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Sacramento Valley Area Discussion Local area specific discussion for Sacramento County and its outlying areas such as San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties.

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Old 10-24-2012, 11:59 PM
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Default some ham help

i am interested in getting a ham licence, but on the ARRL website i cannot find any classes in the nearby area. im in Butte Co. and willing to travel a few miles, i have not aqquired a radio yet, as im not sure what i would be looking for.
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Old 10-25-2012, 4:15 AM
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You don't need to take a class, just buy this book.

It explains everything about amateur radio and even has the test questions and answers. I studied it for a week and aced the test.

You can also take practice tests on the internet . When you feel comfortable with your test results go to this site to locate a testing session in your area.
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:24 AM
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Will this book explain what i need to do as far as ths FCC, or is this handled by the test givers? And how well is a handheld radio's range? My interest is for storm reporting, I was graced with my first funnel cloud monday, and it touched down as i was reporting it in to NWS, but the cellphone signal was iffy, so i would like a radio for backup. Im looking at 50 to 80 miles from NWS Office. To the moderaters- I know these are pretty much Ham Questions, but i was hoping to find someone in the local area that had some info they could share.
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Old 10-25-2012, 8:51 PM
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rubicon05 if you can wait until Dec 02 there will be a test at the sheriff's search & rescue bldg in Chico
Starts at 1400 or 2 pm. low cost.
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Old 10-25-2012, 9:21 PM
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Is your interest in getting a ham license driven by an interest in radio, or an interest in storm spotting? The reason I ask is, depending on your motivation, I would suggest you become affiliated with the right group of people that share your interest.

Just going out and getting a license and a radio isn't sufficient to be effective as a storm spotter, and without the proper training, people with only a peripheral interest in ham radio can become problematic when they find themselves sharing spectrum with a bunch of people with a completely different interest.

I don't mean that in any discouraging way. Ham radio is a complex hobby with dozens or hundreds of different sub-cultures associated with it. Storm spotting is just one of those hundreds. If that's the primary interest, start there, and then find out how they use ham radio to help. That will settle on what sort of radio you might need, who you would need to talk to, protocols, frequencies, etc.
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Last edited by zz0468; 10-25-2012 at 9:26 PM..
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Old 10-25-2012, 9:55 PM
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ki6nkz i can wait, are you part of search and rescue or the sheriff radio service? was interested in that.
zz0468- thats why i posted a request for ham help in the sac valley discussion, hopefully to meet and talk to locals, im not discouraged by no means.i also realize you cant talk to yourself,lol I have actually been interested in this for awhile, but havent found any groups around.
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:45 AM
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Not to put a damper on your quest, but I understand you to expect a VHF/UHF handheld radio to cover 50-80 miles. That's unlikely to work unless there is a mountain top repeater in your immediate vicinity, and that's iffy IMHO. Perhaps your county's OEM office can provide guidance. Good luck on getting your ticket.
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Old 10-26-2012, 1:32 AM
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this is helpful info, thank you, so can a mobile do it, or is this where all the repeater stuff comes in?
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Old 10-26-2012, 3:41 AM
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This is where a handheld (or HT as we refer to them) comes into play with a cross-band radio (the alinco 635 is a beauty or yaesu 8900) combined with a repeater that an nws liaison monitors (there's plenty of them here but we're also in tornado land) and he'll relay to the nws. Now I know this sounds complicated but it's really not. However that's the expensive way to jump in and it doesn't have to be that hard. Find some local ham clubs, especially the one interested in Skywarn, ask them about maybe some used mobile units, get the test done (try HTO HamTestOnline™ - Ham Radio Exam Courses and Ham Radio Practice Exams) and get on the air. Good luck and 73.

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Old 10-26-2012, 10:20 AM
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thanks for the info guys, i did find a club about 30 miles away, shot them a email, so just have to wait. So being in the sac valley were its pretty flat what knid of range can you talk? I know with cb you can do 20 miles or so usually pretty good.
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Old 10-26-2012, 3:02 PM
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Quote:
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...So being in the sac valley were its pretty flat what knid of range can you talk? I know with cb you can do 20 miles or so usually pretty good.
There's a lot of variables involved. In the central valley, even a little bit of height can allow you to talk 100 miles. I'm up and down I5 frequently, and can talk to repeaters 200 miles away with a mobile, maybe half that with a portable. It depends on the repeater's performance.

The trouble with radio is, just as soon as you try to define what you can and can't do with it, the radios will figure out how to prove you wrong.
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Old 10-27-2012, 7:51 PM
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You also may want to look at GMRS. I know the NWS Sacramento office has a GMRS repeater on the Sutter Buttes that they monitor during severe weather.

