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Newbies to Ham Radio

(N8KG) on December 2, 2005
View comments about this article!

I just spotted something on here that is really bothering me. A "newbie" gets his license. Probably because he has a friend who is licensed or maybe he has been in the military in the communications field. He now has a license to operate as a Technician class.

What is the first thing he does? Buys a 5 watt, FM only, handheld. Maybe for 2 meters only or a dual band with 70 cm. And before you know it, he is gone. Never to be heard on Amateur Radio again because that just doesn't hold their interest.

Newbies have so many opportunities open to them, from 6 meters all the way to 1296 and beyond. Side band, cw, am, rtty, all the digital modes, satellites, etc., Beam antennas and towers. Yet nobody has told them about these things. Instead of wasting $300.00 on an HT that will restrict you to local repeaters, add a couple of hundred more dollars, if possible, and get something that has all the possibilities. If that is not feasible and not budget wise, go to a hamfest, with a trusted friend, and buy something used.

For my money, HT's are about the dumbest thing you could buy as a starter rig.

My 2 cents worth.

de N8KG

Member Comments:
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Newbies to Ham Radio  
by SFD301 on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Well said!!! I did this in the beginning, but soon lost interest. Sometimes, it's hard as a newbie to get on the local repeaters just do to all those that are obviously friends and such. I moved to an IC 706 MKIIG and jumped on 6meters....it was great to catch a couple of openings and log some good contacts! Someone I met at the test also had this happen to him, and now a year later he not to be found.

I'm not exploring working the birds, and to continue working on the code to upgrade so I can bug you all.

73
kc2nmx - gaining ham friends everyday
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K0AMZ on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
AMEN!! Licensed in '78 as a Tecnician Class. Only took me 22 years to get to General. Boy what I missed!! Having a blast now.

Galen
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N6AJR on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I do some VE work and I always reccommend to folks to start with something like a FT 857 d or a used 706 M2g.. I try to tell them there is more to life than 2 m fm repeaters.. how about atv or eme or 6 m psk31.. etc. I try to encourage them to go beyoun the 2 m ht.

Go figure, you buy a 2m ht, then you need a mag mount, then you get a 30 watt 2m amp for the car, then eventually get a mobile rig for the car and take it in the house too, and then a power supply is needed. and so on, by the time you get to here, it would have been cheeper to spend $689 for an FT 857d new, and have it all..

tell them about the sidewinders on 2 that use 2 meters and moon bounce to talk to europe from california on 2 m ..

YMMV
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KB6OMN on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I got my General license last year. My opinion is HF is much more friendly and interesting than the local repeaters I have worked. What I experienced is the repeater crowds just aren't too new user friendly. It seems to me that working repeaters would be a great way to meet other local hams and develop more of a feeling of being part of the amateur radio community. This hasn't been my experience. Joining the local club can help as long as they are a friendly crowd, but making on-air contacts is what makes it fun. My request: when you hear someone on the repeater put out their call sign and indicate they are monitoring, give them a shout.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N8NOE on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
HURAH!... I think Just about Everyone started with an HT, to talk to the Folks in the Club and friends that (As you said) Helped get there ticket.. Myself, I did this as I surly aren't rich. But I also got Right away into a Mobile Dual-Band Rig! I think this is important to talk on the Repeaters and in person about. At LEAST a Mobile rig has some power to get to a bit further Machine to meet new people.. I think my first HF rig took me 2 years, but This was the Step needed.. It's to the point now, I have a FT-VX7R and I think it gets used at Field-Day and that's about it.. I think we need to talk more on the Repeaters about such things (Along with NETS) as to keep the intrest, and Promote Radios other than HT's and working 2 Meter Repeaters 5 Miles away!..
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC0USQ on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
it depends, its hard for alot of newbies to want to go out and buy all of this "stuff" that they have no idea what it does, if there going to lose intrest in the hobby, there going to do it whether or not they have explored all of the aspects of amateur radio
-Jim,KC0USQ
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K0EWS on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I agree. Fortunately, I was able to obtain an HF rig a few months after getting my license. I did have an HT, and it was OK for a while, but like others have said, the newness does wear off.
Funny thing; when I was a kid, and I would drive around with my Dad (he's also a ham,) it seemed like he was ALWAYS talking to someone on the 2 meter machine. It seemed like he couldn't get out of his driveway after putting out his call without getting an answer. It looked like a lot of fun to me. This was all in the mid/late 70s as I remember. Times have changed. It's too bad. I figure that the local repeater should be the water cooler of local ham activity, and a good way for the locals to keep in touch.
What would be nice is for a new ham to have a nice, busy repeater to meet other hams, make friends, get advice, and have an inviting community. Sadly, those days are probably gone, and HF is really where the action is.
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KE4ZHN on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My first rig as a ham was an HT but I used it on simplex to talk with a few locals who did the same. I made my own 2 mtr. fullwave loop to start with to increase the Ht`s range considerably and then built myself a 6 element quagi. (quad driven element yagi parasitics) It worked great! I had a ball on simplex and the occasional repeater contact but the real fun was when I made general and got on HF. Ham radio is what you make of it, if you limit yourself to an Ht with a crappy duck antenna that barely gets 5 miles of range your not going to have much fun.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by WB2WIK on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
One of the things that make the "old timers" a bit more well-rounded in this hobby is the fact that when we were first licensed, there weren't any handie-talkies, and repeaters were something very new, just getting started with no standardization, and there was a lot of room for experimentation.

It was literally impossible to "start out in ham radio" by buying and using a handie-talkie. Even if you could find one, there'd be nobody to talk to.

So, we did other stuff.

FM-repeaters-hand helds and so forth became an element of the hobby: A small element. Some got involved, some never did.

As a new Novice in 1965, and a young kid, I was having too much fun building transmitters and working 40 meter CW. I am really sad that new hams today almost always do not have that kind of fun.

WB2WIK/6

 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N0AH on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
You forgot to mention the sysops and club owners of repeaters that scold newbies for a variety of pig headed reasons. While not as bad as the 160 meter Gods and Queens, this refuge pollutes the technician bands with "This is our repeater", "This satellite frequency is used in our foot print by me, myself, and I", and of course "Newbie idiot". (Glad 160M does not operate satellites)

I agree with the author, but it is $$$$ and the CB mantality the technician class license brings- But this stills does not explain why Georgia pig farmers operating on 160 meters act like such onkers-
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K7PEH on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I agree in general with the theme of this topic.

However, it was an HT and a brief repeater contact that got my brother-in-law enthused enough to start studying for his license.

As a former truck driver, he was into the CB world of truck drivers. But, to him, that CB stuff was truck driving stuff. When he learned that I got back into ham radio after many years being absent from the hobby, he thought it a bit strange since he connected such things with truck driving and I was not a truck driver.

Earlier this year I was visiting the North Bend and Coos Bay Oregon area where my brother in law lives (and, my parents) and I popped out my HT and contacted the local repeater for some action. Instantly another operator came back and we chatted for a few minutes. My brother in law that thought that was the coolest of things. Later that day, we hopped in my truck and fired up my Icom 706 MkIIG and our third contact was Japan on the 15-meter band. Now he knew he was hooked.

When he gets his license he will be buying an HT to join the repeater crowd on the coast of Oregon but hopefully he will also go beyond that. But, even though FM repeater stuff is not all as exciting as a DX contact on the HF bands (for me at least), it was good enough to get my brother in law interested and started off.

phil, K7PEH
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by NN6EE on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
In most instances "Newbies" (NO-CODE) techies don't give a squat about moving BEYOND their very limited world of 2m & 70cm/repeater operation, BECAUSE IT'S THE EASY-WAY OUT AND THEY DON'T HAVE TO WORK FOR IT!!! Today's world seems to be "Not what YOU can do for YOUR country, but what your COUNTRY can do for you (de-regulated FCC)!!!

NOW THAT'S FRIGG'N SAD!!!

Jim/ee
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by VE6NHZ on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
As a "newbie" to the Ham world I would like to mention that not ALL of us are getting into amateur radio for the "2m HT experience". Up here in Canada Industry Canada has mandated that basic amateur radio operaters who acheived a mark of 80% or better on their exam have access to all bands and frequancies (sp).

I worked my A** off to get this mark and I achieved a mark of 89% on the exam. I am fascinated by HF and I look forward to the day when I can afford to work the 40 and 80m bands.

I however will start with an HT, beacause thats what I can afford. I'm sure 2m/70cm will be a great starting base to get into the hobby, but in time (a short time most likly) I'll hunger for more. The point I'm trying to make is that ALL aspects of the hobby need to be promoted to new hams, get them on an hf rig working to timbuktu, irlp, echolink, etc. there are many things that can be done with a simple 2m/70cm FM HT....

That's just my $0.02
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K7FD on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Yep, hangin' out on 40m cw after school was a way of life for me during high school. And when 2m fm did arrive, I'd drive to the highest hilltop around and see who was on 52 simplex...remember the Drake Marker Luxury?

The good ol' days...really were good!!!

73 John K7FD
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by W6GMT on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I agree a HT is the worst first rig.
You hear some Elmer giving the newbie that information along with the advice to save his money for His first HF rig. You got your tech now go study the code and become a real HAM. No wonder we have such a high drop out rate. There is little magic in repeater. Encourage the new person to get a dc to daylight rig then help him set it up. I have helped several Hams get started my first choice is an 817 (used less than $400) with it you have a over grown HT, add a mag mount lighter plug for you car. Purchase an ARROW antenna and you have a satellite rig and a 2 meter, 70CM SSB rig. Yes it only has 5 watts but I have worked JA, KL7, and KH6 from my CA QTH on 6 meters with a simple dipole. Working JA with 5 watts was far easer than my first contact as a novice in 1964 with 75 Watts on a rock bound CW rig. New comers need two things good advice and a good Elmer
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KB9YUR on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
How many HT's today have SSB or any other mode besides FM ?!?
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N5XM on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
nn6ee, for somebody that spouts so loud, why can I not find your call on any call server? You need to get a life, man.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N2WEC on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
nn6ee is most likely a phoney call.....
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by AI2IA on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
As an Elmer, I start ham candidates out on communications receivers. That's the way I began. I started with a good old vacuum tube receiver called
Hallicrafters Model S-85 and to this day keep and use a communications receiver, now an Icom R-75.

The receiver allows the new guy to get familiar with all the bands, and all the modes. He doesn't have to worry about a seasoned ham listening to him if he goofs up. He gets to put up antennas of all kinds, and learns the workings of a receiver. He can listen to code practice on the receiver and distant stations. He can do all of this without a license, and does it ever whet his curiosity! He can appreciate short-wave listening as a bonus. It speeds them from candidate to Technician to General super fast.

When I visit, I take my R-75 with me and set it up for my nephews and neices. One by one, they get attracted to it, and I can let them use it completely.
It sells the hobby!
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K2FIX on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My first receiver was a Hallicrafters in a custom cabinet, which my grandfather bought. Unfortunately he died before I noticed the radio, missing my only elmering chance as a kid with radio, even though he was not a ham.

My first TX rig was a CB. During the sunspots of the 70's, I worked all States on 11 meters, on legal channels.

I had some ham friends, but learning at 13wpm made no sense-I was already on HF phone and it seemed pointless to go through all the work to learn CW to do what I was already doing (yes, illegally, lecture me about something I did in the 70's). CW was pointless then and it hasn't changed.

Went to college, sold the base station, didn't touch a radio again till recently. Spent a lot of time listening to a Sangean SW receiver and a scanner before getting back into radio. Once I got the Tech, bought a used HT, found out how limited it was, and bought a 706, so I could work other modes and listen to SW on a better receiver.

If I had no other significant radio exposure, that HT would be the kiss of death. Lucklily, I had my prior HF experience at the peak of sunspots, and significant SW listening so I knew there was "another world". It was only when I hooked the 706 up to a long wire that I heard what I'd missed on the Sangean.

Tech, for most, is a dead end.

K2FIX
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K4RAF on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"He can appreciate short-wave listening as a bonus. It speeds them from candidate to Technician to General super fast."

This is exactly how I started when I was 10. I bought an old BC-312-D Army receiver for $20 in lawn money. I'd SWL with another friend where we both had the same radio & fed each one into a channel on a reel-to-reel & would record DX shortwave stations. Then we'd both try for QSLs with a outdated World Radio TV Handbook. I was hooked, sold & had my vocation in life!

Shortwave Listening is a true passion!
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by AE6IP on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I had no trouble finding NN6EE in the only "call book" that matters for US call signs: The FCC database. Call belongs to one Jim Davis who lives just over the hill from me and is a vanity call that was assigned in '03. (Jim's previous call was W6IBD.)
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by AE6IP on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The group that I VE for sees about half its applicants come out of EMCOMM classes, looking for a tech ticket so they can be EMCOMM volunteers. For those people, 99% of the hobby is handled by an HT or a UHF/VHF transceiver in the car.

If that's why they're in the hobby, there's nothing wrong with it.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC2MJT on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Dit Dit
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by NN6EE on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
N5XM!!!

Hey MORON!!!

The most important "look-up" is the FCC DATA BASE!!!

COMPRENDE???
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by RobertKoernerExAE7G on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Soon after I got my first ticket I started practicing to pass 13wpm.
Once I could do 13wpm and higher I started studying the General/Tech theory.
Tech never interested me. It didn�t expand my HF privileges.

Eventually, I bought some 2 meter gear. I got board with it. Never got into the interesting VHF/UHF stuff.

My immediate thought, when the new Tech was proposed, was that starting people on 2 meters was not only dumb, but also a disservice to them.

Bob
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by NN6EE on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
PS!!!

Even eHam made the MISTAKE of linking any callsign lookups to that screwed up outfit called QRZ something or nother!!!
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KG4RUL on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
As soon as they drop the CW requirement I will be able to use my TS2000X base and my FT-100D mobile for HF operation other than on MARS freqs. That is when I am not working 6M SSB and HSMS or PSK31 on 2M or Amateur Satellites or 2m & 70cm SSB or .....

Dennis KG4RUL
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K9NW on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I'm forever grateful that my Elmer (now SK) steered me toward HF from the beginning. He had 2M FM stuff and all but whenever I'd visit he was always working the HF bands, keeping skeds with guys in New Zealand and all.

