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Illinois Radio Discussion Forum Forum for discussing Radio Information in the State of Illinois.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-26-2012, 7:43 PM
   
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Question is this a good forum to ask questions/learn?

Hi,
I'm new to ham. I plan to get my license and a hand-held transmitter. I don't think this will become a hobby, but my purpose is to be able to keep in touch with family, etc. in case of emergency, like Sandy, 9/11, etc.
I know I'll have to know enough pass the test and the rest of the family won't use unless it's an emergency and we won't really care if they are licensed or not if that happens.

Initially, all I'm looking for is a good place for equipment recommendations based on my needs and then whichever book I'll need to understand all of this (easy and simple - please) and pass the test.

There are a ton of sites that help with passing the test by learning the answers to the test questions which is great, but I need some sort of foundation first.

If someone could point me in the right direction or a top 10 ham forum to join that would be great!

Thanks,
Paul
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Old 11-27-2012, 1:03 AM
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You will have more success posting ham questions in one of the Amateur Radio Forums instead of the IL state forum.
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Old 11-27-2012, 2:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pm91 View Post
Hi,
I know I'll have to know enough pass the test and the rest of the family won't use unless it's an emergency and we won't really care if they are licensed or not if that happens.
You don't want unlicensed people using your amateur equipment even in an emergency unless you are the control operator. Allowing someone to use your equipment will bring the enforcement people knocking at your door. You could lose your license and be fined. But you will learn all about this as you study for your ticket.

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Initially, all I'm looking for is a good place for equipment recommendations based on my needs and then whichever book I'll need to understand all of this (easy and simple - please) and pass the test.
As far as equipment is concerned you will have to decide if you want handheld radios or mobile radios or a combination of the two. Handheld radio's typically are low power and you may or may not hit a repeater with them. Mobile radios put out much more power and then you need to get an antenna(s) for the radio(s). Again you will learn about this as you go through the process.

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There are a ton of sites that help with passing the test by learning the answers to the test questions which is great, but I need some sort of foundation first.

If someone could point me in the right direction or a top 10 ham forum to join that would be great!
Paul I suggest you talk with someone in your local club. If you go to American Radio Relay League | ARRL - The national association for AMATEUR RADIO you can find a local area club. Most clubs put on classes to teach the material that you need to learn. Best of luck in getting your ticket.
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Old 11-27-2012, 9:07 AM
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Get the Ham Radio for Dummies book - read that, then get your ARRL Technician License study guide. It's a good idea to begin using a scanner to listen to HAM repeaters in your area - generally 2 Meter will be more conducive to emergency situations as it's by far the most widely used band by HAM folks.

Another idea for you, with less/easier licensing issues would be GMRS - it's cheaper to own, and simpler (think fancy walkie talkie) to use among a small group like a family and still be interoperable with other emergency oriented people communicating with each other - probably what you want based on your stated objective.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:26 PM
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GRMS is a very good idea, the last time I checked the license is about $85.00 . Here is a link to the FCC website faq for GRMS license http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/gene...o-service-gmrs
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Old 11-27-2012, 1:06 PM
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There are a good number of chat sites that have members that are ham radio operators. To try and list them, it would almost be better to have you be more specific in just what your looking for. Some sites are geared toward different radio brands of equipment, others are just a bag full of helpful and not so helpful comments.

You can expect to be treated based on they type of questions you ask and how many times you may ask them. People learn real fast if your a nut or the real thing. They also see if your a negative person and unwilling to help or one that is willing to bend over backwards to work with a person you don't know.

Bottom line here is you get treated like you treat others in the chat groups.
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Old 12-01-2012, 6:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pm91 View Post
I know I'll have to know enough pass the test and the rest of the family won't use unless it's an emergency and we won't really care if they are licensed or not if that happens.
One quick point to make is that without licenses all around, you won't be able to practice your emergency drills. If you don't try it out beforehand, it probably won't work like you think it will.
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