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Getting into HAM Radio. Need some help

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Hello 43oher's

I plan on getting my Technician's License in the next month. I was wanting to be a Ham from a long time. I finally bought the ARRL book, am two chapters in. Its not that hard. I have an engineering background, so the remaining should go well.


I know some of you are (Rob, N1KSN and Mac) operators. It will save me alot of time, if you give me hints on equipment to buy and places to hang out(forums). There is so much info out there, that I'm getting lost.


Till next time, 73. I'm so excited, I'll be using short codes.

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You're 59 in North Texas! :-) I'd recommend that you lookup on the ARRL website and at least

find a radio club or two near you if the group that gives you your exam is not close by. Naturally,

with 'n' hams around you will get at least n-1 opinions. :-)


Definitely find one of the ham testing websites (e.g. qrz.com) and take the practice exams.

That will give you a good idea as to how ready you are for the test. You shouldn't have any

real problems -- I are uh double E and it helped a good bit. :-D


73 and good luck! de Rusty/AE5AE

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I would also recommend checking out at least a couple local clubs. You'll find a great mix of interests and personalities. Field Day is always fun. Tower rasing parties are fun. The QRP groups seem to do a lot in the way of home-brew projects. SDR (software defined radio) is pretty exciting stuff.




My HF station includes an Icom 756PRO-II (above), an old 500w Heathkit SB-200 amplifier, a 5-band (20 thru' 10) Quad at 50 feet, and a ladder-line fed inverted vee for the 160 through 30 meter bands. I enjoy CW, SSB, digital modes, and DX (long distance) contacts (318 countries confirmed).


Good luck in your studies...


Very 73, Mike McLaren, K8LH

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Another nice radio was the Yaesu FT-847. It had a "general coverage" receiver from VLF through 6 meters (a great SWL receiver) and it covered all the ham bands from 160 through 2 meters. Tiny little thing too.


In less than two years I worked my first 300 countries, and WAZ, and 5BWAS with this rig connected to a 90 foot long all-band no-tune Barker and Williamson folded dipole antenna. I also used the AMSAT "station" program running on a PC to control both VFO's on the FT-847 to compensate for Doppler shift which allowed me to work several states on CW through the Russian RS13 LEO (low earth orbit) satellite transponder (2m up, 10m down).


Regards, Mike



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Ham radio is a great hobby and a wonderful community. You will meet fine hams all over the world, on the radio, on the internet, and if you travel, in person.


Start by meeting the local hams in the nearest club(s).


Look for the various hamfests that might be near you. There are small regional ones and large divisional ones, and then there is Dayton.




And most important, turn on the radio and LISTEN. Listen to HF, listen to 2 meters, listen to some morse code. Find your niche, maybe you will get hooked on digital transmissions (CW was the first digital transmission - it is all ones and zeros). Maybe satellite or moonbounce. Maybe contests. Maybe just having an HT on your belt and a radio in the car. There is something for everyone.


And always something new. BTW, there are now over 700,000 hams in the US. More per capita than at any previous time. It is not a dying hobby. And a surprising number of new hams choose to learn CW, even though it is no longer required. You can do a lot more with a small budget or a small lot using CW.


73 :wave:



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I highly recommend you listen to the repeater and/or HF, even if it's with a scanner, just to get

the conventions that people use on the repeater. Oh yeah, no calling 'CQ' on the repeater, either.

Lots of things to do in the hobby, from the simplicity of CW on HF to using 802.11 wireless routers

to make mesh networks, as I do. Just find something fun to do and go from there!! Have fun!



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