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Unread 03-07-2007, 05:23 PM   #1
97kurt
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Default HAM Radios

Ok.... I thought I would bring this up.

It looks like a few members on this board are already setup and a few others are thinking about it. I'm kinda trying to gauge interest in how many people on here might be interested in getting licensed and using the radios on our trips.

I recently became interested again when I found out the morse code test has been dropped by the FCC and you can get a good handheld 2 meter radio for $150.

Anyways lets discuss.
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Unread 03-07-2007, 06:35 PM   #2
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I have an interest, however I must admit it is not high on my list of priorities.
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Unread 03-07-2007, 06:52 PM   #3
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What are the advantages/disadvantages? What does becoming licensed entail?
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Unread 03-07-2007, 08:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegas Runner View Post
I have an interest, however I must admit it is not high on my list of priorities.
Agreed.

I need to find out more about HAM radios. What worries me is that you have to use your call sign everytime you speak which might get old. Maybe someone with some expierence can enlighten us.

As for licensing, I belive you get a book from radioshack/amazon or online and do some studying. There are a ton of sites that have practice tests with the same questions as the FCC test. Then its just a matter of taking the Technician test, paying the testing fee and then waiting a few weeks for your license and call sign from the FCC.
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Unread 03-07-2007, 08:40 PM   #5
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It is definitely on my todo list, but there is a long list of things before it.

CHeck out ih8mud for ham radio info. Sites where you study and test your knowledge.

Mike, the big advantage of ham is that is has a far superior range to CBs. It can pump up to 65W vs 5W for a CB. The reciever is also much better. Also the sound quality is said to be much beter if you have a good radio. On top of that there are many places that have ham repeaters to further extend your range. In some cases you can use a service to connect your HAM to the telephone circuits and make a call.

This will come in pretty handy in longer expeditions and remote areas. This way you can call for a campsite a long ways away or at lest make contact with the group.

You can also use your ham as a repeater if you get the right radio to link to parties that ae out of range of each other.

It seems you can go cheap and get a single band HAM or get the dual band one that cover the high frequency band as well.

I can see that it will come in very handy in bigger groups and longer expeditions. Anyway ih8mud had a few very good threads on it in the outfittign section.
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Unread 03-07-2007, 09:39 PM   #6
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Thumbs up ham

i preffer the ham over cb anyday. and no you dont have to use your callsign every time. it has to be broadcast atleast every 10minuts thats all if you have any more ham questions let me know.. my callsigne is KE7FII and i will awnser as best as possible.
as for benifets. i was outside searchlight nevada and was talking to my freind in north las vegas that was over 90miles away. and there is not a lot of com chatter like with cb's. the test is easy about 35 question to get you started and you dont even have to buy a book i just used the practice tests on QRZ.com and i passed
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Unread 03-08-2007, 12:12 AM   #7
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The technician class test is not too tough and there is no morse code requirement. A good "2 meter" radio is far superior to CB. I have been on several road trips with friends and used these. They work great and can at times have remarkable range. Also, there are always good radios for reasonable prices available on Ebay.

The ARRL is good source for more info: http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/classes.html

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Unread 03-08-2007, 04:13 AM   #8
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Well this is a subject I know something about!
So I'll chime in:

First of all the good news is that the test for technician is really quite easy, and morse code has now been done away with for ALL license classes! Very good news.

Don't worry about having to ID yourself...it's only every ten minutes that you have to ID. It's not an issue.

The best part of 2Meter or 440 radios is the extensive number of repeaters we are free to use. Here in LA, I can hit the same repeater from Hollywood all the way to deep into Orange County and beyond! Try that on a CB. It's an amazing capability.

Using linked repeaters I can talk from my car to a repeater in AZ, or Tokyo... or Australia! All for free!

Using APRS, I can broadcast my location automatically using my GPS, and my coordinates will be automatically plotted on another APRS stations GPS screen!

So many cool uses for HAM radio with our hobby.

With HF radios, communications around the globe without the use of a repeater is possible.

Oh... and you can even chat with the International Space Station if you're lucky!

I'd be glad to help out getting some people started.
Maybe on one of the trips coming up I can do a little basic training.

I've been considering starting a website for this purpose, I registered www.trailcom.net - maybe I'll get around to it this year.

73,

-Mike
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Unread 03-08-2007, 11:08 AM   #9
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Cool stuff Mike, it will be great if you can start an education for us. Maybe a good tech write up on HAM radios, antennas, uses, etc. I find that it alwasy good to have such a specific resource available for the future.

