Suggestions for a new guy??

u2fan61

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Hi Everyone-

Just got into the ham world and am waiting for a course in my local area. Been studying the pool of questions and doing pretty well with them. Purchased a Yaesu FT-70DR and am figuring it out. Just looking for the voice of experience with a suggestion or two regarding the daido or the license process.

Cheers!
 

K4EET

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Hello @u2fan61 and Welcome to Radio Reference!

<snip> Just looking for the voice of experience with a suggestion or two regarding the daido or the license process. <snip>
Well, I've been a ham since 1974 but there are plenty of other hams around here that are much smarter than I am. LOL! :ROFLMAO: I will say one thing for sure, you selected an excellent starter radio by getting the Yaesu FT-70DR. I have a Yaesu HT as well and really like the brand. Yaesu, as you probably know, has been supporting hams for many years now. They are a great company with great products.

As for the license process, I need to defer that portion of your post to somebody in Canada. They would be far better qualified to speak to that than I would be.

Sooooooo... Do you have any specific questions that you had in mind when you posted here that I or others might also be able to answer for you? Ham Radio or Amateur Radio is such a broad hobby, you may want to let us know what it was that drew you to the hobby in the first place.

Looking forward to seeing your response.

73 my new friend, Dave K4EET
 

u2fan61

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Hi Dave- thanks for reaching out.

Always had an interest from way back in my army days. It always amazed me you could talk to someone miles away through the air. This was back in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s. Life got in the way and it wasn’t till recent times, 2020 and all it’s fires, that I acted.

I want to start off understanding the basics. For example- I’ve created a spreadsheet of the repeaters in my area as well as in parts of the province I travel-around 250 give or take. I’ve also created one for police and emergency services in my local area and will create a couple more for weather and such. once uploaded, is it possible to search only the repeaters, or only the local police or do I just have to scroll through them all?
Also, an antenna- stick with the one that came with the unit or upgrade? I’d like to stick with handheld for now. We just tore down the old tv antenna that was attached to the house so I suspect if I approach the wife to put up another I may not be around much longer lol.

Hows those for starters?
 

K4EET

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Hi Dave- thanks for reaching out. <snip>
You are certainly welcome, my new friend.
<snip> I’ve also created one for police and emergency services in my local area and will create a couple more for weather and such. once uploaded, is it possible to search only the repeaters, or only the local police or do I just have to scroll through them all? <snip>
On a Yaesu FT-70DR, I honestly don't know without reading the manual. I'm pretty sure that you can mark channels to "skip" while scanning but that would be on a one-by-one basis and not a group function to switch on and off. That said, I'll look in the Yaesu FT-70DR manual and see what it says about memory allocation for stored frequencies. I'll get back to you on this one...
<snip> Also, an antenna- stick with the one that came with the unit or upgrade? <snip>
For now, I would stick with what you have and see how it works on what you want to monitor and what you want to talk through. If you find that you are marginal in some cases, then I would look for a higher gain antenna. Diamond Antenna makes good after-market antennas.
<snip> Hows those for starters?
Great start there, my friend! Enjoy your new hobby and keep us posted on your progress and any questions that you might have.

73, Dave K4EET
 

K4EET

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Hello again @u2fan61, I suspect the following sections for the two available manuals will prove helpful and may do exactly what you want the scan function to do. Cheers my friend es 73, Dave K4EET

With respect to Memory and Scanning:

Page 26 of the Operating Manual
Using Memory Bank ---> 24 memory banks are available...

Page 18 of the Advance Manual
Scanning only the specified memory channels...

Page 18 of the Advance Manual
50 sets of Programmable Memory are available for scanning...
 

ladn

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Been studying the pool of questions and doing pretty well with them.
I can't address the Canadian licensing process directly, but I would suggest not only learning the questions and answers from the question pool, but actually learning the underlying theory. A lot of it will seem pretty arcane, but it will help your overall participation in the hobby.

