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Getting Started in Ham Radio

Doug Miller (DRMILLER100) on September 18, 2006
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Getting Started in Ham Radio

Doug Miller

September 3, 2006

People have different reasons for learning about 2 way radios. Some wish to have them for emergency use, some for tinkering, some for 2 way communications, and some people just wish to listen.

Scanners - Listening only

In order to listen to communications you simply need a scanner. A scanner is available from a number of internet sources, ebay, and your local Radio Shack. An inexpensive scanner will cost you less then $100 dollars, or for under $300 dollars for a full featured multiple band scanner can be easily found.

If you want to listen to specific types of traffic, do a little research to find out what local frequencies are used. Common frequencies are the 2 meter bands (137mhz to 174mhz), the 6 meter band (400 mhz to 470mhz), UHF, HF, and others. At the bottom of this article is a list of common frequencies.

Radio Clubs

If you are interested in 2 way radio, the easiest way to get started is to find a local club. Radio clubs are full of people interested in radios. Further, by definition, people interested in 2-way radios are VERY talkative, Interestingly enough, they are also VERY friendly, and love to help people learn about their hobby!

Search Google or Yahoo for “Ham” plus your local home town, and odds are you will find a local club. A partial list of clubs can be found at http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/club/clubsearch.phtml

Once you find a club, you will probably find an “Elmer.” An Elmer is a tutor, or person that can get you going and answer your questions.

Amateur Licenses

In order to talk back and forth via radio you need a license, a transceiver, and an antenna. Licenses are required to transmit with a few exceptions. The exceptions include CB radio, very small walkytalky's of limited power, FRS radios, and cellular phones.

2-Way radio licenses are given by the FCC. Amateur radio licensed by the FCC is called “Ham Radio.” There are three levels of Ham license, and you need to pass a test to receive each successive level. The first level is called “Technician”, followed by “General”, with the most advanced being “Extra.” Currently you don't need Morse Code knowledge to pass the Technician Test, but will need it for either of the other tests.

For a list of all the radio test questions and the correct answer, go to http://www.qrz.com/p/testing.pl . Many of us have memorized the answers without really understanding their meanings in order to pass the test.

Tests cost $14.00, and are given all over the country. For a schedule of tests, go to http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/examsearch.phtml .

Once you have received your Technician License you can begin talking on your transceiver to other people!

Transceiver

A transceiver is a combination of a transmitter and a receiver. They come in a variety of shapes, styles, and capabilities.

There are walkytalky looking things called HT's, or portables, which run off of batteries and have limited range.

Mobile transceivers can be operated from your home or from your vehicle. They do require a 12 volt power source.

Base stations are designed for your home. You can spend a LOT of money on a high powered base station, but the reach is also much further then the smaller units.

There are a LOT of used radios for sale in this world. The advice I received is most used radios cost as much as a new radio, and are being sold for a reason. I suggest you buy your first transceiver new from a reputable place and your learning curve will be somewhat shorter. Another piece of advice I received is to buy your first transceiver from one of the big three manufacturers in the marketplace: Icom, Kenwood, or Yaesu.

There is an excellent source for evaluating radios and antennas at http://www.eham.net/reviews/ . Thousands of users give their opinions on various Ham equipment.

My advice is to pay attention when a radio person says the radio is hard to program. I have 20 years of computer experience, can program my own VCR, and generally am pretty good with electronic devices. It took me two hours to program my first channel, and I still get my radio into never never land occasionally, and my radio was rated as “Easy to program!”

I purchased my first radio from http://www.hamradio.com/. Their web page is confusing, but the prices are reasonable, and they have GREAT sales support on the phone when you finally give up on the web page and call them. Google has many other web sites listed.

Antenna

I recommend when you buy your transceiver you buy your antenna from the same place. Buy the cable that connects the two at the same time.

HT's come with a small antenna. A decent mobile antenna can be purchased for under $50 bucks. The sky is the limit on home base antennas, although many make their own high powered antennas for under $50 dollars.

The antenna needs to match the radio you are using, which needs to match the frequencies you are trying to receive and transmit on.

Again, http://www.eham.net/reviews/ reviews antennas if you don't trust your sales person.

Summary

Ham radio is indeed very fun. An elmer can really cut the learning curve and there are many folks who would love to help you out. Practice the tests, buy a good piece of equipment, and most of all, HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!

Frequency Range

  • 25- 30 Amateur Band 10 Meters

  • 30- 50 VHF Low Band

  • 50- 54 Ham Band 6 Meters

  • 108-137 Aircraft Band

  • 137-144 Federal Government

  • 144-148 Amateur Band 2 Meters

  • 148-174 VHF High Band

  • 216-225 Amateur Band

  • 406-420 Federal Government

  • 420-450 Amateur Band 70 Cm

  • 450-470 UHF Band

  • 470-512 UHF "T" Band

  • 806-956 800 MHz Band (less cellular)

  • 1240-1300 Amateur Band

Member Comments:
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Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W5TD on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"The advice I received is most used radios cost as much as a new radio, and are being sold for a reason"

Completely wrong, except for maybe some outrageous auctions on Ebay. Most used radios sell for 50% of what the new model would cost, and after time, many get down to 33% of what they cost new. Also, much of the time there is nothing wrong with a used radio, the owner is simply selling it because they upgraded to a newer radio, or their interests in ham radio changed.

Many ham dealers sell used equipment which has been checked over and come with a limited warranty. I would recommend buying used gear for anyone entering the hobby because they can put the money they saved into antennas, which will make the bigger difference. The
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K4JF on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"the 6 meter band (400 mhz to 470mhz)"

The 6 meter band is from 50-54. The frequencies quoted are the 70cm band.
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W8VVE on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"The advice I received is most used radios cost as much as a new radio, and are being sold for a reason. I suggest you buy your first transceiver new from a reputable place and your learning curve will be somewhat shorter. Another piece of advice I received is to buy your first transceiver from one of the big three manufacturers in the marketplace: Icom, Kenwood, or Yaesu."

I hope you didn't take this advice and I hope you don't expect or convince any new ham to take this advice either. Many good buys are avail when looking for a used rig. Also...Icom, Kenwood, and Yaesu do not have a lock on the market. I read your complete article...and am taking exception with this one area.
Otherwise...pretty good. 73...Sam W8VVE, since 1955
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KG6WLS on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"The 6 meter band is from 50-54. The frequencies quoted are the 70cm band."

Darn-it, Jim you beat me to the punch ;-).
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KI6LO on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
First off, I believe that the intent of this piece is a good idea, however I do have several issues with the approach and the content of it. I usually don't like to be judgemental about someone's observation of a topic unless it has pointed errors or faults, as I feel this one does.

My issues with this piece are:

Mr. Miller seems to want to tell everyone just how to get started in ham radio and have fun doing it yet he fails to state that whether he is licensed himself or not. He does not list any callsigns so that would lead one to think either he isn't licensed or perhaps this is a troll article (which it appears it may be).

The content of the article is mainly geared towards what appears to be the Technician Class licensee. For a complete article, it should contain some information about the other classes and what can be done with that level of priviledges.

Referring to amateur licenses, the lines "In order to talk back and forth via radio you need a license, a transceiver, and an antenna. Licenses are required to transmit with a few exceptions. The exceptions include CB radio, very small walkytalky's of limited power, FRS radios, and cellular phones." refer to types of radio operations that have nothing to do with ham radio.

Sprinkled throughout the article is vague references and comparisons to "walkytalky things". I've been in amateur radio for 30 years I cannot ever recall hearing hams refer to HT's as 'walkytalky things'. Undoubtly Mr. Miller doesn't have much experience or knowledge of what he is trying to explain to others.

The comments about used radios is very misleading. I, like the other poster, would highly recommend beginning ham radio operators buy used radios from a reliable source. These will not only be less expensive but the "learning curve" (as Mr. Miller refers to it) will indeed be shorter. Most new gear today has so many levels of menus and specialized DSP control that while very useful requires more knowledge to use it correctly.

All in all this piece is very poorly planned and organized. It does have a few valid points but as an experienced ham radio operator of 30 years, I feel the author really doesn't know much of anything about ham radio. This is the type of article I would expect to see in the local Saturday paper from a half-informed junior reporter but not posted by a on EHAM.NET.

Gene KI6LO
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W6TH on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
.

I love this part; Many of us have memorized the answers without really understanding their meanings in order to pass the test.

All is needed now is to obolish; do away with; annul, to destroy completely; the code.

America, the land of the free.

Democracy: 51 get their desires and the 49 go without.

W6TH/1

.:
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by WB2WIK on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Ummm.

Not sure we need a single point view article containing mistakes when this stuff is on a public website, is more comprehensive, more accurate and well illustrated:

http://www.hello-radio.org/whatis.html

WB2WIK/6
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KG6WLS on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
There are some HT's (or "walkytalky's" as the author mentioned, HI) which include 6M, 2M, and 70cm that require a license to operate at any power level. Although you can just go out and buy a ham HT without a license, you cannot transmit. And as most in here would tend to agree, an HT should not be the first purchase for the newbie.

"For a list of all the radio test questions and the correct answer, go to http://www.qrz.com/p/testing.pl . Many of us have memorized the answers without really understanding their meanings in order to pass the test."

I don't believe that there is any self gratification (at least in my mind) for those who won't plunk out a few dollars and buy the study material. Even though that Al Gore invented the internet and you can find ALL the answers in various web sites/search engines, doesn't mean it makes an individual a ham, pilot, doctor, etc. It just means that you're cheating IMHO. BTW, there still is the code test. It would be hard to cheat on that.

"I recommend when you buy your transceiver you buy your antenna from the same place. Buy the cable that connects the two at the same time."

Why not brew your own??

Wire is cheap in most cases. An SO-239 with some wire, radials, aluminum tubing, copper tubing, etc. all make fine radiators. Dipoles (fan), verticals, ground planes, long wire, etc. Make your own cable runs and solder the PL-259's yourself. Buy the expensive stuff later when you're sure you want to stick with ham radio. And don't always believe in the gain figures that are posted on those small "magical wonder" HF antennas. Some of them are just true dummy loads.

I know that this article is basically for the newbie, but I think some of the true elmers in here will beg to differ on what the doctor has prescribed.

73
Mike




 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by G8KHS on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I give the article 5 out of 10; it could do with being a lot more objective with its content. I really hate the phrase 'homebase', it sounds very dumb. The correct term is fixed station as all amateurs should know if they read their operating procedure.

Anyhow, at least Doug has had a go and written an article, and is very positive about radio being fun. I hope he is not put off by our comments and is spurred on to write an improved one again on eham.

Maybe I should write one myself instead of merely posting a comment, you never know, it could be my turn for the flak or accolades!

73 to all eham users,

John G8KHS
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N0IU on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
“Common frequencies are the 2 meter bands (137mhz to 174mhz)”

Hmm… I always thought 2 meters was 144-148 MHz.

“Further, by definition, people interested in 2-way radios are VERY talkative, Interestingly enough, they are also VERY friendly, and love to help people learn about their hobby!”

Hmm... I guess Mr. Miller didn’t read the Speak Out question just before this one.

“2-Way radio licenses are given by the FCC.”

They are not given away (yet!), they are earned by passing tests.

“Amateur radio licensed by the FCC is called “Ham Radio.””

The words “ham radio” appear NO WHERE on my license.

“Once you have received your Technician License you can begin talking on your transceiver to other people!”

As long as it is a VHF and/or UHF radio.

“Base stations are designed for your home. You can spend a LOT of money on a high powered base station, but the reach is also much further then the smaller units.”

I have worked hundreds of amateur radio operators all over the face of the globe on less than 1 watt. High power stations do not reach much further, they only make it easier.

“I recommend when you buy your transceiver you buy your antenna from the same place.”

Why? Personally I buy products from the place that offers the best deal.

“Again, http://www.eham.net/reviews/ reviews antennas if you don't trust your sales person.”

If you don’t trust your salesperson, buy your stuff somewhere else.

Scott N0IU
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N5RNY on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
This is what happens when a 'ham-wannabe' tries to write an article about Amateur Radio, and gets much of it wrong. I think his heart is in the right place, but not having first hand knowledge, he should stick to writing articles about subjects he knows well.

---Brian N5RNY
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by AB9LZ on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Nothing about this article "smells" right. I think it's some sort of troll, or a bad attempt at a plug for the vendor linked to above.
Perhaps DRMILLER is the marketing director for that site?

73 m.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K3AN on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Given the number of factual errors, let's hope the author is not a licensed ham!

It would appear that Eham is not attracting enough good, accurate, well-written articles. This "Getting Started in Ham Radio" article is one piece of evidence, and another is Eham's acknowledged re-running of older, "classic" articles. That's too bad.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I think the obvious premise of this article is intended toward new prospective hams.

I suppose I am trying to put myself in the readers shoes for a moment to gain their possible perspective of things involving this article.

If I were a non ham reading this article, I would probably feel this article is lacking a certain "excitement" about the idea of joining the "fun" of ham radio. This information is not clearly conveyed to the reader.

