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questions from an inquiring prospective ham operator

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As I am learning from the class, you also are licensed to build and tinker with equipment, which can go sideways on you very quickly if you don't know what you're doing. A portion of the study is around electric schematics and antenna construction/tuning. I find that interesting, but I can say with certainty that I won't be competing to say I got in contact with New Zealand. I'm more interested in emergency comms when I'm hunting, etc.
Well, you don't have to accomplish everything in your first week. I've been licensed 47 years.
 

gulfmp

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This thread got me intrigued. I watched a few Youtube videos on the benefits of HAM and purchased a cheap handheld to just listen/scan with today. So my noob question would be: how does the general HAM user population feel about licensing? Is it necessary (to prevent chaos? on the airwaves?) Does it provide a better community of HAM users?
Mentally, I'm just comparing it to gun licenses and cant wrap my head around need permission to communicate. But maybe there is way more that I'm not seeing because I'm uneducated. Educate me.
my two cents:
Compare it to gun ownership. A Noob must get a license to buy a gun/carry a firearm. Without any kind of training, when he really needs it, he may as well throw the gun at the bad guy for all its worth because he has no idea how to use it effectively through training and experience. Yes, a gang banger can get a gun without a licensee, but is limited to what he gets and if her learns how to use it property (and he doesn't care anyway). Also, amongst the gun owner community there are owners who you would certainly have nothing to do with because they are just to freaky to be around.

Now Ham licensing. A Noob can usually buy a radio, although there are some that would not sell anything to someone that is not licensed because they are trying to keep the experience pure. You can attend some training events and Hamfests, learn a little and figure some stuff out trial and error, but those who really have the knowledge to teach you will only show you the tip if you don't have a license. They want to better their community, but they want you to take the test and learn like they did. There are some that will also turn you in and rat you out if you are transmitting without a license. Shit, even if you are licensed and you are not following rules they will jump in and let you know about it. There are ways to figure out who you are.

Getting a license is not hard. I lurked for many years before finally getting mine and even after I did it didn't learn me a whole lot about using it. I have now committed to learning how to use it by getting involved, networking and talking to people on it. The wrong time to learn is when its needed. So many facets affect how to use it and what you can expect out of it. Might as well learn to do it while properly licensed and get proper instructions.

I wouldn't rely on the interweb and computers to get my information; that will go down fast and is easy to jam, block, kill the power grid. My radios will always work and can be recharged with solar or generator power. Wil my radios work after an EMP? I don't know. I do keep a few in faraday boxes (ammo cans) so if the radio waves still work after an EMP I should be GTG.
 

Rye

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Getting a license is not hard. I lurked for many years before finally getting mine and even after I did it didn't learn me a whole lot about using it. I have now committed to learning how to use it by getting involved, networking and talking to people on it. The wrong time to learn is when its needed. So many facets affect how to use it and what you can expect out of it. Might as well learn to do it while properly licensed and get proper instructions.


This is what I keep thinking about. Cramming all these acronyms and terminology to simply pass an exam without context to how these items really apply. I chatted with the instructor after my online course this weekend and he mentioned an lab would be useful and he'd love to run them as part of the curriculum. I agreed that a little hands-on would be beneficial. Because when I take the test and pass, I still can't just hop on the FT-60 and immediately know how to operate it. It feels like the test is just a hurdle to the real learning.
 
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Don't let these comments discourage you. It can be a fun and rewarding hobby. The technician and general license exams are really not that difficult. The technician license is somewhat limited, however the general opens up the world. This hobby offers a wide range of options in communication that are really too numerus to go through in this limited space. I am not sure where you are located, however there is a great group of guys that use the Monson Repeater located on Wilbraham Mt. in Wilbraham MA. If you are really interested get a copy of Ham Radio for Dummies this book will explain a lot about ham radio and will get you researching the things you might not understand but are interested in. As mentioned earlier get a short wave radio and listen to the HF bands also get an inexpensive hand held VHF/UHF radio to listen to the repeaters in your area. You can purchase a used short wave radio for under $100.00 and a VHF/UHF hand held for as little as $25.00. If you have questions contact me via PM and I ill give you my phone number.
John N1HM


I have heard John N1HM on quite often. Working at home I usually tune to the Wilbraham repeater and I hear him shooting the shit with a few other folks. One of these times I’ll join in. I can hear him on a $25 baofeng clear as a bell.
 

citoriguy

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And each transceiver has its own nuances too. YouTube taught me more about my unit than reading the manual. I took the exam right off the bat and it wasn’t bad by any stretch, but I felt better engaging with different groups as a licensed individual and it gave me one less thing to worry about while I did the real-life learning.

