links here.

    Go to this one for books:
    http://www.arrl.org/catalog/lm/

    This is set up in "three steps" to take you through each license class, learn code, etc. These are the manuals from the ARRL, American Radio Relay League (I'm a member) and I can highly recommend the last one for Extra class if you plan to get that far (stick to getting your tech license first though, because once you get your feet wet and you're licensed there are thouands of Hams most likely close by you that can assist you with upgrading your licenses).

    Alright. That said...

    Here's a "practice test" you can try. Go to this site: http://www.qrz.com/p/testing.pl

    Chose "Technician" and begin answering questions. If you can get through the test and answer them all, you're going to be able to do this no problem. If you aren't sure, or don't pass the test, no biggy, get yourself a Q&A book from the links provided above and begin reading them.

    If you run into any problems, ask the questions you have right here, and I'll do my best to get you some data to assist you in learning the material.

    In other words, I'm more than happy to answer questions RIGHT here to help you out.

    So, get started, and if necessary, I can set you up to be able to chat with me live on the internet (VOIP) to make it a bit easier.

    Rick

    PS ANYONE that is interested in getting their ham license, please use this thread to get started, and lets get going. We'll get you licensed in no time.

    --------------------
    Rick Donaldson
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  3. #3
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Where to Start?

    By the way, JB, I noted your location on the "Location" at the bottom of your message (Duh! lol) and found this information for you specifically in your area.

    Name: ALAMOGORDO ARC INC
    Specialties: General Interest, Contest, DX, Repeater, Public Service/Emergency Comms, VHF/UHF
    Call sign: K5LRW
    Services: Help for newcomers, Other
    Address: PO BOX 1191
    ALAMOGORDO, NM 88311-1191
    Contact: MICHAEL J MELLO, N5MJ
    Web: http://www.alamohams.org

    And nearby Roswell:

    Name: PECOS VALLEY ARC
    Specialties: General Interest, Repeater, Digital Modes
    Call sign: W5ZU
    Services: Help for newcomers, RFI help, Other
    Address: 1619 N KANSAS AVE
    ROSWELL, NM 88201-3229
    Contact: RALPH L KNIGHT, NG5Q
    Phone: (505) 622-9250 (D) (505) 622-9250 (N)
    E-mail: ng5q@dfn.com

    Might contact these local folks for local assistance. Sometimes it is nice to have someone you can see face-to-face for help. I'm more than happy to help you from here though.

    --------------------
    Rick Donaldson
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  4. #4
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Where to Start?

    Thanks alot Rick, I'm going to put this information to good use. I've already taken the quiz and I'm passing, but too low for my happiness, so I'll get the study guides. Some places I've read you need to take the Morse code test and some places say you don't, I'm not sure what to believe, but I'll figure that out. Once again thanks.

    --------------------
    You don't have to know everything, just know where and how to find the information.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  5. #5
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Where to Start?

    Well, the ARRL is the place to get the RIGHT information.

    They've been around since... well, the beginning. They tend to be a bit too "liberal" about certain things for my liking, but I'm a member, and they listen when I call them on the phone.

    If you want to learn code... which really isn't difficult... then see my next message.

    --------------------
    Rick Donaldson
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  6. #6
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Where to Start?

    First, it's a new language, but it's easy, you already know it and just don't realize it.

    Rules.

    1) LEARN by LISTENING. Not by looking. I learned code when I was a little kid and memoried it from a chart. To this day, I have difficulty with it because I hear the sound, translate the sound to "dots and dashes" and then into letters.

    So you want to learn it only by hearing and visualizing/writing down the letters.

    2) Practice every day for about 20 minutes. In a couple months you will have it down and will be able to copy at a reasonable rate (10wpm or faster).

    3) Learn the code at faster than you have to pass a test. Current requirement is 5 wpm for all classes of license. Get a computer program, set it for about 10 wpm speed, and make sure the spacing is at 10 wpm on the characters. Spacing between the letters should be at 5wpm or so.

    Instead of A sounding like DIT---DAH, it will be more like didah --- this will help you because you're going to learn the SOUNDS of the letters, not the sounds of dots and dashes.

    4) Practice every day for about 20 minutes. In a couple months you will have it down and will be able to copy at a reasonable rate (10wpm or faster).

    5) Practice every day for about 20 minutes. In a couple months you will have it down and will be able to copy at a reasonable rate (10wpm or faster).

    those are the 5 rules (hahahaha).

    --------------------
    Rick Donaldson
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  7. #7
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Where to Start?

    Links for CW or Morse Code.

    (CW stands for Continuous Wave, meaning, that morse code is an unmodulated carrier wave. There is no sound, and if you don't have the proper type of receiveer, say an AM only receiver, all you will hear is a puff puff sound. If you have a receiver that has a SSB/CW setting you will be able to reinsert a carrier, which is then "beat" against the incoming signal. That slight offset by several hertz is what gives the distinctive morse code sounds).