Many newly minted hams (of any license class) memorize what they need to know to pass a test, but end up having no real knowledge of radios and basically end up being appliance operators.

Good luck and keep at it!
 

chief21

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I’ve created a spreadsheet of the repeaters in my area as well as in parts of the province I travel-around 250 give or take.
Welcome to the hobby.

If Canada is similar to the US, many of the amateur repeaters found in various lists and directories are often so-called "paper repeaters" - meaning that they are not really "on the air" for various reasons. If you have a local ham club, they might be the best source for active repeaters in your area. You could also have a look at the Repeaterbook site ( Repeaterbook.com - Home )... this source seems to be better than most for identifying "real" repeaters.
 

paulears

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The biggest thing to learn is the things you can do with the digital side of the radio. As you're discovering, there are so many different versions of digital radio that it hurts the brain - not just of newcomers, but old 'uns too! I got licensed in 1980 and digital is my biggest challenge. I use it for business too, and despite my best attempts I still cannot get a peep out of the radio I have tried to get going on our local digital repeater. The snag is that one single wrong parameter means no audio, and with digital you have to guess what is going on. So it's head scratching but eventually it will work. Lots of things you can't do till you can get your digital ID, and you need the test results for that! Analogue wise, you can listen to your hearts content, but not so easy with digits. A handheld as your only radio is a tricky one - external antennas really are necessities for anything other than local repeater work.

For the cost, I'd buy a cheap SDR dongle, and you can use it as a test device, and maybe one that can do HF, with a bit off dangly wire will give you more to listen to. Geography is everything. For me, on the UK coast at sea level, I get some marine band, but pretty well nothing locally on the ham bands. There is a repeater but few users. Radio as a hobby has zillions of strands. Some people never step outside their comfy ones. I have a great HF rig - and it's not been plugged in for 4 years! Not my thing really. Digital is er, challenging, but always something to do. Best of luck with the test.
 

K9DWB

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Knowing theory for test prep helps when putting study material into practice and for building on top of what's known from Technician level to General and Amateur Extra.
 

u2fan61

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I can't address the Canadian licensing process directly, but I would suggest not only learning the questions and answers from the question pool, but actually learning the underlying theory. A lot of it will seem pretty arcane, but it will help your overall participation in the hobby.

Many newly minted hams (of any license class) memorize what they need to know to pass a test, but end up having no real knowledge of radios and basically end up being appliance operators.

Good luck and keep at it!
Agree. The test in my mind is secondary in a sense. Memorize as much as possible and hope to answer 80 out of 100. The hands on is what I’m after. Making my little radio work for me. Ive been reading the no nonsense guide by KB6NU and it’s like being back in high school electricity class. If I’d only knew then what I want to know now.

second question - any meaning to the frequencies in your avatar?

Thanks for the input.
 

u2fan61

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The biggest thing to learn is the things you can do with the digital side of the radio. As you're discovering, there are so many different versions of digital radio that it hurts the brain - not just of newcomers, but old 'uns too! I got licensed in 1980 and digital is my biggest challenge. I use it for business too, and despite my best attempts I still cannot get a peep out of the radio I have tried to get going on our local digital repeater. The snag is that one single wrong parameter means no audio, and with digital you have to guess what is going on. So it's head scratching but eventually it will work. Lots of things you can't do till you can get your digital ID, and you need the test results for that! Analogue wise, you can listen to your hearts content, but not so easy with digits. A handheld as your only radio is a tricky one - external antennas really are necessities for anything other than local repeater work.

