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bigredmed

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Everything posted by bigredmed

  1. Agree with comments regarding ARRL and eham. Would recommend QRZ.com rather than eham for practice tests as they seem more robust on qrz.com. Mobile radios come in basically 3 kinds. 1. 2 meter FM 2. Dual band 2 meter and 70 cm FM 3. #2 plus something (HF or 6 meters, etc) What you need depends on what you want to do and where you are. If you are in California, getting into the WIN system is a powerful tool and will link you in to the world on either 2 meter or 70 cm via IRLP (Internet Radio Linking Protocol). So there, you could get by with #1 and be fine. I am in Nebraska. I would not bother with a mobile that didn't have both 2 meter and 70 cm. In most places that is true. You can expect to pay around $300 for a good radio and about $50 for a good antenna. Mine is a 5/8 wave antenna on a motor mount, so I paid about $150 for the mount and the antenna. I love my motor mount. Magmounts are way cheaper and the way I went for a couple of years. You can get good deals on antennas and mounts at local hamfests. Now what you want to do matters. I and my wife are NWS storm spotters. We regularly need all 50 watts and the gain I get off my antenna to get to the NWS through a storm. We have a Yaesu FT 8800R and it has served us well. Remember to either have it professionally installed to you car battery or do it yourself. One of my friends did it himself, but did it post alternator, and you hear the alternator whine when ever he keys up. Ham radio has lead us to some fun adventures. Best of luck with it. 73's.
  2. The UK has eliminated CW as a licensing requirement, but is now experiencing an uptick in usage. Here is my two cents. To go from nothing to tech is too simple, but also not very expensive, with modern dual band mobiles under 300 bucks, and a lot of good recent HT's available for less. To go from tech to general is a harder test, but also includes learning CW. As there is little exposure to CW in the tech level, this is seen as a new thing. While there are alot of new things in the General, most of them are used frequently regardless of the mode you participate in frequently once licensed. CW is another mode. To go from tech to general means buying the HF rig, powersupply, tuner, antenna, keyer, etc, just to try out CW to see if you like it. This gets to be a condition where a lot of us who don't like CW, or don't have the time to devote to learning it, have to learn it to get licensed, and then spend a bunch of cash just to find out that we don't like it, and will not use it enough to stay competent. By changing the requirement, people will get into HF and hear the CW and note that their ssb phone communications don't get out as far, and get interested in CW, just as our friends in England have.
  3. I guess this refers to my last post. Not a geocide, just a cache-placement and TB placement stoppage. I seriously doubt that Jeremy could do anything meaningful. That doesn't mean that we don't do anything. It also means that when someone looks at a considerable cost that just went down the drain thanks to some loser, we don't further the irritation by implying that they are just being "angsty" or dropping some other insult on them (like yours). The way we respond to things like this is to do what other groups have done. In HAM radio we have three levels of response. 1. For VERY bad things, the FCC comes down on you and takes your license and your radios. 2. For less bad things, Official Observers (the OO's) send you stern warnings. 3. For still milder offenses, local HAM's will pull you aside and tell you what you did wrong and how to avoid it in the future. Note the parallels between HAM and Geocaching. For really bad things, TPTB will yank your membership. For minor things, you get slapped by the approver or some other person. Where we fail is taking the initiative ourselves to deal with the minor problems or the medium problems. We then get all holier than thou on people who are upset about what ever the issue is, and get them all PO'd, meanwhile the scofflaw that started the problem skates away. Given the unwillingness of GC and geocachers in general to stick to a real code of conduct and hold people to it, I just feel that I have spent enough money on this. I have placed 14 caches, of these 5 are still active. That's about 500 bucks worth of stuff that is gone. Like most people, I can find better places to put that kind of money.
  4. The thing that has really turned me off to geocaching is the attitude that says someone can steal 156 travel bugs, show no sign of releasing them, brag about it on the very website that gave him/her the ability to find them, and we just want to sit back and take it. Moreover, we will actively criticize those who would try to stop these creeps, all to avoid "angst". Other hobbies and groups have standards for behavior. You want to be a jerk, you get treated like one. The HAM group and the Skywarn group I am affiliated with have no hesitation to drop a member who would act like this. Certainly people who call the jerk on their behavior would not be treated worse than the jerk. As for me, the money I spend for recreation that used to go for caches and travel bugs will now go elsewhere, where I can be assured that the expenditure will not end up in some garbage can as the source of destructive pleasure for some sociopathic cretin. Hasta la vista, Enabling Angstophobes!
