Working on license. Question

cnmsales

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Evening gentlemen,

Just have some questions around the Ham band. My wife and I are both getting ready to work on getting our tech license.

We have a couple cheesy radios on the way to learn with.

I understand the concept that frequencies between a range are available for public use. But how does one know what freq is for what?

Or does it work like service channels and will vary greatly depending on the address you live in?

When reading of "programming" a radio is it the same concept as a police scanner in that you are seeing specific freqs to monitor?

I'm sure this over will be covered in training but are there specific freq that are used nationally for specific things such as an emergency etc.

Thanks in advance. Be gentle, just getting my feet wet.
 

jhooten

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This may answer your question or it may confuse even more. American Radio Relay League suggested band plans:
 

cnmsales

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Thanks for the reply. This is the radio I picked up for me and my wife. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Z52HP10/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_iVQ8EbAY66P0B

Just going over some of the training material and none of it discusses the how to communicate between two parties. It's all very technical info which is fine. I understand the need to know that.

But for example. If my wife and I are tuned to the same freq on both radios shouldn't we be able to communicate back and forth?
 

N7DAN

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Cnmsales,
Welcome to the great Ham radio hobby. Jhooten is spot on, ARRL is full of good information.....
Field days are this weekend.
Use the field day locator to find Local hams in your area. You will be able to observe and also talk on there Club license.
it is just one of the reasons I’ve got into the great radio hobby.....
Enjoy, it will all come together......
 

cnmsales

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Cnmsales,
Welcome to the great Ham radio hobby. Jhooten is spot on, ARRL is full of good information.....
Field days are this weekend.
Use the field day locator to find Local hams in your area. You will be able to observe and also talk on there Club license.
it is just one of the reasons I’ve got into the great radio hobby.....
Enjoy, it will all come together......
Thanks for the info unfortunately we are headed on a 12 he trip to MS so that's not possible.

Can someone look me to a very basic explanation of how to use a system? It may sound dumb but knowing that will help my brain understand everything much more easily.
 

jaspence

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The radio in your link is a dual band VHF-UHF. The VHF frequencies run from 144 to 148 MHz.and the UHF from 420 to 450. Some frequencies are designated for repeater, some for sideband and other modes. You cannot just pick one and use it without the possibility of interfering with something already in use. Simplex frequencies (146.52 VHF or 446.025 UHF for example) are used for direct communication but have limited range with a hand held radio. A repeater pair allows extended range by use of a repeater for extended range. Find a ham club and get some help from the combined experience of the members to get started in the right direction.
 

n5ims

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You're on the right track with your comment about if you're both on the same frequency you should be able to communicate, but there's way more to it. You're also on the right track with your comment about programming a scanner being similar to programming your dual band radios, but also there's way more to it. Check the band plan at the link above, but you can ignore most of that information for now. Just look over two sections, the "2 Meters (144-148 MHz)" and the "70 Centimeters (420-450 MHz)" sections. The rest will have nothing to do with the radios you have selected. Skip the parts that don't say "Simplex", "Repeater Inputs", or "Repeater Outputs". Also skip the part that mentions "packet" since you won't be using that at this point.

One important point is to listen (for quite a while!!!) before you talk. That will teach you how the local users act on the bands and how you should probably act also. Be aware, however, that there are some areas that regularly have bad actors (think profanity and topics that may not be appropriate for a wide audience) and don't copy that bad behavior.

Simplex frequencies are where your receive and transmit frequencies are the same. This is the most basic operation but will have really short range. You'll also need to make sure that nobody is currently using that frequency for their conversation. Be aware that you may not hear both sides of that conversation so listen for several minutes to make sure you don't interfere with them.

Repeaters you will be transmitting on one frequency and receiving on another and going through a third device that will translate where you transmit to the associated receive frequency (sounds complex, but basically it will increase your range by a whole lot so it's worth it). Also note that use of a repeater is at the pleasure of the repeater owner, but in most cases so long as you follow their rules they encourage folks to use them. Repeaters are often (but not always) owned by a radio club and most will have a web site that will list their repeaters, the correct settings for those repeaters, and what, if any, restrictions exist for their use. In most cases, the restrictions are not going to be a problem and simply be things like "This repeater is the xxxxx County SkyWarn primary repeater" or be a list of scheduled nets and you will likely be allowed to use the repeater for normal "ham" conversations when that repeater isn't being used for SkyWarn or a scheduled net. If you have questions about their use, attend one of the club's meetings or use their contact page to ask your questions. Also be aware that setting up and running a repeater can be rather expensive so if you often use a repeater, you probably should join the club to help support it financially through your dues (generally not a large amount).

