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Author Topic: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset  (Read 13248 times)

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Online TexasRedNeck

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What is amateur or HAM radio? What are the advantages of HAM radio versus other modes of communication? Why bother getting a license? What purpose does HAM (or amateur radio) serve?  Do you think that HAMs are just a bunch of coke bottle glass wearing geeks that live in their mother?s basement?  Well, the last one may have some truth to it?.

We often take communications for granted.  Our cell phones are now an extension of ourselves and are ever present in our daily lives. Some adults among us have never known an era without cell phones, where one had to pull to the local gas station and drop a dime in a pay phone!  What happens when that infrastructure is compromised?  What happens in natural or man caused disasters?  A real man is prepared.

Cell phones are short distance radio transmitters that rely on networks of radio towers and even the internet and satellites to connect us to others.  Cell phones can and do often suffer interruptions due to power outages, tower damage from tornados or hurricanes. As a matter of fact, one of the first protocols for the government in a terrorist attack is to shut down the cellular networks to disrupt coordinated attacks. Where does that leave you in a crisis? When those disruptions happen, it is often the amateur radio operators, or HAMs, that fill the void with their own private communication capabilities.  Often during natural disasters, the first comms established are the local HAM radio operators coordinating rescue efforts and emergency radio traffic.

To prevent interference between different users, the artificial generation and use of radio waves is strictly regulated by law, coordinated by an international body called the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The radio spectrum is divided into a number of radio bands on the basis of frequency, allocated to different uses.

The Federal Communications Commission in the U.S., regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. An independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress, the commission is the United States' primary authority for communications law, regulation and technological innovation.

Operating without a license for a particular band, transmitting with more power than allowed, or violating other regulations, such as intentionally jamming communications or profanity are against the law.  Many HAMs take their hobby very seriously and often triangulate or hunt violators to turn them in to the FCC.  It is no laughing matter as fines can be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

As you can see in the attached allocation of spectrum the allocation of use is very complex. The FCC not only regulates who may use certain spectrums, they also regulate the amount of power that can be used to transmit in the assigned spectrum.  Some portions of the spectrum, like CB (Citizens Band) radio are open to use without a license but with limitations on the amount of power (4 watts) with which one may transmit.  Low power transmissions severely limit the distance which one can communicate using CB.

Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum longer than infrared light. Radio waves have frequencies from 300 GHz to as low as 3 kHz, and corresponding wavelengths ranging from 1 millimeter (0.039 in) to 100 kilometers (62 mi). Like all other electromagnetic waves, they travel at the speed of light. Artificially generated radio waves are used for fixed and mobile radio communication, broadcasting, radar and other navigation systems, communications satellites, computer networks and innumerable other applications.

Different frequencies of radio waves have different propagation (how they proceed outward from the point of transmission) characteristics in the Earth's atmosphere; long waves may cover a part of the Earth very consistently, shorter waves can reflect off the ionosphere and travel around the world, and much shorter wavelengths bend or reflect very little and travel on a line of sight.  As we?ll discuss later, different equipment and classes of licenses will be needed to operate in these wavelengths.  How far one wishes to communicate will often dictate which frequencies one uses.  Some frequencies, like VHF and UHF, generally are a ?line of sight? communication meaning that the broadcasting and receiving antenna must have an unobstructed path between them.  This is why most broadcast antennas are elevated on towers or tops of tall buildings.  HF communications generally reflect off the ionosphere and as such are capable of reflecting hundreds or thousands of miles.  HF is a great long distance communication mode, but generally ill-suited for short distance communications.

Amateur radio is allocated portions of the spectrum from 1.8 MHz to 1240 MHz (and some extremely high frequencies). For our purposes we?ll limit the discussion to the more common HF, VHF, and UHF.  The attached frequency allocation for HAM radio will illustrate which licenses are valid in each part of the spectrum.