I think if I were to publish this article, I would have omitted certain attempts which "teach" the reader certain technical aspects of amateur radio.

That is to say, there is nothing wrong with the idea of teaching people about amateur radio, but you have to consider that there is a certain time and place for that process to occur. I don't feel "technical talk" should be included as part of "introducing" the concept and idea of amateur radio to new prospective hams.

You have to get people excited about the idea of what amateur radio can do for them, long before describing any of it's technical attributes. They are not likely going to really understand that information at first anyways. Following that format will probably just "loose" the readers interest.

Focusing on the "what this darn techno gadget thing can actually do" for me as a reader should be the primary focus of this entire article. The article should capture a person's imagination and remain focused solely on that idea. The article should not in any way read like a technical manual.

For example:

"A transceiver is a combination of a transmitter and a receiver. They come in a variety of shapes, styles, and capabilities."

While the author attempts to explain what a "transceiver" is, there is no explanation whatsoever in reference to what a "transmitter" or "receiver" actually does. if the reader already knows what a receiver and what a transmitter is, then there's no point in explaining to them. They probably already know anyways.

On the other hand, if the reader doesn't have any idea what a "transmitter" or "receiver" is supposed to be, then the reader becomes lost in the description given. They don't know what a "transmitter" is, or what a "receiver" is as the intended reference point given to further describe what a transceiver is supposed to be.

The article should only be intended to "plant a seed" in the readers mind. Once that seed has been planted then any and all "tech talk" can come into play. The information presented should be conveyed in such a way that the reader starts to ask more questions.

Once these introductory phases have been successfully achieved in their proper order of operation, then the reader will start becoming more interested in the idea and will hopefully will start the "information gathering" process on their own.

On the other hand if you immediately loose the reader during the introductory phase, then nothing has been gained.

It seems this article preaches to the choir and not toward it's intended target audience.

The idea of an article presented to introduce prospective candidates to the idea of amateur radio is a really good thought. In addition, the overall intentions surrounding this article are also very good. Don't get me wrong. I am just playing a devil's advocate for a moment when reading this article and am attem,ting to provide a few constructive thoughts that may hopefully be considered as food for thought when introducing siumilar future articles of this type.

73 KC8VWM
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K3WVU on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Trolling, trolling" Another waste of space by the callsign-challenged.

Can't belive Eham would publish this.....oh wait a minute, yes, I can.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W6TH on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
.

Getting Started in Ham Radio

Doug Miller

September 3, 2006


Hey Doug, if you at first don't succeed, try, try again.

Fantastic article Doug.

73'sssss, see you on the flip side..

.:
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W3LK on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Another gross failure by the editorial staff at eHam.

This article should have been rejected for all the factual errors, at the very least.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Baltimore, Maryland
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N4FOZ on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
For a lot more information for the new Ham, try the
NEW HAM ADVISOR at www.nofars.org

Lots of tried and true information.
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K1CJS on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
This article sounds like 3rd hand information put down here by someone who is just about starting to think about getting started in radio--NOT ham radio either! There are so many omissions, distorted and incomplete facts and downright mistakes in it that is IS surprizing that the E-ham editors let it through.

I'm beginning to wonder if the site is worth supporting anymore--when they allow donkey dung like this to be posted. Wow.........
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by WI0T on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Boy you guys take no prisoners...This sort of response
sure encourages people to write articles for eham...

Are their errors ? yeah, probably. So what ? It's
nothing that someone reading to learn about radio
will find out correctly later. I didn't see anything
published that will cause major problems.

73,
WI0T


 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N2NFG on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Unedited articles like this are the main reason I no longer financially support eham. The suggested rate of $15.00 a year only buys you access to the classified ads. I would like to think that the $15.00 go towards improving the quality of eham, particularly the articles. Instead, the money you send only serves to "punish" those who chose not to send financial support. What a deal! Bob
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N3OX on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
WI0T: People who don't know about their subject matter SHOULDN'T be writing articles for eHam, or rather, the editorial staff shouldn't be greenlighting them.

I'm sorry, but the internet-as-democratizing-medium should be upheld secondarily to the internet-as-information-source, especially for a "factual" article on a major ham radio site. This can be relaxed for opinion pieces... everyone is entitled to their opinion and eHam editors are entitled to publish the opinions they feel are interesting or relevant to the site. However, there is NOT entitlement to factual errors, and useless front-page articles just so someone can claim authorship.

People come and read this stuff! New hams come and read this stuff! Don't you think the articles should be held up to some standard so that some INFORMATION is passed from writer to reader?

Articles don't need to be fancy. They don't need to be earth shattering or great pieces of literature or technically complex. What they should be is useful or thought provoking, or clever, or funny. They should leave the reader with more than they came in with.

I'm not blaming the author. I'm blaming the articles editor. Everything written by everyone needs some editing... everything I write and put on my website needs editing. I do that myself. Everything I post here gets edited as well... if it's in the forums and needs work, it gets criticized by the later posters. Some people are better at editing their own work than others, some need a guiding hand to complete a useful article. I thought we were out of the woods regarding articles that have little worth other than starting a flame war. We had a great wire beam, a discussion of dream shack design, an article that asks why not more 222MHz? All of these and their ensuing threads give INFORMATION. They're not a waste of the reader's time.

WI0T, you say :

"It's
nothing that someone reading to learn about radio
will find out correctly later."

but shouldn't we keep the misinformation out of their heads FIRST?

Dan
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by QSYING on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I would much rather see something like this -- well intentioned and encouraging -- if thin, and needing significant editing as to facts (reminds me of a middle school homework assignment), than the outright garbage I have seen elsewhere on this site.

By this, I refer to downright vulgar, insulting, name calling, abusive, code vs. no code arguments, incentive licensing arguments, is IRLP really ham radio or not?, etc. types of postings.

Many of those posting are from people with call signs, many from people without call signs. That doesn't matter. What is typed does matter. No license is needed to type on the Internet. If one was needed, there would probably be a lot fewer postings. Call signs don't make people better citizens of the Internet any more than no call signs make them worse citizens.

I sure hate to see someone's work product shredded and labeled as troll bait, when there is just no real evidence that is the case.

There is something to be said for giving people, especially newcomers, the benefit of the doubt.

73,

Bob - KC9JUB
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W7ETA on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Huuum. Let's see. Any way to find a club near you?

How about: http://www.hello-radio.org/clublist.html

Could there be an existing web site designed for people who want to find out about Ham Radio?

Maybe at:http://www.arrl.org/

Reason for "publishing" an inaccurate article , full of just strange assertions, about getting started in Ham Radio on eHam?

Priceless!

Bob
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N3OX on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
If you want to type random factually inaccurate stuff about ham radio, get yourself a blog!

http://www.blogger.com

Chances are nearly 100% that
<yourcallsign>.blogspot.com is open and ready for you. It's free, it's easy.

I don't understand why some of you think that the articles page should be open to anyone that wants to type *anything* in the little submission box.

Dan
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K7PEH on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
About eHam and editing the posted articles...

I understand that there is a degree of moderator review to the articles but I was not aware that the responsibility of eHam is to edit the articles for accuracy and correctness. That is a tall order especially when some of the postings get rather esoteric or highly specialized within a subject matter niche.

If all posted articles were totally accurate then what would others comment about. Actually, it is some of the comments that suggest corrections to something posted where my real education begins. I mean, sometimes there is a small nit drawn out of the details that contains valuable information.

Moderating these forums seems to be useful in keeping out the trash (I mean real trash). Or, keeping out outlandish commercial aggressive speech. But, moderating with an attempt to correct mistakes or some other kind of variance is not practical in this kind of forum.

As for me and my house -- we will continue to support eHam.

phil, K7PEH
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K0RFD on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
There's no HF below 10 meters? Get real.

Listening to a scanner, you miss the best part of Ham Radio.

The drunks on 75 meters.

Seriously--listening to HF is what gives people the HF bug. Listening only to a scanner leave people with no idea why it's worth upgrading. I didn't get involved in Ham radio to talk to guys on the other side of town. I got involved to talk to guys on the other side of the world.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by WI0T on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
N30X:

While the writer certainly presents opinions *I* don't
agree with, I didn't see anything so wrong to warrent the
barrage of negative comments that resulted here.

While I know this isn't radio, I think the amateur's code
could applied here. Too many postings were just downright
vicious - either at the writer or the eham staff...

Of course this behavior is common when people don't
communicate face to face, but as hams we should know
this and temper our remarks.

73, Rod
WI0T
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by AB9LZ on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
WI0T

Rod; I respectfully disagree, the folks here are very proud of thier hobby, and wish to see it represented to newcomers in a fair and factual way.

This article does nothing of the sort.

If a newcomer were to actually follow any of this advice it would do nothing to further their understanding of the great potential of ham radio.

73 Mark.
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N0IU on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
K7PEH wrote, "If all posted articles were totally accurate then what would others comment about."

When they post something as an article, it should be factual and accurate. When something is posted as an opinion, that is a different matter entirely.

Scott N0IU
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K7PEH on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
>>>When they post something as an article, it should be factual and accurate. When something is posted as an opinion, that is a different matter entirely. <<<


Scott, I will accept your comment with regard to intent but given the responses I have read on this forum in the two years I have known of its existance, I would say that not one article is so accurate that it has escaped the critique, correction, and kibitzing from experts and philistines alike.

Personally, it does not bother me that much when an article is poorly written since I usually just pass those by. And, by saying "poorly written" I am not especially commenting on the accuracy or correctness though that applies somewhat; however, I am more commenting on the content, style, and ease of reading that I find. It does not take too many sentences jumbled together to turn me away if they do not satisfy some inner urge I have for clarity and point.
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio Trolling.  
by AI2IA on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Trolling, trolling" Another waste of space by the callsign-challenged.

Can't belive Eham would publish this.....oh wait a minute, yes, I can."

Right on the mark, K3WVU!

There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

The time has arrived when to save this site, it needs call sign only comments.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio Trolling.  
by KX8N on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The only thing a prospecive ham would get here is an indication of how vicious, petty, and bitter hams can be with one another.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N3OX on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
K7PEH and WI0T: I guess I'm just with AB9LZ on this one. I'd like a site that's #4 in the google search results for "ham radio" to have a factually accurate, useful, and well written front page.

While I would generally agree with the "spin the dial" approach to things that bother you on the internet, I find it irritating that the editors here greenlight articles that are guaranteed to draw negative comments like this.

It's not true that all articles do so. It's random, un-thought-out, innaccurate ones, or it's ones where common contentious opinions are rehashed. It's the ones that add nothing to the site content while pushing other, good articles closer to falling off the front page.

Dan
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K7PEH on September 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
>>>I'd like a site that's #4 in the google search results for "ham radio" to have a factually accurate, useful, and well written front page<<<


My goodness. I would have thought that eHam is #1 on a search of google. I should search google and look at #1, #2, and #3 -- maybe they are sites I don't know about but should look at.

I should explain my position. I am not against the posting of accurate articles. I would like to see accurate and meaningful posts just like the next guy. However, I feel fairly confident that I will not be lead astray by an article that contains mistakes or errors since I believe that on this forum that kind of thing does not stay hidden for too long, maybe a few minutes or so.

I do not know the duties of the forum moderator. I would be surprised if they police the submitted articles to the degree that we might expect from a journal editor or something like that. In this case, I mean this particular example of a post, I would agree that it would be better if the moderator returned the article to the author with the suggestion of correcting a few things.

But, it does not bother me that much if something is posted in error. I am certain that a neophyte would quickly find out the technical integrity of the content via the responses posted by others.

I have written a few technical articles in math and some engineering topics (decades ago) and before they are published they go through a rather extensive peer review process where you get tons of comments. Most times these are good comments pointing out problems or suggesting improvements. And, I have been on the peer review team of several technical journals in the past (IEEE PSA, SIAM). The result of this peer review process is that an article has been tested to a fair degree prior to publishing. The disadvantage though is that it takes up to a year sometimes to see your published article in print.

To garner some kind of professional edge to the articles posted here, it will take more than a single forum moderator. It would take something like a peer review group made up of volunteers. Maybe this would work. Maybe there should be volunteer peer review groups that focus on various subjects.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KC9KEL on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio
by W6TH on September 18, 2006

>I love this part: 'Many of us have memorized the >answers without really understanding their meanings >in order to pass the test.'

Well, that might be true in some cases. I spent
many weeks reading through an older (4th edition) ARRL General Class manual, took lots of notes, drew pictures.. so I think I got a lot more out of it than merely knowing the answers. At the Peoria (Illinois) Superfest last weekend I flipped through the Gordon West version. No text! (that I could see), just Boom! here's the RIGHT answer to the question (in Blue print, or, if you're colorblind, it's the BOLDER text). The newer ARRL publications seem to be oriented in this direction as well....ahem. And ugh!

