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Author Topic: Please explain the licensing needs, ins and outs, options, and requirements??  (Read 5706 times)
KEVIN2
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Posts: 6




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« on: January 18, 2014, 11:17:23 AM »

I'm considering getting into ham radio for my son and I. So, I've done a bit of reading on licensing, but I'm going to ask here to see if I can shorten my curve a bit.

1. I'd be using a handheld ham radio to start. BAOFENG UV-5R might be the starting point. Cheaper & seems to get good reviews.
 
2. We'd use them for emergency use while hiking, fishing, hunting.

3. Another member mentioned Fox Hunting, and that also interests us.

4. Communicating long distances while on hikes, and the option of communicating with astronauts sounds like fun to my son as well.

So, what might be the easiest avenue for licensing for both myself and my 15 year old son.

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KC9YTJ
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Posts: 82




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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2014, 11:26:22 AM »

Study for the Technician exam, show up at a local VE testing session, pay the fee and pass the test (26 out of 35 questions is a passing grade), voila, you're licensed to use the Baofeng HT as soon as your call shows up in the FCC's Universal Licensing System (ULS).

If you need more help, look up a local ham club and attend a meeting.  Let them know you are interested in becoming a licensed amateur radio operator.  (That wasn't the route I took, but if you have a local active club, it might make it easier than trying to go it alone.)

Otherwise there are plenty of books and websites on the subject.  This link at the ARRL might be one place to start.
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N0AXE
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Posts: 17




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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2014, 11:33:35 AM »

Got my ticket at the end of December. Now I have a 1x3 N0AXE vanity. Took both the tech and general at the same time. My 5 year old wants to get into it so away we go.
The ARRL site should have a listing of VE sessions near you and this site has practice exams for you and your son. If you can pass the practice tests with about 90
% every time you try it you should be able to pass the VE test.
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AA4HA
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Posts: 1591




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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2014, 04:51:17 PM »

1. I'd be using a handheld ham radio to start. BAOFENG UV-5R might be the starting point. Cheaper & seems to get good reviews.
 
2. We'd use them for emergency use while hiking, fishing, hunting.

3. Another member mentioned Fox Hunting, and that also interests us.

4. Communicating long distances while on hikes, and the option of communicating with astronauts sounds like fun to my son as well.

#1 a radio capable of operating on 2 meters (144-148 MHz) and 70 centimeters (420-450 MHz) that can access repeaters, use things like APRS (automatic position reporting). Satellite up/down links and also to the ISS. All you would need is an extra, portable antenna to do satellite/ ISS work so you can aim it while attempting to work a pass.

#2 Great for camping and hunting. You would also be able to communicate with other radio amateurs who may be in the area.

#3 Fox hunting. Pretty popular on the 2 meter and 70 centimeter bands. You can even fox-hunt each other. The same directional antenna you would use for satellites could be very useful for triangulating positions during a fox-hunt.

#4 Distances. With a portable handheld a few miles is probably about the best you will do from portable to portable. If you can access a repeater this can be 10-15 miles with portables. For longer distances you would need more power on VHF/UHF (25-50 miles). For really long distances (hundreds or thousands of miles) then you would eventually want to upgrade to a general class license so you can operate on the lower frequencies (160, 80, 60, 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12, 10 meters).

For the technician class license there are very few technical questions. You would need to understand ohm's law (math E/I*R) power P=I*E, frequency and wavelength). The rest of it is FCC rules, operating practices and procedures. If you each studied for one weekend (12-16 hours) you could pass the test.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
KEVIN2
Member

Posts: 6




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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2014, 05:09:39 PM »

I spent some time today on the ARRL site. I'm pressing forward for now, as it sounds like fun.

Study for the Technician exam, show up at a local VE testing session, pay the fee and pass the test (26 out of 35 questions is a passing grade), voila, you're licensed to use the Baofeng HT as soon as your call shows up in the FCC's Universal Licensing System (ULS).

