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KY_FF_EMT

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I have been using radio's most of my adult life either at the fire department or at my real world job. I have even used small hand held's while on the road traveling in a group with other. None of it seems to be as interesting as the things you guys use. I have two HT1250 that I bought for use at work, but other than that I have no clue about the kinda stuff you guys do. Its seems interesting to me that someone could talk over long distances, when the radios we use at work sometimes cant transmit across the street.

Is this done with a repeater?

Could I have one of my ht1250 programmed to be used?

Where would one start to get into this hobby?

Thanks
 

WB4CS

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KY FF EMT, good questions!

In amateur radio, yes some of the long distance communications are done via repeaters (especially on VHF and UHF.) If a repeater is positioned correctly, it's range can be anywhere between 30 - 150 miles.

Now for worldwide communication there's three routes you can take.
1) HF radio - The HF bands (3 - 30 MHz) have propagation characteristics that allow a signal to bounce off of the ionosphere and travel around the world. The radios that you've been using for EMT are either VHF or UHF, and signals at those frequencies will not bounce off the ionosphere, but instead travel in a straight line into space.

2) Satellites - There are a few amateur radio satellites in orbit that allow for very long distance communication, but have small windows of use as the satellite passes over a given area. Amateur satellites are not in geosynchronous orbit, so you have to keep up with when they pass over head.

3) Internet over radio (IRLP and Echolink) - These are two forms of communication that allow radios to be connected over the internet. This allows your radio signal to go from a local radio, through the internet, and over another radio somewhere else in the world.

Could I have one of my ht1250 programmed to be used?
Quite possibly, yes. One of the Motorola gurus will have to assist you there, but most commercial radios can be programmed to be used in the VHF and UHF amateur bands. Of course in order to transmit in the amateur bands you'll need a license, which brings us to your next question:

Where would one start to get into this hobby?
There are 3 levels of amateur licenses, Technician, General, and Extra. You start at Technician and work your way up to Extra. Each license class give you more available frequencies to use (mostly on the HF bands.)

You take an exam to earn your license. The exam goes through the basics of the FCC rules for Amateur Radio, basic understanding of electronics and radio technology, and safety. There are several books available to help you study, one of my favorite is the Gordon West study manuals. Once you've studied and are ready to take the test, you'll need to find a local VE (Volunteer Exam) team that will administer the test. Most VE's charge around $15 to take the exam in order to cover the cost of exam materials. This thread can give you some direction on how to find your local VE team.

To learn more about Amateur Radio in general and understand what we do, check out the ARRL site What is Amateur Radio?.

I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions please feel free to ask!
 

rapidcharger

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Thats funny because there are strictly hobbiests that pay thousands of dollars for a fire dept radio just to use on the ham band.

It's amazing what we manage to do in this hobby. Achieve unbelievable portable coverage over an enormous area for less than $10k in used equipment while the county will go out and spent 50 million for even less coverage.
 

McCroskey

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It's an interesting hobby for sure, though in terms of study material for getting a license I would recommend HamTestOnline. I never really cared for the Gordon West books.

If you want to spend a few bucks really learning about the hobby and all it entails, I would recommend getting a copy of the ARRL handbook and/or an ARRL operating manual. The newest versions may cost you $100 total at most but versions a few years old will give you 99% or more of the same information, at a fraction of the price.

Like I said...it's an interesting (and oftentimes challenging but fun) hobby, hope you dig into it further!
 

PrimeNumber

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KY_FF_EMT, I'll suggest "Ham Radios for Dummies." It gives a broad overview for people just getting into ham without getting too technical. The author is extremely knowledgable, but doesn't overwhelm a new person with Too Much Information Too Soon. The book is really great about "this is what this part of ham does, what it's good for, and why you'd want to use it."

There's a new edition out this past fall, but even the older edition isn't really that outdated.
 

KY_FF_EMT

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Thanks for all the information. I was talking to a friend of mine who is what I call a pack rat, hooked me up with two cdm750 units. So depending on if they work or not. I think I will work on gathering more information.

