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Everything posted by spiderteam

  1. Check out the Pocket Tracker -- a version of the Tiny Track with a transmitter -- designed to fit in an Altoids tin. www.byonics.com
  2. Here's a few for you to try. I live a few miles north of you in the Bothell, Mill Creek area. The best coverage repeater in Snohomish County is the Pilchuck repeater. 146.92, PL 123.0 and is home to Snohomish County RACES (Tuesday nights at 8:00) and Snohomish County ARES (Sunday nights at 8:30) as well as others. This repeater has good coverage from Vancouver, BC to Centrailia. The Snohomish County Hams have a linked repeater which you may or may not be able to reach with an HT. It is 147.18 PL 103.5. This one has an autopatch on it as well which I think is restricted to members only. However, you can always dial 911 on it. Also, program in and give a listen to the following for King County and Seattle. I don't know exactly what they are as I stick pretty much to Snohomish County (mostly on 440), but this is how I have them programmed into my radio. 145.33 PL 179.9 -- The Evergreen Intertie (when the link is up, covers four states) and has a swap net on Saturday or Sunday mornings at 9:00 am. 147.10 PL 103.5 -- I believe this one is in Issaquah 147.06 PL 110.9 -- I think this is the Ba Fa Repeater which has great coverage from Snoqualmie Pass on into town. You may be able to hit those. There are others --- Try checking out websites for the Boeing Bears, the Mike and Key Club and the Microsoft Microhams. I know the first two have repeaters. You will find APRS on 144.39 And packet is alive and well in Puget Sound on the national packet frequency which I can't remember what it is right now. Maybe someone else knows. That should get you started. You can find more once you get on the air. I'll keep an ear out for ya. spiderteam mom--- AA7AG That should get you started.
  3. A dual bander will transmit on two different bands. Most commonly, the ever popular VHF 2 meter band (144-148 MHz) and the UHF 70 centimeter band (430-450 MHz in Canada, I believe -- others will correct the frequencies if I am wrong). These are the two most commonly used amateur frequencies for Technicians. For repeaters, if the 2 meter repeaters are busy, you can usually find a 70 cm repeater that is open. Also, if you think you may get involved with Emergency Services, having 70 cm capability will come in handy. As to why YOU would want one -- only you can determine that. But since you don't have your license yet, you are making your decisions without any experience. I recommend that you chat with a ham in your area and discuss the pros and cons of a dual band vs single band for your first ham radio. If you don't know any hams, check the internet for a club in your area and get in touch with them. Also --- go get your license --- you won't regret that.
  4. When you get your license, you'll find many more uses for your radio than just hiking/geocaching. Unless there is NO activity on the 440 band in your area, you will want a dual bander eventually. You can listen to them on a scanner or talk to your local hams and get some advice there. It was strongly advised when I got my license almost a year ago now. spiderteam KD7UEC
  5. I've only been licensed for less than a year and I understand your questions. Here's the most practical answers I can give you. 1. How can I get a ham radio? As mentioned above, you must get a ham radio license. In the US, that requires taking a 35 question test. There are study guides available which you can study independently or, in some areas, classes are offered. Check the site listed previously for the Canadian requirements for a ham license. This should also tell you *where* to go to get your license. As for getting a ham radio, most folks buy them over the internet from places like Ham Radio Outlet and such. There may also be Canadian equivalents to these. 2. Do they work for long distances in the woods? As mentioned above, of course, it depends. The bands you most likely would use (2 meter and 70 centimeter) operate from line-of-sight. So two radios that can *see* each other can talk, even with only 5 watts or less of power. In urban areas there are usually repeaters which would get you the 50 km or so you are seeking. I live in the Seattle area and using just two repeaters, you can get coverage from Vancouver, B.C. clear down to Portland, Oregon. There are also repeaters which link repeaters across four or five states. If you live in a rural area, repeaters may not be as numerous. Also, since we are talking line-of-site, trying to operate in a canyon without a repeater won't get you very far. I have found that using my hand held radio at 5 watts, I can get out about a 10 mile radius or more, depending on the terrain. So, do they work in the woods? Yes, provided there is someone or something out there within line of site who can hear you. 3. Is there a portable ham radio that I could take in the woods with me? Yes, these are called hand helds, HT's or Handi-talkies. They can be as small as a pack of cigarettes, but have a longer antenna than you would find on your cellphone. These are usually limited to 5 watts, which is ample to hit repeaters in the urban area. Other radios, mobile and base stations, will range from 20 watts up to 1500 watts. In the urban area, most folks stick with under 100 watts for 2 meter usage unless they have a specific need for higher power. 