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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All, Did some searching and found many mentions of Ham radio in the context of prepping and SHTF communications, but how many of you enjoy Ham radio as a regular hobby? (Is there a sub-forum that I missed where this should be located?)

Josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmmm... Hadn't thought of that question! :confused: I suppose if they refer to it as "Amateur Radio" it would be ok... ?? :)
 

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Lots of people are operators, and probably more than you might think.

Ham radio will work when nothing else will. People still think the licensing is difficult to obtain (it is NOT! The morse-code part of testing is no more, so getting a Technician license is quite easy... it's mostly about rules & regs, a wee bit about antenna theory, propagation, and reading schematics (on a very basic level), and some general electricity theory... a lot of this stuff many people already know! And study about an hour a day for a week and you'll easily pass! Go to HamTestOnline - Ham Radio Exam Courses and Practice Tests and check it out for free, get a feel for how easy it is. Cost is something like $25.00 for each license level.

Also, to learn more, go to Home and also look at eHam.net Home - Amateur Radio Ham Radio Community Site and RadioReference.com - Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Modes of communication are phone (voice), CW (continuous wave or morse code---great for extremely low-power transmission, as in < 1 watt/0.5 watt), and digital... kinda' like sending an email over the radio airwaves. A VERY large amount of information can be accurately sent via digital transmission over radio waves... a great way to transmit a large volume of important information that doesn't need someone writing it down on the receiving end... makes for no errors in transmission of info.

If and when all other modes of communication go down, like cell-phone, internet, television, etc., ham radio is still going to work, just using a 12-volt deep-cycle battery to power your radio. I do this all the time, as do many others, and have battery-backup with solar recharging, so I'll always be able to communicate all over the world. The lights go out? No issue, as you'll still have communications. This is extremely important in the event of a SHTF thing... like a hurricane, severe winter storm, and so on.

Look at the links, learn a bit more. It's much more than "just a hobby." You can get stared with a Baofeng hand-held for about $35.00 or less (on Amazon), and you'll need an after-market antenna (about $17.00 or so). Later you'll want/need a good 2-band (2m/70cm) mobile/base unit for about $350.00 to $450.00 for a great one. (I'm a big fan of Yaesu radios---the FT-8800 is my #1 daily comms radio. I've also a FT-7900 programmed with each and every emergency frequency in the State of Colorado, including fire, search & rescue, and more... about 400 frequencies.)

A great antenna can be had for about $27.99 or so plus shipping (Dual band 2m 70cm Slim Jim Antenna with 16 rg-58 (I've two of these antennas... one I use daily, and hangs inside my home in the vaulted ceiling of the sun-room, and one in my radio go-bag). This antenna is amazing! It can be used, with an adapter, for a hand-held, greatly increasing your transmission/receive range/distance.

Another great dual-band anteena is the Arrow OSJ-pole (Arrow Antenna J Poles 2m 146 70cm 440 OSJ and it performs just a wee bit better than the roll-up j-pole. I've one of these, as well. Both antennas are great.

There are plenty of other radios and antennas that are great, too. I just happen to be a big fan of the gear I have. *smile*

A radio sub-forum might be interesting, huh?

Kim
K2CPO
Amateur Extra

edit: You can build your own antenna for cheap! I built my own HF antenna, 135-feet long for about $35.00... buying one costs well over $100.00 up to well over $200.00. You can build your own 2m/70cm roll-up antenna for literally pennies using old twin-lead antenna wire, the kind you used to use for your TV. Anyway, it doesn't take a bazillion dollars to get into ham radio and have fun with it.
 

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You probably will NOT get the response you are hoping for because most if not all amateur radio information is regulated by the FCC, (Federal Communications Commission) and eventually, if asked, ALL HAM information can become public knowledge.

Between HAMs, that is not much of a problem. Just giving out your call sign gives away a ton of private information that CAN be obtained by anybody if they are willing to work at it a little bit. Perhaps not a secure situation. Just me. A great hobby.

Actually it is more than a hobby. Communications is the key. Time to put up another private reflector? HB of CJ (old coot)

Edited by HB; There are many good HAM Forums. For a combination HAM forum and an excellent Survivalist/Prepping forum try a Google for Survivalist/Prepping Forums. They have a good HAM sub forum. Lots of us will not give out their call sign .My this forujm now acting up as it will not let me back up or make sppelllling corrections. Strange.

Edited by HB of CJ (old coot) Dirt in the keyboard. All fixed and it was NOT this excellent forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yep, I agree... It is just part of my everyday life, but I also try to be prepared for emergency situations (although I am not part of ARES at this time.) I got my General back in 2011 and want to get my extra soon; just need to make time to prepare.

I live in an HOA-restricted community so I have to live with "compromise" antennas so I generally stick to PSK and JT-65 / JT-9 to get more bang for the watt. Amazing how these modes allow you to communicate around the world with just a few watts and compromise antennas! (I have an 80m doublet (ladder-line fed non-resonant dipole) up at about 25 ft, a 31' S9 vertical (with an autotuner at the base), a 6m dipole and a VHF/UHF discone. None are visible from the street so I'm within the HOA nazi guidelines... :mrgreen:)

Anyway, just curious how many other XDt'ers are active Hams... Josh
 

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I got my license in 1989, my extra in 1991.

Sent from the Telegraph Office
 
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Not as active as I use to be but have had my extra since the early eightys.
Same here (not nearly as active as I used to be), well not the extra certification though, I still have my technician, would like to get the general though
 
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WAS mixed and then phone, DXCC 228 confirmed all bands and 100+ on 20, 15 and 40. In deed restricted w/motorized vertical on 25x50' radials well hidden. Home brew copper J pole for 2 mtrs. A great hobby forever. NU4L/HI8N.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Great to hear there are other geeks on board! I really enjoy the hobby, along with guns and woodworking. (My wife thinks all my hobbies are expensive!)
Hope to meet you on the air sometime!
Josh
KB3VQQ
 

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When SHTF and everything else fails, amateur radio works. ID won't matter cuz we won't be IDing at that point. Besides, my FCC location does NOT point to my bug out spot.

Keep your batteries charged and your powder dry.
 

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Check out this awesome SDR (software defined radio) AKA a wide band spectrum analyzer/receiver! For dirt cheap


Getting Started With RTL-SDR
The last few months have seen an explosion of activity in the field of Software Defined Radio (SDR), after it was discovered that cheap USB TV tuners based on the Realtek RTL2832U chip could be dialed into frequencies well outside their advertised ranges. What was designed and sold as a simple device for watching TV on your computer could be turned into a radio capable of receiving anything between 64 MHz to 1700 MHz with open source software.

Now, anyone with about $20 USD to spare can tune into everything from police and fire transmissions to the International Space Station.
 

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SDRs work fine now. If SHTF... no. Personally, I'm not interested in SDR. All of my radios work off of battery power, including the FT-847. It's nice having electricity now, and using a power supply, but when the lights go out, my radios will still work just fine. *smile*
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yep, I have a marine battery on standby to power my rigs if the mains go out. Next step is to pick up a solar panel to keep it topped off without having to hook up to the genny...

SDR's are cool, especially with the newer technology like the TV dongles, raspberry PI, etc that is cheap and readily available... Not really my cup of tea though.
 
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