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Old 03-30-2017, 04:26 PM
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Listening online is fine as long as the Internet is running. Use all the tools that are available.

Software Defined Radios (SDR's) are a great option, but you don't get anything for nothing. The difference between an HF amateur radio transceiver costing $500 and one costing $5,000 is the receiver. There are two primary things affecting the cost and quality of the receiver.

Sensitivity is important because it determines how small a signal can be effectively heard by the operator. This is important because often the signal can be measured in the billionths of a Watt.

Selectivity is at least as important if not more so. It is the ability to narrow the received signal to just the desired signal and nothing else. There is an increasing noise floor for radio signals due to technology creeping into every aspect of our lives. There are some pretty fancy digital signal processors (DSP) which are designed to detect and eliminate non-voice elements even within the desired receive range.

What I'm trying to say is a $49 SDR from eBay can be expected to perform like a $49 radio. Some DSP can be done by the computer connected to the radio, but that will have no effect on sensitivity and selectivity.
Old 04-04-2017, 10:21 PM
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Sorry for disappearing guys, thanks for the info. Had to go to work for a few days and then the wife did too, so I had the kids. I've read through the advice here and I am scanning through a couple PMs I got from y'all. I haven't vanished and I haven't rethought getting into the commo world. Just got slowed down a bit in the last few days. I'll have some questions for y'all later.
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Old 04-05-2017, 06:52 AM
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Ham radio test online. $19 bucks. Do it....
 
Old 04-07-2017, 01:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captned View Post
Ham radio test online. $19 bucks. Do it....
It's cheaper to do it at a ham radio club on a Saturday morning.. You also get to meet other people that are learning and testing, as well as the already licensed folks. You can spot them by the huge antennas on their cars usually.. and their mostly white haired guys too..

Why not get the kids to take the test as well. They have 8 y/o kids that pass the tests with a bit of studying all the time..
Old 04-07-2017, 05:29 AM
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Wow! We got all the way to post #7 before the first thing out was, "Remember you will need to get a license."

I'm impressed.
Old 04-07-2017, 05:33 AM
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I know some Hams. Make some connections locally if you can. They usually wheel n deal with equipment they don't use or bought but changed their mind on.
Don't pay retail for new but 2nd hand.
There are also Hamfests. Swap meets for Amateur radio enthusiasts
Old 04-09-2017, 05:58 PM
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Tagscribe for info
Old 04-30-2017, 11:15 AM
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As for testing, If I could go back, I would do Tech and General together. A lot of overlap, but the same could be said for the extra/general as well. As the second post said:
Dave Casler-youtube
He has courses set for tech (like an hour and a half)
General, and Extra (updated for the new test they rolled out.)

I am utilizing his for extra, along with the ARRL Extra Class License Manual for Ham Radio I bought as a kindle file because it was cheaper at the time.

I know not everyone is a fan of cheap Chinese radios, but if it wasn't for them, and the cheap up front cost, I may not have decided to join the Ham community. I have a few of them, and am putting a 2 meter/70 cm mobile rig in. Also, for upfront cost of a set-up. I got lucky, bought an ebay radio (ICOM IC-701) for like $200, some, 50 ft of coax, and used a wire antenna for a nice easy NVIS antenna (DX Engineering has lots of info on this type.) It can, indeed, be a very expensive hobby to get into, but it doesn't have to be right off the bat.

A lot of these guys are here to help. We even had a net we tried meeting on every week, and people are always willing to help you get set-up. When I tried digital for the first time, it wasn't successful, but there were guys from this forum here willing to skype and help you set-up. This is an amazing group, and if you need any help, this is a great place for that.

BTW: I thought the test had to be done at a HAM club, I didn't know there was an online test. Am I mistaken?
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Old 04-30-2017, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPLSeraphim View Post
BTW: I thought the test had to be done at a HAM club, I didn't know there was an online test. Am I mistaken?
You are required to take the exams administered by volunteer examiners (VE's)...you cant take the real exam online...but you can take as many "real" practice exams as you want.
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Old 05-02-2017, 07:58 AM
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Thanks, Kodiak. I never heard of any changes, so I was confused by the one reply.
Old 05-02-2017, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPLSeraphim View Post
Thanks, Kodiak. I never heard of any changes, so I was confused by the one reply.
No problem brother.
Old 05-04-2017, 05:05 PM
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I don't know much about HAM but,

I decided to get into learning about HAM and bought a Yaesu vx5r (analog) to listen to local police /fire and such and about a month or so later the county I live in switched to digital. I was no longer able to listen in with the Yaesu

If where you live safety services are digital, the scanner you listed in the OP might not work.

