Got them in Amazon under recommendation of Greg Elifritz for $24.99 each. I am amazed at the stuff this things can do in such a little package. Back in the era of the transistor, you’d need 3 or for units to do what this thing does.
I guess I have to ge the license but even that is not hard as there are plenty resources on line to lean and they even give you practice exams. And there is no Morse Code requirement for any of the licenses. I did serious CB (not a joke) back in 1979 to 1981. I started with th cheap 23 channel, transformer and car antenna sticking out my bedroom window and ended up with a base radio, big ass antenna and helping others doing installations. I mention this because between that and the basic electronics I took in college for Audio engineering, I have been scoring decently in the practice tests. Where I get nailed is frequencies, radiation and FCC regulations which I know nothing about.
I decided to hit the meager savings on buying the radios and the books (more expensive than the figging radios) for the licenses after watching Cajun Navy and realizing we had nothing communications wise that did not depend of a company and a system that will go down in a hurricane. IIRC, these babies should push up to 7 miles in perfect conditions of weather and terrain (flat). I am guessing that better antennas and higher locations will improve coverage. I am not gonna start fudging stuff around till I get the license and I know what the heck am I doing.
And for Mr Greg, I need to bill him for planting evil stuff in my head which costs me money that could have gone to a new gun or ammo.
UPDATE: Following friends’ advice, I got myself a P.O. Box to use as address for the license since the FCC publishes it and knowing I may have a hater or two out there, I figured I should be paranoid.
Picking a post office 2 zip codes away paranoid enough?
10 thoughts on “Getting into Ham Radio”
Yes, getting your license isn’t all that hard anymore. It’s worth while doing some studying about operating procedures and all that. While those are for the most part not required, they are useful to be able to communicate effectively.
From what I’ve just read, those radios require a bit of care because they can transmit on frequencies not assigned to ham radio, and/or transmission modes not authorized. Those capabilities are not a legal issue, they simply mean it’s up to you to avoid improper transmissions. Sort of the radio equivalent of Cooper’s Laws.
Congrats! I suggest using the free study guides for the Technician license. In the meantime, dial up a couple local repeaters and listen in, especially when they have practice net meetings, which are usually once a week. You’ll learn a lot about communicating on the ham bands. Quite different from CB. (Much cleaner language as well!)
You can find a local club and go to a meeting, usually once a month. Good place to meet people and find out where the tests are being held and when.
Did this myself a few months ago. I also ordered a programming cable and downloaded the software (chirp) to program the radios. Step one; disable transmitting until I know what I’m doing!
I got the cable just yesterday. Installed the software too… now I have to figure out what am I supposed to program …LOL
A good place to start is here, https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeaters/index.php?state_id=none
You can drill down to your local area, look up the repeaters and program them into the radio.
Working the repeaters is the easiest way to get a feel for what’s around you and how to work the radio once you get your license.
You spoke of the Cajun Navy and the desire to communicate without infrastructure. What you said is accurate: better antennas and more elevation helps. More power also, and if you have a car or other suitable power source handy, an external amplifier attached to a handheld radio can make a big difference.
Then there are “repeaters”, something also used by emergency services radio. Some small radios can be set up as repeaters, though a built for the purpose repeater is probably more effective. They are found all around the country, and often have emergency power. Perhaps not enough to last through a week-long outage. Local clubs often operate those, and you can learn about them that way. And there are “repeater directories”, some of which are free apps and some are printed books, to let you find them in other parts of the country.
There is a great deal you can learn. That’s part of the fun. Much of that is optional; the minimum needed to be somewhat effective as well as legal is pretty simple. The license course will cover much of it.
Getting introduced to experienced hams and spending time with ones who are good teachers is the best option. The ham term for such a person is “Elmer” (meaning “coach” or “mentor”). If you can find one or two, you’ll be off to the races.
Very good points about communication dependency plus its fun to toodle through the channels when you’re not doing anything else. Learning how to work and program those little Baofengs are how a lot of folks get into it and it is very impressive just how much you can do with them. Look forward to hearing how it goes for you.
I used ARRL’s manuals to get my tech and general. Make sure you get the current edition as the test pool questions change ever few years. You will be having fun.
Somebody sold and old one in Amazon without saying it was old…guess who bought it?
Good news, Amazon is giving me a full refund upon return.
Well, That’s a great thing, Miguel!!!!
I am not on much right now, but, I have the high power hand helds also.
My HAM License – KG5YUH
Get your license, and we’ll try to communicate!!!
Can’t be that hard, as long as you have a nearby repeater
GOOD LUCK!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!
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