In the U.S., there are three license classes. The higher the class of license, the more frequencies are available. Earning each higher class license requires passing a more difficult examination. Although regulated by the FCC, license exams are given by volunteer groups of Amateur Radio operators. Operating under organizations called Volunteer Examiner Coordinators, volunteers administer and grade tests and report results to the FCC, which then issues the license. U.S. licenses are good for 10 years before renewal, and anyone may hold one except a representative of a foreign government.

So with all the background out of the way, let?s jump into why you would want to be licensed and what you can do with it.

It comes down to self-sufficiency. As long as you have your radio and a power source you are in control of your ability to communicate.  No ?all circuits are busy? or being cut off when out of cell range or cellular networks go down due to flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, or extremely high traffic.  Amateur radio operators are close cousins to the prepper.  Many HAMs believe in being self-sufficient and be prepared for disaster.  Their equipment is often battery powered or capable of being operated by a battery source, like a 12V car battery.  This along with portability lends itself to being able to communicate in any situation, which is why HAMs are often among the first responders to a wide spread disaster.

I challenge you to go a full day without your cell phone or GPS/navigation.  Being cut off from communications is an eerie feeling.  Imagine a natural or other disaster where the roads are gridlocked and you can't communicate with your loved ones or support network.

Where will you be when disaster strikes?  Where will your loved ones be?  Chances are you?ll be at work and your will be at work, home or taking the kids to or from school or the mall.  If you have a disaster plan, which you should, how would you know if your loved ones are going to make it back to your home, or your bug out location?  When cell phones go down, panic will set in.  If you have communications as part of your plan you can be ahead of the game and utilize other radio operators to gain intel and unfiltered information. (You don?t think the media really tells you the truth, do you?)

Anyone interested in being prepared to take care of themselves and their loved ones should at a minimum have a technician license, which will allow the use of some very capable radios including hand held radios utilizing the VHF and UHF frequencies.  In addition to simplex operation (radio direct communication to another radio) there are thousands of repeaters in operations around the country which, as the name implies, repeats your broadcast so that your signal may reach a greater distance or around obstructions like mountains or buildings. Repeaters are usually placed on tall buildings and have redundant power supplies (the building?s emergency generator and even back up battery power) that operate even in the event of a disaster. Many are even linked via the internet so that HAM operators across the country or in other parts of the world can connect using a radio whos transmissions are normally limited to short distances. These radios also allow you to monitor official emergency communications of many police and fire departments.

Many people are intimidated by the prospect of studying electronics and electrical theory to obtain a license.  The good news is that there are many study aids and the technician class license is relatively easy to obtain.  (I?ve seen 8 year olds study and pass the test)

I?ll list some resources here:

ARRL, American Radio Relay League, is the National Association for Amateur Radio and their site is a wealth of knowledge about all things HAM
http://www.arrl.org/home
HamStudy.org is a great place for licensing information and study guides, including web based practice tests and flash cards
https://hamstudy.org/
KB6NUs HAM Radio Blog http://www.kb6nu.com/tech-manual/

Once you have studied and are ready to take the exam you can search for locations near you here:

http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session

Don?t worry, once you pass the test HAM operators are like a family, they have regular meets (one chapter I belong to meets for breakfast every Saturday) where they discuss and debate, but mostly to help each other with learning more about the hobby. They also regulary hold ?nets?, or gatherings on a predetermined frequency where you can practice your skills and understand the protocol for operating during a disaster or crisis.

I hope this short primer has been enough to spark your interest in taking your Real Man Survival skills to the next level and obtaining at least an entry level license for amateur radio.  Let the discussion begin!
« Last Edit: September 17, 2014, 11:07:04 PM by TexasRedNeck »
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

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Offline BobbyB

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2014, 11:21:36 PM »
You know Morse code?
So, Bobby...being the calculating trained warrior NCO that you are.  Take the appropriate action, Execute!

Online TexasRedNeck

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2014, 11:38:24 PM »
Im studying it as time allows. It is no longer required for any Amateur radio license.  There are some great apps for the iPhone/Android that help.
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline BobbyB

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2014, 08:51:36 AM »
Just seems like it'd be fun to learn, or maybe I really need to find out what people consider fun...  ::)
So, Bobby...being the calculating trained warrior NCO that you are.  Take the appropriate action, Execute!

