Are you in SoCal?
Back in my day, we had to know CW at FIFTEEN words a minute to even look at a radio!
@Mark J Hughes You also don't need a calculator during the test session.
K6FID in Northern California
which, incidentally, is why I didn’t get general until 2005
Getting together with other hams is also useful. Passing the test is just step one. Learning operating procedures, using the equipment is also a big part of it. The tests can't cover much as the hobby has so many options.
@Mark J Hughes -- Although I will say studying for the test taught me an awful lot. Passive learning, I guess. Plus I researched terms and concepts I heard about while practicing
@Andre Lewis GQRX is a good linux software for it. Or if you're really brave, you can play with GNURadio.
Old novice CW requirement was only 5 WPM!
@hamsterdave I had to learn CW too!!!!
@Dan Maloney Oh, you should absolutely learn theory. I'm just saying don't let that be a barrier to getting licensed.
@Kevin you are absolutely correct.
Yeah I agree, almost everything on the test is better learned once you’re on the air. Pro tip: actually learn the frequency limits while studying for the test though. A lot of modern radios don’t have band limits built in and you don’t want to wander out of the bands
@kjansky1 I think Technician Plus (HF) was 5 WPM too.
@Rikke Rasmussen exactly, was just pulling up the link. You can take practice tests for all levels, and they are from the actual questions you'll see on the test. It will also walk you thru any questions you missed and the what/why of the question. I just took the Tech again and managed to pass with a 88% some of the wording gets a little tricky.
Anyone here doing moon bounce?
It's been an hour, and I could try to tap the brakes on this thing but I think it'll put me through the windshield, so to speak. We'll keep going as long as you want...
@Dan Maloney I've got some extra time.Sounds good
@Dan Maloney I'm good to keep rolling a bit too
Not long after getting General I was politely informed by a another ham that I was operating illegally by accident.
Thanks for a great HackChat. I have to hop off.
Maybe we can spend a few minutes on targeted topics -- seems right now we're talking about passing the tests -- can anyone provide additional apps / study guides we can put in the official transcripts?
I was blowing smoke RE the 15wpm thing. It was for general when I started but I only had to do 5wpm when I got mine in '05
@kjansky1 I figured we would get around to that a bit, I haven't done it myself yet and getting more interested. Just met with some folks last night that are quite adept at it. A favored technique involved using 1296 MHz. To do EME, Earth Moon Earth communications.
we needed some "old codger" vibes in here
@hamsterdave Get off my lawn!
Thanks! Yes I have looked at gnuradio, but got bogged down in defining my own filters... which is to say I didn't get very far ;)
GQRX is my go to for SDR on linux
I tried GNU radio. Best advice is to use Pentoo L:inux. I recycled an old PC for it.
@Andre Lewis GNURadio is.....well....just too much for most people. Yeah you can decode anything under the sun. But I'd rather not. Although, we might get GPT4 to write some python code for us to import into GNURadio!
I settled on GQRX. I found GNURadio too complicated unless you really want to experiment and/or do development related to radio.
Next topic we should probably cover is "What Radio Should a Newbie Get?"
For anyone interested in EME but without money to burn, check out K1JT’s article on 70cm EME on a budget. The station is a technical challenge but definitely achievable for anyone able to build antennas, and it can be done fairly cheap, especially given newer LDMOS V/UHF amps
That was a typo right, Radio(s)
Dan Maloney provided some links earlier on. But I'll toss out the Anytone AT-D878UVII -- it's around $300
@xBeau it'a getting pretty late on this side of the Atlantic, so I'm gonna bounce - thanks for hosting the chat!
It will still run you a grand or two, but that is way below the $10k+ 2m phone monster stations
The Icom ID5100A is a nice mobile rig.
Get a radio you can afford. You don't have to spend a fortune on one. There are plenty of used radios around so don't feel you have to buy new.
Radio newbie? QRZ-1 Explorer. Affordable and good to go
@Kevin Good advice!
@Mark J Hughes many options for radio.. but I learnt very soon that getting a well placed antenna makes experience much better, than the radio.
@Kaushlesh Chandel "What antenna should I use with my radio?"That should probably be our next topic
really, for an HT, the baofengs get a lot of hate but they’re fine for an intro rig. Just know that having an HT as your primary will probably result in things getting a little samey pretty quickly. You can do sats with one and an RTL-SDR though. I’ll also second the 878UV, lots of bang for the buck
I started with a Baofeng, then got a $150 Anytone .. But only after I put a J pole in attic, I started enjoying the hobby more :)
IC-7300 and a simple EFHW and I’m talking to Chile from New York, 100 watts, no prob
I'm a big fan of used gear, craigslist, swaps etc, you usually get come interesting accessories or antenna combinations that keeps it interesting.