4. How much do they cost? A new dual band hand held will run you somewhere between $200 and $400 USD and up. Prices seem to change daily. Prices wil vary used. Finally, the best advice I can give you is to search the internet and find a ham radio club in your area. If you can't find a ham radio club, then look for an Amateur Emergency Services group in your area. (In the US, these are RACES, ARES and SKYWARN, or Radio Amateurs Civil Emergency Services, Amateur Radio Emergency Services and Weather Spotting organizations.) Contact them and ask your questions. They will have the knowledge of your area and I'm sure you will find plenty of help in getting your ticket and radios. They may possibly help you get started on the cheap with your radios once you get your ticket. If you can get in contact with just one ham, chances a high that you'll be in touch with lots of hams who are willing to help you. It's fun hobby. Go for it. FRS and GMRS just don't do the trick.
  6. Whew, it's been a long wait while the wonderful guys at Groundspeak have been working hard at bringing the forums back. Although I'm usually a lurker, I've been having withdrawal symptoms! But this time I have to come on-line and ask this question of all the hams who have been around a while. Repeaters typically have a set time for a single transmission. When you exceed that time, the repeater times out. One repeater here gives a very evil laugh when that happens. When that happens, folks say, "Whoops, the alligator got ya!" So why is it an alligator? I have the impression that this expression has been around a long time. Anyone know where it came from? Thanks, spiderteam KD7UEC
  7. The $75 GMRS is a family license which includes you, your spouse, children, siblings, parents, grandparents, nieces and nephews, I believe. The actual list can be found somewhere on the fcc website. Do a search on GMRS and I think you'll get there. Have fun! Spiderteam P.S. -- Ham Radio is more fun --- give that a look
  8. quote:Originally posted by Cadence (OddTodd & CheleBell):I actually tried to take the element 1 exam, but the tape quality and old Bell&Howell headphones really shot my expectations. ... I have never heard of having a poor quality tape before for the element 1 test. Mine was just like the computer programs I had used to learn on, except for the tone frequency. Keep studying for elements 3 and 1, then look to see if there is another test site in your area. They might have a better quality tape. Good luck. I know that I was thrilled to get my tech ticket and the general ticket was great -- but my OM was wondering what was wrong with me when I was doing the "first DX contact" dance all around the house the night I talked to a nice gentleman on Christmas Island on 20 meters. Now that WAS a thrill! I'm not sure where in Washington State you are, but occasionally you'll find me on the Pilchuck Repeater covering most of the north portion of Western Washington (B.C to somewhere south of Olympia) 146.92, PL 123.0 I think. Give me a holler and tell me it's all my fault. Annie --- KD7UEC
  9. Congratulations! Now let the fun begin. If you are like me, you have more questions now than before you took your test. I suggest you get yourself involved with at least one organiztion related to ham radio (a club, ARES, RACES, SKYWARN, etc.). These groups will help you get answers to your questions and introduce you to all the parts of Ham radio you don't know about yet! Oh, and by the way, stay clear away from HF rigs and folks who have them. HF is very very contagious and if you catch it, you'll start studying code. Have fun --- Spiderteam KD7UEC
  10. Congratulations --- I'll be listening for your callsign on the local repeaters. spiderteam KD7UEC quote:Originally posted by Thomas & Dingo:Only took 1 week to make it on the FCC database. now I can talk on this radio I bought. KD7WLU. "We never seek things for themselves - what we seek is the very seeking of things." Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) http://www.geocachingwa.org