  5. In general, I do not like the idea of geocaches in cemeteries, and even if this law doesn't pass, I don't know that I would place or even seek a cache in a cemetery. As my wife said, "How would you like it if you're at a family member's grave and you see a couple of people wandering around in and out of the graves, digging in the bushes, etc.?" Cemeteries aren't so much for the dead as for the living who are left behind. They give us a place to remember his/her life and to come to grips with our own grief, and that's often a very private matter. But that's just my personal opinion, not something that I think should be legislated. (The post I quoted above might be a bit different -- placed by the family of one of those buried in that cemetery. I think that's pretty neat. But most cemetery caches aren't like that.) That being said -- when I was in school, we took field trips to cemeteries several times, getting "rubbings" off of various gravestones, even doing a "scavenger hunt" one time (find the tombstone of the Confederate Soldier, find the tombstone with the misspelled word, find the grave of a family pet, etc.) My teachers always got permission from the local owners before we came over, and the owner often talked to us a little bit about the cemetery before we started wandering around. I don't see that as much different from geocaching (we had sheets of paper with clues on it vs. coordinates and a GPS Receiver) except for one thing -- it was a more "controlled" hunt with a teacher (and often the caretaker) looking on, making sure we weren't getting too out of hand. Geocaching is basically self-policed, and sometimes a few cachers do get out of hand, and there's no authority figure there to scold them. Do I think the state government needs to be the "authority figure" here? No. I just think that some Geocachers need to be a little more respectful. If that means Geocaching.com banning cemetery caches, I think that's something Geocaching.com needs to consider and handle, not the state of SC. (Sorry for the long post -- I got a little wound up ...) Well said. I remember going to the Mormon Pioneer cememtary at Winter Quarters here in Omaha. We were expected to stand quietly at the base of the statue and be respectful. Tall order for a bunch of 5th graders, but we did it. Its one thing to visit a historic place and its another to wander around it it off the beaten path. The cemetary here is a small thing by modern standards and has one large statue and monument area, and then some head stones. While I have no reason to believe that these headstones are unusually fragile, I also have no reason to doubt that the people who care for the cemetary budget a certain amount for wear and tear in the public area, but not for the private area. Adding people walking around the private area or disturbing vegetation in these areas means adding cost of maintenance. Adding costs to the cemetary is inconsiderate. We have a cemetary cache near Omaha. The cache itself is only NEAR the cemetary and one could find it, trade, write a log entry, and take pictures as desired and never disturb the actual cemetary. Even if a family member was at the site, you would be able to find the thing and never bother them. I am fine with this kind of cache, sadly this seems to be the exception rather than the rule. I agree that cemetaries are for private matters of grief and such. We should be respectful of that need and hold off on cemetary caches that are in the private areas of cemetaries.
  6. That's fair. Then we find his name and location and call the FBI or the postal inspectors for an interstate criminal investigation. Stealing a grand worth of TB's is not a trivial issue, and using the internet to do the crime makes it worse. If there is anything the experience our friends in SC are having can teach us is that we have to be willing to nut up and deal with people who don't obey the rules or who commit crimes and call it geocaching. The guy has 7 days to dump the 156 travel bugs into a neighborhood cache and then let people know they are there. Once confirmed by local cachers that the bugs are physically in the cache, he is off the hook, otherwise its a visit from the feds. Sounds mean, but really, its time.
  7. For some, it's only about the numbers. Any number, even number of travel bugs they've "found". So they'll go to events, and write down the numbers of every bug there, come home, log each one out of, then back into the event page, to increase their TB find count. This practice should be discouraged as it generates lots of wasted email notices about your travel bug being "held", "handed around", or "saw at" an event.
  8. What actions? I still haven't seen any evidence of "out of control geoachers" bringing this on. What I see is a case built on lies, things taken out of context and twisted and extremely minor breaches of etiquitte blown way out of proportion. The degree of the "minor indescretion" depends on whether your grandfather is buried in that cemetary or not. Obviously the caretakers for the cemetaries in question, and a number of the neighbors testified in support of the bill, they have to be more than "minorly" upset. No one is going to go to that much trouble for a couple of posts in an "obscure forum". We probably should be rethinking cemetary caches in general. Better to walk the extra distance to go well around the rattlesnake than to step close and invite its bite. Certainly sounds like its rattling in SC.
