What is ham radio

Gator9329

That Guy
NES Member
Rating - 100%
18   0   0
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
4,588
Likes
2,837
Location
Burlington
Hey guys, I have a question about ham radio. Why would I go through all the trouble of getting a license and buying equipment when I can talk to the same person over the internet.I understand that the internet would be first thing to go in bad times. in reality , every normal day you could use it to reach out all over the world. I know it takes a lot to get your license. And I admire all that is involved, but isn't it the same as a chat room? Please enlighten me
 
Last edited:

Maxpower

Banned
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
May 31, 2010
Messages
8,393
Likes
974
Location
NE
I think the test to get the license is like a 25 question deal and their are trainers out there for it. Maybe someone else can comment, but I don't think it is that big of a deal.
 
Last edited:

scouter-rick

Training Counselor
NES Member
Rating - 100%
10   0   0
Joined
Sep 3, 2008
Messages
2,322
Likes
522
Location
South East Mass.
35 questions for the first class of license which is Technician. Need working knowledge of Ohm's law, power, Frequency vs. wavelength, frequency allocations, rules of the road, working modes, how atmosphere effects radio waves at different frequencies, etc.

Ham's will be the first communicating and the last remaining when all other technology fails.

Ham's can be anywhere including the most desolate areas on earth and still be in touch.

Today is "Field Day"... get out in your community and find some Hams and check it out.

http://www.arrl.org/field-day

http://bostoneventsinsider.com/bostonevents/2012/06-19/clay-center-amateur-radio-field-day.htm

At Concord Rod and Gun today as well: http://www.wb1gof.org/
 

zyx123

NES Member
Rating - 100%
22   0   0
Joined
Jan 13, 2012
Messages
229
Likes
60
For a significant time during the 9/11 tragedy in New York City the only way to get message traffic in or out of downtown NYC was by ham radio. The record shows, repeatedly and over long periods of time, that when the SHTF all the commercial means of communication go "down" and all that's left are the hams. Should you care? Your call - I would not go through the hassle of getting a license unless this sort of thing interests you. As opposed to getting an LTC, to get a ham radio license you actually have to show that you know something.
 

appraiser

NES Member
Rating - 100%
20   0   0
Joined
Mar 14, 2008
Messages
13,410
Likes
10,428
you have to show that you want to be a member of "the club", the HAMS have everyone brainwashed into thinking they are the wizards of SHTF communications. They have convinced the FCC that other folks with REAL technical credentials are not qualified to use "their" part of the spectrum.

Let them pass elements 1,3,7 and 9 and then they can talk to me about being a "technician"
 
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
992
Likes
152
When katrina happened a HAM friend of mine was the only communication for many people for weeks. Just went around on a boat calling in medical and rescue services for people that needed it.

I have a 2 meter rig battery and large solar charger for it.

The Internet and cell phones are the moat fragile abd first to go. It's worth it in my view.
 
Last edited:
Rating - 100%
12   0   0
Joined
Sep 27, 2009
Messages
12,482
Likes
2,378
Location
Let me check my GPS
In a SHTF situation is there going to be anyone around to check your license if you decide to just start broadcasting voice? Just like is anyone going to be around to check if you have the appropriate license to poses the rifle your using to defend yourself?

I'm not poo-pooing doing it right but in a SHTF situation is anyone going to care?
 
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
992
Likes
152
Well its more than just picking up a phone and talking. Transmitting distances, power management and clear communications are a must to use it properly .

All that has been pre planned via the cell phone interoperability specifications from the 3gpp committees. Then they force the phone chip sets to use those.

Regular radio has none of that. Just because you don't deal with the complexity on a daily basis doesn't mean its not there.
 

Gator9329

That Guy
NES Member
Rating - 100%
18   0   0
Joined
Dec 17, 2009
Messages
4,588
Likes
2,837
Location
Burlington
I understand the need for this technology. i have heard many stories about ham operators helping others out in time of need.
what does the license keep you from doing? I can't imagine anything bad happening from some guys talking over the air.
 
Rating - 100%
12   0   0
Joined
May 16, 2009
Messages
3,588
Likes
3,923
Location
SE Mass
you have to show that you want to be a member of "the club", the HAMS have everyone brainwashed into thinking they are the wizards of SHTF communications. They have convinced the FCC that other folks with REAL technical credentials are not qualified to use "their" part of the spectrum.

