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Thread: Ham radio ?

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    Default Ham radio ?

    I have began studing for my ham liscense. Right now my brain hurts. I had forgotten what it was I didn't like about school.

    One of my good friends has a rig I can have for free as soon as I get my liscense, so I am pretty excited about this new hobby.

    I didn't think this would go into the communications forum, but feel free to move if it is deemed necessary.

    My only other hobbies are recording music and trying to keep Ms. Luke from murder, both of which seem to be in opposition to each other, so if sometime you don't hear from me in the future you can figure I finally pissed her off for the last time.
    "Still waitin on the Judgement Day"

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio ?

    Since Rick is the resident radio guy, I'll defer to him on what he'd like to do with regards to ham radio stuff. I think that was the intent behind the Comms forum...

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    Default Re: Ham radio ?

    What would you like to know, Luke? I'd say "Use the force, Luke" but that's so... you know, passe... lol
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Ham radio ?

    Kind of a repost, yet still unanswered questions. I have been taking the online practice tests, some I am doing allright on, others not so much.


    I realize opinions are like azzholes, but you seem to be know quite a bit about radios, so I am interested in your opinions.

    First I am a newbie at this ham stuff, but I am determined to get my liscense. In your opinion, would it be better to study for Technician Class, or go General Class from the start?

    What is your opinion on Yaesu products, dependability versus ease of operations versus costs?

    I understand that Morse Code is not a requirement anymore, but are there still folks that use it? The reason being that I may be a little mic shy.

    My interest in radio comes from a desire to gain information worldwide/ to be informed of situations both world wide and local. With those objectives in mind what would your opinions be in regaurds to a rig/liscense?

    Thanks for any help,
    Luke
    "Still waitin on the Judgement Day"

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    Default Re: Ham radio ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke View Post
    Kind of a repost, yet still unanswered questions. I have been taking the online practice tests, some I am doing allright on, others not so much.

    I realize opinions are like azzholes, but you seem to be know quite a bit about radios, so I am interested in your opinions.
    Well, opinions about radios and whether morse code is good or bad or whatever aren't really that relevant. But... I digress.

    First I am a newbie at this ham stuff, but I am determined to get my liscense. In your opinion, would it be better to study for Technician Class, or go General Class from the start?
    Yes. Do both. You have to pass the Tech test before you can take the general. The good news is, you can take the tech test, and usually they will hand you the paperwork to take the general right away while grading your General test. So, write the test, and pass it. Then you get to try the general (even if you don't pass it). If you don't pass it, you come back next week or month (whenever they give the test) ready to pass the next one.

    The lower one is tech, and it's a very, very basic test now. It's not difficult. Radio shack used to carry a study guide if you need a book. Otherwise, contact the American Radio Relay League and look through their guide books (they sell them online).

    I'd recommend looking up on the internet the "Amateur Radio test question pool".

    They have to pull all their questions from that list. That's about 300 questions in each pool. Read them, try them out, and see if you can't see what you're having the most issues with, then study that part of the material.

    If you run into a particular group of things giving you trouble - I'll be more than HAPPY to give you an "online class" right here, either in PMs, public messages here in the forum or even an online chat room. Alternatively, I'll get on the voip (I have a teamspeak server up and running, or skype or gizmo5) - I'm happy to give you a course on the material. It's not hard stuff and you can learn it quickly.


    What is your opinion on Yaesu products, dependability versus ease of operations versus costs?
    I own a Yaesu FT-101B, an older tube radio system with several extra items, including VFOs and microphones. I also carry a Yaesu VX-&R multiband handitalki (HT). This radio covers 2meters, 440 (70cm), and two other hambands (I can transmit on them).

    I have it programed for the Marine frequencies, and some other stuff. It is a general coverage receiver (meaning it covers pretty much everything from DC to Daylight). So far it has been a very cool radio.

    My ham shack has an ICOM IC-735 on the radio desk with several mics. I have a few other radios of different makes and models. I like Kenwood, Icom and Yaesu pretty much equally. They are all as "simple" or "complex" as you want to spend the money on.

    A cheaper radio has few bells and whistles. Some can be programmed with a computer (like my HT), and some you have analog dials on. If you want a NEW radio then any of those three companies produce excellent equipment, decide what you need and then look at what they offer in your price range covering the bands you want.

