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Old January 20, 2011, 10:44 PM   #101
NoAlibi
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I run hot and cold on the ham bands and currently I'm HOT!

I installed a 2 meter rig in my airplane and I get a lot of call backs when I advise "airborne" on a CQ. When I plan a trip I cross reference my repeater call sign book for my fly-over cities and program my rig with the proper tone and send/receive freqs.

My usual arial haunts are the flyways from South Florida to Jackson MS to middle and southern Texas. If you hear a CQ with "airborne" then get the handle "Doc" it will probably be me. 73s
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Old January 20, 2011, 11:01 PM   #102
gtd
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Thumbs up It's Great, but Not That Simple

"i was thinking about getting my technician license and a cheap radio. just wondering if there's anyone out there interesting to talk to "

Since the thread has popped up again, I observed that the question really hasn't been answered. At least not the unstated part of it.

Ham radio is great, esp. for bad situations like weather emergencies or anything that shuts down the power and communications supply. But unlike guns, it's a technical service. With guns, you might just buy a revolver to drop in your pocket for protection, very simple, or you might develop a sophisticated hobby out of it involving lots of time, money, training, expertise, etc.

With ham radio, there's a basic amount of study and knowledge needed to make practical use of it. It's not hard, you just have to like it or you won't follow through.

So you need to ask what you want to get out of it, and how much effort, time, and money you want to put into it.

I figure it cost me about $300 to get started with study, testing, and my basic radio equipment. It was useful but no fun until I upgraded to General class and HF equipment, adding another $500. That's cheap fun over a period of 15 years. (You can spend tens of thousands if you buy high-end equipment and money is no object, or you can go the traditional route and make do.)

I have used my radio for good, practical purposes in real tornado emergencies and other weather situations. I have one older model HF radio (long distance communications), using a simple wire antenna in my attic, and it's good enough. I've made contacts in Europe and South America. I also have two HTs (hand held radios) and I keep one with a spare battery in my briefcase due to many tornadoes in my area. HTs are for local short-range communication only, but very useful and there is plenty of activity on local repeaters.

I also have two very good GMRS radios. You get a license for about $75, it covers the whole extended family, and there's no test. It's like an FMRS radio on steroids, or a junior ham radio. I use them for camping with my wife. The difference is that no one listens on GMRS except your partner, so it's useless for emergency communications. It's for personal use, but it's cheap and high quality.

One problem -- hams tend to overstate technical things at times. Yes, science is a real and important part, but many people get so intimidated that they don't actually enjoy the service. When you get past that and tell yourself, "I'm just gonna throw a damned length of wire over a tree and see if I can contact someone" instead of agonizing over the perfect antenna design, you'll have some success and have some fun. And you'll learn the first lesson in SHTF communications -- how to do what you can with what you've got. Then you can advance to more technical things without sacrificing the fun.

Finally, it really isn't hard if you are willing to join a local club. Dues are cheap and you'll make friends and get lots of help.

73 (Regards) and Good Luck,
KB3GDD
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Old January 21, 2011, 01:43 PM   #103
Gottahaveone
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One of the few necro threads I'm glad to see
Does anybody else run the digital modes? I run PSK almost exclusively. Usually on 15m or 17m and occasionally 20m during the day (20m gets real busy) and 40m or 80m at night. It never ceases to amaze me what 10w and a dipole 25' AGL will do. Been off the air a while, but there aren't too many cobwebs on the rig. If anybody wants to schedule a contact, PM me....
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Old January 21, 2011, 03:35 PM   #104
theory
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I'm not into HAM, but I collect and conserve vintage radios. My pride and joy is a rather rare Midwest that came out of Cincinnati's Union Terminal train station.
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Old January 21, 2011, 04:12 PM   #105
bellemare
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i rarely transmit and all i have is a 2m handheld
i say go for it though
kb1tcr
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Old January 21, 2011, 05:08 PM   #106
Mainsail
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I have a ham license, but I wouldn't say I'm "into" it in the sense that some people are. I got my license primarily for hiking and secondarily for general emergencies.

I have no real interest beyond the Tech license.
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Old January 21, 2011, 05:25 PM   #107
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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K0WHI here. I have found out a lot of people who shoot Muzzleloaders like
myself are Hams.
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Old January 21, 2011, 10:32 PM   #108
harrygunner
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Started making SW receivers when I was eight. Did a lot of DX listening. My family was po' so I scrounged parts from local repair shops. Still have one of the first, a super-regen.

Did not get a license until a few years ago since I'm into technology more than talking. But, figured a 2m transceiver might save my bacon in a remote camping mishap. I gather frequencies local rescuers monitor before heading into the wild.

Answering the questions on the test brought back good memories. I'm planning to get a two band setup for my Jeep.
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Old January 22, 2011, 08:59 AM   #109
GMAN26
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KB1TKQ.....Haven't been on in awhile. I should get back into it.

73's
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Old January 22, 2011, 02:35 PM   #110
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tech no code here.
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Old January 22, 2011, 07:34 PM   #111
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N2oam here, Advanced class, lifetime interest in electronics & shooting.

