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Author Topic: Ready to Test, and Blown Away!  (Read 18032 times)
KK6GNP
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Posts: 158




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« on: August 22, 2013, 03:36:22 PM »

After very casually studying for my Tech test starting last month, and then picking the pace up over the past week to get a better understanding, I'm scoring 100% on my sample tests.  It's a good feeling, and I've really enjoyed jumping into ham radio with both feet and going for it.  Since I have my General books already, and I've created a schedule for study time, I've decided to just keep chugging along and get General done at the same time. I've also ordered my Extra books, but if those concepts are going to take longer to learn, I'll go ahead and do the first two tests right away, then get Extra done soon after.

I've really enjoyed these forums as well, and I was surprised by how much of the study information I was able understand better by just reading the forums, and listening to ham conversations online.  I just wanted to throw a general Thank You out to the community here, whether or not you helped me directly.  I still have a ton to learn, but even what I have learned so far was much more than I expected.  I'm continually blown away reading how much some of you know about radio.

I honestly had no idea what to expect when I jumped into this.  I thought I was simply going to get my licenses so I could volunteer for our local emergency services, but having found how deep the rabbit hole of ham radio goes, I now know I'll be doing much more than that.  I feel, as many of you no doubt do, that amateur radio is still very relevant in today's world, and I say that as someone who works with computers and internet every single day for my career.  I've started recommending to my friends and family that they consider getting their kids into radio for the learning experience, and the fun of the science behind it.

I'm still wavering on which radio to buy first.  As an outdoorsmen and off-roader (Jeeping), I am mobile a lot.  In addition to making contacts and ragchewing from my home office, I found that two outdoor ham activities jumped out at me right away, and those are SOTA and mobile/camping QRP.  I also have an interest in SDR.  All things consider, so far, I think the KX3 is jumping out at me.  I'm still not completely convinced but when I look at the pros and cons it makes sense. I'll end up with 27 radios eventually like a lot of you, but I need my first one to be very multi-purpose and match my budget.

I'm looking forward to getting my call...    73s!
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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2013, 03:39:11 PM »

Credit where credit is due:

HamTestOnline is a fantastic service.  While I did take the time to read the books, burned through two highlighters and a notepad while studying, HamTestOnline was the perfect companion to bring it all home and help me pick up my weak spots.  I'd recommend it to anyone going for their license.
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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
K6LCS
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Posts: 1514


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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2013, 04:13:46 PM »

>> ... I'm still wavering on which radio to buy first.  As an outdoorsmen and off-roader (Jeeping), I am mobile a lot.

The Kenwood TM-281A 2M mobile may not be much to look at, but it is built tough for your "harsh" conditions in the Jeep.

Besides MIL-STD 810 C/D/E/F/G ratings, it offers ...

-65W tx power
-front-firing speaker
-very legible amber display
-200 memory channels, plus one call channel (unless you use alpha tags, then you have 100 memories)

Clint Bradford K6LCS
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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.k6lcs.com
AC4RD
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Posts: 1236




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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2013, 04:32:50 PM »

Cory, congratulations!  It sounds like you're having a lot of fun already, and it only gets better and better.  There are dozens of parts of the hobby to try, and you've got a life in front of you to play and have fun with any of them that strike your fancy!  Smiley  You won't go wrong with the KX3, but just about ANY radio that looks like fun to YOU will wind up being fun.  :-)  Portable QRP *is* a bundle of fun.  Welcome to the hobby, Cory, and please keep contributing to eham.net!  73!  --ken
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KE4JOY
Member

Posts: 1366




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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2013, 05:40:00 PM »

how deep the rabbit hole of ham radio goes,

You have no idea! Good luck I wish you the best  Wink

Oh and welcome to a lifetime of learning.
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K8AXW
Member

Posts: 3773




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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2013, 08:31:20 PM »

JEEPESCAPE:  You're one of the very few newbies on here that has his s..t together!!  I seldom read posts that pleases or give me more pleasure than reading yours!