I would like to know the major features available and which one sare important for our uses, and also how to use them. In a short to the point reference. This will save countless hours of research.
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Unread 03-08-2007, 01:23 PM   #10
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Yeah, I'll put something together!
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Unread 03-08-2007, 09:18 PM   #11
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I did a little research when I got home today and one of the guys that works here is an uber ham radio user so I got a lot of questions answered.

I also took the practice test twice without studing, I just went to google to check a few things and I ended up passing the second time through. So testing for the technician should not be that hard.

I also found some nice hand held radios online in the 100 to 130 price range. I just need to figure out if it would be better to have a 5watt 2meter radio or a 1.5watt 2M/440 dual band. There are some advantages to the dual bands but its to early to make any choice.
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Unread 03-08-2007, 10:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaskurt View Post
I did a little research when I got home today and one of the guys that works here is an uber ham radio user so I got a lot of questions answered.

I also took the practice test twice without studing, I just went to google to check a few things and I ended up passing the second time through. So testing for the technician should not be that hard.

I also found some nice hand held radios online in the 100 to 130 price range. I just need to figure out if it would be better to have a 5watt 2meter radio or a 1.5watt 2M/440 dual band. There are some advantages to the dual bands but its to early to make any choice.
I would probably shoot for a vehicle mounted radio, to be able to get up to 60W or so. Handheld might be nice if everyone else has a vehicle radio. I like my hadnheld CB as it comes in handy on close range to other vehcile mounted, and the occasional backup on the trail.
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Unread 03-08-2007, 10:32 PM   #13
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For a handheld, you can't beat the Yaesu VX-170 for price/performance
Its built on a commercial radio chassis, gives you 5 watts, and is very weather resistant (dunkable).


Lots of choices on the mobile radio side - lots of great radios out there.
Other than the Icom 2720H which has a lot of detractors.

Last edited by K6UK; 03-09-2007 at 02:35 AM.
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Unread 03-13-2007, 01:37 PM   #14
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Mike, does your FT7800 do APRS out of the box?
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Unread 03-13-2007, 03:58 PM   #15
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I would not get handheld- I don't think there is much range diff between it and a good cb.
Out in Death Valley, a couple of us needed to contact the group and with the handheld, it was useless. The in-truck units can pump up the power and you can get good antennas. Some guys are getting great range with even a rubber ducky antenna and using only 10-15W power.

I like the 2M for safety/communications.

The Yaesu 1802 is around $150 I think... plus antenna is another $xx depends on what you get.
I like the Icom 208 (small faceplate, change from green to red backlight) but buttons feel noticably cheaper than the Yaesu 7800. Still, I wouldn't mind the Icom. eham.com has alot of ratings and stuff.

Gotta take my test soon!
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Unread 03-13-2007, 04:07 PM   #16
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Yaesu FT7800 http://www.universal-radio.com/catal...xvrs/3780.html
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Unread 03-13-2007, 04:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel View Post
Mike, does your FT7800 do APRS out of the box?
No, it doesn't - the only radios with buit in APRS TNCs are the Kenwood TM-D700A


And the Alinco DR-135T/MKIII (which is available with or without the TNC - or you can add it later)


I am using a (cheap) dedicated 2 meter radio for APRS, and will be using the OpenTracker2. This new TNC is in beta testing now, but is the most functional and cost effective TNC I have found for APRS use.

Last edited by K6UK; 03-13-2007 at 04:31 PM.
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Unread 03-15-2007, 01:25 PM   #18
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I like the HAM radio idea and I have been doing a little research as well. Alot of the guys that come through our area in desert research vehicles use HAM because the cell service is terrible and CB doesn't cover a broad enough range.

This thread comes at a perfect time, because I'd like to find a HAM radio in the next couple of weeks. Thanks for the info.
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Unread 03-15-2007, 02:51 PM   #19
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The more research I do the more sold on the idea I get. One thing to look out for is the reviews on the mobile HAM units. From what I have read the Yaesu models tend to run a little hot so if you plan on mounting in dash that might be a concern. I am leaning towards a mobile model dual band ICOM right now.

Ideally I would like to find a way to not have to carry the CB anymore but there is no "legal" way to have one unit do both.

One more note... If you get a dual band radio (2m/440) you can program it to receive the FRS radio signals. If you want to transmit on FRS with the HAM then that is a question of legality.
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Unread 03-15-2007, 06:10 PM   #20
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Brett is big in the Ham radio world. He must have four or five radios, handhelds, mounted ones, etc.....
He keeps bugging me to take the test(s), but I Hate Tests!!! Don't have the hours of study time required to learn more.
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