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  #1  
Old 11-03-2004
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Are there any benifits on having a ham radio or is it just a hobby, what is needed to acquire one and how much does a typical rig go for?
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  #2  
Old 11-03-2004
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ask john... he knows all :D
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  #3  
Old 11-03-2004
 
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http://www.arrl.org/hamradio.html gives an overveiw of ham radio stuffs, and how to get licensed. $12 to take the license test, asks questions of FCC rules, and RF propogation as well as other things.

http://www.eham.net/ has product reviews, and articles about ham radio.

Sorry this post isn't longer, I'm having a bad night, but I'll add more tomorrow.
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  #4  
Old 11-04-2004
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Eric, Skot knows wuite a bit as well and I beleive he was going for his license, you may wanna give him a call or drop him a line.
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  #5  
Old 11-04-2004
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Best you read the links posted and ask specific questions. There are so many privleges and benefits I could go on for a long time. Also, since once you have the license you just have to renew every 10 years -- without retesting -- it's a hobby you can pick up and put down as you please for life. I run hot and cold on it -- but I always hava a license. I recommend it. Over 1/2 the U.S. astronauts are hams.
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  #6  
Old 11-04-2004
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i have my license. in high school i helped the local JC run contacts between schools and either the space station or the shuttle. you can have a lot of fun with it. i have one in my truck but i havent used it much lately.
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  #7  
Old 11-04-2004
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Here's my current setup in the truck, more or less:

FT-1500M 50 watt VHF (2 meter) rig to a 1/4 wave on the roof. The antenna is on an NMO mount permanently affixed -- I hate mag-mounts for anything long term. This is for voice only.

Kenwood TS-430S 100 watt HF rig to a stainless steel ball mount on the left rear fender. I have a quick disconnect on the mount and Hamstick antenna's for multiple bands which I can change as needed. Good old rig from the mid to late 1980's that has taken a licking and kept on ticking.

Maxon MCB-30 citizens band rig to a K40 Flex (4 foot) on a stainless steel ball mount on the right rear fender. Just for offroading.

Embedded in the dash is an old Icom IC-02/AT handheld, sans battery, running off of 12 volts direct. It is the APRS position reporting transmitter that connects to my GPS through a Byonics TinyTrak-II APRS modem. It feeds a glass mount 1/2 wave antenna on the rear window, drivers side.

Pics:

General Setup


The Kenwood HF rig


The GPS and to the right, the TinyTrak-II (in homemade enclosure -- I'm too cheap to buy their enclosure and I didn't like where the LED's mounted)


One of the stainless steel ball mounts and a Hamstick antenna


Rear view where you can see (badly) the 1/4 wave mount in the center of the roof, and the 1/2 wave glass mount on the rear window towards the top of the left hand side. Also, the stainless steel mount for the K40 Flex on the fender. The Hamstick has been removed from the drivers side to keep it from snagging brush constantly (it's pretty tall).
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  #8  
Old 11-04-2004
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John's such a geek.. Love that setup John, although I'll admit, drilling holes in the truck makes me uneasy..
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  #9  
Old 11-04-2004
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I've said it before, and I'll say it again: THAT'S INSANE!

Of course having met the man in person, I'd expect no less! :-Dd
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  #10  
Old 11-04-2004
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Like some have said before if you get lost with john you are definatly lost. are the licenses hard to get i was reading some of it and i see that there were 3 lisences to get?
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  #11  
Old 11-04-2004
 
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not at all, if you get some study materials, there are 3 classes, each with its own privledges. The basic, Technition class is probably the best for a beginner, as it requires no morse code to be know to pass, yet limits your operating frequencies to above 50 mHz, if your not with another operator with a higher license class.

The ARRL (American Radio Relay League) produces a book for studying for the license tests, whatever class you want. I have the General class book around here somewhere, I think, that i'm studying for, which I need to learn morse code for.
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  #12  
Old 11-05-2004
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Yes, with the Technician Class ("Tech") license you can do quite a bit: all the VHF stuff including the position reporting stuff is all doable on the lowest level license. The next level is the General Class license, and the highest level the Extra Class.

If you look, my HF radio was tuned to a frequency in the 28 mhz band, called the "10 meter band" because that's the approximate length of one cycle of the radio wave (if you could see it). From 28.300 to 28.500 mhz the Technician class has voice privleges and you can talk all over the world when conditions are right in that band.

I have an Extra Class (even though I have no class, lol) license which I got when licensing changed in 2000 and a high speed code test was no long required. Laziness and no real desire to improve my code speed kept me from upgrading. When the rules changed, I spend a week or two "boning up" on some theory and went in and took the tests (two of them) and passed.

You can take sample tests to see what they look like on http://www.qrz.com

The format is multiple choice AND EVERY QUESTION IS PUBLISHED IN ADVANCE. A 35 question multiple choice test would be taken from a pool of 350 questions, a 50 question test from a pool of 500, etc. But the actual questions are available so you can see what/how to study and most study guides take this into consideration.

The licensing process will not make you an "expert" immediately. But it will generally equip you not to do dumb stuff -- either legally or technically -- which could interfere with others or hurt you or your equipment.

The rest comes over time, just like with our trucks, as you build and modify your setups over time and learn more about it. If you pursue things like making your own antenna's (which I have done a lot -- though not mobile, just at home) and other gadgets you will learn a lot and become an expert over time.
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  #13  
Old 11-05-2004
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who all can you talk to on HAM radios?
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  #14  
Old 11-05-2004
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Other ham operators all over the world -- and there's millions of them. Of course the ones in this country. Astronauts also. There's a full ham station on the ISS.

Did you know there are probably a 6 to 10 (at least) operating Amateur Radio satellites in orbit? Privately funded and launched. If you get set up for it, you can use them to communicate and it's a blast. I've done the ham equivalent of IM'ing via one called PCSAT and I've also used the automated packet repeater on board ISS to relay my signal. Right now my satellite system is disassembled. I'm rebuilding it for my house I'm in now (2 years I've been here and haven't finished it -- ham radio is a long term hobby, lol).

The people who are hams come from all walks of life, both technical and non-technical.

By the way, here's where my license entry is in the FCC database: http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsS...?licKey=671959
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  #15  
Old 11-05-2004
 
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A quick snapshot of people using APRS, and some weather stations:
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