Whats Amateur Radio useful for?/ DIY Radio

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dmtuska

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Sep 13, 2014
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Hello ive always been interested in Amateur Radio but, I was just wondering what all do people use ham radios for? I understand talking to people across the world but, what about data transfer?

On a second note i am planning on getting my lisence and as of now i have a Baofeng UV-5R but was wondering if i could build my own radio. I understand electronics pretty well and have tried to look around but havent really found any plans/kits for a radio.

Thank you in advance for any and all info.
 

WB4CS

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Welcome to the hobby, good luck on getting your license!

There are many parts of the hobby, and something for everyone. You'd have to elaborate more on what you mean by "data transfer", but there are various data modes that can be used for communication. There's local and worldwide communications, and that can be anywhere between very casual conversations to more competitive contesting. There's experiencing the challenges of low power (QRP) contacts, satellite contacts, Morse Code (CW), or just sitting back and having a conversation or small talk. It's all about what you like and what you try.

There are kits out there to build, and if you're really tech savvy you can even build your own radios from scratch. I don't have any info on that, but I'm sure you can find plenty of info about it online.

The UV-5R will get you started on the local repeaters for local contacts. If you're really interested in trying digital modes and talking to people beyond your local area, you'll for sure what to upgrade to General and/or Extra Class and get an HF radio. The HF bands open up a lot more possibilities and is where the real magic happens (in my opinion.)

Good luck!
 

joeuser

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North Central Kansas
Depends on your location, some clubs are more active than others.



My area seems intimidating to me, newcomers. They have a strong disdain for cheap radios also. Might want to see what clubs handle the networks in your area & check their digital/social media footprints before proceeding...



Good luck!
 

N8OHU

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Data transfer over ham radio is possible, and legal as long as you remember to avoid conducting any kind of business using ham radio frequencies. Encryption is also forbidden. Defining what "data" is can be tricky, though I tend to see it as anything that requires additional hardware or software to decode, which pretty much means that anything that isn't CW or a human voice can be classified as data.

As far as building your own equipment, you can do it, but it's far less common than it used to be; the main reason is that so much of the modern hardware is filled with surface mount components that most people don't want to bother with soldering and kits that are a matter of "plug board A into connector B" are often out of the price range of new hams (and some long time ones too). However, I'm sure that with the push toward Software Defined Radio, there will be kits that can be built and modified as desired by the builder.
 

dmtuska

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Well i for data transfer i was wondering if transmit something like gps data. Ive started working with Unmanned Areial Vehicles and was just wondering if i could use Amatuer Radio frequencies for status updates because it would allow me a longer range then other methods.

Im trying to decide what license to test for. Id use the license for the purpose ive stated just above and talking.
 

n5ims

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If you're interested in data transfer, look into the ham broadband mesh network (Broadband-Hamnet). Pretty inexpensive to get into (you can use an old Linksys WRT54GS wireless router), but requires you to be a licensed ham operator and have others in your area that also have mesh nodes.
 

N5TWB

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Sand Springs OK
Well i for data transfer i was wondering if transmit something like gps data. Ive started working with Unmanned Areial Vehicles and was just wondering if i could use Amatuer Radio frequencies for status updates because it would allow me a longer range then other methods.

Im trying to decide what license to test for. Id use the license for the purpose ive stated just above and talking.
GPS over amateur radio is the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) so start your search on the web and start to find out what resources are available in your area to support your interest/learning. It's been used by amateurs involved with rocketry and high-altitude balloons so your UAV interest is right in line with those uses.

There is no decision to be made on the license. You must test in the order of Technician - General - Extra. The first license, Technician, is quite enough to support the initial interests you have mentioned here. As you experience other modes or become interested, then you'll decide when it's time to upgrade. Of course, some with a strong desire to learn and hold the highest license have been known to pass all three tests in one sitting and get the Extra license as their first license.
 

KQ4BX

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I enjoy CW, and QRP, both are interesting to me, and a challenge. Some use their ham Radio like a CB radio, and never get into HF, but if that floats their boat, that's fine. The thing about Amateur radio is that it can be as challenging and rewarding as you make it. There are Amateurs involved in satellite communication. they like to bounce signals off of planets. look up AMSAT in Google. Asking someone what is exiting about Amateur radio may not get the same answer you would give once you got into it. I didn't start off liking CW, but I had to learn it to get my upgrade, but once I tried it, I thought it was great, and I learned a new skill. There is packet radio, Digital radio, Amateur TV, and the list goes on. many Amateurs are involved in developing the newest technology in the radio frontier, where all the rest just sit back and talk on the repeaters. That takes us from one extreme to the other. Try it, and see what you like about it.
 
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