It seems today that too many new hams are helped through the initial licensing phase, then someone tells them something like "Go and get one of these little handheld radios and you can talk with the rest of us around town." They do that for a while but ultimately come to realize they can just as easily call someone across town on the phone. The novelty of being a ham wears off and they drift away, never having experienced what the world of the HF bands might hold for them.


73, Mike K9NW
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N6AJR on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Hey Jim, tell us how your really feel.... don't be shy..:)

tom
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N0MUD on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
N8kg, I take offense to the fact that you mention someone who may have served in the military communications field, and I say to you what the hell is wrong with that and pardon my FRENCH, but you SIR, obviously have NO idea what your talking about. Yes I served 20 years in the US Navy, 17 years as a Radioman, and the last three in the Navys Law Enforcement field which helped me to get a job as a Police Officer upon my Navy retirement. I am now and have been since 1987 a TECH PLUS. I started out with an Alinco 2 meter mobile and no ELMER. My next rig was a Kenwood TS-440s and I enjoy talking on 10 meters and I only have a few more states for my WAS award. I am also working on 6 meters WAS but as you know or at least you should know that 6 meters is hit and miss. I guess you have a grudge against the military and the military communications field. After five years in the Navy, I finally got to go to the Radioman Class "A" school and since I had been in the fleet for five years and upon arrival to school I was promoted to Radioman Second Class and the only thing I really had to concentrate on was Morse Code. Now the Navy was already starting to phase out code, so to graduate all I had to copy was 14wpm but upon graduation I was coping 18wpm and if I would have had one more week I would have had 21wpm so I thank the Navy communications field for teaching me more about communicating and I mean that by more than one way. I've also been to the Radioman Class 'B' school and the Navy's TTY, Mod 28 repair school. I am now an ELMER with three Tech's under my wing and I will never do to them what was done to me. Your welcome for voicing your personal opinion because if it wasn't for the military personnel serving my country it provides you the oportunity to voice yours and you have. Next time before you put your MOUTH INTO GEAR YOU MIGHT MAKE SURE YOUR BRAIN IS ENGAGED FIRST.

To all the other folks or HAMS out there if you had a bad start in Amateur Radio then make sure you don't let someone else get a bad start. If you know those folks that you haven't seen or heard of since and you know who they are, be a HAM call them find out if there is a problem that you can help them by being an ELMER. Anyone and I mean anyone can be an ELMER, you don't have to be a General or Advanced, or Extra or like me a Tech Plus. Since my Kenwood TS-440s, I've upgraded to a Yaesu FT-920 which is now for sale and I have a Kenwood TS-2000s, plus numerous VHF/UHF dual band mobile rigs and several HT's. Getting started in Amateur Radio with an HT is not wrong, not everyone can afford the big boy toys right from the git go.

73's to all and I hope everyone has a great CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Mike, N0mud, US NAVY RADIOMAN/MASTER-AT-ARMS FIRST CLASS RETIRED. POLICE OFFICER RETIRED.
 
Ex Forces  
by HA5RXZ on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Ex Forces operators sometimes make the finest ham radio folk. I was taught CW by a German ham (now SK) who was a radio operator on U boats during WWII and he was one of the finest hams I have ever met. Please don't tar all ex military with the same brush.

HA5RXZ
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC8ZTJ on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
NN6EE what a guy, makes you proud to be in radio.
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KG4YJR on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
On the flip side, I wouldn't recommend investing a large of cash up front for something you may lose interest in after a couple of months. Getting a decent dual or tri-band ht (or a god used all-mode rig) and learning good operating practices, then progressing where you want still seems like a good option. I wouldn't recommend a 2m single band ht though. It has even greater limitations and most new people would outgrow or get bored with quicker than a dual or tri-band radio.

73
Dave
 
Coffee Cans And Crystals  
by WPE9JRL on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Those new hams should be winding copper coils on 1-lb coffee cans. Only then could they step up to grinding crystals with glass plates and Ajax powder.

Stay in the basement with a kerosene lamp for a few years doing this....then you can sell that HT.

 
RE: Ignorance & Cross-band Repeating  
by WA6BFH on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

Your not the only one carrying this message!

I have been trying for years now to get these guys on 6 Meters and higher. The opposition and resistance (stupidity actually) comes from within our older ranks, and from the newbies themselves.

They won’t buy that Tentec 6N2, and put up a nice Ground Plane for 6, and a good beam for 2 Meters, but they will go out after buying that HT -- and buy a Kenwood “Blueface” so that they can cross-band repeat inside the satellite sub-band!
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by W8KQE on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent points.

I TOTALLY agree with you! I've actually seen this transpire over the years with family and/or other acquaintances that lost interest.

Even 6 meters (which I am a BIG fan of, and very active on) has proven to be not much of an attraction to a large cross section of newly minted Hams (Techs), given it's quirky relatively infrequent openings.

However, the band sliver (voice) on 10 meters that 'Tech Pluses' were allowed to talk on should be available to ALL Techs, past and current. Except for the sunspot cycle minimum years, for the most part, 10m is open to distant parts of the world during a large part of the day, and THAT would whet one's appetite for upgrading for more HF priveleges! Even during a recent contest, South American stations were coming in for a few hours a day, even though we are at a trough in the cycle!

My 2 1/2 cents.
 
I know I'm gonna be flamed...but..  
by KG4LJF on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The fact is 2 meter is a cheap and easy way to get started. You can buy a good solid HT for $130 bucks that'l outlast you. A HF radio is upwards of $600. When you started out driving what did you start in? a VW Beetle or a brand new Caddie? I started in the cheapest thing I could afford and after I graduated up, then I got the Caddie.

Who cares? It don't matter what you operate on.. this is Ham radio... you do what you want. I cut my teeth on 2 meter and i ate it up.. That's part of the fun.. trying new things.. Some of the finest hams I've ever met were on my local repeater. You get down into 160 and you hear curisng and everything else, that is NO place for a newbie...

I say you talk where you want. If I wanna talk 2 meters, I'm gonna do it. If I wanna talk HF, I'll do it.
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KG6NJW on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
There is another reason for the high drop out rate among newcomers: once you get past the novelty of using a radio to communicate, you discover that ham radio basically consists of sitting in a room (or car) by yourself, holding a conversation with someone else that's also sitting alone. Rightly or wrongly, most people today do not find the simple act of holding a conversation particularly enjoyable. Most hobbies either consist of doing something physically (gardening, woodworking, sailing), or being entertained (television, sports, reading). If you take the radio out of the equation the hobby is a pretty hard sell - most people today regard talking to anyone outside their own family as a necessary but unpleasant chore, or don't have the free time to talk. At least where I live (California), if a stranger tries to strike up a conversation the first thought that goes thru most people's mind is "what's he trying to sell me?" I've noticed that most of the activity on the 2 meter band is during commute hours, while people are in their cars and have nothing else to do. As soon as prime time starts on TV, the band goes dead.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by W8JII on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
to N0MUD; Whoa Mike!
You act as though you were personally attacked. Poor guy submits an article-----makes a general statement and you make it sound like you were ambushed. Relax Mike. Life is too short to get that excited. Please don't come after me because i'm old, brittle and break easily!
 
RE: I know I'm gonna be flamed...but..  
by KG6WLS on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
<<Your welcome for voicing your personal opinion because if it wasn't for the military personnel serving my country it provides you the oportunity to voice yours and you have. Next time before you put your MOUTH INTO GEAR YOU MIGHT MAKE SURE YOUR BRAIN IS ENGAGED FIRST.>>

Nice prose N0MUD/Mike

It would be nice to see better character (instead of characterS) like yourself in ham radio.

My father, who is 84 now, served in WWII and Korea, and then spent 30 years Civil Service at NAS North Island.

Is my father a ham? NO.

Was I in the miltary? NO.

What does this have to do with ham radio? Nothing, really. But Mike, you hit the nail on the head DEAD ON. Some folks tend to forget that our fathers and grandfathers put their butts on the line so that WE can have our freedom. Some folks (ie. characterS) tend to speak TOO freely, use the word "newbie" in a non-definitive way, and make derogatory and condescending comments towards their confrere here on eHam. Only because they will most likely never meet face to face. And I say *some people*.

I've only had my NC TECH ticket for just over a year now. The first rig that I bought was a IC746PRO. some may ask, "WHY"? Because it's all mode. In my short tenure with ham radio (at the age of 42) I've made 68 DX contacts on 6 meters on SSB, CW, & FM.

Will I upgrade my privs? You bet!

Will I wait for the CW requirement to be dropped? Naw. I'm not lazy. I'm busy with work and raising my son. Ham radio at the moment is a hobby for me. SWLing and kit building was and still is my first love to radio. So, I'm not totally new.

--. . - --- -. - .... . .-. .- -.. .. --- .- -. -.. --- ..-. ..-. - .... . -.-. --- -- .--. ..- - . .-.

... -.-

--... ...--

Mike/KG6WLS
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by W4NTI on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I used to read a vhf/uhf newsgroup on USENET. I started out with "2m FM is NOT ham radio". I was attacked for months. No one wanted to hear why I said such a thing.

Good Luck.


Dan/W4NTI
 
RE: Coffee Cans And Crystals  
by W4NTI on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Haven't seen one of those WPE SWL calls from Popular Electronics mag for a w h i l e....hi.

I did the coil bit myself...then later after I got a license I tried it for a transmitter. Didn't work to well tho.....it caught fire.

Dan/W4NTI
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KD8CDG on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I am sorry if I offend many (Are you?) but here goes....

I am a recent "newbie" and I own both an HT and a mobile and use them quite frequently. Although I do have an interest in HF phone mode, I do not with the mode CW. You see I prefer to TALK to people on the radio, not pound brass into submission. I have a hammer for that job.

I had thought that when I graduated from CB to AMATEUR I would meet better people with a better perspective and leave all of that other crap behind, was I wrong or what???... I'll answer for you, I was wrong.

I come here to learn about the hobby and I end up reading all of the flaming that is going on about CW and no matter what the thread started out to be it seems to turn toward CW again and again... and it comes from the General and Extra class licensees! What did I get myself into? The same thing I just got out of... CB radio, with all of its degenerates, a different form maybe but down to the bottom line it all looks the same to me. Aren’t you that proud amateur radio operator now!

----------------------------------------
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I do wish that I would have gotten into it much sooner than I did, but I am coming into it now and that is the way it is.

I guess there is something written within that line that many of you should read! That was then this is now.
Learn to live with it because as many of you have said (“times have changed since I got my license"). They will, again and again with or without you. And if it keeps going the way it is going with all these crybaby attitudes about that MODE, CW it will be without me but then it already has dissuaded many people who would have fit right in and probably became your friend(s)! But you weren’t the “helpful ham” and you missed out because the door was closed and now you are afraid “big brother” is going to sell your bandwidth to corporations because you aren’t using it as much as you could have. Now reading that, I hope it makes you proud to be an amateur radio operator. SO PROUD THAT YOU MIMIC CHANNEL 19 CITIZENS BAND RADIO SERVICE OPERATORS?! Shooting yourself in the foot hurts now doesn’t it? Quit crying about it!

If this is what you are like on a forum I surly don't have the desire to talk to you on radio either. You can have it all. Then you can loose it all to the corporations to waste it. (When that happens I will feel better about it! Really, I will with a smile on my face even!)

This is sad but the mode you work doesn't all of a sudden make you a better person (as I have already pointed out).
Just like this ex fire chief from Florida I just met. Boy was he stuck on himself! (Just like you!) He hasn't been an operator for very long but boy does he flame the "newbie" for not having the desire to take the CW MODE test, why? All because he had to! Imagine that "because he had to". Sounds to me like he must have sniffed too much unburned diesel fuel while he was chasing fire trucks. (Sound -or smell- familiar?)
He went on to say that he “very rarely uses it”. Just to think you put people in office that have mentalities like this guy! You jump because the other guy did or plainly didn’t think it through thoroughly in the first place.

Hey, I was driving my moms car in a blizzard the other day, the snow was coming down quite hard and I all of a sudden got a flat tire and then I remembered I didn’t have that precious mode CW, my cell phone or the last flat fixed.
Now the only difference between the CW argument and this one is: YOU MUST GET YOURSELF INTO A BLIZZARD AND GET YOUR FLAT TIRE WITHOUT A SPARE OR A WAY TO COMMUNICATE WITH OTHERS TOO! Just so you can become like me. And that is my LAW!!! If you don’t I am going to cry about it just like you cry about your MODE, CW!!!
Get real!!! Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it??? So do you! You "REAL" amateur radio (CB) operator you!!!

If you think the eliminating-CW issue is wrong, I think you are an ID10T who deserves to live in an antenna-less CC&R housing district that makes decisions for you. HA!
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by NN6EE on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
To one of the OTHER POSTERS (KC8ZTJ)!!!

Let me remind you Sir. have'nt you noticed this is the INTERNET???

Secondly, we ALL have our own opinions on what Ham Radio is all about and where it's heading. I personally think the HONEST approach is more effective as you have proven yourself not really knowing ANYTHING!!!

Fortunately there are people like myself who do mentor others bringing them into the Hobby as well as giving away Ham gear to many of those less fortunate, as well as to MY bit to serve our public and justify our existence!!! I'm very proud of what I've done!!!

So if you can top that,great!

If not you're a "HYPOCRITE" and a real-whinner!!!

Jim/ee
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by NN6EE on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
PS KC8TZJ!!!

You ought to get up off your BUTT and upgrade instead if complaning about something that you're totally ignorant of!!!
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by NN6EE on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
KC8ZTJ was the proper call!!!

Nobody's perfect, not even HIM!!!

:-)))
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
by NN6EE on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
N5XM!!!

Hey MORON!!!

The most important "look-up" is the FCC DATA BASE!!!

COMPRENDE???

------

NN6EE,

Hey speaking of ignorant,

You obviously make it abundantly clear that you have a lot to learn about when it comes to demonstrating the art of communication.

Curious...Where did you get acqire your amazing people skills? ...A trailer park?


 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by NN6EE on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Good to see that you're sticking up for your other "TECHIE" body!!!

Too bad you can't really focus on what's really important, LIKE GETTING A LIFE!!!

