A Few Questions

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KCChiefs9690

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I'm becoming interested in ham radio, and had a few questions.

1. To use a local repeater, must I be a member of the organization it belongs to, to use it?

2. To participate in a skywarn severe weather net, must I be a member? Or can any licenced ham contribute?

3. If I don't know any hams personally, what is a good way to get into the hobby? Should I just get on a local repeater and converse?
 

n0nhp

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I can't speak for your local systems, it is usually pretty similar around the country though.
First off, get a copy of the ARRL repeater directory and look up the repeaters in your area. The repeaters will have some notes on them, an o means they are open repeaters and everyone is welcome to use them, with a few exceptions, Phone patches, remote bases and IRLP or the like are usually reserved for paying members. p repeaters are private and open only to paying members. Some of the repeater notes will show that the repeaters are used for emergency / skywarn and the like. It will also show the owner / trustee of the repeater, with that information you can look up the call on QRZ.com and usually get their address and other information. Most repeater trustees will be glad to tell you what the etiquette is on their machine.
Just listening to the machines will give you a good idea who is in control of the machine and would be a good first call.

In our area the National Weather Service holds annual training sessions for weather spotters. This is required for our Skywarn responders as well as some amateur specific classes and exercises.
A good way to meet local hams and get your ticket is the ARRL web site and look for classes in your area. The "Elmers" that put these classes on generally know who to ask in the community about any specific areas of the hobby you might be interested.

Don't be shy! if you see a vehicle with amateur plates on it especially if it somewhat resembles a poorly dressed porcupine, walk up, introduce yourself and ask if the operator is a ham. Chances are that will be the last word you get in for a while ;-)

Bruce
 

N0IU

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Wentzville, Missouri
NØNHP beat me to it while I was typing this, but....

1. To use a local repeater, must I be a member of the organization it belongs to, to use it?
Technically, if it is an open repeater (which most of them are), you do not need to be a member, but keep in mind that it can be very expensive to put a repeater on the air and maintain it and by joining the club, you are contributing to that maintenance.

2. To participate in a skywarn severe weather net, must I be a member? Or can any licenced ham contribute?
The first thing you need to do is take a spotting class from your local National Weather Service office which will teach you the basic meteorology of how storms form and what to look for. Since most tornadoes happen in the spring, you are more likely to see classes in March or April.

EDIT: It looks like the National Weather Service for your region is in Wilmington, OH. Here is the link to their spotter training schedule: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/iln/training.htm. It looks like the next class closest to you will be on March 20 at the Franklin County Emergency Management Office just down the road from you in Columbus.

Here is the link to their spotter page (where I got the above link) with information about Skywarn Training, Publications, Weather Briefing Links, and Spotter Links. http://www.erh.noaa.gov/iln/spotterpage/spotter.htm.

3. If I don't know any hams personally, what is a good way to get into the hobby? Should I just get on a local repeater and converse?
Join a club! Go here and click on the Clubs link in the upper left corner of the screen. http://www.arrl.org/

Good luck!
 
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DannB

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Feb 24, 2008
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Jersey City NJ (Hudson Co.)
Some Answers for ya

I'm becoming interested in ham radio, and had a few questions.

1. To use a local repeater, must I be a member of the organization it belongs to, to use it?

2. To participate in a skywarn severe weather net, must I be a member? Or can any licenced ham contribute?

3. If I don't know any hams personally, what is a good way to get into the hobby? Should I just get on a local repeater and converse?
Question 1= NO you dont need to be a member of ANYTHING To use the repeaters ,as long as it is a 'OPEN' Repeater (Most Are ) and of course you need to be licensed First

Question 2= there is a process for this.. google skywarn or go on to ARRL website.

Question 3=Yes you can join your local club QRZ.com website can show you local clubs in your area. And once you are licensed yes you can jump on the repeater and ask these questions
 

blinddog50

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Listen, listen, listen.
Listen to all the repeaters in your area.
Some are more open to newbies than others.
You can do this by listening to your scanner while you study for your license.
Too many new hams get discouraged when they stop on a repeater that is controlled by some 'old mustachios' or some other cliquish group.
Just listen to find a place that you feel comfortable, be patience, there's more good than bad out there.
 

nexus

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Aug 13, 2002
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1,646
Location
Mississippi
Here's my nickle's worth... hi..

For:
Question 1: No. In most cases the repeater will be open to all licensed amateurs. Some clubs/organizations do maintain closed repeaters but they usually have announcements along with the repeater ID stating that it's closed. Most aren't, I'd say over 90% are open. So once you're licensed just get on there when you're free and give your callsign out and say you're monitoring.

Question 2: Listen to the net a few times before joining in so that you learn their process. Most structured nets will always welcome non-member check in's but the NCS (net control station) has a specific time during the net which they will ask for non-members. So just listen for a couple of nets to get the process down. When they call for non-member stations or stations wishing to join, clearly state your callsign but nothing else (unless the NCS gives directions for more) the NCS will come back to you in the order in which they heard you and get more information about you and give you a chance to make a statement.

Question 3: The best way to get into the hobby is to go to a local club meeting. Meetings are almost all the time open to guests, and very welcomed. DON'T transmit on a repeater until you're licensed. Your question makes it sound as if you're asking if it would be cool to just get on the repeater and talk with other hams, don't do any TXing until you're licensed and have your callsign assigned.

I have a list of all the Clubs within a 20 mile radius of zipcode 43085 there are plenty to pick and choose from and it looks like most of them are geared to helping newbies out. Just look through the list and contact the clubs you're interested in first to make sure their meeting time/dates/locations haven't changed. CLUBS Near Worthington, OH

I'm sure someone at any of those can help you with studying material, and help with where and when to take your exams. Some clubs might also offer study sessions like my club.

Good luck.
 

KevinGC

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Location
Grove City, Ohio USA
Since you are from Worthington, I invite you to meet with a great group of Hams at our next monthly meeting next Wednesday, Jan 20. I am located in Grove City in case you would like some mentoring, and if you would like to attend our COARES meeting next week, feel free to visit our website for details about the meeting place and time. URL is www.coares.org

Kevin KD8IIB
 
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