Amateur / Ham Radio Group?

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coloradotechie-p40
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Amateur / Ham Radio Group?

Postby coloradotechie-p40 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:10 pm

So, I just got my tech license and now I have no idea what to do. Well, I guess I have "Get a radio" on my to do list but unfortunately they are expensive and I don't have the money right now (I started a savings fund so in a few months I'll have enough money to get a radio).

Anyhow, I was wondering if there was a Ham radio group that people participate in... someplace where I could ask questions without feeling like I would be bothering people.

For example: I would have loved to participate in the recent Sacramento area field day but based on the tech license I'm guessing I wouldn't have been able to talk on any of the bands except the 2 meter band right? And the 2 meter band isn't really good for long distance, right? So if I did want to participate in something like that in the future (and assuming they would use the same bands), then I would need to do one of two things: get my general license and/or use echolink to get on a local repeater to talk on the 2 meter band, right?

I also have questions about using a triband HT radio to talk with another ham friend who is 1,000 miles away... can it be done the 6m band or do I have to get a radio that works on the 10m band?

Anyhow, just curious about a ham radio group.

Thanks~!

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kd7mha
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Postby kd7mha » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:57 pm

There are clubs everywhere, search for "<city> Amateur radio club" club members are always willing to help a newbie

As long as there is a control operator present anyone can operate the radio (even non-hams)

Echolink and IRLP are great ways for Tech's to reach faraway places
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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:56 pm

Yep, unlike some other hobbies, hams love to help newbies learn the ropes and get radio active. I agree with kd7mha; find a local ham club in your area, sit in on a few meetings, participate on their 2M nets, find out what repeaters they frequent and join in on a conversation or two. (Your best chance in finding people chatting is during commute time.) You might even find out about swap meets, swap nets, or club websites where gently used gear can be had for considerably less than new.

If all else fails and you still have unanswered questions, a very popular Yahoo group to try is the HamRadioHelpGroup. Many experienced and non-experienced hams hang out there and exchange ideas and information.
So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:15 pm

+1 for finding a local group. They'll be a good help in locating local used equipment, understanding local factors (like terrain) affecting your hobby, and they'll be a big help when it comes time to erect outside antennas.

coloradotechie wrote:but based on the tech license I'm guessing I wouldn't have been able to talk on any of the bands except the 2 meter band right?


If you participated from home, you'd be limited the the VHF and above bands. But if you went where there would be a General Class or better to watch over you (act as control operator) and use their callsign, you could gain some mic time on bands you are not licensed for.


coloradotechie wrote:I also have questions about using a triband HT radio to talk with another ham friend who is 1,000 miles away... can it be done the 6m band or do I have to get a radio that works on the 10m band?


As mentioned, unless you use Internet "wormholes" like Echolink or IRLP, VHF isn't going to get very far. A few guys with special equipment and good conditions have worked contacts that far, but more as a record-setting venture then a regular thing.

I would question how useful 6m is on a HT. It's called the "magic band" but the users I know about have larger antennas and base stations. Personally I think 144/220/440 is a more practical tri-bander (But then I'm also like Kenwood :D (Lookup TH-F6A to understand the last part))

It sounds like long term you'll want to get your general license and get on the lower bands like 20 meters.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

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rksmith
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Join the Local LDS Emergency Response Communications Net

Postby rksmith » Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:55 am

Contact your local Bishop's Storehouse and find out if there is a local Emergency Response Communications (ERC) net in your area (there likely is). They will be exercising their equipment on a regular basis by holding a net checkin on a local 2meter repeater. Further, if you are LDS, your Stake should have an Emergency Response Communications specialist. Check with the person in your Stake responsible for technology and they can direct you in the right direction.

The Aurora Colorado Bishops Storehouse coordinates the ERC networks for Cheyenne Wy, Colorado Springs CO, Grand Junction CO, Kansas City MO, Manassa CO, and Omaha NE areas.

For more information, check out http://www.mercurynorthwest.org/index.php or ProvidentLiving.org

There is also quite likely an ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) club in your area. Check the ARRL website as they have information about the various ARES clubs. These groups not only provide communications support in emergencies (for instance, we've been called out to man Interstate on and off ramps during severe winter conditions when the Interstate has been closed), but also provide communications support for marathons, bicycle races, parades, county fairs, and a host of other community events. ARES is a lot of fun and great practice using your ham radio equipment.

Please feel free to contact me directly for details or more information!
73's!
K7OJL
[url=mailto: k7ojl@arrl.net]k7ojl@arrl.net[/url]

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:08 am

rolandksmith wrote:There is also quite likely an ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) club in your area.


There may also be a group associated with the local Emergency Management office, perhaps RACES, but sometimes they go by other names. Typically a given area will have a active RACES group or a active ARES group. Sometimes an area will have both and some times it's the ARES group that's associated with Emergency Management.

There can be a certain amount of friction between the two groups, so you might want to scout first before selecting. It's hard to give guidance since much of the friction is local in nature.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

BLusk
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Postby BLusk » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:36 am

1000 miles is not really possible on VHF, especially with handheld equipment. To reliably make 1000+ mile contacts, you're going to want to upgrade to General ASAP and go for 20/40/80M bands.

10M (and sometimes 6) can make 1000-1500 mile contacts on a single hop during sporadic-E season, but outside of that season you'll have to go down to lower frequencies to find proper openings based on time of day. Sporadic-E season tends to be May to July range, although more experienced hams can correct me on that.

Check with your Stake Emergency Preparedness Coordinator to see if you have any kind of local net. Our stake has set up a repeater and we usually have a weekly net. (Well, techincally, the antenna's down at the moment, but that's too long a story to go into.)

Also check with your bishop's storehouse for a local net, if you have one nearby. They frequently run local nets on the same night as regional/church nets.

Brian

P.S. I concur with checking for a local club, too. They can help you get started with suggestions on antennas, how to make them, how not to break them, equipment that might be available locally, and the like. Get to know those guys well. ;)

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brentcase
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Postby brentcase » Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:26 pm

coloradotechie wrote:

For example: I would have loved to participate in the recent Sacramento area field day but based on the tech license I'm guessing I wouldn't have been able to talk on any of the bands except the 2 meter band right?


If there were those with Extra or General Licenses in attendance and at the control of the stations, yes you could have participated in the field day, make contacts on HF or help others making a call to log their contacts. Don't hesitate next time and join in the fun!

I agree with the others, look for a local club; do a search in yahoo groups for ham radio topics. Google questions... In terms of a good handheld, look at the Yaesu FT60. If you want to make long distance contacts, learn how to use this radio to communicate on satellites. I start to hear people with my hand held in Venezuela, then Florida...when it passes overhead, I hear Tennesse or Virgina and a few minutes later I might be talking to someone in Nova Scotia. (AO-51). A neighbor up the road talks to Germany and Russia using UHF/VHF by bouncing his signal off the moon (takes quite an investment in an antenna system though). You can start without a radio and get some practice in by using Echolink on your computer. When you get that first handheld, do a search at irlp dot net and find a node nearby. You can use that handheld and talk to your friend 1000 miles away if he also has an IRLP node near him.

Just scratching the surface on what you can do with your technician license. (I won't mention fox hunting or providing service as a radio check point or service at a charity event).

And if you want to converse with other LDS hams, check out ldshams dot com.

K4BSC
check me out on qrz dot com.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:30 pm

BrentC wrote:providing service as a radio check point or service at a charity event.


Once you're comfortable on the air, that's a great way to get experience.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.


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