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Old 29-01-2013, 09:31   #76
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Re: Ham License

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Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
It isn't hard. More importantly, aside from the very easy rules and regulations section there is nothing--NOTHING--tested for an amateur radio license that you won't benefit from knowing while cruising. This information will make you that much more self sufficient.



Mostly. I think Sailmail is $250US / year. You get something like 90 minutes / week on a rolling basis.

Winlink time limits are established on a station by station basis. Some shore stations give you 30 minutes / week, other 90 minutes, others more. Most will bump you up if you send an e-mail before you run out of time if you are on a passage (but not anchored in paradise *grin*).

The Winlink stations are volunteers and the radios came out of their own pockets. It is a good idea to send a thank you not a couple of times a year (I send notes to the stations I use regularly at Christmas and July 4th -- the dates help me remember).





See above. You really do want to know this stuff before you push off the dock.

One last thing, particularly for Dockhead. License reciprocity with other countries is important. See International Regulatory . For Dockhead in particular you should probably shoot for an Extra. Once you've got a General the Extra isn't hard.
Bad news! Looks like you can't operate HF at all in Europe with a General class license! The hurdle is higher than I thought!
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Old 29-01-2013, 09:59   #77
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Re: Ham License

Tom,
Sounds like a great plan!
See you in a few months!
John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 29-01-2013, 11:04   #78
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Re: Ham License

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Originally Posted by GrowleyMonster View Post
I built a crystal controlled, one-transistor 40M transmitter[...]
Well, *my* first transmitter was a home-built one-tube affair made with parts scavenged from a broken T.V. set. OK, it probably had two tubes: the rectifier and the oscillator. I had one crystal (40 Meter novice band), and I made contacts around the world with that thing. Receiver was an old. two-dial Hallicrafters.

Originally (I am told), hams were given the use of our frequencies and were expected to learn a little about radio technology in order to develop a reserve of radio operators and technicians. I personally really enjoy the technology, but these days I don't think that ham radio is necessarily the most effective way to promote communications science and technology. I think that knowing how to operate the gear and how to communicate effectively should still be a licensing requirement, but the deeper tech stuff is probably not needed. It's great if someone wants to pursue that, but it shouldn't be required.

But regardless of what I think, the rules are what they are, and it shouldn't be too hard to pass the test. Once you get your feet wet, you can learn more about the aspects that interest you.
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Old 29-01-2013, 11:16   #79
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Re: Ham License

Bottom line is that the FCC could certainly turn ham radio into an unlicensed service but there are other services for that. They keep the ham license fee dirt cheap and keep some at least nominal technical requirements in order to keep many people happy. The ITU, the Army, themselves...oh yes, the Army. What you don't see in print is that ham radio and the list of licensees conveniently provided the military with a list of trained radio operators who already knew Morse Code (for many years) that could be used in time of a draft for war. It is indelicate to talk about these things, but yes, the government keeps tabs on potential resources of all kinds, from "boats we can commandeer for coastal patrol" to "trained radio operators". That's their job.

Advancing the arts and sciences, not so likely these days. Emergency communications? Well, that's also an indelicate discussion because hams keep providing communications after the established alternatives fall down, time and again. Often just for a few days, but embarassingly often. And ham volunteers and organizations have proven to be quite variable (read: often unreliable) in terms of who will show up, how well they will perform, etc. But when all the fancy stuff fails, it certainly is damned convenient that ham radio is still out there. And those are the times when a little technical skill is useful, for improvising antennas, power supplies, finding ways to communicate besides "push the button".
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Old 29-01-2013, 11:49   #80
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Re: Ham License

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Well, that's also an indelicate discussion because hams keep providing communications after the established alternatives fall down, time and again.
Another interesting aside which was on the radio here a few days ago. When to Argentina invaded The Falklands it was a BBC journalist over ham radio who had conformation of what was actually going on before the UK government.

BBC NEWS | UK | How BBC man scooped invasion news
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Old 29-01-2013, 12:05   #81
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Re: Ham License

"a BBC journalist over ham radio" And that wouldn't have been pecuniary use of the service for business interests and employment?
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Old 29-01-2013, 12:19   #82
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Looks like emergency communications to me.
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Old 29-01-2013, 13:01   #83
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Re: Ham License

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I believe that radio hardware is a solved problem. I think most innovation is going to come from software and how we organize people to use amateur radio.

So tinkering around with electronic circuits to make a crystal radio in a coffee can is... in 2013... really more of a toaster project (book) than a contribution to the community (and state of the art) than it was sixty or seventy years ago. Do it for your own entertainment, or art, but I think an aesthetic based on that kind of hardware hackery is a dated and narrow idea of how to be a HAM.

