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Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:19 pm
by TexasJohnBoy
2farnorth wrote:The Baofeng radios are just ok. Not great. Their receivers are like barn doors and will be interfered with by any strong signal nearby. Mine is sensitive to my wifi signals on certain frequencies. To properly program them you need a Baofeng cable to attach the to your computer. Be aware that there are some low quality fake/clones on the market. The radios can be programmed manually but it's an onerous process. The programming disk that came with my cable was totally useless. Would do nothing but flash "Baofeng" intermittently. I downloaded the "chirp" (http://chirp.danplanet.com) program and after I found the proper installer.exe file I was able to complete the programming. Now the radio hears all the repeaters within a reasonable distance but accessing them with the tiny antenna and low power is hit and miss. An optional antenna is recommended.
Thanks for the feedback. I'm looking for something that is a bit on the affordable side to start with, so I think it's a compromise I can live with. I had read the same thing about the antennas also.

Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:06 pm
by cheezit
http://aa9pw.com

I got more from here then most other places and it's free.

Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:09 pm
by cheezit
There are also a number of easy to build 2m and 440 antennas that work well.
I use a home brew copper pipe 3dfl that works great. I also made a copper pipe loop that is just as good.

Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:55 pm
by Scott B.
I'm waiting until I learn more before jumping into hardware. All suggestions for reasonably capable gear for the beginner greatly appreciated.

Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:16 pm
by Charles L. Cotton
cheezit wrote:There are also a number of easy to build 2m and 440 antennas that work well.
:iagree: It's very easy to build your own antenna for minimal cost. Probably the most common easily-built antenna is a quarter wave ground plane. Most folks new to ham radio start with a cheap dual band handheld radio (HT). They typically have both 2 meters and 70 cm (a/k/a 440MHz). If so, they you need to make a dual band antenna.

Chas.


DIY 2-meter ground plane antenna


DIY dual band (2 meter/70 cm) ground plane


DIY dual band OSJ antenna (built like a battleship!)

Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:03 pm
by XDgal
I came across the first video by K7AGE about three weeks ago and built this easy antenna. It works great! I'm in the southern part of Dallas and worked the 146.94 repeater in Ft. Worth, about 35 to 40 miles away. Got a very good signal report. I'm using my Yaesu VX 170 HT. With Radio Shack closing most of their stores, parts are 70% off. I paid $1,50 for the SO 239 connector, and used some #12 Romex I had on hand. I also purchased a 20 foot RG 58 U cable with PL259 connectors on each end from Radio Shack, also 70% off, for $4. Give it a try! 73s! KE5KMS

Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:49 am
by cheezit
Dave tadlock on you tube also has some great builds that are easy and pretty cheep to make.

Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:08 pm
by TexasJohnBoy
I picked this up on Amazon, should be here Wednesday. The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual Spiral Bound https://www.amazon.com/dp/1625950470/

I'm going to go to an exam early next month, found here:
http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-rad ... am-session

I think a full month of study should get me there without letting it get stale. Shooting for an hour of study a day on average.

Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:58 pm
by cheezit
TexasJohnBoy wrote:I picked this up on Amazon, should be here Wednesday. The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual Spiral Bound https://www.amazon.com/dp/1625950470/

I'm going to go to an exam early next month, found here:
http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-rad ... am-session

I think a full month of study should get me there without letting it get stale. Shooting for an hour of study a day on average.
You will still need to take both of the other tests.

Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:19 pm
by TexasJohnBoy
cheezit wrote:
TexasJohnBoy wrote:I picked this up on Amazon, should be here Wednesday. The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual Spiral Bound https://www.amazon.com/dp/1625950470/

I'm going to go to an exam early next month, found here:
http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-rad ... am-session

I think a full month of study should get me there without letting it get stale. Shooting for an hour of study a day on average.
You will still need to take both of the other tests.
If I want amateur extra, but if I'm just doing a technician license I only have to take the technician test. One test per level from what I understand.

Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:30 pm
by txyaloo
I recently passed my technician exam and barely missed passing extra. I mainly used two sites and an android app for studying.

I found this one the best for my learning style: https://hamstudy.org/tech2014

Being able to track trends and identify areas where I needed to put in a little more work helped.

I also used: https://hamexam.org/flash_cards/12-Technician

I own a few Baofengs that I bought before getting licensed. They work fine. I also have a TYT MD-390 for DMR which I like a lot. Houston metro has great DMR coverage and promiscuous mode along with the DMR users list on the modified firmware is nice

Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:02 pm
by MustangGlocker
One big word of advice for anyone wanting to study and receive a license, make sure you are obtaining the current question pool. If you buy direct from W5YI or ARRL, you are getting the most current one. I know W5YI destroys outdated stuff when new pools come out. I assume ARRL does also. If you buy from a retailer or online(Amazon, Ebay, etc), triple check you are getting the current questions. There are some ham radio retailers that will sell outdated material.

Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:45 pm
by Charles L. Cotton
MustangGlocker wrote:One big word of advice for anyone wanting to study and receive a license, make sure you are obtaining the current question pool. If you buy direct from W5YI or ARRL, you are getting the most current one. I know W5YI destroys outdated stuff when new pools come out. I assume ARRL does also. If you buy from a retailer or online(Amazon, Ebay, etc), triple check you are getting the current questions. There are some ham radio retailers that will sell outdated material.
This is very good advice. Also, the question pool for each of the three license classes (Technician, General & Extra) expire at different times.

Chas.

Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:41 pm
by TexasJohnBoy
The book I ordered was advertised as the ARRL guide for the current technician (until 2018) pool of questions. I'll post if I don't get what was advertised from Amazon...

Re: Where to begin with a HAM radio?

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:17 am
by RoyGBiv
TexasJohnBoy wrote:Y'all, I don't need another hobby. Quit it!
bblhd672 wrote:What would be good equipment to get started with? Preferably mobile (handheld) first, then base station (home).
But I have the same questions....
IMO Buying a Baofeng UV-5R for about $30 from Amazon is the easiest, no-regrets, starter handset.
Low investment and more than enough quality to get started.
My $150 Alinco handset is great, but the transmit and receive quality of the Baofeng is equal.
Baofeng battery life is MUCH better. The only spec where the Alinco beats the Baofeng is that the Alinco has some water resistance rating.

Make sure to buy from a reputable seller with fulfillment via Amazon. I got one with a defective connector and Amazon made it right, no questions asked.

Also, I highly recommend buying a data cable for programming from a computer. While I find the Baofeng easier to program from the keypad than my Alinco, it's still much MUCH easier to program from the computer. The programming software is free from either Baofeng or you can use CHIRP. I prefer CHIRP.