Offline Flyin6

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2014, 08:29:34 PM »
Good info RN!
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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2014, 07:34:08 AM »
Bobby, I think you may be channeling your inner geek!  Morse code can be very helpful as the tones with which it is transmitted are often easier to make out than voice communication.  Some areas of the spectrum are dedicated only to morse code (albeit small).  While not secure comms, the number of people that would readily understand your conversation is much smaller.  It takes years of practice (so I've been told) to master code.  It also requires some degree of dexterity as you dit dah.  There are electronic readers and code generators, but most people use them as study aids and back ups.  For the general user who wants better comms in an emergency or EOTWAWKI, it is not necessary, although the purists look down on those not knowing code.  Soon I'll post up some pictures of my shack and set up.
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline KensAuto

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2014, 04:07:43 PM »
Great info Tex!
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Offline Drunksailor

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2014, 05:02:54 PM »
Hmmm thats intriguing!
-Seth

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Offline OVERWATCH_09

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2014, 01:33:00 PM »
This is the kind of info that will make this forum great.  Thanks for the writeup, I need to get it in gear already and just get a license. 

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2014, 10:18:42 PM »
I'd like to share my "shack" as it's called. At least the VHF/UHF portion.  I wanted to be able to communicate simplex, or radio to radio anywhere in Houston should something happen.  So I built my home base station with an antenna at the top of a 70 ft pine tree in my yard.  It is a Diamond X300NA dual band VHF/UHF antenna.  It is about 8ft tall and has 6.5db gain on 2m and 9db gan on 70cm (2 meter is VHF wavelength and 70cm is UHF wavelength) and will withstand 112 mph wind.  I hired a professional tree service to come and install the antenna at the top of the tree making the total height about 80 ft. It was painted camo pattern to blend in. The longer the run of antenna wire, the better the cable you have to have to minimize the loss.  I used a very high quality cable, an LMR-400 cable with very low loss but it is expensive and the connectors are in the range of $20 a piece.  When you are using antennas especially that high in the air, you must use a sophisticated grounding system with lightning arrestors.  Frying everything inyour house and burning it to the ground because of poor grounding is not ideal. Using an iCom 910H base station radio with 100W on 2M and 75W on 70cm I have been able to reach 40 miles away consistently, and depending on atmospheric conditions, some times much longer distances.  My wife was  trained to turn on the radio to a preset frequency should something occur and my car had a Yaesu FT7900 in my car which allowed me to communicate from anywhere in Houston even if every phone circuit was down or busy.

« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 10:24:55 PM by TexasRedNeck »
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline BobbyB

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2014, 02:19:00 AM »
Nice
So, Bobby...being the calculating trained warrior NCO that you are.  Take the appropriate action, Execute!

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2014, 10:00:38 AM »
Can you automatically relay transmission through your base system via the handheld?

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2014, 09:41:37 PM »
Not with my set up.  i can run duplex and split frequencies, but not an automatic rebroadcast (e.g. repeater) legally the repeater has its own call sign and must broadcast its call sign periodically.

Here is some good data on repeaters and how to work with them.  In most cities, repeaters are abundant and easily hit with a handheld.

Here is a good place to go to find repeaters in your area.

http://www.artscipub.com/repeaters/
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline BobbyB

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2014, 10:49:31 PM »
Are you going to wire up something in the Dually?

I was driving my Jeep today and happened to look down and realize that I have the perfect spot for a CB. I've heard of, but never seen a HAM mobile in a vehicle.
So, Bobby...being the calculating trained warrior NCO that you are.  Take the appropriate action, Execute!

Offline Bob/OlallaWa

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2014, 09:33:42 PM »
Don't they have portable hand held units as well as 12 volt units for the rigs? I thought my friends set up in the pickup was a portable that he used the repeater with  to get to home base from Tacoma. If things go South, how important is the license if you need to talk or receive information?

