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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am into hobby electronics.... building circuits and gizmos mostly because I like to learn new things all the time.

I wanted to get into HAM, but one thing stops me, and I am hoping someone will help me out with this here.

I would think that HAM operators just listen to the radio LOL. Obviously folks dont just build these things, get licensed to listen to Radio Free Europe. If you have a HAM ..... what do you do with it?

What entertainment value does it have or what other things keeps you interested?
 

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I have been a ham for over 20yrs. I am a licensed amateur extra class.

Ham radio is now usually designed to help in emergencies. Most of what we train for is emergency communications. During Katrina for example, amateur radio was the only form of communications available. With no electricity land lines and cell phones were useless. DHA is now requiring many of their people to become licensed hams. Not that will do many of them any good because you need to know how to operate your equipment. It does no good to have a CDL if you can't drive the big rigs. As practice hams provide communications for many a marathon, bike race and other events. This is so hams can get used to working with a net control which is what you do during a disaster. As for me and my best friend, he lives a little over a mile away from me, we just talk on a 440 simplex frequency. And we discuss nearly everything under the sun.

Also understand that not all hams are interested in emergency communications but the majority are. And we have a chance to talk to people all over the country and other parts of the world. This is not a cheap hobby though. The gear I have I have accumulated over a period of years, much of it bought used.

If I can help you in any way let me know. There are also other hams here too and they are willing to help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I had not thought that people use it for events and such. I woild also think you can get news from the source or area affected now that I think about it.

As for the expense, I saw prices and Wow that was an eye opener. I saw a kit to build hour own which is.something I would be interested in, but at the same.time not sure if that is something I would want to build myself. I have to remind myself I am not trying to enter a science fair project lol
 

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There used to be a company called Heathkit. They provided kits for radios. They were real popular during that time and not only are the radios still around, in many cases they are fetching top dollar. My buddy has several of them. Check out what people who have bought them are saying and see if it's worth it. If the reviews are good and you have the talent to do it, I say go for it.
 

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I have been a ham since 1987 and I'm not very active in the warm months but I get laid off every fall from paving roads. Some of us local hams started a club with about bb 20 members and we recently put a 220 MHz repeater on the air. Now we can talk with each other using a small handheld transceiver (walky talky)anywhere in the county and surrounding counties. Inceptor is right some radios can be a bit pricey but I just bought 2 new Baofeng ht's for 40 bucks with free shipping off ebay. There was a contest over the weekend called November Sweepstakes. We managed to make contact with 82 of the 83 sections of the US and Canada. I hate the cold weather so ham radio is something to pass the cold snowy days of winter. I would go on but it has taken awhile to write this. Like my keyboard is not responding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sounds.more interesting than I had originally thought, thanks hayden!

As for those kits, when I am allowed to use the damn computer im gonna look those up hopefully someone is selling the kit somewhere maybe even ebay.
 

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Here is a few suggestions:

If you are looking for a budget walkie talkie HAM, this is a good entry one. It is CHEEP in comparison and you are getting what yo pay for, but at least you can dicker with it and learn.
Product_BAOFENG official website_baofengradio.com

When you want to step up, here is a unit that makes a small base unit or a mobile car unit.
Welcome to Yaesu.com
 

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One of the great things about amateur (ham) radio is that it covers a vast amount of the radio frequency spectrum, offering various operating ranges.
The "HF" bands, covering roughly 1 - 30 MHz offer medium to long range communications which can be effective even with relatively low power and a modest antenna. I have worked 175 countries with between 50 and 100 watts from my truck on 75m, 40m, 20m and 15m using an Icom 706 radio and a tunable "screwdriver" antenna. (about $1200 worth of equipment). At home I have some vintage tube radios from the 40's thru the 60's that work very well and are fun to use... I also have some state of the art all-band, all-mode gear which can run on 12volts and covers all the bases. Used stuff can be had for a few hundred bucks and antennas can be made from simple wire. Handheld radios (VHF/UHF) start at $30 for the basic baofengs to a couple thousand dollars for commercial vertex P25 digital units. Most of the sub-$100 handhelds work just fine for general purpose use and offer direct communications up to a few miles, or using public repeaters, up to hundreds of miles. Add echolink or similar voice-over-IP connections and VHF/UHF repeaters can be linked to provide communications with similarly equipped repeaters anywhere in the world.

As for what we do with all this, well let's see...

- General communications... talk so someone local during your communte to work or to someone on the other side of the world to exchange ideas or just chat.

- Emergency Comms... Hams routinely provide emergency communications all over the world whe commercial infrastructure fails... no power? no phones? no Internet? no cell service? Ham radio still works.

- Contesting... compete with other hams to see who can make the most contacts in the most locations... There are many type of contests and they're going on all the time.