This is a very basic starting point, but should get you started. There are many more topics, such as "tones" and frequencies (such as those used for linking repeaters or specialty modes but if you skipped what lines I indicated in the first paragraph, you should be good here) that typically should be avoided (these are often specific to the area, repeater, etc.) and beyond a "getting started" post. A local ham club should be a good resource to help with the specifics in your area, and may even have folks that will be happy to help program your radios for you and teach you how to use them. Good luck and enjoy the hobby!
 

cnmsales

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The radio in your link is a dual band VHF-UHF. The VHF frequencies run from 144 to 148 MHz.and the UHF from 420 to 450. Some frequencies are designated for repeater, some for sideband and other modes. You cannot just pick one and use it without the possibility of interfering with something already in use. Simplex frequencies (146.52 VHF or 446.025 UHF for example) are used for direct communication but have limited range with a hand held radio. A repeater pair allows extended range by use of a repeater for extended range. Find a ham club and get some help from the combined experience of the members to get started in the right direction.
Yeah that's kind of what I understood. Have anything that breaks what's what in those bands in an easy to understand way? Thanks for all your help guys. Been putting this off for a LONG time and ready to get it done.
 

jaspence

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Since you don't have licenses yet, a pair of MURS radios is your quickest, cheapest license free solution. We use them in our family last summer for our vacation and they had a usable range and cost about $22.00 each. Motorola DTR radios are also popular, but the cost for two new ones would run into hundreds of dollars.
 

cnmsales

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You're on the right track with your comment about if you're both on the same frequency you should be able to communicate, but there's way more to it. You're also on the right track with your comment about programming a scanner being similar to programming your dual band radios, but also there's way more to it. Check the band plan at the link above, but you can ignore most of that information for now. Just look over two sections, the "2 Meters (144-148 MHz)" and the "70 Centimeters (420-450 MHz)" sections. The rest will have nothing to do with the radios you have selected. Skip the parts that don't say "Simplex", "Repeater Inputs", or "Repeater Outputs". Also skip the part that mentions "packet" since you won't be using that at this point.

One important point is to listen (for quite a while!!!) before you talk. That will teach you how the local users act on the bands and how you should probably act also. Be aware, however, that there are some areas that regularly have bad actors (think profanity and topics that may not be appropriate for a wide audience) and don't copy that bad behavior.

Simplex frequencies are where your receive and transmit frequencies are the same. This is the most basic operation but will have really short range. You'll also need to make sure that nobody is currently using that frequency for their conversation. Be aware that you may not hear both sides of that conversation so listen for several minutes to make sure you don't interfere with them.

Repeaters you will be transmitting on one frequency and receiving on another and going through a third device that will translate where you transmit to the associated receive frequency (sounds complex, but basically it will increase your range by a whole lot so it's worth it). Also note that use of a repeater is at the pleasure of the repeater owner, but in most cases so long as you follow their rules they encourage folks to use them. Repeaters are often (but not always) owned by a radio club and most will have a web site that will list their repeaters, the correct settings for those repeaters, and what, if any, restrictions exist for their use. In most cases, the restrictions are not going to be a problem and simply be things like "This repeater is the xxxxx County SkyWarn primary repeater" or be a list of scheduled nets and you will likely be allowed to use the repeater for normal "ham" conversations when that repeater isn't being used for SkyWarn or a scheduled net. If you have questions about their use, attend one of the club's meetings or use their contact page to ask your questions. Also be aware that setting up and running a repeater can be rather expensive so if you often use a repeater, you probably should join the club to help support it financially through your dues (generally not a large amount).

This is a very basic starting point, but should get you started. There are many more topics, such as "tones" and frequencies (such as those used for linking repeaters or specialty modes but if you skipped what lines I indicated in the first paragraph, you should be good here) that typically should be avoided (these are often specific to the area, repeater, etc.) and beyond a "getting started" post. A local ham club should be a good resource to help with the specifics in your area, and may even have folks that will be happy to help program your radios for you and teach you how to use them. Good luck and enjoy the hobby!
This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks dude!
 

n5ims

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Thanks for the info unfortunately we are headed on a 12 he trip to MS so that's not possible.

Can someone look me to a very basic explanation of how to use a system? It may sound dumb but knowing that will help my brain understand everything much more easily.
That information is quite helpful. Just to be clear, ham radio does require a valid FCC license for everyone that uses the allocated frequencies. Since you indicated you both intend to get your Tech license, you're on the right track to keep legal, but others may have missed that part when searching for an answer to a similar question so I wanted to make it clear to them as well.