  9. I am shocked that you haven't been flamed yet for this post. Last one I left didn't take 2 hours. We don't do a good job of setting a standard and then living with it. If it means that someone is no longer allowed to list caches on this site, it means that they will move to Navicache and so TPTB don't have any incentive to hold to a standard. If you add in the crowd that screams "Let me play the game my way", you have perfect cover for TPTB. I agree with you that we either do a better job controlling ourselves or others will do it for us.
  10. There have been a number of ecomonic studies done on the impact of birders travel into various areas. Once businesses realize how much money birders are spending in their area the result has been a proliferation of Birder festivals and commercially organized events all over the country. Geocaching needs an ecomonic impact study. Birders, by the way are frequently found in cemeteries, tramping around, peering up into the trees and skulking through the shubbery. I don't know of any place we have been banned. NevaP Sadly, we have a problem that few want to address. Birders tend to be rather quiet folks that go out to see some birds. They may skulk around in the brush as you say, but they tend not to take pictures about their skulking and then brag about it on the Internet. Some of us have done that. Sadly for those in SC that can control their behavior, those who cannot chose to do this in a state that feels it's history like other people feel their clothes. It is easy to understand the reaction of the legislature there. You have a culture that values it's local history. You have a culture, much like ours in Nebraska, that doesn't get much attention or respect from the rest of the country, and you have jerks who call themselves geocachers acting like fools in their cemetaries, and posting about it on the net. The offended legislator just had to show the pics and read the posts to her committee members to get their votes. Promise you, if some one in the unicam got a bug about geocaching and had some posts and goofy pics, we would be hustling down to Lincoln to keep it from happening here. As long as we don't want to form an accepted culture of behavior, geocaching will be vulnerable to this kind of threat. As I have said before, the game is like a teenager that is becoming an adult. If we won't control our behavior, someone else will. In HAM radio, the first set of exams for license has basic radio procedure. Even though only a few of the procedures are actually legally required, all are taught equally as you don't want to be a "Lid". "Lids" are what people are called who can't conduct themselves properly on the air. No one wants to be one, and no one wants one of their students or friends to be one either. In that hobby, proper behavior is demanded. In geocaching, when people have brought this kind of thing up, usually they are slammed for "not letting people play the game the way they want to". So we continue to have TB's that go missing for months, or disappear totally. We continue to have people trash caches with bad trades, we continue to have people do foolish stuff while caching, and we continue to have regulatory pressure on our game. But we all get to sit back cocksure in our satisfaction that we aren't being a buzzkill.
  11. I would discourage it. The wind chimes will need to hang from a tree with wind to work. This will mean they are in the open. This will mean that they will be lost or damaged soon after they are hung. Once that happens, you are in a maintenance hassle of going out there again and again to fix the chimes. The other problem is that once the chimes arer fixed, you have the rangers who will be unhappy that some one left these and will be interested in talking to you . The beacon cache idea is a difficult one to pull off.
  12. Ok, Hank. To settle this in my own mind, I went onto the FCC's amateur site. There is NO mention of any attempt to change the license exam process. I then called the FCC and got their Gaithersburg office (the operator at the 1888 number sent me there) and the woman I talked with did not know of any attempt by the FCC to change the license exam process. This is as of 4/22/05 at 1530 CDT. Looks like I had better start messing with the dits and the dahs again.
  13. Why not advocate busting his caches? Jerk behavior is what got us the SC mess. If we don't do something about the goobers that screw up the game, there seems to be at least group of people who are more than happy to. A simpler way to do it is to post the loser's ID and have the mods beat up on his caches and logs for a few weeks.
  14. The HAM radio club I belong to has a traveling item called "V_ger". You have to solder a new piece to it and move it on surrepticiously to a different member. The item to be added is supposed to have some functionality (like soldering a personal fan to the item.) That would be a cool, though soon too big to move TB.
  15. Interesting! That's not the case in the 1000 or so traditionals I have found in 10 states and the dozens of threads on this and other geocaching forums! Please remember that new cachers who do not yet know better read these threads and may tend to believe what the "established" community has to say about the game! I don't deny your reported experience, only state that mine has been totally different! From my perspective this game is growing and improving daily, and trading trinkets is at the heart of it! I see a lot of TNLN where I am from. Some of my caches are still trade locations, but others are just a string of TNLN's. The withering and dying part seems a little hyperbolic. Trading still goes on, but it seems to me that most of the cachers that persist beyond the 50 or so finds that mark the 50th percentile of all cachers, either start TNLNing primarily or trade sig items and TB's only. The trade down syndrome eventually trashes the cache and it either gets restocked by its owner, or it fosters a bunch of TNLN's.