Let them pass elements 1,3,7 and 9 and then they can talk to me about being a "technician"


That's funny because I'm working Field Day this weekend with my club and we have three Extra class ops who also have their commercial licenses with significantly more elements passed than you've indicated. They find ham radio relevant just as much as their commercial side. All three are employed by the government in radio maintenance, to include modern DV.
 

Mike-Mike

Instructor
Dealer
NES Member
Rating - 100%
27   0   0
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
9,024
Likes
1,614
Location
Shrewsbury MA
In a SHTF situation is there going to be anyone around to check your license if you decide to just start broadcasting voice? Just like is anyone going to be around to check if you have the appropriate license to poses the rifle your using to defend yourself?

I'm not poo-pooing doing it right but in a SHTF situation is anyone going to care?

NO. Actually Hams are instructed to Take calls outside their band during emergencies.
 
Rating - 100%
12   0   0
Joined
May 16, 2009
Messages
3,588
Likes
3,923
Location
SE Mass
In a SHTF situation is there going to be anyone around to check your license if you decide to just start broadcasting voice? Just like is anyone going to be around to check if you have the appropriate license to poses the rifle your using to defend yourself?

I'm not poo-pooing doing it right but in a SHTF situation is anyone going to care?


You could freely operate in the event of a SHTF scenario without a license. Nobody will care. The value of a license is found in the legal operation during current times so that you gain valuable experience and expertise with regard to your equipment and propagation.
 
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
992
Likes
152
I understand the need for this technology. i have heard many stories about ham operators helping others out in time of need.
what does the license keep you from doing? I can't imagine anything bad happening from some guys talking over the air.

People taking over the air is precisely the problem. Trained hams know its a shared medium that requires coordination. Not people jumping on and not allowing other people to use it.

I know if an incident where a person had an emergency and needed help but didn't realize they had to unkey the mike So they could hear a response. Their untrained use of the equipment nearly cost someone their life.

Its a training issue more than anything.
 

Roy Rogers

NES Member
Rating - 100%
9   0   0
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Messages
996
Likes
343
Location
Massachusetts
Worthwhile tip, Rick. I checked out Field Day yesterday at Concord Rod & Gun, going back again this morning. Hams are a friendly and welcoming community of can-do people, much like shooters. With the elimination of the license requirement to know Morse Code, it's easier than ever to obtain a license, though code is still useful in many situations. I'm looking into getting my Technician license. On a lighter note, one of the hams yesterday tipped me off to a contest that Jay Leno set up on the Tonight Show to see who could send and receive a message faster, two hams using Morse Code or two people texting with their handhelds, video clip here http://videosift.com/video/Ham-Radio-Morse-Code-vs-Text-Messaging.



35 questions for the first class of license which is Technician. Need working knowledge of Ohm's law, power, Frequency vs. wavelength, frequency allocations, rules of the road, working modes, how atmosphere effects radio waves at different frequencies, etc.

Ham's will be the first communicating and the last remaining when all other technology fails.

Ham's can be anywhere including the most desolate areas on earth and still be in touch.

Today is "Field Day"... get out in your community and find some Hams and check it out.

http://www.arrl.org/field-day

http://bostoneventsinsider.com/bostonevents/2012/06-19/clay-center-amateur-radio-field-day.htm

At Concord Rod and Gun today as well: http://www.wb1gof.org/
 

Rob Boudrie

NES Member
Rating - 100%
6   0   0
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Messages
41,918
Likes
22,328
For a significant time during the 9/11 tragedy in New York City the only way to get message traffic in or out of downtown NYC was by ham radio.

Unless, of course, you were important enough to have a 1-710-NCS-GETS account that would put you at the head of the queue for the first available phone connection. If you're an GETS user, you call can get through even if you are in the location of a major incident and it also happens to be mother's day.

The issue was not the system going "down" but getting "overloaded". Ham is definitely useful if the system is fully down, or if you are not important enough to rate rationed access in times of crisis - part of the beauty of the ham system is that the controls are by convention and law, not technology (absent jamming) so the govt can't simply "turn off the airwaves except for their own use".

The cell protocol has a priority bit for important people, but I do not know if it is actually in use.
 
Last edited:
Rating - 100%
12   0   0
Joined
Sep 27, 2009
Messages
12,482
Likes
2,378
Location
Let me check my GPS
People taking over the air is precisely the problem. Trained hams know its a shared medium that requires coordination. Not people jumping on and not allowing other people to use it.

