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Getting Your License / New Operators - New to amateur radio and interested in getting your license? This is the forum for you.

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Old 05-12-2018, 9:02 PM
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Default passed the exam....now what??

I passed the Technical exam today.

I have a Baofeng f8hp handheld for now. I've been listening on it.

I'm waiting on my call sign.

How should I start out ? What should I do first?

Start out by chiming in on conversation that I come across?

Start calling CQ and see who I can drum up?
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Old 05-12-2018, 9:17 PM
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Wan to work world wide? Consider digital VHF/UHF, such as DMR, DStar, or Fusion. With a digital hot spot working through your wifi, the whole world is open to you.
Consider also:
- Join a local ham radio club and be involved. Lots of learning opportunities there.
- Join ARRL

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Old 05-12-2018, 9:22 PM
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I would have thought that you had some idea what you were getting into before you even tested.

Anyway, start off by listening to the various hams around your area to get an idea of what they talk about and how they do it. Remember, you're the rookie. They're going to ask all kinds of questions: name, where you work, will you join the local ARC?, how old are you?, how much experience?, etc.

You probably also need to understand that the radio you have may or may not be enough to reach the repeaters. Power lines, buildings, distance to the repeaters, terrain, etc., can interfere with the signal.
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Old 05-12-2018, 9:28 PM
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not that I dont have some sort of idea but I dont want to start off on the wrong foot and make a fool of myself.
I have a repeater a few miles away on top a tall hospital. I live in an open agricultural area so not much interference.
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Old 05-12-2018, 9:50 PM
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Join a local ham club or attend some local group meetings. Get to know the locals. It will make it easier to converse with them on the radio. It will also give you something in common to talk about with them.

Listen for some group check-in nets on the radio. Listen and learn so that you know the routine. Many groups or ARES teams have their nets on Sunday evenings.

Just absorb until you get your call sign and can actually talk on the radio.
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Old 05-12-2018, 9:57 PM
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Now the Real learning starts. Lot's of listening too.

See if you can locate a Ham Radio Club.

I did not see any in your town on ARRL Search for ARRL Affiliated Clubs
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Old 05-12-2018, 11:08 PM
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Listen, listen, listen. The more you listen to the other hams on local repeaters, the more you will know about them, the more you will know about local operating quirks or local activities, and the easier time you will have fitting in with folks on the air.

Attending a few club meetings would be worthwhile to so that you can meet local hams face to face and you won't have to worry about doing something wrong on the air.
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Old 05-13-2018, 1:50 AM
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All the above advise. Don't call CQ, that's more for HF. Don't barge into a conversation without having something constructive to say. Don't sound like a CBer. Don't use BREAK or BREAKER. Break is for sending messages. Don't have the Roger Beep on. One of the things I usually tell new operators is to check into as many nets as possible. But if no clubs near you this may not be possible. And don't expect miracles from a hand held. See if a local amateur will spend some time with you in testing how effective the hand held is.
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Old 05-13-2018, 7:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertmac View Post
Don't call CQ, that's more for HF.
Actually, CQ is not limited to HF.

When working through a repeater, the coverage area is generally a given. Propagation doesn't change that much and the repeater was, most likely, designed to cover a certain area that is considerably less than the maximum theoretical propagation area. So, calling CQ on a repeater is generally frowned on. You can, however, key up and say "K9ABC listening" to let other people listening to the repeater know that you are there.

When working HF, VHF, UHF, etc., using a weak signal mode, such as CW or SSB, you sometimes don't know what the propagation might be or who might be listening. Therefore, calling CQ on those modes is generally more accepted.

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Don't barge into a conversation without having something constructive to say.
Those of us who have been around for a while have all heard the situation where someone keys up in the middle of a conversation on a local repeater and only says "W1XYZ listening". The individual has nothing to add to the conversation and just wants his ego stroked by having others acknowledge his existence.

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Originally Posted by robertmac View Post
And don't expect miracles from a hand held.
The Ed Fong or N9TAX or MFJ roll-up J-pole or slim-jim antennas are highly recommended. They provide a little more gain compared to a rubber duck, but, more importantly, they force you to put your antenna in a fixed location so that you aren't in and out of the repeater as you move your handheld radio around.
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Old 05-13-2018, 8:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trx680 View Post
not that I dont have some sort of idea but I dont want to start off on the wrong foot and make a fool of myself.
I have a repeater a few miles away on top a tall hospital. I live in an open agricultural area so not much interference.

Slow down, take a deep breath and do a bunch of listening. It's not always easy as a newly licensed ham. But you will get the hang of it. What you will find is that most of the people on the different repeaters will help you along.

You need to make friends with those other hams around you. One of the best ways is to find out where the local club meets and when. Then go to the meetings and meet those you may have heard on the radio. They don't bite. You may even get befriended by one of them that will take you under their wing and become a mentor for you.