THAT ain't learnin'! But it'll let you pass the exams, I'll bet. Problem is that multiple-guess exams really don't measure what you might Know, only whether you can get the answers right. Maybe an alternate type of exam would be good..say an essay- or even interview-based exam where you'd get to stumble through explanations of how different components are interdependent, how they connect up, how you get from A (antenna) to A (audio) or versa-vice. Or..here's a thought: keep the multiple-choice stuff but have the applicant explain why the wrong choices ARE the wrong choices...well, the ARRL didn't ask me how to write the manual, darnit.

And then there's that 377-ohm relationship that is, well, just a factoid.

Me, I LIKE reading; it's how I was taught to learn. What sometimes gets skipped is teaching folks how to Think...

>All is needed now is to obolish ; do away with; >annul, to destroy completely; the code.

Man, I sure hope not!, at least not for a dozen
years after I get good enough at it to pass the exam and maybe work up to 10 wpm. As someone said, that's one part you can't fake.

>America, the land of the free.

So far...so good. Unfortunately, no one's watching the watchers. The next 10 years gonna be Very inneresting, which is precisely WHY I'm becoming a ham; I wanna know what's happening out there, and Cokie Roberts et al is not high on my favorites list.

>Democracy: 51 get their desires and the 49 go >without.

I'd amend that a bit. More like: 3% do whatever they like (with impunity, that's what bugs me) and make it rough for the other 97%.

As for DRMILLER, I think maybe he had good intentions and dint intend to mislead, though he did pontificate a bit. And I agree with the consensus, which seems to be that the (alleged) editor/s here should be shot. Or at least be required to take a simple exam to show they know How to be editors.

But not not not a multiple-choice exam, OK?

My nickel's worth.

73, Terry Bakowski

ps
dear ARRL:
the plural of 'baud' is 'baud', not 'bauds'.
s'like 'fish', 'corn'... it's a collective noun.
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by 3CX800A7 on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
This is the kind of drivel WA6BFH would post annonymously for some sort of "statistical analysis". Thus, he can go back to his cohorts and boast of his findings in the limited sample pool. What a sick monkey.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by WB8NUT on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"The advice I received is most used radios cost as much as a new radio, and are being sold for a reason"

I would have to somewhat agree. It has nothing to do with eBay. I have seen guys at fleamarkets trying to sell used radios for just about what they cost new. Beat-up and scratched 2, 220, 440 and HF rigs with prices in the flea markets maybe $10 under the new price - especially at Dayton. Whether or not they have a problem is unknown.

But I would also give advice to a new ham to buy the radio new, with warranty. Unless you are actually buying a well taken-care-of radio for half or less for what it sold new.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by WB8NUT on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Geez, from reading most of the responses, all I can say to the author is, "no good deed goes unpunished."
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by WI0T on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
AB9LZ & N30X,

IMHO the issue is the way the author and the article
was torn to shreds by posters on this web site. The
response seemed to go overboard, as I didn't see
anything so wrong with the article that justified
that sort of treatment.

People can agree to disagree, and I'm sure we will
on his article (and that's okay), but I think behooves
the ham community to disagree in a respectfull manner
as others are watching.

73, Rod
WI0T


 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W6TH on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
.
I had/have the understanding that eHAM/Eham was for the Amateur Radio Operators and see it as; "Getting Started in Ham Radio is a little off base".

The printing of this topic is not anyones fault, but does not interest me as I started Ham Radio long ago and this topic does not have any form of interest to me and am sure those that already have become hams.

So, make your say, grin and bear it, as another day will bring forth a topic that may be of interest to all, hopefully, ( As the world turns or revolves ).

W6TH
.:
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K8MHZ on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
My question is why is the author trying to explain ham radio to a bunch of hams?

The author started out preaching to the choir, and ended up preaching to Korn!

In addition to the question of the target audience there are errors. Did anyone notice that CB radio is included in the author's chart under the listing of our 10 meter band.

It appears that Mr. Miller only studied enough to 'pass the test' and has forgotten some very important facts. For instance our 10 meter band is from 28.0 Mhz to 29.7 Mhz, NOT 25 - 30 as the chart says. Other errors include the 220 band as starting at 216 Mhz and there is no mention of any of the HF bands nor the 33 cm band.

The author makes some questionable recommendations based upon opinion and can't even get the facts straight.

Anything meant to entice folks to come into our hobby should be accurate, well written and not purvey advice with absolutely no basis in fact nor practice. (Like the recommendation to purchase rig, antenna and coax from the same vendor at the same time......why???)

I agree that the moderators should have at least proof read the article before it was posted. I also think that, based upon the advice given, it may have been better not posted at all.

Passing a written test for a ham license (and then forgetting the answers) does not make one an instructor anymore than passing a written test for a driver license does not make one a driver's training teacher.
 
Getting Started in Trolling  
by AI2IA on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
It is a sad observation to note that so many postings on this "article" show no realization that the "article" is most likely a grotesque joke written in the style of a troll. A potential candidate for amateur radio reading this "article" and taking it seriously would be turned away by its lack of quality. If contributors of articles were required to include their call sign, the sincerity and the quality of the articles would jump. In a world where ignorance and low standards abound, those who want to keep the standards high are often unjustly looked upon as harsh and cruel.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W0IPL on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
MHZ - Bravo!

- - - - - -

There are several postings that advocate cutting some slack for the author. A few others that at least imply the reviewer for eHam should also get some slack. This is good councel, until the magnitude and number of outright blunders reaches a certain point. This "article" went far beyond that point.

This "article" shouild not have seen the light of eHam.
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N8QBY on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I think the author might have been fishing with this article. If this is the case, he sure caught his limit. :o)
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by AB2MH on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I think this article is well intentioned but poorly executed.

I've not seen much mention of HF at all.

My first introduction to radio (apart from am/fm broadcast) was as a SWL.

Anyone who wants to get involved in ham radio should get a good shortwave radio, preferably with SSB capability.

That way one will understand the international nature of amateur radio. Let's face it - VHF/UHF FM are nice for local communications and logistics, but the real magic of ham radio is DX communication. And DX usually means either HF, satellites or VHF/UHF SSB/CW.

A new ham should also look at building a radio out of a kit at the very least. Ham radio is about experimentation.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I think this article is well intentioned but poorly executed.

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

It seems that some people think that stating the truth is somehow considered a vicious attack toward the author.

On the contrary. People seem to be suggesting improvemnts and perhaps that's the entire premise of publishing this article in the first place?

Perhaps the authors intention here has nothing at all to do with the idea of enticing new prospective hams. You do have to admit, it does seems a little odd to be preaching to the choir doesn't it?

Perhaps the author is seeking a critique from the ham radio community about the articles overall content before actual publication somewhere else?

Could that be the case? Licensed hams are obviously not the intended taget audience, so what other possible reason would the author have to publish this article on a "Ham Radio" website?

... Well, it seems the author has come to the right place for a thorough and indepth "analysis" of the introductory to ham radio publication if you should ask me. ...lol

73 Charles - KC8VWM
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K8AG on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Seems a little VHF/UHF centric for me. There is a lot more to ham radio, even for beginners, than can be listed here (without filling up the server). ;)

A scanner is OK, but don't forget about listening to stations from around the world as an SWL (short wave listener). This can blossom into ham radio where a listener can join in.

My 2 cents.

73, JP, K8AG
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K1CJS on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
".....Moderating these forums seems to be useful in keeping out the trash (I mean real trash). Or, keeping out outlandish commercial aggressive speech. But, moderating with an attempt to correct mistakes or some other kind of variance is not practical in this kind of forum....."

Why isn't it practical? This article should have--at the very least--been read through and returned to the sender for correction.

Tell you what.....it is very impractical to post false and misleading information concerning an activity when promoting that activity is what the site is intended for.

This article shouldn't have seen the light of day.....


 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by WA1RNE on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
First of all, WHO is Doug Miller?


Does he have a call sign? If not, I would be inclined to disregard his or anyone else's advice on how to start out in ham radio.


The ARRL does a much better job anyway - and without the "suspect" recommendations - like "I recommend when you buy your transceiver you buy your antenna from the same place. Buy the cable that connects the two at the same time."


Hello? You've got to be kidding. We have too much "plug'n play ham radio as it is.

While your at it, why not just mention the dealer's name and phone number.


WA1RNE
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K7FD on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The circus must be in town. Article written by a clown.

K7FD
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W8LGZ on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Many of us have memorized the answers without really understanding their meanings in order to pass the test."

Therein lies a large part of the reason AR has such terrible operators(?) on the air these days. No real knowledge of the hobby.

"25- 30 Amateur Band 10 Meters"

What, is this your way of telling your CB buddies they can "freeband" "legally" if they get an Amateur Radio license? OR Is it that you "memorized the answers without really understanding their meanings in order to pass the test?" I'm inclined to believe the latter going by your log-in name...DRMILLER100. There are 38 Doug Miller's in the data-base, which are you?

Jim - W8LGZ

P.S. To refresh your "memory", 10 meters is from 28 Mhz to 29.7 Mhz, it DOES NOT include the so called "11 meter" band.


 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W3FLH on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Inasmuchas we haven't heard from the author since the original posting, I am inclined to agree that this was more effective trolling than a downrigger on lake trout!!

de Rich, W3FLH
73
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

"I purchased my first radio from http://www.hamradio.com/.

Their web page is confusing, but the prices are reasonable, and they have GREAT sales support "


------

Well, Well, Well....

It seems Doug Miller has a way with pluging an advertisement into the form of a written article doesn't he?
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K1OU on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
This website has really gone downhill. I will not be renewing my subscription, as I have not the time to subsidize bandwidth for certain individuals to hijack HAM RADIO threads with political agendas, and tripe such as this.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W8LGZ on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
My bad...senior moment. HIHI It's MHz.

Jim
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by QSYING on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
On the other hand, this could be a brand new ham, not a troll at all.

The name given was DRMILLER100.

Searching for Doug Millers in the FCC ULS yields 20, including a grant on 9-6-06, for a Dougles R Miller, KE7IXE.

If this is DRMILLER100 (and it may or may not be) it is a pretty rude reception to Amateur Radio.

"That's all I have to say about that." -- Forrest Gump

73,

Bob - KC9JUB
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by WI0T on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
bob, KC9JUB wrote:

"On the other hand, this could be a brand new ham, not a troll at all.

The name given was DRMILLER100.

Searching for Doug Millers in the FCC ULS yields 20, including a grant on 9-6-06, for a Dougles R Miller, KE7IXE.

If this is DRMILLER100 (and it may or may not be) it is a pretty rude reception to Amateur Radio. "

<...snip...>

That's been my point here. Posters tear the article to
shreds for all sorts of reasons. We don't know if
it is troll-bait, and unlicensed person, or someone
just simply unknowledgable about ham radio. It's
all speculation.

If that isn't enough, posters then tear into the
eham staff for allowing it to be posted, not editing
it, etc.

Shows a rather ugly side of ham radio. I don't care
what the reasons these "hams" have, this response to
the article was uncalled for.

73, Rod
WI0T

 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W8ZNX on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
i am speech less

so poorly done, so full of bad info

it's kinda like watching a train wreck

Mac W8ZNX














 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by 3CX800A7 on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The Tech Bench Elmers must have too much time on their hands and no one to "elmer". :-(

What research for a prospective future article? It's disingenous. It's not the slightest bit informative, amusing, or entertaining. That's, "One giant yawn for eHam, one giant snooze for immature radio."

How about an article entitled:

"Stochastic analysis, homoschedasticity, and the etiology of severe cranial rectumitis: a lack of portocols and limited survey pool in the collection of data to elucidate future amateur radio operators."

Homoschedasticity, heteroschedasticity? It's the interval ... it's the interval, you monkey!! ;-)

 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by 3CX800A7 on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Doug Miller? Say, aren't you the feller that was supposedly operating from Desecheo but actually located at the Ramada Inn in Fort Lauderdale with a random wire tossed out the second floor window?

Did you learn an awful lot about the care and feeding of pigeons a few years after our QSO?

Mang, that's not cool!!

 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N5LX on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I may be mistaken, but I don't think that I can remember a more poorly written article, full of mis-information and completely wrong assumptions like this for quite some time.

I am very surprised that the EHam staffers posted this.

This type of article causes hams to stop coming to this site becuase its quickly becoming obvious that any standards previously set are now becoming a joke.

Whats next - posting an article by K1MAN on proper radio proceedures??
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KG6WLS on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"How about an article entitled:

"Stochastic analysis, homoschedasticity, and the etiology of severe cranial rectumitis: a lack of portocols and limited survey pool in the collection of data to elucidate future amateur radio operators."

This sounds like something from Mr.BFH himself. Is that you, John?? Hmmmm??
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K1OU on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Per N5LX,

"Whats next - posting an article by K1MAN on proper radio proceedures??"

Only after an article by me about thread etiquette.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K7JBQ on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
As a magazine editor of many years standing, my only question is this:

Did eHam run out of rejection slips?

OK, one more question:

Is the editor's chair occupied?

73,
Bill
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by WI0T on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I used to dismiss talk about hams being un-friendly…not anymore…

I have seen excellent examples of rude, hypercritical, snobbish,
self-righteous, know-it-all, and name-calling behavior.