It's really too bad that you & your ILK can really be achievers!!!

BUT OH WELL!!! It's only a hobby???

BYTE-IT!!!
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by NN6EE on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
A SIDE-BAR to other comments!!!

Isn't it amazing that the only negative comments towards me were posted by "TECHNICIAN" licensees who obviously don't really give a damn about the TRUE HERITAGE OF OUR HOBBY???

Their only interest in all of this is "SOMETHING FOR NOTHING!!!"
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
License class has nothing to do with a "poor attitude"

However I am happy to report that you have sucessfully demonstrated which "class" of operator you yourself belong.

As far as radio hertitage goes, you need to learn more about it. Amateur radio tradition suggests that one follows the amateur radio code of conduct.

Apparently, a skill you are severly lacking.

Excusing your conduct toward others in this forum by hiding behind your license class is not a defence.

 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by THERAGE on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Jimmy hasn't produced much but heated prattle. Could very well be that he's off his meds. tsk tsk.
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KD8CDG on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
You see, it keeps going on and on. This attitude that has been carried on throughout the forums here on eHam is really no different than what I experienced on CB, just different folks flaming each other about different subjects using a little better language (but off air and off computer they wouldn't be any different at all including the language).

As far as the "HAMS" mentioning something about "hiding and elmering" what have you done for some other "HAM" to make the situation any different. BTW other than flaming someone on this forum?

Now comes the million dollar question...

Are you proud of it all? REALLY PROUD????

If the answer to that question is yes then I think you are a liar.

Now is that the proper thing for a "NEWBIE Technician" to be looking up to? I don't think it should be but....

If you flame you are lame... Don't care who you are, what you are or class license you hold...
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by W8DPC on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"How many HT's today have SSB or any other mode besides FM ?!? "

For that matter, how many rigs PERIOD have this. Certainly not VHF/UHF mobiles. Is a new ham supposed to buy a $500+ rig for these extra modes? I've got an Icom 706 MKIIG, and I have yet to hear anything other than FM on the 2 meter band. Even a 2 meter FM simplex conversation is rare anymore. Six meters? Good when it's open, but a new ham is going to get pretty tired of waiting for that to happen.

Alot of new hams have no idea why they would want to upgrade. When you are studying to be a tech, there's very little mention of HF (since you aren't going to be using it). Unless you have an SSB/CW capable SW set, or you know a ham who is on HF, you aren't going to have ANY idea of what's down there. You guys think about when you first started in amateur radio. Chances are, you either had an elmer, or you knew another ham who was on HF. Hams today don't have that kind of luxury. Yes, you had to work hard to be a ham, but not many of you did it on your own without help from at least SOMEBODY. Why not extend that courtesy to new hams as well?
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

"Chances are, you either had an elmer, or you knew another ham who was on HF. Hams today don't have that kind of luxury."

-----------------


***APPLAUSE***

 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by SAIL_AWAY on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
i'm a newbie, i just got my license delivered in the mail TODAY! of course i knew about it last week and took the tests about 2 weeks ago. i was going to take my CW test tomorrow but i haven't learned enough code to pass it yet. i have some software on the computer that i have been using to learn it, but i haven't devoted enough time to it yet to know it yet.

as far as an HT goes, i had to figure out what that even was. i'm pretty sure it's a scanner with a rubber duck antenna on it. i thought about getting one of these to listen to satellite with the satellite yagi i got but it would have just been as an experiment, i knew i needed a dual band radio to do satellite. i just finished installing an ic-706mkiig in the truck, it's mounted right above the CB i installed in the truck a few months ago. i don't yet have a tuner or HF antenna except for the wilson CB antenna that's hooked up to the CB, but it's a small matter anyway since i don't have HF priviledges yet. i did pass all three exams but i need CW first of course. the icom is enough of a setup for me to at least listen to satellite, though i have not been successful yet. i'm pretty sure the prediction software i'm using works (satscape), and it's updated with the latest keps, but the few times so far that i have tried to hear a beacon i've picked satellites that were broken and/or dead! lol. i'm going to change my strategy with that and start using the prediction mechanism to look for satellites i know are operational and quit just trying for whatever is on the horizon map.

as for an HT i don't know what use i would have for it. like most newbies (i suspect), i am getting into radio because it serves a purpose. i admit i have enjoyed listening to police band and things this week after installing the icom but my purpose is to have communications options available to me when i am in the middle of the ocean, email, etc, that i can use to send messages to my family so they know i am ok and to keep them informed of my position. having travelled by land through central america i can say with enthusiasm that it would have been very helpful to have communication back to the states while i was there, certainly it would have made me feel more safe. i will definitely be using the radio on future trips. a scanner wouldn't have done me any good, my spanish is terrible and i don't speak any of the various mayan languages, so sitting in a vehicle listening to people ramble on in their local tongue wouldn't have really helped me much lol.

i have never talked on a repeater before, in fact i've only just in the past few days gotten the icom operational, so i have yet to actually hear a conversation on any amateur bands. i did hear one guy asking for a radio check but i was in the middle of figuring out how to use the band display to find active frequencies and didn't stop long enough to answer him. i'm also experimenting with the ci-v interface to see if i can get the radio working with the laptop. i'm pretty good with software and would like to write up some simple code to put the icom through it's paces, see what it can do under linux.

so anyway, i'm a newbie, and i'm here for practical reasons, amateur radio serves a purpose for me, or it's going to. it gives me capabilities i didn't have, peace of mind, and i like the community oriented aspects of emergency communications. mostly i'm worried about what i would do if i needed to communicate my own emergencies! lol. i want to know CW for that reason, because i think it very well might be necessary some day and i wouldn't want to be sitting in a bad spot not able to CW myself out of it. i'm mildly curious about the contests and friendly conversations that happen in amateur radio but admit i don't really see all the appeal. if i wanted to chat i'd just get on a chat server and do it on the internet, but i recognize that for some this is great fun. i have not ever seen or heard a conversation on an amateur radio band, so i have absolutely no idea what that is like except what i read in the books preparing for the tests, so maybe it is a lot more fun that i imagine it is. i'll have to do it though myself after i get HF priviledges because of course i want to know how to talk to people from a long distance, that's the whole point! i got a few antenna books and have been reading "practical wire antennas" trying to figure out how to rig up one of those wire-up-in-the-tree type antennas for talking long distance, that would have come in handy in my various travels being able to put up something temporary like that on short notice. i did also try to find the local repeaters on VHF/UHF since i have an antenna installed now that will talk that, and since i legally can talk it, but the repeater frequencies i found published for my area didn't have any conversations on them. i didn't stick around that long to listen for them, but i did program two of the repeater frequencies into the radio so when i hit the scan button the radio is listening for them. i'm afraid to talk on them because i want to hear a few conversations using the "C"-this-and-that before i actually try it myself and annoy everyone ... if there is anyone there to annoy ? lol. i've yet to hear a peep on any of those frequencies. in total i have heard exactly ZERO amateur radio enthusiasts on the radio, not a one, except maybe that radio check. just a lot of police band stuff, a few frequencies of CW bursts and what i assume is packet radio transmissions, some FM radio stations on WFM mode, and of course a lot of truck drivers on the CB haha. in fact the only time i've ever seen and/or communicated with people involved in amateur radio that i know of is when i talked to the guys giving the tests and the very few posts i have made on eham.net. i don't have much of an impression about it so far. i will say i don't really feel that "welcome" in amateur radio, in fact, quite a few people have been arrogant jerks to me so far, even one of the guys giving the tests. most of those guys were pretty cool though, so i do know there are some good folks too.
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by OBSERVER11 on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
AMEN! the biggest threat to ham radio today is the portable FM hand held radio. New techs pick up the flea powered toys and quickly lose interest. Add to the mix that FM repeaters are loosing useage every day, the whistles and bells of old systems are being turned off due to lack of interest.

One could argue that no-code techs are killing the hobby. Instead of building the radio art, it is crumbling around them. The idea behind the license class is to advance VHF, UHF, and higher. In my corner of the country, VHF repeaters are closing down and not being replaced by 902 or 1296.

NN6EE - lighten up dude.

All others, QRZ is not the last word in call sign search engines, quite the opposite, QRZ is lacking a lot of data. Call data is removed all the time by staff members with mental problems.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K8MHZ on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I personally disagree, I think an HT is a good starting point for a newbie.

Let's take my daughter, for instance. She is 12, a tech plus, and just tonight worked 20 meter CW with myself and W8AMZ. She has been licensed less than a year.

Her first rig was a 2 meter mini Radio Shack HT that I gave her. She can't drive, so a mobile rig is not much use. We now have an 202 hooked up to a copper cactus in her room so she can work the local repeaters and contact me and her new ham friends. There is no 6 meter activity around here. In fact, for techs about all that is happenning is 2 meter, and mostly repeater action at that.

Of course, if she could afford it, she would buy all the stuff that the author suggested. But the issue here, and for most that are new to the hobby, is money. Most won't make a large investment until they are sure they will be *WELCOME* (Key Word) and interested in the hobby.

My first rig was an HT. Now I own several HTs, 3 2 meter mobile rigs, 2 HF rigs, many FRS/CB/GMRS Hts and a couple base stations for CB and FRS/GMRS (well, several actually) 2 marine radios, 3 scanners and the assorted meters, switches, filters and tuners.

I teach tech classes and have a 100 percent pass rate for my students that finished my class and went on to take the test.

My daughter has worked 20 meter CW at Field Day (at age 11) and has helped me build antennas here at the house. She has been on Fox 17 for her accomplishments, her HT strapped to her hip, working communications for the security effort for the Blue Angels at the Muskegon Air Fair. In fact, one of the days she worked was her 12th birthday. It was her decision to spend the day with me and our HTs provding a public service using ham radio.

So, if an HT is not a good starting point.....I must be doing something wrong.

Please correct me. I sure don't want to keep up all this bad work.

73,

Mark K8MHZ
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Keep up the great work Mark

FB
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KILOWATT on December 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Not to be pretentious but I am a third generation ham radio operator. Grandfather, father and myself.

I remember back in the 70's whenever this ham operator came to visit my dad with this massive HT that looked like a cigar box with an antenna. He was talking to people a whopping 20 miles away. I remember my father shaking his head and making a comment about "CB radio". Obviously, to my dad, this was an affront to the radio hobby.

As a hobby, we cannot keep up with technology. All we have is our heritage. If we're forced to compete with the internet and cell phones, we'll lose every time.

Learn CW or buy an old tube rig. Whatever it takes to hang on to our heritage.

To the experienced; a cw contact is as good as a cell phone call.


 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by WB2THV on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I received my Novice in 1977 (was a junior in High School). Worked hard to purchase a new TS-520S (which I still have and runs great).

I started on 40 CW. Didn't get on 2M till about 1979.
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by W5AOX on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I've commented on this same problem previously, and I appreciate your bringing it back.
IMHO, the biggest problem with HT's nowadays is LACK of RANGE. The average newbie buys one, has heard others use them at, say, hamfests, and with his new HT can hear repeaters and occasionally, even other hams talking to each other. He tries to announce his call thru a repeater; no one answers. He tries to break into a conversation he overhears and gets no response. (Unfriendly responses have already been mentioned).
His most likely trouble is: FEW, if anyone, can HEAR him!!! It is a rare repeater nowadays that can hear an HT more than a few miles away. HT's are still useful, but mostly at hamfests for very localized chat and for use with remote bases at very short range. The new ham knows little or nothing of this; all he knows is he popped good money for a radio that he hears people on but few if any answer him.
A mobile with an external antenna is a much better buy.
In the 1970's and 1980's 2 meters was much more populated and fun, and the earlier repeaters had better range with less interference from TV and FM broadcast stations which have proliferated on the same repeater sites. Back then, a 2 meter mobile rig was a source of lots of fun on a trip. Most towns had one or two repeaters, and seemed to have a retiree who was "always available" to answer newbies, mobiles, and travelers looking for help or directions or chit-chat. Sadly this is no longer the state of 2 meters.
Nowadays a DC-to-Daylight rig such as a 706 costs 2 or 3 times more than a cheap HT but is still a bargain considering all the modes and frequencies available to fend off boredom.. and they have enough power to be heard!
Jim W5AOX
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KE6I on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I agree -- rrepeaters are dead these days. The repeaters seem to outnumber the hams on the air by about 10 to 1 around here. I have a 5'el beam and 100 watts and how I do it, is I downloaded the Northern California list from narcc.org and entered about 100 of these into the memories on my radio. And what I do sometimes is I call one after another, frequency by frequency, until I raise someone. But it can take maybe 20 or 30 repeaters before I find someone. Especially during the off hours.
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KB1LSQ on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I am new to HAM Radio I got my ticket last year in OCT. I just read all the posts here and it seems to me alot of people are very upset, but only a few have anything to add to help out the situation.

I guess I am one of the lucky one, here in Southern New Hampshire there is still alot of activity on the local 2/440 Repeaters and I have had no problems interacting with people on them, everyone seems to be delighted that I find Amateur Radio a fun and interesting hobby and willing to take the test (as simple as it was) to get my ticket.Many of them have offered endless amounts of help and information to me to help me on my way to my General Ticket.So the only thing I can add is "Lead by example". Ham radio is a hobby and the only way to keep it going is for those that know teach.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K4JF on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
SailAway, if your license came in, then you CAN talk on VHF and UHF frequencies, including repeaters and satellites. All newly issued license grades include that, now that there are no more Novice licenses being issued ( >sigh< - bad, but another subject). And an HT is not a scanner, it is a 2-way hand-held radio similar to your handheld marine radio (you do have one of those, don't you?) Invest in a repeater directory and program in some nearby repeaters. Those are quite active in some parts of the country (apparently not, however, on the left coast - judging by comments here).

I suggest some more research on nearby repeaters and "get your feet wet" by going ahead and saying "hello". 99% of hams will welcome you, and you can safely ignore the other jerks.

Another sailor
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K4JF on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Oops, after reviewing my comments above, and the post referenced, it seems that you have tried some local repeaters, but they are quiet. You must be in one of those "dead" areas. My apologies for suggesting what you might have already done.