Now I’m preparing for the General exam. This pandemic has made it easier to study for because you’re not really up against any sort of deadline of a test date.
 

citoriguy

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I have heard John N1HM on quite often. Working at home I usually tune to the Wilbraham repeater and I hear him shooting the shit with a few other folks. One of these times I’ll join in. I can hear him on a $25 baofeng clear as a bell.

John has helped me a couple of times now. He’s a great resource and is a wealth of knowledge who wants to share it.
 
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Back in 2016 I took a Tech in a Day class offered by the Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association at the Boxboro Event.
I had no prior experience with Ham Radios and hadn't read a word related to it prior to attending the event.
I think someone posted something on here about it.
A tech in a day license is doable for anyone. Some people even left their with their General Class as they were offered the test.
I was not one of those but I did leave with the technician license.
I don't know what is going on with all this pandemic crap. I assume there are no in person meetings so not sure how they will do the tests.
But get the tech license when you can and then work your way up to the next level.
I still don't really talk on the radio. I just do a lot of listening. Mostly listen to the Waltham repeater. Seems to be the busiest at the times I listen.
 

JDL

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USP45ct please jump in anytime. The Wilbarham repeater has a great group of regular user and are very welcoming. We all love hearing new hams.
The repeater is listed as the Monson repeater, however it is located in Wilbraham on Wilbraham Mt.
I have looked you up on QRZ , you are not that far from me and will have no problem hitting the Wilbraham repeater. . Check my page out on QRZ of PM me and I will give you my phone number if you have any questions.
John N1HM
 

drgrant

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This was all I needed to hear, I come across enough retard in life on the daily. I don’t need to bring extra retard into my life.

The idea of infinite QRM is a little over dramatized. Honestly your neighbors pot grow lamps from china (if they exist) will be a bigger problem to your hobby enjoyment than any of those
morons will, on average.

-Mike
 

VetteGirlMA

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Im pretty new at this myself and dont have any experience with HF (yet) but Ham radio is no different than any other hobby:

You have guys that eat sleep and breathe the hobby

You have the guys that just buy gear and never use it as a hobby

You have guys that only have a hobby so they can be "better" than somebody else

No, you dont have to have a 200ft antenna at your house. You can get on the air as a technician an talk on local repeaters pretty easy and for not a lot of money. There are digital modes that allow you to talk to people all over the world by using the internet and a gateway. There are tons of big and small ways to get into HF, many of them in which im struggling with right now, all based on what you want radio to do for you.

Julian is one of my favorite, but he is waaaayyy more extreme than I want to go (many arent interested in this type of radio stuff as he primarily does low wattage digital communication)

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxpbuB-C3dg


QRP is an awesome way to enjoy Ham. I'm looking forward to getting back to the shore and turning my radio on as soon as the authoritarian scourge is gone. There's a couple of active repeaters in the Westerly area, but I love being on shore and listening to marine band frequencies. I did notice the other day that 70cm simplex frequencies were lit up like a Christmas tree. I've never seen that before.
 

Lank

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I just received a Baofeng UV82 HP today. Anyone have one? Trying like hell to program Gardner repeater to sit and listen while studying for tech license, if/when exams become available again. Ive watched a few you tube videos on programming, with some success.

Anyone have any guidance to share? I have no previous radio experience aside from CB.
 
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No need to program to listen, just 145.370. The programming will be for memory storage, offsets and any tones needed to break open the repeater, but that’s only for incoming signals.

You may be trying like hell to program your radio with no luck as Gardner is pretty quiet. Paxton in the other hand you will have no prob listening in. Your HT will be able to pickup up (and transmit to) Paxton with one of the upgraded antennas (you might be able to listen on the rubber duck)
 
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Lank

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No need to program to listen, just 145.370. The programming will be for memory storage, offsets and any tones needed to break open the repeater, but that’s only for incoming signals.

You may be trying like hell to program your radio with no luck as Gardner is pretty quiet. Paxton in the other hand you will have no prob listening in. Your HT will be able to pickup up (and transmit to) Paxton with one of the upgraded antennas (you might be able to listen on the rubber duck)
Thanks, I set for Uplink/Downlink tone offset.
 