All for writing an article that didn't measure up to snuff....

What's next? Banned from Eham? Pull his ticket? Jail time?

If you don't like the article, stop reading it (kind of like turning the dial...remember
that concept ?).

Alternatively, write something yourself...Of course, you'll be the fresh meat in the
tank then and we'll see if the critics like being skewered….I suspect not...

73, Rod
WI0T
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N3OX on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
WI0T: For me it's this:

Some writers of articles on eHam have put a lot of work into their articles. They've built, tuned and tweaked their antennas or other homebrew projects. They've carefully considered the ideas they're trying to present, they've created real, valuable content in the process of writing and editing their article. Some take the time to take photos, make drawings, polish things up a bit.

You do realize that as soon as an article leaves the top spot on eHam, comments and readership drop off considerably. By the time it gets to the bottom of the articles stack, maybe some people are reading it, but no one comments. When it drops off the front page, that's it. Gone. No more readers.

Is it really fair for a well written article that took real time to write and contains real content to get knocked off the front page by someone who spent ten minutes typing some random stuff and pasting a couple of links?

This, for me, has NOTHING to do with ham radio, ham spirit, ham fraternity, or giving other hams (or soon-to-be-hams or unlicensed radio enthusiasts) a shot. It has to do with the internet and the glut of junk therein which is published simply because someone *can* publish it; it's posted because someone thinks it's neat to see their article or comment up there on the internet, content or quality be damned.

This, of course, gives the web a really awful signal-to-noise ratio in most spots. I'd prefer that eHam not be one of them. If you want to learn to write a good article in public, I'm serious, get yourself a blog or buy your own hosting. Everyone gets a voice on the internet... but that doesn't mean that everyone should get a shot the loudest voice if they've got nothing to say.

My apologies if you feel it's a nasty way to think, but I think it's disrespectful and probably discouraging to the posters of real, useful articles to have their good articles knocked down toward obscurity by someone who didn't care enough to write the same.

Dan
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
No one's perfect.

This not only includes the author at this point but it also includes those (including myself) that have submitted replies.

My advice?

Pull the entire thread and start over. Too many comments are off topic and besides, it's probably the "considerate" thing to do for everyone involved.

Regrettably, it's the right thing to do.

73
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by WA1RNE on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Wonder if this is the same DRMILLER100 from hamforum.com?
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KI4CFS on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Would you also recommend good 'starting radios' under $200.00..

KI4CFS
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by 3CX800A7 on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
KG6WLS wrote:

"This sounds like something from Mr.BFH himself. Is that you, John?? Hmmmm??"

John lacks a sense of humor, quick wit, and self-insight.

I feel insulted! ;-)

Nope, this isn't John.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by 3CX800A7 on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I wrote the message pasted below as a parody of you-know-who. John wouldn't know what stochasism and homostechedasticity were if it bit him on the rump and called him 'Charlie':

"Stochastic analysis, homoschedasticity, and the etiology of severe cranial rectumitis: a lack of portocols and limited survey pool in the collection of data to elucidate future amateur radio operators."
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by 3CX800A7 on September 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
N3OX wrote:

"... but I think it's disrespectful and probably discouraging to the posters of real, useful articles to have their good articles knocked down toward obscurity by someone who didn't care enough to write the same."

I agree wholeheartedly! N3OX nailed it right on the head.
 
RE: Getting Started in Trolling  
by KB5DPE on September 20, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"In a world where ignorance and low standards abound, those who want to keep the standards high are often unjustly looked upon as harsh and cruel."

This statement, alone, justifies the existance of this thread and, sadly, is the only justification for it that I can find. It applies, not only to amateur radio, but to life in general. In a world where mediocrity is the norm and high standards are, more often than not, criticized and ridiculed, perhaps one should be given an amateur license merely for learning and adopting it's philosophy.
Tom KB5DPE

 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W8ZNX on September 20, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
even Max Perkins
could not have saved the article

Mac
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K1CJS on September 20, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
N3OX does indeed have it right. It is a crying shame that authors who put time, research and real effort into articles they submit for posting have their work superceded by something like this nonsense.

I really thought that this site needed financial help when they lost their server a few months ago. Seems like it needs a lot more than that if articles like this get through.

I've already questioned the moderator on the 'Site Talk' forum--and I am going to be watching for his answer.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by NI0C on September 20, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Count me in with N3OX and K1CJS and others sticking up for quality in articles displayed here.

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N9XTF on September 20, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The obvious fix should be that a valid call sign be required to write articles for E-Ham, along with a valid e-mail address.

It's amazing all the folks that are on the immediate war-path the second someone says something wrong. The correct thing to do would be to post, as a few did, addresses pointing to factual information, not kick the guy in the shorts.

If anyone was so disturbed with this article, did you contact E-Ham and ask to have it removed?

Some days, I am almost ashamed to admit I am a Ham radio operator. For the many great elmers out there, there sure is a great deal of crappy ones as well.

Doug - N9XTF
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K1CJS on September 20, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"It's amazing all the folks that are on the immediate war-path the second someone says something wrong."

Not to single anyone out, but I think the majority of people posting the negative remarks here are not mad at the person posting, but upset by the lack of control shown by the manager by allowing the article to be posted here in the first place.

A website dedicated to advancing ham radio should not be posting articles with gross mistakes and mis-information on the site.
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K2FIX on September 20, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I'm a "new" ham, licenced about 4 years.

I suggest...get a SW radio, and hang a long wire. Easy and inexpensive, also forgiving of any errors. Make sure the radio has SSB capability. Listen in to SW broadcasts, and hams. Sadly, SW is past it's prime, with too many religous wackos and right wingers, but I did listen to Radio Australia today, and not on the internet.

When you get your tech licence, buy a mobile radio, not an HT. This will get you all your local cops, fire and such. (Those of you in trunked radio land will have more issues). You will learn about VHF and UHF propagation and meet folks.

After that, you are ready for either taking code and getting an HF licence, or going to SSB on VHF and learning about VHF propagation-also fun. Eventually the FCC will dump morse as a requirement, and you can go HF, but not yet.

Either way, it's a better path. Don't just get VHF and up stuff-2 meter FM is the best possible CB radio without the morons, but it's not "ham radio". You want to learn about how radio waves go places.

Ignore the opinionated folks on the Computer...most hams on the radio are much nicer.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K1CJS on September 20, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
".....Don't just get VHF and up stuff-2 meter FM is the best possible CB radio without the morons, but it's not "ham radio"."

Hey Mr. technician license holder, 2 meter FM is just as much ham radio as any other ham band, be it HF, UHF or XHF. There are problem operators on VHF/UHF bands and also on HF bands. Just because you have the wrong idea of the busiest technician band, don't try to poison others newcomers to ham radio.

BTW, you do know how many CB converts now hang out on the HF bands, don't you?

On another subject, its amazing how the subscription service helps keep an eye on these threads, isn't it!
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by DRMILLER100 on September 20, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Hello,

First and foremost, my full name is Doug Miller. I live near McCall Idaho, my NEW call sign is KE7IXE, and my phone number is 208-859-0850. So, call me a troll, make fun of me, and have your cheap shot fun, but find some testicles and give me a shout if you want to get personal.

When I wrote the article, I did not know my call sign. I had passed the test, but not gotten confirmation yet.

I've got bad news for some of you. Ham radio is REALLY HARD to learn about and get into compared to most hobbies.

What is interesting is there is no step by step way to get into the hobby published I have found, and there are very few resources for the newbie.

The ARRL site is fluffy IMO. great feelings, short on directions.

In order to ask questions on this web site, you need to have a call sign. So are new people without call signs not welcome? There is not a forum for new people without call signs to ask questions. Again however, even if there was a forum, they couldn't ask questions without logging in. Catch 22.

If there is an expert on this list with 30 years experience that will spend the time to write an article to encourage new people, I think many would be appreciative.

On Ebay, I found http://cgi.ebay.com/JOHNSON-ADVENTURER-HAM-RADIO-TRANSMITTER_W0QQitemZ230029744298QQihZ013QQcategoryZ4675QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Would this be a great rig for a new person to get started? My point is there seems to be a LOT of equipment out there that will not talk locally without a fair amount of experience to make it work. For instance, as a new person, how would I dial that machine up to a local repeater???????

Finally, I have found the VAST majority of Ham radio folks very very helpful and friendly. The VAST majority of Ham folks are patient, friendly, understanding, helpful, and just all around nice. They might be Geeky as all heck, but they are really nice for the most part, and Ham radio IS worth learning about.

Apparently I have singed all the feathers of the Pompous, Arrogant, Lazy knowitalls with this one single article, and I offer as my third gift to the Ham community the call sign identification and coalation for future avoidance. In other words, for those that are slower, the whiney, insecure, weak kneed twits that can only complain about others efforts are clearly identified above.

Again, for those that can criticise constructively, or put forth the effort to do their own, my respect and admiration.
Doug Miller
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by DRMILLER100 on September 20, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
by K1CJS on September 19, 2006
>when promoting that activity is what the site is intended for.

Howdy,

I don't think this site is intended to promote Ham radio. If it were, there would be a section for newbies, attitudes like yours would be corrected, and you would be more civil.
For instance, if you transmitted your comments on the air, I could file a complaint with the FCC.

One of my recent test questions was along the lines of: "If a new person is transmitting incorrectly, should you get on the air and call them an idiot, or get on the air and help them get going by showing them proper procedure."

Regards,
doug miller
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by F6IQA on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Instead of giving advice to pull out your Visa card and buy a ready-to-go station, you'd better give another one: buy an old good radio like TS-530 or other radio from the 80's for a good price (you can buy a used radio of this era for 250€ more or less in Europe, so aprox 300$), and do yourself dipoles or loops antenna to make some EXPERIMENTS. In the States, the fist ticket is "Technician" isn't it? Technician means what it means. Certainly not just buy and go on the air without any knowledge or skill. Ham radio is NOT CB, and in addition, the frequency table you give is fairly incomplete and wrong: I wonder realy is 10m band is 25 to 30 in the States. I guess not. What about lower bands? So maybe you would be well inspired to double check before posting erroneous datas. Furthermore, the future amateur will be more interested in amateur frequency bands than in misc official services that have nothing to do with Ham Radio.
73's & Regards from Joss.
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N0IU on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
DRMILLER100 wrote, "I've got bad news for some of you. Ham radio is REALLY HARD to learn about and get into compared to most hobbies.

What is interesting is there is no step by step way to get into the hobby published I have found, and there are very few resources for the newbie.

The ARRL site is fluffy IMO. great feelings, short on directions."

I can't resist...

Compared to what other hobbies specifically?

Really hard to learn about? Very few resources? If you Google the words 'amateur radio', you get 31,200,000 results. If you search on 'ham radio', you get 20,000,000 results. Hold Toledo, how much more information do you want?

You say the ARRL site is fluffy? Have you ever tried reading any of their books? If you can't find what you are looking for among the MILLIONS of references to this hobby on the Internet, you can always take a giant step backwards technologically into the world of books. Probably one of the best books in my collection other than the ARRL Handbook is the The ARRL Operating Manual. Here is what it includes:
# Rules and Regulations—updated and including 60 meters
# FM operating—including repeaters, EchoLink and IRLP
# Extensive operating detail for dozens of modes including CW, PHONE, and many digital modes.
# VHF and HF digital—with new emphasis on sound-card based operating modes and APRS
# Other VHF/UHF modes—including meteor scatter and weak signal software applications
# DXing, Contesting and Award Hunting—and featuring ARRL's Logbook of The World
# Emergency communications—updated for the post-September 11, 2001 environment
# Traffic Handling
# Image Communications—including innovations using sound cards
# Satellites
No, it is not something you can download for free on the Internet. It is an honest to goodness hardbound book that costs money, $29.95 to be exact.

Too much money? Then consider Getting Started with Ham Radio, A guide to your first Amateur Radio station. Here is what it covers:
Your First Radio. Advice on choosing a transceiver and power supply that fits your budget and operating style.

The Antenna--The Most Important Part of Your Station. Practical information to help you choose and install economical, yet effective, antennas.

Propagation--The Science of How Signals Travel. Get the most from your station by understanding how HF and VHF signals travel.

Using Your Voice on the HF Bands. Advice on making your first voice contacts.

Code Conversations. Advice on using Morse code on the air.

The Digital Universe. How to set up a station for digital operating.

Chasing Contacts and Wallpaper (awards). Enjoying the sport of on-the-air contesting. Also, earning awards such as DXCC, WAS and more.

FM: "No Static at All." How to operate FM on the VHF and UHF bands (including repeaters).

"Weak" Signals and the World Above 50 MHz. Operating SSB, CW and digital modes above 50 MHz.

All of this for only $19.95.

Doug, there is a TON of information out there, but you have to look beyond freebies on the Internet. I simply don't understand how you can say 'there are very few resources for the newbie.' You will hear a lot of people say a lot of things about the ARRL, but most people will agree that their reference material is among the best out there.

