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poxboy_ca

ham confused

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hey, i have done some looking around and i can't find any info really on ham or what it is. i understand it is a radio of some sort. i have a CB in my car, but i don't know if that is basically the same as ham or not. and if possible, then can i talk to people using ham with my cb? if so, what channel(s)? can some one explain a bit to me please?

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Ham radio (aka Amateur Radio) is a world wide group of people who have been licensed by their government to operate on specific radio frequencies.

 

Your CB is not designed to talk on any of the Ham frequencies and since you are unlicensed it is illegal for you to talk on the ham frequencies, unless you are being supervised by a licensed ham.

 

To find more out about ham radio check out these links;

 

ARRL

 

Amatuer Radio on Wikipedia

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officially, ham radio is for self training in radio communications. There are quite a range of frequencies that are usable, from long wavelengths to much shorter ones. Some people even communicate using things like amateur TV on microwaves!

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Ham Radio and CB are similar only in as far as people use radio equipment to do both. You will find, in the CB world, people who will say ham radio folks are snotty and arrogant, thinking they are better than "lowly" CB-ers... an observation that has some roots in truth because there are many hams who think that way. You will find in ham radio people who think CB-ers are chatty, immature appliance operators who have no interest in the educational aspects of radio and electronics... an observation that also has some roots in truth because there are many CB-ers that are like that.

 

Prejudices aside, both CB and ham radio are good hobbies and have advantages and disadvantages, which I'll try to cover off a bit here:

 

CB Radio has the following advantages:

- is inexpensive

- does not require a licence (in Canada, the US has much more picky regulations so I don't know)

- can be used by pretty much anybody

- does not require a detailed electronics knowledge (although learning electronics can help you put together a better set-up)

 

CB Radio has the following disadvantages:

- The frequencies are subject to a lot of interference, especially near solar peaks

- unless you run illegal power, it's really short-range communication and difficult to talk across even a smallish town from a mobile set

- only 2 modes (AM and SSB), and a lot of radios and operators don't use SSB (which permits more power).

- selection of radios available to the consumer is rather limited

 

Ham Radio has the following advantages:

- Can use a lot more power at any licence level than CB radio.

- Different bands permit effective short and long range, legal communication, across town or around the world

- Repeaters make for easier cross-town communication

- The wide range of bands allows people to choose a frequency that is less subject to interference

- Huge selection of modes available for voice, video, digital, and satellite transmission. Don't be fooled by rock-bangers who would have you believe that ham radio is all morse code.

- Wide selection of radios available to the consumer, and the option of building your own (depending on your licence class).

- There is a LOT to learn in the hobby and lots of experienced and knowledgeable people to learn it from!

- There is a lot less general yahooery on ham radio compared to what I remember from CB days. Ham radio operators usually behave in a mature manner.

 

Ham radio has the following disadvantages:

- Requires a licence, which requires successfully passing examinations involving electronics and regulations knowledge. This means that you will have to WANT it, and you have to WORK at it. This is a disadvantage in as much as many people want to do their hobbies "right now" without having to work up to it, so some people consider the licence requirement exclusionary.

- Probably as a result of licencing, and a growing cultural predisposition toward immediate gratification, the average age of hams is, shall we say, not young. If your expectation is to find some frequency full of teens chatting about the latest events at school, it is likely you won't find it on ham radio.

- Although prices vary, it's probably fair to say that ham radio equipment is generally more expensive than CB equipment... although there's a LOT of variety and as noted above, if your licence class permits it, you can build your own. Having said that, however, there are huge deals. You can, with a basic licence (Canada), pick up a 440 MHz or 144 MHz radios for under $100 if you look around. Tune to a local repeater and you'll be able to talk to people across town with very little or no interference. You can't do that with CB.

- There are more rules nazis in ham radio. Some of them are official (Industry Canada, the FCC, etc.), some are other hams.

 

If you are interested in radio and electronics, ham radio can be a very rewarding hobby with lots you can learn and lots of fun to be had. If all you really want to do is chat with a few friends and not spend a lot of money and time, then CB is probably more what you're after.

