Ham Radio?

Discussion in 'Overlanding / Off-Road' started by Kylemeister, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. Bama

    Bama Member

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    Hey man! WD4RG here. My wife and I became hams back in the mid 80's and we had sequential callsigns. I was a lot more interested than she was and I advanced through each license class which back then required CW. I have been an Extra class a while now. I have a Yaesu 857 D in my truck and I have a Yaesu FT3000 DX base station in my hamshack with a hexbeam antenna on a pushup pole. I started out though with just an ht and a homebrewed antenna for hitting the local UHF and VHF repeaters. Worked great, then after I saved up a little cash I bought a UHF-VHF mobile radio for my truck and another for the house. I still used the same homemade antennas for a long time. They were easy to build, cheap, and served the purpose very well.
    Soon after getting my UHF/VHF ham shack set up, I became very interested in HF because that's the ticket for talking all over the world. Well, I saved again and bought a used yaesu ft757gx HF Base station radio with matching tuner and again made home made antennas for it. The ten meter band was wide open back then and you could talk from early morning until well after dark. I was hooked bad, I was getting cards from all over the world and almost every state.
    As years went by we moved and I didn't have a base station set up for a long time but I still had my dual band mobile in the truck. I still have both of the first mobiles and my first HF rig as well. I bought a hexbeam antenna last year and finally got it in the air this past spring. I had also bought my new Yaesu base last year too but I couldn't use it because I didn't have an antenna up until now. So I sat there with a new antenna and a new radio for about a year that I couldn't use. Fortunately the wait is over now and everything works great.
    I didn't mean to be so long winded but I guess I was, sorry. I mainly wanted to say that ham radio can be done without spending a lot of money. The second thing I wanted to say was GOOD ON YOU for going back to learn your code. That's great and I commend you for it. You will be glad you did. CW is actually fun when you start making contacts. Just take your time and always remember to send no faster than you can copy. I am on 20 meters quite often now days when time permits. I hope to talk to you on the air sometime. 73 for now!
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  2. cosmophonic12

    cosmophonic12 Member

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    I have a few hand held radios that I use but don't have a license.
     
  3. kreeves

    kreeves Moderator Staff Member

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    I got my Amateur Extra yesterday! woohoo...

    I got the Technician licence several months ago and figure that I would study to get the Extra before i forgot it all.

    Hamstudy.org was very helpful. It keeps track of your progress and tells you what you need to study more.

    I have a few Baofeng HTs and a Yaesu HT, I need to get a VHF/UHF mobile rig and may get an HF setup eventually.

    KN4HGP
     
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  4. Strigidae

    Strigidae Moderator Staff Member

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    Well done!!!! Im "studying" for general by keeping the book by my bed. So far ive learned nothing.
     
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  5. kreeves

    kreeves Moderator Staff Member

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    I thought the General exam was more difficult, I did both on the same day. I used several study guides off the interweb. It was actually very interesting stuff to learn. I took Electrical circuits in college, but this was much harder since you get into complex AC systems, Etc. I think it is good stuff to know, think about it.....how much do people know about telecoms???, other then you pay Verizon $50+ a month and you get txt and internet...
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  6. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall ESEE Knives / Randall's Adventure & Training Staff Member

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    Kevin is the RAT team's elmer when it comes to HAM. I keep saying I'm going to go take the General and Extra and be done with it but I barely have enough time to key the radio with my tech license as it is.
     
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  7. Moonpie

    Moonpie Member

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    I’ve been licensed since 1996. There’s something satisfying about talking with people all over the world with a piece of wire in a tree. Get your General Jeff. Like most other certifications you don’t always use it but it’s good to have.
     
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  8. TerryD

    TerryD Member

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    Bumping up a zombie here but I'm a ham.

    I use it infrequently at the moment because of some other things going on and my radios being setup in the bedroom where the wife sleeps during the day.

    I'm hoping to get my radio room finished this year so we can get those moved and I'll also gain a sanctuary inside the house vs having to hide in the garage....
     
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  9. Kylemeister

    Kylemeister Member

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    Sometimes it's nice to resurrect a thread!