Go here click on the map and have a look to see what is in your area:

https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/

EDIT: Those Baofengs are great little starter radios too, not too expensive so if they get damaged, no biggie! They are a little bit of a pain to program (chirp software was easiest for me) but if I can do it, just about anybody can!

These are analog transceivers:

This is what I have, 4 watts max: https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R.../dp/B007H4VT7A

This is the newer one with 8 watts max: https://www.amazon.com/Baofeng-Hi-Po...aofeng+bf-f9v2
Old 05-07-2017, 08:09 AM
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Jbryan, just my two cents. Lots of sound advice in this thread.

I would suggest getting your tech license ASAP, then don't waste any time getting your general.

I just bought a Baofeng ht on line for $27. There are some good deals out there on new and used entry level hf rigs such as IC-718 and IC-7200. Just some examples.

You can build a very satisfactory hf antenna for not a lot of money.

HF is not dead. I am on 20 and 40 nearly every night. Good luck and have fun!
Old 05-07-2017, 10:18 AM
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CPLS was spot on in suggesting you study for both the Tech and General at the same time.

Materials are very similar and you will then have access to 90% of the HF bands whcih gove you world wide comms capabilities.

I would suggest using www.hamtestonline.com for studying. Although it does cost money, its the most efficient way to digest the material and pass the exams.

I used HTOL for all three elements(Tech, General & Extra).

If you dont pass the exams, they will give you your money back!!!

Here is a link to my preparedham website that will walk you through using HTOL to pass the exams.
http://www.preparedham.com/forums/index.php?topic=57.0

The tracking features of HTOL are exceptional in showing you where you stand on learning the material.

ARRL field day is coming up June 24-25 where hams and ham clubs gather and do a 48 hours comms event.

I went to field day to learn about amateur radio and 2 months later I was licensed.

This site will give you all the info on clubs in your area that will be having events.

Look for one the has a GOTA(Get On The Air) station (they get point in this contest for this) where the general public is allowed get on the air and make HF contact under the guidance of experienced operators.

This site you can search for the clubs holding these event
http://www.arrl.org/field-day
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Old 05-18-2017, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hardcalibres View Post
"they would not want to limit themselves to comms that rely upon repeaters."
Well said, the area where I reside is all about repeaters and repeater nets. I asked about doing some 2M simplex and 10SSB for the Techs and I get blank stares. People need to remember Hurricane Katrina. No Internet, no cells, no repeaters. Sure, get equipment to use repeaters but don't make it the base of your comms.
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:31 PM
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I agree from a prepping point of view, Don't depend on repeaters, internet etc. I preach this all the time, improve your setup to have the best simplex range you can. HF ( when the solar cycle is good) is great also.
But one thing to remember about radio as a prepping, or survival tool.
Radio comms just DO NOT always work as you read in a book!!! You deal with ever changing conditions, from weather to solar activity, the more you play with your gear ,in ALL types of conditions, the more you will be ready for whatever mother nature throws at you, and your group !
__________________
We survived 8 years of stupid, time to turn the country around if we can !
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigSlick View Post
If you want to listen in on HF bands one option is SDR which stands for software defined radio. There are web sites where you can listen and scan entire bands for free.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software-defined_radio
http://websdr.org/

This site has a hundred or so web sdr radios that you can tune into to listen.
Old 05-19-2017, 06:29 PM
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If you are recently separated, ex-military look into MARS. You will be welcome.

Eligibility to join U.S. Army MARS. The applicant must -

Be 17 years of age or older. Signature of parent or legal guardian is required when an applicant is under 18 years of age.

Be a United States Citizen or resident alien.

Possess a valid amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or other competent U.S. Authority.

Possess a station capable of operating on MARS HF frequencies.

See also: http://usamars.us/

MARS members stations meet periodically in scheduled networks on military frequencies outside of amateur bands.

There are various types of networks and each accomplishes a specific goal. For example, administrative networks to take care of the day-to-day management of the program; traffic networks which exist solely to pass third party traffic; and of course, emergency networks which are established to provide for communications needs during periods of emergency.

There are also technical nets and training nets. MARS nets operate in different modes. Although high frequency (HF) single sideband (SSB) voice is predominant, there are RATT, VHF, PACKET, and PACTOR.

Examples of the typical US Army MARS frequencies are:

4003.0 (kHz) 7403.5 (kHz) 14403.5(kHz) 143.99(kHz) and others...

Agree to operate a minimum of 12 hours per calendar quarter with 6 hours being on HF networks.
Old 05-23-2017, 04:19 PM
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I would suggest using www.hamtestonline.com for studying. Although it does cost money, its the most efficient way to digest the material and pass the exams.

Thats what I meant to post...LOL!
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