Have you checked with the local NWS office to see what info they may have for you?
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Old 10-27-2012, 8:10 PM
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i have emailed the NWS service and a local ham club, havent heard from either yet, my thought for going ham was the availabilty to maybe make local contacts, cause you all now how cb talk is.
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Old 10-27-2012, 11:43 PM
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...my thought for going ham was the availabilty to maybe make local contacts, cause you all now how cb talk is.
Yes, and it IS available for local contacts. Just as long as you keep in mind that ham radio is a hobby unto itself outside and removed from weather spotting, and you'll be fine. It might be wise to approach the two activities separately, and learn all you can about each. And when it comes time to combine the two, you'll be all the wiser, and a very effective operator and weather spotter.

For the ham radio stuff, go to arrl.org and poke around there. Somewhere on that website is information on how to find local clubs, and local examiners for license testing.
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:13 AM
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thats why i asked on here, from what i found on arrl theres nothing around here for 50 miles the other day, as far askeeping them seperate i understand that, my thought for having ham is as a backup to cell use, there is a few area's around here that are spotty at best for cellular coverage. i figured at best the ham could be used for direct or second hand reporting just in case, and with the mention of gmrs, thats another avenue of approach to look at, and some more research as im figure thats probally a licencse band too
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:48 AM
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The other thing about all this is that there just isn't much Skywarn activity around here because we just don't get that much severe weather. Yes, there are the occasional tornadoes when conditions are just right, but it's far from regular - which is what drives Skywarn stuff. The northern CA Skywarn website is defunct,

I think you need to learn a lot more about the amateur radio hobby before you jump in - you're in for disappointment if you think you can just hop on the radio and get the NWS - or even someone to call them.
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Old 10-28-2012, 11:41 AM
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as i first stated i was interested in getting into ham, not just for the use for reporting weather events, i have tried to email a local ham club but have not recieved any responce, i have a cb, but everyone knows how that is, so i am looking at getting into a new hobby, i have had mention by a previous post there is a local test coming up, others have posted great info for studing material, but as being new to this, i have questions like getting a handheld or mobile, what kinda ranges to expect, my old resource for answering all things radio passed away a few years ago, none of my friends do this kinda stuff, and i dont know anyone locally to just check out how all this stuff works,
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Old 10-28-2012, 7:53 PM
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Wirelessly posted (Moto Droid Bionic: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10_6_3; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.16 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0 Safari/533.16)

Just reading the above postings about the terrain and spareness of population, I would suggest foregoing a handheld and purchase a dual band mobile radio. Or better yet, pursue the General class license. Then you also could operate on 160-10 m HF, and use something akin to an ICOM IC-706 or-7100. These are 100w mobile radios that cover both the HF bands and VHF/UHF bands. You could use quick-disconnect power connectors (e.g., Anderson Powerpole) to move the radio between house and vehicle. Operating on 75 or 40m would give you good coverage of your area. But clearly you must do some research to get a better idea of both weather spotting and ham radio. Antennas are a study item. I would encourage you to talk with the nearest NWS office personnel and see how they communicate with spotters. HTH a little.
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Old 10-28-2012, 7:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon05 View Post
as i first stated i was interested in getting into ham, not just for the use for reporting weather events, i have tried to email a local ham club but have not recieved any responce, i have a cb, but everyone knows how that is, so i am looking at getting into a new hobby, i have had mention by a previous post there is a local test coming up, others have posted great info for studing material, but as being new to this, i have questions like getting a handheld or mobile, what kinda ranges to expect, my old resource for answering all things radio passed away a few years ago, none of my friends do this kinda stuff, and i dont know anyone locally to just check out how all this stuff works,

I found the Butte County ARES web site at Butte County ARES - They show a phone number on the home page. Might be worth phoning if you have not done so already. There is activity up there, as I have linked to the EchoLink repeater up there and see that They have set up at least one D-Star repeater in the Lake Oroville area. From what I have seen there is a fair amount as VHF and UHF activity up there. Sometimes one needs to be on the proper repeater at the right time. Good luck on your test and getting your ticket.
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Old 10-28-2012, 8:22 PM
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i know how to commincate with NWS Sac, i only mention the ham as back up for cell coverage, did make contact with sac area ham spotter, who notified me im out of coverage area but their working on it,i do agree with the mobile vs handheld, i want to get to technician and learn what im doing before going for round two, the ARES is a good mention but i know i need some expierence before making that leap, i hear ya on the right time, ive tried scanning the ham bands but rarely hear much, and the Sac Ham spotter said he would gladly answer any questions so that was a great help. Thanks for your help with my situation.
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Last edited by rubicon05; 10-28-2012 at 9:05 PM..
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