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Old 27-04-2014, 15:25   #1
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New Ham Tech with a Yaesu-FT800 and an Old 2m HQndheld...and Questions!

Hi! I just passed my Technician test and don't even have my call sign yet. But I do have lots of questions related to what to do next. Really, I'd like to know if there's a book I need that's a sort of next step for new hams with no experience. I need to know how to make a call, how to properly tune, what to expect from buttons on the radio, how to troubleshoot the basics. I'm so new I'm not even sure what I need to know or ask! I need to understand the basic vocabulary of ham use. Is there a newbie bible of some kind?

I travel on a boat with a Yaesu FT-800 and ship's station license. I don't know how to use the radio, but the previous owner of the boat was a longtime ham and so it was programmed for his use. We have the manual to it, but much of the language is over my head. I found a lot of great info on, but a book would be best since I'll often not have internet access. Any insights about this radio would be great!

The boat also came with an ancient 2m ICOM IC-2AT handheld that has no digital display. Looking at the online manual without a full understanding of how this all works isn't super helpful, but I'm trying to figure it out. Any pointers about that particular handheld also appreciated!! Seeing a bunch of those sub-$30 handhelds out there on Amazon and thinking one of those would be better...?

Finally, when traveling on a boat with a ship's station license, do I use that call sign or my own call sign? And is there something you're supposed to say when you aren't transmitting from the location where your license was issued? Thought I read something about that once...

Well any pointers are appreciated but it sure seems like there must be a "passed your test? Ok now you need this book" ham resource of some kind. I like web resources but a beginner reference guide that doesn't require the internet would be great too.

Thanks all, I'm excited to get started!
And yes, I'll be studying for my General right quick, and when I'm stationary for a while I'll definitely try to find an active ham club to join, where I'm sure I'll learn tons.

s/v Bluewater
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Old 28-04-2014, 05:41   #2
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Re: New ham Tech with a Yaesu-FT800 and an OLD 2m handheld...and questions!

I can't help with the Yaesu FT-800, can't even find it online! The Icom IC2AT is an old radio. May still work fine, who knows. The inexpensive Baofeng UV5R radio, which you are probably seeing for about $45, is a great bargain and in my experience works well as a basic 2 meter or 70 cm ham handie-talkie.

When on the ham bands, you use your amateur radio call sign. If you are using a shipboard HF transceiver on the marine designated SSB bands, you use your FCC issued ship station call sign.

I don't know exactly what books might be best for you. Almost certainly there is a " Ham Radio for Dummies" book that might be a good way to get started if you have almost no experience. I haven't looked at it myself so can't vouch for it. There is also an ARRL book, "The ARRL Operating Manual for Radio Amateurs" which may have what you need.


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Old 28-04-2014, 07:06   #3
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Re: New ham Tech with a Yaesu-FT800 and an OLD 2m handheld...and questions!

There are operator's guides on the ARRL site. Fetch a couple of those and you'll be good to go.

Are you sure you have an FT 800? I don't seem to remember that one. I had a Yaesu FT-840 which was a wonderful rig. It had a minimum of controls, and was a real "no fuss" radio. Good luck in your new hobby!
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Old 28-04-2014, 07:37   #4
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Re: New ham Tech with a Yaesu-FT800 and an OLD 2m handheld...and questions!

Ditto on "The ARRL Operating Manual for Radio Amateurs". I have a copy. It is a good, basic book for beginners. There is also a book out there called "Marine SSB Radio for Idi-Yachts". Haven't read that one, but I have heard good reviews of it.

Good luck.
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Old 28-04-2014, 08:24   #5
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Re: New ham Tech with a Yaesu-FT800 and an OLD 2m handheld...and questions!

You might google amateur repeaters, in AK or your area. See which ones are prevalent and on which bands, VHF or UHF. Then, you might consider buying a new radio. You can get a single band mobile (50W) for $100-150.

Not sure if it is in the budget, but there is nothing like having a new radio of your own, to get you into learning all you need to know.

Also - might have missed this, but you should have a marine VHF radio, preferably with DSC. A ham VHF will not operate on marine bands (unless you open it up) and will not have DSC.

Once you read through the basics from the books and sites mentioned above, you might find that there is a repeater near you that has a regular net for the local ham club. Listen in and you should hear proper procedures. Get on and introduce yourself, find out where and when the local in person meeting is and go.

As stated above, when using a ham radio on ham bands, use your ham call sign. When using a marine VHF or HF SSB radio, use your ship's station call sign. Also....IIRC...your ship's station call sign should be YOUR'S....not from the previous owner. No test, just payment, but you should go to the FCC site and get your own. That way, when calling, using your call sign, or using DSC for distress, those listening will know it is YOU and not the other guy. They will use the contact info YOU enter into the FCC database to contact YOUR friends and family, and not the PO's.

Hope this helps


ps - while they are popular, I think a mobile would be better to have then an handheld transceiver (HT). More power, and generally, better transmit and receive, better controls. And....for programming in all the repeaters you the software and cable....SO much easier.
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