Convince me to get a licence.

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mirayge

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Ham fest in Arthur, IL on April 27 with VE testing. Here in Decatur, IL there are six repeaters on 2m and 70cm, but very little traffic. I've been listening with my baofeng radios and for the most part it is mobile traffic during work hours or weekly nets. Always the same people, well there is a new "Mike" around Pana I believe.
I work second shift and the UHF/VHF goes dead by 10PM most of the time. I'm "only" 43 and would like to bring some people from work and my Granddaughter, Dad, etc. into this eventualy, but I don't see the utility in it. There is no use besides the hobby. It isn't family chat like GMRS, not for business, not a real emergency net. What do I have to add or get from the locals?
 

GrumpyGuard

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Here in Decatur, IL there are six repeaters on 2m and 70cm, but very little traffic. I've been listening with my baofeng radios and for the most part it is mobile traffic during work hours or weekly nets. Always the same people, well there is a new "Mike" around Pana I believe.
This is true of most repeaters as most hams have jobs during the day. I work graveyard and in my area we have several drive nets starting as early as six in the morning going up until eight in the morning. Just about every night of the week one of our local repeaters has a net. These nets range from regular club check in to AREAS/RACES net to a Technology net; we even have a group that has a weekly Bible Study. When you get your license there is nothing to stop you from setting up a net with what interest you. Amateur radio is not just 2 Meter and 70 CM; don't forget there is a lot of action at 160 Meters, 80 Meters, and 40 Meters, 20, 12, 10 and 6 Meters.

I work second shift and the UHF/VHF goes dead by 10PM most of the time. I'm "only" 43 and would like to bring some people from work and my Granddaughter, Dad, etc. into this eventualy, but I don't see the utility in it. There is no use besides the hobby. It isn't family chat like GMRS, not for business, not a real emergency net. What do I have to add or get from the locals?
You might be surprised how many people are actually awake during the early morning hours. With EchoLink and IRLP you can talk to people from around the world. I am sure that one of the six repeaters in your area has either EchoLink or an IRLP node. Do some research on both and you will get an understanding of both. As far as brining in your friends and family, there is something for everyone in this hobby. First you are correct that ham radio can't be used for business, as this is against FCC regulations. There is no reason that family can't chat as you are not required to use just your area repeaters, you can also use simplex with a good radio you can outperform your FRS/GMRS radios. There are so many other things you can do with ham radio such as APRS, Fox Hunting (Transmitter hunt), RTTY, Slow Scan T.V., Fast Scan T.V.. You and you Granddaughter can learn Morse code together, and the list goes on. What you need to do is go to some of the different club meetings in your area and get to know the hams. Most clubs have some sort of program at each meeting such as antenna building, propagation, AMSAT...
This hobby has so much more to offer than just 2 meter and 70 cm. I don't know if this has convinced you but I hope you will spend some time to investigate what there is out there.

Go to your library and check out a copy of the ARRL handbook and brows through it and you will see there is more to this hobby.


Good Luck,

Matt KG6YLJ
 

rapidcharger

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There might also be a lot you're not hearing with your baofeng because the busiest repeaters, at least in metro atlanta (where I'm at), are not repeaters at all, they're simplex base stations talking to other simplex base stations. Setting up actual ham shacks like in the good ol' days, buying a mobile/base radio, power supply, getting a for real antenna up, some people use amps, crossband repeat is common so that low power portables can be used... this is where some of the people who previously most active on repeaters have moved to. Our group has done this but with a twist.... The base stations are nodes tied into to one another by ROIP. That are easily accessible through echolink. And despite using simplex, our network has a wider coverage area than most repeaters.
And the times when we do use repeaters, we're on digital repeaters, mainly NXDN and P25.

Having a only portable is going to limit you to repeaters that are close enough for you to get in to. And repeaters like that have declined in use in recent years or they have declined in existence due to the lack of free/low cost sites and funding and upkeep.

I think you mentioned working nights. Well, that is also the case for most users on our network. Not me, but it gets most active around the time I go to bed. Anyway, I don't know that I can convince you to get your ham license as I believe that interest in ham radio or radio in general is genetic and you either have the gene or you don't but hopefully I can convince you there there is a world of ham radio that you're not finding with rubber-duckie operation. We'd love to have you join us once you get your license should you decide to do that.
 

rapidcharger

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I'm sure that with a month of study I could pass the tech. I'm also sure all it will lead to is buying a pair of crossbanding mobiles for the car and home. Then comes building my own antennas, getting into six meter, DXing, etc.
Judging by some other the other threads you've posted in, you seem to have an interest in radio and tinkering with things like murs and frs. Those radio services a fine in their own right but you can have so much more fun on the ham band and with the fewer restrictions, you can enjoy the infrastructure side of things as I do. The whole reason we set up what we did was to not be dependent on someone else's repeater and as we just found out last week, even large clubs with lots of dough in the bank and impressive wide area repeater systems can lose their repeater site and then they've got nothing on the air.

Especially living a place like you do with flat terrain... a lot easier to have fun.
 

k6cpo

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Amateur radio is a lot more than just 2 meter or 440 repeaters. There's a lot you can do with HF, including e-mail (WINLINK), digital modes, and on and on...

There's also emergency communications and public service. Here in San Diego, we have a number of back country endurance foot races that take place annually. Guess who does ALL the communications for these events? Ham radio operators...

I could go on forever, but you get the idea.
 

KC8ESL

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If all you want to do is talk to family then stay on GMRS, it's a fine tool to have.

