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What can I do with my new handheld/license?

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Joined
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San Diego
#1
I'm still new to ham and while I still don't actually have a radio and license yet, I'm trying to discover what I'll be able to do when I get them. I actually do technically own a Wouxun KG-UVD1P but it's in the mail still, I don't have it yet. Also, I was SUPPOSED to take my license test yesterday but the test administrator pulled a no-show. I'll have to take my test in about a week from now instead.

I live in San Diego County and I'm just wondering some different things I'll be able to do with my new radio & license. Is there anything practical/useful I can use my radio for?

Also, can ham frequencies be used to chat to a friend like a CB? In other words, say both my friend and I have Technician licenses and we both have handhelds. Can we both jump on a frequency and talk back and forth while we're in a theme park like a nextel or something as long as we properly identify ourselves each time and follow the rest of the rules?
 

N5TWB

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#3
Untill you pass a test, leave the radio off. ALSO I suggest you study the book more.
^^^^^THIS times a million. Plus find a ham club to join and find an Elmer. You need someone up close and personal to polish off your noob-ness. Good rule of thumb: God gave you two ears and one mouth to help you understand the golden ratio of listening twice as much as you talk.
 
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#4
As long as you're very careful to not transmit, you should listen to all the local ham activity that you can to get use to procedures. Or use your scanner to do so, no risk of transmitting.

Yes, you can do what you ask with your friend, just be sure to pick a simplex frequency that's not on an active repeater pair.

It's still great advice to join a club too though.
 
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#5
What can you do with that radio and license? Just about anything you want to do, sort of. The whole idea is to communicate. What and how you 'communicate' is a matter of what you might enjoy. Want to talk with a friend? Sure, why not? Wanna try some other form of communication besides voice? Sure, why not? There are 'catches' to that, naturally. One biggy is, is the particular 'form' of communications allowable on the frequency(s) available to you, and are you capable of 'doing' that 'form' of communicating? Another biggy is can you do what you want to do without interfering with others? And perhaps the biggest 'biggy' is can you afford to do what you want to do, and is there anyone else doing it? After that, it's just a matter of figuring out what you wanna do, right? So, listen around, find out what's possible, and then give it a shot!
The 'down sides' of it.
A hand-held radio is a short range device. It's also small. That means there will be limitations on what they are capable of doing. That's both an 'electrical' thing and a 'practical' thing. The first 'electrical' thing to overcome is the typical 'rubberduck' antenna that comes with a hand-held. They are certainly convenient, but almost never adequate. The second is keeping power supplied to that thing, as in batteries do run down, discharge. And then there's the 'practical' problems, like, how do you make this-n-that connections to the tiny little thingy? That sort of thing. None of those 'problems' are impossible to solve, they just aren't all that convenient, you know?
Half the fun of it is finding out what you -can- do! So have fun.
- 'Doc
 
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#6
LtDoc & KG4INW,

Thanks for the info.

By the way, I won't accidentally transmit anything, trust me. I've been using a fully-programmed police Motrola XTS3000 at work for 4 years and never hit the transmit button or the EMER button on accident, which by the way, is a hell of a lot worse than accidentally transmitting on ham frequencies. And yes, that radio was given to us by the police so it's legal.

And I studied for about 15 hours in the last 3 or 4 days. I've taken 4 practice exams and gotten 90-100% on them. I may be new to ham radio but I'm not new to any of those concepts. I'm studying electronics right now and I'm also studying to become an electrician. When I ask questions like this, I'm just trying to find out what PRACTICALLY I can use ham radio for around here. I know the TECHNICAL part pretty good.
 
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#7
" And I studied for about 15 hours in the last 3 or 4 days. " [roll eyes] That is sure a heap long time for studying. MAYBE a biit more and THEN you will know what ham can do. GEE a PD gives you a working radio to LISTEN to? I'm smelling tuna here.
 
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#10
I'm not trolling, I've agreed with what's been said before me. Nor am I being mean. If these are questions he is having, similar ones were on my exam. Which is why I recommend a bit more studying.
 
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#12
I'm really not trying to be mean, honestly. The questions you asked are ones I encountered on the test, that's the only reason I suggested you review a few things. Don't want to get to the test and not know them.
 
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#14
As long as you keep the restraints in mind, you can do anything with that hand-held radio that you can do with any other radio in the same circumstances/situation. Pick a mode and you can probably do it. That goes back to is the radio capable of it in the first place. (Most hand-held radios can't do particular modes, SSB is one that comes to mind.) And how difficult will it be to do a particular mode with the connections provided by that particular radio? After that, it's more or less up to you and who ever you can find that also want's to do the same thing.
What would happen if you did this instead of that? Beats me, try it and see...
- 'Doc
 
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#15
The ham test should tell you how you are able to operate, but it doesn't realyl get much into the different things you can do. So, since no one really answered your question, here are a few off the things that, off the top of my head, I know you can do with your new license and your handheld...

1) Talk to people - both on simplex frequencies and local repeaters. Learn to program your radio and program your radio - make sure you understand offsets, PL tones, etc. Buy the ARRL repeater guide, or use google, to find some active local repeaters. Program them in and listen, but as someone said, don't transmit. Listen, Listen, LISTEN, to get a good feel for "how it's done".

2) Get involved in area clubs and events. I don't do much of this personally, but in this area, whenever there is a bike race, marathon, etc, the local clubs help with communications, and they are always looking for use volunteers.

3) Check into "nets" - most clubs and repeaters have weekly nets, or roundtable discussion groups, that you can participate in - some are for specific topics (digital modes, and buy/sell/trade are a few in this area), and some are just for shooting the breeze.

4) AMSAT! Buy or build a satellite antenna, and with your handheld radio and amateur satellites in orbit, you can make contacts hundreds of miles away. It's a lot of fun, but it takes some patience and good operating skills. Start by listening to passes (something you can probably do with your stock antenna) before you attempt to operate. Go to AMSAT - The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation for more details on this. (Warning: You will look like a bit of a dork standing outside pointing a antenna at the sky - but it comes with the territory!)

5) Learn - there is so much more to this hobby than one person can ever have time for. HF, APRS, ARES/RACES, digital modes, contesting, building your own gear, the list goes on and on. As you expand your knowledge, your equipment, and your license class, there is so much more to do.

Enjoy your new radio and license when you get it - and please don't get discouraged by the criticism you might experience when asking "noob" questions - everyone was there once.
 
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#16
Thank you sir! Great info! Yeah I basically just studied the whole book and I'm totally ready to take the test and listen to some frequencies. I'm excited.
 
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#17
So today I got my Wouxun KG-UVD1P (similar to KG-UV2D) and I love it so far. I've gotten to listen to some ham nets! I also learned how to program it from several very helpful YouTube videos and the manual. I have not programmed in any transmit info though because I can't transmit yet!

Anyway, question. Say I get my license & callsign... Do I HAVE to find and program in repeaters or can I just scroll around say 440Mhz frequencies and call CQ? I feel like I'd be more of a One-to-One guy vs a guy who hangs out on repeaters all the time. I mean, of course I'll go to repeaters because they are obviously important, but I'm just trying to figure out what my options are..

Also, say there's a big emergency like a fire or earthquake or power outage. What process should I use to get into contact with people to find out whats going on? Should I go to my local repeaters first or just scan random ham frequencies, or what? Thanks!
 
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#18
NewSDScanner,
I think if you check into what the license requirements are, you'll find that the 70 cm (440 band) is divided into areas where particular things are done, such as repeaters, simplex frequencies, etc. If you want to do 'one-on-one' type conversations, or simplex, then stay away from those repeater frequencies so that you don't interfere. thjen it's just a matter of finding someone that's on a simplex frequency. People tend to 'hang out' on repeaters, there's just more likelihood of finding people. Once you do, simply move to a simplex frequency.
The best way of finding out where to listen in case of some type of emergency is to talk to your local clubs, EOC, etc, before an emergency happens! There are 'rules'/conventions involved in that sort of thing, find out what they are in your area. There's usually no problem with listening to it, but you do not want to interfere or cause problems in that sort of situation. The local repeaters are a good place to start listening though. They are established/know contact points, so people naturally look there, right?
- 'Doc
 
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Oct 5, 2010
Messages
135
Location
San Diego
#19
Thanks. Ok I have one last question, then I'll leave you guys alone, I promise! I have several scanners and I've found it quite easy to just manually scan with my ham radio to find people chatting. When I have a license and I want to join in, how do I find out if the frequency I found is a repeater and if so, how do I find the PL Tone and proper offset for the repeater so that I can join in eventually? I heard that you usually get that from a directory, but if I just manually found the channel and am not near a computer, is there any way to get that?

Example: Today I just found people chatting on 448.062 by simply scanning the frequencies.


NewSDScanner,
I think if you check into what the license requirements are, you'll find that the 70 cm (440 band) is divided into areas where particular things are done, such as repeaters, simplex frequencies, etc. If you want to do 'one-on-one' type conversations, or simplex, then stay away from those repeater frequencies so that you don't interfere. thjen it's just a matter of finding someone that's on a simplex frequency. People tend to 'hang out' on repeaters, there's just more likelihood of finding people. Once you do, simply move to a simplex frequency.
The best way of finding out where to listen in case of some type of emergency is to talk to your local clubs, EOC, etc, before an emergency happens! There are 'rules'/conventions involved in that sort of thing, find out what they are in your area. There's usually no problem with listening to it, but you do not want to interfere or cause problems in that sort of situation. The local repeaters are a good place to start listening though. They are established/know contact points, so people naturally look there, right?
- 'Doc
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2005
Messages
483
Location
California
#20
Generally speaking repeaters will have an ID'er, either in CW or voice giving the call sign of the repeater and sometimes other important information. If everyone sounds at about the same level to your and that includes the white noise, more than likely it's a repeater.

I looking the ARRL list, NARCC (my local repeater coordination group), and other web sites. Amateur Radio Books and other Ham Radio Products has books and even an online listing. Another way to find those lesser known repeaters is to Google "repeaters <<insert your State>>." If that list is too large your may also want to include your geographic area.
 
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