HF is still the most interesting area of ham radio - there's always somebody there.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KE6I on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Don't worry about offending the non-existant people on the repeaters. I'd turn on the radio, and get the repeater book and program in the ones you can hear. Scan each memory announce your call on each one, and try to sound 'friendly'. Wait a bit, for someone to reply and if no one is there move on. Go through the entire repeater list. I sometimes put out a call on 6M SSB on 2M SSB also for the hell of it. If no one answers just let the radio scan, or put in a CD or call on the CB radio.

Here in the SF Bay area CB is pretty dead also. Or if anyone is talking on CB it's in Spanish or just when the band is open.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by SAIL_AWAY on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
K4JF and KE6I thank you for responding. i will try a repeater. one of the repeaters i have in the scan list has been putting out an occasional burst of CW, periodically, it seems automated, but at least i know the frequency has something on it. i think that will be a good first try is to try that one.

i did finally at least hear a satellite. :) last night, about 4:30'ish in the morning, in the cold and rain, i was standing out next to the truck pointing my satellite yagi at the horizon trying to find the international space station that satscape predicted would be coming up for an approximately 35 degree pass overhead. i found it! :) YAY! so now i have verified at least that satscape works, i wasn't sure it was working after my previous unsuccessful attempts. those attempts were aimed at what i later found out with research were dead or dying satellites, but i still wanted to actually see satescape work so i knew i wasn't just listening to stars or something (or heavy rain clouds last night lol). anyway, long story short, i did hear the space station. i was surprised it didn't have a lot going on. it must have been in digital mode because i was hearing what sounded like digital packets crashing down ... LOUDLY i might add, i immediately turned the volume of the radio down haha. i expected to hear either conversations on it (not knowing what mode it was in) or lots of packet/digital activity, but i seemed to be hearing the same basic packet sound on a somewhat periodic basis, and it just made me think the space station was either answering very small requests or just sending out some kind of a digital "here i am" with nobody listening to it. i'm encouraged by this, there seemed to be enough dead time in there that maybe i can talk to it. :) at least at 4:30am'ish maybe i can fit something in! so i plan to step up my efforts to get the linux box talking digital through a sound card and also i need to get a bnc connector that i'm missing to change genders and connect the duplexer on the satellite yagi to my radio. last night i was only able to hook up the receive part because i didn't have the right connector! and i need to figure out how to reduce the transmit power on my radio so i don't hurt the duplexer, i read about people burning those up since they are 10 watts on this antenna.

but i will also try to talk on a repeater and see what happens. i thank you guys for the advice, i agree what i really need to do is pass my CW test and get HF access so that i can actually talk to someone. a good step there i think too is to get a tuner (AH-4 maybe) and string up one of these long wire antennas i'm reading about and then i think i really will get to at least hear conversations going on using HF bands. that way i could sort of learn the lingo and be ready for when i can transmit on the bands myself.

something else i want to do is find out some kind of a receiver/meter that can tell me a true measure of how powerful my transmitter is working with various antennas, i think that would be very helpful. i have been reading a lot about antennas and which ones do what and this type of thing, ground planes, etc, but how can you really know if you're helping or hurting your cause if you can't measure what is going on ? so i think some kind of a measuring instrument is really going to help me. the truck drivers i talked to said there is a bird-watt meter, but i don't know if that is going to work on HF bands i need to read some more about it.

thanks again :)
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KE6GLW on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
For some reason, I thought a ham radio might be fun or useful to have during camping trips and while touring on my motorcycle. Or rather, whenever my motorcycle broke down in the middle of nowhere. A dual-band HT was the best purchase for my immediate use. I then immediately plunged further into ham radio from the local emergency services angle and joined an ARES/RACES group. The next step was a mobile FM rig that provided enough power to punch out of numerous areas that needed more than 5W to cover. I also used the university club's shack with HF radios and was loaned a TenTec Century 21 before getting an FT-101, but to be honest, that did not interest me as much at the time. It is possible that if HTs and repeaters had not been so immediately accessible, I wouldn't have started in the hobby. But once started, suggestions from friendly Elmers helped move me along.

Almost a decade later I've got some time (read: time for a life), and sufficient disposable income (read: a partial substitute for time), for getting into HF again. It is the easiest and most logical move for now. But I still can't shake a persistent interest in microwaves, satellites and digital modes faster than 1200 baud. What I do find interesting are the comments I sometimes hear when talking to other hams about 1.2 GHz and above: "Who is there to talk to?" they ask when I mention microwave radio. I guess that I don't care that there are not many people up there. A large part of the interest for me is that I can have conversations *over a radio*, not whether I can have a lot of conversations. I just think VHF+ could be interesting and I hope to eventually see what it is like. Go figure�

KE6I, repeaters seem dead in the SF Bay area? When I was there in the early and mid 1990's I could find some activity almost anytime. I remember having a 3:00 am QSO from Kensingston with hams in San Francisco & Palo Alto and running through repeaters that provided mutual coverage. On the key repeaters used by ARES/RACES groups there was almost always someone monitoring.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KE6I on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The SF Bay area just has so many repeaters. It is possible to raise someone, but there so many dead machines too that I'll call on and get no response. I just go through the list machine by machine.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K8MHZ on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
“So the only thing I can add is "Lead by example".

This is the best thing I have read on this or any subject of late.

I spent over 10 years as a No Code Tech. I was very happy with my ‘rank’ and thought that I would have no use for HF or CW as I am involved on a staff level with our county’s emergency service. We use VHF pretty much exclusively. (That is going to change soon.)

A quick look will show that I now hold a General ticket and I am working to upgrade to Extra. I now pound brass, although poorly, but I have found that it is fun.

How in the HECK did that happen?

Well, I got to know the hams in the area. When we (ARES) needed help, the Generals and Extras came forth, HTs in hand, and helped out. When it came time to chit chat they spoke of CW and HF with sparkles in their eyes and smiles on their faces. They told of conversations with people in all corners of the world. They invited me to the clubhouse and I watched as they fired up the HF rigs there and spoke to teachers, engineers and electricians from not only the US, but England and Sweden. They offered me a seat, which I could not resist…..well the rest is history.

Once I was shown in a FRIENDLY, non-condescending manner how COOL HF and CW is, I was hooked.

In my entire 10 years as a No Code Tech, I was never once belittled for my decade long decision NOT to upgrade. Instead, I was invited, as I was, to come and just play radio. My entry into the service of ham radio led to my invitation into the hobby of ham radio and I can’t say enough good about it. I am very proud to have upgraded and passed the CW test before the requirement is dropped. That would not have happened if the hams in Western Michigan treated me like some of the hams on eHam treat No Code Techs.

Some say that our HTs can’t compete with cell phones. BS. In my tech class I get a student in front of the class that has a cell phone. I ask them if they can use it to call someone in Australia. The usually answer is ‘yes, sure, they can call anywhere.’ Then I say, ‘OK, show me.’

Not once has anyone I have challenged been able to call someone in Australia from inside our classroom with a cell phone.

Then I get out my HT, cross-banded through my van parked outside, pumped to 50 watts in order to hit a repeater 45 miles away that is an EchoLink node. I then enter the node number of an Australian repeater and call CQ. To the amazement of my wide-eyed group of students I usually get an answer.

I then explain all the hardware needed to make such a contact. From that point it is an easy trek to explaining how fulfilling it is to make a similar contact antenna to antenna, especially if that antenna was home brew.

So, people, if you want to entice folks of any age to upgrade, it is quite simple. Be nice, be patient, be proud. There was a point in time not too long ago that I would have said there is NO WAY I would learn CW as I had no use for it. The super nice folks around here changed my mind. If the kind ways of the local hams here worked on me, I assure it can work on anyone.

If you want to chase them off, just continue to be inconsiderate, pompous .- ... ... . ... .-.-.-

73,

Mark K8MHZ


 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K4JF on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Good comments, Mark. Thanx!

And to SailAway, that "burst of CW" you hear is the repeater identifying its callsign. Repeaters are required to ID every 10 minutes when in use, just like all other ham stations. Most use CW, as it is faster and doesn't interfere with any voice conversation that might be going on. Some use voice, but that is the exception. Keep at it, good luck and fair winds!
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K0RGR on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Many good thoughts here...

If you live on the East or West Coasts, in a densely populated area, an HT might hold your interest for more than a few minutes if you are able to hit enough repeaters to find some level of activity and variety.

For most of the rest of us, two meter FM is talking to the same small group of people all the time. This is OK for some people, but it eventually gets stale.

Even a terribly modest HF station gives you the opportunity to work a constantly changing cast of characters. You will hear the same people from time to time, but you will work thousands of new ones.

If you live in a truly rural area, 2 meter FM is not a viable option. I've seen too many young people out in the boondocks get their Tech tickets and never find anybody to talk to. It's really sad. And I wonder how many of those kids are going to grow up with a chip on their shoulder about how they got 'gypped' by ham radio. I think that's the biggest threat to our future - a few thousand angry ex-no code techs, some of them in government jobs.

The sad part is that if FCC does what they've currently proposed, we'll still have this problem. The VHF-only Tech license is a distortion of the license structure brought about in response to the now-defunct International requirement for a Morse test. It would be better if all of our license classes had some kind of HF priveleges, even if minimal.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N1URE on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
It never ceases to amuse me how much road rage a simple discussion on ham radio generates. Wahhh the bad man said mean things to me. Too funny. But I digress. Back to the topic. I started off with an ht. It worked out well as I used it in the car as well as walking around. Now the radio is used for APRS. I still take an ht hiking and winter camping. Way better than a cell phone. So, all and all it was a good purchase for me. I personally don't read into license class too much. If you can memorize the test answers, good for you. If you actually understand the why behind it, better still. I spent most of my time with a tech plus license having a ball with ATV. A retired engineer took me under his wing and together we had fun building equipment. UHF to be sure. It was and continues to be fun. I still look at this as a hobby. When the opportunity presents itself, I help others get involved with Ham. HF as well. Something for everyone. What a great hobby.

Regards
Larry
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N6AJR on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Sailaway. go to the ARRL.org web site. go to exams. type in your zip code and select the 20 miles option.

this will bring up a list of local ham exams. each one of these has a contact person and phone number. most of these are sponsered by a club. talk to a couple of them, attend a meeting or two, and get some hands on help..

good luck, I love playing dx, and nets, and still work 2 m fm now and then, also 2m ssb and 6 m psk 31, and so on..

there is more to life than 2 m fm.. now go have fun..
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N6AJR on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
""""KE6I on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I agree -- rrepeaters are dead these days. The repeaters seem to outnumber the hams on the air by about 10 to 1 around here. I have a 5'el beam and 100 watts and how I do it, is I downloaded the Northern California list from narcc.org and entered about 100 of these into the memories on my radio. And what I do sometimes is I call one after another, frequency by frequency, until I raise someone. But it can take maybe 20 or 30 repeaters before I ""

you license says you live in san diego, perhaps that is why you can't hear N. cal repeaters, or do we need to update the ticket??

try 147.240 positive offset, no pl tone, lots of folks on there, ( san leandro, covers bay area and concord.

try 147. 060 positive offset, pl 100




 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KY1V on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

I began to read the post by KD8CDG and thinking to myself, "this poor guy got an unfair start in ham radio".

As I continued to read, his post reinforced my belief that the morse code test is an excellent LID filter!

He is right about one thing, being able to send and receive morse code doesn't make you a better person. It does, however, separate people with a "can do" attitude from those that believe they should get something from nothing.

Hence the LID filter!

Dennis, (KG4RUL) it is sad to see you still waiting to enjoy the hobby. I will be more than happy to work with you on the air every night for 30 minutes until you can pass your test. In three weeks or less you will be able to copy 5wpm, guaranteed.

David ~ KY1V

 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by WA7CS on December 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Yup, that's a problem alright. Local VHF repeaters are really not that much fun, nor are they very inviting.

It is a shame so many fresh new hams are disillusioned by repeater users that don't really want to talk with anyone new, or use the radio just to ask the wife if she needs a loaf of bread on the dirve back home from work.

Seems like just a few years ago that an HT was not the entry way into ham radio. The Novice license was the entry ticket,and the entry rig was a 75 watt maximum output crystal controlled transmitter.

Novice bands on HF were busy, and there were lots of old novice rigs laying about in Elmer's shack. Very few new hams actually bought thier first rig, nearly everyone borrowed an old clunker that did just fine. The best thing about borrowing an old rig was that they rarely came with instructions, and Elmer was more than happy to lend a hand.

Nowadays, one of the more popular methods of upgrading from Tech to General is waiting for the FCC to do it for them.

Don't need no Code, don't need no Elmer, don't need no Novice rig.
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N2YIR on December 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The largest problem with amateur radio today would be the people themselves. Look at how this legitimate article and every other one posted here on eHam, turns out to be another venue for someone to start an argument. I log on to this website to try and find out what's new and interesting in the realm of the hobby, and every time I end up leavening pissed off because someone with a cocky "Super Ham" attitude had to start some kind of fight.
If you are really concerned about newbies, try not to scare them off with constantly arguing. If they want an HT, let them get it. If they want an HF rig, GREAT! If they read your insults and personal attacks, they aren't going to stay around very long.

N2YIR - A young ham who is tired of always hearing people on the air waiting to die talking and about their hemorrhoids.

P.S. – I also started out 12 years ago with a 2 meter HT and a 25 watt amp. Worked great for me. One radio for a 13 year old that doubled as a base and a portable.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N8KG on December 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

To N0MUD

Please forgive me if you were offended by my comment concerning the military. But sir I will have you to know that I also was in the US Navy and served as a Communcications Technician, R and T Branch. I was also licensed in 1967 before I went in the military. For someone who spent 20 years in the Navy, you have a very thin skin.

Grow up. No offense intended.

For others; I have also been a VE. I have signed approx. 200 CSCE's. I can only name maybe 20 of the Amateurs who are still active. Most are gone because of getting bored with 2 m FM repeaters or some Extra Class megacycle policeman.

de N8Kg
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KD2MX on December 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I'm newly back to the hobby after being inactive for about 25 years.

I started out back in the mid-70s on 2-meter AM. Made tons of contacts and lots of friends. Progressed from Technician to Advanced. Had a great time on HF too.

Then life got in the way, I sold most my equipment, and before I knew it a couple of decades had passed. Luckily I kept up my license and QST subscription.