I know if an incident where a person had an emergency and needed help but didn't realize they had to unkey the mike So they could hear a response. Their untrained use of the equipment nearly cost someone their life.

Its a training issue more than anything.

As a Military Pilot and Civilian Pilot I carry a Restricted Radio Operator Permit. I'm well versed in radio discipline and all of the nuances of operating over voice channels on multiple bands. I wouldn't hesitate for one second to broadcast on any voice band in an emergency. I respect the law and operate all transmitters IAWTL.
 

radioman

NES Member
Rating - 96%
24   1   0
Joined
Jul 9, 2009
Messages
4,404
Likes
2,791
Location
Townsend MA
Extra class ham here. Being a ham is more than throwing up an antenna and talking like a CB or plugging a cable into a computer and typing. Yes there are ham bands that you can just throw up an antenna and talk. Those are the simplest bands and fall under the most basic license. If you want to use the 160M band correctly or should I say most efficiently the antenna is longer than most people own property!! Most hams make their own antennas. The store bought antennas for the 160M band either stink or are super expensive. You can make your own for a 1/10 the price and it's better than the store bought ones. This takes some study. Your not just going to visit a web site for 5 minutes and go out and build a 160M antenna. It takes a lot of study in antenna theory and a lot of trial and error. The biggest reason to be a ham is because it's fun. It's a hobby like any other. A very useful hobby in an emergency. Win win in my book.
 

cockpitbob

NES Member
Rating - 100%
3   0   0
Joined
Sep 11, 2008
Messages
12,938
Likes
6,384
Location
North of Boston
Hey guys, I have a question about ham radio. Why would I go through all the trouble of getting a license and buying equipment ...
Ham radio isn't a hobby. It's 99 hobbies.
We are all in it for differet reasons, most of which have to do with fun, not SHTF. SHTF communications is a nice excuse to buy more gear when we need an excuse though.

Common Ham activities:

With a Technician license people will:
* Just be social on all the local repeaters. Chat at home, in the car, out in the (near by) woods with a handheld.
* Volunteer and work communications at large outdoor events like the Boston Marathon, parades or any event that covers a lot of area.
* Take a 4 hr class become a Skywarn weather spotter. In nasty weather you call in sever weather events, flooding, downed power lines,...
* Volunteer for emergency communications. This is a commitment where you work with a local agency: Police, fire,... and when power and normal communications go down you set up with them and manage communications outside the area.

With the next license up (General license) you can talk all around the country or world.
* Just be chatty with people in the US.
* Make friends in far away places and chat with them.
* Make it a sport and try to talk to all 50 states or as many countries around the world as you can.
* Get into contesting. On certain weekends everyone gets on the air and tries to talk to as many people as they can.

Most people buy their gear, but lots still make their own gear. Anything from antennas, boxes and brackets to hold your gear in a compact "go kit" for emergencies to full blown 1,500W transmitters.

There's digital modes where you are basically texting over the airwaves with a computer (or iPad) connected to your radio.

There's Ham satellites that act as repeaters. I've talked to people several states away bouncing off a 3' cube flying through space at 17,000 mph. There are people that actually talk by bouncing the signals off the moon (1/2 million mile round trip with 3 second delay).

You can go retro and use Morse code. It's the best way to get around the world. Morse operators are the original text messagers. Conversations often end with CUAGN (see you again).

The learning never ends.
 
Last edited:
Rating - 100%
12   0   0
Joined
May 16, 2009
Messages
3,588
Likes
3,923
Location
SE Mass
For the truth about the effectiveness of ham radio in a real SHTF scenario, I suggest you all watch "Last Voice From Kuwait".
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Messages
519
Likes
90
Location
Central MA
As posted above, there's more than just talking to people, more than just SHTF comms...it's about learning and having fun with the hobby. Just like people like shooting guns, studying guns, collecting guns, showing guns off; some people do this with radios and electronic equipment. Some guys mostly like to "ragchew" on the airwaves. For me it's always been more of a technical attraction. Can I make this work with what I have right now? How far can I communicate and on what bands? Can I make/build/modify this equipment to do something that perhaps it wasn't designed for? Most hams are tinkerers, and contrary to what some may think, many of us are pretty smart and hold advanced degrees. These are usually the ones in the background or the ones there when S really does HTF.