I also disagree with the elitist view of HAM radio, that it should be limited to people who choose to push themselves to learn everything about the hobby. I feel that anything is dead without a healthy ecosystem. An ecosystem needs creators and users at all levels, from advanced to amateur. Even without economic or political considerations, you cannot make new technology in a vacuum, you need people to use it and make sure it works. You need enough people to make there a reason to have a social structure around it, a community of active users. People who simply use WinLink, or any of the other HAM radio technologies or social organizations, are improving them with their use. If some of those people go on to improve on HAM technology or social structures, that's great, but I don't think doing that is necessary for them to be a valuable member of the ecosystem. I feel that any responsible users of the HAM radio spectrum are contributing to it.
Nicely put, mate! Having achieved my first (novice) license over sixty years ago, I have enjoyed many aspects of ham radio. As a maritime mobile for the past 26 years, I can recommend the practice to Dockhead and others. It is a very good addition to your cruising skills and abilities.

Cheers and 73 de

Jim N9GFT, VK4GFT, ex- WN9QQK, W9QQK, XE2HOJ, FO0JLC, A23JC YJ0AFT and a bunch of others that I can't remember! witrhout digging out old log books.
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Old 29-01-2013, 13:25   #84
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Re: Ham License

Completely off subject, as an old time Maritime Mobile, KB7NW, who was very active running DX-peditions to various parts of the world, I'd like to point to a story online of one our most dangerous expeditions aboard Banyandah.

Running Scared at Sprately




A different location:
This photo is a Kingman Reef 1000 miles south of Hawaii


There are other photos on this forum
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Old 29-01-2013, 15:14   #85
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Re: Ham License

Again a bit off topic, but since there are a few hams about this might be of interest..

$20 and some free software gets you a software defined radio from about 50Mhz to 2Ghz.





Windows Software [rtlsdr.org wiki]
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Old 31-01-2013, 01:47   #86
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Re: Ham License

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Originally Posted by conachair View Post
Again a bit off topic, but since there are a few hams about this might be of interest..

$20 and some free software gets you a software defined radio from about 50Mhz to 2Ghz.





Windows Software [rtlsdr.org wiki]
Deep inside every receiver lurks the heart of a transmitter... the Oscillator. Does that give the tinkering Hams out there any ideas?
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Old 26-02-2013, 19:38   #87
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Re: Ham License

Well guys, please, accept me into your ranks.

Today I passed the Technician, General, and Extra Class exams in one sitting

For someone with absolutely zero technical education or background (my education is in Music, Law, Philosophy, and Foreign Languages), it was a non-trivial -- to say the least -- exercise to learn the material. I spent an entire weekend in deep immersion; even woke up in the middle of the night one night to keep studying.

There was not enough time in one weekend to completely master everything, of course. I totally blew off memorizing any frequencies ("Which of the following are in the Novice section of the 30 meter band . . .") and just gave away those questions. On the other hand, I loved the math, of which I did not get nearly enough during my education, and revelled in figuring out how to calculate the resonant frequency of a LCR network. I actually really enjoyed the whole process.

So anyway, thanks to all of you for your encouragement. Now it's all done -- with an Extra Class license, I am eligible for full reciprocal privileges in CEPT regions -- all of Europe
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Old 26-02-2013, 19:46   #88
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Well guys, please, accept me into your ranks.

Today I passed the Technician, General, and Extra Class exams in one sitting

For someone with absolutely zero technical education or background (my education is in Music, Law, Philosophy, and Foreign Languages), it was a non-trivial -- to say the least -- exercise to learn the material. I spent an entire weekend in deep immersion; even woke up in the middle of the night one night to keep studying.

There was not enough time in one weekend to completely master everything, of course. I totally blew off memorizing any frequencies ("Which of the following are in the Novice section of the 30 meter band . . .") and just gave away those questions. On the other hand, I loved the math, of which I did not get nearly enough during my education, and revelled in figuring out how to calculate the resonant frequency of a LCR network. I actually really enjoyed the whole process.

So anyway, thanks to all of you for your encouragement. Now it's all done -- with an Extra Class license, I am eligible for full reciprocal privileges in CEPT regions -- all of Europe
Congrats. When you get the rig up we might even try a contact. I've been a ham since 2001 , but don't use it much , I must really get by house HF rig up and running again

Dave
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Old 26-02-2013, 19:48   #89
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Re: Ham License

Congratulations...
I'm not active anymore but I hope you enjoy it as much as I did in my previous life.
Phil
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Old 26-02-2013, 19:56   #90
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Re: Ham License

That's great Dockhead, I'll have to throw up a dipole and work you.
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