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Old 05-06-2014, 17:05   #16
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Re: Ham Radio

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Originally Posted by Rhapsody-NS27 View Post
I got into ham radio through morse code. I learned to read the code, pretty much how Hud wrote the message above. I then ran into someone who was learning to listen to the code to get a ham license and I figured, "what the heck" and learned to listen and decided to test out on it and kept going. I got 20wpm before the FCC got rid of the code requirements. I am not as active as I used to be but I still enjoy the code and messing around with digital modes. One thing I like about ham radio is much like sailing... There's always something new to learn and there's enough old timers to help you out.

de W4ABN
Yes - the ham community is much like the sailing one. I have good memories of my helpful "Elmer" (translation: ham who helps another become a ham). I guess now I'm the "Elmer"
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Old 09-06-2014, 11:47   #17
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Re: Ham Radio

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For the CW challenged, a translation:

"Sad but true, Sailor Hutch"

Indeed it is. Do you pound the brass anymore (outside of CF) ?
The guys at the club where I did my exams said CW seemed to be more popular than ever, even though it had been dropped from the exams.

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Old 09-06-2014, 13:05   #18
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Re: Ham Radio

It's true! Both for CW and for ham radio.

There are more than twice as many licensed hams in the U.S. that there used to be for many years...700,000 vs. 300,000.

Ham radio ain't going away, nor is CW.

All those this side of the Big Pond are invited to check into the Waterway Net's CW net. Every morning beginning at 7AM Eastern Time on 7047kHz. Lotta folks show up early, too.

Bill
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Old 09-06-2014, 13:27   #19
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Re: Ham Radio

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
It's true! Both for CW and for ham radio.

There are more than twice as many licensed hams in the U.S. that there used to be for many years...700,000 vs. 300,000.

Ham radio ain't going away, nor is CW.

All those this side of the Big Pond are invited to check into the Waterway Net's CW net. Every morning beginning at 7AM Eastern Time on 7047kHz. Lotta folks show up early, too.

Bill
WA6CCA
Sounds pretty good. I'm usually on my way to work in the mornings during the week but could check it out on the weekends. Maybe a reason to try getting the gear into the truck.
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Old 09-06-2014, 14:17   #20
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Re: Ham Radio

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Originally Posted by Sailor_Hutch View Post
It's good that the no-code licenses allow for more recruits, and ham radio needs them! Still, CW is my favorite mode, and probably 90 percent of my operation. The bad news is that the ones who know it will eventually all go to the big key in the sky, and I'll have nobody to tap-tap-tap with
Started with Ham radio as a pirate in SoPac. When we returned to the US, tried to get my General License. Try as hard as I might, just couldn't get the code speed up much above the 7wpm or whatever for the Novice License. Tried several times over the years but I'm just unable to copy code. Finally got my General license once they'd dropped the code requirement.

The online exam prep courses are an easy way to pass the written tests. Don't necessarily learn a lot about radio besides rules and propagation but gets you the ticket. Took one day of constant study with the exams and passed the test relatively easily. Must have done relatively well as the test administrators were surprised when I didn't want to take the Amateur Extra Test. There's a lot more to learn, once you get the license.

Ham radio is a great service to have. Voice communication with the Mobile nets, other hams in the general area that you are cruising in, just contacts with some guy in a pickup in Iowa, and free email without unreasonable volume limits.
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Old 03-07-2014, 13:58   #21
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Re: Ham Radio

tigertronic signalink

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Old 03-07-2014, 14:32   #22
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Re: Ham Radio

Hams are about the most helpful people on earth. My experience with them has all been very, very positive.

If you like code, there are always old retirees conversing in code after midnight on various frequencies. I made it up to an extra license, without ever saying a spoken word into the mike. I guess you could say I like code or CW as it is called. Lots of non-US ships still had radio officers, last I listened to traffic.

The weather information I get from hams actually in a place is far more accurate than what commercial sources provide, even more precise than NOAH at times. And that can be a live saver.

In dire emergencies, morse code will get through bad transmission conditions much better than the spoken word, somewhat akin to a black/white flag as opposed to showing photographs. The on/off sound punches through where frequency modulation is lost. That can make a big difference in an emergency in bad conditions. Often, your VHF is good for about 25 miles, if that.