 

-geoSquid

 

VE3OIJ

Edited by geoSquid

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thanks for all the help, that really did clear up a lot, however, i got my cb on sale for $40 and it has more distance then what you stated. first of all, i can easily talk to my friends most of the time when they are over 30 miles away, and we have even been able to talk to people almost half way across canada, but keep in mind our cbs are brand new and the only reason they were on sale was because the store was moving, but still thanks for the info

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thanks for all the help, that really did clear up a lot, however, i got my cb on sale for $40 and it has more distance then what you stated. first of all, i can easily talk to my friends most of the time when they are over 30 miles away, and we have even been able to talk to people almost half way across canada, but keep in mind our cbs are brand new and the only reason they were on sale was because the store was moving, but still thanks for the info

 

Also keep in mind that if your CB runs more than 4-5 watts it is not legal. Many CBs have been tweaked or people run amplifiers.

 

In the US for sure, deliberately sending a CB signal more than some distance (50 miles?) is not legal.

 

If you can regularly get 30 miles out of a CB running legal power, you must live out on the prairie or near the ocean :D You'd be pretty hard pressed to get 30 miles across an urban area unless you're using SSB and its 12 watts PEP, and even then...

 

I was a CB-er for decades before getting into ham radio.

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thanks for all the help, that really did clear up a lot, however, i got my cb on sale for $40 and it has more distance then what you stated. first of all, i can easily talk to my friends most of the time when they are over 30 miles away, and we have even been able to talk to people almost half way across canada, but keep in mind our cbs are brand new and the only reason they were on sale was because the store was moving, but still thanks for the info

 

Also keep in mind that if your CB runs more than 4-5 watts it is not legal. Many CBs have been tweaked or people run amplifiers.

 

In the US for sure, deliberately sending a CB signal more than some distance (50 miles?) is not legal.

 

If you can regularly get 30 miles out of a CB running legal power, you must live out on the prairie or near the ocean ;) You'd be pretty hard pressed to get 30 miles across an urban area unless you're using SSB and its 12 watts PEP, and even then...

 

I was a CB-er for decades before getting into ham radio.

 

our cbs are brand new, we got them less then 6 moths ago, and we have not touched them at all all we did was plug them into the power supply and slap the antena on the top. pluss we are in southern ontario. however, my friends dad use to be a trucker, so he still has his base unit and all that opperating stuff, so back in the day befor cell phones were popular, they could talk to their dad when he was doing trips down to texas, so now we use it on channle 2 for long range communications, and noting has been modified, unless you count the pirate flag i fly from my cb antena?

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the pirate flag i fly from my cb antena?

 

:lol:

 

More hams need a bit of humour like that.

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Almost every town has a ham radio club. Contact someone from the local club and find out about their meetings, repeaters, and other information. Our local club has testing every other month and their are members that will help you study for the test. Morse code is not required anymore so it is just tst on radio theories, band class limits, progagation, etc. and is only 30 question. You can test yourself online at a couple of different sites [www.eham.com] and radios can be found on ebay for very good prices. I have been a licensed ham radio operator since 1991 and belong to the Aplle City Amatuer Radio CLub in Wenatchee Washington. There are about 5 of the members who also geocache. We have gotten on the local repeater and gone caching together. Decide if you want to study for the license and then go for it and have fun.

 

Blue J Wenatchee

Jon Campbell N7RZR

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I was a CB-er for decades before getting into ham radio.

Then you should remember the CB signal does have the ability to be skipped through the atmosphere. When I was down in Texas with a 5 watt base station and standard antenna, I was able to speak with others out of state on a routine basis, but during certain hours when the atmosphere had a cetain condition to it. That's going about 30 years back so my brain is a bit fuzzy on the details.

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I was a CB-er for decades before getting into ham radio.

Then you should remember the CB signal does have the ability to be skipped through the atmosphere. When I was down in Texas with a 5 watt base station and standard antenna, I was able to speak with others out of state on a routine basis, but during certain hours when the atmosphere had a cetain condition to it. That's going about 30 years back so my brain is a bit fuzzy on the details.

 

Oh I remember that well...

 

I also remember that it is illegal to work skip on a CB radio where I am, and it is probably illegal where you are.

 

According to RIC-18 (Canadian regs, emphasis mine):

 

You must not use a GRS station:

- in connection with any activity which is against federal laws, provincial laws, or municipal by-laws;

- to transmit abusive, obscene, indecent or profane words, language or meaning;

- to interfere maliciously with the communications of another station;

- to transmit music, whistling, sound effects or any material to amuse, entertain or attract attention;

- to communicate with, or attempt to communicate with, a GRS beyond the normal coverage range of your

station. (Such communications, commonly referred to as "working skip", use the ionosphere to bounce

signals.)

