New HAM questions

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suicideking

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I just passed the HAM test on Saturday, so currently waiting for them to add me to the database. A few questions:

I bought a Baofeng UV5R radio. I mostly plan to use the radio when going 4 wheeling. If I program the closest repeaters in, how likely is it that I will be able to reach them? The areas I will be the most is Johnson Valley (Lucerne Valley), Big Bear, Yermo.

So just wondering if it's worth the time to program all the repeaters in, or if I should mostly plan to use the radio without a repeater.

I'm going to get a better radio in a few months, probably the Yaesu FT2900R.
 

jwt873

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Congratulations!

It's hard to say which repeaters you might be able to access. Depends where you are. 2 meters and 70 cm are "line of sight". So If you have a mountaintop repeater and you can see the mountaintop from where you are, you'll probably hit it. If not, you might have trouble.

It's definitely worth programing the repeaters into memory. You'll probably use them sometime.

Without a repeater, with a handheld you'll be limited to maybe a mile or so at best. (That's over flat ground). And, you'll need someone on the end to chat with.

Also, congrats on wheeling.. I just picked up a new Wrangler Sport a few weeks ago. Haven't had a chance to try it out yet.

And ... Small thing... (I don't know why I even mention this :) )

Ham is a word. It's a nickname for an amateur radio operator. Consider that the short term for automobile is spelled car, and not a CAR. Ham is not an acronym made up of the first letter of a phrase, like FCC, CB, FRS, GMRS etc.. As such it doesn't need to be capitalized.
 

pinballwiz86

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Ham is a word. It's a nickname for an amateur radio operator. Consider that the short term for automobile is spelled car, and not a CAR. Ham is not an acronym made up of the first letter of a phrase, like FCC, CB, FRS, GMRS etc.. As such it doesn't need to be capitalized.
To sum it up; ham not HAM. Welcome to the hobby! The Baofeng is not the best choice for your chosen activity. The Yaesu FT-2900R on the other hand sure is.
 

prcguy

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You might want to program Keller Pk 146.385, -.600, tone 146.2, its has great coverage of LA, OC and the high desert. Big Bear has a great repeater that also gets into LA, OC and the desert, 147.330, +.600, tone 146.2.

You have a lot of channel space in the radio, why not program all the repeaters and simplex freqs for all areas around you? A simple google search will find lots of So Cal repeater lists.

And congrats on getting your license!
prcguy
 

suicideking

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Congratulations!

It's hard to say which repeaters you might be able to access. Depends where you are. 2 meters and 70 cm are "line of sight". So If you have a mountaintop repeater and you can see the mountaintop from where you are, you'll probably hit it. If not, you might have trouble.

It's definitely worth programing the repeaters into memory. You'll probably use them sometime.

Without a repeater, with a handheld you'll be limited to maybe a mile or so at best. (That's over flat ground). And, you'll need someone on the end to chat with.

Also, congrats on wheeling.. I just picked up a new Wrangler Sport a few weeks ago. Haven't had a chance to try it out yet.

And ... Small thing... (I don't know why I even mention this :) )

Ham is a word. It's a nickname for an amateur radio operator. Consider that the short term for automobile is spelled car, and not a CAR. Ham is not an acronym made up of the first letter of a phrase, like FCC, CB, FRS, GMRS etc.. As such it doesn't need to be capitalized.
Noted on the spelling. Speaking of car, your Jeep is not a car. If you call your Jeep a car, somewhere in the world, a kitten dies. (yes, I know you didn't call it a car..) :D

If you want to go wheeling, let me know. There's always beginner runs and others for all skill levels.

You might want to program Keller Pk 146.385, -.600, tone 146.2, its has great coverage of LA, OC and the high desert. Big Bear has a great repeater that also gets into LA, OC and the desert, 147.330, +.600, tone 146.2.

You have a lot of channel space in the radio, why not program all the repeaters and simplex freqs for all areas around you? A simple google search will find lots of So Cal repeater lists.