Oh, I have another question... Am I allowed to put in local channels and just listen to the area police on a my ht1250 with out breaking any "rules"?
 

N8IAA

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Thanks for all the information. I was talking to a friend of mine who is what I call a pack rat, hooked me up with two cdm750 units. So depending on if they work or not. I think I will work on gathering more information.

Oh, I have another question... Am I allowed to put in local channels and just listen to the area police on a my ht1250 with out breaking any "rules"?
Yes. As long as you disable transmit on the frequencies.
Larry
 

zz0468

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Oh, I have another question... Am I allowed to put in local channels and just listen to the area police on a my ht1250 with out breaking any "rules"?
Based on your other threads, I was glad to see you asking questions about amateur radio, but then you had to bring this up. It only reinforces the concerns previously brought up in your other, now closed, threads. Especially when you put the word 'rules' in quotation marks... as if they don't count.

Getting back to your original question here, though, your interest in radio can lead to a fun hobby. Start at arrl.org. There are links there that mention what the hobby is about, what it's capable of doing, and how to get there. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. From operating an HT, to building and launching real satellites, multi-state linked repeaters, and bouncing signals off the moon.

As to putting in frequencies to listen to in your HT, receive frequencies are fine. There IS a prohibition against putting transmit frequencies into a radio when you are not licensed to do so.

You would do well to sit down for a couple of hours and read 47CFR Parts 90 and 97 from cover to cover. Then you could answer your own questions as to what's legal and what's not. Following the rules is another matter. I get the sense that the firefighter/EMT part of you thinks it's immune.
 

KY_FF_EMT

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Based on your other threads, I was glad to see you asking questions about amateur radio, but then you had to bring this up. It only reinforces the concerns previously brought up in your other, now closed, threads. Especially when you put the word 'rules' in quotation marks... as if they don't count.


. I get the sense that the firefighter/EMT part of you thinks it's immune.


I put "words" in quotation marks because I don't know the verbiage. I have no intention of breaking/violating any FCC rules and regulations

Than you know nothing about FF/EMT work. RULES are a very important part of what we do. Thank you for your advise, and maybe you should expand your social skills and try to not be so condescending when people are asking for help in understanding a new hobby.
 

W9BU

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Folks, we have a non-ham who is interested in understanding more about the amateur radio service and the equipment hams use to communicate with each other. Let's keep this thread on topic.
 

KC0KM

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I have both the "Ham for Dummy's" books. The first one is more geared as general over view of all Amateur Radio, while the second one is more geared for beginners. However, both are recommended. There are several ways to study for an Amateur Radio License. One, is good ole book work. While the Gordon West books are good, if you want the technical information, the ARRL study manuals are about the best. There is also online study, with various of web sites, also a big plus is practice testing. Another way --if it is in your area -- is classes. Another way is getting to know other hams in your area, they will be able to explain things better if you have any questions. It is very important to keep in mind, that while you can listen, you cannot transmit on any frequency you do not have a license. As an FF/EMT you are covered on those frequencies while on the job, likewise, once you get a Amateur License, you will be allowed to use those.

What is Amateur Radio? Ham radio is just more than people talking to each other. In times of crises ham radio is often used in emergencies. When all other communications fail -- there is Amateur Radio. Amateur Radio is often the first communications out of a disaster area. There is also message handling, and other emergency traffic. The one big thing about Amateur Radio is -- we cannot get paid to use our radios.
 

AgentCOPP1

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That certain post (that I won't point out) was very condescending, but I'll pass it off as him having a bad day.

With that aside, everybody else pretty much covered it. I highly encourage you to pursue ham radio because, especially for a person like you, the technicality of it is extremely enjoyable. If you have sufficient knowledge of how radio waves work (which you will once you get your General test), it allows you to basically listen in on every single frequency from DC to light (aka 0 MHz to hundreds of terahertz). Of course not everything in the RF band is legal, but it's an interesting idea that with your knowledge, the whole RF band is open to listen to. I just think that's a cool concept.

