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Ok, I got a silly Baofeng and a Tech Exam Manual..

Discussion in 'HAM Radio' started by **DRB**, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. **DRB**

    **DRB**

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    Bought a UV-5R a while back, not sure why. Programmed it for all my local PD / Fire / Repeaters to listen in on what’s going on, and it now lives on all the time and makes trips with me in the truck back and forth to work.

    Got the Tech Exam study manual on Saturday from Amazon and thinking about going for the Tech exam in Lunenburg on Wednesday.

    I doubt I’ll pass, as frankly I still barely have an idea of what I’m reading but at least I know what the test looks like.

    The big thing I’m wondering is, WHY?!? I’m still really not sure why I want to or what I’m going to do if / when I pass. I’m 38, and don’t exactly feel like I fit in with what my perception of the HAM crowd is. I find some of the tech interesting and the idea of having a basic prepped type knowledge and rig setup attractive.

    What the hell am I doing? Other than about to dive into yet another $10k hobby

    drb
     
  2. vickers

    vickers NES Member

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    If you want to pass the technician's exam, you haven't given yourself much time to study if you want to take the test Wednesday. While maybe not impossible, depending on your retention, I found it took me about a week to memorize the questions using HamExam.org: Free Amateur Radio Practice Tests with Flash Cards . I did also take a class, but in reality all the class did was give me a little more background and in depth knowledge on the subjects which really isn't 100% necessary.

    Ham radio is really about learning while doing so if you just want to pass Tech, memorize the questions and learn about what you want to do with it after the fact.

    I got my General by reading through the ARRL General Manual, watching Dave "KE0OG" Casler's chapter intro video's on YouTube and, again, using HamExam.org: Free Amateur Radio Practice Tests with Flash Cards. Though I took a bit longer than when I got my Technician as i worked through the chapters in the book one or two a night. Regardless, I had my general a little less than two weeks after buying the book.

    I was 53 when I got my Tech license three month's ago. I have less than $1000 into it for a HT radio, mobile rig and antennas for UHF/VHF. If you've enjoyed listening then you will probably enjoy talking as well. Get on there and see if you like it. I have met some good people so far. Don't worry about your perceptions.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
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  3. Scott7980

    Scott7980 NES Member

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    got mine because of drone flying, then my general to play on hf. not a talker but over the last year its been fun
     
  4. w1ujay

    w1ujay NES Member

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    No-Nonsense Study Guides - KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog
    Another ham study materials resource that could help speed your learning.

    It could be another $10k hobby if you want it to- or not..
    There are dozens of paths to take within this hobby- even if you do not 'use it' now, it could be useful sometime in the future.

    Once you pass the exam, you never have to again. To that point, don't stop at Technician Class and work towards General or Amateur Extra (while you are young!)

    uj-
     
  5. Parker Duofold

    Parker Duofold NES Member

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    $10K?
    Elecraft K3S HF transceiver with upgrades - $5000
    Solid state amplifier - $6000
    Antenna and all kinds of other stuff - $3000
    Hobbies. You can spend as much or a little as you like.
     
  6. VetteGirlMA

    VetteGirlMA NES Member

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    It doesn't need to be a $10k hobby, in fact my ham hobby is probably the cheapest one I do. Certainly cheaper than my trips to buy ammo. I focused my attention on having a source of communication that can still function (by solar power) in the event that power goes out for any length of time. I programmed my HTs with most of the key frequencies as you have done.

    About a year ago I was heading down to the house in RI and had my Yaesu on. As I starter to come into range of the Westerly 2m repeater it was then that I realized that there was a road race going on downtown and if I didn't take an alternate route I would end up sitting in traffic for hours. So I took the backroads and bypassed the race.
     
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  7. one-eyed Jack

    one-eyed Jack Manufacturer Dealer NES Member

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    Get the tech. Work 2m fm for a while just to get your feet wet. Then move on to the general. Jack. W1FKG.
     
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  8. **DRB**

    **DRB**

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    Hadn’t thought of drone stuff... interesting
     
  9. **DRB**

    **DRB**

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    I wasn’t taking a crack at the hobby by saying $10k, more just I know myself ;)
     
  10. **DRB**

    **DRB**

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    Thanks for all the info!