I got back on the air this summer with a VX7 HT and FT897D. I was real excited about the HT. I took it everywhere and put out a "listening" call at every chance. I think my reply percentage was about 2%, that might be generous.

There are many repeaters, most with too little activity. There are many machines that I've never heard active except when I keyed them up early on in setting up my HT to see if I programmed it correctly.

The prime commute times seem to have their little clique on most machines. I did find the various nets to be quite welcoming. Much of the time I'd hear a lot of nothing.

Repeaters are a great technology, unmatched for emergency and mobile communications. But they are also a hugh waste of resource since a machine only supports one transmission at a time.

Not to lament the good old days, but you could once tune the 2m band and find many ongoing conversations.

2M FM is a very practical mode of portable/mobile communication. There are some exciting facets of it like the Echolink integration. But it is such a small piece of the hobby.

Now I'm like a kid in the candy shop now as I get setup for digital modes, qrp, VHF SSB, and satellite. I was never much one for CW but I'm having a ball on HF with it. It's a thrill to work DX with 5 watts and a simple wire antenna. I don't bother much with the HT.

"To each their own" is an important philosphy for this hobby but if I had just purchased an HT, I would've been very disappointed and bored. If that was all I had, I would not be an enthusiastic newbie like I am now after 25 years.
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KB3HWQ on December 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"dumb" is an interesting choice of words. I just got my HT. It makes the most sense for me. I have my extra license and have advanced degrees in computer sciense and engineering. I also have been in networking and computing for 25 years and owe my start in digital electronics to someone who taught me ohm's law, got me interested in radio, and helped me seek a deeper education in the sciences. If the local repeater club is not friendly then you know what - it's their loss and I won't wonder why we lose our bands to the highest bidder. If the local repeater club does not want someone like me to be an Elmer, than I'll sell the radio on eBay and that's that.
As Hams we all have to respect the diversoty of the licensed crowd and assume the best and help them stay interested, not force them out. IF the local repeater crowd wants to be nasty then it's no wonder people lose interest. You attract more people with user friendliness and help than by being proprietary and exclusive.

I'll be making my first Ham call as soon as I figure out how to work my radio and see if the local club wants to help me learn.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N7UJU on December 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The problem with FM is there's no atmospheric noise to listen to. When I got into amateur radio, it was just me and myself. After turning the knob on the HT to something other than the repeaters, I met people, very good people that I became friends with. One of these friends, Ron KA7QGD had/has a bunch of radios. Ron's VHF stuff was on all the time. I never heard anything on those radios and I had been visiting him for months. Then one night I was over and a station from ND was calling on 6, just out of the blue the radio perked up. He snatched the mike and barely made the contact before the other station faded out. I was done for. The excitement of that one moment is something that I had never expereinced in my life; fishing in a dry lake takes less patience. From that point on I loved to hear the sound of atmospheric noise, not deafening but just there in the backround where you'd hear things if they changed. I enjoy HF CW, but it can't match VHF SSB/CW... in my mind.
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N0FP on December 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I think any elmer steering a newbie towards a hamshack on the hip is making a big mistake. A 2M HT is a useful tool, but not a hobby. After figuring out the menus, FM just isn't that complicated. And an HT is just barely a radio. An older mobile rig is a far better choice for the newbie who wants 2M, 70cm, or both.

I've heard newbies on the air with their new HT. They haunt the repeaters they can hit until people won't talk to them any more. Then they bug you on simplex. Let's face it folks, VHF is limited in scope. They need to upgrade to stay interested.

As much as people resent CW, it is the preferred mode for a great many hams. I know several techies that are waiting for the FCC to relax the rules so they can get their upgrade ticket with 3 boxtops plus $5 shipping. But the elmer is making a big mistake by not leaning the newbie towards HF. They will eventually want to know CW anyway.

5WPM is not that big a deal folks. 5 year olds do it, and so do 95 year olds. The opportunity for investigating nifty stuff abounds on HF.

The IC706MKIIG is almost a perfect rig for a newbie. If that's too much money, then an older K, Y, or I rig is just fine too. Better yet, the elmer should loan them a real radio and get them hooked. Suddenly, the $$$ is not as important then.

Ford-N0FP
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N7UJU on December 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
N0FP uttered the following:
>Let's face it folks, VHF is limited in scope. They need >to upgrade to stay interested.

Talk about limited in scope...

What worked for you won't work for everyone else. It should painfully obvious to anyone that is say, over the age of 5, that there is more to amateur radio than HF. Personally, no one has ever pushed me to do anything with ham radio and I should take offense if they tried.

It's a hobby, not the ARMY.

Have a day
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on December 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

It's a hobby, not the ARMY.

----

Well when I first enlisted in the ham radio "service," I was told to get on the ground and give my elmer 20 pushup's and 20 wpm.

 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KG6WLS on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
LOL

8D
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KG4RRN on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Money does play a role in Technicians getting on the air.
Several suggestions are really good: one is to buy an all mode rig, which noone told me about.
Another good suggestion is to join a ham club, where the interest is in communications on the radio, not between the members,and getting a reciever, if you cannot afford a IC-706MKIIG.
That way you do find out which antennas work, and how to do all of the "grunt work".
Standing on a roof installing a beam antenna or putting up a tower is too hard for one person, so this is why most join a club, to get "help" when they need it.
I have been a Tech long enough and it is time for me to move up to General in the world.
If I take the code test before the FCC decides to give General to all exisiting techs -then something will truly be lost in this hobby, the ability to learn something-- instead of the FCC giving it to you on a silver platter !
It is sad to know that many of the new techs are not
proficent enough in language skills(Phonetic especially) to keep from ridiculing each other, because everyone has something to give back to this hobby and service, be it your time volunteering at a shelter with comms during a disaster, or teaching another tech. which bands are hot and which contries are recievable and on which bands at night and during the day.
There is a group in California which now wants FEMA to regulate ham emergency response into "teams", which might be a better idea than "self deployment".
They call themselves the WRRL, spinning off of the success of the ARRL.
I just recently talked with a extra on D*STAR digital voice (with an HT) ... something I never thought would happen, but again, I invested the equipment in hopest that I would one day "make contact" and that has already happened.
I remember my first IRLP contact, it was with a man in Florida (I'm in Va) and he was outside on an HT, and so was I-- felt funny but really cool.
Later on, I talked to Canadians, and they too are cool people(really cool).
There is always going to be attitudes in this hobby, so live with it and as someone used to say, if you dont like what is on the radio, turn the dial(push the frequency button)...


 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by W5LJM on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Before I received my license in 1995, I went and bought 2 HTX-202 HTs. One for myself and one for KC5YYP, my wife. I used my HT at home, work and just about everywhere I went. In doing so, I had the pleasure of meeting many vintaged hams on the air that I would've never met otherwise. These hams invited me over and gave me the opportunity to experiment with HF to find out if I wanted to venture that far and pay that much money for something that I'd hardly ever use.
HF is wonderful, but at work, as well as alot of other places, I just can't seem to convince my boss to allow me to bring a massive radio in and carry it around with me all day, along with a power supply to boot. An HT is very convienient and can help pass the time during that 1 hour lunch period. Also, I have found that I'm not really that fond of most bands on HF.
I still have that old HTX-202 and I'm grateful for it's service in getting my feet wet.

I'd say an HT is perfect starter radio for "newbies".
One should not jump out of a plane unless the parachute has been tested first! HTs allow the new ham to "break the ice", then he can move on to the big toys if that's his choice.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by WB2WIK on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: Newbies to Ham Radio Reply
by W5LJM on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Before I received my license in 1995, I went and bought 2 HTX-202 HTs. One for myself and one for KC5YYP, my wife. I used my HT at home, work and just about everywhere I went. In doing so, I had the pleasure of meeting many vintaged hams on the air that I would've never met otherwise. These hams invited me over and gave me the opportunity to experiment with HF to find out if I wanted to venture that far and pay that much money for something that I'd hardly ever use.
HF is wonderful, but at work, as well as alot of other places, I just can't seem to convince my boss to allow me to bring a massive radio in and carry it around with me all day, along with a power supply to boot.<

::What an interesting perspective. I cannot imagine many people have the ability (or time!) to operate amateur radio while at work, so I wonder how this even came up? I've never had a rig at "work." In the car, yes. In the RV, yes. And at home, of course. But at work? That would be a very unusual situation for almost anybody.

>An HT is very convienient and can help pass the time during that 1 hour lunch period. Also, I have found that I'm not really that fond of most bands on HF.
I still have that old HTX-202 and I'm grateful for it's service in getting my feet wet.
I'd say an HT is perfect starter radio for "newbies".
One should not jump out of a plane unless the parachute has been tested first! HTs allow the new ham to "break the ice", then he can move on to the big toys if that's his choice.<

::Another interesting perspective. I think your view is an unusual one, but of course you're entitled to it. The problem many newcomers to the hobby have is they start out with an HT, find that nobody (or almost nobody) answers them, they don't know anybody and have nobody to talk to, so it's a cold, strange world they just stepped into. In this situation, it would have been just as smart to skip the ham license altogether and buy a couple FRS hand-helds, which are cheaper, and share them with the family. Or "buy" a GMRS license (no test) and use repeaters there for extended range, if necessary. I think many of us "old timer" hams don't consider VHF-FM, repeaters and HTs a real part of ham radio simply because it's such a narrow and limiting aspect of the hobby.

::And I say this as someone who's actively used VHF-FM since 1967 and put my first 2m FM repeater on the air in 1973. Since then, I've put a lot of FM repeaters on the air (and owned them all). But that part of ham radio represents about 1% of what I do in this hobby, and the other 99% are more interesting, at least for me.

-WB2WIK/6

 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC0SHZ on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
KC0USQ makes a good point.

If new hams are faced with the option to drop @100 bucks on ebay on a used HT that will get on the repeaters, versus $1000 for a new Icom 706 Mk IIG, many of them (myself included) would balk at the big cash outlay.

What we need to be doing with our new hams (sorry, I hate the term "newbie"), is to get them into QRP type rigs. I am finishing an SW20+ and have had a great time with it. The kit cost $47 through a club purchase and the gear that I need to build it, I had in my tool box already. This type of radio can be run on AA batteries, and can be operated on an end fed wire or a simple dipole. Thus the cost to build and own is cheap.

My first kit was a pico keyer, but my second was an opentracker that can be used for an APRS beacon or weather station. This would be great for a new technician class licensee as its not very complicated to build and would be immediately useful to them.

 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
get them into QRP type rigs. I am finishing an SW20+ and have had a great time with it. The kit cost $47 through a club purchase

-----

Curious... What HF band do you propose these newbies operate these QRP kits on?

 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N8KG on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

Some interesting perspective have arisen here. The most obvious that I see is that Amateur Radio needs an entry level license that covers more than just VHF/UHF and that the new licensees need to understand that they have more priviledges than just 2 meter FM.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K8AI on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
N0MUD, I've got a question... What does being a cop have to do with ham radio?
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by VE3HBB on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
What rubbish. I had all the big "toys" and sold them to buy a recumbent bike. There just was not much point in operating HF. Name, sig. rpt., 73 and gone! Where's the fun in that?

I now take my 2m 70cm handheld when I go out on the bike. I can do "bicycle mobile" as I ride around the south-western Ontario country side.

There is not a thing wrong with operating a hand held tranceiver. Anyone who would argue otherwise is either a "troll" or someone who truly dislikes his/her fellow hams.

As for "lazy CBers" who won't learn the code, this is an ad hominum argument which carries with it absolutely no credibility and is most likely another attempt to troll. Geez, every time I come here, I am disappointed by the nonsense I see posted. To the old geezers and trolls, grow up!

I have a full license and very much enjoy working the local repeaters. There are many fine nets to participate in and I have many 2m friends I speak with every day. Further I am a two time club president and a Canwarn spotter. Public service continues to be conducted over HTs. If I get back into HF, it will be by building a Small Wonders Labs PSK kit. I really don't need a "big rig" to operate in this mode, and it is what I miss the most.

If HTs are so useless, then why are so many of them sold? I'm on my third. Let's live and let live. There is no one "best" way to be an amateur.

73

Charles VE3HBB
 
Newbies to Ham Radio - Licenses before Spending  
by AB0OX on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My advice to any newbies just starting out would be to start by conquering the CW requirement. Have an elmer write out a typical QSO, and then just practice sending it. There is also training software that uses mock QSOs. Remember, radio consists of QSOs. You might as well find out up front if this is something you're going to like doing.

When you have the QSO requirement covered, learn the Technician material and then sit for your Tech Plus/Novice license. A month after that you should be sitting for your General. And if you try hard enough, you could be an Extra a month after that.

THEN, go buy a radio. And then pick up that Technician book again, and build yourself a dipole or two. Or a loop. That's the 2 cents from over here.

A short wave radio (if already available) is a great idea, but any AM portable radio will open the door to the "World" of radio a couple of hours after the sun goes down. For me, as a kid, it was living in Connecticut and asking my dad where WCFL was.

73,

Jack
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by WL7ME on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
There are a lot of good comments here. Some I agree with and some I do not agree with. I have been licensed since 1993, unfortunately no one bothered to say anything about the various modes other than 2 and 6 meter. Where I live in Southeast Alaska I have caught just two openings on 6 meters since I have been licensed. One evening into northern Alaska, and one evening into Oregon. Unfortunately the Oregon contact I made did not even have the courtesy to return a card (in my stamped, self addressed envelope). I did enjoy the 2 meter packet BBS here while it was up and talked to many different people. I do get some great enjoyment reading and hearing all the doom prophets discussing the upcoming changes in the licensing system.
Yes I am a tech. class and will be until the code is dropped. I have NO interest in code for one and also I have trouble discerning the dots from the dashes. And do not try to tell me to listen closer or, more practice. Been there done that it does not work for me. All the "old timers" need to realize that times change and that those changes will not bring on the end of the world. Instead of all the whining and griping why not try to elmer the new people and help them become good and competent operators. All your bitching and bad attitude just turns the newbie away from the hobby and gives it a bad name. I myself would definitely not want to be around some of the people with the attitudes I have herd on the air (HF)and read. Come on people grow up and act like the adults that "I think" you are (or should be)
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC0SHZ on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
get them into QRP type rigs. I am finishing an SW20+ and have had a great time with it. The kit cost $47 through a club purchase

-----

Curious... What HF band do you propose these newbies operate these QRP kits on?