Short answer to the OP is that it can be a lot of fun, especially if you're into tinkering with stuff. It can also be quite practical during situations where traditional methods of communication are unavailable.

Good luck and 73!
 

greeprob

NES Member
Rating - 100%
10   0   0
Joined
Jul 5, 2011
Messages
60
Likes
29
I am a new Ham and I find it as critical as carrying a handgun. But they are not mutually exclusive, so I recommend them both. Yes, you could buy a ham radio even if you do not have a license. And you can try to communicate with people on the air. But without learning the protocol, you will immediately find yourself annoying other people. It is akin to deciding not to shower prior to a plane trip somewhere. You can do it, but people will notice and wont want to deal with you. So take the class, study for the test, and learn something new and fun... you wont regret it. If you like guns and helping people, you will love HAM.
 
Rating - 100%
6   0   0
Joined
Mar 5, 2008
Messages
5,156
Likes
1,223
Location
New Bedford, MA
I can't imagine anything bad happening from some guys talking over the air.

because you don't talk over the air....
the license doesn't keep you from doing anything, taking the classes to EARN the license teaches you what you should and shouldn't do...
it helps ensure that the people using the frequencies know how to use them in a responsible way...
nothing would get done if some a****** was out there running 2KW of power blocking out communications for half the country......
 
Last edited:
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
992
Likes
152
because you don't talk over the air....
the license doesn't keep you from doing anything, taking the classes to EARN the license teaches you what you should and shouldn't do...
it helps ensure that the people using the frequencies know how to use them in a responsible way...
nothing would get done if some a**h*** was out there running 2KW of power blocking out communications for half the country......

Great example is the a**hole who likes to constantly steal the Westford repeater. He open mics and kerchunks the thing on a regular basis ...
 
Last edited:
Rating - 100%
6   0   0
Joined
Mar 5, 2008
Messages
5,156
Likes
1,223
Location
New Bedford, MA
Roscoe said:
Great example is the a**hole who likes to constantly steal the Westford repeater. He open mics and kerchunks the thing on a regular basis ...

Sounds like they need a PL.....
Or a fox hunt :)


Sent from my HTC EVO running Synergy+Godmode using Forum Runner
 

drgrant

Moderator
NES Member
Rating - 100%
61   0   0
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
81,670
Likes
67,268
Sounds like they need a PL.....
Or a fox hunt :)

Westford does have a PL tone, if it's .955 we're talking about here.

I'd only bother fox hunting the signal if it was shutting the box down from timeouts. Then it's go time. Otherwise just stomp the bastard. [laugh]

-Mike
 

Skysoldier

Forum Curmudgeon
NES Member
Rating - 100%
3   0   0
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
11,325
Likes
21,211
Location
Albuquerque, NM
I have been getting back into tubes lately, (reliving my childhood.)[wink]

I had a Novice license back in 1964, and am thinking about getting back into it.

But I want to build my own tube stuff.....like the old days.[smile]
 
Rating - 100%
14   0   0
Joined
Jun 27, 2009
Messages
10,713
Likes
4,584
Location
Live Free or Die
Unless, of course, you were important enough to have a 1-710-NCS-GETS account that would put you at the head of the queue for the first available phone connection. If you're an GETS user, you call can get through even if you are in the location of a major incident and it also happens to be mother's day.

The issue was not the system going "down" but getting "overloaded". Ham is definitely useful if the system is fully down, or if you are not important enough to rate rationed access in times of crisis - part of the beauty of the ham system is that the controls are by convention and law, not technology (absent jamming) so the govt can't simply "turn off the airwaves except for their own use".

The cell protocol has a priority bit for important people, but I do not know if it is actually in use.

Current cell phone systems do not implement any type of QOS to users, the technology is there in LTE but to my knowledge it is not implemented.
 

namedpipes

NES Member
Rating - 100%
3   0   0
Joined
May 7, 2008
Messages
40,326
Likes
35,149
Location
The foothills of Monadnock
Came across this - no dates on it or even "Pat Pend" numbers, made by Elkay Mfg Corp in NY, NY.

Looks like something from the 40's or 50's. My grandfather and father were both science junkies.

It's a "toy" telegraph key that statics out a nearby radio when you key it, along with lighting a bulb and making a click.

Even though a toy, I thought some of the hams here might think it was neat.


The Box:
IMAG1754.jpg


IMAG1753.jpg


IMAG1752.jpg


And inside:
IMAG1757.jpg
 
Top Bottom