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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 06-15-2017, 2:34 AM
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Default Frustrated with CB, looking to get Amateur Radio license

Having had a general lifelong interest in CB radio, I just got done spending a considerable amount of time (and a little money) on setting up a nice NMO roof mount antenna in my car and installing a nice little Uniden radio in my car. While the set up works thanks to help from the internet and this forum, I'm really disappointed about what I hear on CB these days. I remember sitting for hours back in the 90's talking with people on the radio and monkeying around and having a good old time, but it seems those times are over. Hardly anyone around now on CB and most of what is there is garbage. There are a few good operators in my area but I guess I'm looking to go in a different direction.

Since I have a nice NMO and radio mount set up in my car, I'd like to get my amateur license and install a Leixen VV898 in place of the CB. The choice to go with the VV898 is largely due to space considerations, I'm currently running a Uniden Pro510XL and the 898 would fit perfectly in place of the Uniden with minimal alterations to existing brackets, etc. However since I know very little about amateur setups, I am open to suggestions on this.

1. My Uniden is wired to a 10 gauge accessory wire with a 30amp fuse, would this still work with the VV898 putting out a max of 10w?

2. What license would I need to get to start using a radio like that?

3. What is the general feeling about the VV898? Is the speaker mounted to the top or bottom of the unit? Strangely it doesn't specify that in the ad.

4. Other than getting licensed are there additional fees for operating a radio like that?

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide and thanks for the great forum.
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Old 06-15-2017, 3:01 AM
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Have a look at the RSGB web site It is the national society - and while many people are not members, it does give you a feel for what hams get up to - plus they run the exams you have to take. Apart from charges to take the test, ham radio is free. In reality, the licence and test are pretty simple to get in the Novice category, and you get access to radio to radio comms, plus the repeater network that tends to let you talk to anyone within 25 miles or so of the repeater - so maybe a 50 mile diameter circle. Not sure the quality of chat is much better - we have idiots too of course - typically people you wouldn't take to meet your granny! Many however are decent folk - and the fact everyone did at least make an effort to pass a simple or difficult test, and cannot be anonymous, having callsigns that are trackable, makes it different from CB. Note - not better, just different.

Radio wise - they're not bad at all - it's the same chassis I think as one I have which has speaker on the bottom - but not certain, so ignore that. Mine is a clone - same radio, different colour and labels, but same factory. They get hot - so don't enclose them!

The worst feature is that there is no tuning knob - ham wise you spend long times spinning a dial. What you have to do with these is programme in (usually with a computer) every channel you are likely to use, with the repeater tones and stuff into the memories. Plus of course, all your local other stuff like marine band and other non-ham stuff! Then you can scan. They do have LOTS of features and trying to set a repeater frequency access tone and shift when you are driving is a skill I never mastered - just a clever radio with lots of features for a tiny price.

Dig out your local radio club on google - they will probably do the test locally, and you can see if they are a bunch you can get on with or super snobs - hams can be very snobby - not always off course, my local club that I'm not a member of, are all nice people. Some others can be horrible - but you just don't join them!
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Old 06-15-2017, 3:29 AM
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To briefly answer your questions:
1. Yes.
2. Technician class
3. See https://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/11817 and below. The speaker is on the top.
4. No.

For more information on this model, including a review, specifications, user manual, and programming software see:
Leixen VV-898 VHF/UHF - Miklor
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Old 06-15-2017, 7:36 AM
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In the U.S., the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is the largest, nationwide organization for amateur radio. Their web site is Home

You can find local amateur radio club listings using the ARRL search tool at: Search for ARRL Affiliated Clubs

Many of these clubs offer classes for people interested in getting their amateur radio license. License exams are given by volunteer examiners who are local amateur radio operators. You can find local license test sessions at: Find an Amateur Radio License Exam in Your Area or https://www.laurelvec.com/
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Old 06-15-2017, 1:43 PM
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Thanks for all the great information so far.

What is the difference in difficulty level between the technician and the next level of license? Is it that much harder, and are the additional benefits worth it?

What about my car set up, would I need to run the power wire straight to the positive battery terminal, or could I use my current set up going to a 30amp fused constant hot wire in my car.
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Old 06-15-2017, 2:01 PM
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Technician is the first level of U.S. license. General is the next level. The biggest difference between the two, in terms of operating privileges, is that a General can operate voice and data on all HF bands in addition to the VHF/UHF bands. The General test is a little more difficult and a little more technical than the Technician test.
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Old 06-15-2017, 2:11 PM
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Your NMO antenna mount and cable, along with your battery power cable will work just fine.

Ham tests, check for online study/practice tests.
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Old 06-15-2017, 2:34 PM
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A good place to start , with a free tech study guide. No-Nonsense Study Guides - KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog

I know the person who created these guides, and he has a good success rate. You can't beat the tech price to get started.
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Old 06-15-2017, 7:10 PM
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Amateur radio exams are given by volunteer examiners (VE's) who are affiliated with a Volunteer Exam Coordinator (VEC's). There are currently 14 VEC's in the US. The ARRL is only one of them and is somewhat difficult to deal with. I am an ARRL VE, but I have recently become a VE team leader with the Laurel VEC. When looking for exams and classes it pays to check the other VEC's besides ARRL. Laurel has a web page to help you find a testing session near you. Laurel, unlike some others, does not charge for exams.

Some VEC's are nationwide and others are regional. Anchorage VEC only operates in Alaska, for example.

W5YI is another VEC that is nationwide. I went with Laurel because other clubs in the area are using them. Submissions by VE teams are electronic and FCC filings take a very short time to return the license information.

Good luck.
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Old 08-30-2017, 6:32 PM
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I'm kinda in the same boat. lots of great info here. Good luck.
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