And congrats on getting your license!
prcguy
Noted, thanks. Now I need to get to programming.
 

ladn

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I do a lot of 4WD backcountry driving. Your Baofeng will be fine in the short term, but a more powerful mobile rig is definitely advised.

You should install an external dual band antenna (such as a Larsen NMO 2/70 with the solid coil-the open pig tail coil tends to get caught on things). This will increase the performance of your handheld and will work with your (eventual) mobile unit as well. I'd also recommend a speaker/mic for the handheld and a 12v power adapter so you can run it off vehicle power.

Keller Peak, Ord Mtn., Barstow, Victorvile and Big Bear are good repeater choices for the Lucerne Valley area. Also remember to program simplex frequencies: 146.520 is the national VHF calling frequency, 446.000 is the UHF calling frequency. My friends and I use 146.535 simplex when we are out and about. Repeater Book (https://www.repeaterbook.com) is a fairly good source of repeater information as is Kevin Karamanos' "Repeater Location Guide" (printed version available from HRO).

Have fun and travel safe.
 

AI7PM

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Welcome to amateur radio. Amateur radio is great for off road and remote travel.

If you buy a speaker/mic as suggested above, don't buy a cheap one. They sound like you are talking into an empty tomato can.
The Larsen 2/70 is a good recommend, as it's a 1/2 wave antenna on VHF, and collinear on UHF, so your mounting options on off road vehicles are plenty. ie, it doesn't need to be in the middle of a large ground plane.

Repeaterbook.com is a good source for repeater info, with some of the pages showing coverage plots.

Two more cents, don't get caught up in the jargon so many people use. Q-codes, "Destinated", and such. Plain english like you were having a beer with the person works best on FM. Well, maybe not after the 5th or 6th beer.
 

xilix

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Welcome to the hobby! As others have mentioned, the UV-5R isn't a "great" radio, but it will certainly do to get started. If you haven't already looked into this, I would pickup a USB programming cable and use the free CHIRP software.

Home - CHIRP

It makes programming these radios alot easier.

'73

- Steve (KG6DOQ)
 

suicideking

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I do a lot of 4WD backcountry driving. Your Baofeng will be fine in the short term, but a more powerful mobile rig is definitely advised.

You should install an external dual band antenna (such as a Larsen NMO 2/70 with the solid coil-the open pig tail coil tends to get caught on things). This will increase the performance of your handheld and will work with your (eventual) mobile unit as well. I'd also recommend a speaker/mic for the handheld and a 12v power adapter so you can run it off vehicle power.

Keller Peak, Ord Mtn., Barstow, Victorvile and Big Bear are good repeater choices for the Lucerne Valley area. Also remember to program simplex frequencies: 146.520 is the national VHF calling frequency, 446.000 is the UHF calling frequency. My friends and I use 146.535 simplex when we are out and about. Repeater Book (https://www.repeaterbook.com) is a fairly good source of repeater information as is Kevin Karamanos' "Repeater Location Guide" (printed version available from HRO).

Have fun and travel safe.
Noted. I haven't decided if I'll do the antenna first, or just get it when I buy the Yaesu.

I did get a mic with the Baofeng, It's a Baofeng $5 mic. I'll have to try it and see if it's decent. I'm not expecting too much for $5. My hearing isn't so good. So not sure if it will be loud enough.

Welcome to amateur radio. Amateur radio is great for off road and remote travel.

If you buy a speaker/mic as suggested above, don't buy a cheap one. They sound like you are talking into an empty tomato can.
The Larsen 2/70 is a good recommend, as it's a 1/2 wave antenna on VHF, and collinear on UHF, so your mounting options on off road vehicles are plenty. ie, it doesn't need to be in the middle of a large ground plane.

Repeaterbook.com is a good source for repeater info, with some of the pages showing coverage plots.

Two more cents, don't get caught up in the jargon so many people use. Q-codes, "Destinated", and such. Plain english like you were having a beer with the person works best on FM. Well, maybe not after the 5th or 6th beer.
I'll checkout that antenna.

I doubt I'll use the Jargon. I was hoping to not get chewed out for not using the jargon.