I commend you on everything you're doing because it's right.  This "rabbit hole" of ham radio is a never ending journey.  Go for it!

Many decades ago I had the Conditional Class ticket and the FCC was calling them in for on site testing.  I saw the hand writing on the wall and started to study for my General. 

When I was ready I made the journey to Washington, DC and took the test.  As soon as I got home I continued my studies for the Advance, the Extra and 3rd Phone Commercial.  After making a trip to Baltimore for those tests, I continued to study and when back once again for my 2nd and 1st Phone Commercial tests.  I passed all tests from the General to 1st Phone within 3 months.

I found that was the only way to go!  No backtracking, no refreshing or relearning what had  been forgotten....just keep pushing.  Achieve the level you want and then relax. 

I wish you the best of luck and I hope you enjoy your ham radio experience.

Very 73

Al- K8AXW
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N0IU
Member

Posts: 1279


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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2013, 07:02:01 AM »

I'm continually blown away reading how much some of you know about radio.

Well, none of us were born with this knowledge. Personally I have been licensed over 20 years but that still makes me a novice by some people's standards!

And I absolutely agree with K8AXW that you are taking the right approach to entering amateur radio. There are way too many people that just learn the test then they ask questions like these posts from other forums:

Quote
so im new. i have a ? if im planning on chating on the 2 meter or any other how do i know if im on vhf uhf or ssb? i got a qaudband and am not sure about that part, please help

Quote
I wouldn't say I have started studying yet but I have been looking over the Technician Q&A.

One question: "Which frequency is within the 6 meter band?" Answer: 52.525Mhz... got me thinking.

Is there some kind of formula for converting meters into frequencies? I looked around a bit and found no correlation and saw no analogy for the relationship between meters and frequencies.

Seriously I can't make this stuff up! Even though you don't even have your license yet, I'd be willing to bet you could answer these questions.

Good luck on your Tech and General tests. Please let us know how you did!



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W8JX
Member

Posts: 5678




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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2013, 09:11:08 AM »

>> ... I'm still wavering on which radio to buy first.  As an outdoorsmen and off-roader (Jeeping), I am mobile a lot.

The Kenwood TM-281A 2M mobile may not be much to look at, but it is built tough for your "harsh" conditions in the Jeep.

Besides MIL-STD 810 C/D/E/F/G ratings, it offers ...

-65W tx power
-front-firing speaker
-very legible amber display
-200 memory channels, plus one call channel (unless you use alpha tags, then you have 100 memories)

Clint Bradford K6LCS

Excellent rig and not expensive too. Also has a from mounted speaker that is very loud and perfect for a noisy jeep off road. I used to 'wheel' long long ago. Todays 4x4's while have more creature comforts are no where near as rugged as their older ancestors that were primitive and very rugged.
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All posted wireless using Win 8.1 RT, a Android tablet using 4G/LTE/WiFi or Sprint Note 3.
N3DF
Member

Posts: 252




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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2013, 09:32:47 AM »

Remember to give at least as much thought to your antenna as to your rig.

Decent facility with CW is a huge help when operating QRP.
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Neil N3DF
N6AJR
Member

Posts: 9915




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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2013, 12:40:52 PM »

How about a Yaesu ft 857. 2m and 440, 6m and all of HF, mounted in your car with an ATAS 120 antenna, which autotunes with this radio, 440 mhz through 40 meters mobile, and  take it in the house with a power supply and an outside antenna and be on the air as a base station.
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KE4JOY
Member

Posts: 1366




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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2013, 12:50:49 PM »

Quote
Is there some kind of formula for converting meters into frequencies? I looked around a bit and found no correlation and saw no analogy for the relationship between meters and frequencies.

300 is a magic number. Not precise but in the ball park 300/6=50  Wink
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N0IU
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Posts: 1279


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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2013, 01:58:02 PM »

Quote
Is there some kind of formula for converting meters into frequencies? I looked around a bit and found no correlation and saw no analogy for the relationship between meters and frequencies.