  11. From one fellow lurker to another --- welcome. I mostly lurk, but occasionally get in the act. I guarantee you and your wife will very much enjoy looking for caches. Although I am in the Great Pacific Northwet, pretty much all of the caches we have found have been in various county and state parks. BEWARE -- there are parks out there very close to you that you have never heard of. Now you will find them. Get the GPS and take off. The radio is just icing on the cake. We will be looking for you. spidermom / KD7UEC
  12. Geo Strider The above information is good info on getting started in ham radio. A technician license is the entry level and will get you on the air on the most popular local VHF/UHF bands like 2 meters. To do long distance communication you need to have a general license to get on the HF bands. It costs around $12 to go to a test session and you can take all the tests you want. To get started, you have to pass the Technician multiple choice test. A VHF/UHF radio (new) will cost around $150 and up. I would suggest that you go down to a ham radio store or maybe even radio shack and pick up the book "Now You're Talking" published by the ARRL. Or get it from your local library if they have it. (Cost should be around $20.) Read it. If you like what you read, come back here and get some more advice on practice tests and such. That will let you know whether or not you want to take the tests and invest in some equipment. Go ahead ... jump in. We'll be looking for ya. spiderteam KD7UEC
  13. quote:Originally posted by El Oso - KG4YQS:I just wanted to thank Mike, Desert_Warrior (aka KD9KC) for his advice and encouragement when I talked to him about Amateur Radio. Hear hear! I'm another new ham that Mike has helped out. I just upgraded my one month old license to General. This forum has been one of the most helpful for a new ham. Not only Mike but there have been several whose names I cannot remember. Let's hear it for all the Elmers! 73's to all KD7UEC
  14. quote:Originally posted by El Oso:Ocean? ----- ~ Boyd If it were my local sheriff (where I volunteer) they would call it King 3 Nora Ocean Victor I'm constantly getting the phonetic codes wrong now.
  15. quote:Originally posted by Desert_Warrior: You know what.... your license doesn't say GENERAL - 76% code. It just says GENERAL. Congrats, and enjoy it. Have a great weekend. You are almost right. It says TECHNICIAN. Next week it will say GENERAL. Since I did pass the code test, I saw no reason to not go ahead and upgrade to GENERAL right away. I will take the test next week. I anticipate passing. spidermom -- KD7UEC (I gotta find a decent handle to go with that UEC business. Utterly extraordinarily charming is just too hard to say!)
  16. quote:Originally posted by FunYet:I know I'll be ready to take my tech exam when it rolls around in 2 weeks, but was a bit iffy about the CW. Knowing that I don't have to do it all at once takes some of the pressure off. However, I'll probably go ahead with the suggestion of taking the CW test to get the feel of it. Thanks! When I went in a month ago to take my tech test, I took the code test too, knowing I wouldn't pass it. I wanted to get the feel of of it too. Surprise! I passed it. Not with flying colors mind you, but a pass is a pass. So try it. You've got nothing to lose and the hard part of a general license to gain! Good luck in two weeks. If you put at least a little effort into it, you'll have no trouble. 73 KD7UEC -- she-who-will-be-taking-her-general-test-next-week.
  17. quote:Originally posted by benjamin921: Yup, as long as you can hit the repeater with your HT. You will need the proper frquency for the repeater along with the proper PL tone and then any node punched in with the DTMF key pad. Hah, okay, I'll check out the repeaters and see if I can hit them with my handy-talkie and oh so powerful rubber ducky antenna. (Gotta get me a different antenna.) quote:Most people just start off by saying their call sign and then say listening. ie. Push the PTT button and say "KB3JBE (or of course your call sign) listening". If someone answers you just repeat your call sign and maybe say your location Now that is one of the first pieces of practical advice I have been given. I will find a repeater I get in nice and strong and then try that. If that doesn't work, I'll just answer one of those folks who say, "KD7UEC monitoring" and see what happens. Thanks for the advice. While I'm at it, I'd like to say how much I appreciate this board. As wonderful as eham.net and QRZ are, there is so much stuff there as to be overwhelming. Although dedicated to geocaching, this board sure does have a bunch of simple advice for new hams. Thanks to Jeremy for setting it up and to all the veteran ham geocachers out there who are willing to help all us "newbies".
