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  #1  
Old 06-24-2017, 10:41 PM
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Electronic M Electronic M is offline
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Passed my Technician exam last week

And I've been given the call sign KD9IVO.

I'm kinda surprised/proud I passed given I really did not study. I am an electrical engineer, and have been listening to Hams below 30MHz for a while, but much of the procedural questions I did based on commonsense rather than knowledge. I sorta took the test on a whim at Antique radio swapmeet/hamfest in my old home county in Ill.

I'd love to read up on procedure and get things straight before I start buying/installing/building TX hardware....Though I do have an old Heath DX-60, and IIRC a tranciever intended for automotive installation, though god only knows if either presently work.
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Old 06-25-2017, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electronic M View Post
And I've been given the call sign KD9IVO.

I'm kinda surprised/proud I passed given I really did not study. I am an electrical engineer, and have been listening to Hams below 30MHz for a while, but much of the procedural questions I did based on commonsense rather than knowledge. I sorta took the test on a whim at Antique radio swapmeet/hamfest in my old home county in Ill.

I'd love to read up on procedure and get things straight before I start buying/installing/building TX hardware....Though I do have an old Heath DX-60, and IIRC a tranciever intended for automotive installation, though god only knows if either presently work.
Congratulations, Tom, and welcome to the hobby. You have a Technician license which, these days, conveys privileges on all VHF bands and CW on most if not all HF Novice band segments (80, 40, 15 and 10 meters). You also have voice privileges on ten meters, though I'm not sure at the moment what the Novice/Tech voice segment is. When I got my Technician ticket in 1975 (I have had a General class license since 1985), there were no voice privileges for that license class on "10", but a few years later the FCC granted Tech licensees voice privileges from 28.3 to 28.5 MHz (IIRC).

Your DX-60 should work well on today's Novice/Tech amateur bands. However, I would suggest you load the transmitter into a dummy load first, such as a 60-watt light bulb, before trying it on a real antenna. Of course, before turning on the rig, I would also suggest going through the circuits in the transmitter and replacing, at a minimum, the power supply filter caps, just as you would before firing up an antique or vintage radio or TV.

Your mobile transceiver sounds like a 2-meter rig. Your Tech license allows 2-meter operation, so you can hook up a microphone and antenna to the rig and try it out immediately. I don't want to make this post too long, so you can look up information on 2m and HF operating procedures, antennas, etc. online. The ARRL has an excellent website at http://www.arrl.org, which has just about all the info you could want about getting into amateur radio, and even a few hints as to the things you should know before going on the air for the first time.

Again, congrats and good luck. You have entered a grand hobby, one which will give you many years of enjoyment--especially after you make your first DX (long distance) radio contact via CW (Morse code) or voice. I've been in the hobby myself almost 45 years (will be exactly 45 years on the last day of June), and would not dream of letting my license expire or of leaving the hobby for good--I like it too much. I am a member of a local radio club and use their 2m repeater from time to time, although it's been months (!) since I've checked in to their weekly roundtable net; for HF I am presently using Echolink (an amateur radio linking application developed by a New England amateur; more info on this app is available at www.echolink.org) on my computer.

73 (best of regards),
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Last edited by Jeffhs; 06-25-2017 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 06-25-2017, 12:57 AM
Titan1a Titan1a is offline
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Wish I were you! I need to break down, study and pass.
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Old 06-25-2017, 09:59 AM
WISCOJIM WISCOJIM is offline
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Congrats, Tom.

.
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Old 06-25-2017, 11:26 AM
madlabs madlabs is offline
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Congrats and welcome!

Lets us know if we can help ya get set up in any way. Have you found a local group of hams for some hands on Elmering? Nothing better than that for getting up to speed quick.

Get on the air and start learning the General ticket material. Then maybe we can chat on the air!
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Old 06-25-2017, 04:48 PM
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Congratulations! There's plenty of options for you. The first thing I would recommend doing is to get a dual band FM rig (2 meters and 440). This will get you on the local repeaters where you should find some activity. Throw out your call sign when you're driving to and from work, and you'll probably find somebody wanting to talk. Google search for your local amateur radio club, and start checking in on their nets.

Most HF rigs today include 6 meters, and with that you will not only be able to communicate locally, but DX when the bands open. This is a great time of the year for 6 meter DX (I've worked Canada, Iowa, Wisconsin, and several New England states just this weekend). Tech licensees also get voice use on the 10 meter band (28.300 to 28.500 MHz).

If I can ever help you in any way, please just let me know. Ham radio is a great hobby, and there's so many options available there's bound to be something that pushes your buttons.
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Old 06-25-2017, 05:39 PM
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  #8  
Old 06-26-2017, 10:41 AM
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Thanks everyone.