73 de bob
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Old January 23, 2011, 02:52 AM   #112
Black Toe Knives
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KE4OZO here. I been a technician for twenty years.
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Old January 27, 2011, 09:19 PM   #113
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I have my technician, and unlike some of the techy people into ham radio, do just fine with 2m or similar. I recently bought a mobile radio so I can stop borrowing equipment when I do what accounts for the majority of my radio activity, helping with communication at rally races. There I learned the benefit of having options, and to not get tied up in the ham radio. I've used everything including FRS, GMRS, runners, cell phones, etc. Put it simply, use whatever you have at the moment, even if it means cobbling a two way radio to your car's radio antenna. (I don't recommend it, but it can be done)

@GTD: What do you classify as a "good GMRS" radio? I have some of the cheap FRS/GMRS combo radios, the Cobra CXT450.

@Gottahavone: I wanted to get into digital modes back in HS/college, I should look back into that stuff. Well, after I clean up the living room, and put together some sort of bench to hold the radios I have currently. (A kit aircraft reciever, kit shortwave reciever, broken 2m HT, and the previously mentioned mobile rig.)
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Old January 27, 2011, 09:41 PM   #114
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Ham threads pop-up from time to time---still, this one surprised me. I get bored with the same old roster style check-ins with call sign and "no traffic" reports of the typical ARES net so I logged in here.

I spent 41 year wishing to be a ham. Family, job and kids got in the way.

Last spring I popped for the study guides, logged 31 hours with an online 'flash card' study system and sat for all three elements one afternoon in May. License grant appeared 8 days later, paper copy arrived early the next week. Silent to Amateur Extra in one move-AE5RY.

I'm still building the station: 160m thru 70cm/cw,phone, digital and my code (CW) is up to about 22 wpm. Little old Albuquerque, NM and surrounding communities boast of about a dozen different clubs and statewide of something called the Mega-Link. A 2m-70cm linked repeater system (about 35 repeaters) blanketing the state with voice coverage and digipeater packet capability. Check it out: Mega-Link
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Old January 27, 2011, 10:15 PM   #115
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My license expires this year, thanks for the reminder.

I'm not terribly active. I have a 2m rig somewhere, sold the HF stuff.
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Old January 27, 2011, 11:23 PM   #116
Realbigo
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I'm still a licensed Ham, but I only got it because it was a condition of my fathers to get my drivers license. Was a RTO while I was in the Marines, but it was never really my intrest.
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Old January 29, 2011, 02:04 PM   #117
Bear 47
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I would like to know how the hearing impaired ham operators use their radio's.
Are they limited to morse code with visual light flash for recieving code or what is out there in technology advancements. I was wondering if ham radio operators can recieve in text similar to captions on tv. ...............I would like to get started in this...
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Old January 29, 2011, 06:49 PM   #118
TexasRifleman
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Quote:
I would like to know how the hearing impaired ham operators use their radio's.
Read up on the digital modes, PSK31, RTTY, etc. Plenty of ways to operate and contest without having to hear a sound. Don't know of any speech to text conversions but it wouldn't surprise me if they existed.
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Old January 29, 2011, 06:51 PM   #119
xcgates
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I did see a radio that was rigged up with a light in addition to the speaker for those whom can't hear.
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Old January 29, 2011, 10:14 PM   #120
Black Toe Knives
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasRifleman View Post
Read up on the digital modes, PSK31, RTTY, etc. Plenty of ways to operate and contest without having to hear a sound. Don't know of any speech to text conversions but it wouldn't surprise me if they existed.
There are plenty of text to speech programs. Dragon Naturally Speaking, IBM via Voice and now Windows 7.

73's
Ke4ozo
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Old January 30, 2011, 01:29 AM   #121
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Got my license 2-3 years ago. Haven't upgraded yet.
I have a Yaesu (is that how you spell it?) FT-60. Very nice for the price. I've sorta' been out of it for a while, but recently built a j-pole from some twinlead wire. Works extremely well and can be rolled into a nice small package. Tons of instructions online and if you build it to the specs, you shouldn't have to check it with a swr meter. I haven't been able to test it with the Yaesu yet as I don't have the right connectors, so I have to make do with an old Kenwood ht from the '70s. But when I solve that problem, it should work nice for hunting when I want to keep in touch with the family.
Have a good one. Matthew (KE7PXR)
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Old January 30, 2011, 09:31 AM   #122
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Yep, the Yaesu FT-60 is a good one, when I was helping my college club get started we bought a few of them for club radios. They can take a beating and keep on going. They aren't the "sexiest" or anything, but they are easy to figure out, and have good capabilities.

If I were to get a handheld, I'd probably go with one of the VX line. I had an Icom IC-V8, but finally managed to kill it, and haven't been able to get it apart to see if I can fix it. It was largish, simple, but dang it worked good. And took quite a bit of abuse it never should have.

(BTW, not be be paranoid, but does everyone posting callsigns know that you can be found by your callsign fairly easily? Personal policy is I treat it like a cell phone number, and only those that need it get it.)
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Old January 30, 2011, 09:51 AM   #123
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There are plenty of text to speech programs. Dragon Naturally Speaking, IBM via Voice and now Windows 7.
Yes but can they translate a static filled HAM radio conversation is the question. Text to speech is simple, doing it out of a noisy HF background, that's different entirely it seems.
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Old January 30, 2011, 04:48 PM   #124
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Yup .......

Been a Ham since 89 ........

Great hobby too .....

You can't have enough guns, radios, motorcycles, and babes .......
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Old January 30, 2011, 05:13 PM   #125
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I've got the guns and motorcycles part covered, working on the other two.
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