Welcome to the hobby! As others have mentioned, the UV-5R isn't a "great" radio, but it will certainly do to get started. If you haven't already looked into this, I would pickup a USB programming cable and use the free CHIRP software.

Home - CHIRP

It makes programming these radios alot easier.

'73

- Steve (KG6DOQ)
Thanks, bought a cable on Amazon today and downloaded the software. I'd much rather use a computer as opposed to keying everything in.
 

bharvey2

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suicideking, Congratulations on your new license and welcome to the hobby and to RR. The Baofeng will get you started but I suspect you'll soon learn for something with more power and a ruggedness. If you aren't aware of it, look for local repeaters on this site as well as on repeaterbook.com. Note the local ones in your area and program the 2M/70cm ones into your radio via Chirp. Listen or scan for a while and see which ones have activity or are accessible from your area. Give a call out and see who you can contact. Some repeaters have a lot of activity, some not at all. Take a look at the WIN System. It is a network of repeaters and is usually pretty active. I believe their is a repeater in the Victorville/Quartzite area. Good luck!
 

paulears

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The best feature on any radio is a tuning knob - you will spend hours turning them in your radio career. Up and down buttons and computer programming are great when you know exactly what you are looking for. Get a radio with a tuning knob at your earliest convenience.

I realise the US mangle our language, and I have got the hang of trunk = boot, hood = bonnet, but a Jeep is a car - as in 4 wheels, engine (sorry, motor?) and seats. Why is it not a car - p.s. No kittens harmed in sending this message, at least in England.
 

suicideking

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The best feature on any radio is a tuning knob - you will spend hours turning them in your radio career. Up and down buttons and computer programming are great when you know exactly what you are looking for. Get a radio with a tuning knob at your earliest convenience.

I realise the US mangle our language, and I have got the hang of trunk = boot, hood = bonnet, but a Jeep is a car - as in 4 wheels, engine (sorry, motor?) and seats. Why is it not a car - p.s. No kittens harmed in sending this message, at least in England.
If you would refer to a truck as a car, then I guess a Jeep can be a car. Though if you refer to your Jeep as a car to a Jeeper, you will likely be corrected. :)

So I received my call sign already: KM6IQC

That was quick, one week! Plus, I received my USB programming cable in the mail today. So I get to start programming tonight.

I also applied for a vanity call sign. Not so sure I used one that is allowed though. I applied for: KING72
Would that be valid? The database shows it's not taken.
 

d119

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That would not be a valid callsign and will be rejected.

Amateur callsigns are LLNLLL or shorter, where L's are letters (A, K, N and W), N is a number, and L is again letters (A-Z).

A series callsigns are for 2x2 (LLNLL) or 2x1 (LLNL) only.

Google Amateur Callsign Regulations and go from there.

Remember, Amateur Radio is not CB and should not be treated as such... There's a reason the callsigns are the way they are... KING72 sounds like a CB thing... ;)

Best advice I can offer is to listen very closely to what people are saying, talking about, and how they carry themselves and operate before you get on the air. Then you'll sound like a natural. And don't do what seems to be the norm these days, and forget/fail to identify.

Last suggestion: Phonetics are for HF under poor signal conditions. Don't phoneticize everything like some of these noobs.
 

Sconnick

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Unfortunately...

I also applied for a vanity call sign. Not so sure I used one that is allowed though. I applied for: KING72
Would that be valid? The database shows it's not taken.
Not a valid format... I did check K1ING, which is a valid format - but alas, it's taken.

K1NG also not available, if you go for the Extra. ;-)

Welcome!
 

suicideking

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That would not be a valid callsign and will be rejected.

Amateur callsigns are LLNLLL or shorter, where L's are letters (A, K, N and W), N is a number, and L is again letters (A-Z).

A series callsigns are for 2x2 (LLNLL) or 2x1 (LLNL) only.

Google Amateur Callsign Regulations and go from there.

Remember, Amateur Radio is not CB and should not be treated as such... There's a reason the callsigns are the way they are... KING72 sounds like a CB thing... ;)

Best advice I can offer is to listen very closely to what people are saying, talking about, and how they carry themselves and operate before you get on the air. Then you'll sound like a natural. And don't do what seems to be the norm these days, and forget/fail to identify.