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2014, 11:04:02 PM »
Are you going to wire up something in the Dually?

I was driving my Jeep today and happened to look down and realize that I have the perfect spot for a CB. I've heard of, but never seen a HAM mobile in a vehicle.

Its on my list.  I wish I had some pictures of what I did in the Mercedes, It was truly a work of art.  It was completely hidden with the radio behind the trunk panels and the detachable head unit  in place of the CD changer which was only exposed when you hit the button on the dash and the panel motorized out and up to reveal the face plate.  The mic was also hidden in the compartment in the front of the seat just beneath where your knees would be. 

Since getting rid of that money pit last year, my mobile radio has been in the garage and I haven't found the perfect spot for it yet.  Perhaps Don's site will get me motivated to get it done.

Most all mobile and stationary radios run off 12VDC. Here is an excellent example of a good radio deal for less than $200 and similar to the one I have sitting in the garage.  50w will let you hit any repeater in your area.  Then its all about the antenna.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/YAESU-FT-7800R-50W-144-430-Dual-Band-FM-Transceiver-/141420504037?pt=US_Ham_Radio_Transceivers&hash=item20ed51a3e5

For now, I carry a dual band Yaesu handheld and a mag mount antenna.  When needed, I can hit the repeater standing outside or just slide open the sunroof and place the little remote antenna on the roof and unscrew the handhelds antenna and screw the cable for the mag mount on.

This is one of the hand helds I have and carry a lot.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Yaesu-FT-60R-Dual-Band-VHF-UHF-Handheld-Transceiver-WORKS-GREAT-/301318647434?pt=US_Ham_Radio_Transceivers&hash=item4627fdae8a

an example of a discrete mag mount antenna

http://www.ebay.com/itm/DUAL-BAND-MAGNET-2-METER-440-MAGNETIC-MAG-MOUNT-ANTENNA-/121442353001?pt=US_Radio_Comm_Antennas&hash=item1c46873f69

This stuff does not have to look like some red neck with 10ft whips on the truck to be effective.
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Online TexasRedNeck

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2014, 11:06:27 PM »
Don't they have portable hand held units as well as 12 volt units for the rigs? I thought my friends set up in the pickup was a portable that he used the repeater with  to get to home base from Tacoma. If things go South, how important is the license if you need to talk or receive information?

Yes many good ruggedized handhelds that are IP65 rated.  If thing really get bad then, no, I don't think the FCC will care, but short of that, it's better to do it the right way since the tech license is not hard to get and you can get a lot of good knowledge and experience by interacting with others.
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline BobbyB

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2014, 08:22:34 AM »
So just off hand ballpark figure how much does a say, basic set up cost? Maintenance fees? All that fun stuff. There's a HAM club in the area, and I've been thinking about checking it out for about a year now, just never have time.
So, Bobby...being the calculating trained warrior NCO that you are.  Take the appropriate action, Execute!

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2014, 07:26:27 PM »
Bobby, your local HAM club is the best way  to get aquainted with amatuer radio.  You can get a used hand held for less than $100 and licensing can be $10.  Study resources are on line and free, so there is no excuse.
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline BobbyB

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2014, 09:32:40 PM »
Bobby, your local HAM club is the best way  to get aquainted with amatuer radio.  You can get a used hand held for less than $100 and licensing can be $10.  Study resources are on line and free, so there is no excuse.

Way to call me out! I'll have to email them and see whats what.
So, Bobby...being the calculating trained warrior NCO that you are.  Take the appropriate action, Execute!

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2014, 10:17:01 PM »
Just calling it like I see it...even if I don't see as good as I used to....

