Ham Training

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So... wife asked me the other day, "How much could we save by dropping the house phone?" (Like many people anymore, we both carry cell phones.)

"I dunno. It comes bundled with the internet and TV, but I'll look into it. But -- regardless, can it wait until I complete the Ham training? I'd prefer to not give up one of our two ways of communicating without having another to replace it."

I just finished CERT training, and an immediate follow-on to that is the city offering Ham license training. Five Wednesday evenings plus an exam.

I don't have any burning desire to 'pull on the green eyeshade and talk to Australia in the middle of the night' but I gather ham radios now come the size of cell phones and it only has to reach the repeater to let me get a message out when the cell and land lines are saturated or down.

MrB+
 
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We just got our licenses. Got them for the same reason; to communicate when/if other means of communication are not working. I was debating about a handheld vs mobile unit, but since I'm not planning on doing it as a hobby the handheld made the most sense. It ended up costing $300 per unit by the time we added the necessary accessories (AA backup, mobile antenna, accessory speaker/mic). We bought new from Ham Radio Outlet, but were told that if we were going to buy used equipment it is best to buy it off a site such as qrz.com because the people who buy/sell on that forum are likely to be honest about the equipment they are selling.
 
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If you take to it much, you WILL have a pile of antennas and coax that will dwarf any gun collection! Probably one of the easiest things to make, too.
I got my ham license before my drivers license... And was quite active in the area with the Portland club and the local emergency services group until I went OTR. Lots of stuff to do, some interesting little niches in the hobby... Something for just about anyone. And the basic ham license is very easy to get, just basic electronic and propagation theory and the rule book...
 

Mark W.

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I would consider looking into at least a Mobile unit and a power converter as the small handhelds do not have a lot of range for getting out of the area. And if the cell towers are down due to power problems so will the repeaters.

I'm looking into a nice vintage tube Transmitter and Receiver granted AM only but EMF proof and point to point wiring and tubes is much easier to service (if you buy the spare tubes before you need them)

There is a very good reason the US NAVY still has Tube radar and Tube comm systems on their ships. And before you argue with me my son is currently a E5/ET2 in the NAVY and his first ship the USS Chancellorsville a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser has tube circuit transmitters and receivers in the Radar systems. And Tube backup comm systems.
 
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getting your license now is stupid easy to get. I got my General license with only studying for like 3 days prior. Don't really need to take a class or anything. There is a ton of info on the web. Over on AR15.com there is a pretty good thread on how to get started with lots of good links. Then just search the web for study guides and you should have enough to get you started.

One thing on the small handheld units, inside a building or vehicle they are pretty much worthless for transmitting. You can receive ok, but getting a signal out is a pain. That said, there are some pretty small radios, like the VX-3 from Yaesu. Good little radio, and by little I mean pretty dang small. Only downside is that its only 3watts which can be kind of limiting at times, but others are only 5w so its not much of a loss. If you are going to do it, I would get a mobile unit for each of your cars. You could also do just an external antenna with a hand held. I have been able to hit repeaters a long ways away with just 5w on my mobile unit so you could do well with just a handheld and a good antenna. But a couple handhelds a couple mobiles, and maybe even a multi-band mobile set up in the house running off of a battery back up and a good antenna would be a pretty good set up.
 
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So... wife asked me the other day, "How much could we save by dropping the house phone?" (Like many people anymore, we both carry cell phones.)

"I dunno. It comes bundled with the internet and TV, but I'll look into it. But -- regardless, can it wait until I complete the Ham training? I'd prefer to not give up one of our two ways of communicating without having another to replace it."

I just finished CERT training, and an immediate follow-on to that is the city offering Ham license training. Five Wednesday evenings plus an exam.

I don't have any burning desire to 'pull on the green eyeshade and talk to Australia in the middle of the night' but I gather ham radios now come the size of cell phones and it only has to reach the repeater to let me get a message out when the cell and land lines are saturated or down.


MrB+
Were you also in the class yesterday? I just took CERT training and it too has gotten me the bug to get my HAM.
 
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CERT training and getting your Ham license are both great ways to get yourself prepared and learn some new skills. However, I don't think you are going to save any money by dropping your land line and getting into Ham radios, in fact, I guarantee that it will cost you much more than you anticipate.
Ham radio is a great skill to learn and is extremely useful in large or small emergency situations and I encourage you to continue with your training and get your Ham license. The Technicial and General licenses are not difficult to attain, and there are websites available where you can take sample tests to give you a better chance of passing the license exam.
 
OP
M
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Ham with the right repeater access is like cell phone to other hammers without the bills.
A1
Or any expectation of privacy? Or do people use scramblers and that sort of thing now?

If you take to it much, you WILL have a pile of antennas and coax that will dwarf any gun collection! Probably one of the easiest things to make, too.
I already have a couple too-expensive hobbies, so I'm really NOT planning to get into this in a big way, but rather just as a disaster communications prep.

I would consider looking into at least a Mobile unit and a power converter as the small handhelds do not have a lot of range for getting out of the area. And if the cell towers are down due to power problems so will the repeaters.
I'm kinda' assuming the repeaters the city depends on for disaster communications will have battery/generator back-up.

getting your license now is stupid easy to get. I got my General license with only studying for like 3 days prior. Don't really need to take a class or anything.

One thing on the small handheld units, inside a building or vehicle they are pretty much worthless for transmitting. You can receive ok, but getting a signal out is a pain. That said, there are some pretty small radios, like the VX-3 from Yaesu.
Don't doubt for a minute that one can learn the material on one's own. The advantage for the class is that, now that I'm signed up, I'll actually DO IT.

Were you also in the class yesterday? I just took CERT training and it too has gotten me the bug to get my HAM.
Not me. Tigard's sequence starts next Wednesday.

...I don't think you are going to save any money by dropping your land line and getting into Ham radios, in fact, I guarantee that it will cost you much more than you anticipate.
I wasn't expecting the land-line to offset the ham gear costs. Just that the conversation w/ the wife went like, "Should we think about dropping the land-line, to save some money?" "Sure, but can we postpone that 'til after the ham setup is in hand?"

MrB+
 
It's not legal to use any encryption on Amateur radio. (You'll learn these limits in your study.) Could it be done with pre-coordination after some sort of lawless berakdown of the US? Sure. Technically it's not that difficult. But unless and until the federal government were completely gone, it would get your license revoked and potentially have other penalties.
 

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