• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Now generally a ham

Firekite

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 2, 2019
Messages
88
I’ve always been a little fascinated by radio communication in general and always luster after more fortunate kids with walkie talkies when I was young, and loved stuff like Smokey and the Bandit talking to each other. Building and wheeling rock crawlers got me into CB and the mysterious voodoo of RF grounds and filters and random authoritatively stared advice that seemed more often to be wives tales than real understanding—and whatever the heck SSB meant that I never used. Getting into radar detectors and then emitters for testing and then later into scanners really ended up rekindling that latent interest. Another guy I know got his Tech license not too long ago, and when I asked him about it he was encouraging and suggested I give it a shot even though I was intimidated by the idea and puzzled about it. I’ve had a GMRS license for a couple years and a Midland micro mobile for it and a CCR, and there didn’t seem to be much point beyond caravanning or something, as it’s entirely dead on both simplex and a local(-ish) repeater or two, except on very rare occasion, and that’s when people are accomplishing a task of some sort and are really only looking for communication with each other in order to complete that task.

Well, having studied for and felt confident in my ability to handle the Tech test, I went ahead and began diving into General as well. Today I went down to a local club near me (near is relative in rural Texas), and I passed both tests! I tried my hand at the Extra test, but I already knew I had barely dipped a toe in those waters, relatively speaking, and I only got half of the questions right on that one.

The friendly and knowledgeable retiree VECs still do the old fashioned snail mail submissions, so it looks like I’ll have to wait for the week of the 19th or so before I get a callsign. And since I have zero sentimental attachment to a callsign I don’t even have yet, I already have a vanity sign I’m hoping will still be available for me to get once I’m finally in the system.

I don’t have much hands-on experience with any of this stuff, so while maybe a little goofy, I’ve found Dave Casler’s videos on YouTube (KE0OG) very helpful in putting into much more memorable and virtually tactile context all the otherwise dry and often rote stuff in the ARRL manuals. I don’t know how much I’ll ever get into DXing and so on, but I’m going to start getting more seriously into trying to get my upgrade to Extra. At least then I’ll hopefully be able to join in with the “locals” without restrictions and have a little more clue what’s going on and try to learn the actual daily practical and real-world stuff the book can’t teach. Just because I could pass the test doesn’t mean I’m confident and comfortable in the practice of it.

I’m hoping I might get a little more into the emergency management side of things, too, as there seems to be no end to tornados and hurricanes and such in Texas and surrounding states, and I never actually feel like I can do much to help anyone. If nothing else maybe one of these days I’ll be in a position to help out with search and rescue even when cell towers are down without just getting in the way.

Anyway, I’m excited and kinda proud of having made General on my first go-around and just thought I’d share. I’ll try not to be too much of an annoying and over-eager newbie. And say stuff like 73’s that I’ve never even heard once on the scanner on local VHF and UHF repeaters.

Well, actually never mind. 73! :D
 
Last edited:

ka9wrz

Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2006
Messages
9
Location
North Central Illinois
Congratulations on joining the ranks of the amateurs! Well done.

Emergency communications is a great direction to go. Tons of activities and training out there to get you prepared and ready. Volunteer to help out at marathons, bike rides, special events, etc. Folks that put those together always have trouble getting enough folks to lend a hand. If nothing else, you can observe and help with setting up equipment and running errands until you feel comfortable picking up the microphone.

Enjoy your new hobby!
 

KB4MSZ

Max
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 12, 2018
Messages
339
Location
Tampa, Florida
Looks like your immune system failed and finally succumbed to the bug bite.
Congratulations and welcome to the hobby.
 

rapidcharger

Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2012
Messages
2,306
Location
The land of broken calculators.
Congratulations and welcome to the hobby
I’ve had a GMRS license for a couple years and a Midland micro mobile for it and a CCR, and there didn’t seem to be much point beyond caravanning or something, as it’s entirely dead on both simplex and a local(-ish) repeater or two, except on very rare occasion, and that’s when people are accomplishing a task of some sort and are really only looking for communication with each other in order to complete that task.
Well, that's kinda the intent of that radio service. Completing tasks rather than nets and ragchews by hobbyists. You've made the smart migration to the appropriate radio service.

Today I went down to a local club near me (near is relative in rural Texas), and I passed both tests!
I did the same and you'll feel like a hot shot until you start meeting straight-to-extras or this increasingly common trend of people going from tech to extra in a span of a month.

I’m hoping I might get a little more into the emergency management side of things, too, as there seems to be no end to tornados and hurricanes and such in Texas and surrounding states, and I never actually feel like I can do much to help anyone. If nothing else maybe one of these days I’ll be in a position to help out with search and rescue even when cell towers are down without just getting in the way.
I don't know about SAR but what I do know is that they're always looking for volunteers at hurricane evacuation shelters and it's been some time since I lived in an area that had those, they used to specifically seek out ham radio operators because they had a way to communicate with the EOC and other shelters if the power and phones went out.
 