Report back what they say.  My local HAM Club is holding a used equipment auction with some of the proceeds benefitting the club.  I nabbed a back up HF radio last year from a fellow member for cheap.  If you are serious about getting into it, those HAMs will make sure to get you lined up and squared away
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

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Offline W4WN

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2014, 10:09:52 PM »
I'm willing to bet that club meets somewhere tasty for Saturday morning breakfast. Go meet 'em for breakfast. No excuses! Get on the radio. If that club doesn't eat breakfast at least once a month it's not a LEGITIMATE HAM RADIO CLUB, look elsewhere. www.arrl.org, click on clubs, put in your zip code.
Seriously, it's better to go to a breakfast (or whatever meal they get together for) than to start out going to an official club meeting which can sometimes be a stuffy affair what with all that going over the budget, and electing officers, & other business'y details... and I for one am much friendlier on a full stomach  :)

Starting equipment: I'd suggest if you are in a reasonably populated area starting out with a china cheapo handheld which can be had for well under a hundred new on ebay. search on "dual band ham radios".  That will get you listening in on the local folks (you'll hear where breakfast is going to be) Don't mash that talk button until you have a license which is real easy to get these days. Twenty multiple choice questions copied verbatim from a published pool of questions and answers. Heck even my wife has hers, now there's a challenge for ya  ;)
Ebay: careful on the used stuff, it can easily go for more than new, ebay fever I guess... or those massive fees ebay charges nowadays...  www.eham.net & www.qrz.com have classified sections where prices are usually more reasonable then ebay. www.eham.net has a pretty good equipment reviews section. That local club swapmeet is a good bet for used HF gear.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 10:30:43 PM by W4WN »

Offline W4WN

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2014, 10:22:19 PM »

This stuff does not have to look like some red neck with 10ft whips on the truck to be effective.

Would that make me a redneck if I told you I had one of these?  www.tarheelantennas.com/truck_photos1

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2014, 11:46:04 PM »
I'm willing to bet that club meets somewhere tasty for Saturday morning breakfast. Go meet 'em for breakfast. No excuses! Get on the radio. If that club doesn't eat breakfast at least once a month it's not a LEGITIMATE HAM RADIO CLUB, look elsewhere. www.arrl.org, click on clubs, put in your zip code.
Seriously, it's better to go to a breakfast (or whatever meal they get together for) than to start out going to an official club meeting which can sometimes be a stuffy affair what with all that going over the budget, and electing officers, & other business'y details... and I for one am much friendlier on a full stomach  :)

Starting equipment: I'd suggest if you are in a reasonably populated area starting out with a china cheapo handheld which can be had for well under a hundred new on ebay. search on "dual band ham radios".  That will get you listening in on the local folks (you'll hear where breakfast is going to be) Don't mash that talk button until you have a license which is real easy to get these days. Twenty multiple choice questions copied verbatim from a published pool of questions and answers. Heck even my wife has hers, now there's a challenge for ya  ;)
Ebay: careful on the used stuff, it can easily go for more than new, ebay fever I guess... or those massive fees ebay charges nowadays...  www.eham.net & www.qrz.com have classified sections where prices are usually more reasonable then ebay. www.eham.net has a pretty good equipment reviews section. That local club swapmeet is a good bet for used HF gear.

Good advice for sure.  No the tar heel, in and of itself wont make you a redneck (extra credit though!)

As much as I love HF for what its capabilities are, VHF/UHF is really the key to getting people involved

W4WN what do you like for mobile HF?
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline W4WN

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2014, 11:25:53 AM »
Roger on the starting out on VHF/UHF.
I don't do too much mobile HF, I've got an IC-706MIIG I throw under the seat when we go on vacations. I have Hamsticks for 20, 15, 12, & 10 and a mount that goes in the hitch receiver. That 706 is a great radio IMO and I hope it lasts forever. I'm not too impressed with the new ICOM HF mobile, can't think of the model but the one with the touch screen. The shape of that control head just looks to me like it would be hard to mount in a vehicle. I do plan to go full on redneck and get a Tarheel for the Duramax soon. My concern is whether the 706 is too old to go to the trouble of permanently mounting. My luck here lately would have it die shortly after the last bolt was tightened. So I'd be interested in any opinions on a replacement. Just about got the wife and boy talked into doing a ham radio vacation on a mountain top or island next spring so I need get on the ball.

