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Author Topic: What's new in Ham Radio  (Read 2688 times)

Posts: 20

« on: February 07, 2012, 08:17:46 AM »

I've been a ham now for 32 years.  I was very active on HF and VHF for quite a while.  But, in the last 15 years or so I drifted away.  Now I'm back.  Trying to find out what's new, what's different, what's changed.  Any ideas on how I can get back up to speed?  Any good websites (most of which didn't exist when I was active before), or books, etc?  I'm already hanging around on 2mtrs and getting my HF dipole back up.  I have noticed we've been invaded by computers, just like everything else has.  I disliked packet radio in the mid-70s.  Now it seems to have just exploded.

Steve NZ5Y

Steve NZ5Y

Posts: 9930

« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2012, 11:38:45 AM »

I too am a "retread" on ham radio. I was active from 1978 till about the mid 80's and then I was pretty much off the air till 2001.  First, I found as an old "2 meter tech" I could be grandfathered in as a general, the 5 wpm code  test was legal for general then.  Next I found that in the old days you had 2 repeaters with a hundred folks on each, and now you 100 repeaters with 2 people on each.  the new radios can be programed by computer and the top of the line one become almost automatic.  I have lots of toys, but on HF my favourite is the Ten Tec Orion into the Alpha 87 A amp into the 3 element steppir antenna.  I can click on a spot on one of the monitor programs on the computer, the computer tells the radio, amp and antenna to tune there, and it logs the time and the call into the computer logger.  I work the station , hit enter, enter and select the next spot.  there is 2 meter moon bounce, there is worked all grids on 6 meters, there is uhf/vhf television, there is mobile radio both uhf/ vhf and hf, there is low power stuff, there is working DX and there are many on the air groups like the century club, there are swap nets on the air, and the hardest thing to decide is what to do.  welcome back, my friend , and welcome home.

Posts: 2527

« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2012, 12:39:47 PM »

I just got in a kit to build a simple software defined receiver.

There are a few places selling a variety of kits to build software defined radios. 

But, basically, physics for ham radio hasn't changed.

Oh; pile-ups build extremely fast now.



Posts: 2100

« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2012, 04:02:44 AM »

   I am also another retread,was QRT for 42 years.I got my ticket back three years ago.As I am not interested in the latest out of the box push button technology that is highly computer dependent, I decided to regress back to my teenage years by building QRP kits and antennas and picking up CW again,nothing but fun since.If you are interested in the simple/fun ham radio lifestyle just check out the many QRP web sites for info.Good luck finding your niche.   Jim

Posts: 20

« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2012, 12:31:40 PM »

Thanks for the notes everyone.  I really resisted Packet radio in the 1980s ("packet racket"), and even now don't want to connect a computer to my rig any more than I have to (I design mega software systems for a living, don't want a computer to spoil my fun!).  I know the rigs are more computer controlled than ever though. 

Back about 1995 I bought an Icom IC-730 HF rig at a swapfest, and never used it.  So I finally wired the plug to the PS and it turns on, yeayy!  I'm working on getting a wire antenna up now, an 80 mtr dipole center fed with ladder line.  So I'll be back on HF soon. 

I used to like CW.  I got my Extra in 1984 (we were the very last test session the FCC in Dallas ever gave.  Had to fly to Dallas, go to the FCC office in the Federal Bldg downtown, take a written, and then use 1940s' era headphones to take a code test.  I was copying about 26 wpm back then, so I passed the 20 wpm test pretty easily.  So I'm the last of pre-vec test takers, and also gave the first VEC test in the south plains of west texas two weeks later!

I think I'll try 2mtrs again, maybe 70cm.  And HF ragchew and CW till I get my feet wet again.  I have a mobile 10mtr rig, but I don't know if the sunspot cycle is where we can use 10mtrs.  I toasted my 2mtr two weeks ago, but got a new part (luckily, the KDK FM240 is 25 years old and has discrete components like voltage regulator ICs) today, so I'll either be on 2mtrs soon, or get to (er, I mean have to ) buy a new rig!

73s all.  It's good to be home!

Steve NZ5Y

Steve NZ5Y
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