For the cost, I'd buy a cheap SDR dongle, and you can use it as a test device, and maybe one that can do HF, with a bit off dangly wire will give you more to listen to. Geography is everything. For me, on the UK coast at sea level, I get some marine band, but pretty well nothing locally on the ham bands. There is a repeater but few users. Radio as a hobby has zillions of strands. Some people never step outside their comfy ones. I have a great HF rig - and it's not been plugged in for 4 years! Not my thing really. Digital is er, challenging, but always something to do. Best of luck with the test.
“ A handheld as your only radio is a tricky one - external antennas really are necessities for anything other than local repeater work.” —- what do you mean by repeater work? Does that mean I’m playing in a different park than somebody with an external antenna? Why do I need the repeater and he doesn’t ?

The questions may seem infantile, but in the hobby I guess I am... :unsure:
 

ladn

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second question - any meaning to the frequencies in your avatar?
The radio dial I use as my avatar is part of a an old super regenerative* receiver (early 1900's) in a museum. There's no particular significance except I think it's an interesting item from our radio past.

* Super Regenerative are an older type of receiver. Most modern radios are superhetrodyne designs. New words for you to look up and add to your ham radio lexicon.

“ A handheld as your only radio is a tricky one - external antennas really are necessities for anything other than local repeater work.” —- what do you mean by repeater work? Does that mean I’m playing in a different park than somebody with an external antenna? Why do I need the repeater and he doesn’t ?
A "repeater" is a type of remotely operated receiver/transmitter usually found on VHF (and higher) frequencies. Repeaters receive on one frequency and instantaneously re transmit the signal on another frequency. Repeaters are usually located on high ground and greatly extend the range of handhelds and mobile units. Some repeaters can be linked to form regional, national or international networks.

Handheld antennas are rather inefficient, and the radios themselves only put out about 5 watts. Repeaters are a great equalizer in that a 5W handheld talking into a repeater has the same range as a 50W radio with external antenna. The differences will be that the 50W radio will (probably) be able to hit repeaters at a greater distance and will be able to talk simplex (radio-to-radio directly) over a greater distance.

You can use an external antenna on a handheld, but, depending on a number of variables, you could overload (overwhelm) your handheld's receiver with excessive strong signals. Inexpensive Chinese radios (Baofeng, etc.) are especially prone to this issue, while higher quality radios (Yaseu, Icom, Kenwood) have considerably better front end filtering and signal rejection. Top quality commercial radios (think Motorola, BK, Thales, Harris, Vertex, Kenwood, Icom) have superb receivers and can function extremely well in a strong signal environment--but at a very steep price.

There are several recent message threads on RR that address the receiver overloading issue with external antennas and inexpensive Chicom. radios
 
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u2fan61

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Hello @u2fan61 and Welcome to Radio Reference!


Well, I've been a ham since 1974 but there are plenty of other hams around here that are much smarter than I am. LOL! :ROFLMAO: I will say one thing for sure, you selected an excellent starter radio by getting the Yaesu FT-70DR. I have a Yaesu HT as well and really like the brand. Yaesu, as you probably know, has been supporting hams for many years now. They are a great company with great products.

As for the license process, I need to defer that portion of your post to somebody in Canada. They would be far better qualified to speak to that than I would be.

Sooooooo... Do you have any specific questions that you had in mind when you posted here that I or others might also be able to answer for you? Ham Radio or Amateur Radio is such a broad hobby, you may want to let us know what it was that drew you to the hobby in the first place.

Looking forward to seeing your response.

73 my new friend, Dave K4EET

Question Dave-

Going to try programming my radio. If a local town has four repeaters listed in both radioreference and repeatrerbook - do I need to program all four in or just one? Bigger question - if my radio picks up repeater A, and repeater A picks up repeater B, C, D and so on - will I be able to hear something coming off of repeater D? Make sense?
 

K9DWB

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I myself would program each repeater in the local area. As I understand it, repeater A is not going to transmit to B, C, or D. I am making the assumption repeater A B C D each have their own in/out frequencies. And if these each are geographically nearby, I'm pretty sure they're of differing frequency and tone settings.
 

ladn

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Question Dave-

Going to try programming my radio. If a local town has four repeaters listed in both radioreference and repeatrerbook - do I need to program all four in or just one? Bigger question - if my radio picks up repeater A, and repeater A picks up repeater B, C, D and so on - will I be able to hear something coming off of repeater D? Make sense?
If the repeaters are linked together, you only need to program one (but I'd program all four just to be safe). Sometimes links are temporarily activated for nets, but turned off for regular use.