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2014, 08:32:05 PM »
Everything I've heard about the 706 series is good.  I would consider it worthwhile to have repaired if it goes down.  When I started looking at mobile HF, I narrowed it to the 706 or the Yaesu 857D.  I think both are good radios.

The replacement you are referencing is likely the 7000
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/hf/7000/default.aspx

Although the newer 7100 is out now too.
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline Flyin6

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2014, 08:49:47 PM »
Healthy discussion going on here
I'm learning and now thinking I need to add VHF/UHF, and HF to round out squareD
« Last Edit: October 27, 2014, 08:51:02 PM by Flyin6 »
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Offline W4WN

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2014, 09:25:59 PM »
TRN, how did you attach the mast to the pine tree? How long & what kind of material is the mast? Is the antenna above the top of the tree?
I've never been to Houston and I know everything is bigger in Texas but I didn't think trees got that tall in your neck of the woods? My fathers side of the family is from Shiner / Yoakum / Victoria / San Antonio - it's been way too long since I've been to visit, trees must have grown some in 10 years.

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2014, 08:53:47 AM »
LOL, yeah we got some tall pines here.  Especially in East Texas, 80+ footers are really common.  I bought a composite/fiberglass molded C-channel about 4 inches wide and about 1.25 inches on the C portion and .25 inch thick.  It came in 20ft sections in olive green and is very stiff and non conductive. McNichols in Garland Texas is where where I bought it and picked it up locally. Link below.  It was not cheap.  I paid $143 for a 20ft section.

http://www.mcnichols.com/product/F1C3781420?navCode=cc:channl

I took about a 10ft section and mounted the antenna to it and then attached the channel to the tree so that the entire antenna is above the canopy of the tree.  At the very top of the tree the trunk is only about 6-8 inches in diameter.  I used two pieces of all thread with nylock nuts to go through the trunk and attach the fiberglass C channel.  I used three color camo paint to disguise the antenna and channel so that it is tough to see if you aren't specifically looking for it.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2014, 08:56:16 AM by TexasRedNeck »
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2014, 05:27:55 PM »
Thanks for the info, I may have to try a tree topper here. That McNichols has all kinds of good stuff, and there's one not too far from me here, thanks for the tip.
I'm collecting parts to build a pneumatic tennis ball antenna line launcher so I can get the rest of the lines up for a 40m Delta loop. I got one line up using a slingshot but it took way too many shots to place it over the limb I wanted. I got the hard to find 2.5" I.D. PVC pipe for the barrel and a quick-dump valve, can get the rest from Home Depot, just hard to find the time.

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2014, 08:36:05 PM »
Would like to see that launcher!  I built a rig with a wrist rocket slingshot and built a mount on it for a spin cast reel and use a lead weight.  Launch it pretty accurately.
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2014, 08:52:24 PM »
Along the lines of this:  http://www.antennalaunchers.com/

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2014, 10:14:24 PM »
CRAZY! and cool 8)
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2014, 10:28:58 AM »
You nut cases better be careful playing with PVC...can be really dangerous under pressure. But maybe not so much if you keep the pressures low.

Just be careful!
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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #34 on: November 06, 2014, 08:55:28 PM »
You nut cases better be careful playing with PVC...can be really dangerous under pressure. But maybe not so much if you keep the pressures low.

Just be careful!
Nut cases??
Pot, meet Kettle.  Kettle, meet Pot.

Not like I'm flying around in some contraption with no doors made out of tin foil 1000ft over some unfriendlies....
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2014, 07:26:16 AM »
OK, good point...
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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2014, 07:13:54 PM »
Oh yeah, I've thought about that exploding PVC...  Thought about wrapping it in fiberglass and slapping some resin on it but I wonder if that would melt the PVC? I'm trying to scrounge a small METAL tank for the pressure vessel, my dump valve is thick aluminum so that would only leave the barrel & connector as PVC...

   

« Last Edit: November 07, 2014, 07:16:18 PM by W4WN »

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2014, 07:32:17 PM »
You nut cases better be careful playing with PVC...can be really dangerous under pressure. But maybe not so much if you keep the pressures low.

Just be careful!