If you need more help, look up a local ham club and attend a meeting.  Let them know you are interested in becoming a licensed amateur radio operator.  (That wasn't the route I took, but if you have a local active club, it might make it easier than trying to go it alone.)

Otherwise there are plenty of books and websites on the subject.  This link at the ARRL might be one place to start.
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K7KBN
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Posts: 2825




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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2014, 05:47:57 PM »

Study for the Technician exam, show up at a local VE testing session, pay the fee and pass the test (26 out of 35 questions is a passing grade), voila, you're licensed to use the Baofeng HT as soon as your call shows up in the FCC's Universal Licensing System (ULS).

I'd modify that just a bit -- hams aren't "licensed to use" a particular piece of equipment.  You would be licensed to operate within the amateur bands open to a Technician-Class licensee.  The Baofeng and other Chinese imports are generally able to transmit outside those restrictions, where no amateur radio is permitted.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
KEVIN2
Member

Posts: 6




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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2014, 09:59:30 PM »

So, are there specific amateur radios that only transmit in the given band width OR can the Baofeng be used in a manner that would keep me inside the guidelines of the Technician class license??

Study for the Technician exam, show up at a local VE testing session, pay the fee and pass the test (26 out of 35 questions is a passing grade), voila, you're licensed to use the Baofeng HT as soon as your call shows up in the FCC's Universal Licensing System (ULS).

I'd modify that just a bit -- hams aren't "licensed to use" a particular piece of equipment.  You would be licensed to operate within the amateur bands open to a Technician-Class licensee.  The Baofeng and other Chinese imports are generally able to transmit outside those restrictions, where no amateur radio is permitted.

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KC9YTJ
Member

Posts: 82




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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 04:39:25 AM »

Study for the Technician exam, show up at a local VE testing session, pay the fee and pass the test (26 out of 35 questions is a passing grade), voila, you're licensed to use the Baofeng HT as soon as your call shows up in the FCC's Universal Licensing System (ULS).

I'd modify that just a bit -- hams aren't "licensed to use" a particular piece of equipment.  You would be licensed to operate within the amateur bands open to a Technician-Class licensee.  The Baofeng and other Chinese imports are generally able to transmit outside those restrictions, where no amateur radio

Good point.  Modification accepted :-)
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N0IU
Member

Posts: 1355


WWW

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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 05:05:43 AM »

So, are there specific amateur radios that only transmit in the given band width OR can the Baofeng be used in a manner that would keep me inside the guidelines of the Technician class license??

As an amateur radio operator, it is YOUR responsibility to stay within the confines of your license class and within the confines of the amateur radio spectrum in general, not the radio. I can almost promise you that there will be questions on your test that ask about where you can operate.
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W9KEY
Member

Posts: 1137




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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2014, 05:13:11 PM »


So, what might be the easiest avenue for licensing for both myself and my 15 year old son.


got to hamtestonline.com and sign up for a free trial subscription. take the technician exam and see how you do.  then the program will help you study up wherever you need it. a paid subscription is as cheap as some study books if you are on a tight budget.  your library is also an option.

73 and hope to see you licensed and on the air
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KK4LGR
Member

Posts: 53




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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2014, 12:13:09 AM »

So, are there specific amateur radios that only transmit in the given band width OR can the Baofeng be used in a manner that would keep me inside the guidelines of the Technician class license??

Hi Kevin, glad you're interested!

Those Baofeng radios (I've got mine sitting next to my keyboard right now) can be programmed with a link cable from a computer (link cable is about $10, software is free) to limit them to only transmit in the Ham bands.

There are radios that won't transmit outside of the ham bands without messing around inside them.  My Yaesu FT-1900R is that way; it will receive outside of the ham bands so I can listen to other services, but the transmit button won't do anything if I'm tuned to where I'm not authorized to transmit.

