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Old 11-05-2012, 11:27 PM
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Default Just getting started with Ham. Any tips?

So I have recently just started to get interested in ham. Joined ARRL a little while ago. I got a mailing from them that offers a membership and the book to get started for the exam for the same price as the normal membership. Figured it would be a good way to start. There's an exam in East Greenbush I think on 1/17 or around then. Looking at taking the exam then unless I find somthing else close to here before then if I am ready. I have been listening to local ham's on my one scanner lately and ordered a radio. yes I know I can't use it on ham freqs until I have passed the exam. Its a BaoFeng UV-5R plus. A friend at my one job has one, he mainly uses it on our vhf freq at the ski area so I can use it there too. That's the one reason I got it before taking the exam since I have a use for it. Probably will program ham freqs into it too so I can use that to listen until I take the exam which will free up one of my scanners. Does anyone have any tips or advice for me while i'm just getting started? Thanks
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:31 PM
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- Just keep going, and get the General right after.
- After you've studied for the test, enjoy taking the practice tests online. If you're always passing the practice tests, you're good to go.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by vagrant View Post
- Just keep going, and get the General right after.
Can you take both at once? Seeing how far away this exam is and that im a quick learner, would it be possible to take both at the same time?
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:38 AM
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Welcome to the hobby, it's far more fun and exciting with great people than I ever realized. I think if you put in some time to get involved you well enjoy it (note: I'm an HF snob of sorts now, very little VHF/UHF). But be that as it may...

I don't know if you're interested in spending any money, if you are I highly recommend HamTestOnline™ - Ham Radio Exam Courses and Ham Radio Practice Exams they have study guides and practice tests for all classes of exam from Tech to Extra. I used them to study for my General and my extra and have found them to be a fantastic resource. It's not just memorization they actually give you the study materials too and the system works with you to help you with your weak areas. Of course it's not free but I feel the site was worth every penny I've spent on it.

You can absolutely take both (or all three) exams at once! In fact you will generally find that so long as you pass each exam there is only one exam fee for taking all the exams. The way it works is this.. You sit and take your technician test, it's then graded and checked over by each of the VE's (3 or more in total) and they all sign off on your pass/fail. If you pass you are then eligible to take the next class of exam (General). If you can pass that, you can then go ahead and sit for the extra if you wish and do a clean sweep. I have to warn you though the extra is a *DOG* of a test, an absolute beast.

The good news is, the General gives you access every ham band and the right to use full legal limit power (where permitted). In fact on 10, 12, 30, 60, and 160 meters you have the same exact permission as Extra class operators. On the rest you have significant portions of the phone band open to you and nearly all the data/cw/rtty frequencies as well. So the General is certainly well "empowered", the only band where General might feel a little "cramped" would be 80/75 meters as they're only given a fairly small amount of the phone band. But the truth be told I spend far more time between 20 and 40 meters with the rest of my time on 10,12,15 and 17 meters. 30 and 60 meters are very.. Odd.. Bands.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexkaczor View Post
Can you take both at once? Seeing how far away this exam is and that im a quick learner, would it be possible to take both at the same time?
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Old 11-06-2012, 1:07 AM
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Originally Posted by acyddrop View Post
Welcome to the hobby, it's far more fun and exciting with great people than I ever realized. I think if you put in some time to get involved you well enjoy it (note: I'm an HF snob of sorts now, very little VHF/UHF). But be that as it may...

I don't know if you're interested in spending any money, if you are I highly recommend HamTestOnline™ - Ham Radio Exam Courses and Ham Radio Practice Exams they have study guides and practice tests for all classes of exam from Tech to Extra. I used them to study for my General and my extra and have found them to be a fantastic resource. It's not just memorization they actually give you the study materials too and the system works with you to help you with your weak areas. Of course it's not free but I feel the site was worth every penny I've spent on it.

You can absolutely take both (or all three) exams at once! In fact you will generally find that so long as you pass each exam there is only one exam fee for taking all the exams. The way it works is this.. You sit and take your technician test, it's then graded and checked over by each of the VE's (3 or more in total) and they all sign off on your pass/fail. If you pass you are then eligible to take the next class of exam (General). If you can pass that, you can then go ahead and sit for the extra if you wish and do a clean sweep. I have to warn you though the extra is a *DOG* of a test, an absolute beast.

The good news is, the General gives you access every ham band and the right to use full legal limit power (where permitted). In fact on 10, 12, 30, 60, and 160 meters you have the same exact permission as Extra class operators. On the rest you have significant portions of the phone band open to you and nearly all the data/cw/rtty frequencies as well. So the General is certainly well "empowered", the only band where General might feel a little "cramped" would be 80/75 meters as they're only given a fairly small amount of the phone band. But the truth be told I spend far more time between 20 and 40 meters with the rest of my time on 10,12,15 and 17 meters. 30 and 60 meters are very.. Odd.. Bands.
Alright thank you. I may use that site for General. I am getting the book for tech free from ARRL when i registered, so that should get me through that one. Instead of buying the book for General, I may use that site. Its about the same price. from what I was reading online, a local club K2AE, runs exams monthly at the meetings so I may be able to take tech at the December meeting. I put an email into them and will know more soon. I would love to be able to get my exam done, at least for tech, by christmas.
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Old 11-06-2012, 9:03 AM
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Cool that your getting started into Ham radio, if you study the Tech book at least for a hour or more, and take the practice tests online you should be able to take the Tech test soon.