I managed to find the mobile rig. It is a 2 Meter only Midland 13-510. ISTR the ham that gave it to me told me the power regulators or supply was dead. This was ~1 decade ago, and I think the conversation went 'here take this, and start studying for the ham exam, by the time you pass you should be able to fix it'. If I get a chance (next week or two will be very busy for me), I'll try powering it up and see if there is life.

I'm probably never going to use CW mode as I don't know or honestly care to learn morse code.

Besides voice, packet radio and some of the other data formats, as well as some of the TV modes interest me.
I have some VHDL programmer boards and programming experience (getting rusty though) so it could be fun to try and build my own gear for the data modes.

The DX-60 probably is not going to be on the air (unless I can mod it for 6m). From what I saw on the ARRL's map of the ham bands it seems that the Technician segment of 10m is SSB only and the DX-60 is a AM/CW rig....It might be possible to use it as a TX amp for a weaker SSB 10m rig, but I'd probably be better off just modding an OLD motorola police/fire base station* I have that uses the same output tube type.

*That thing IIRC is FM mode just above the broadcast band, and probably not built to work on any current legal mode so it would be a great candidate for invasive modification/redesign/cannibalization.

I still need to look into local clubs. I know some exist. A few months ago I was chatting with a local ham at a thrift store, and he was telling me about IIRC a regular friday or saturday night chat about how to get started in ham radio that occurs in a frequency range that IIRC corresponds to the 2m band. If the Midland is a hard fix I think I have an RX (old regency scanner) that can tune that to listen in.
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Old 06-26-2017, 11:24 AM
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Congratulations and welcome to the hobby.

For a quick start, you might consider a inexpensive Baofeng hand held 2 meter/440 transceiver (as cheap as $25 on Amazon). A bit tricky to manually program, but for about 1/10 the price of a name brand unit, it makes for a decent starter/spare rig. Should be good enough to hit local repeaters.

Repeater list : https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeate...hp?state_id=55

jr
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Old 06-26-2017, 12:18 PM
madlabs madlabs is offline
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Agree about the Baofeng. Works very well for the price. And if you drop it into the toilet you won't cry. Don't get sucked into the fancier models, get a UV5R. Also order a SMA to SO239 adapter for it at the same time so you can hook it up to an antenna, say a mag mount on your car or J-Pole at the QTH. Buy the programming cable too, it is indeed a PITA to program. If all you need is a few local repeaters it's OK but if you are one of those must have every repeater in the state guys you need it for sure.

And then you can start looking for a real radio. While the Baofeng is a good starter rig the front end is loose and in rf noisy environments you can have to crank the squelch. And the squelch is only accessible through the menu, which sucks. Any radio I was going to pay real money for needs to have a squelch knob.

Where do you live? Urban, suburban or rural? Do you have room for antennas?
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Old 06-26-2017, 02:31 PM
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Electronic M Electronic M is offline
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I probably will pick one of those up for a starter set. Thanks.

I guess you could call it rural suburban*...The land is full of big rolling hills out here. I'm about 1 block up (on top of) hill from a lake. There are farms and neighborhoods around me.
*Out here you can go from skyscrapers to cow pasture/farm land in 10-20 miles.

I sort of have room for antennas....I live with my parents so I have to negotiate where and how to put anything outdoors long term. Last house I had an ~80' long-wire that would have been re-installed ~2-3 years ago save for a tree that broke at the base and is still alive somehow and leaning against/blocking the best tree to tie the other end to... The attic is fair game and accessible though (roof is asphalt shingles). If I want I can run cable from the basement clean up into the attic (and have for cable TV before), or from one of my rooms on the second floor.
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Old 06-26-2017, 03:05 PM
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I have a Baofeng UV-5R transceiver that works rather well (at least on simplex [direct, not using a repeater]); however, as others have mentioned, programming the thing isn't easy. (I performed a hard reset on mine which reset the language to Chinese (!), among other things; still haven't gotten to the setting that will change the language to English.) I downloaded the user manual as a .pdf file, so that should be a big help in resetting everything to my own preferences.

I would suggest getting the SMA-to-BNC or SMA-to-PL259 antenna adapter so you will be able to use most rubber duck HT antennas having BNC connectors (or an external mobile or base antenna) with the Baofeng (I have several rubber ducks here). I am amazed this HT uses an SMA antenna input/output connector, which of course is non-standard with most such radios (all HTs made by Yaesu, Kenwood and Icom have BNC female antenna connectors), but I guess since the Baofeng HTs are made in China, they are either breaking with tradition or...who knows?