    I've managed to earn Triple Play (#2193), which is worked all states phone, worked all states CW, and worked all states digital. I'm really surprised that the award count is that low, especially when the award was introduce in 2009. I could apply for Worked All States FT8 for a little more wallpaper, as all my Q's were FT8 for Triple Play. I have a couple of PSK31 QSO's, but FT-8 is where everyone is hanging out.

    I submitted for DXCC the same day as Triple Play. Paperwork has been accepted, but there's a lot of folks from around the world applying for DXCC.

    I'm getting much more comfortable working CW. I'm more of a contest CW op than a rag chew op. I'm nowhere close to being in the same league as my Elmers, but they keep pushing me forward. I was one of four ops on our CW team for Field Day last year, and racked up more CW QSO's than anyone else for Oklahoma City (W6K) during Route 66 on the Air last year. My mentors have really helped me tremendously during the past couple of years!
     
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  10. Wisdom

    Wisdom Member

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    There have been some good nets lately, passing regional and national info around. A lot of traffic on HF, although propagation here has been spotty at times. I’d also suggest checking out Ammron. A good resource for hams.
     
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  11. Kylemeister

    Kylemeister Member

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    I need to improve my antenna situation. Apartment life limits what you can do, and the noise floor is terrible. Working phone is nearly impossible unless the other op is S9+. With CW, I can trim the filters down and kill some of the noise. I may try to get a little more elevation for my vertical. I'm thinking a top rail section for chain link fence would be a nice, rigid platform if I can find a way to secure it adequately so I can take it down when not operating.

    My club did our meeting via the club repeater a couple of weeks ago. It's about 13½ miles line of sight, but even living on the 2nd floor there's so many trees that it makes receiving with an HT next to impossible. I don't work much UHF/VHF, but it's something I need to address.
     
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  12. BobbyRatTail

    BobbyRatTail Member

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    NEW RADIO DAY
    20200731_173237.jpg
     
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  13. TerryD

    TerryD Member

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    Oooooh! I had the VX-5R and REALLY liked it! The 6m wasn't very useful around here though.
     
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  14. Kylemeister

    Kylemeister Member

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    Nice!
     
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  15. BobbyRatTail

    BobbyRatTail Member

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    I'll be taking my test for Technician and General mid August. Super stoked.
     
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  16. Wisdom

    Wisdom Member

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    Sweet! Yaseu makes the best HTs I’ve found. My HF rig is an Icom 7300 but got several Yaseu radios and they are built like a tank.
     
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  17. Kylemeister

    Kylemeister Member

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    The 7300 is a whole lotta radio for the money. Both of my Elmers run the 7300, as do two of the guys are big into digital modes.
     
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  18. Kylemeister

    Kylemeister Member

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    Good luck! I used HamStudy.org for my studying & practice tests. Once you can pass about a dozen in a row, you should be in pretty good shape for the exams.

    With ARRL testing groups, if you pass Technician you get a free shot a General.

    I really think guys should at least earn General, because it opens up so much HF and worldwide communications that it's easy to get hooked on radio. The test pools are almost the same size, and the material isn't much more difficult than Technician.
     
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  19. BobbyRatTail

    BobbyRatTail Member

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    Thank you! I've been using HamStudy.org as well. Just about finished with the Technician material. Following the Ham subreddits, and seeing how far people can reach out is super intriguing.
     
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  20. Kylemeister

    Kylemeister Member

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    The distances you can cover are amazing. My best one was Oklahoma City to Reunion Island (FR4QT), over 10,000 miles on SSB during CQ Worldwide in October 2017. With a 60 foot sloping wire and 100 watts. Talk about excitement of a DX station picking your call out of a pileup!

    The different modes (SSB, CW, digital) are intriguing too. There's so many different things you can pursue. I tried to do a little SSTV last year, trying to capture an image being broadcast by the International Space Station -- just a simple HT with a whip is sometimes all you need. I was playing around on 20m trying to figure out the decode software, and got a few decent images from different hams.

    Some guys don't like chasing wallpaper (awards), but I think they exist as good motivational tools to try new things.
     
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