If the repeaters are NOT linked, then you need all four.

The more you listen, you will figure out which repeaters have the right "vibe" for you.

I program my radios with a lot more repeaters than I regularly use. Some are out of the area repeaters that I'll use when I'm in that area. Others are in my local area that keep programmed "just in case". Modern radios have hundreds of channels--might as well use them. Back in the old days, a 16 channel radio was considered "high capacity".
 

jondainty

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I began as a ham radio operator in 1979, and I learned an awful lot from more experienced hams as I progressed. At one point, I had three handheld radios in my car. Not long after, I was able to get a VHF/UHF dual-band radio for that car, and life got easier. All I had to pick up was a microphone, not the entire radio (what a relief that was!).

Being good at taking tests, I didn't have trouble with the licensing process. I studied (and studied and studied) until I felt confident. Then I made use of advice from people in my local ham clubs about where and when the testing sessions were held, went there, and did pretty well.

In 41 years, I've never doubted that being a licensed ham is a good idea. It's not always cheap, but it's certainly worthwhile for the communications and camaraderie.

KA5FPD, KA0GDD, KB0UX, and now NM0O
Jon
Peoria, IL
 

u2fan61

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I began as a ham radio operator in 1979, and I learned an awful lot from more experienced hams as I progressed. At one point, I had three handheld radios in my car. Not long after, I was able to get a VHF/UHF dual-band radio for that car, and life got easier. All I had to pick up was a microphone, not the entire radio (what a relief that was!).

Being good at taking tests, I didn't have trouble with the licensing process. I studied (and studied and studied) until I felt confident. Then I made use of advice from people in my local ham clubs about where and when the testing sessions were held, went there, and did pretty well.

In 41 years, I've never doubted that being a licensed ham is a good idea. It's not always cheap, but it's certainly worthwhile for the communications and camaraderie.

KA5FPD, KA0GDD, KB0UX, and now NM0O
Jon
Peoria, IL
Thanks for the insight. I can see it could be an expensive hobby, but rare is something that can give so much free right? Everyone so far has been great. I belong to a forum for another hobby of mine and it can be downright nasty.
 

jparks29

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Get a mobile first. A lot of people get frustrated with a portable and its limitations.

Also, get a vanity callsign.
 

u2fan61

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Get a mobile first. A lot of people get frustrated with a portable and its limitations.

Also, get a vanity callsign.
Trying to get on a course here. It’s not as easy as you would think. What’s a handheld? Portable or mobile?
 

AK9R

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A handheld radio is one designed to be held in your hand. You may also hear them called "HT" which is an acronym for "Handi-Talkie" which I believe was an old Motorola term. Handheld radios include a battery pack for power and usually have an attached antenna. Literally, everything you need to communicate, radio, power source, and antenna are in one handheld package. You may also hear a handheld radio referred to as a portable radio.

A portable radio could be a handheld radio, or it could be something larger but still intended for operation on the go. The Icom IC-705 and Yaesu FT-818 are examples of portable radios, though there are many others. Portable radios usually can operate from internal batteries though they may be connected to an external power source. Portable radios need to be connected to an antenna, though some designs include a detachable antenna.

A mobile radio is one intended to be installed in a vehicle. The power source is external, usually the nominally 12 volts DC from a vehicle electrical system. Mobile radios need to be connected to an antenna, usually mounted to the roof of the vehicle. Mobile radios are also often used in a fixed location, such as your house. In that arrangement, power comes from a power supply that converts 120 volts AC to 12 volts DC and the radio is connected to an outside antenna.
 
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