300 is a magic number. Not precise but in the ball park 300/6=50  Wink

I hate to burst your bubble, but no one here was actually looking for the answer to that question. It was a genuine question, but from another forum with an amateur radio section. It was just to point out what kind of questions people post when they DON'T do what JEEPESCAPE has done which is actually attempt to learn something (heaven forbid!) before taking a license test.
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KE4JOY
Member

Posts: 1366




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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2013, 03:17:10 PM »

Ohhhh noes!!!! my bubble has been bursted, whatever will I do?  Grin

I apologize so deeply in that I saw a question out there that I might have been able to answer and attempted to do so.

I will try to show some restraint in the future.   Wink
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KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




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« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2013, 10:22:29 PM »

Thanks for the great replies and kind words, everyone.  I've always had this "problem" of needing to truly understand things I am interested in.  I won't be satisfied knowing "just enough" about radio, which is why I knew from the moment I decided to get involved in radio, I would get my Extra ticket.  I'm looking forward to getting into homebrew too.

Clint:  I'll check out that Kenwood, thanks for the suggestion.

Ken:  Portable QRP looks like a blast to me, and I can't wait to build some of my own QRP gear..  I will keep on contributing to eham, and probably annoying some folks.. haha!

KE4JOY:  Thank you!  A lifetime of learning indeed.  Ham radio seems like an endless subject to me right now.

Al:  Thanks for the kind reply.  My interest in learning is my primary driver in life.  I'd go back to school full time if someone would pay my bills!   Grin  It's very interesting hearing about your journey through licensing.  I'm going to have to look some of those up!

N0IU: Thanks for the kind words.  Unfortunately, it seems increasingly common for people to skim through life rather than dig deeper.  Whenever someone says anything about life being boring, I tell them they are nuts.  So much to do, so little time...

W8JX:  I currently drive a Jeep Wrangler, lifted 4" on 33's.  One thing this Jeep has none of is creature comforts, but I am going to get the 2014 4-Door Wrangler this Winter, which is a lot more comfy inside.  Still amazing off-road though!  Out here I can run with the top off the Jeep 2/3 of the year, and I usually do.

N3DF:  Antennas...absolutely.  That is one lesson I am digging into, and I'm ordering the ARRL Antenna book soon.  Funny thing about CW is that I didn't know if I was going to be interested in it until I got my head around how far the signals go even with QRP equipment.  I now know that I will be taking the time to learn code so that I can get involved in it.

Unfortunately for me, as far as antennas go, I'm limited to what I can get away with in my typical tract home with an HOA.  I figure learning stealth designs will be fun way to start out in a little homebrew, though I know I may be limited on what I can do with my base station for now.  My plans for the future including eventually moving out of tract homes for good, because I also want a big garden, a windmill and other things that will require a little private land.  I can picture my wife's face already when the radio tower arrives.... hahaha  The good thing is that while I live here, I can still go mobile and find some mountain tops to work from.

N6AJR: The 857/897 and the IC-7000 were the first two radios I had settled on after my initial research time.  I dig the rugged build of the 897, and I may end up with one eventually anyway just because I dig it.  I've come damned close to pulling the trigger on the 7000 several times already, and that probably would have been my first radio had I not run into the KX3 while watching a QRP CW video and then SOTA video on YouTube.  It's still a tough decision to make with all the choices out there, and to be honest, I don't know what I'll get until I start filling out the credit card order form!  My main concern right now is that I need a "do all" unit to start with.  Over the next few years I'll get into more radios, but I want something very flexible for my first buy.  The fact that the KX3 has decent SDR features is a big plus too, because that's a subject I'm very much interested in.  I wish it was a bit more rugged, but considering all it can do, I can live with the trade-off there.


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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
WN2C
Member

Posts: 443




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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2013, 08:23:07 AM »

Cory, If you buy the 7000 then you can turn the power down to 5 to 10 watts for qrp, but if you need more power it is there.  Just a thought to keep in mind as both radios are good.
Good luck on the tests!

Rick  WN2C
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