Scott N0IU
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
First and foremost, my full name is Doug Miller. I live near McCall Idaho, my NEW call sign is KE7IXE,

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

Well Doug, this hasn't exactly been an welcoming committee for you. I just wanted to come in and say that this thread should never have happened the way it did in the first place. I am sure there are others that will agree with that statement.

One thing you have already found out here is that hams are very critical of certain details and information surrounding their hobby / service. Some will offer constructive advice and suggestions and others will just tell you that you are outright wrong, stupid or ________ fill in the blanks.

You are correct in the fact that there are better ways to deal with these things but the problems we are facing in society in 2006, is the fact that we have this medium called the internet.

The Internet is basically a faceless and sometimes difficult place. It is sometimes impossible to interpret people's meanings or intentions. There are no facial or vocal expressions to read. No way to hear deflections in people's voices, you can't tell if people are smiling or are angry. Interpretations run rampant. How I might write something might be taken completely out of context by someone else. There are small cultural differences. They are usually subtle, but differences nonetheless. What I think is OK in my mind is not OK in another persons mind etc.. That's the internet. That's how it is.

There are people who are here because they think ham radio is a bad joke, there are people on here because they like this hobby. There are people on here who will attempt to correct me and tell me it's a service instead of a hobby. Basically, you are going to get it all, from every aspect and from every point of view from all directions on here. It's for that reason that we must take it with a grain of salt. A website about amateur radio is still not amateur radio no matter how you might interpret it in your mind.

Doug, this is a website on the internet just like any other website and *yes* people are going to say stupid stuff.

If it means anything Doug, I would like to take the time welcome you to amateur radio and please don't interpret this stupidity on here as the real thing. Most hams are completely different people when they operate on the air. There's something about the internet that sometimes brings out the worst in people and you need some thick skin to deal with it at times.

My Best,

Charles - KC8VWM
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N9XTF on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Doug,

After reading all the negative crap about your article, I felt compelled to write an article myself. I hope you take the time to read it and get something from it.

Congratulations on the ticket!

73 - Doug N9XTF
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K1CJS on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
By DRMILLER100:

"I don't think this site is intended to promote Ham radio. If it were, there would be a section for newbies, attitudes like yours would be corrected, and you would be more civil. For instance, if you transmitted your comments on the air, I could file a complaint with the FCC."

Doug, I think you should have read a little further--I also posted this the next day:

"Not to single anyone out, but I think the majority of people posting the negative remarks here are not mad at the person posting, but upset by the lack of control shown by the manager by allowing the article to be posted here in the first place.
A website dedicated to advancing ham radio should not be posting articles with gross mistakes and mis-information on the site."

Now you'll get my comments:

You went ahead and wrote about something you know little about and you didn't even bother checking your 'facts' out to be sure they were accurate. Then when you saw posts calling your article inaccurate you got upset. Well friend, you wrote the article to begin with. You invited comment by posting it--that is how the site works. If you want to complain to the E-ham staff, go ahead.

E-ham, by statement, is a site dedicated to advancing ham radio. When you write and post on a site like this, you invite comments, both good and bad. If you can't take them, don't write--that is the long and short of it.

Now to the personal comment:

If you took the time to comprehend, I didn't call you down at all--I simply commented on the fact that your article should have been returned to you for correction. I called down the section moderator for letting the article through in the first place.

I have nothing against you. However, as you commented on my attitude, I have to tell you yours is also in need of correction--you should research and learn about your topic before you attempt to instruct others. You did not. You should also be prepared to receive criticism when you make mistakes, much less get upset at honest comment on your work. Instead you make a muffled attack on the commenters.

As far as your inference to helping the newcomers, I am NOT calling you an idiot, not at all. I AM calling you inexperienced and a beginner. I also was a beginner at one time. Learn about the hobby and have fun, but be prepared to take the bad along with the good, and don't attempt to pontificate on a subject you know little or nothing about.

Finally, as you were civil in your post (except for the attitude adjustment comment) I have been also. Please take this the way it is intended, as a learning experience concerning common sense, something that is sorely lacking in todays world.

73,

Chris J. Smith, K1CJS
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K8MHZ on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Hello Doug,

First and foremost congrats on getting your ticket and coming into ham radio. PLEASE realize that eHam is NOT ham radio. It is the Internet. There is no comparison. None.

I would like to explain why you did not get the Red Carpet rolled out to you. It was not due to the lack of a call sign. It WAS due to posting an article that you obviously did little research on.

Your critique here is not of your amateur radio abilities. It is of your literary prowess and your ability to inform, question or debate in written discussions.

You started out on the wrong foot by posting an article about getting started in ham radio to people that were already hams. You had no experience with the hobby and either experience, research or talent is required to write an accurate article. The article was nearly devoid of all three.

You went on to post blaring inaccuracies, one of which included the Citizen's Band in a list of our frequencies, particularly the 10 meter band. It is hard to imagine that anyone even remotely interested in ham radio would not know that CB and Ham radio is about as close to oil and water as one can get. That leaves the very good possibility that it was done intentionally. There are few better ways to loose friends here than to do something like that.

I am not going to pick the article apart, that's trite at this point.

You then go on to post that 'a call sign is needed to ask questions on eHam.' Well, much to my dismay, it is NOT.

You also think that "Apparently I have singed all the feathers of the Pompous, Arrogant, Lazy knowitalls with this one single article". No, that is not your fault. I believe your intentions were true. The article should have never made it past the editor. The feathers were singed by the eHam staff, not by you. Also those you may consider Pompous, Arrogant, Lazy knowitalls are very good operators, volunteer time in their community and actually know their stuff. You on the other hand are willing to come on as an expert by posting to an established ham site and don't bother to check your facts. NO WAY should you be calling people names on this site after such an act.
If you want questions answered, ask them. You will get more answers to your questions than you may even want or need. Don't write things here that are so blatantly false and then have YOUR feathers ruffled when you get the WTF response.

Remember, eHam is not ham radio but a consortium of learned, opinionated, articulate hams. Some are very affluent, others are not. Many have jobs that require them to *actually know* inside and out the theories and math that the rest merely dabble with. Some realize that misconceptions about electrical devices can kill and are very emotional about quelling erroneous statements.

Bottom line: If you want to post here and you don't know stuff (not just think you know) ask questions. If you ask a question without insulting anyone you will get some pretty good answers.....but PLEASE check the Elmer's forum first. It won't make many friends by asking a question that has been here a dozen times and the editors let you post it and get eaten by the sharks.

I do respect you immensely for posting your Name, Address and TX number here. You apparently aren't familiar with the history some here have had for doing that....I post my e-mail address here all the time and every now and then I get a message from someone making threats, etc. No way would I post my TX # here as my family also uses the phone. E-mails can be traced. It's hard to trace a call that left obscenities on your answering machine. For the most part just ignore the profanity and obscene comments about your family as the cowards that do that sort of thing don't really know them.

Anyway, you should have tested the water before you jumped in. But now that you did, let the games begin!

Have fun with ham radio. You may have fun here on eHam too. It could happen :)

73,

Mark K8MHZ

 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by DRMILLER100 on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Hello,

One of the stages of knowledge is not knowing what you don't know. At the other end of the spectrum is not knowing what you do know, and forgetting how hard it was to learn.

So, I'm at one end. I am ignorant about a LOT of Ham radio. Fine.

An open invitation. I would appreciate someone helping me correct incorrect facts in my article. If interested in helping, please contact me via email, I will send you my docment in Word format, you can fix mistakes, send it back to me, I will review it, and resubmit to the forum.

Thanks for any assistance,
Doug Miller
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by DRMILLER100 on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
re my comments that getting into Ham radio is VERY difficult......

>Compared to what other hobbies specifically?

I think this hobby is among the hardest hobbies I have ever tried to get into.

I am into shooting. To get into shooting, I go down to a local gun shop and a nice person helps me pick out a gun, ammo, hearing protection, and sends me off to a range to start shooting. Yes there is a background check, but it takes like 3 days, and the local gun shop helps me figure it out.
I am into snomwobiling. I go down to a local dealer, and a nice person helps me buy a sled and equipment. From there I go ride.
I was into racing cars. Drag racing is REALLY easy. Take your car to the track, get it tech'd, pay your money, and go when the light turns green. Autocross somewhat tougher, but you CAN show up with your car and race the first day.

On the other hand, there is Ham Radio. There is not a local equipment shop within 300 miles of me that I found. I can't transmit until I pass a test (I haven't taken a "test" since my undergrad degree), and get a license from the FCC, which takes about a month, and is actually pretty scary. The equipment is VERY hard to learn to use, let alone figure out what to buy. There are very few people into the hobby locally, and they CAN be somewhat tough to find. Once I did find the local folks, they were VERY helpful.

As far as using books instead of the internet, well...... (Smiley!!!) I'm part of the ME generation. I am under 40. Perhaps I am too young for this hobby (Smiley!!!). I have books for my more serious hobbies such as low speed aerodynamics, ballistics, suspension design. But the internet is SOOOO much quicker for most things.

I just wish there was a better all inclusive check list of things you need to do to start doing the Ham thing for the new guy, including places to get all the stuff.

I would be curious as to what hobbies others have that are as tough to get started in. Flying, scuba diving, and chaos theory might be candidates.

I also submitted an article on how to use my new mobile Transmitter, and the troubles I had figuring out how to get going. I can't WAIT to get feedback if it ever gets posted!!!

Doug
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K1CJS on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Doug,

First, I was remiss in not welcoming you to our ranks, and I apologise for that. Welcome!

Second, You seem to be one of the bravest people here on this site. You made a mistake, got upset when you were held to account (few would not) but instead of going off the deep end when you were called to task, you turned around and asked for help. That sets you head and shoulders above 99% of the others here on E-ham. (Now watch me get held to account for that remark!!)

Third, I'll be glad to help you out--I didn't see your e-mail address, though. I may have missed it.
I'll just take your article from here so you won't have to bother sending it out.

Finally, if you want help with anything else and I can help you (if, of course, I know about it) feel free to e-mail me. My e-mail is in my profile here.

If I seemed a bit too brusque in my last post, I offer am apology, however, I believe in calling it the way I see it and to blazes with the consequences!

73, Chris
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K1CJS on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Doug,

The Johnson transceiver you mentioned in one of your posts is an old piece of equipment and is probably better suited for a person who collects and restores old radios. The older ones which have tubes and heavy transformers are sometimes referred to by hams as 'boat anchors', because of their weight. The Johnson rig, although it may not have tubes, is very close to being a boat anchor.

Chris
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by DRMILLER100 on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
>You started out on the wrong foot by posting an article about getting started in ham radio to people that were already hams. You had no experience with the hobby and either experience, research or talent is required to write an accurate article. The article was nearly devoid of all three.


Hmmmmm. I think this really gets to the heart of "our" differences, and is a great illustration of what I am trying to convey.

I know SOMETHING about Ham radio. I know a LOT more then the average schmoe on the street. I know a LOT more then I did 2 months ago, and now I would actually be a GOOD resource on how to go about getting started in the HOBBY.

I did not INTEND my article for Hams with licenses. That is why I was pretty careful in putting the title on the article that I did.

I would have posted my article in the forum for newbies, but there isn't one.
Heck, I wouldn't have written the article in the first place if I had found a better source.

My primary point is that Ham radio is hard to get into for the rank ameteur. My article was intended as ANOTHER resource.

By the way, the site seems to be broken to where I cannot have my email address published.
FWIW, my email address is drmiller100 at hot mail dot com.

regards,
Doug
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K7PEH on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Doug, On the question of whether it is "hard" to get into this hobby....

I can put in a two-bit opinion as I just got into this hobby in February 2004. OK, that was two years ago but at my age (59), it seems just like yesterday.

First, a disclaimer. I was a licensed Novice ham radio operator back in the mid-1960s. So, I did have a slight advantage over someone completely cold. However, what I have to add here I think is a very good way to get into this hobby.

It was a good friend of mine that triggered my renewed interest. Greg, KM6SG, would ask me things like "When are you going to get your ham license again?" and he would ask that even though I had absolutely no interest in ham radio. It was very far from my interests. Sure, I was once a ham radio operator but I had forgotten every concept and every emotion of the hobby over the almost 40 years of being away from the hobby.

But, just after Christmas 2003 I decided to do an Internet search on ham radio and very quickly I found this site. I started reading. The second week of January 2004 I ordered from HRO a receiver, the Icom R75. I started listening with a make-shift wire antenna that stretched from the top of the door on the back of our house (about 8 feet above ground) to the top of the garden tool shed in the back 60 feet away (about 10 feet above ground). I even listened to CW to see how cold I was with the code. I was very cold on code.

I bought a few books such as the ARRL handbook, the ARRL Now Your Talking book, and a variety of testing books from ARRL. I started reading, studying, and even at this time (around February 1st) I was not sure if I would really get a license. So, things move fast from here though.

By the middle of February 2004, I bid on and won the auction for an Icom 756 (non-pro version) transceiver. Oh, I bid on a few but won about the third or fourth auction I played in. Good deal too and it works perfectly and I still have it.