    Secondarily, find out if there are ham radio shows, and/or "Swap Fests" in your area (again, check with the ARRL they carry a large and long listing for the whole country) and go visit. Don't count out used equipment. If you get it from a Ham radio operator, it's probably in pretty good shape if they tell you it works.

    Try not to buy from non-hams. They usually don't know what they are talking about (CBers, I'm afraid, are in that category). Ask their callsign when you're shopping (MOST are PROUD to wear a badge with their call, or a hat, teeshirt or something to identify them). Those are the guys you want to talk to.

    If you have a scanner, locate the local 2 meter and 70 centimeter hambands in the area, find out the local repeater frequencies and listen in all the time. Listen to the callsigns, get to know the voices, names and calls of the locals and see who sounds reasonable, responsible and knowledgeable. LOOK for them at the swapfests and INTRODUCE yourself. You will be surprised at what you can learn, and perhaps even find for FREE if you're a "newbie ham".

    I understand that Morse Code is not a requirement anymore, but are there still folks that use it? The reason being that I may be a little mic shy.
    Morse code is not a requirement. It IS used on HF. There are band specific frequencies. You will need to learn that information as well anyway (can't use voice in a digital band!) If you want to learn it - there are dozens of methods and programs, all free to help you.

    My ADVICE (and listen carefully to this) is NOT to learn "dots and dashes". Learn it by SOUNDS, learn it at very fast speed (not a slow speed).

    Don't LEARN 5wpm. Learn it at 13 or 20. Pick a program that sends the characters (and elements, which are the dots, and dashes, also called "dits and dahs" ) at at high rate of speed, but the SPACING between characters (letters) is sent at 5 WPM at first.

    (What this does is trains your ear to HEAR the sound of the letter A which is didah, or H which is didididit instead of re-translating the sound into dots and dashes then into letter. KNOW that Dadididit is the letter B from the sound!)

    Being Mic-Shy is normal for everyone. You'll get over it though. If I could, you will. (I was the shyest person on the planet until I left High School... took another ten years to get me out of it but I'm better now!)

    My interest in radio comes from a desire to gain information worldwide/ to be informed of situations both world wide and local. With those objectives in mind what would your opinions be in regaurds to a rig/liscense?
    Get yourself a good short wave radio (OR a REAL ham radio HF transceiver), and start listening to the shortwave bands, the ham bands and learn how to use the radio. You have the advantage with a ham radio with general coverage of hearing ALL the frequencies. Make sure the radio is one that has Upper and Lower sideband capability (if not a ham rig) and can "band spread" the frequencies out. Digital radios are good (no worries about band spreading).

    A Ham HF rig will have AM/USB/LSB capabilities and usually up to 100 watts output.

    A good used rig will run you anywhere from 100 bucks to several thousand dollars - depending on the rig. A NEW radio will cost you from 400 up to tens of thousands (don't need NOTHING like that).

    The one I use (IC-735) is no longer made, but they are sold for about 400 bucks on ebay and other places. I bought mine with a matching speaker, automatic antenna tuner, power supply and a good mic fo 750 from a buddy. (I still keep in contact with this buddy and I can find you a rig you like through him and some others! he collects things)


    Thanks for any help,
    Luke
    you're welcome, ANY time Luke.

    Rick
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    Default Re: Ham radio ?

    Thanks for the opinions and info. It is very insightful to find out how much my brain has atrophied since school. I suppose part of this new hobby will be relearning how to learn!

    Dammit I still hate math!
    "Still waitin on the Judgement Day"

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    Default Re: Ham radio ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke View Post
    Thanks for the opinions and info. It is very insightful to find out how much my brain has atrophied since school. I suppose part of this new hobby will be relearning how to learn!

    Dammit I still hate math!
    honestly, there isn't that much math involved, unless you're going for your Extra some day.

    Extra class (the license I hold) is pretty damned tough, but you can pass it given the way testing is accomplished. The testing poll is AVAILABLE to the public and has to be used to chose the test questions.

    That means you either memorize stuff, or you LEARN the math associated with those functions you need to do.

    It's not that difficult.

    The math might be hard to understand, and so might the theory, but it can be learned.
    Libertatem Prius!


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