Program both radios for 146.52, 146.54, 146.56, on VHF and 446.00 on UHF for your road trip. These are all simplex frequencies (the same frequency for transmit and receive) and should give you some alternate channels if your first choice is in use. Be aware that car-to-car range will be very limited so stay close! Also have a plan to move to a specific channel if you get out of sync or can't communicate. Keep your cell phones handy for the times that you get too far apart for your radios. Follow the FCC rules and ID your stations per the rules. If you run into a channel that's in use, politely indicate that you need to contact your partner to move to a free channel and most hams will be happy to allow you to briefly interrupt their conversation.
 

cnmsales

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That information is quite helpful. Just to be clear, ham radio does require a valid FCC license for everyone that uses the allocated frequencies. Since you indicated you both intend to get your Tech license, you're on the right track to keep legal, but others may have missed that part when searching for an answer to a similar question so I wanted to make it clear to them as well.

Program both radios for 146.52, 146.54, 146.56, on VHF and 446.00 on UHF for your road trip. These are all simplex frequencies (the same frequency for transmit and receive) and should give you some alternate channels if your first choice is in use. Be aware that car-to-car range will be very limited so stay close! Also have a plan to move to a specific channel if you get out of sync or can't communicate. Keep your cell phones handy for the times that you get too far apart for your radios. Follow the FCC rules and ID your stations per the rules. If you run into a channel that's in use, politely indicate that you need to contact your partner to move to a free channel and most hams will be happy to allow you to briefly interrupt their conversation.
Oh sorry. I didn't mean to imply we planned on using them for our trip. You just mentioned the field day this weekend. I was explaining why I couldn't do that. Yeah I had no intention of using them until we are licensed. The main reason for them is from a preparedness standpoint.
 

K4EET

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<snip> Program both radios for 146.52, 146.54, 146.56, on VHF and 446.00 on UHF for your road trip. <snip>
Actually, those VHF simplex frequencies should be 146.52 MHz as the national simplex calling frequency. Then 146.55 MHz and 146.58 MHz are the secondary simplex frequencies.

73, Dave K4EET
 

mmckenna

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Actually, those VHF simplex frequencies should be 146.52 MHz as the national simplex calling frequency. Then 146.55 MHz and 146.58 MHz are the secondary simplex frequencies.

73, Dave K4EET
Depends on the local bandplans. Here in Northern California the recommended spacing is 15KHz apart, and that used to be published in the front of the ARRL repeater guide. I haven't bought a new repeater guide in years, so not sure if it's still there. Although it's a 'gentleman's agreement', some follow it and some don't. I know that other states had different settings, some 20KHz, some 30KHz
Amateur radio isn't channelized, so there is some leeway as to what you use. General idea is to not interfere with anyone else.
 

AK9R

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Depends on the local bandplans...General idea is to not interfere with anyone else.
The amateur radio frequency coordinators for the region in question usually publish their band plans. They will generally list what frequencies they use for repeater coordination and what frequencies are recommended for simplex.

I remember the map in the ARRL Repeater Directory that showed the "channel spacing" for various parts of the country. But, like you, I haven't purchased an RD in years.
 

K4EET

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I found the attached document on the ARRL website at:


On page 5 of 6 in the table titled "Common VHF/UHF FM Simplex Frequencies" it does show for the VHF band the following simplex frequencies in MHz:

146.52
146.535
146.55
146.565
146.58
146.595
147.42
147.435
147.45
147.465
147.48
147.495
147.51
147.525
147.54
147.555
147.57
147.585

But I do understand what you two (mmckenna and W9BU) are saying. Even the ARRL does state that the table is "Common ... Simplex Frequencies" rather than being the gospel. LOL!

73, Dave K4EET
 

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W4WMH

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I moved from TN to Texas. East of the Mississippi River, and North of the Red, 2 Meter is channelized on 15 or 30 khz spread. Meaning 146.52, 146.535, 146.55, etc. 440 is 25 khz spread for FM, and 12.5 khz for NBFM.
In TX, 440 is the same, but 2 meters is 20 khz spread. The Texas VHF FM society has a voluntary bandplan for suggested frequencies. I didn't know this when I moved here, so my radios were on all the wrong frequencies for six months or so. Once I got them on 20 khz, there was simplex everywhere.

Best advice, find your local ham club, and see what the norm is for your area.
 

mmckenna

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"Common ... Simplex Frequencies" rather than being the gospel. LOL!
Yeah, 'common' means a lot of different things to different people. Or, "The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."

Unfortunately there are some hams that don't understand and will tell you that your radio is "way off frequency" if they hear you on "their" simplex channel. I find it easy to ignore hams like that.
 

mmckenna

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And thus the Great Ham in the Sky invested us with the knowledge CTCSS/DCS.
So it is written, so it shall be done.

Yeah, I run CTCSS on the base VHF radio in the kitchen. That way I don't have to listen to anyone else.
 
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