No matter what equipment you have, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure you are transmitting within your license capabilities.  We're free to select our own frequency and mode rather than stuck picking between a few pre-selected channels, so we have the responsibility to use the spectrum correctly.

This is easier than it sounds.  If you google "2 meter band plan" or even just "ham band plan," one of the links will be from the ARRL.  The page you'll get will have tables for all of the amateur radio bands, their top and bottom frequencies, and what certain frequencies or range of frequencies are used for.  If in doubt, look it up before you transmit.

When you start out with a Technician class license, you'll have privileges to use all of the bands from 6 meters and up (up in frequency, so from 50 MHz on up), Morse code privileges on small portions of several of the HF bands, and a small chunk of SSB (Single Sideband, kind of AM 2.0) on 10 meters.  They gave us Techs (I'm a Technician myself) that slice of 10 meters to whet our appetites and get us fired up for the General test.  Wink

You're starting off with a handheld, so you're looking at 2 meters and 70 centimeters.  The Baofeng can do both, as can radios from more prominent manufacturers of Ham gear like Kenwood, Icom and Yaesu.  Let's take a look at 2 meters, which is the most popular VHF ham band.

Here in the United States, 2 meters runs from 144 to 148 MHz.  While you technically are allowed to transmit in any portion of that band, we've divided it up so that certain frequencies are used for certain things.  144.0 to 144.1 is used for CW (morse code) transmissions, for instance.  You'll be interested in FM simplex and repeater frequencies.  Simplex means radio to radio without a repeater.  We've set aside several frequencies specifically for that between 146.40 and 146.58, among other places.  Right in the middle is the calling frequency, 146.52, which is used for calling CQ and finding someone to talk to, then you move to another frequency to chat.  If you've agreed to talk to another ham before the fact like you will with your son out in the woods, skip the calling channel and just pick a simplex frequency.  Your local ham club can provide you with a list of repeaters in your area to try.  Because repeaters can extend your range greatly over many miles, you're probably going to talk on repeaters a lot.

70 centimeters is chopped up in a similar way, in fact, so are all of the bands.

You can find tons of great information on hamuniverse.com.  There's tons of information there that's in a very beginner-friendly format if you can excuse the 90's web design.  I learned a lot there myself, and I still read that website all the time.  Their article on how repeaters work is a great read.

Your local ham club will help you out a lot.  Remember, these are guys who like talking about radios almost as much as they like playing with them, so they'll be happy to answer your questions.  Your first task is to study for your test, find a testing session (Which is probably done by the ham club in your area, and if there's one an adjacent club is hosting that's more convenient, they'll be able to tell you), take and pass the test.  You can transmit as soon as your callsign appears in the FCC database.

73
Adam
KK4LGR
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"Well I'm sure glad we've got these ham radios to talk on."
--Unidentified station heard on 2 meters
WI4P
Member

Posts: 46




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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2014, 08:34:06 AM »

I highly recommend hamtestonline.com for study.  It will haves you ready for your exam in 10 to 20 hrs study time.  Skip the practice exams until you've used study mode to study all the materials.

Ham radio is a great hobby.  Good luck with your study.
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K1CJS
Member

Posts: 6055




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« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2014, 06:35:27 AM »

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet, and I'm a bit surprised.  Everything you need to know to get started would be contained in Part 97 of the FCC regulations--which govern the amateur radio service.  Granted that the explanations aren't there, those you would need to get from other sources already sited.  You can even get the ham frequency limits, both upper and lower for any band, and using that you can program even the Chinese radios for proper ham operation.

The best bet, however, would be to use the ARRL website to find a local club and then see if they have any ham license classes.  There you can find out about ham radio and ask questions to your hearts desire!  The instructors are somewhat knowledgeable (!) and should be able to help out--even to the point of administering the exam to obtain your license.

73 and good luck!
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WI8P
Member

Posts: 261




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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2014, 10:49:06 AM »

Another thing I haven't seen mentioned is you both have to have licenses to communicate with each other. 
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