Even without a license, you can legally listen on all legal frequencies.. The waterway net will give a good picture of the daily lives of many cruisers, and what is involved in their daily lives. I also listened to a missionary net one time, and got a whole new view of how they live "in the field", but that is another story.

There are lots of good prep publications, and the ham tests are pretty simple. There is a lot of gear available on Craig's list, and as the hams are aging, a lot of clubs have whole rigs available from deceased members. Just ask them. There are also online ham hot sheets for used gear. Amateurs have "hamfests" which are like flea markets where a lot of gear, instruction, and testing are usually available. The ARRL handbook has lots of good antenna information, available from their website. Even if you don't become a ham, their information is very helpful.

The license fees are very low, and the license is good for 10 years. It is a good capability, fun in good times, and a major asset in troubled times.
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Old 14-07-2014, 16:59   #23
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Re: Ham Radio

Ham is cool. Lots of great people always willing to help or explain something. They love to talk. It is. Easier now to get a license. I learned cod but never used it so I would have to relearn it.
KC8FVT. You can get some radios pretty cheap at the swap meets. The radios are amazing in some of the ways they work and the distance some of the bands can communicate. I am glad I have mine even though I am not very active.

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Old 04-10-2014, 16:18   #24
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Re: Ham Radio

Hello,

I will second that Morse code, CW mode is the most efficient. It is a bit of a pain to learn, but so rewarding once you can actually converse in it. It took me a year to get to 20wpm (words per minute).

The advantage of having a small Morse code radio (called QRP radio) is the low current draw. My radios use from 35mAh to 170mAh on receive! They output from 1W to 12W. Using 5W CW is like using 100W SSB! It will work most of the time. I have even experimented with a friend 800 miles away using only 100mW, no problem.

Charging batteries on a boat can be a challenge. A small Morse-code radio takes care of that problem. I can power mine on eight rechargeable AA batteries.. An Icom marine radio will burn 2-3 Amps on receive, not to mention another 2A for the tuner. Maybe 20A on transmit! That will drain your batteries very fast. My Elecraft K1 for instance can run for days instead of hours on a regular battery.

The advantage of a radio, in addition to an EPIRB, is that you can state the type of emergency and ask for specific help, which sometimes can make all the difference. There are plenty of Ham radio operators around the world willing to forward your messages.

The license is VERY easy to get. You would need the General license to use HF, but you can just buy the two books (Technician and General) from the ARRL, or find tutorials online. Then get a free account on QRZ.com for practice tests.. Once you pass the practice test regularly, just go for a test nearby. Kids nine years old have done it. I got my Technician, General and Extra class the same day... It only cost me $15 and two weeks of studying.

Getting a Ham radio license will also help you a great deal with understanding propagation and the use of a marine SSB radio.

To my fellow Hams and wannabes, check out radiopreppers.com. We have a few sailors there and lots of advise on efficient, portable operations.

Gil.
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Old 05-10-2014, 11:35   #25
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Re: Ham Radio

For reference, the ham e-mail service is call WinLink (winlink.org) and is the free/amateur version of sailmail (sailmail.com).

They both require the same basic equipment. WinLink uses amateur radio frequenies and sailmail uses marine SSB frequencies. Also because WinLink is an amateur radio service, you cannot perform business over it (i.e. anything where you make money). But it is a great way to keep in touch with friends when out in the middle of nowhere.

I use WinLink extensively when I'm working on medical teams in the jungles of Honduras.

Cheers,
Mike
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Old 10-10-2014, 18:38   #26
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Re: Ham Radio

Anyone up for a QSO sometime? I have pretty good propagation to the Caribbean on 20m and to the E coast on 20 and 40. For some reason most of my 15m contacts seem to be in Canada, but I can operate 160 to 10m if anyone is interested. Extra class so can pretty much meet anywhere, just be warned my CW is atrocious.

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Old 11-10-2014, 10:09   #27
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Re: Ham Radio

Mark, let me know if you'd like to practice your Morse code. I can do 15, 20 and 40m. Evenings on 40 would be best. The band stars closing around 9:30 EST now.. I am in Sarasota FL. Will pm you my call sign.