Then, I found some clubs in the area that did VE testing. I scheduled for the next available test and went in to take my Technician and General tests in one sitting. I was prepared to take the 5 wpm test (which I had been practicing by listening on the air only) but discovered that since I had a Novice license once, I got credit for the 5 wpm CW test.

I took and ace'd both tests near the end of February and the first week of March I found my new call sign (KD7ZVB) on the FCC on-line database. March 4th was my first QSO when I very nervously checked into the Columbia Basin Net on 3960 KHz at 6:37 PM (from my log book). Oh, the antenna I used was that same 60 foot wire stretched across the back of the yard an average of 7 to 8 feet above ground.

This hobby has surely overtaken me and has become one of my major activities.

About eHam though -- yes, there are some difficult times of nasty words exchanged but there are also a lot of very nice people hear. Plus, this is the place to go in my opinion when you need a question asked. There are some very good walking encyclopedia types available for technical advice on this site.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Doug,

I cannot even begin to tell you about the experience I once had with the "eham sharks" on this website myself when I once submitted an article. I can tell you this much. I didn't have my facts straight and it wasn't a pretty site. The critics instantly came out out of the woodwork from all directions and all at once so I am speaking from experience here.

It was a tough lesson learned. One thing I have definitely found out the hard way is the following:

Hams are very intelligent technically oriented people. If you should ever submit an article in the future on this website then be *very* sure the information provided is 110% accurate or else the sharks will almost always start a feeding frenzy on your article submission.

Chris (K1CJS) is right when he says the following;

"When you write and post on a site like this, you invite comments, both good and bad."

Yup, what Chris says is rubber stamped and 100% correct. The point being Doug,is that we all have taken a few potshots on here from time to time. None of us here are immune to this concept and sometimes we even have to accept it to a certain extent.

However, I should point out that I feel that correcting and resubmitting your article at this point is futile.

The best thing you can do at this point is to just put the whole thing behind you and chalk it up as a lesson learned. Everyone on here knows you had good intentions and you know what? ...That's good enough for me my friend!

I can promise you one thing Doug, everyone on this site will do nothing but respect you for taking your medicine from a lesson learned. We have all been there, done that in the past just like you. It's kind of like "initiation" day at a school in a strange sort of way.

Doug, you are a fellow ham, colleague and our good friend. We all respect you, your opinions expressed good and bad. I know it doesn't seem like this to you right now, but if you stick around awhile, get to know us a little bit, in time I think you will find out that most hams are really a bunch of good guys and nice gals. ...uh, well, the gals are not always nice in that sort of way, but you get what I mean. :)

Doug, if there's anything you should ever need, all you need to do is ask. That's how hams have always been. Welcome aboard to the greatest hobby your will ever experience in your entire life!

Your good ambassador at your service,

Charles - KC8VWM
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K8MHZ on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Doug,

I agree with Chris. You are to be commended for staying 'in the ring'.

Ham radio (BTW ALL hams are licensed, there is no thing as an unlicensed ham) for me was easy to get into. I had already been exposed to most of the stuff on the Tech test and math is not hard for me. Others, like you, aren't so lucky in that respect. Ham radio is only hard to get into if you don't have prior experience or someone directly involved with assuring your success. I think many of us found the first test to be easy. CW was the toughest for me, for others it is easy (like my kid).

Getting your license is just cracking the door to a room sized hobby that is so diverse it is probably impossible to become proficient in every aspect. Learning is what ham radio about for the beginner to the expert. An antenna guru may know nothing about the digital modes and get valuable advice from someone who has been licensed only a fraction of the time they have. A DX chaser of many decades may find out that a new Tech who is good at radio orienteering can Elmer him into one of the most fun activities of our hobby, Fox Hunting.

The trick is to make friends. I know of few hams that consider their knowledge to be a secret. They are willing to share it with anyone sincerely interested. You may find conflicting opinions but you always have the ability to put those opinions to a test. Experimentation is lauded, encouraged and very satisfying. All my HF antennas are the fruits of experiments. Besides knowledge, experiments can result in cherished additions to the shack, vehicle, portable or field station. In fact, I getting ready to order parts to build an attenuator (oops, it's a secret :) for Fox Hunting.

Whether or not you like the ARRL, the books they produce are pretty good. The intro to ham radio that was mentioned earlier in the thread has been praised by most everyone, even the toughest of critics.

You can enjoy ham radio by yourself (kinda) in the seclusion of your shack and talk to other hams worldwide and never meet one face to face. You can also seek the company of your local club, ARES or RACES group, ARPSC or SAR organization. They usually are the ones that have activities where you can use ham radio in a more social mode and work events, train for EmComm go on Fox Hunts, have swaps, set up Field Day and best of all....have picnics! You will find that there are hams with similar interests. I used to be into cars (I still have a 1983 Z-28), I used to race motorcycles, I used to be into martial arts, I used to play with military type guns but what I have stuck with is ham radio, computer stuff, surveillance, WiFi, GPS and some survival stuff. If you are at all physically fit and want a great way to work out and play radio at the same time, find an SAR group that trains in rugged terrain. You will find me at base camp or at a repeater site keeping comms going. No ground pounding for me :)

By trade I am a licensed electrician with experience in heavy industrial, commercial, residential, manufacturing and controls. I used to troubleshoot control systems in an aluminum foundry. (Yuk!) Prior to that I was a licensed master automobile mechanic with ASE certs and owned my own business doing automotive and marine electrical system work and also worked for a couple Chrysler dealerships.

Ham radio lets you choose what fits your personality. If you are at all the curious type it allows for you to interact with people of all walks of life on common ground. Just the other day my friend Tom chatted with Joe Walsh of Eagle fame on 75 meters. Joe is WB6ATU.

If you give the hobby (or service...duck!!) a chance you will find that it is the King of All Hobbies and a great service to our country and communities.

73

Mark K8MHZ
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K8MHZ on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"uh, well, the gals are not always nice in that sort of way, but you get what I mean. :)"

The gals aren't always gals, either!
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by DRMILLER100 on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Howdy, and thanks.

But, No, I want to fix the article. If the article is so flawed that it will hinder someone getting started in the hobby, then it NEEDS to be fixed.

The nit picky guys don't bother me. I've got thick skin, and am not afraid to improve.

Btw, I've decided to keep my login id as my standard name I use on other sites, and not switch to the call id.

regards,
doug
ke7ixe
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
LMAO,
You've been visiting Hamsexy too much lately... :)
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K8MHZ on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Doug,

Any retraction would be WAY at the bottom of the thread. You can edit stuff on QRZ but here things are written practically in stone.

It is also my contention that anyone wanting info for pre-license study that would come across this site would probably be hard pressed to continue.

That indeed is a pity, but eHam really brings out the worst of us. And the worst of those that pretend to be us.

Buried amongst the briers you will also find the best as well. A newcomer won't bother to look.

Check out the ARRL pub. before you condemn it. FWIW I am neither an ARRL member nor am I a fan.
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N0IU on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
DRMILLER100 wrote, “I am into shooting. To get into shooting, I go down to a local gun shop and a nice person helps me pick out a gun, ammo, hearing protection, and sends me off to a range to start shooting. Yes there is a background check, but it takes like 3 days, and the local gun shop helps me figure it out.”

I am also into shooting. Firearms are used for basically two things. They are used to propel a projectile or multiple projectiles at:

1) Animate objects for the purpose of making it inanimate or at least wounding it. In this category, there are those who want a firearm for personal protection or hunting.
2) Already inanimate objects like clay pigeons, paper targets, beer cans on a fence post, etc.

So you go to your local gun shop and tell the nice person you want a gun. I don’t know where you buy your guns or with whom you spoke, but I will bet the farm that his first question was, “What do you want to do with this gun?” How you answer that question will determine what he helps you pick out. Firearms come in many more shapes, sizes and configurations than amateur radio equipment. It sounds like you went into your gun shop already knowing what you wanted to do with the firearm. If I went in and asked the same guy for a gun to hunt geese, he would have a totally different answer for me than he would for you and both answers would be correct. Once you select the appropriate ordnance delivery scheme, you then have to select which brand to buy. As with amateur radio, your choices are dependant on your budget. There are far more firearm manufacturers than there are amateur radio gear manufacturers. Even after you choose the correct firearm for your purpose, you then have to select the appropriate ammunition. This is a gross oversimplification of the process, but you see it is not as simple as merely walking into a gun shop and saying, “I want to do the shooting thing.”

You go on to write, “I just wish there was a better all inclusive check list of things you need to do to start doing the Ham thing for the new guy, including places to get all the stuff.” The very first line of your article is the reason this is not feasible. Using your own words, “People have different reasons for learning about 2 way radios.” As with shooting, it is impossible to develop any kind of comprehensive checklist of stuff you need to “do the ham thing” until you decide what you want to do with it.

Doug, what are your amateur radio interests? Once you tell us, then maybe we can help you develop some sort of checklist.

If you are not sure, try reading one of the two books I mentioned from the ARRL. No, it is not as quick as the Internet, but I really do not think you will be disappointed.

Scott N0IU
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N5XM on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
What I would tell anyone interested in getting started in Ham Radio would be to be patient with yourself and realize it takes time to gain skills you will eventually take for granted. I would tell them to read and study everything they could get their hands on about antennae and feedlines, and above all, UPGRADE and never stop learning. I would certainly teach them the Amateur's Code (hmm...some could use a refresher course, it appears). I would tell them not to take themselves too seriously, and have fun. Get on the air. I would try to direct them to the CW bands, and Elmer them if I could.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by NS6Y_ on September 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I spent some time with a hopeful ham-to-be today.

Wow.

They wanted a ham license, it turns out, so they can put a callsign license plate on the new car they're going to get.

Let me repeat this:

They wanted a ham license, it turns out, so they can put a callsign license plate on the new car they're going to get.

I told 'em there are some things to consider in this, that once a callsign is on there, anyone know knows how, quite a lot of people, can simply type it into QRZ etc and get their name and home address. No, they can't put a fake or PO box address, this is a federal license for a radio station after all..... They said they wanted a callsign on their car to "show they're proud to have a radio" or something like that.

Um,

I said that many hams do wear a vest with all kinds of patches on it, wear a hat, wear an HT or more like multiple HT's all the time, but ham radio is really about the social networking, learning about radio, etc. When I mentioned the vest, she asked stated I was making fun of her - no, I said, it's just that the real heart and soul of ham radio is the communication, social networking, learning from and helping out other hams, etc. Not necessarily bright orange vests and wearing lots of "ribbons and medals". The convo kind of fizzled from there, but I do wish this new ham much success, it's a great hobby.
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by WI8W on September 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Ok not a bad article but let's look at the realities here. All in fun of course.

1. Scanners...yep you can get them cheap enough. They probably will be great for listening to the VHF/UHF ham bands but not necessarily anything else. In this age of security and personal privacy most public service againcies around here have gone to encrypted transmissions. To hear those you will need something quite a bit more expensive than a cheap $25 dollar scanner at the local hamfest.

Radio Clubs...be prepared to get a real rough treatment on this one. Some radio clubs are good but most are bad. Expect to be totally ignored if you just show up at one of their meetings. I was even asked one time, when I showed up to find out about their club, if I was a member. When I said no, I told most emphatically to leave.

Get A License...yes you will need one of these and mostly what is being said is correct. Some clubs that I know about will only give you a test if you pass their classes..Did I mention they charge a lot for the classes?

Tranceivers...There are good values out there but most of what you find used costs almost as much as a new one. These people think they are setting on a gold mine. Fortunately for us, they usually drag that piece of equipment back home after sitting there all day with no inquiries. If you do manage to find a bargain, the guy will tell you it works fine but when you get it home you have to use it as a door stop.

Antennas...Consider where you live first. Most areas that show any kind of development have rules against antennas. Don't believe me? Go outside and look at all the houses around you..See any TV antennas? If not you probably have restrictions. Most low band antennas are quite large..Have you got room for something 135 feet long in your backyard? Forget about the front yard because of the fore mentioned restrictions. remember also that this antenna will pick up a lot more than radio signals and they will become so big of an annoyance that the radio will just sit there unused. If you live in a apartment, well that is another matter. Your car is a possibility but then it will be a magnet for every two bit thief that thinks you have a CB in there.

I will add one more item you need to consider. Just how much do you think this little hobby is going to cost in your lifetime? If you think just a little you are kidding yourself. I have spent so much in my 30 + year ham career that I could have paid cash for 3 houses!

Summary...So go ahead, get that license...I dare you!
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by NI0C on September 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"I would appreciate someone helping me correct incorrect facts in my article. If interested in helping, please contact me via email, I will send you my docment in Word format, you can fix mistakes, send it back to me, I will review it, and resubmit to the forum."

Rather than relying on others for what is, after all, your responsibility as an author, I'd suggest writing an article along the lines of "What I've learned so far in ham radio." As I recall, KC0ODY did just such an article for eHam a few years back, called "My perspective as a Newcomer."