Also here a couple more online practice test sites that you could check out.

AA9PW FCC Exam Practice » Amateur Radio Exam Practice

eHam.net Ham Radio Practice Exams
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Old 11-06-2012, 1:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Rt169Radio View Post
Cool that your getting started into Ham radio, if you study the Tech book at least for a hour or more, and take the practice tests online you should be able to take the Tech test soon.

Also here a couple more online practice test sites that you could check out.

AA9PW FCC Exam Practice » Amateur Radio Exam Practice

eHam.net Ham Radio Practice Exams
Alright thanks. Ill take a look at them
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Old 11-06-2012, 2:13 PM
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The only thing I have to add is you jumped the gun by starting with the least useful radio on the planet, a low power handheld that may get you into a local repeater or two but nothing else. The known problem with that approach is new hams quickly get bored and drop out adding nothing to our resource pool.

You'd be much better off with a mobile rig and a power supply capable of its current need plus a little headroom BUT go by the continuous rating, NOT the maximum rating. Generally 200% is preferable (if the rig requires 10A transmitting a 20A supply will be happy) to avoid excessive heating and a cool down period you'll be off the air.

What sort of rig? That all depends on what you want to do PLUS future expansion so you don't have to buy more rigs somewhere down the line. That's a lot to consider when we have so much spectrum and many modes so you have a bit of homework ahead of you. That's what internet shopping is all about, every manufacturer has a web site and so do major outlets so look around to see what's available in your price range but be prepared to spend some bux. You don't have the bux for that juicy little item? SAVE FOR IT, don't be impatient and settle for less, you'll regret it. For what it's worth (not much) I love my Icom IC706Mk2G you can look up on line to find out why, maybe not for you but it works for me, not everybody has the same needs.

One last thing, THINK FIRST and post questions here as a last resort as all you'll get are opinions and most won't agree with your individual needs. Yeah I'm old school quite literally, we were graded on initiative and creativity and encouraged to THINK before asking the teacher who was there to help if we got stuck after exhausting all available resources like the library.

Speaking of teachers, ham teachers are called elmers and we're always there to help and guide new hams AND each other so finding and joining a club will put you in touch. Like any club it's like mining for gold, you have to move a lot of dirt but you'll find a few nuggets here and there so all you need is patience and the ability to smell BS... you'll find your nugget.
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Old 11-06-2012, 3:14 PM
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SARA K2AE - Schenectady Amateur Radio Association, Inc.

I am looking at joining this group. They meet about 10 min away from my house so ive contacted them and am looking at joining. They offer exams too so I think I am going to take mine with them. I do believe my one friend is a member of K2AE as well, so I will know someone in it. They also help to run our county Skywarn network and I am a skywarn spotter for this county so thats a plus too.
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Old 11-06-2012, 6:12 PM
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Good luck,study little by little your get to the point where the answers are automatic! I joined a club they help a lot!! In the beginning it's almost like information overload,what radio,band,VHF,UHF,HF,Repeaters,Dxing...?! But you will find your nich!! If I can help feel free to pm me I have my tech ticket since September 20 th and I'm having fun!!! Not sure how far your QTH is but I'm in Belleville,NJ and I hang around on W2RN 443.750 in 141.3 pl if you have a scanner you can hear us perhaps!
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Old 11-06-2012, 6:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Fuzy_GSXR1000 View Post
Good luck,study little by little your get to the point where the answers are automatic! I joined a club they help a lot!! In the beginning it's almost like information overload,what radio,band,VHF,UHF,HF,Repeaters,Dxing...?! But you will find your nich!! If I can help feel free to pm me I have my tech ticket since September 20 th and I'm having fun!!! Not sure how far your QTH is but I'm in Belleville,NJ and I hang around on W2RN 443.750 in 141.3 pl if you have a scanner you can hear us perhaps!
Alright thanks. I'm sure I cant pick it up from here. I am near albany so without even looking it up, I know its quite a distance.
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Old 11-07-2012, 5:49 AM
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Amen!

Not to hijack this thread but you may want to look at a post I did:

Old Radios (Sort of...?)

It may help expand on what KB2XVA said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kb2vxa View Post
The only thing I have to add is you jumped the gun by starting with the least useful radio on the planet, a low power handheld that may get you into a local repeater or two but nothing else. The known problem with that approach is new hams quickly get bored and drop out adding nothing to our resource pool.

You'd be much better off with a mobile rig and a power supply capable of its current need plus a little headroom BUT go by the continuous rating, NOT the maximum rating. Generally 200% is preferable (if the rig requires 10A transmitting a 20A supply will be happy) to avoid excessive heating and a cool down period you'll be off the air.