The internet is your best friend. Get on there and do a search for ham radio clubs in your area. The search may only turn up one or two, but it's a start. Generally the clubs will have a web site with information on the club meetings and where and when they are held. Should also have some information on the local repeater or repeaters in the area and when they hold the on the air nets.

Go to the club meetings and get to meet those members that you may hear on the local repeaters. Not all of them will be VHF or UHF interested. Some may only operate on the HF frequencies.

Have fun with you call sign once it gets issued. Your about to step into a field that some enjoy and a few find it's not what they thought it would be. There will be both young and old and those in between that have become hams along the way. You will find an area within the ham community and an area of interest that you will spend more time on than others.

Myself, I always have enjoyed tinkering with radios and antennas. So my workshop is piled high with old commercial radios that I have acquired over the years. I also have a good collection of test equipment that I have picked up over the years. I try to help those that are having issues with their radio equipment. The only request is that they bring it over to my workshop to work on it. The test equipment is too heavy to be lugging around. But I will help those that ask for help on antennas and other things where the heavy test gear is not needed.

Again, welcome to the ham community. Take it slow and find a local mentor that can help you along.

Jim
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Old 06-05-2018, 10:31 PM
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Welcome to the ham hobby! I got my ham license back in 2013, first thing I did was joined my local club. The club was more then open arms to me, which made it easy to get into the hobby. Depending on your radio if there is local repeaters, if you have been listening to how things operate in that area, when you get your call sign I would say your call sign and then "portable and monitoring" to let others know that you are out there. In Minnesota/North Dakota area where I am active on the repeaters, everyone is very friendly and open. Rule of thumb I always do I typically don't barge into mid conversations. Also I would strongly recommend checking into local nets, great way to get out there as well. If your area has a club, that's a great start to getting into the networking. Have fun with this great hobby. I have met so many fun people and friends.
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Old 06-06-2018, 3:41 PM
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I presume you passed a tech license, get a HF radio if affordable, ICOM or what you can find, try 10 meters, or find a rig that has 6-160, you can use 6 also, on VHF your stuck on repeaters, down load ECHO LINK also it is free, when you have a call, it is world wide, great you have a good hobby for many years to come.
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Old 06-08-2018, 10:50 PM
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For now, look up and listen to your local repeaters. read the manual; for your radio and program it for the repeaters ( you may want to program 156.52 and 446.00 simplex also). Listen during normal commute times and in the evenings. As your handheld likely can only get into local repeaters keep the list short -you are unlikely to 'get into' repeaters more than 20 miles away until you get a better antenna. A couple of days listening should allow you to 'pick up' the local procedures. If not, wait for when the repeater is not in use, key up (wait about a second to allow the repeat to 'key up") then just state your call sign and add listening. If some one is monitoring and wants to talk they will come back. Let them know you are new and they will likely be more than happy to answer questions and help you get comfortable.

When looking up repeaters in your area make sure the ones you use are listed as 'open' -at least until you join the club or pay dues for a 'closed' one.

Welcome to the hobby and have fun
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Old 06-08-2018, 11:05 PM
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Congratulations!! Like others have said; listen, listen, listen. Enjoy the hobby!
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Old 06-09-2018, 2:26 AM
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Congrats on passing the test and acquiring your license. I suggest studying for the General Class test now. Have fun working analog and digital frequencies. Consider getting a DMR radio and making contact that way. Enjoy and have fun.

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Old 06-13-2018, 11:56 PM
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As soon as you get your license, get on the local repeater and say "Anyone got their ears on"?

That will break the ice fo' sho'.

Congrats and Good luck.
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Old 06-21-2018, 12:10 PM
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This weekend is Field Day, an annual event where groups/clubs set up radios run off emergency power (generators/batteries) and use portable antennas to make as many contacts as they can and as an open house to the public. The event runs for 24 hrs starting at 2pm Eastern time.
Any good club would try to help you get on the air.
Unfortunately there aren't any local to you that have registered their location on the ARRL website but there are 4 near Richmond. One in Richmond, Goochland, Powhatan, and Toano.
There are also a couple down around Norfolk/Virginia Beach.
Field Day Station Locator

It's a good time to get on HF, so see different radios and different types of antennas.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RodStrong View Post
As soon as you get your license, get on the local repeater and say "Anyone got their ears on"?

That will break the ice fo' sho'.

Congrats and Good luck.
That, or calling CQ on VHF/UHF will get you shunned real fast. Like others have said, go to local meetings, & make friends there. I have friends of over 30+ years from those first meetings. And keep upgrading, to General at least. Enjoy your new hobby.
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Old 08-16-2018, 10:51 PM
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Yeah. Using CB language on ham radio is not likely to result in a lot of friendly QSOs. Just don't do it!

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Old 08-16-2018, 11:00 PM
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I was a cop for over 3 decades and "10-4" became a second nature response to a lot of things...except amateur radio. It took a long time before that left my vocabulary.
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