- Personal comms... you know.. communicating with friends a family in places/situations where other methods don't work.

etc..etc..etc..
 

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If you find an unbuilt Heathkit on ebay it will sell for very high dollars! But hey, every once in a while you run up on a bargain.

Edit: to answer your question, I'm not licensed and use my gear to listen other hams and get a feel for what they talk about and it is "everything"! I also listen to overseas broadcasts where you will hear news and commentary that you will never hear on the FM band and most of the AM band. A lot like reading alternative news sources on the web.
I have a Hallicrafters CRX3 (aircraft band) that I found an amateur repeater on and so can listen to them as well the local airfield towers.
No license needed to listen, only to transmit. My "listening post" below.

 

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I have the book and am doing a terrible job of studying for my entry level license. Gear cost is gonna be a factor but I have numerous clubs with repeaters all around me.

And I can pester Inceptor for info, HA!
 

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Field Day is always fun. I have also worked with EMS during floods.
Plus I commuted 78 miles one way to work and would talk to my husband on lunch and breaks on a 5 watt hand held Yaesu. It makes it nice to be able to talk that far and not depend on a cell phone.

One of the great things about amateur (ham) radio is that it covers a vast amount of the radio frequency spectrum, offering various operating ranges.
The "HF" bands, covering roughly 1 - 30 MHz offer medium to long range communications which can be effective even with relatively low power and a modest antenna. I have worked 175 countries with between 50 and 100 watts from my truck on 75m, 40m, 20m and 15m using an Icom 706 radio and a tunable "screwdriver" antenna. (about $1200 worth of equipment). At home I have some vintage tube radios from the 40's thru the 60's that work very well and are fun to use... I also have some state of the art all-band, all-mode gear which can run on 12volts and covers all the bases. Used stuff can be had for a few hundred bucks and antennas can be made from simple wire. Handheld radios (VHF/UHF) start at $30 for the basic baofengs to a couple thousand dollars for commercial vertex P25 digital units. Most of the sub-$100 handhelds work just fine for general purpose use and offer direct communications up to a few miles, or using public repeaters, up to hundreds of miles. Add echolink or similar voice-over-IP connections and VHF/UHF repeaters can be linked to provide communications with similarly equipped repeaters anywhere in the world.

As for what we do with all this, well let's see...

- General communications... talk so someone local during your communte to work or to someone on the other side of the world to exchange ideas or just chat.

- Emergency Comms... Hams routinely provide emergency communications all over the world whe commercial infrastructure fails... no power? no phones? no Internet? no cell service? Ham radio still works.

- Contesting... compete with other hams to see who can make the most contacts in the most locations... There are many type of contests and they're going on all the time.

- Personal comms... you know.. communicating with friends a family in places/situations where other methods don't work.

etc..etc..etc..
 

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I never said "no intentions", just haven't gotten around to the license yet. One day...
 

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Ham can be used for ore than Dxing (long distance communications) or local communications. There are a wide variety of modes. I have my advanced certification which means I can pump up a wireless router to 1000 watts, you can transfer images, faxes via wireless like faxing via telephone lines only through the air, data modes, weather forcasting with radar, tracking aircraft, radioastronomy, satalite communications, model aircraft or other remote control drones, and a wide variety of other things - check your local laws.

Just bear in mind a 1000 watt wireless router is very very powerful. Bear in mind an advanced cert up here also lets you build equipment and set up towers. Radio towers normally need to be signed off by a professional engineer.. with the advanced certification you can do what required P.Eng qualification in the civil realm.


The downside to ham is that all communications must be non secret. Then again the government apparently listens to everything aside from world leaders these days anyway.
 

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I have been a ham for over 20yrs. I am a licensed amateur extra class.

Ham radio is now usually designed to help in emergencies. Most of what we train for is emergency communications. During Katrina for example, amateur radio was the only form of communications available. With no electricity land lines and cell phones were useless. DHA is now requiring many of their people to become licensed hams. Not that will do many of them any good because you need to know how to operate your equipment. It does no good to have a CDL if you can't drive the big rigs. As practice hams provide communications for many a marathon, bike race and other events. This is so hams can get used to working with a net control which is what you do during a disaster. As for me and my best friend, he lives a little over a mile away from me, we just talk on a 440 simplex frequency. And we discuss nearly everything under the sun.

Also understand that not all hams are interested in emergency communications but the majority are. And we have a chance to talk to people all over the country and other parts of the world. This is not a cheap hobby though. The gear I have I have accumulated over a period of years, much of it bought used.

If I can help you in any way let me know. There are also other hams here too and they are willing to help.
I would love to pick your brain as I know nothing about these systems. I hadn't thought about it till now but I should incorporate ham radios into the off grid motor home project!
 
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