If you want a hobby that involves experimenting with radios, experimenting with antennas, helping with public service events, Skywarn (not storm chasing...), having thoroughly qualified people answer your questions on a moment's notice, making great connections (don't join the ARRL, join a local club), then go to that hamfest and take the test. It's easy. 35 questions later (27 answered correctly) and you'll be a technician class amateur radio operator.

While you're there, buy a handheld radio and wait a few days for the FCC to issue your call.

At the very least you spent $15 plus the cost of the hamfest and you'll have 10 years to consider if you like it or not. Add another $50 for a Baofeng (or equiv) and UNDER $100 you're in the hobby.

A day at the target range is about $50-100 depending on how much you shoot. Doesn't include the price of the gun and ammo isn't easily recovered. Hate the hobby? That radio will get snatched up quickly on ebay.
 

KG5AQP

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I started like you did, mirayge. I bought a $30 Baofeng on Amazon and found I needed a license to transmit so I studied for and passed the Tech test. I live in the Ozarks with only a couple of repeaters and it gets pretty quiet at times. Part of my enjoyment is building cheap antennas from coat hangers, wire, and odds and ends. With an outdoor antenna you can really extend your range. A few days ago I passed the General and got a used HF radio, you will always find someone interesting to talk to.

Also, if there is a club near you it will benefit you to drop in for a few meetings. Hams are some of the friendliest people I've met and everyone of them was eager to help me get started.

Good luck and 73s,

Jim
KG5AQP
 

teufler

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Bad weather, in Decatur, you will find alot of traffic. Not the "rag chewing" but health and welfare traffic. Traffic here in St. Louis about the same as you report in Decatur. Traffic time, and maybe some lunch or dinner get togethers. Rest of the time quite. Some simplex but thats usually at night on the weekends. Some coordination on the 2 meter spotting DX stations. Ham Clubs using their talents to help with organizations events. Many states have laws against scanners in vehicles but Ham Radio operators are exempt. That alone is a big benefit of holding a Ham License. Its a hobby, that knows no age. You might talk to a 13 yr old or an 85 yr old. Some companies have started installing ham equipment for emergency use, and if you have a licvense, you will be used. Getting you license is an accomplishment, and when is the last time you have accomplished something that you and your family can prosper from. Its fun, go for it.
 

pinballwiz86

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I'm "only" 43 and would like to bring some people from work and my Granddaughter, Dad, etc. into this eventualy, but I don't see the utility in it. There is no use besides the hobby. It isn't family chat like GMRS, not for business, not a real emergency net.
It sure can be a family chat. You don't have to use a repeater for that. It's what's called going "simplex". You can talk directly with your granddaughter, dad, etc. and have your own communications schedule.

For example, you all arrange to speak with each other on 146.500. You go to that frequency and call you Dad and start talking. Your granddaughter can join in as well. Amateur radio is what you make of it. I suggest you get your license along with your family members and start talking. Eventually, you can move up to HF to get longer range with each other. Again, you'll have to arrange a frequency ahead of time. But that's no problem.

Some advice. A Baofeng won't be good enough to talk very far on simplex. You might want to invest in a roof antenna, coax and a 2 meter radio. Total cost? Around $200 but you'll have a great comm. Probably get you out about 30 miles on full power.
 

k6cpo

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It sure can be a family chat. You don't have to use a repeater for that. It's what's called going "simplex". You can talk directly with your granddaughter, dad, etc. and have your own communications schedule.

For example, you all arrange to speak with each other on 146.500. You go to that frequency and call you Dad and start talking. Your granddaughter can join in as well. Amateur radio is what you make of it. I suggest you get your license along with your family members and start talking. Eventually, you can move up to HF to get longer range with each other. Again, you'll have to arrange a frequency ahead of time. But that's no problem.

Some advice. A Baofeng won't be good enough to talk very far on simplex. You might want to invest in a roof antenna, coax and a 2 meter radio. Total cost? Around $200 but you'll have a great comm. Probably get you out about 30 miles on full power.
One thing not mentioned in the above post is that the amateur service is different from GMRS in that the licenses are issued to individuals and only that individual can use that call sign. Your family does not fall under your license as it does in GMRS. To use amateur radio to do the above, each person you talk to has to have their own license (unless they are supervised by another license holder, called a "control operator" in the rules.)
 

pinballwiz86

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One thing not mentioned in the above post is that the amateur service is different from GMRS in that the licenses are issued to individuals and only that individual can use that call sign. Your family does not fall under your license as it does in GMRS. To use amateur radio to do the above, each person you talk to has to have their own license (unless they are supervised by another license holder, called a "control operator" in the rules.)


No, I mentioned it. You didn't read my entire post.

I suggest you get your license along with your family members and start talking.
 

n9mxq

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+1 for what bberns22 said. If you have to be convinced by other hams, you don't want it.

We all got in the hobby because we wanted to, not because someone "convinced" us to.
 

n9mxq

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If you don't want to be helpful n9mxq,don't POST.
I thought I was. He asked us to convince him. We shouldn't. And hey, did you come up with that all by yourself? You're the one who added a post with absolutely nothing to add.

(OK mods, I'll take my warning now)
 

W9BU

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Huh, wut?

Guys, stop playing moderator. If you think a post violates forum rules, use the "report" feature. Click on the white triangle with the red border that appears near the right end of the message header.
 

mirayge

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Decatur, IL but my heart is from Bugtussle
Ordered the 2010 study guide from my library, just so I can stop screaming at myself when I hear somebody saying they have a simplex frequency manually programmed and still can't transmit on whatever radio. I wan't too say, "You have the automatic offset turned on!" All I can do is listen to them say, "Yea it changes when I try to save it." Errk, what is your frequency step set to? Yeah, the ability to use scanners in other states is good too.
 
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