BTW, don't try to use the stock rubber duck to hit your area's local repeaters unless you are very close (read within a mile or less) to one or more of them. The SWR these antennas present to the output of most HTs is quite high, which means much if not most of the transmitter's output power is being wasted as heat; very little power is radiated from the antenna under these conditions. I personally have had good results with telescoping 5/8-wavelength antennas, such as the one I use with my Icom IC-T22A 1.5-watt HT. I can hit the local 2m repeater (147.81-21, 110.9 Hz CTCSS or PL tone), which is about a mile and a half to two miles away, just fine using this antenna and the Icom HT on high power. I am expecting I will be able to hit the same repeater just as well with the Baofeng UV-5R once I get the antenna adapter, which will allow me to use any of my rubber duck antennas with that HT. The UV-5R puts out five watts when set to the high TXP (transmit power) setting; this should be more than enough power to hit the local repeater, located in the next town south of me.

I will post my test results when the adapter arrives here, and I've had a day or two to experiment with it. I am a member of a local ham club which holds a weekly roundtable on the local repeater (147.81/21 with 110.9 CTCSS/PL), so I may try to check in there with the UV-5R and my best rubber duck, which is a Larsen "Kulduckie" I purchased from Amateur Electronic Supply in Milwaukee several years ago.
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Last edited by Jeffhs; 06-26-2017 at 03:08 PM.
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  #13  
Old 06-26-2017, 04:26 PM
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davet753 davet753 is offline
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For less than $30, you can buy a J-pole antenna that works well on 2 meters and 440. If you're feeling industrious, you can find all sorts of plans on the internet for building your own out of stainless steel (they are easy to do). You can also use a piece of 300 ohm television twin-lead to make your own (a quick google search will show up several plans). With a Baofeng and a J-pole somewhere outside, you should be able to hit some local repeaters. I have one on the roof, and with my Yaesu FTM-400DR I can reliably use repeaters 60 miles away full quieting.

If you want a better rubber duck antenna for portable use with a Baofeng, the Nagoya NA771 from Amazon is $15 and will perform much better than the short, factory antenna.
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Old 06-26-2017, 04:28 PM
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"programming the thing isn't easy. (I performed a hard reset on mine which reset the language to Chinese (!), among other things; still haven't gotten to the setting that will change the language to English.) I downloaded the user manual as a .pdf file, so that should be a big help in resetting everything to my own preferences."

The manual may not tell you how (at least mine does not). The change can be made in "menu 14". My manual says that menu 14 is used to turn the voice on or off, but there are actually three choices ; off, English and Chinese.

jr
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:52 PM
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Jeffhs Jeffhs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davet753 View Post
For less than $30, you can buy a J-pole antenna that works well on 2 meters and 440. If you're feeling industrious, you can find all sorts of plans on the internet for building your own out of stainless steel (they are easy to do). You can also use a piece of 300 ohm television twin-lead to make your own (a quick google search will show up several plans). With a Baofeng and a J-pole somewhere outside, you should be able to hit some local repeaters. I have one on the roof, and with my Yaesu FTM-400DR I can reliably use repeaters 60 miles away full quieting.

If you want a better rubber duck antenna for portable use with a Baofeng, the Nagoya NA771 from Amazon is $15 and will perform much better than the short, factory antenna.
I purchased the Nagoya NA771 antenna shortly after I received my UV5R. The Nagoya whip certainly is better than the stock antenna on 2 meters, and also works great for FM broadcast reception. I haven't tried the NA771 on UHF, however, since there are few such repeaters in this area; besides, I think the NA771 is far too long for that band and even for 2 meters. What were they (Nagoya) thinking when they designed this antenna? It might be long enough (and then some) for FM broadcast, but I would and do wonder about 2m; after all, a quarter wavelength at 144 MHz is somewhere in the neighborhood of 19 inches. I have a difficult time figuring out how the 3/8-wave telescoping antenna I'm using with my Icom HT works as well as it does, as that antenna is far longer than 19 inches when fully extended.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the stock antenna that comes with the UV5R isn't much good unless you are almost literally within spitting distance of a local repeater, and it doesn't work worth a hill of beans on FM broadcast unless you are in a very strong signal area. That lets me out, since I live about 1.5 to 2 miles from the so-called "local" machine in the next town south of here, and am about 45 miles (!) from most FM radio stations serving Cleveland.

I cannot seem to hit the local repeater with my UV5R, although I can with my 1.5-watt Icom IC-T22A. There are some settings on my UV5R HT which I know aren't right yet, such as the transmit offset (currently set at 0.000 [simplex] rather than 0.600, IIRC) and the CTCSS tone, which is presently set to off. The HT's transmitter appears to be working, however, as I have tried it on 146.52 simplex and can hear myself in the Icom HT as nicely as you please. Therefore, the problem with transmitting to and hitting repeaters with the UV-5R must be caused by one of two things: that I don't have the CTCSS (PL) tone set properly, that the transmit offset is incorrect, or possibly both settings are set to 0 or off. The programming procedure for this HT isn't exactly straightforward (far from it, in fact), so I must be missing or skipping a step or two somewhere.
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