There are CW portions of the 2 meter and 6 meter bands. There are VHF qrp designs available. The APRS beacon would be available and usable. The homebrew angle also works in the gigahertz frequencies with homebrew antennas and such.

The SW20+ is an example of how we need to get new hams into the hobby without dropping huge bucks. Its a fun and rewarding kit that turns into a reasonably good radio. It won't break the bank.

The opentracker and some of the other kits are also reasonable in cost and would add enjoyment to a new ham.

Besides, given the present aim of the FCC to drop the CW requirement, the days of the 2 meter ghetto are soon to be over as the ability to study for both the tech and the general is within most people's reach. Access to HF may be something that just comes with a new license.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N0FP on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
N7UJU suggested that this is ham radio, not the army.

It appears obvious to me that there are many people posting responses to this thread that have never been an elmer. An elmer can help the newbie move past the FM repeaters. If you have a local repeater, you are lucky. If you have several accessible via HT, you are still luckier yet.

For a great many hams, the local repeater is only accessible with an exterior antenna attached to a real radio pumping more than milliwatts. I wish it were not so, but it is very true. For this reason, as well as the first $$$ spent being the most difficult, encouraging the newbie towards a full function radio is going to have a more lasting impact.

A couple responded that their whole life involves HTs and repeaters. That's fine. One guy also explained that he is the president of clubs and the like. Well, there you go. He's not a typical person and hardly a typical example of a newbie. Most new recruits are paranoid to talk into the mic to a stranger--another activity the elmer can help the newbie through.

Before the HT huggers start flaming me again, my point is that it is the elmer's role to expose the newbie to all the modes, frequencies, styles of radio, and opportunities for enjoying ham radio.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
There are CW portions of the 2 meter and 6 meter bands. There are VHF qrp designs available. The APRS beacon would be available and usable.

-----

Ok, next question.

Why would anyone bother calling -.-.--.- using the CW portion of 2 meters using QRP when they can barely make contact with anyone even when using a high powered radio with the assistance of a wide area repeater?

Making a CW contact using 6 meters? How many months will it be before the next band opening occurs?

How long does it take for a newbie to get bored of operating an APRS beacon? 20, maybe 30 minutes? How much exhilarating and satisfying fun can that be for anyone?

It's no wonder newbies are dropping out like flies.

At least with Novice class it offered some real world radio magic with real world people.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KILOWATT on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"Mike, N0mud, US NAVY RADIOMAN/MASTER-AT-ARMS FIRST CLASS RETIRED. POLICE OFFICER RETIRED."



What's that supposed to be? Your resume' for "instant respect" status? I've accomplished a whole hell of a lot in my life also but you don't see me signaling that fact to everyone. Let me guess. You wear some kind of silly ball cap that says something like "Korea Veteran" or "Vietnam Veteran", right? As though we're all supposed to scrape and bow whenever these guys walk by. I appreciate your military service, sir. I also served. It's all done now. Move on with life.

Master At Arms(First Class, no less!)? I envision old guys attending club meetings while wearing fez caps or antlers of some kind. Not impressed.

Police officer? Usually an arrogant jerk that was pushed around as a child and wants to push other people around as an adult. Needs massive ego stroking because he/she is so lack-luster in every other arena of life.

 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K7PEH on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The previous post from Mr. Kilowatt is kind of sad. It is sad that one person would "dis" another for such superficial reasons. Of course, Mr. Kilowatt is not the only offender on this forum and he will not be the last.

But, it would be nice that when you post here that each of us would choose words to uplift someone else, to encourage them, or even to challange them in an interesting debate on the issues at hand.

When you lash out in anger, with hateful words, you hurt others. It is OK to disagree, it is not OK to bash someone just because their opinion is different. And, neither is it OK to bash someone just because they bash you. After all, kids do that but we call ourselves adults don't we. How do you want to be measured? Consider that the next time you choose your words.
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K0COS on December 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Thank goodness I had my OM as my elmer. A HT for your first radio, if that is what gets you on the air....GREAT! But hearing HF bands got me motivated to get my General. In this day of plug and play, ham radio does take a bit more time and research, but we have the internet for our library. My two cents worth, get what you can afford.

My challenge for all of us and myself.... the next time you talk to a "new" ham, try to be an elmer, take pride in your hobby and try to pass on the knowledge you have gained.

My challenge to "new" hams....you have joined a wonderful community.... ASK! I know every ham loves to communicate and we love to talk about our hobby.
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N5UV on December 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Minor question, for anyone to answer...How does someone have just a URL link in QRZ.com like NN6EE does to the FCC ULS website? I've seen this for a couple of other hams in the past, but I always thought that QRZ.com just pulled your addr. into their database, no questions asked. And why wouldn't you want to utilize it, like some hams do?

As for the topic at hand...ham radio is an expensive hobby for some, so I can see why getting an HT is the first step...mainly because it's the cheapest way to get in at $100.00 or less with a minimum of fuss and effort. Sure, they could go the way I did and buy used HF rigs for not much more that $100 bucks, but that was back when the Novice class license was the first license you could get. That's okay, because I never was in it for VHF/UHF stuff, I didn't purchase a reliable 2m rig until 1995, 5 years after getting licensed. I got into ham radio for HF priveleges after chasing skip on CB (there, I admitted it, I came from Chicken Band, so what?).

That's why I advocate giving small, narrow HF SSB priveleges to Tech. licensees in the future. Maybe restrict them to 80/40/15/10 (like in the Novice days), but give them slivers of CW and SSB bandwidth. Sure, it's a gimme, but if newer hams have bad experiences with repeater hogs (like I did), at least they can take refuge on HF, where the atmosphere is very receptive...frankly, it's the way the hobby started, and it's the purest, oldest aspect of the hobby left, 2nd. only to CW.

See, even a non-CW guy like me will give my props to CW...I just don't think it should be required to have a license any longer, which is about the only thing FCC and I agree upon.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N8KG on December 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

It would be nice if I could relay to some new licensee, I'm sorry I used newbie, I don't like it either, what a thrill it was as a Novice to call CQ, with 75 watts, cyrstal controlled, on 15 meters and hear a station in Germany reply. I can still remember my first DX contact and the excitement it caused. I forgot how to use the old J 44, I couldn't write down his name or qth. But I sure knew it was a DL coming back to me. My first contact was K8TPF/m on 80 meters, 3705 to be exact. Only crystal my Dad and I had for 80 meters. A 200 pound power supply and a World Radio Meteor with a dipole antenna in the pine trees out back. You got shocked about every time you turned the beast on. But it was fun.

I realize that technologies have changed. I realize that there are those who can't or won't learn cw, but if you only knew the thrill of learning it and hearing the world talking back to you. Not that you can't on SSB. But as someone said here, signal report, weather, name, rig and antenna, etc. What fun is that? Well, have you ever had a weekly sked with someone in Japan? You talk about things you have in common. Your kids, grandkids, work, other interests. And yes on CW.

I am trying to learn the satellites. I have experimented with packet and PSK 31. Somehow I still like to tune up a KWM2A or an old Heathkit HW100 or Drake TR4 CW. With all the modern technologies, turn on a switch and start talking, somehow all the fun is gone. No more sparks and smoke.

I guess the old cowboys felt the same way with the advent of the automobile. I guess I'll get over it.

If you are new to Amateur Radio and I can help you, please don't hesitate to ask. I can build antennas somewhat. And I can burn my fingers real good with a soldering iron. But I'll be glad to help or get in the way, anyway I can.

de N8KG
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KB1MVZ on December 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
And here you have... a genuine newbie! In fact, you can't get much newer than me: My license hit the ULS database last Wednesday, and I subsequently used my brand new TH-F6A to talk to a few folks on one of the local repeaters. Sure, it was fun. Not life changing, but amusing enough.

When I took my test, I passed both tech and general with flying colors. I just got the idea to learn the info myself using the ARRL book and resources on the Web -- no club, no elmer. I've been interested in the radio hobby for years (doing mostly scanning), and with a basic electronics background I found the studying easy. And no, I didn't have the nerve to try the Extra exam... or the code. I'm waiting for the FCC to eliminate the code requirement (hopefully in the next 12 months, while my credit for the general exam is still good).

More to the point of this thread: I AM looking for something more challenging and intersting than "Hi Bob, where are you now" on the local repeater. Sorry if I seem ignorant, but it's hard to find out what else to DO with that technician license of mine. I'd have no trouble buying a TS-480 or even a TS-2000 but heck, besides a couple of hundred KHz of space on 10 Meters to call CQ on, what else can I do? Where do I even find out where and how to play? For example, I'm extremely interested in digital communications (such as used in APCO 25 based systems)... But it takes WHAT for me to try PSK31, and where?

So, for me at least, it's not a matter of cost. But it IS a matter of an HT seeming like a obvious purchase. The HF/VHF/UHF rig, an additional more interesting operating modes, are a bit more of a mystery. It's harder to know what you can do, where, and using what equipment.

73
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by WB2WIK on December 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: Newbies to Ham Radio Reply
by KB1MVZ on December 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
And here you have... a genuine newbie! In fact, you can't get much newer than me: My license hit the ULS database last Wednesday, and I subsequently used my brand new TH-F6A to talk to a few folks on one of the local repeaters. Sure, it was fun. Not life changing, but amusing enough.<

::Congrats on the new ticket. But you said you passed Tech and General with flying colors (below) and that you have a "Tech" ticket. I guess that means you didn't take the code. That's too bad, because without the code endorsement you actually *cannot* use that couple of hundred kHz on 10 meters that you discuss below -- that's reserved for the "Tech Plus" licensees, who have passed the Tech elements + the code element.

>When I took my test, I passed both tech and general with flying colors. I just got the idea to learn the info myself using the ARRL book and resources on the Web -- no club, no elmer. I've been interested in the radio hobby for years (doing mostly scanning), and with a basic electronics background I found the studying easy. And no, I didn't have the nerve to try the Extra exam... or the code. I'm waiting for the FCC to eliminate the code requirement (hopefully in the next 12 months, while my credit for the general exam is still good).<

::Ah, there we go.

>More to the point of this thread: I AM looking for something more challenging and intersting than "Hi Bob, where are you now" on the local repeater. Sorry if I seem ignorant, but it's hard to find out what else to DO with that technician license of mine. I'd have no trouble buying a TS-480 or even a TS-2000 but heck, besides a couple of hundred KHz of space on 10 Meters to call CQ on, what else can I do?<

::You need the code endorsement to use that 10m section. However, with a normal "Tech" license, you can do a lot of interesting stuff. There's a lot of "weak signal" work on 50-144-222-432-902-1296-2304 MHz, all of which you can work right now. The TS-480 will get you on 6m, while the TS-2000 can get you on 6m, 2m, 70cm and 23cm. There's lots more to do than that. And most of that work is really done by ANTENNAS, not by the radios themselves, so if you want to really enjoy the Tech privileges, the aluminum, steel and copper are the places to invest the big bucks. It's a lot of fun, and many Extra class licensees use only VHF-UHF-SHF-EHF because they enjoy chasing meteors and the moon, which is pretty high-tech stuff, but a lot of hams have been doing it for years. Using modern software, new digital modes are available for extremely weak signal work (signals that are literally below noise level to a human ear), allowing hams to combine cool VHF-UHF experimenting with the latest and greatest computer tools.

>Where do I even find out where and how to play? For example, I'm extremely interested in digital communications (such as used in APCO 25 based systems)... But it takes WHAT for me to try PSK31, and where?<

::See above. Research WSJT modes, for example. It only takes a SSB rig and computer with a good sound card -- the software is free.

>So, for me at least, it's not a matter of cost. But it IS a matter of an HT seeming like a obvious purchase. The HF/VHF/UHF rig, an additional more interesting operating modes, are a bit more of a mystery. It's harder to know what you can do, where, and using what equipment.<

::Great approach! Remember, you'll hear it here and you'll keep hearing it as you get on the bands: Antennas aren't the most important thing, they are nearly the *only* thing that assures the highest level of success in actually *communicating* using this hobby. That's where most of the investment should reside. 20-30 year old, inexpensive radio gear will mostly support nearly anything you might want to do; I invest the big bucks in the aluminum, and use whatever's left over for station equipment -- leads to the highest level of success on the air. And "GL" with the code test!

-WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by WB2WIK on December 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Forgot: I should have included this info.

You might want to investigate and join the Northeast Weak Signal Group, a progressive bunch of New England hams who are VHF-UHF-SHF-EHF enthusiasts. They have a website, meetings, conferences, etc.

http://www.newsvhf.com/

WB2WIK/6
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KD6NIG on December 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with the original article in some ways, and in some ways I do not.

Yes, an HT is pretty limited, though they do make HT's out there nowadays with pretty large wideband recieve. Though not the best way to hear the entire spectrum nessicarily, it does give them some exposure to other bands-in particular 220, 900 and 1.2 ghz, which are also very interesting bands. They will have some limited monitoring ability on 6 also.

I would like to see every new ham be able to go out and get a mobile/hf rig, but its not always possible. A few hams in the club I belong to have had no choice but to go with an HT, but with the help of some other club members, they were able to purchase a small power supply and were in some cases supplied antennas no longer needed by others in order to have a 'home' setup with the HT also.

Some potential hams also wait for the radio purchase until after they have the licence in hand. For those, it may not be a bad idea to have them SWL with a scanner or a HT (with extreme caution!) to find out what it is actually like. I have an old R/S scanner at home with only 25 channels that I have programmed with repeaters, and have loaned out to potential hams before. Out of the 6 people I have loaned it to, 3 took thier tests and 3 didn't. But at least they got an idea of what the licence would be mostly offering them. Obviously there is more to ham radio than repeater work, but for some of them, that was the initial exposure that got thier attention of the hobby in the first place.