Len-2A Training

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To program any HT or base, you do need the cable. Baofeng uses a special cable. My radio came with a cable, but not every seller sells them with the programming cable.
 
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To program any HT or base, you do need the cable. Baofeng uses a special cable. My radio came with a cable, but not every seller sells them with the programming cable.
You can program the Chinese radios from the front panel no problem. No need for a computer or chirp as long as it has a keypad. Would certainly recommend knowing how so you aren’t dependent on a pc to have a functional radio
 

citoriguy

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I just received a Baofeng UV82 HP today. Anyone have one? Trying like hell to program Gardner repeater to sit and listen while studying for tech license, if/when exams become available again. Ive watched a few you tube videos on programming, with some success.

Anyone have any guidance to share? I have no previous radio experience aside from CB.

I have a Baofeng UV5+ Plus and have the programming cable (assuming they’re the same), so depending on where you are, you can borrow it. It makes programming so much easier than their god awful interface. CHIRP is a great tool.
 

Lank

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I have a Baofeng UV5+ Plus and have the programming cable (assuming they’re the same), so depending on where you are, you can borrow it. It makes programming so much easier than their god awful interface. CHIRP is a great tool.
Thanks. I am in the Fitchburg area...

I did download CHIRP and plan on using, watching how-to videos etc. But the general premise is to enter the required information into the spreadsheet, using Repeater book, etc, then dumping into the radio via cable?
 

citoriguy

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Thanks. I am in the Fitchburg area...

I did download CHIRP and plan on using, watching how-to videos etc. But the general premise is to enter the required information into the spreadsheet, using Repeater book, etc, then dumping into the radio via cable?

Pretty much. I’m in the Acton/Concord/Maynard, so not far.
 

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Thanks. I am in the Fitchburg area...

I did download CHIRP and plan on using, watching how-to videos etc. But the general premise is to enter the required information into the spreadsheet, using Repeater book, etc, then dumping into the radio via cable?
Yes, but I edit the frequencies to show location instead, plus delete ones of no interest before uploading to the radio.
 

citoriguy

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thanks all, ordered a cable on amazon and will tinker when arrives

When you do get it, make sure the cable is firmly in the radio. On mine, there are two clicks, but the second one is whisper quiet, so sometimes the cable won’t work correctly.
 

A3-HBAR

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Interested in the CHIRP programming process. My Baofeng UV-5R came with a programming cable and a 1/2 size dc-rom disk that I can't play. I downloaded the chirp software but when I plug my HT into my PC, nothing happens. My PC doesn't see the radio. What am I doing wrong? Any thoughts?
 

Lank

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I'm still having problems even listening to 2 meter band, I suspect programming is not working out. Frequency offset and tone is all you need?
 
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I'm still having problems even listening to 2 meter band, I suspect programming is not working out. Frequency offset and tone is all you need?
Again, to listen to most of the popular repeaters there is no need to "program" just punch in the frequency of the output of the repeater. Paxton will be 146.970 and will be your best bet at hearing anything. Gardner will be 145.370 Fitchburg will be 145.450. There is no offset or tone required to listen, as long at those frequencies are on your screen you are listening to whatever your antenna / radio can receive. It is highly likely either a. You cant pick up anything with the small antenna on the HT or b. there is nothing to actually hear
 

gulfmp

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Interested in the CHIRP programming process. My Baofeng UV-5R came with a programming cable and a 1/2 size dc-rom disk that I can't play. I downloaded the chirp software but when I plug my HT into my PC, nothing happens. My PC doesn't see the radio. What am I doing wrong? Any thoughts?
I have read a lot about cable problems with Baofeng radios, but they are usually the knock off's purchased on amazon. I don't recall hearing any problems with factory supplied cables. Maybe its a knock off cable?
 
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Lank

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Again, to listen to most of the popular repeaters there is no need to "program" just punch in the frequency of the output of the repeater. Paxton will be 146.970 and will be your best bet at hearing anything. Gardner will be 145.370 Fitchburg will be 145.450. There is no offset or tone required to listen, as long at those frequencies are on your screen you are listening to whatever your antenna / radio can receive. It is highly likely either a. You cant pick up anything with the small antenna on the HT or b. there is nothing to actually hear
Ok thank you
 
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