  16. I would not hassle someone who found the bug and just moved it. The request would be OK by me as long as that condition was obviously met in the travel bug page. Re: the cache, be sure to put it far enough from the road for kids to be safe. Any drive by cache should be stone cold kid friendly as we all know that kids will be a big part of the cache's audience.
  17. Stick with the ARRL... :-) I agree, the ARRL is the cost-effective way to go. If you are a member, they give you discounts on their courses, and more access to their old journals. Nothing bad to say about qrz, but eham.net has the question pool as well and seems to be better regarded in terms of product reviews. If the ARRL isn't your cup of tea, then try the questions on eham. As for the Internet for Dummies book, I looked at it when I was studying for the Tech license, and its REALLY basic and wouldn't even get you past the Tech. Go for ARRL's "Now You're Talking". It has the question pool and the text is basic, yet with sufficient depth to actually be useful.
  18. When are these changes going to happen? I just started to study for my test. Keep studying for the test. You will be grandfathered in if you already have your license and they change the test. The big change is coming to the the General and Amateur Extra classes. Its anticipated that the FCC will drop the CW requirement for General class license and retain it for the AE (or the next iteration of the AE, what ever its called.) I am going to wait on the written General until the FCC decision is made (whenever that is).
  19. I'm in the process of building that one. Does it really work that great? I was able to talk to people on 2 M simplex who were 9 miles away on 5 watts. I have put together a PVC mast for the back of my truck so that I can travel to a spot, and errect it. Once there, and the mast is up, the antenna is about 8 feet off the ground at the connection and about 11 feet off the ground at the top of the J. I can get some good reception on it. Right now, my focus is on how to keep the mast and the antenna true in the vertical axis as the mast tends to bend forward over the truck. I am also working on ideas to extend the height using a piece of 3/4 metal conduit for the base of the mast. It has actually been quite fun to play with. A friend at Church who is also a ham has built three of them for himself and friends of his.
  20. HIPS-meister makes some good points. We have had other threads that have touched on related topics. There were few (if any) local caching groups when the GC site was established. Now there are many local clubs with some real experienced cachers involved. Many approvers belong to one or more of them. Back in the day when the locals were few and local clubs were even fewer, it reasonably fell onto the approvers to hold the line on cache quality. With the advent of the wide spread local clubs, we have a cohort of people who could be asked to go check out a geocache for an approver and the approver could count on getting some experienced opinion from the ground level. A leg maybe only 510 feet apart on mapquest, but be a quarter mile further apart on the trail. This kind of issue could be resolved rather quickly by using some of the experienced members of the local clubs to scope things out. We have an older gent that belongs to our club that has FTF on nearly every cache. He is a good cacher and his opinion means something. He would be an example of the kind of people that could be recruited to this mission. HIPs is right, the game is getting more popular and more mainstream. We need to be sure that th sport grows in the most advantageous manner. One of the things we need to do is to evolve the listing process as well.
  21. Starbrand has the WNAG group and you are welcome to join the Nebraskache group. Irsihcat is also in the NP area.
  22. Good luck with the exam. Here is a last thought on buying radios. www.eham.net "Product Reviews" on the menu list. This is a great place for product reviews and they go way back. It would not surprise me that someone put in a review of Marconi's radio I use it every time I look into buying a radio.
  23. Sure could be some April Fools prank on the part of Tres Okies. If it is, good one. If its real, then what can you say? Its Oklahoma...
  24. I can fix the cell phone number to muggles problem. You find some statue or building with a distinctive color (doesn't have to be odd, just definite). You give the coordinates to the object as the first step in the multicache. On the web page you set up a color wheel with that color included. The size should fit a CD that is numbered 1-12 like the face of a clock. The instructions to the cacher is to turn the color wheel to put the color of the statue at 12. On the web page is a chart with a phone number that has some numbers blanked out by different colors. When the wheel is turned to twelve, the colors coordinate with the missing numbers from your phone number. By using the color from place X and a color from the payphone bank, you could force the issue of going to both legs of the cache. So you could send them to place X, get the color, then to place Y (which is a pay phone) and have them call you using the decoded phone number to get the coords for the real cache. (credit: BlackyV)
  25. A Cache Too Far The Good, The Bad, and The Micros For when you show it at Cannes: "Cache Monet" "Just When You Think You Have Heard of Everything"
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