What sort of rig? That all depends on what you want to do PLUS future expansion so you don't have to buy more rigs somewhere down the line. That's a lot to consider when we have so much spectrum and many modes so you have a bit of homework ahead of you. That's what internet shopping is all about, every manufacturer has a web site and so do major outlets so look around to see what's available in your price range but be prepared to spend some bux. You don't have the bux for that juicy little item? SAVE FOR IT, don't be impatient and settle for less, you'll regret it. For what it's worth (not much) I love my Icom IC706Mk2G you can look up on line to find out why, maybe not for you but it works for me, not everybody has the same needs.

One last thing, THINK FIRST and post questions here as a last resort as all you'll get are opinions and most won't agree with your individual needs. Yeah I'm old school quite literally, we were graded on initiative and creativity and encouraged to THINK before asking the teacher who was there to help if we got stuck after exhausting all available resources like the library.

Speaking of teachers, ham teachers are called elmers and we're always there to help and guide new hams AND each other so finding and joining a club will put you in touch. Like any club it's like mining for gold, you have to move a lot of dirt but you'll find a few nuggets here and there so all you need is patience and the ability to smell BS... you'll find your nugget.
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Old 11-07-2012, 1:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acyddrop View Post
Amen!

Not to hijack this thread but you may want to look at a post I did:

Old Radios (Sort of...?)

It may help expand on what KB2XVA said.
Alright Ill take a look at it. Thanks
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Old 11-07-2012, 2:19 PM
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Don't just memorize test questions. Get some operating experience first. Don't be that newly ticketed ham who went from zero to extra in one day who can't or doesn't understand BASIC operations of their radio.


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Old 11-07-2012, 5:18 PM
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Originally Posted by cavmedic View Post
Don't just memorize test questions. Get some operating experience first. Don't be that newly ticketed ham who went from zero to extra in one day who can't or doesn't understand BASIC operations of their radio.


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Yeah i know what you mean. At the most I will go up to General. Maybe do extra in a few years. Only reason I may do both together right away is because I am going to have to get a day off from work in order to take the exam and where I work, its hard to get a day off. I primarily will do 2M and 70 CM for quite a while anyways since I don't have the money to get anything else at the time. Only time I may use other bands are if I go to my friends who has a lot of equipment.
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Old 11-07-2012, 5:39 PM
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Wherever you take the exam....if you pass the tech they automatically let you take the general for the same fee.
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Old 11-07-2012, 6:32 PM
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Wherever you take the exam....if you pass the tech they automatically let you take the general for the same fee.
Yeah I know. Thats one of the reasons I am planning to do that.
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Old 11-08-2012, 4:43 PM
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Looks to me you're on the right road. All roads lead to Rome... New York. (;->)

"I primarily will do 2M and 70 CM for quite a while anyways since I don't have the money to get anything else at the time."

Like I said, save your pennies and get something far more useful, all good things come in time. Then there's another approach, a swap. That's how I got my first rig and an HT, I came across a dealer who is a model train collector and traded my long unused train sets. Then came an antenna and coax, what's missing? Oh, a power supply! Eh, here's where creativity came in, a car battery and an old 4A regulated power supply as a float charger left on 24-7-365 until I saved enough for a 20A regulated supply.

Still another approach, used equipment. When you have contacts in the club they can further advise you, looking at those angles would make this post overly long.

To borrow a phrase from an old Scotsman I once knew; Iffa ye wanna be a ham laddie ye goh'ta be resourceful. (It's not gotta because of the glottal stop.)
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Old 11-08-2012, 7:48 PM
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I agree hamfests there are some fantastic deals!! I have to pace myself with this because it is simply a hobby and there are things in life that come before ham radio and I'm glad at nearly fifty years of age I realize that! If not I would have a $7000.00 radio up in my room with endless credit card debt...LOL
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Old 11-08-2012, 9:35 PM
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Looks to me you're on the right road. All roads lead to Rome... New York. (;->)

"I primarily will do 2M and 70 CM for quite a while anyways since I don't have the money to get anything else at the time."

Like I said, save your pennies and get something far more useful, all good things come in time. Then there's another approach, a swap. That's how I got my first rig and an HT, I came across a dealer who is a model train collector and traded my long unused train sets. Then came an antenna and coax, what's missing? Oh, a power supply! Eh, here's where creativity came in, a car battery and an old 4A regulated power supply as a float charger left on 24-7-365 until I saved enough for a 20A regulated supply.

Still another approach, used equipment. When you have contacts in the club they can further advise you, looking at those angles would make this post overly long.

To borrow a phrase from an old Scotsman I once knew; Iffa ye wanna be a ham laddie ye goh'ta be resourceful. (It's not gotta because of the glottal stop.)
Yeah im planning to save up for things. One thing I may do is either buy or loan my friends station when he goes away to school. He had said he will not be able to take it with him when he goes and will not have the time anyways so he may sell some or all things and just save a handheld. So that may get me going.
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