  18. quote:Originally posted by benjamin921: This is just the very basic jist of it and I know I used words that have more than six letters in it so now someone else will have to explain it to you in a way you can understand it . Of course I am just kidding, it is pretty easy to use. How nice, it is obvious you *tried* to keep it simple. So if I understand you correctly then, assuming my computer has a microphone, which I have no idea whether it does or not, I can get signed up, just click on someone and ta da, I'm yakking with them. Is that correct? /caution, the next sentence contains an acronym/ On the other hand, if I compare your post up with the next one, then I think I call an IRLP on my handy-talkie radio with the proper uhhh PL errr tones and then hook up with someone? I do apologize for my ignorance. I'm still trying to work up enough courage to push the button on my radio and start talking. Now that I'm all set up, I'm a-scared. Just what am I gonna say to all those folks anyway? Do echolink contacts count for a QSL card? she-who-has-her-license-but-is-now-afraid-to-use-it.
  19. quote:Originally posted by benjamin921:Congrats on your ticket! Now you got to look at the echolink system. I've looked at that, but I can't figure it out. Do I need a radio or not? Can you explain in plain English using no acronyms or words with more than 6 letters? (I went to college, so you can use more than 4 letters. However, I never finished my masters degree, so keep it to six please? )
  20. Cool! And you know your Vx-7R can be easily modified to operate on GMRS frequencies as well (um...not that you'd do it, of course, since it wouldn't be type certified ) ApK Of course I would never do that. I'll just carry both the GMRS and the VX-7R while geocaching. Yeah, that's what I'll do. Of course, the other option is to leave the tech book out until he gets the hint and reads it.
  21. quote:Originally posted by Desert_Warrior: What accessories have you recently bought for your ham activities to enhance hamming while Geocaching? Been geocaching for about a year, brand new to ham radio. Santa brought us 2 watt GMRS radios for geocaching. The new VX-7R is for me to play with. Still working on getting him motivated to read "Now You're Talking" spidermom
  22. quote:Originally posted by ApK: Get and keep both licenses. The two services have very different roles. You can do stuff with GMRS that you can't do with ham, and vice versa. ApK OK ... I now have both licenses. I have a pair of 2 watt GMRS radios for he-who-has-no-ham-license and of course a brand new VX-7R for she-who-just-got-her-license. And it was fun getting it! Of course now the geocacheing is suffering because I have a whole new world of amateur radio to explore. Thanks for the advice. spidermon
  23. quote:Originally posted by Desert_Warrior:And your license doesn't say -BARELY PASSED-, it says passed! You need to understand, our system of licensing isn't made to prove a level so much as to put you in a position to experiment and learn more. *snip* As luck would have it, I let my brother (A HAM for 45 years) know I passed my test, so of course he's going to drag out his 10 meter and wants to do some code talking from 3000 miles away. So it looks like I better keep up the code study until I can get competent at 5 wpm at least. Shouldn't take more than a week to get good enough for that. But right now the big question is .... hmmmm, what to buy. So many toys, so little time, so little money. The spidermom half of spiderteam. KD7UEC
  24. I know there are a bazillion of the "I passed!" messages, but I can't help it. I asked a while back about GMRS radios, got a reply that suggested I get both a HAM license and the GMRS. So Santa brought me "Now You're Talking." I passed the exam -- no problemo -- took the code test, figured I wouldn't pass. As luck would have it, I passed it -- barely. And I mean barely. Got my call sign a couple of hours ago from the FCC. Now -- I didn't expect it, but boy am I excited! WOW. Now, I gotta get me a rig and a shack. Hoo Boy, look out HAMS, here I come! The spidermom half of spiderteam. KD7UEC [This message was edited by spiderteam on January 29, 2003 at 09:21 AM.]
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