73,
Chuck NI0C
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by DRMILLER100 on September 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
thank chuck.

whiney vindictive lazy attitudes like yours really make this hobby a pleasure to be around.

Your kind, helpful spirit is a pleasure to be around.

But, I've had two other people that actually spent the TIME and EFFORT to help me learn. They actually read through my article, pointing out specific mistakes and where I didn't clearly state things in the best possible way.
I am working on correcting it with their help, should be back out tonight or tomorrow.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by NI0C on September 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
So I'm the lazy one?

Aren't you the author? Take some responsibility!
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by NI0C on September 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I was quite serious when I suggested you modify your subject matter. The title, "Getting Started in Amateur Radio," includes (as has already been pointed out) material already adequately covered by other sources, such as ARRL, CQ, etc.

On the other hand you are uniquely qualified to tell your story-- how YOU got started in amateur radio.



 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N0IU on September 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
DRMILLER100 wrote, "..I've had two other people that actually spent the TIME and EFFORT to help me learn. They actually read through my article, pointing out specific mistakes and where I didn't clearly state things in the best possible way.
I am working on correcting it with their help, should be back out tonight or tomorrow."

Sprinkled among the criticism, many people have pointed out specific mistakes in your original piece, not just two people. Unfortunately, some people are less diplomatic and tactful than others, but that doesn't make their contributions any less valid.

By your own admission, "When I wrote the article, I did not know my call sign. I had passed the test, but not gotten confirmation yet." So in other words, you had not even been on the air when you wrote this, but yet you beieved you were qualified to give advice by saying, "I know SOMETHING about Ham radio. I know a LOT more then the average schmoe on the street. I know a LOT more then I did 2 months ago, and now I would actually be a GOOD resource on how to go about getting started in the HOBBY."

This would be like reading the driver's license manual, taking the written test and then telling people how to drive a car without ever having done so yourself. I think this is what caused many people to be hyper-critical of your piece. If you are going to take some of our suggestions and corrections and re-write your article, then it would be more appropriate to call yourself the editor, and not the author of the new piece.

With all due respect, I think that at this point in your amateur radio experience, you would be well served to be the student and apply what we are telling you rather than putting yourself in the role of teacher.

Scott N0IU
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N4FOZ on September 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
It would be really nice if the Moderator would screen these articles. I thought these things are supposed to be submitted by licensed amateurs?
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N4FOZ on September 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
It would be really nice if the Moderator would screen these articles. I thought these things are supposed to be submitted by licensed amateurs?
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by DRMILLER100 on September 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
>his would be like reading the driver's license manual, taking the written test and then telling people how to drive a car without ever having done so yourself.

I think a better analogy would be I wrote an article telling people where to get the manual, what the test was like, and where to find a decent first time car.
In my article I never ONCE talked about getting on the air. Please feel free to read it again.


>With all due respect, I think that at this point in your amateur radio experience, you would be well served to be the student and apply what we are telling you rather than putting yourself in the role of teacher.

Perhaps one of you "teachers" might condescend to provide a road map on how to get started in Ham radio.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by NI0C on September 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Perhaps one of you "teachers" might condescend to provide a road map on how to get started in Ham radio."

Gosh, if you just re-read many of the comments above, you'll find references to books and web-sites galore. Start with some of the references provided by WB2WIK and N0IU.

It seems to me from your references to "the ham radio thing," that you don't quite realize how multi-faceted amateur radio is. You'll learn about some of the many specialty interests in ham radio just by poking around on this web-site and by perusing a CQ or QST magazine.

My son developed his interest in ham radio from some old QST's and other ARRL publications that he found in the basement after I had given up the hobby.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on September 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I always recommend that a person "listen" and "learn" first.

I feel Scott said it well when he indicated your role should be that of a "student" at this point because you are.

Also, it's equally important that you are appreciative to those that offer assistance.

Basically, when using this website you can quite literally gain 100's of years of combined experience and valuable knowledge from a multitude of hams who have been doing this longer than I have been wearing diapers. Trust me, that's a very long time. :)

I would like to introduce you to a code of ethics that radio amateur's follow. I would suggest you become familiar with it and it might serve to be very beneficial in understanding "us" as a group of individuals.

This code is probobly one of the most important things you will ever learn about amateur radio.

The Radio Amateur is:

CONSIDERATE...never knowingly operates in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.

LOYAL...offers loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs, and the American Radio Relay League, through which Amateur Radio in the United States is represented nationally and internationally.

PROGRESSIVE...with knowledge abreast of science, a well-built and efficient station and operation above reproach.

FRIENDLY...slow and patient operating when requested; friendly advice and counsel to the beginner; kindly assistance, cooperation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the hallmarks of the amateur spirit.

BALANCED...radio is an avocation, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.

PATRIOTIC...station and skill always ready for service to country and community.

--The original Amateur's Code was written by Paul M. Segal, W9EEA, in 1928

Secondly, I would suggest you learn about the history of amateur radio and the "why" and "how" it all started.

This information will provide you with a common starting point and excellent learning foundation before you start learning anything else.

Please indicate if I can be of any further assistance.

73 Charles - KC8VWM
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KC8VWM on September 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Also, just for clarification I would like to indicate there are two different people responding to you above.

One individual is Scott and one is Chuck.

Thier callsigns are very similar to one another and you should study them carefully before responding to them.

73 Charles - KC8VWM
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by NI0C on September 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Correction to one of my earlier posts:
It was AE6AT, not KC0ODY, who wrote the article, "My perspective as a newcomer." I believe KC0ODY did write an article with a similar subject, but I can't seem to find it.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K8MHZ on September 23, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"whiney vindictive lazy attitudes like yours really make this hobby a pleasure to be around."

WTF??

Doug, you have a chip on your shoulder you really would be better served to rid yourself of.

Chuck did nothing more than tell it like it is. He didn't call your article a joke, he didn't call you any names and he has spent some time posting here offering you very good advice.

He is using far more restraint than I could if you said the same thing to me.

Why do you think you are entitled to have your poorly written article re-written by experienced hams just because you posted it here? YOU are the author and YOU have the responsibility to make the corrections. This is not a ham thing, it is about the real world. Your response to very helpful criticism is childish to say the least.

Hams have no requirement to do your work for you. They help who they please and that who depends upon the attitude of the person.

Your attitude is going to get you nothing but conflict. If you really want to learn you had better eat some Humble Pie. And soon.

When you do you will find that hams are the best bunch of folks on the orb.

 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K1CJS on September 23, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Doug,

I offered to help you out by showing you where you made your errors in this article. You e-mailed back to me telling me that you would not change many of those things because your statements seemed more correct to you. Your statements here on this thread shows that you believe yourself, a beginner in the hobby, to be more knowledgeable about ham radio than a lot of people who have been in the hobby for many many years.

I am forced to agree with Mark, K8MHZ. Your attitude needs serious adjustment--you need to realize that you, as a beginner, cannot and should not assume a superiority attitude when you are corrected--especially when you don't know the subject as well as those who are trying to help you.

Until you realize and correct this situation on your part, don't bother asking me--or possibly anybody else on the site--for anymore help, we have better things to do.

Chris J. Smith, K1CJS
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by DRMILLER100 on September 23, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Hello,

Actually, I wrote back stating that I didn't know enough to understand some of your comments, and was asking further questions in hopes of learning more.

Thank you for your help. The comments I DID understand cleared up some misperceptions I had, and I learned quite a bit from you.

One of the problems I am having is I get conflicting advice. One person says my advice about used radios is right on. Another person says there are GREAT values for the inexperienced newby. I posted a link to ebay for one cheap used radio, and I received advice that the item in question would be a poor choice for a new person.

Another person says there is too much plug and play radio, and that interferes with the enjoyment of all new ameteurs. Myself, I can see it might be fun for someone else to build a radio from a kit, but I have no desire to do that myself.

Have ALL of you built radios from Kits? Do most of you use 30 year old transmitters as your primary stations? Do most Hams make their own antennas? My take is that it makes sense to me that for a FIRST rig, you might buy a ready to go outfit, and get on the air. This isn't for everyone, but it might be for most folks. I would invite constructive discussion of these points.

Finally, sorry I lost patience. I shouldn't have, and I now realize I dropped to a lower level when I did.

It is interesting that out of ALL of the negative comments I have received both publicly and privately, Chris is the only one who took the time to help me correct my mistakes.

Again, thank you.

Doug
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K8MHZ on September 23, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Doug,

Thanks. I think you will find that each has his own opinion.

Let's start with your first rig.

What do you want to do first?

'I don't know' is an acceptable answer. OK, let's see what is at your disposal.

1) Are you in an area that you can hit at least 1 VHF or UHF repeater from inside your home with an HT?

2) Do you have a vehicle that you can put a rig in?

3) Do you want to operate more from inside your home or would you rather operate outside? Most VHF activities are outside.

4) Is it your immediate plan to upgrade or would you like to take your time and operate in the high bands for a while?

5) Are you interested in digital modes, such as Packet.

6) Would you rather have the nice sound of FM to learn on and sacrifice some distance, or would you like to experiment with farther distances using SSB or maybe even CW?

7) Do you think you would like to build antennas? (It's very fun and you can get started with a simple project and make them more complex as you learn.)

8) Are you proficient at soldering?

9) Do you like to build PC board stuff?

10) Do you think you would like the social aspect of ham radio or the technical aspect more? Or would you like to balance that out?


Let's start with these 10 questions as there is no pat answer for which would be your first rig.

Antenna building is likely to be the most practiced form of home brewing. Many have built from kits. Many use old radios, and new ones as well. I use both.

All my HF antennas are home brew. I have also built several 2 meter twin lead J-poles, a "copper cactus" for 2 meters, a center loaded full wave MURS antenna, a 3 element 2 meter Yagi, a 2.4 gig wave guided 1/4 wave vertical and a mounting system to use 2 Hamsticks as a horizontal dipole.

I am now working on a frequency shifting attenuator for radio orienteering, AKA 'Fox Hunting'.

See, there is so much to do it's hard to know where to start...
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by DRMILLER100 on September 23, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Getting Started in Ham Radio
Doug Miller
KE7IXE
September 23, 2006


People have different reasons for learning about 2 way radio. Some wish to have them for emergency use, some for tinkering or building radios from kits or from scratch, some for 2 way communications, and some people just wish to listen.

Scanners – Listening only

In order to listen to communications you simply need a scanner. A scanner typically listens to local traffic, and is available from a number of internet sources, ebay, and your local Radio Shack. An inexpensive scanner will cost you less then $100 dollars, or for under $300 dollars for a full featured multiple band scanner can be easily found.

A Short Wave Listener (SWL) allows you to listen to High Frequency (HF) traffic. HF signals can bounce around the world under the right conditions, allowing you to listen to traffic all over the world.

If you want to listen to specific types of traffic, do a little research to find out what local frequencies are used. At the bottom of this article is a list of common frequencies.

Radio Clubs

If you are interested in Ham radio, the easiest way to get started is to find a local club. Radio clubs are full of people interested in radios. Almost all clubs welcome new members. If you happen to stumble across a club that isn’t friendly, keep looking as most likely there will be a friendly club around.

Further, by definition, people interested in 2-way radios are VERY talkative, Interestingly enough, they are also VERY friendly, and love to help people learn about their hobby!
Search Google or Yahoo for “Ham” plus your local home town, and odds are you will find a local club. A partial list of clubs can be found at http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/club/clubsearch.phtml

Another great place to find local clubs and further information about getting started is at
http://www.hello-radio.org/

Once you find a club, you will probably find an “Elmer.” An Elmer is a tutor, or person that can get you going and answer your questions.

Amateur Licenses

In order to talk back and forth with Ham radio you need a license, a transceiver, and an antenna. Licenses are required to transmit on Ham bands without exception.

2-Way radio licenses are issued by the FCC. Amateur radio licensed by the FCC is called “Ham Radio.” There are three levels of Ham license, and you need to pass a test to receive each successive level. The first level is called “Technician”, followed by “General”, with the most advanced being “Extra.” Currently you don’t need Morse Code knowledge to pass the Technician Test, but will need it for either of the other tests.

There are a number of sources for study material regarding the tests and to help get you started with the more technical aspects of the hobby.

The ARRL is one of the most popular sites for information. Study guides can be found at
http://www.arrl.org/catalog/index.php3?category=Help+for+Beginners

The ARRL also has a site dedicated towards potential Hams.
http://www.hello-radio.org/

The QRZ site also has excellent resources. Books can be found at
https://secure.qrz.com/store/w5yi/index.html

Of course, traditional sources have plenty of books, such as Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b/102-1263614-8093700?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=ham+radio&Go.x=0&Go.y=0&Go=Go


For a list of all the radio test questions and the correct answer, go to http://www.qrz.com/p/testing.pl . As you study the materials, you can check yourself to make sure you are learning the right information to pass the test. Although not recommended by many, it is possible to memorize the questions to pass the test.

The recommended cost for Testing is $14.00, and they are given all over the country. For a schedule of tests, go to http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/examsearch.phtml .

