Where to begin with a HAM radio?

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carlson1
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Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby carlson1 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:19 pm

I didn't want to take Mr. Cotton's topic off course so I thought I would ask here.

Where does one start to enter the world of HAM radios? I have a brand new hand held that came with an external mic and intenna. Now what?
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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby ghostrider » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:47 pm

Where does one start to enter the world of HAM radios? I have a brand new hand held that came with an external mic and intenna. Now what?


I'll assume you have at least a technician's license? If not, that would be the next step.
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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby 2farnorth » Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:09 pm

Need more info: Brand of radio, does it need to be programed, what band/s does it cover. etc. Hopefully it came with a user's manual to help out. Also do you have your ticket/ham license yet?

Go to repeaterbook.com and you can find out what frequencies are active in your area. Remember that repeaters work with 2 frequencies, 1 input and 1 output. You transmit on the input and the repeater transmits on the output. The spacing is different depending on which band. Repeaterbook.com will give you needed info to set up with. Make sure you enter the PL/CTCSS code listed for the repeater.
You can usually find on-line groups discussing the ins and outs of your type of equipment also

I'm learning again too. Just getting back into the hobby after a lengthy absence. My goodness equipment has changed in the interim. My recent purchase of a Baofeng 2 band HT was/is a learning experience. All my other equipment is from the 70s and early 80s and does not require programming. I kind of dropped out when all the repeaters started requiring PL tones for access. My older stuff didn't have the capability. I will remedy that problem soon too...I hope.
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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby carlson1 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:12 am

I do not have a license and do not know where to even start this process. My handheld is also a Baofeng, but I will have to check for the rest of the information. It has never been opened yet.
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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby Flightmare » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:48 am

I've started studying for my Technician license.
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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby oohrah » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:09 am

Very best thing is to contact your local Amateur Radio Club. Ham Radio has a tradition of the "Elmer", or "pay it forward". You will get plenty of help, good information, and a lot of new friends. If Google is not helping, go to http://www.ARRL.org.

73, N3FKV

Added: Annual Field Day is coming up June 24-25. This annual event gets ham clubs out to city parks and other venues to operate a 24 hour event with field expedient setups, and emergency equipment. Find one of these in your area, and you will meet a lot of folks who will happy to show you their gear.
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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby MustangGlocker » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:28 am

You can also attend Ham-Com(http://www.hamcom.org) which is held at the Irving Convention Center on June 9-10. There will be booths for 2 of the major training material providers, W5YI Group, Inc which is based in Arlington by the Ballpark(http://www.w5yi.org) and the American Radio Relay League(http://www.arrl.org). They both have great study guides and can steer you in the right direction. Also, http://www.qrz.com has sample tests you can take for free. They are multiple choice and the exams are required to have the questions and answers exactly as written in the question pool, only thing the examiners can change is the order of the answers but when I worked in the industry, none of our examiners changed the order. Everything was identical to the question pool books. Makes it easy to study. Not sure if anyone else said this but there are 3 classes of licenses. Technician, General and Extra. Technician is the first level. Can take all 3 in one sitting but can't skip any. No morse code requirements either for any class of license.

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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby bblhd672 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:43 am

MustangGlocker wrote:You can also attend Ham-Com(http://www.hamcom.org) which is held at the Irving Convention Center on June 9-10. There will be booths for 2 of the major training material providers, W5YI Group, Inc which is based in Arlington by the Ballpark(http://www.w5yi.org) and the American Radio Relay League(http://www.arrl.org). They both have great study guides and can steer you in the right direction. Also, http://www.qrz.com has sample tests you can take for free. They are multiple choice and the exams are required to have the questions and answers exactly as written in the question pool, only thing the examiners can change is the order of the answers but when I worked in the industry, none of our examiners changed the order. Everything was identical to the question pool books. Makes it easy to study. Not sure if anyone else said this but there are 3 classes of licenses. Technician, General and Extra. Technician is the first level. Can take all 3 in one sitting but can't skip any. No morse code requirements either for any class of license.

73,
N5AFD

Thanks for the info. I've been thinking about getting ham license.
The "no morse code" requirement is great! After having to learn morse in the Navy many years ago I'm not crazy about doing it again.
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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby mojohn » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:45 am

You can study up for your test here:
http://aa9pw.com/radio/

John, KF5ZMD

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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby Pariah3j » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:51 am

There are HAM study apps for smartphones now as well - can't remember the name of some of the better apps, but I was considering getting my license a while back and had gotten a study guide that would randomly generate possible questions that have been known to be on the test and grade you. The better ones will not only tell you when you get it wrong but point you to the information so you can understand why you got it wrong.
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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby suthdj » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:54 am

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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby RoyGBiv » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:19 am

carlson1 wrote:I do not have a license and do not know where to even start this process. My handheld is also a Baofeng, but I will have to check for the rest of the information. It has never been opened yet.

You can listen in on your HT, but you would be breaking the rules (and subject to potential fines) for transmitting without a license.
I am not a lawyer. This is NOT legal advice.!
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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby MustangGlocker » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:39 am

If you radio isn't programmed, probably the best frequencies/repeaters to program initially is the area Skywarn frequencies that are used for severe weather reporting. They are the main frequencies for the particular county/city so they are always being used.
Dallas- 146.880(https://w5fc.org/)
Irving- 146.720(http://irvingarc.org/)
Tarrant 146.940
Arlington-147.140(http://www.k5sld.com)
Denton-146.920(http://dcara.net/index.php)
Collin-147.180(http://www.k5prk.net)
Ellis-145.410(http://www.wd5ddh.org/)

There is also a wide area network of repeaters, http://www.nctc.info. This group covers west to Abilene/Eastland and east to Sulphur Springs. It also can be linked to another group and covers portion of Arkansas and Louisiana. These are on a different frequency band, but I believe your radio is a dual band so these should work. They have several frequencies but since they are all linked together, you don't need all programmed. Here are 2 closest to you. Arlington is likely your best bet. It's a very wide coverage repeater.

Arlington-443.850
Plano-444.175
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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby Scott B. » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:17 am

carlson1 wrote:I didn't want to take Mr. Cotton's topic off course so I thought I would ask here.

Where does one start to enter the world of HAM radios? I have a brand new hand held that came with an external mic and intenna. Now what?


I'm at a similar point. The idea intrigued me during CERT training, but their radio group meetings didn't work for my schedule.

Decided to go for Technician on my own but wasn't sure where to start. Mr. Cotton's post w/ the software link got me off the pot. I've been using this site and its flashcards: https://hamstudy.org But it's clear that I need to read something on rules/regs otherwise you're just learning test questions without the benefit of the background.
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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Postby Pariah3j » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:37 am

Well, I was where you are Scott - but I worked backward and it helped me. I learned the answers for each section, then started studying the materials. I found some of it can be quite dry and make your eyes glaze over. But once I understood what information I was looking for, understanding the why give it a practical application for understanding it.

I may still take the exam at some point, but I ended up not buying the radio I had my eye on, so I ended up putting it off.
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