Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1
ladysmokeater

How To Get Into Ham

Recommended Posts

My grandfather, passed long before I was around, was into HAM radio in a big way. My mom talks about it alot. How can I get into it? What does a low end unit cost? What about a portible one? I have MANY questions!!! Any answers would be appreated

 

ladysmokeater

Share this post


Link to post

It is real easy to get into the hobby. You can go to the ARRL web site to get some info about it. You can also do a search for local clubs in your are that are more than willing to help you out.

 

As for the rigs, there are prices from under a hundred dollars to over fourteen thousand dollars. It just matters what kind, type and mode of radio you want to get.

 

If you need any help, questions or direction just ask.

Share this post


Link to post

The "Now You're Talking" book series is a good place to start. They really helped me.

 

Also, there are a number of online practice exams you can take. Just Google something like "technician license practice" and you should find a couple.

 

KG4ZEP

Share this post


Link to post

When you choose a radio, keep it fairly simple, but not too much so....... sort of like buying a car; if it is a stripped down model, you will regret later what it does not have. In radios, a handheld VHF/UHF unit is the way to go portable, but a handheld is cumbersome for mobile use. For mobile radios, at least VHF/UHF is desirable. None of these radios are all that expensive.

 

For HF bands (1.8-30 mHz), get something that will accomodate your needs. I recently bought a Yaesu FT-817ND - five watt transmitter and receiver that is awesome. It can be used portable, mobile, or at home (where I have used it so far). Using such a low power transmitter has brought the basic fun of Ham Radio back for me. :)

 

The licenses are not hard to obtain...... if I can do it, anybody can do it.

Share this post


Link to post

Just curious, is it mainly listening to conversations? or talking and listening? is it a party line type situation? (like CBs but only on a larger scale)? What are you all actually doing?

 

(Serious question by the way)

 

I have my Dad's old Radio and I've been thinking about setting it up just to listen.

Edited by BlueDeuce

Share this post


Link to post

Depending on what band that you are opperating on, it can be like the cb band but with control. Normally what I talk on is called a repeater(a machine that will repeat what is being said on a different freq and higher power) and one person talks at a time and is passed around to each person (called a round table). The other mode is called simplex, which is radio to radio and can be a lot of fun.

 

Basicaly, it can crazy at times but there is control and rules that are in place for that reason.

 

Hopefuly I answered you questions without rambiling on to much. Hope to hear you on the air waves some time.

Share this post


Link to post
Just curious, is it mainly listening to conversations? or talking and listening? is it a party line type situation? (like CBs but only on a larger scale)? What are you all actually doing?

 

Depending on your personal interests, there are many modes to explore. Here are just a few.

 

APRS; is a mode where you can track yourself and others that have a APRS transmitter. It even has street level mapping so you can see where the person or station is actually moving. In real time. Here's a link to an internet website where you can move the map around to your area and watch the transmitters moving. APRS Here is another great website for info about this: More about APRS

 

Another mode which most of the others have been writing about is using VHF/UHF repeaters to talk to other people.

 

We also have amateur television which a lot of people find very fun. Just imagine transmitting a signal over the air to another person and they can see and hear you at the same time just like regular TV. Also there is a part of this called Slow Scan TV. It's really cool. Say you're in the USA and you want to send a picture to a friend in New Zealand. It's a piece of cake on Slow Scan TV.

 

Then others like CW or more commonly known as Morse Code. You can literally talk around the world on CW. It's a great mode. Now you're going to meet people that don't want to learn morse code, and that's Okay. But if you really like to play with radio communication. Then CW is where it's at. When the conditions get real bad, CW will always cut through. And trust me when I say that making a contact on CW will have you making back flips in your radio room. Think of it this way. You've just built your first 40 meter CW transmitter kit and got it all tested and it's up and running. You've measured out the wire for your antenna and hung it between your house and the tree in the back yard. You put your head phones on and you start dialing around listening for a station somewhere far off. And suddenly you hear, CQ CQ CQ delta 68 charlie CQ CQ CQ. ( D68C) You don't believe your ears. You don't know where he is but you know with that callsign he's far far away. You scramble to answer him with your brand new radio that you just finished building and your shiney new morse code key. And to your utter amazement, he answers your call. You've just made your first morse code contact. Later you look up his callsign and find out that he was on the Comorros Island off the east coast of Africa. And you made the contact with 5 or 10 watts. I actually made that contact from Boise Idaho. Although my radio puts out more power I was running low power at the time. Here is an example kit:40 Meter CW Kit

 

Packet radio is another real fun mode. Basically you type back and forth with your computer over the air. Here's more info: All About Packet Radio

 

Another great mode is PSK31, it is also another digital mode like packet. I use it qiute a bit. I live in Boise Idaho, and early in the morning before the sun rises. I can work stations in Europe, like Norway, Italy, Belgium, Ireland, etc. With ten watts and 135 feet of wire antenna, and my radio and my computer. You just type back and forth in real time. It's a lot of fun. Here's a website with lot's of info: All about PSK31

 

The thing with ham radio is it has something for everyone. No matter what your interests are, there is something that will perk your interest in ham radio.