It takes a 70 percent average to pass the multiple choice tests. It is not necessary to have everything about Ham assimilated to pass. Typically, after passing the test, you will be listed on the FCC web site in 3 to 7 days, and then you can begin talking on your transceiver to other people!

Transceiver

A transceiver is a combination of a transmitter and a receiver. The receiver “receives” or listens to the air waves, while the transmitter “Transmits” or sends out to the air waves. They come in a variety of shapes, styles, and capabilities.

There are walky talky looking things called Handie Talks (HT’s), handhelds, or portables, which run off of batteries and have limited range.

Mobile transceivers can be operated from your home or from your vehicle. They do require a 12 volt power source.

Fixed base stations are designed for your home. Larger units have a longer reach than portable or handheld units. Transmission and reception of signals also depend on the antenna used, propagation, atmospheric conditions and other factors.

There are a LOT of used radios for sale in this world. The advice I received is most used radios cost as much as a new radio, and are being sold for a reason. I suggest you buy your first transceiver new from a reputable place and your learning curve will be somewhat shorter. Another piece of advice I received is to buy your first portable or mobile transceiver from one of the big three manufacturers in the marketplace: Icom, Kenwood, or Yaesu. For the more advanced HF rigs there are other quality manufacturers that make good first time HF rigs.

There is an excellent source for evaluating radios and antennas at http://www.eham.net/reviews/ . Thousands of users give their opinions on various Ham equipment.

For a first radio, my advice is to purchase a radio that is rated “easy to use.” There are many options with the radios, and they can be confusing for the new Hams. Some of the modern radios have archaic menu systems that lead in circles and can be very confusing.

I purchased my first radio from http://www.hamradio.com/. Their web page is confusing, but the prices are reasonable, and they have GREAT sales support on the phone when you finally give up on the web page and call them. Many Hams find the catalogs available from the larger retails to be very useful. Google has many other web sites listed.


Antenna

I recommend when you buy your transceiver you buy your antenna from the same place. Buy the cable that connects the two at the same time. There are a number of different types of connections on the radios and the antennas, and unless you are prepared to do some research, it can be confusing as to which connection ends you need to hook it all together. Many of the more experienced Hams make their own cables inexpensively.

HT’s come with a small antenna. A decent mobile antenna can be purchased for under $50 bucks. The sky is the limit on fixed base antennas, although many make their own high powered antennas for under $50 dollars.
The antenna needs to match the radio you are using, which needs to match the frequencies you are trying to receive and transmit on.
Again, ask your Elmer, and http://www.eham.net/reviews/ reviews antennas if you don’t trust your sales person.


Summary
Ham radio is indeed very fun. An Elmer can really cut the learning curve and there are many folks who would love to help you out. Practice the tests, buy a good piece of equipment, and most of all, HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!




Frequency Range
• 25- 30 Amateur Band 10 Meters
• 30- 50 VHF Low Band
• 50- 54 Ham Band 6 Meters
• 108-137 Aircraft Band
• 137-144 Federal Government
• 144-148 Amateur Band 2 Meters
• 148-174 VHF High Band
• 216-225 Amateur Band
• 406-420 Federal Government
• 420-450 Amateur Band 70 Cm
• 450-470 UHF Band
• 470-512 UHF "T" Band
• 806-956 800 MHz Band (less cellular)
• 1240-1300 Amateur Band
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K8MHZ on September 23, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"• 25- 30 Amateur Band 10 Meters"

Nope.

Check Part 97 again.

Also the 440 band is different near the Canadian border.

You do not need to match the antenna to a radio to receive on.

Better...but I really would not suggest for newcomers to get there info here. Just look at what you just went through!
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N5LX on September 23, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
DRMILLER100

I see from another response http://www.eham.net/speakout/opinions/431 you just wrote in the that you recently got your NCT license a few weeks ago and was upset that the VE examiners did not provide you with a list of clubs in your area.

At first i thought you were just ignorant. Now i see that you are just a troll. No one can be this naive and ignorant at the same time.

I do understand why you don't use your true callsign -- cause if you did then everyone would know that you are a NCT giving advice -- and thats just dangerous
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K8MHZ on September 23, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
N5LX,

If you were to have read the thread you would see that Doug's new call KE7IXE.

I don't think he even knows what a troll is.

I also take exception to your insolent comment about NCT's. I was one for over ten years. I have a fairly extensive background in electrical systems. In the areas that I decided to become proficient in, my advice was both accurate and sought after.

All Doug is guilty of is having an unrealistic sense of entitlement and a desire to attract attention both which have little true malicious intent.

He took the dressing down we gave him for his mistakes on the chin. Your response was uncalled for and obviously unfounded, as you see he did post his call. In the same post he explained why he did not change his user name.
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N0IU on September 23, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
This latest submission is much better in terms of accuracy, but you state, “…Chris is the only one who took the time to help me correct my mistakes.”

Thanks for the slap in the face to W5TD, K4JF, W8VVE, KG6WLS, KI6LO, WB2WIK, KC8VWM, N4FOZ, W7ETA, WB8NUT, K8MHZ, AB2MH, K8AG, KC2IJI, F6IQA, K7PEH, WI8W and ME (plus others I may have missed)!

You say, “There are a number of sources for study material regarding the tests and to help get you started with the more technical aspects of the hobby.” While you do give sources for actual ink-on-paper books, in the interest of fairness, you might want to consider including The W5YI Group at http://www.w5yi.org. Selling study materials is only one part of what they do. Just like the ARRL, you will hear a lot of people say a lot of things about W5YI on both sides of the fence, but they do offer a considerable amount of information about amateur radio on their website. W5YI is also a VEC (Volunteer Examination Coordinator) and offer test sessions of their own around the country.

Very respectfully, tactfully and diplomatically, I would also suggest you remove the reference the Ham Radio Outlet. When you only list one source, it might have the appearance to some that you might be an employee, it is an endorsement for them or that you were somehow compensated for including them in your article. There is nothing wrong with expressing your opinion about a dealer, but what you have done is called editorializing. You wrote, “…the prices are reasonable…” which would lead someone to assume that you got prices from other dealers for the same thing, otherwise, how would you know that their prices are reasonable? If you are going to mention sources of new equipment, then you should at least mention other sources and let the buyer do their own research.

In no particular or preference, here are some full-line dealers:
Burghardt Amateur Center: burghardt-amateur.com
AES: aesham.com
Ham Pros (6 dealers): hampros.com
Ham City: hamcity.com
R&L Electronics: randl.com
Universal Radio: universal-radio.com

In the section about antennas, you say, “Again, ask your Elmer, and http://www.eham.net/reviews/ reviews antennas if you don’t trust your sales person.” While I am on the subject of where to buy new equipment, I will reiterate what I said in an earlier post, “If you don’t trust your salesperson, buy your stuff somewhere else.” Go with your gut. If you are not “feeling the love” from the person with whom you are dealing, why would you let them make a commission on your sale? At the end of the day, a radio is a radio is a radio and I buy stuff from people who are (or seem to be) genuinely interested in my business. I apply this philosophy to everything I buy.

In the part about shortwave frequencies, you say, “If you want to listen to specific types of traffic, do a little research…” When you mention finding an equipment dealer, you say, “Google has many other web sites listed.” Anyone can say things like, “The information is out there, and all you have to do is find it.” With all due respect, that’s not very helpful. If you want to provide useful information, you have to do a little more than say, “Go look for it yourself.”

In a previous posting your write, “Perhaps one of you "teachers" might condescend to provide a road map on how to get started in Ham radio.” Doug, like many others here, I applaud your desire to want to be helpful for new and prospective amateur radio operators. I hope you will find this information useful not only for your article, but for yourself personally. You don’t have to respect me as a fellow amateur radio operator or as a person, but you really should respect my experience in this hobby.

Scott N0IU
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by QRZDXR on September 23, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Getting Started in Ham Radio

Doug Miller


Well Doug I think your being used and played for a fool here. I am sure you have found out about now that eHam already has licensed ham radio operators here. Thus your either hitting the bottle or not paying attention to who/what your writeing about. I am sure the ARRL would like to have you mail them a copy of your article so they can put it in QST. It would be much more approprate their than here.

I am sure it took you a little bit of time to come up with the article, proof read it for accurcy and context and for a first try at writing about ham radio, not bad.

However, may I suggest that your read some of the other articles that are posted here to get just a little insite as to what level your writing too.

Good luck in your adventures in writing. didit.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by DRMILLER100 on September 23, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Ok, so deep breath.

How about we all just focus on my last attempt on the article, and the comments since then? Look forward, not back as it were.

THANK YOU for the great comments. I was not aware of most of the web sites listed as an example. Never heard of them, didn't find them.

Regarding removing business references. To this date, when I look for places on the internet to buy Ham radio gear, there are a LOT of listings. As a new person, I wanted to find a larger outfit that is reputable. The cost of a few bucks isn't nearly as important to me as great advice and a reputable place that will help me while I order. That is my OPINION. I knew of one place, I listed it. Scott provided some more which I will also add.

What I would like to do is collect comments, ideas, and add them all at once in about a week, if that is ok. For sure I will add all the websites listed. for sure I will look into correcting the chart I listed.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N3OX on September 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Doug, can I make a suggestion? Spend the next week on the air having some radio fun instead of editing your submission here. I appreciate that you want to get it right. That's laudable... but I think you need a longer deep breath.

Look up the people who took the test with you. All of them will be KE7I**, many will be KE7IX* Give them a phone call, see if they're on the air yet. They could use your help, in person, to get some radio gear and get started out. You could invite them over to your station and let them see your installation, how you ran the coax to the antenna, how you mounted everything, the parts you need to get on the air. You can share with them the repeaters you've found and which your favorites are, and why. You can let them have their first QSO's on your gear.

You can make a much more profound difference to some newbie hams that way.

Dan
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N3OX on September 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
OK, bad advice... guess those that took the test out there in Idaho had to make quite a drive.

Better thought:

Check these hams out:

http://www.qrz.com/callsign?callsign=NAME&search=83635&simple=on

All in Lake Fork... maybe some have never been on the air.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W7ETA on September 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Some how, I became a Ham without the internet, and without a step by step cook book on what to do once I was licensed. I took almost 2 months before I got my ticket from the FCC.

There weren't any local Ham Radio Stores.

No Elmer. No ham in the rural town where I lived. I had ARRL books, study guides, and QSTs.

I bought a pair of traps, bought wire, made a 40/80 inverted Vee, taught myself how to solder, figured out how to strip coax for PL259s, made the center insulator, figured out how to attach the coax to it, made end insulators, and made my own log book. I already knew how to use an SWR bridge, how to "tune" an antenna; made a SKED on ten meters with other hams in my ham class and friends that had also recently become hams. I got on the air with them, using a converted CB antenna, and my inverted Vee.

Your article wouldn't have helped at all.

The expertise behind your recommendations seems to stem from being a novice in Ham Radio.

If you are getting negative feed back, maybe it's because you lack experience and knowledge to make recommendations.

Feel free to find a kindly despot to run your new website for ante and post novice hams.

After its been running for a few years, come back here and tell us how easy it was to implement your great idea.

73 for fun with ham radio.
Bob
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KC9FAC on September 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
>How about we all just focus on my last attempt
>on the article, and the comments since then?

Nice idea, but remember - you're dealing with
hams, not rational people.

Without insults and name-calling, eHam
(and qrz.com) would have no reason to exist.
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by DRMILLER100 on September 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Hey bob,

When I first started using computers i was programming with a 16 register address space in assembler.

But I don't begrudge you your windows machine.

Thanks for the helpful comments.

-doug
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by W7ETA on September 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
You'll probably have tons of fun with software defined radios and software defined modes Doug.

Since I do not have a memory for details, programing in Basic was a horror; I hated TRS DOS, QDOS, MS DOS, and Windows. However, I wound up writing the XPS program to do the Stat analysis for my group in our Applied Marketing Research class.

Bob
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by WA7SCH on September 24, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Doug,
You go! Don't take any crap from the curmudgeons!
Mike WA7SCH
 
RE: Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by N6PEH on September 25, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Yeah, give the guy a break! He forgot to add the part about Hams thinking they know everything and being highly critical about same.
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by K8DXX on October 1, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
How did this article make it onto eHam?

I'd respectfully request that the folks at eHam pull it.
 
Getting Started in Ham Radio  
by KD8EIB on October 2, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I would have to agree that ebay is not the best place to purchase a rig for a new Ham. In my nonexhaustive check of closing bids on what I would consider "entry level" equipment, many bids approach MSRP and some even exceed MSRP when shipping is added. In most cases there is no warranty on the rig, so there is an elemenet of risk for the purchaser not present in buying through a retail merchant.

There are several online merchants who sell used rigs that offer a warranty with the purchase. There are also Hamfests where rigs can be examined prior to purchase.

So, caveat emptor and do a lot of research before shopping on ebay. Factor the risk of the rig not working into your bid. If your winning bid is greater than 90-95% of MSRP, you are paying to much.

73
Mike Boersma
KD8EIB
 
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