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Old 24-07-2015, 23:10   #28
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Re: Ham Radio

A hundred years ago (1969, 9th grade), I was given couple of old tube arc5 and other tube radios. These things apparently flew in airplanes during WWII. I was also given a huge box of tubes and a 1955 ARRL manual. Thinking that I had been given a fortune, I set out to learn what this stuff was. I read the manual cover to cover about three times and so learned basic electronics (tube only). And eventually discovered that my "fortune" was not in what I had been given, but what I had learned.

I then met an amateur who worked with me to get this stuff running. Back then the morse was part of the license and I only got to about 18 wpm so never got my license, however electronics was the basis of my life for qite some time after. I went on to learn transisters, then FETs. I joined the Navy and learned computers and made my living in electronics for many years. Back then I read electronics stuff voraciously, learning about op amps and PLLs back when they were analog. And of course ucontrollers and computers.

In the mid 80s, I moved into programming. To this day I build my own computers from parts, and I even do micro controllers but have never returned to Amateur radio.

Looking at the exams, it appeared that not only was the CW stuff removed, but there is no longer the requirement to know electronics as was needed in the 60s and 70s. I am looking into getting the technician license and getting back into HAM radio.

Quick question, decades ago, when the ucomputer was young, the amateurs were starting to use little computers to translate text to CW. Is this still being done? I could cobble together a ucontroller to spit out CW given a text file or even typing on a keyboard.

On this thread, an electronic (manual) keyer seems to be the preferred method, but for straight "punching through" a digital keyer seems to be the ticket.

Also, has anyone built an Elecraft k2? Thoughts on that as a base station? I have been out of AR so long it is all Greek to me anymore. But I am still handy with a soldering iron, though not surface mount.
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Old 26-07-2015, 15:54   #29
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Re: Ham Radio

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A hundred years ago (1969, 9th grade), I was given couple of old tube arc5 and other tube radios. These things apparently flew in airplanes during WWII. I was also given a huge box of tubes and a 1955 ARRL manual. Thinking that I had been given a fortune, I set out to learn what this stuff was. I read the manual cover to cover about three times and so learned basic electronics (tube only). And eventually discovered that my "fortune" was not in what I had been given, but what I had learned.

I then met an amateur who worked with me to get this stuff running. Back then the morse was part of the license and I only got to about 18 wpm so never got my license, however electronics was the basis of my life for qite some time after. I went on to learn transisters, then FETs. I joined the Navy and learned computers and made my living in electronics for many years. Back then I read electronics stuff voraciously, learning about op amps and PLLs back when they were analog. And of course ucontrollers and computers.

In the mid 80s, I moved into programming. To this day I build my own computers from parts, and I even do micro controllers but have never returned to Amateur radio.

Looking at the exams, it appeared that not only was the CW stuff removed, but there is no longer the requirement to know electronics as was needed in the 60s and 70s. I am looking into getting the technician license and getting back into HAM radio.

Quick question, decades ago, when the ucomputer was young, the amateurs were starting to use little computers to translate text to CW. Is this still being done? I could cobble together a ucontroller to spit out CW given a text file or even typing on a keyboard.

On this thread, an electronic (manual) keyer seems to be the preferred method, but for straight "punching through" a digital keyer seems to be the ticket.

Also, has anyone built an Elecraft k2? Thoughts on that as a base station? I have been out of AR so long it is all Greek to me anymore. But I am still handy with a soldering iron, though not surface mount.

Hi:

You're in NC - and I wonder where. Am also in NC (Raleigh area). Anyway I remember the ARC5. I had the ARC 3, Royal Canadian Air Force version for two meter AM. Actually, it was some lower military frequency and had to be converted. It was an autotune deal with motors driving the capacitors, and a bank of relays for selecting tuning circuits and crystals. It was quite musical tuning up. It had a BIG output tube, but don't remember the type.

Yes - people often hook up their sound card input, and use various programs to decode CW. It's pretty easy to write a program to send CW, as well, using the parallel port of an old computer, and an opto or something for isolation. Prebuilt stuff for this purpose can be had for almost nothing at various suppliers.

Yeah - the K2 was cool. It's actually getting kind of dated by now. My interest recently is in homebrew weather satellite stuff (well, ground based too): very applicable to the sailor.

But yeah - get that ticket. Pretty easy to do, as you say.
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