Last suggestion: Phonetics are for HF under poor signal conditions. Don't phoneticize everything like some of these noobs.
Thanks, very helpful. This was what I was looking for. Now I have to choose one I like and can remember!

Not a valid format... I did check K1ING, which is a valid format - but alas, it's taken.

K1NG also not available, if you go for the Extra. ;-)

Welcome!
Now there's no reason to try for the Extra... :)
 

paulears

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As a non-US citizen from the UK, I'd counsel you away from silly vanity calls because you want foreigners to reply to you, and if they appear to be anything other than legitimate, people will be put off answering.

This sounds silly perhaps, but I would reply to K1ING - not realising it was 'special' at all, but would be doubtful KING21 or similar was real? We do not have vanity calls her, or car number plates either - but we do allow out of sequence ham calls like (made up this one) M0IRC for Ipswich Radio Club. Our car plates must follow a rigid format - but the Government allocate the ones that make up words on payment of a fee, and will also allocate old ones that for some reason never got issued, or have been on vehicles scrapped. My uncles's old one was sold for twenty five grand - TTK 1, his initials.

The only other thing we can sometimes access are re-releases of old family members callsigns. Over than that, what you get is yours for life and won't be given to somebody else.

If you do pick something unusual, make sure us foreigners don't avoid you!
 

suicideking

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I got my radio tuned with Chirp and have been able to hear Keller Peak. I was able to transmit, but was told I was coming in weak. I'm sure this is because I was inside my house and don't have the antenna yet.

I got a $50 Amazon card, so am considering getting the Larsen 2/70. Would this also be the IDEAL antenna for the Yaesu FT2900R? Also, can it be mounted anywhere? My Jeep has a soft top, so can't go on the roof. The best place for an antenna (where I have my CB antenna) is in the rear right side above the bumper.

I do need something that can take a beating. My CB antenna is a fire stik. It's only a few inches above the roof and sees a lot of action on some trails. Something equally durable would be good.
 

paulears

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I think you need to now start the ham radio journey. Don't ask questions, jump straight in and try things out. Your radio inside the house is weak into the repeater? Then move, change antenna, go upstairs, stick a length of solder into the antenna socket, and experiment - stick the magmoun anywhere on the vehicle it will stick and see what happens.

The ethos of being a ham is to NOT follow preset routes - but try for yourself. Maybe you discover that the mag mount stuck on the only bit of metal accessible gets good signal reports = you found something that works. Maybe you discover something better later? Great! After travelling on a bus and seeing the bus radio antenna was a silver track stuck on the front glass, horizontally - a tape dipole - I tried it for myself, thinking it MUST be rubbish - but it actually worked quite well. Then I found another design where the dipole tapes suddenly bent 90 degrees to create a mixed polarisation - that worked too.

Every QSO you make direct, or via a repeater teaches you more things. A good thing to try is to hold your radio upright while somebody is speaking on a repeater and then rotate it to horizontal, and listen for the noise going up and down as you move it. Then rotate the horizontal antenna in different compass directions. See if you can work out where the repeater is. Really simple stuff, but next time you have a hissy signal, you might discover you're better able to control and improve it. Learn how good add on portable aerials actually are. Many are total wastes of money and are just gimmicks. Get better at improving your range by controlling your technique. Remote speaker mics for a hand held are really useful, because at a push, you can get a bit more range holding the thing way above your head, and using the mic. Often this can mean going from hardly readable to excellent.

The Larsen antenna will work - how well, we cannot say. Over the years, I've had many vehicle antennas - most did the job, but I learned a long time ago, that a zero gain dipole in the middle of a roof panel works better than a gain type antenna in the wrong place. I have one on my van, near the edge, simply because that is the only place it fits - and going south I hear one distant repeater solidly, coming back north, it's in and out like a yoyo!

Many people have dirt cheap radios with limitations - but once they know their foibles they can get good results.
 
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