    These are things on learning, and some programs.

    http://www.learnmorsecode.com/
    http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/learncw/
    http://www.cvil.wustl.edu/~gary/Ham/morse_learn.html
    http://www.ac6v.com/morseprograms.htm
    http://primera.tamu.edu/people/TAES/...aux/code1.html
    http://www.mrx.com.au/
    http://www.murrah.com/sm/
    http://www.morsecodeonweb.homestead.com/MorseMail2.html
    http://c2.com/~ward/morse/morse.html

    --------------------
    Rick Donaldson
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  8. #8
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Where to Start?

    Rick,
    So what you're basically saying is practice every day for about 20 minutes if I'm reading this correctly. haha Thanks you've been a great help, I'll be up and running on this in no time. The next test in my area isn't until July so I have some time to work on it and I may want to put it off until after July if I find I'm having trouble, I don't think I will though.

    --------------------
    You don't have to know everything, just know where and how to find the information.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  9. #9
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Where to Start?

    Should be a snap. You have communications background I think you said, right? Should be pretty simple then.

    My wife, many years ago, learned morse code in one week, and spent her spare time (she works too, plus we were still raising kids at home in those days) reading a couple of books. She walked in and ACED the CW test and the Novice exam.

    I've tried for years to get her to spend the time needed to upgrade to Tech (it would be pretty easy for her) but she hasn't bothered. She's really not active in ham radio anyway, but if she wants she can sit down at the HF station and talk or having me in the room as control operator she can use any frequency (Since I'm Extra, that's all of 'em)

    What I was really trying to say is "practice every day".

    If you spend 20 minutes a day, in a couple months you'll be done. If you spend more, you might get further. Also... lemme post another link later for you. Do you have a Shortwave receiver?

    --------------------
    Rick Donaldson
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  10. #10
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Where to Start?

    http://www.arrl.org/w1aw.html

    That link has a list of scheduled transmissions and times for various code speeds. Use that to listen to the SW for live, computer generated, perfect code to practice your copy.

    I've found that if I am going to copy faster code (and don't ask me too, since I'm rusty these days) I use a keyboard and copy directly to the computer. I'm a fast typist (60wpm on a good day) and it allows me to copy faster than I could if I were using a pen.

    if you're working 5-13 wpm you're fine with a pen, but, it sure helps me with a keyboard and a notepad up on windows (or something like that).

    --------------------
    Rick Donaldson
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  11. #11
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Where to Start?

    Hey...

    JB....

    How you doing? Just checking.

    Get anywhere yet? How about a progress report?

    --------------------
    Rick Donaldson
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  12. #12
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Where to Start?

    I'm going to include the following set of messages. Wil... the person in question was a long-time visitor at Anomalies, but not often a poster. Recently, Will unfortunately passed away. I don't know if he ever obtained his license.

    Hi Rick,

    And thanks once again for your help in gaining me access here in the face of the technical issues.

    I have many more interests than one might imagine from my profile (way too little space!). (H)amateur radio is one, for example. All of my life I've been interested in radio, since my dad bought me my first xtal radio kit when I was about 8 or 9 years old.

    I hope you'll excuse me if I reminisce just a bit, because this is an unfulfilled part of my life, and I'd like your advice.

    Since those preteen days I built several more receivers, including my first "real" SW radio, a Meissner kit with interchangeable band coils and a couple of outrageously large batteries, including a death-defying high voltage one which put the fear of the unknown into me!. From that little two-tube unit I enjoyed immense pleasure in monitoring the nightly ham activity on 80 meters especially -- mostly in Ancient Modulation, of course (this was in the mid/late 1950's).

    I later owned two fairly basic Hallicrafters commercially-built receivers (alas, long gone), and at the end of that era (1960) build my first "real" home-built receiver, a Heathkit "Mohican". I still keep it for sentimental value, and because it has, in addition to several transistors (11, I think), two of what were then called "integrated circuits" -- primitive though they were.

    When I went to college I joined the Ham club, which had an extraordinary shack and equipment. The station's call sign was (and is) dahdahdidah -dihdah. Hope I got that right (W1ET). Though I never got my license, I spent many, many, many long nights with the guys, communicating with the world. I even got to talk to some folks very far away.

    Imagine this -- the ham shack was a little building on the roof of a four storey Physics Lab. One walked up to the fourth floor (having a key, any time 24/7). Up there was a particular janitorial closet, which could be opened if the right key was in hand. But, surprise!...inside, instead of brooms and such, there was a ladder up to a trap door, which when opened, led to a little New England-style shack build on the middle of the roof of the Physics Building. And it was surrounded up there by two huge towers and a giant "lazy-H" antenna which gave an incredible (sound only) window onto the world.

    In the depths of 30 degree below winters I spent uncounted hours of ecstasy up in that isolated little room, imagining the world I might communicate with. I never did take the test, though I did communicate with the assistance of licensed members. But with a key and a 'beeper' unit I got my code speed gradually up to 10 WPM minimum. I enjoyed listening in and copying conversations wide and far in both English and the only other language in which I was reasonably conversant, German.

    Fast forward to the present....

    After decades of city living, I very recently find myself in a rural, mountainous locale in Pennslyvania, with the potential to erect some reasonably respectable antennas -- not too many or large (not very much room on the site), but enough I think to try my hand at some limited band work.