"You'll shoot yer eye out kid..."

Ham Radio trivia: A Christmas Story, where that line came from, was written and narrated by Jean Shepherd K2ORS

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #38 on: November 07, 2014, 10:51:20 PM »
Find someone with an old beer can collection and make what we (as kids) called a polish cannon!  3 beer cans needed along with an old school can/bottle opener.

1st can- use pointy end to go around top of (steel) can, creating what looks like a star pattern, leaving space between holes.  At base of can, create your "touch hole" where you'll light the match.

2nd can- ventilate top and bottom the same way as the top of can 1.  Align holes of can 1 with holes in bottom of can 2 and secure with electrical tape joining along circumference (rim) with about 3 full wraps.  Wraps should be tight too-

3rd can- ventilate bottom as in can 2, then cut out top using soup can opener.  Attach to top of can 2 with holes aligned and tape the same way with electrical tape in previous step.

Take liquid "lighter fluid" like for a Zippo and squirt generously down opening, shake assembly like a spray can with opening down, stuff tennis ball in top.  Place on pavement and light match and touch it off at the "touch hole" and BOOM!

Tennis ball will fly airborne and nearly disappear from sight!  :o

You could attach thin line to tennis ball and you can hand-hold it like a bazooka and aim at upper limbs of tree, friends on bikes, sisters or brothers.....so on!

VERY IMPORTANT TO USE STEEL CANS AND NOT ALUMINUM!  With practice, you can really find the optimal amount of lighter fluid, shaking etc. and launch that sucker really far, along with some of your hearing.  As kids, local gas station must have pegged us as arsonists with the amount of lighter fluid we went through!  ;)
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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #39 on: November 07, 2014, 10:54:03 PM »
And of course the caveat:

None of this is approved by Real Man...It's just folks talking about fun and dangerous stuff....like squishing KIA's with a Dmax... :D
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 06:55:28 AM by cudakidd53 »
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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2014, 12:20:50 AM »
Welp thanks to this thread I  been over on hamstudy.org and after two days I'm hitting 93-100% pretty consistantly. Test is next Saturday!

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #41 on: November 09, 2014, 03:23:46 PM »
Welp thanks to this thread I  been over on hamstudy.org and after two days I'm hitting 93-100% pretty consistantly. Test is next Saturday!

Good Luck!

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #42 on: November 12, 2014, 09:35:19 PM »
Welp thanks to this thread I  been over on hamstudy.org and after two days I'm hitting 93-100% pretty consistantly. Test is next Saturday!

Great to hear!  Let us know how you do.  Best wishes on the test.
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #43 on: November 15, 2014, 01:10:53 PM »
passed! As soon a it hits the FCC website I'm legal (tech)
I'm hoping to take the general text next year. I've been playing the a baofeng bf-f8+
I'm able to pick up repeaters 20-30 miles away from inside my house (coastal Maine)
I can't transmit yet but fun to listen in.
I'm planning on an anytone 5888uv for the truck.
I'll wait for my general before I figure out HF although I am leaning towards the alinco srt8

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #44 on: November 16, 2014, 12:29:09 PM »
Congrats!!!

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #45 on: November 22, 2014, 12:35:07 PM »
Well me week since I passed the test and still waiting to appear on ffcc website.  >:(

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #46 on: November 25, 2014, 08:28:05 PM »
Bummer, hopefully soon

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #47 on: November 25, 2014, 08:37:27 PM »
Couple of good ones in the mailbox today


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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #48 on: November 27, 2014, 11:49:58 PM »
Kc1cwc , showed up Tuesday! They managed to misspell Anthony but other then that I'm on the air

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Re: Why Every Real Man Should Include Amateur Radio (HAM) In Their Skillset
« Reply #49 on: December 01, 2014, 07:56:07 PM »
Congratulations - That's awesome!  "CWC" rolls off the tongue, I like it. Kind of like my old Novice call KC4EZE, but man that one was rough on CW.
I'd get them to fix your name...  Wonder if you can just do that yourself online on the ULS?