Now I know you HF guys view us repeater users as a lower class of ham sometimes, but there are some out there that DO enjoy that aspect of it. I think what drives some people away is the fact that some people like to profess that repeater operation or use isn't real ham radio. I think a better idea would be to welcome everyone into the hobby with open arms, and perhaps back up your words with an invite to your station, or your mobile to thier home so they can actually SEE what you are talking about. I have gotten more people to take a look at the hobby by having my HT sitting here at work monitoring repeaters than by telling them about the hobby. If we had more of that and less of the 'lower class ham' and 'get your code or you're not a real ham' talk and more of showing people WHY code is a unique communications tool, maybe you would get some interested parties going in it.

I gained more interest in HF by being able to listen to others use it during Field day than by someone coming up to me and spitting on me because I didn't know code.... Take that negative attitude and foster some people into the hobby and you may find yourself liking the results.

I personally have given away old antennas I had, and know of other hams who have made J-Poles for younger hams starting out and were always willing to be there for advice and help without a condesending approach. Its pretty funny, but most of those people are still in the hobby today. Sure, most of this hobby is operating, communication, etc, but there is also the part of knowing that when you see another ham, in most cases, you can fire up a conversation and become friends, and exchange experiences with equipment and sometimes learn a new thing or 2. I think that is the most important aspect of the hobby that is, in most cases, sadly ignored, especially on the internet.

I know I'm probably going to be flamed for this, and now stating I'm a NCT will probably cause another dousing of lighter fluid, but I don't care. Anything someone can do to get into the hobby or help others interested in it find out if it is for them or not is important. I'm fortunate in the fact that I have ham friends that helped me when I was getting started, and now when I am in a position to help someone get started, I do what I can. Even if that only means showing them my radio, or operating it for them, or letting them talk to someone third party, or loaning them a study book that I have, I think that is one of the most important aspects of it. I have made many friends in this hobby, and I think thats the part I cherish the most.

So if you're new to the hobby, and all you can afford is an HT, don't be discouraged. There is plenty of other stuff in the hobby, and that HT and some conversations on a repeater may just gain you some friends willing to introduce you to and tell you about other aspects of Ham Radio. Do what you can and you'll be amazed at what all is out there. Assume that the attitudes displayed in the replies to this article are representative of the hobby, and you'll leave and miss out on a good thing.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N5UV on December 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
To KB1MVZ...look me up in QRZ.com, my email address is there. I can help you with the digital setup to work modes like RTTY, PSK31, MFSK, Hell., and some other non-packet modes (my real weak spot). It's true, unless you pass the code portion of the test, you cannot operate in those 10m portions...besides, you probably won't hear much activity anyway. However, if you have an HF rig, you can definitely listen in with the right software (available on the internet for free, I'm sure).

However, don't let that hold you back...you can do PSK31 on 6m right now. Again, not much activity at this point in the cycle, but you never know.

GL, and don't wait for the code portion of the test to go away...learning CW at 5 word per minute really ain't that hard. Besides, you can have the distinction of being one of the last to have to know it to get HF priveleges with your ticket, for what it's worth...

DL
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by WB9QEL on December 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Let me ask you all a question. If the License was not so easy to get do you think all of these New Guys would even have them? What would you do, if you were new, after hearing some of what goes on within Ham Radio? Probably the same thing they do, say "yeah cool but man this is not what I thought it was about". What do you think would happen if the FCC said "we are going back to the License Requirements and Frequency Allocations that were in place back in 1968"? If you were not Licensed before 1987 you have to retake your test, without any published answer pool, or your License is Invalid. Wow, it would be a little different tuning up and down the bands wouldn't it? This is the problem isn't it? Take the all of the Requirements away and the New Licensed Ham is what? Dissappointed!! Why? Why do you guys think? Would you take the test over again with no published answers, new question pool, and 20 WPM code for Extra to keep your License? No debate, this is how it is and if you want to keep operating take the test. Ok just 13 WPM and no published question pool. Would you do it? The Hams then HAD TOO, new Hams don't, and are listening to other Hams that haven't had to either, and we wonder why the new Hams are going away. Think about that the next time someone post's "Newbies to Ham Radio"!!

Nick
W9ZXT
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K6LCS on December 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
>>...the first thing he does? Buys a 5 watt, FM only, handheld...

Well, we're spoiled out here in Southern California: We all live in valleys, lookin' at the mountaintop repeaters. I mean, we can hit systems 40+ miles away with a measley 2W. It's quite "natural" to begin one's amateur career with a HT out here.

>>...And before you know it, he is gone....just doesn't hold their interest...

Partially the ham's fault, and partially local clubs' fault. It takes a little research to know what you want to accomplish in this magnificent hobby. And it takes active, enthusiastic clubs to offer information to their constituents.

Clint Bradford, K6LCS


 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by N3XNV on December 9, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I know I'm WAY late to the party on this one, but oh well.

N8KG, wouldn't your hypothetical newbie's lack on interest in the hobby be due to much bigger issues than the radio he started out on? Issues such as poor elmering, an apathetic club environment, treatment from other hams, and just the plain fact that the newbie just wasn't as partial to ham radio as he was thought to be? Or maybe between a day job and kids he just doesn't have all that much time to be really active?

I'll admit that a 2M HT can hardly match the thrill of building your own radio from scratch and making a contact on it, but it can be a start. It's enough to do event comm (great into to the community service aspect), help him build his own beam antenna and go do hilltop DX, and later satellites with the same beam if paired with a 70cm beam and a good scanner. Then there's Echolink and IRLP via repeaters. If a newbie was properly interested and motivated there is plenty to keep him busy on 2M HT.

Of course, if said newbie expresses a definite interest in making HF contacts suggesting he start with a 2M HT is kind of silly.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by HARLE83 on December 9, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I am so sad, I just got my tech ticket Saturday (KC9INV). No Elmer, No club just me. I missed one on the test. Anyway I am buying a FT7800R, power supply and antenna. I have severe space restrictions. Been A SWL for 30 plus years. NOw after all the comments here I really don't know what to say. The thrill of getting on the air was all I wanted. What see here is a bunch of HF guys berating those of us who want to get out there for a start. I know NO ONE in my area who is a Ham. I just got a letter in the mail for a club, they introduced me to their repeater.
Let us get our feet wet. Let us get out there on the bands we can talk on and find out what radio is all about. What is needed is more guys and gals to step up to the plate and put their money where their mouths are, be an Elmer! I for one intend to get my general ticket. For now though I just want to be proud of what i've done and get on a few repeaters and some simplex to meet real hams, not just those who want to mouth off and do nothing about it. Sorry if I offended any of you just thought a "newbe" should say something so go ahead bash away.
73
KC9INV
Harry Taylor
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KG6UHZ on December 9, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
A comment on the first radio to buy. Mine was a dual band HT, and even in this location (Sacramento Valley) with many high altitude repeaters, was not satisfactory. It was a tossup between the HT and a ICOM 706, and as it turned out, happy I didn't buy the 706. About four months of fiddling with the HT and I sprung for a Kenwood TS-2000 and put up a Diamond X50. I've a Kenwood 707 in my Yukon with a mag-mount from Diamond. I really like both radios. I've passed the test for General but still working on code. Also put up a Alpha-Delta dipole and I'm ready to go on HF. I've been at this for less than two years. Point is, if there needs to be a point for some of the old guys who seem to believe we should all start as Extra operators and send 50wpm, we all do it differently. Also, I'm an old guy too, but in age (71). I worked in broadcasting for 30 years, half that time in Africa, Europe, Middle East and Far East and was a SWL for 50 years before I tried to get a license. I do it because it's fun and keeps the brain engaged. I did it my way, so should you.
73
Norm
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KI4ITV on December 9, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
KC9INV
Harry,
Congrats on getting your ticket! Job well done.
Don't let what you read on Eham or the other Internet ham sites get you down. Once you look around, you will find that it is the same callsigns posting the same old negativity over and over again. I think the internet has helped the hobby in some ways and is beginning to kill it in others. I also believe some of these guys don't even get on the radio anymore, they just hang around here waiting on the next proud new ham to trounce on and devour. (remember guys... chew first, then swallow).

Find some local hams, or maybe a club to join. most of the hams you meet in person will be helpful and very nice guys. I found a good club and it makes all the difference in the world. All of the hams I knew growing up were great examples of good men who really knew how to help people.
I am a newly licensed Tech, but have been around this hobby most of my life, as the son of a ham and as a SWL'er. Things have changed, the mean old cuss's you never used to be exposed to can hang out on these sites and spread their tyranny across the board. And it seems to be infectious too. On the radio you can change the freq.- in here, you have to suck it up or not come back. All this 'QBS' brings me down too. But, I usually come back to pick the gems out of the muck.

Don't get discouraged. This IS a great hobby filled with many great people who do some really cool stuff.

That's really what I wanted to say.
Welcome, I'm glad you're here.
73,
Trey P.-ki4itv
Glen Allen, VA
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on December 9, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Harry KC9INV,

Firstly, I want to take this opportunity to openly welcome you to Amateur Radio after 30 years as an SWL.

As a seasoned SWL you obviously have a great deal of knowledge about us hams already so I don't need to start explaining what ham radio is all about.

It's nice to see you join our ranks and I hope to hear you on the air someday. Repeaters can be pretty quiet at times so you might consider playing around with the satellites as well.

amsat.org is a great place to start learning more about this aspect of the hobby.

I also want to mention that you shouldn't pass judgment on hams based on what you read on this website. Hams are really some of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. Really! Just don't put them all together on a ham radio message forum on the internet that's all. :)

They are all really fine people and I already know you are going to meet many of them in the not so distant future. I looked up your callsign and found out you are over there in Illinois.

I was curious if I could make a contact with you. My station has reached out that far on 2m SSB in the past before during tropospheric conditions. I wouldn't doubt we could make contact if you had a good Yagi installed on the roof at your location and we were both using 2 meter SSB on 144.200 MHz.

The interesting part of this hobby is that it has hobbies inside the hobby and I for one also enjoy building and constructing antennas.

You might also want to consider building a good Yagi antenna system to reach out to those distant repeaters. If you have a radio equipped with SSB you can talk very far and it would not be unusual to reach other surrounding states. If you knew Morse code, I could definitely make contact with your station at regular intervals on around 144.100 MHz as Morse code travels even a greater distance than SSB travels.

Well you can drop me a line sometime if you need any help with anything. I will drop you a QSL card in the mail and then you can contact me if you should have any questions.


Welcome Aboard KC9INV!


73 Charles - KC8VWM
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K6KGW on December 10, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I can appreciate your comments and understand why it is a good thing to branch out. As a new ham, I felt I should "listen" to other hams using an HT to get a feeling for the hobby. I live in California and use the "Winsystem" here which is a network of repeaters. This system is also hooked up to the IRLP through a reflector, so talking to other hams all over the world gives me even more experience without investing extra money in HF equipment. There will be a time when I will use HF, but until that day arrives, I can learn plenty from all license classes using an HT.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K6KGW on December 10, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Congratulations on getting your ticket! I am also a new ham and maybe we'll meet up on the air some day.

73, Mike/K6KGW
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KG4LJF on December 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I started in CB. and I have not forgotten where my roots are.

I can do the SAME THING on LSB 38 that a ham can do with a 1000$ set up.

Looks like jealousy to me.

I know I'm gonna get flamed, but I dont care.. FLAME ON. This is a public forum, I'm gonna post my thoughts. I AM a ham, and I enjoy it, but I started in CB. Truth be known.. 90% of YOU *points finger* started just like me.

SO, as I said, FLAME ON! Cause' I have my opinion, and whether you like it or not, I still have my old Uniden Grant that keeps on truckin'.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by NN6EE on December 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I've got NO PROBLEMS with NEWBIES/NCTS' at all but what I have a problem with is their TOTAL-DISREGARD for their present privileges/heritage (tradition), in that if it was'nt for WE coded-licensees you guys would'nt have what you have today!!!

Consider yourselves fortunate!!!

:-(((

Jim/ee
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by NN6EE on December 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
KG4LJF,

Your notion that 90% of Hams started out in CB is entirely BOGUS!!! GET REAL!!! Most of us had more pride than that!!!

Jim/ee
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KI4JLT on December 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I agree, I received my first radio from a family member when I passed my tech. It was a VX5R, great little radio that does 2,440,&6 (all FM) 5 watts. At the time I was unable to purchase anything myself. But, I was able to work 5 repeaters from my house. This was in feburary of this year and up to a month ago this is what I used. I had many problems with checking into a net and by the time I had got half way in to my ragchew I would have to sign off due to low battery. That all changed when I purchased a used multiband comet ant. with mag mount. I am now able to run 1 watt from about 10-20 miles away from the repeaters and this pass weekend I went to purchase a 2100H (2 meter mobile 50 watt)I was making it in to a repearter 80 miles away running 5 watt on my HT. To make this short I think that you have a point, but I also believe that with an auto adapter and a mag mount ant. a HT can be great to start with. Next week I have a friend that is going to help me with working the ISS with my HT. Oh by the way if you are wondering what my family memeber purchased me a HT it is because the guy behind the HRO counter said that I would be able to use the most.

73

KI4JLT
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KG4LJF on December 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Hey. Hams are angry at CB'ers, because the FCC took what was once YOURS and turned it into CB band.

The FCC never really "took" your precious 27 meg' band from you. It's still here. Because I use it every day and I ENJOY IT.

I feel I've steered this topic off track, so I'm hushing and lettin it get back to the new guys with thier ht's.

Like I said, I know guys that can talk circles around a ham on HF. You wonder why the FCC wants to drop the code requirement.. There's your answer. People are discovering a world outside of ham radio, as when I was in my CB days, I discovered a world outside of CB, known as ham. Some of the language I hear on the ham bands makes the CB look like a Billy Graham tv special.

So, back to topic. I have vented, and I'm hushing. *wink*
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K3MQ on December 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I'm a newbie - one year. I started out playing with PSK31. I did'nt have to worry about my code speed nor reverting back to my teen years and accidently saying 10-4 on phone. Interfacing ham radio with my computer, the Internet, packet, etc. really got my interest.

PSK was great for learning the jargon and etiquette. I got into WAS and then DXCC. Then I did a psk contest which was habit forming. This got me into CW contests. Now I'm determined to get my speed up to 25 wpm - it's a challenge!

The best thing I did was start with PSK because it provided a base to build upon. Since I was pretty computer literate (like many newbies), the marriage between my computer and rig was a natural. I remember the first time I used packet, and how amazed at how neat the whole system was.