I've had the most fun with satellites and digital ham radio modes. There's really something for everyone. If you like art, then do Slow Scan TV and send your art. If you like computers, do digital modes. If you like contests and competition... you get the idea. Sometimes ham radio operators even collaborate with NASA in many different ways. One that comes to my mind is the deep space probes. Ham operators have been able to listen in on them and give reports to NASA.

Ham radio is a lot like pie. Yes, everything pretty much deals with radios (or the pie crust), but there are so many flavors that it really can make your head spin. It's as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. That's the beauty of it.
 
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zz0468

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That certain post (that I won't point out) was very condescending, but I'll pass it off as him having a bad day.
Actually, not. It was a very specific irritation contained in another thread. Enough said.

I've had the most fun with satellites and digital ham radio modes. There's really something for everyone. If you like art, then do Slow Scan TV and send your art. If you like computers, do digital modes. If you like contests and competition... you get the idea.
I really popped back in here to say that you make a good point here... amateur radio really does have something for everyone, and for every skill level. As a hobby, it's really unique in that area. It would take years of hard work to get to the point where one can handle whatever comes up technically, but in the meantime there are a bewildering variety of things a less technically oriented person can do.

Sometimes ham radio operators even collaborate with NASA in many different ways. One that comes to my mind is the deep space probes. Ham operators have been able to listen in on them and give reports to NASA.
I know people who have done this sort of thing. That's getting into a pretty rarefied and esoteric level of skill and knowledge. But probes in the inner solar system have been detected.

...It's as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. That's the beauty of it.
And that sums it up quite nicely. If you're really into the technology side of it, you'll never be bored again.
 

KY_FF_EMT

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Thanks for all the good information and I may just have to order a few books in the near future. Thanks so much for all the help again...

Have a good rest of your weekend...
Ken
 

pinballwiz86

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An HF radio, wire antenna and a [General] radio license. You'll be talking round the world OP! Good luck and welcome to the hobby.
 

Ed_Seedhouse

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It's got all you need! Great little HF radio.
Agreed that it's a great little radio, it's the one I use too. But it's not ALL you'll need. You need an antenna that will allow a decent SWR ratio on your band or bands of interest. And on HF a transmatch is a really really useful tool if you can't put up an optimal antenna. The 718 starts reducing it's maximum power output if the SWR gets much above 1.5 go one.
 

pinballwiz86

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Agreed that it's a great little radio, it's the one I use too. But it's not ALL you'll need. You need an antenna that will allow a decent SWR ratio on your band or bands of interest. And on HF a transmatch is a really really useful tool if you can't put up an optimal antenna. The 718 starts reducing it's maximum power output if the SWR gets much above 1.5 go one.
If you want to split hairs..don't forget you will also need a power supply, some ring/spade connectors to hook up power cable to power supply, a crimper, some coax, a coax jumper for the antenna tuner to transceiver, PL-225 connectors, soldering iron, rope and coax sealant, radials, and a ground.

The point of my post was that the Icom 718 is all you really need to get on HF. You can spend thousands on filters and this and that sure. But you don't have to. Save your money and buy the best antenna you can afford.
 

Ed_Seedhouse

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If you want to split hairs..don't forget you will also need a power supply, some ring/spade connectors to hook up power cable to power supply, a crimper, some coax, a coax jumper for the antenna tuner to transceiver, PL-225 connectors, soldering iron, rope and coax sealant, radials, and a ground.

The point of my post was that the Icom 718 is all you really need to get on HF. You can spend thousands on filters and this and that sure. But you don't have to. Save your money and buy the best antenna you can afford.
I`ll grant you the power supply and associated equipment but the rest are part of the antenna system.

My point was that while the 718 is a great little radio (I`m listening to the B.C. Public service net with it and waiting for my chance to log on right now) it won`t do any good without the other stuff. Now if you`d said it was the only radio you need to get on HF I wouldn`t have done anything but agree.
 
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