    I am particularly interested in 3/4 meters (432 Mhz?) work with, probably, a 4x4 "moonraker" directional beam array (for tropospheric, auroral and EME propagation), and possibly as well antennas for 2 meters (local) communications, especially if and when emergencies strike (there's a local repeater somewhere in this area, I understand), and maybe even 80 meters for rag-chewing just for the sake of it (and nostalgia).

    The question is -- is there a current license class which would allow all of this, without extravagant effort technically and code-wise. I've surveyed this thread and I gather that the code requirement now is 5 WPM max, which I guess I could attain again. But my perspective of the ham field is so many years out of date that I'd enormously appreciate your insights and advice.

    I almost feel like I am being reborn into this interest....and yet, it's never really left me. I have a little Grundig all band receiver which is very enjoyable, but I find that I just have to do something to gain two way communication at last. The idea of tropo, auroral, EME work especially appeals to me.

    I believe I haven't been definitive enough. If you can help with advice, please let me know. I'll help by answering any questions to get my priorities straight....!

    Thanks,

    Wil

    ================

    Morning Wil...

    Several things come to mind.... first, I wrote an article a few years back... read it. You might be surprised at how closely your experience and mine are. I'm an Amateur Extra Class now.

    http://survival.anomalies.net/begradio.html

    Secondly... code isn't as big a deal as it used to be. You only require 5 wpm now for all classes. HOWEVER, according to what I've been reading you can still obtain a "no-code" technicians license, which grants you everything above 50 Mhz, the magic number in frequency that will allow you to do things like EME, tropo, etc.

    In fact, other than about 50 mhz (6 meters) everything about that is generally considered to be "non-skip" and for the most part you will have interesting oddities like tropo at the higher frequencies.

    I think JB started a thread about what to do, and I've answered some of his questions there already. Read that thread and simply get started. There are some sites listed to help you. You can locate a local club in your area to help you more, but I'll be here for general radio questions if you have them. Anything to help someone get their ham license and get on the air... whatever it takes, I'm here.

    Start with the basics. Go and check out the web sites listed for "testing" -- practice tests and try answering some of the questions. Once you do this, you can get an idea what you know and what you don't know. Then sit down and start reading.

    My wife has her ham license and is very "non-technical" when it comes to things like electronics and mechanical things. However she's no dummy either and I'll let you in on a secret.

    She studied code and the basics and one week later took her code and technical test. She got her Novice license first time out, aced the two tests. She did better on her code test than I did. I've never been good at morse code. I learned it because I had a chance to work for a certain three-letter-Agency, and it was a requirement. I busted my ass learning code, used that to test and have since barely touched it. (Currently I'm trying to re-learn it at higher speeds so I can actually USE it).

    Let's start though with the technical aspects.

    Don't worry about code right now. Go check out some of the testing material online - like www.qrz.com and see how you can do on a Technician class test. Once you have an idea, start there.

    If you later need or want to get through the code, it is a lot easier than you think. I'll recommend a good CD for you that I'm using. The author is a very nice fella and we've talked in Email a couple times now.

    Again.. just start. Don't put it off. Do it today.

    Rick

    ========================================

    Hi Rick,

    OK, that was a great "hook"....you've got me now. I had great fun reading your article, and I believe it should be linked to every website dealing with amateur radio!

    Just a couple of things more. I too built a blue razor blade xtal radio after reading a blurb about it somewhere. Doggoned thing worked, too, but what a pain! And I still have (somewhere) the last xtal radio I ever built. It features the users choice of detectors -- a sealed germanium diode, or an old-fashioned open faced germanium xtal with a "cat's whisker" -- and includes a tunable variable capacitor and band coil from an defunct commercial radio I demolished. I guess all it would need would be a solid state amplifier stage and it would be the cat's meow. Talk about generational leaps in technology!

    I'll follow your recommendations about researching on the web. Thanks for giving me the impetus.

    Wil
    =============================


    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  13. #13
    Forum General Brian Baldwin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    1,869
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    Default Re: Where to Start?

    Sorry about your friend Wil Rick. It seems that he found something to help his final days.

    My memory these days is so bad I would forget Morse quickly enough. But I may just need to practice longer than others. If for no other reason than because it may come in very handy later in my life or the life of my children. There is a lot of good info here and you should perhaps compile it and make a sticky here.
    Brian Baldwin

    Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil.... For I am the meanest S.O.B. in the valley.


    "A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in... And how many want out." - Tony Blair on America



    It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

    It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

    It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

    It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.

    -Father Denis O'Brien of the United States Marine Corp.


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  14. #14
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Where to Start?

    Well, Wil, you knew too over on Anomalies. Actually I think that in his last days he and some others took to yelling about Stichen I think... I forget now. He was one of the guys who took a stance opposite of mine on some subject.. or more likely, I took a stance of "Prove it" and others jumped me about it. So he wasn't really a "friend" in that sense, but he was interested in Ham Radio and I wanted to help him get into it. I'm sad that he passed away, he had something wrong with him -- I do not recall what, but even if he and I were opposing on views, I was never opposed to helping him become a ham. That is the same with anyone.

    Rick
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •