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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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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 11-03-2017, 6:58 PM
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Get on the ham bands and don't act like a CB jerk and most old farts will welcome you. Attend local club gatherings so everyone can put a face to the call. Volunteer for public service events or other club functions. My experience with Ham is not like some on these threads that want to run down [fake news] what the majority of ham clubs and operators are like. Like some have said, listen to local ham activity, review the club webs sites, etc.. Ham radio is so much bigger than just 144/430. Find your interests.
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Old 11-06-2017, 8:22 AM
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You'll most likely encounter similar disappointments with amateur radio. It's not the equipment, or the frequency. It's the people.
I agree 100% .....
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 11-06-2017, 9:07 AM
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If it's the "bonehead" culture you're worries about, I wouldn't bet too worked up about it. Yeah, you'll find them in all the bands. There was one guy in my area that would get liquored up and start spouting nonsense, on CB, ham and GMRS bands all in one day. By and large though there is enough real estate in the ham bands to just go elsewhere if that's what you wish to do. For the most part, I've found that my fellow ham radio enthusiasts are a pretty nice bunch. I'd encourage you to give it a try. You might see if there are any DMR repeaters in your area. They're usually 2M/70cm but have the ability to communicate world wide.
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Old 11-06-2017, 8:54 PM
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If I were to consider hamming I'd definitely listen to the bands in question before buying a rig. Two meters in my area is dead, as is 10 meters (unless there is skip). Perhaps in the OP's area 2 meters and 440 are hopping. But one should always monitor a while to figure out whether getting a particular radio and set up is worth the expense.... it just makes common sense.
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Boombox View Post
If I were to consider hamming I'd definitely listen to the bands in question before buying a rig. Two meters in my area is dead, as is 10 meters (unless there is skip). Perhaps in the OP's area 2 meters and 440 are hopping. But one should always monitor a while to figure out whether getting a particular radio and set up is worth the expense.... it just makes common sense.
This type of advice makes sense to me. I live on the outskirts of Philadelphia, and sometimes I travel out into Bucks county and New Jersey. Ideally a portable HAM receiver would be ideal so I can get a sense of what is happening in my area.

Can anyone recommend a good portable receiver? Or could I just buy a transceiver and not transmit until I get my license? I would be interested in maybe a desktop receiver at some point, but I live in an apartment and I canít really mount any type of external antenna t my place, thanks.
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:45 AM
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This type of advice makes sense to me. I live on the outskirts of Philadelphia, and sometimes I travel out into Bucks county and New Jersey. Ideally a portable HAM receiver would be ideal so I can get a sense of what is happening in my area.

Can anyone recommend a good portable receiver? Or could I just buy a transceiver and not transmit until I get my license? I would be interested in maybe a desktop receiver at some point, but I live in an apartment and I canít really mount any type of external antenna t my place, thanks.
Giving a listen to the proposed bands you might be interested is certainly a good idea. If you intend to start in the 2m/70cm bands, almost any scanner would work. If you're looking at the HF bands, then maybe a shortwave radio would fit the bill especially if it can received sidebands as that is a common mode for HF ham guys.

If you're pretty confident you will get your ham license then I would suggest you buy a transceiver. It's fine to use without a license if you're just listening. A CCR (cheap chinese radio) could get you started but if you get your license, you'll soon outgrow it and yearn for something a bit more capable. I have particular fondness for Kenwood V71A mobiles and own a few. While a very capable ham radio, they also have the ability to receive a good deal of analog bandwidth outside of the ham bands including commercial air. New, they run about $350. Perhaps a bit pricey for a "test" radio but for a dual band 2m/70cm radio, I think they're one of the best.
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Old 11-08-2017, 4:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bharvey2 View Post
Giving a listen to the proposed bands you might be interested is certainly a good idea. If you intend to start in the 2m/70cm bands, almost any scanner would work. If you're looking at the HF bands, then maybe a shortwave radio would fit the bill especially if it can received sidebands as that is a common mode for HF ham guys.

If you're pretty confident you will get your ham license then I would suggest you buy a transceiver. It's fine to use without a license if you're just listening. A CCR (cheap chinese radio) could get you started but if you get your license, you'll soon outgrow it and yearn for something a bit more capable. I have particular fondness for Kenwood V71A mobiles and own a few. While a very capable ham radio, they also have the ability to receive a good deal of analog bandwidth outside of the ham bands including commercial air. New, they run about $350. Perhaps a bit pricey for a "test" radio but for a dual band 2m/70cm radio, I think they're one of the best.
Yeah that Kenwood is nice but even used they are pushing $200.

Can you recommend a CCR? I really would like to monitor as many bands as possible before I commit to the hassle of licensing and setting up tons of equipment.

What about a small used Grundig or Sangean shortwave unit with sSB, would those monitor any of the HAM bands a technician class license would cover? Iím looking to spend no more than $100 and would like to monitor as many bands as possible. Thanks.
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Old 11-08-2017, 5:32 PM
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The tech class license give you a bit of bandwidth in the 10M band and privileges in the bands above it. A shortwave radio wouldn't be the best solution. The most popular bands that a tech would be inclined to use would be 2M and 70cm. Those two could be accessed with most of the Baofeng, Wouxun or Anytone dual band radios. For less than $100, you could get a dual band handheld. Cost would be quite less if you went with one of the entry level Baofengs like the UV5R.

With these radios, you're best bet would be to get the radio and programming cable and a copy of Chirp, a generic piece of programming software. The next step would be to browse this site or Repeaterbook for repeaters in your area and program in as many as you see fit. Some will likely be active, others completely dead. You'll just have to spend some time listening and see what you get.
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Old 11-08-2017, 7:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Sonicadventure View Post
Yeah that Kenwood is nice but even used they are pushing $200.

Can you recommend a CCR? I really would like to monitor as many bands as possible before I commit to the hassle of licensing and setting up tons of equipment.

What about a small used Grundig or Sangean shortwave unit with sSB, would those monitor any of the HAM bands a technician class license would cover? I’m looking to spend no more than $100 and would like to monitor as many bands as possible. Thanks.
Any small used Grundig with SSB capability (like a YB400), or a Sangean with SSB (Sangean 909, ATS505, etc.) would be a decent choice for monitoring ham HF bands. Tecsun has some radios with a good rep, also. If you get a Sangean, adding some wire to the external antenna jack would be advisable (15-20 ft will do). The only HF band that Techs can use SSB on is 10 meters (28 Mhz) as well as CW, but I believe they also have CW privileges in some of the other bands below that (80m, 40m, and 15m).
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Old 11-15-2017, 8:44 AM
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Originally Posted by bharvey2 View Post
The tech class license give you a bit of bandwidth in the 10M band and privileges in the bands above it. A shortwave radio wouldn't be the best solution. The most popular bands that a tech would be inclined to use would be 2M and 70cm. Those two could be accessed with most of the Baofeng, Wouxun or Anytone dual band radios. For less than $100, you could get a dual band handheld. Cost would be quite less if you went with one of the entry level Baofengs like the UV5R.

With these radios, you're best bet would be to get the radio and programming cable and a copy of Chirp, a generic piece of programming software. The next step would be to browse this site or Repeaterbook for repeaters in your area and program in as many as you see fit. Some will likely be active, others completely dead. You'll just have to spend some time listening and see what you get.
I ended up getting a Baofeng UV5R the other day. Impressed with the quality. I have been listening to various transmissions on 442.400 here in the Philadelphia area which sounds like mobile workers / truckers and then 151.982 which sounds like a taxi dispatch service.

I'd like to get my technician's license now - any good clubs in the Philadelphia area administering the tests or having classes?

Also, I live in a large apartment building. We get a monthly fire call / police call here at our building and I'd love to see if this Baofeng could be used to monitor police or fire bands. Also, our complex has evening security guards who patrol the grounds. I'd like to see if I could monitor them on this Baofeng as well.

Ideally, license or not, I'd like to see if I could program this Baofeng for monitoring any emergency crews, security workers, weather, and maybe the most common channels in my area for radio enthusiasts. I am not that interested in TXing, but I find it very entertaining, even relaxing, to hear what is coming over the waves during the day. Thanks.
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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 11-15-2017, 9:23 AM
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442Mhz is definitely within the ham band so I don't know why you're hearing any type of a "mobile service". It could be some type of CERT activity. (These are ham based people working who aid in disaster aid, etc. and often work to aid emergency response personnel) The 152.xxx Mhz is withing one of the business bands and taxi services are a likely candidate.

Looking in the database for Philadelphia of this site I found that the area uses a P25 phase 2 radio system in the 800Mhz band. That is where the police and fire comms would reside. Your Baofeng won't receive those and you'd need a scanner (or SDR dongles, computer and software) to receive those.

The Baofeng's typically aren't legal to transmit in the U.S. outside of the ham bands although it's quite alright to use them to receive outside of the ham bands. When I program any of my radios, if I set up a channel to receive something outside of a ham band I make sure the transmit side is disabled for that channel so I can't transmit, even accidentally. I think it's a good practice.

One thing I forgot to mention: While it's usually okay to use a radio to monitor outside of ham bands, some jurisdictions have laws governing scanner use in a mobile environment. I don't know if your area is one of them. Ham radio licensees are often exempt from these laws. I can't say how often this poses a problem for scanner users but I did want to bring it to your attention so you can check in to it if you wanted to do so.

Last edited by bharvey2; 11-15-2017 at 9:29 AM..
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Old 11-15-2017, 11:12 AM
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I'd like to get my technician's license now - any good clubs in the Philadelphia area administering the tests or having classes?
The ARRL has an on-line listing of amateur radio clubs on their web site:

Search for ARRL Affiliated Clubs

There's a stickied thread at the top of this forum with links to listings of amateur radio license test sessions:

https://forums.radioreference.com/ge...-sessions.html
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 11-15-2017, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Sonicadventure View Post
Also, I live in a large apartment building. We get a monthly fire call / police call here at our building and I'd love to see if this Baofeng could be used to monitor police or fire bands. Also, our complex has evening security guards who patrol the grounds. I'd like to see if I could monitor them on this Baofeng as well.

Ideally, license or not, I'd like to see if I could program this Baofeng for monitoring any emergency crews, security workers, weather, and maybe the most common channels in my area for radio enthusiasts. I am not that interested in TXing, but I find it very entertaining, even relaxing, to hear what is coming over the waves during the day. Thanks.
You probably already know this, but regardless of the circumstances, don't make any attempt to communicate with any of those services or you could end up in big trouble.
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Old 12-23-2017, 9:34 PM
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I attended a local radio club in November. They gave the test in early December. .I studied with the ARRL practice tests and HamTestOnline. I am not a person with an electronics background, but these resources gave me background and practice. I passed. Everyone is welcoming and helpful.
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Old 12-26-2017, 2:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Sonicadventure View Post
I ended up getting a Baofeng UV5R the other day. Impressed with the quality. I have been listening to various transmissions on 442.400 here in the Philadelphia area which sounds like mobile workers / truckers and then 151.982 which sounds like a taxi dispatch service.

I'd like to get my technician's license now - any good clubs in the Philadelphia area administering the tests or having classes?

Also, I live in a large apartment building. We get a monthly fire call / police call here at our building and I'd love to see if this Baofeng could be used to monitor police or fire bands. Also, our complex has evening security guards who patrol the grounds. I'd like to see if I could monitor them on this Baofeng as well.

Ideally, license or not, I'd like to see if I could program this Baofeng for monitoring any emergency crews, security workers, weather, and maybe the most common channels in my area for radio enthusiasts. I am not that interested in TXing, but I find it very entertaining, even relaxing, to hear what is coming over the waves during the day. Thanks.
I use my UV5R to monitor Dallas PD and FD and even have Dallas County Sheriffs in it as well as Weather channel in it very usefull radio for HAM transmissions and monitoring local Emergency Service. I don't know if your area has Analog or Digital comms up yet for E.S.
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Old 12-26-2017, 9:51 PM
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Dont get your hopes up to quickly. At least on 2 meters in your " 50 mile circle" you will probably find you stumbled in an " old boys" network that will be hard to crack unless you actually know any of the people.
The world of ham radio has changed. Now there is EchoLink, IRLP and Allstar, DMR, DStar and Fusion, where VHF/UHF nodes and repeaters are linked all over the world via Internet VOIP. The hams found on these systems are generally very friendly and open to new acquaintances and new hams. Not expensive to get your own node setup, esp for Allstar. 90% of my air time is spend there these days.
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