 

There are many voice, and digital modes to explore and let your curiousity lead you into many projects.

 

If you want to know what license a ham has or where they live you can put their ham radio call letters in a call sign data base like QRZ.Com Call Sign Data Base and it will tell you everything.

 

Get your ham radio license and start having fun, 73's from N7VIV

Share this post


Link to post
Then others like CW or more commonly known as Morse Code.  You can literally talk around the world on CW.  It's a great mode.....

Could not agree more. I have had more fun with CW using low power operating (known as QRP) and have contacted stations in all 50 states and 40+ countries using less that 5 watts on a homebuilt transmitter similar to the one linked in N7VIV's post. You can't beat the thrill of hearing your callsign being sent back to you from someone who is thousands of miles away; halfway around the world.

Share this post


Link to post
When you choose a radio, keep it fairly simple, but not too much so....... sort of like buying a car; if it is a stripped down model, you will regret later what it does not have. In radios, a handheld VHF/UHF unit is the way to go portable, but a handheld is cumbersome for mobile use. For mobile radios, at least VHF/UHF is desirable. None of these radios are all that expensive.

 

For HF bands (1.8-30 mHz), get something that will accomodate your needs. I recently bought a Yaesu FT-817ND - five watt transmitter and receiver that is awesome. It can be used portable, mobile, or at home (where I have used it so far). Using such a low power transmitter has brought the basic fun of Ham Radio back for me. :lol:

 

The licenses are not hard to obtain...... if I can do it, anybody can do it.

 

Most new hams are not going to be able to use the HF bands so while the 817 is a fine radio, it is not a good choice for a new ham. Unless that ham also takes the General class exam and passes the code portion they will not be able to transmitt in the HF portion of the spectrum. For now CW (Morse code) is still required for HF operating privlages.

 

Besides being a QRP (QRP means low power operation) rig with a max output of 5 watts on the HF bands it can be disapointing for a new ham that has HF privlages when they are trying to make a contact. While QRP can be a lot of fun, it is not a good choice for a new ham.

Share this post


Link to post

I have gotten some books on HAM radios now, and I'm looking into that first rig. My price range is very low right now, like the 100-150 dollar range. I'll be taking my tech exam in april (first date I have off work when the test is offered) anyhow, there are two repeters with in 5 miles of my house (I looked this up today). How many watts will I need to reach one? Should I go for my CW the same night as the written exam?

Share this post


Link to post

Well if the repeaters are on a hill. You should be able to use them with the lowest amount of power. So if you were to get a "Hand Held"- HT unit you would be more than able to use them. If you are in a more remote area then I would say get something with a bit more power.

Share this post


Link to post
I have gotten some books on HAM radios now, and I'm looking into that first rig. My price range is very low right now, like the 100-150 dollar range. I'll be taking my tech exam in april (first date I have off work when the test is offered) anyhow, there are two repeters with in 5 miles of my house (I looked this up today). How many watts will I need to reach one? Should I go for my CW the same night as the written exam?

Alinco, Icom, Kenwood, and Yaesu/Vertex all make rigs that sell between the price range you are looking for. Mostly they will be monoband rigs but they will have extened receives ranges for picking up fire and police calls. You'll want a rig that has 5 watts output for the most part to hit those repeaters that you have near by. A friend of my wife's just got her ticket in October (as did my wife) and we picked up an Alinco DJ-195 for about $120 for her. It has worked out pretty well.

 

As to CW (element 1). go for it. They will always give you the option to take the General test if you pass the Technician and if you can pass the code you've got HF abilities to start out with.

 

Good luck and let us all know how things go.

 

Max...

K0AZV

Share this post


Link to post

Ladysmokeater,

You'll have no problems with it. Please do keep us imformed. You got quite the impressive profile!! I also am a Vol. Firefighter . It is funny I use smokeater as a login name on DC website. I really didn't think anyone would get it. I also read you have pending antigeocaching bill pending in your area??? WTH!! What does geocaching hurt??? I like your letter to your Rep!! I just got into Ham 1 year ago and now am a tech + (i just got my morse endorsment Dec 13th) I hope to start taking a general class this month. We have a local club that has grown about 500% this last year alone. Check out our web blog w9pvr.blogspot.com I think for right now when you pass your tech a ht will be your best bet. It should hit those towers you have with not to much problem as long as you don't have a mountain in between you and them LOL! You will not be able to use HF phone till you become a general. But you will be able to use phone on 2 meter and 440 bands with a Tech license. Being in the dispatch also should help you alot!! If you do need help just let us know!!

FB 73's KC9HHG

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1

×
×
  • Create New...