Maybe we should show more newbies how hi-tech the hobby can be without being highly technical. Invite them over for a "dog and pony" show.



 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KA2JIZ on December 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Very interesting comments. But sad that some are so vindictive. I was a radio operator in the Air Force AACS, active duty overseas late '50s. Picked my school, qualified, passed, and enjoyed every minute of my time on-the-job. Good operators all. And so were the ops I met from other branches of the armed services. Those non-coms were great elmers...and they didn't hold your hand. You wanted to make the grade (pass the cw test!) because if you didn't, you might spend the rest of your hitch on permanent KP. By the way, I'm not gung-ho and you won't find me sucking up cheap beers at the Legion hall.

About 25 years ago I decided to get my ham ticket after years away from radio. Was a Novice for six months. As an earlier contributer mentioned, what a thrill working Europe and other DX stations on the Novice portion of the 15 meter CW band. I don't think anything has matched that since then. There was something about the personality of a non-automated manual key or bug that sent shivers up my spine. A mysterous human being hundreds perhaps thousands of miles away, cans on the head listening to me, and I to him. I still get the shivers thinking of those early days.

Well, here's to the Army/Navy/Air Force/Coast Guard operators, past and present.

To a new ham, ok, get that HT and volunteer your services when the need for an amateur radio operator is requested.

And, pass that code test at whatever speed and for whatever license class. Erect an HF antenna, no matter how "compromise" it may have to be. Get on the air with something, anything and try some slow speed CW with another slow speed ham. In fact try it late at night or early morning if the band is open. Extra fun when the other guy is a "nighthawk" too.

I'm out of the country right now but you will find me later near the recognized QRP CW frequencies.

I hope to find you there one day.

73



 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KE5BCG on December 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I'm in the same boat as you KD8CDG!
I bought a VX5 HT within a week, based on it's triband capability - sad to say I've yet to hear a peep on 6M.
However, and this will REALLY get an explosion, I've had some interesting contacts on Echolink! I was showing my HT to a neighbor and had a brief conversation with someone near Ft Lewis, WA, and I'm in central TX! He about dropped his beer when he heard the other guy's location. I've had frequent interesting "DX-like" contacts on VHF/UHF. One of the local 2m repeaters is an IRL node, and that's fun too.

I have to admit though, I am looking forward to operating the Kenwood S530 I recently bought.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by NN6EE on December 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio Reply
by N2WEC on December 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
nn6ee is most likely a phoney call.....

***************************************************
Obviously the above gentleman is GROSSLY "IGNORANT" in that if he had checked either "Buckmaster" or what's really IMPORTANT "The FCC database" he SHOULD HAVE FOUND THAT I AND MY CALL ARE "ENTIRELY LEIGITAMATE!!!"

Mr. N2WEC you are truly a "Jerk!!!"

Jim/ee
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by NN6EE on December 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
KG4LJF,

We Amateurs are'nt necessarily ANGRY at the CBers per.se, though their OWN behavior for many years has'nt endured themselves towards our way of thinking (or the FCC's way of thinking for that matter!) nor have THEY abided by the FCC's laws either, which does'nt give them (CBers) any legitement EXCUSE to bitch at all!!!

Jim/ee
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KG4TZM on December 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
HT's are boring compared to all the other stuff you can do in the hobby.
Granted, they have their place, but that is definitely not the coolest aspect of Amateur Radio, (and not the reason I wanted to get an Amateur Radio License!).
Derek
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K7PEH on December 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
On the question of an HT...

In February of 2004 I was licensed again as a General (later on an Extra) after a 38 year separation from this hobby. A good friend of mine finally convinced me to get back and get licensed. My path first included an Icom R75 receiver that I used to listen to the ham bands and practice my code again. I had once copied code at 20 words per minute but it had been 38 years.

During all of this study and practice I had no thoughts of HTs or VHF or repeaters. My memory of that previous life was all HF and that was my goal. But, I was not anti-HT, I was ignorant of HTs, I didn't even know they existed.

My first hint of an HT came when I heard of a ham fest on the air, after I had got my license as was back on the bands. Someone said that the "talk-in" frequency for the ham fest was such-and-such. I asked "What is a talk-in frequency?". That was when I first learned of HTs.

The next time, a ham friend of mine was giving me directions to his house which was about 40 miles north. He said that when I got close, we could do the final direction finding using the local repeater. Well, I did not have an HT so I was not going to be getting directions on a repeater.

So, I bought an HT. I did some repeater stuff and I still listen (when I remember) to a swap meet on Saturday mornings. I have yet to make one single simplex call on it though so my experience is still neophyte like.

I have bought a second HT that is better than the first which I sold on Ebay. So, I guess HTs are useful to me in that I will spend money on them but I think I have yet to discover their true utility.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by NN6EE on December 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Phil,

First off WELCOME BACK into the greatest hobby known to the "Human-race!!!"

As far as HTs are concerned they have a place in the scheme of things, but rather limited. Sure their great for talking with buddies at swap-meets, or Ham-conventions, or for travelling (portable) in a new area, say like on a vacation. But for everyday use especially when driving around in your car working thru a repeater, even can be rather a pain, as in most instances the amount of RF put out by them on many ocassions just isn't enough to maintain solid communications especially when your using the HT and a "rubber-duck", instead of a mag-mount ext. ant!!! Then there's the problem of limited operating time because of the Battery-Pak too!!!

Jim/ee
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KINGBOLETE on December 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Do you guys flame the airwaves like you flame the net? I've seen more flames on eHam.net than on any of the old usenet forums; I always wrote those off to wet-behind-the-ears 20-somethings---now I wonder.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC8PPO on December 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
What's sad is that the very people who spend their time griping about how the ham radio is dying are the ones who are so unwelcoming to new operators; instead of offering those old rigs that are collecting dust in their garage to a "newbie" who would love to give it a second life, they look down their long noses of condemnation at the "no-code" losers, accusing them of being too chicken to learn code. Amateur radio, just like Rome, is dying because it's rotting from the inside.

A HT is all I started with, because it's all I could afford. I still don't have $500 to put down on a new rig, and even if I did, I wouldn't buy it new. That's why they invented hamfests. But like I inplied above, why don't some of you older, more experienced operators sell or give one of your older rigs that maybe you don't use to a newbie; maybe it would keep him in the hobby.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by SAIL_AWAY on December 16, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
i admit i like the cb. i have a cobra cb and a icom mkiig in the truck and use them both at the same time, the icom is usually scanning local emergency channels and the cb of course sits on 19. i'm still learning about the icom, still haven't talked to anyone on a repeater yet, did get to hear a satellite beacon but haven't decoded any packets yet (old used toshiba for linux is on the way, hopefully be here this week). but the cb i actually use. a good example is tonight, it is icy here and snowed some on top of it, then rain, basically a big slush fest. and i had both radios on scanning the emergency channels and talking on the cb with truck drivers about conditions and things, when the weather would change, accidents, etc. what's wrong with that ? i've yet to actually talk to another amateur operator, but maybe after i get the HF stuff hooked up i'll at least be able to hear some talking. i am still learning cw for my test.

since i've started using the cb and using the icom like a scanner i've really learned a lot of things about where i live that i didn't know. one is how much crime there is! i never realized it was so much :) but also i have learned that i have been driving around in the dark before when i didn't have radios. i had to disable the radios for two days this week because i was putting in an amplifier system as a backend to all this equipment (and more going in soon) so i did not have the radios to listen to and i felt kind of weird about it after listening to them so much lately. a rescue squad would go by and i would feel odd not knowing where it was going lol. and the same for the cb, you would see backed up traffic and wonder what was backing it up, and how far it was backed up, but you can't ask without a cb!

i can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want a cb to use if they were excited about radios and things. i mean it seems to be one of the more useful things to have around. why wouldn't someone want one ? i mean, yeah, it's another antenna on the truck, sure :) and it takes up some dash space. do people have the same bad feelings towards amateur radio people who have am/fm radios too ? lol.

one reason i really like the cb is that i have learned that people around here use it in much the same way as you might say hello to someone while passing them while walking in the park. it seems to be certain kinds of people that use them, mostly people with pickup trucks or of course tractor trailers, but i don't see that there is another technology that could replace the cb. i mean, you can't just dial a number on your cellular telephone and talk to the guy who just lost the top off of his trash can on the way to the dump, how would you get his number ? but he can hear you say something on the cb because it is local and with the squelch up he doesn't have to listen to anything except things that are right next to him. i think it is a perfect gadget for what it is and find it very useful in dealing with other drivers in my area. it is also good for asking directions when you get lost. :) and it is of course amusing also.
 
RE: Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on December 16, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

Enjoy Amateur Radio your way.

I got into ham radio because I was an SWL. I would listen to hams on HF but my primary interest was listening to HF utility stations.

So the bottom line is you don't have to be a ham to enjoy the magic of radio. There are many avenues to choose from.

I have been doing it "My Way" for over 30 years now. I didn't call it "Ham radio" per se, but rather I call it my Radio Hobby.

For example, I have completely restored at least 30 or so boatanchor radios, I designed and constructed 100's of antennas, build my own power supplies, put up dozens of towers and I even learned Morse Code as an SWL !!!


How's that for a "newbie" to Ham Radio?


73 Charles - KC8VWM
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KC9HVN on December 16, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I was lucky, when I got my ticket last summer I managed to scrape by the 5wpm test for a general. I tried just about everything I could afford with gear aquired from ebay (total outlay < $500 for HF and 2m). The station logs tell all. 14 2m repeater QSO's 33 sideband phone, mostly DX on 15 and 10. 136 CW contacts, a majority split between 20 and 40m (now on 80 with new dipole).

On any given day I can listen to the repeaters sign themselves all day long... that can't be any fun.. the 2m rig is going back on ebay. Phone is ok, but I'm not much of a ragchewer, anyway the internet is better for that sort of thing (witness this very blog), prefer the quick DX contacts on 10 and 15.

CW, now thats the cats meow, real seat of the pants radio! any qso < 500 miles is "local", really nice folks who will slow down for you when needed. Plus I can (am) homebrew a rig for a few bucks and have even more fun.
To wit, I sat down and listened around to a relatively empty lower 80m the other night, called cq on 3554, and found myself on the recv end of a pileup, how cool is that!
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K7MBL on January 5, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Back to the original post...

Ya know, not all folks get into Ham radio for the towers, big rigs, rotators or even have an interest in HF. Many fellas just cant accomplish thier comm needs using CB, FRS or GMRS rigs. They don't want to build antennas, QRP rigs or even want to tie a string between two cans! Few people here have studied the history of the automobile just because they drive one! How many of you actually even care?

Why do many Hams have a problem with this? First Hams complain about illegal use of the bands and CBers in general. Hams even thrash FRS/GMRS users. They refer to them as wanna-be's, etc. etc. When these folks do go to the trouble of obtaining their licenses for whatever reason, reasons I'm sure many would say is no one's business, they still get slammed by Hams.

What is it with some folks? Can someone tell me? Why is it that you can't read a Ham related forum these days without arguments, name calling and back stabbing? Why do new licensees just fade away? Well, I wonder....

Most of the amateur radio problems these days don't come from new Hams, heck, most of them just leave in disgust. The problem comes from within. They come from the folks who don't have the cajones to admit that they're not part of the solution, they're contributing to the problem.

Amateur Radio is a fantastic hobby, I'm very proud of it and defend it to no end. Unfortunately, people are in the mix. That's were it goes to *$%@ in a hand-basket!!

My 2 cents....FWIW

73, K9MBL
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by K9JP on February 7, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with your all your posts below. I believe, there is
one more important thing to remember as well. That is
everyone needs a Mentor. The current no-code license
gets you on the air, without much thought, on the
practical application of how that radio in your hand
works or should work.

I made the mistake, by just giving a new ham in the area
a HT first, and then providing them with a mobile radio, but never
spent the time to set up a good antenna. I never took
the time to show them the in's and out's of how each
radio worked, or where it would and would not work.

I just never thought about it. How dumb was I !

Mentoring, is just a little back-up support, to guide
a new ham in the right direction. One, does not need
to provide monetary gifts like radio equipment, but
just free knowledge of past experience of what works
and what doesn't.

Thanks to all for keeping me thinking.

73 and Good Health, Jeff - K9JP
 
Newbies to Ham Radio  
by KI40TK on April 26, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I guess I am one of those guys that did the dumbest possible thing, by your estimation.

I got my ham ticket in the mail last week. I bought my first radio, an HT, at RARSfest on Sunday for $250 (a Yaesu VX-6R). Monday night, I walked out to the highest point within short walking distance from my home and joined in on the JARS net, on a repeater that was about 29 or 30 miles away from me (and clear on the other side of a city... a different city than the city I was in). This was on 2m. I was just tickled to jawjack with folks in towns that would take me an hour or more to drive to from my home. This was a wonderful first experience, and not really knowing what to expect I was surprised by the range I go on my lowly HT with its dummy load antenna.

Yes, I wish I could have been able to work 6m. Yes, I wish I could get up on 33cm. But I have 2m, 1.25m, and 70cm to enjoy. I have noticed the lack of SSB capabilities and this is a learning experience for me to figure out what I need to look for in my next radio.

I do not feel shorted in the least. In fact, I've been able to keep this "dumb" little HT on my belt and when my co-workers ask me about it, they get a very short but enlightening intro into my new hobby. I think two of the guys at work have been asking a lot of questions this week and must be considering getting their own ham tickets.

The HT matches my lifestyle pretty well. I am not in the car much so a mobile doesn't serve much point. I live in an apartment right now, so outdoor antennas are not possible. I have little kids running around inside, and gobs of RFI from my neighbors, so I'm not really inclined to set up much elaborate equipment in my home anyway. But I do like to walk, hike, and backpack. The HT has its shortcomings but for my lifestyle, it is the perfect first radio.

I do look forward to learning more about the science & art of radio, and upgrading to a General ticket so I can get on HF. I'm on the HFPack mailing list (lurking) and plan on procuring or maybe even building a pack radio for HF use. My "dumb" HT is giving me a taste of what's out there, a limited spectrum on which to learn my hard lessons and my radio manners, and an appreciation for what I'm missing. I think it was a great investment to get me started.
 
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