    My study method at the moment is nothing more than learning the correct answers to the test. I also doubt I’ve given myself enough time, but if I don’t give myself a deadline I will just talk about it and not do it. I typically learn really fast with a hands on approach, something which is hard to do with no equipment and not really a clue of why I even want to do this
     
  11. **DRB**

    **DRB**

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    Yeah, I guess building a semi self reliant system is of particular interest to me as well. Thank you
     
  12. n1oty

    n1oty NES Member

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    A lot of us take and convert commercial radios that are being dumped by municipalities, states and/or the feds for short money. I've purchased 5 year old radios that some city or town spent thousands to purchase, only for me to buy it for pennies on the dollar. Or...........................................you can go up to the candy store in NH and spend gobs of cash.
     
  13. drgrant

    drgrant Moderator NES Member

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    Just take the computer generated tests till you pass reliably.

    There are all kinds of people in the radio arts, as it were. (Ham, CB, SWL, monitoring, etc.... lots of crossover between all of them, too) You don't have to fit the "hasn't taken a shower in a month and is obsessed with FCC part 97 with pole permanently inserted in rectum uppity ham archetype" to enjoy messing around with radio gear. (and thankfully, as time goes on those "foamer" type people are becoming more of a minority. ) Some people talk more. Some listen more. Some like to tinker and build shit. It's not an absolute requirement but some electronics knowledge, even basic stuff (like how to solder) will get you more capability, etc.

    Most hams (or radio guys in general) are RAGING, penny scraping with a shovel, skinflints, 10K? 10K???? [rofl]



    Thankfully there's still a statistically significant amount that open their wallets once every decade or so, otherwise we'd be stuck with junk for
    radios, etc. There's a lot of decent gear out there too, particularly compared to even the 80s... You don't have to spend a ton though, to get started. (of course it all depends on what your objectives are).

    That said, even I don't always write off the skinflints.... some of the flinting that is engaged in, has technical advantages, namely things like being able to build your own antennas, etc. Even if you buy commercial more often than not, knowing how they work is useful. Or if you want to just get on the air on some band and don't want to commit yet, etc. There's literally a lot of stuff you can build that's not easily buyable, or is way overpriced, etc. As an example a bunch of my CB friends (who are also hams) have been building the shit out of these things for 2M and 6M SSB use.....




    Or like the stuff that n1oty is talking about with the commercial radios. Some of that stuff is gold...

    Hardest part of radio as a hobby is having time to do everything you want to do... but that's life in general....


    -Mike
     
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  14. Uzi2

    Uzi2 NES Member

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    Commercial vhf or uhf is the way to go. The only thing is, they don't have a vfo, which may or may not matter.

    I've got several commercial vhf and uhf pulls that work excellent.
     
  15. n1oty

    n1oty NES Member

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    Some of my commercial gear is flashed for fpp.
     
  16. **DRB**

    **DRB**

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    Not sure where or how to achieve that with commercial gear... For now Im trying to decide between the ID-5100 or the FTM-400XDR for the truck
     
  17. Evtide

    Evtide NES Member

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    Having owned both, you'll likely be pleased which ever way you go. I thought the Icom was a bit more rugged and coming from an Icom shack, the menu structure was easier for me, but the Yaesu display was head-and-shoulders above the Icom, and the built-in APRS was pretty slick.
     
  18. drgrant

    drgrant Moderator NES Member

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    What are your goals with the radio? Honestly 440 is (kinda) dead in new england because of the pave paws bullshit not liable to get nearly as much use, unless you really want the expanded RX range to listen to cops etc. There used to be an awesome 440 repeater that covered everywhere but the control op died several years ago and whoever took it over probably shut it down because they were likely whacked by the gov because of the pave paws BS. (Amateur use is secondary on 70cm, military runs radar systems in this band). Obviously if you want D-STAR or Fusion etc. (digital modes) you'll need a 5100 or any of the radios that Yaesu is giving away. Be aware that they are not cross compatible, although once in a blue moon there will be a gateway somewhere that does both. Personally I never bothered with it because the digital voice quality is just garbage, sounds like people are talking underwater. The only radio that sounds nice on any of those modes is the new Kenwood handheld that does D-Star, ironically... if two people are talking on those, I can actually understand them on Dstar. (I think the fact that there's not one superior digital voice mode/format/etc is dumb, but that's a whole separate topic).