Firekite

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 2, 2019
Messages
88
Thanks y’all. I appreciate the welcome. We’ll see how it goes.

I did the same and you'll feel like a hot shot until you start meeting straight-to-extras or this increasingly common trend of people going from tech to extra in a span of a month.
Haha yeah I’m sure I could’ve, too, if that were a goal. But I didn’t see any need to wait until I felt comfortable with the Extra material like I did the Tech and General to get my ticket and get started. I looked at it enough to recognize it would require a lot more study. I have to wait a bit anyway, so I’ve already started going through it, and maybe within a few weeks I’ll try my hand at getting the Extra anyway. I know for many if they see Extra they might assume you have many years or decades of experience and might have an expectation to mentor others and such. In my case I just want to be able to know I have the authorization to work any amateur band without additional provisos or restrictions and work my way into the practice of it as my comfort increases at my own pace.

Plus, hey, while a lot of the more rote and esoteric info and such is still somewhat fresh in my mind, why not take advantage of it? :)

Hopefully those who previously had a more difficult struggle over the course of many years won’t hold it against me!
 

ladn

Explorer of the Frequency Spectrum
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 25, 2008
Messages
327
Location
Southern California and sometimes Owens Valley
I don’t have much hands-on experience with any of this stuff, so while maybe a little goofy, I’ve found Dave Casler’s videos on YouTube (KE0OG) very helpful in putting into much more memorable and virtually tactile context all the otherwise dry and often rote stuff in the ARRL manuals.
Glad you liked Dave's way of teaching. We've been friends since the 60's.
Congratulations on getting your license!
 

k6cpo

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Messages
708
Location
San Diego, CA
The friendly and knowledgeable retiree VECs still do the old fashioned snail mail submissions, so it looks like I’ll have to wait for the week of the 19th or so before I get a callsign. And since I have zero sentimental attachment to a callsign I don’t even have yet, I already have a vanity sign I’m hoping will still be available for me to get once I’m finally in the system.
It's sad that some VECs haven't moved into the 21st Century when it comes to submitting exam results to the FCC. It's a simple matter to scan all the results and e-mail a pdf file to whoever it is that submits the batch file to the FCC. We do this with the SANDARC VEC in San Diego and we can have call sign results appear in the database as soon as the Monday morning following a Saturday exam. We've even tested on a weekday morning and had call signs appear in the database before the close of business the SAME day.

I don’t have much hands-on experience with any of this stuff, so while maybe a little goofy, I’ve found Dave Casler’s videos on YouTube (KE0OG) very helpful in putting into much more memorable and virtually tactile context all the otherwise dry and often rote stuff in the ARRL manuals. I don’t know how much I’ll ever get into DXing and so on, but I’m going to start getting more seriously into trying to get my upgrade to Extra. At least then I’ll hopefully be able to join in with the “locals” without restrictions and have a little more clue what’s going on and try to learn the actual daily practical and real-world stuff the book can’t teach. Just because I could pass the test doesn’t mean I’m confident and comfortable in the practice of it.
Dave's videos are some of the best on YouTube. Unfortunately, you have to carefully filter ham radio videos. There are too many hams out there that think they're the next Stephen Speilberg but produce videos that are shaky, and out-of-focus with poor narration and full of mis-information.

I’m hoping I might get a little more into the emergency management side of things, too, as there seems to be no end to tornados and hurricanes and such in Texas and surrounding states, and I never actually feel like I can do much to help anyone. If nothing else maybe one of these days I’ll be in a position to help out with search and rescue even when cell towers are down without just getting in the way.
That is an admirable goal. However, before you can expect to do this, there are some thing you should do. You need to become versed in the Incident Command System and National Incident Management System. It's a fact of life that anyone who wants to help out in a disaster really needs to know this, especially if you want to do more than be a shelter volunteer. At a bare minimum, you should take the on-line FEMA courses IS-100, IS-200, IS-700 and IS-800. Each of these will take about two hours to complete and you can take the final exam and receive your completion certificate on-line.
 

rapidcharger

Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2012
Messages
2,306
Location
The land of broken calculators.
Plus, hey, while a lot of the more rote and esoteric info and such is still somewhat fresh in my mind, why not take advantage of it? :)
The brain is a muscle. Better to use it while it's still got a pump.

Hopefully those who previously had a more difficult struggle over the course of many years won’t hold it against me!
This is taboo but you don't actually have to learn all any of the material to pass.
I bought a study guide for the extra and studied the hell out of it for months but that was overkill.
The day I bought the study guide, I took a practice exam and came very close to passing just from what I knew from years of experience in the hobby but it's not easy, nor realistic to learn it all.

By the way... if you think having your results being mailed in is a long wait, it used to take months and even as recently as this winter, people that passed during the government shut down had to wait over a month in some cases.
 
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