That's an option. Get an inexpensive radio and put the money towards a better antenna. On the other hand, sometimes something as simple as a bit of wire for a dipole, or inverted L can be all you need. Available real estate can be a limiting factor.
You can buy antennas, some are great fun to build as well
And the answer is anthing you can put outdoors -- the higher the better. But just get off the rubber ducky that comes with your radio.
I've used verticals because I don't have the space for a dipole.
That is if you are going HF. Handhelds for 2m or 70cm don't need anything much more than the antenna on the radio.
@xBeau I got a 20W Anytone mobile radio, and I grabbed a Mirage Amplifier on ebay for $80.
@xBeau Tell us about Parachute Mobile!
parachutemobile.org is yet another interesting way to play radio, just add some sky diving
@xBeau used stuff is great to start with. Then one day you can buy fancy ICOM waterfall stuff :)
For beginners w a technician ticket for getting on vhf 2 meters or UHF can't beat a cheapo like the Baofeng handhelds.
Can you just send the radio up with a parachute and have someone kick it out the door?
We just did Mission 43 and did two VHF jumps and one 20 meter HF jump. So you've basically got a transmitter slowly floating down from 13,000 making as many contacts as they can
I would say if you're going to get a Baofeng -- get a programming cable and chirp (free), then download a codeplug for your area.
@xBeau I just remember the other acronym I was trying to remember. JOTA (Jamboree On The Air) is the event where Boy Scouts get introduced to amateur radio.
Well we have a meat bag strapped to the radio and parachute for FCC compliance
@xBeau are you in #redditnet?
guy in there has done parachute mobile.
For people who like hiking and/or mountain climbing there is SOTA (Summits On The Air) where people take radio equipment high up in to them thar hills and operate portably from on high.
@Kevin gotcha, at the last big West Coast event Pacificon we got some JOTA to Parachute contacts going
Another issue to talk about is "emergency power" -- how will you plan to charge your batteries / use your radio if you're hiking, during an emergency, etc.
@hamsterdave good to know, I'm not familiar with that one
How about SOTA for the outdoor hams Summits On The Air contacts.
SOTA / POTA are great, Parks On The Air have been getting active as well. And both are quite common for QRP (low power)
@hamsterdave That's a new one on me. I have not heard of that before. I do know I won't participate in the jumping side of that.
SOTA is great!
I've been hearing a lot of POTA activity at the upper end of 10m.
I was recently at the top of Mt. Diablo and made some contacts to Montana and Colorado, there was also a big event in Kentucky at the time chattering away.
But you wouldn't want to hike with that.
They sell PowerPoles at NAPA? Today I learned...
And that's at least in the realm of "I can hike with this."
Really depends on how much transmitting and at what power, since receiving doesn't usually take much juice.
Then pair that with some energy producing device (like a solar panel) and you'll be able to talk for a little longer anyway.
9amtalk.net and you can you join us from anywhere using EchoLink via the W6REK-R node.Well if anyone is ever coming thru the bay area, please pass along a hello and there's a few regular groups and HAM activities going on I can point you to. I'm also a regular on the N6NFI repeater on the hill behind Stanford next to the "Big Dish". I host a net there every other Thursday morning as part of the long running
For anyone interesting in the contesting aspect of amateur radio, the provincial (Canadian) and state (American) QSO parties are a good way to get your feet wet. They are more relaxed types of events than things like CQ WW or other major world wide 2 day event.
BTW -- you can convert a Anderson 75 Amp to an Anderson 25 Amp via 10 AWG wire and connectors.
Invest in the proper crimp tool, too -- you won't be sorry you did
Good call Dan!
Any comments about hamsats?
There are quite a few of them up there.
That's true, another thing that I think is awesome about the HAM community is that it shares a lot of the general spirit of hacking, and is intended to be open and inviting to all. While you can buy or collect all of these things, you can likely connect with some local folks that will be happy to share and introduce you to all kinds of things.
@xBeau , as we get older, and other friends fade away, Amateur Radio gives us an opportunity to make new friends, learn new things, and maybe help out our neighbors in an emergency.I agree with
The new(er?) Phase III satellites were meant to make it easier to work through satellites. Now are there are also a bunch of microsats being put in to orbit.
Sure are its too bad we don't have a Geo over NA the Europeans have the QO100 with 2GHz up and 10Ghz down we are really way behind them.
Any final questions or thoughts from the crowd?
It can be really intimidating to make your first contacts. It was only a few years ago that my hands would be shaking so much I couldn't even hold the push to talk button steady. You gotta try it though, and keep at it. It won't take to long to connect with someone. It's also great to get out in person, particularly some of the out door events like Field Day coming up. And lets get more RADIO ACTIVE for Supercon 2023