    Nobody will tell me whether or not the ID5100 is an intermod sponge or not. Previous radios in the lineup definitely were, like the 2720 and the 2820, those things were worthless because the front end gets hammered and all you can hear is atari noises if you go inside of 95 with either of those things, but I would hope the 5100 would have matured a lot more. It certainly is a popular radio, although some have complained about display failures but I don't know if thats heat, sunlight, or just random whining.

    I ended up with a Kenwood V71A at home after dumping my 2820. Excellent radio for $350, unlock mod is easy to do. Audio with the stock mic is decent and actually has adjustment from the menu. My only whine with this radio is the alpha tagging sucks on it (it's only limited to 5 characters). Robust and runs very cool even at 50W.

    I'm normally an Icom fanboi too but some of their VHF/UHF stuff is lacking, although I do like the two V8000 VHF mobiles I have had for years. Robust, not easily annihilated RX, plenty of juice on output and don't overheat.

    -Mike
     
  19. VTHunter

    VTHunter NES Member

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    My son and I went to a 'Tech in a Day' session on the North Shore a few years ago(I think it was Gloucester). My son was 14 at the time. They had us study the CORRECT ANSWER to each question for a few hours. Then, we took the test. We both passed. You don't really need much time.
    Good luck!
     
  20. **DRB**

    **DRB**

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    The cross band repeater function on the 400XDR I think is kinda interesting. I dont have strong feelings on any of the digital offerings from either Yaesu or Icom other than they are all dumb for not working on a standard - what is this 1950?
     
  21. **DRB**

    **DRB**

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    I dont know what I have for goals or expectations... The idea of basic comms between the family in a semi emergency is cool. The idea of having a radio in the truck for longer driving trips seems interesting (driving to DC with the camper for a week this year, always driving around New England with the RV in general) . Learning about antennas and maybe some longer range stuff with a general ticket seems interesting - CW seems like a horribly painful thing to learn, but im intrigued. Playing with solar power / batteries with a mobile rig to make long distance contacts is really and amazing idea and fits right in with my gun owner paranoia ;)
     
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  22. n1oty

    n1oty NES Member

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    You are correct that he needs to focus on his immediate needs. I don't believe UHF is completely toast in southern NE though. Those of us that do the commercial digital modes (NXDN, DMR, P25) have managed to sandwich digital repeaters utilizing extra narrow bandwidths just under the 450 MHz limit. This has been high enough to avoid the Air Force radars and higher in frequency than any analog repeater can do without spilling above 450. Furthermore, if he travels, UHF is heavily used around the rest of the country.

    Another gem in the UHF region is the GMRS frequencies, especially for family comms. For the most part though, this generally requires a commercial radio or a modded ham radio being operated illegally.

    I like commercial UHF radios for the occasional ham repeater and the GMRS frequencies for maximum flexibility.
     
  23. **DRB**

    **DRB**

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    Went to lunenburg and passed the Tech, tried the General for fun but only got 11 right
     
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  24. vickers

    vickers NES Member

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    Congrats! I am also looking at the FTM-400DXR for the truck. Though I have gone a while on 2M/70cm just using my HT with a magmount antenna on a cookie sheet.
     
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  25. AHM

    AHM NES Member

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    Pro-tip: If you use the top of a toaster oven instead of a cookie sheet
    for a ground plane/counterpoise,
    you can make pizza rolls while you're operating.

    Which will last until you get into microwave,
    and can just dangle the pizza rolls in front of the dish.
     
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  26. Len-2A Training

    Len-2A Training Instructor Instructor NES Life Member NES Member

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    I have a 5 drawer file cabinet near my station, so I put the mag-mount antenna (it came off a car that died a few years ago) on the file cabinet. Makes a good ground plane.
     
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  27. NHCraigT

    NHCraigT NES Member

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    mmmm....pizza rolls

    [​IMG]
     
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  28. **DRB**

    **DRB**

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    Got my call sign the other day and a box from DX Engineering today... open ended it up and realized I forgot to add a NMO thick mount for the bracket for the hood in the Tacoma

    Anywhere I can get one local? (I’m out in Gardner(
     
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  29. Uzi2

    Uzi2 NES Member

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    Any online order should have it on your doorstep in a couple of days. Couldn't be any more expensive than the gasoline and time expended to go pick one up.
     
  30. AHM

    AHM NES Member

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    Plead with someone you know going to NEAR-Fest today/tomorrow?
     

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