 

Or, for a more USA spin on it from Title 47, Volume 5...

 

(a) You must not use a CB station--

...

(9) To communicate with, or attempt to communicate with, any CB

station more than 250 kilometers (155.3 miles) away;

 

Yeah, I know lots of people do it, and I won't lie and say I've never done it, but you're not supposed to do it.

Edited by geoSquid

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Yeah, I know lots of people do it, and I won't lie and say I've never done it, but you're not supposed to do it.

Yeah, yeah. And some of us ran extra power and talked regularly to Hawaii and Australia along with the rest of the US and Canada. That's how many of us "got the radio bug". Then, of course, some of us wised up and walked the straight and narrow before we got caught and put the effort into getting licensed so we could do all that and more the legal way.

 

I still have some friends from back in the '70s who still talk 27 MHz running power that think it is the end all. I've tired of trying to get them to see the light as to what they are missing by dinking around on their single band when they could be playing around from almost DC to daylight with a minimum ammount of effort spent studying to pass a test... I'll occasionally talk with them about radio and they relate to me how they can talk 30 or 40 miles with their 500+ Watt linear amplifiers and all I do is smile and knowingly shake my head. They're still caught up in "power" when in reality, it is all about frequency.

 

Ken KE6N

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There has been little law enforcement in CB radio over the years, unless you make a royal nuisance of yourself. But Amateur Radio is a licensed service and is much more regulated and even has self policing through the Official Observers volunteer program. Hams that listen and report on improper or illegal operation, but on a more positive note, they also send nice little notes to operators on occasion to commend them for outstanding operating practices. Even though there is an FCC Law Enforcement branch, it is the responsibility of all hams to police our bands and our own operations, and work to remove those who bring a troublemaker mentality onto the bands.

 

To all Cber's that are interested. If you enjoy friendly, polite conversation and are tired of the baloney and trash talk that permeates CB, please study, take the test, and join the Amateur Radio operators that enjoy this fine hobby. But if the trash talk is what you like about CB and just want to send it out over longer range, WE DON'T NEED YOU OR WANT YOU. Stay on your CB. Make the choice and commitment to be a good operator or go away. It's that simple. Good day. :o

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But if the trash talk is what you like about CB and just want to send it out over longer range, WE DON'T NEED YOU OR WANT YOU. Stay on your CB.

Or I suppose they could get licensed for general or above and go hang out on certain 75m or 20m frequencies where they'd feel right at home. :):(:)

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Or I suppose they could get licensed for general or above and go hang out on certain 75m or 20m frequencies where they'd feel right at home. :):):(

 

Sad to say that is true. Once in, it is hard to root them back out. But I have made some good friendly contacts on 75m and 20m too. I just listen for a good while before trying to join into a QSO or I catch some DX. I try to avoid the channel kings who think anyone else needs their permission to use their frequency or 10khz either side, even if its been dead air for the last 10 minutes or more. If it has been more than 10 minutes since I heard a voice and/or an ID then the frequency is open as far as I'm concerned. :)

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But if the trash talk is what you like about CB and just want to send it out over longer range, WE DON'T NEED YOU OR WANT YOU. Stay on your CB.

Or I suppose they could get licensed for general or above and go hang out on certain 75m or 20m frequencies where they'd feel right at home. :blink::P:D

 

I guess I'm lucky... I operate almost exclusively digital modes, so I never see that kind of douchebaggery.

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Try this: http://www.hello-radio.org/whatis.html

 

Then go to the main page: www.hello-radio.org

 

(Other posts contain good info, too.)

 

Basically, Ham Radio is an OLD institution, worldwide, that was a fraternity of federally licensed radio experimenters who built thier own radio equipment and talked to each other on it. That is changing, as most equipment now is commercially built, but there is no REQUIREMENT as to what equipment to use - it's up to you and your skills!

 

The license tests are somewhat technical, but dont be too intimidated, as they have been made easier by the publication of all the test questions!!!! The license tests today are more of a reading and memorizing challenge.

 

Mark

WR8Y

(continually licensed and active in ham radio for 33 years)

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