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Thread: Advice for newbie.

  1. #1

    Question Advice for newbie.

    Hello

    Iíve joined the forum cos Iím after some advice.

    I got my foundation license a couple of years ago and Iíve not done anything with it. I got hold of a baofeng but couldnít make contact with anyone. Iím not available to go to the local club and canít afford more advanced equipment.

    Could anyone suggest ways I could keep my hand in? Books I can read, stuff I can do with the baofeng?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator 5B4AJB's Avatar
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    Echolink! OK, OK, it's VOIP/OR but close enough - you may have to do a bit of searching for a busy channel, but there are some excellent waffle channels.

    Library! pre-internet information! you might be suprised what your local library has under engineering.

    Two books you should own are the ARRL handbook and the RSGB handbook. How old they are doesn't really matter, the old ones have valve (tube) circuits, the new ones are Arduino etc.

    Shame you can't get to a club, this is where ideas are born, fail, then get re-invented (and we all get drunk meanwhile).

    You could build a simple datamodes interface and try your hand at Packet, RTTY and any number of other modes.


    Let us know how your library is stocked! in fact, it would be a good mission to see how everyone's local library caters for amateur radio...

  3. #3

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    How far are you from the nearest repeater? Where I am, I cannot hit any repeater with my Baofeng and stock antenna. When I connect my baofeng to my homemade 8 element yagi through 50 feet of RG8, I can full quiet the Bemidji repeater (51 miles the way the RF flies). I can full quiet the Coleraine repeater on a quarter watt (32 miles) using my Yaesu HT as well. Just last week I was pointed at the Coleraine Repeater and heard another repeater with a bit of static come through, turned out to be the Lakewood Ohio club (using the same frequencies and perfectly in line with my beam) 725 miles away! That was the first DX heard I on 2m (i didn't reach them back), and if not for the lake effect of the Great Lakes and a good beam, I likely would have not heard them at all. I was very excited!!!

    You might be able to put a little gain on that Baofeng and make some contacts!

    EDIT: a beam can be MacGyver'd out of scrap. The gama match on mine is made of tubes from a telescoping FM radio antenna and a soda straw for an insulator. Lucky it works so well, not sure the straw could handle me hooking the beam to my 50w VHF radio! I have no repeaters in range of my handheld (with stock antenna) and my 50w radio still collects dust unused! My little handhelds do all I need them to with that beam. Just tryin' to inspire...
    Last edited by brandon lind; Fri 24th Jan 2020 at 16:38.

  4. #4
    K7KBN's Avatar
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    HF. Unless you're well within range of a repeater AND in an area where there are several other active hams, V/UHF and a Baofeng are not good choices for a new ham
    73
    Pat K7KBN
    Semper ubi sub ubi.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Feenone View Post
    ....and can’t afford more advanced equipment
    ....stuff I can do with the baofeng?
    K7KBN, I'm sure he'd be happy to trade you his Baofeng for one of your HF rigs!

    Feenone, What is your location?
    Last edited by brandon lind; Sat 25th Jan 2020 at 01:04.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Feenone View Post
    Could anyone suggest ways I could keep my hand in? Books I can read, stuff I can do with the baofeng?
    Welcome aboard, from Northern Arizona.

    With a Foundation license, I am guessing that you are in England or Australia. Both have a Foundation license, but I don't think they are the same.

    The first thing you should get is a repeater directory for your area. You should be able to find one with a simple Google search. The repeater directory will give you the frequency, offset, and tone required to get into any of the repeaters. It might also give you an idea of the Simplex frequencies in your area. There should be some kind of activity.

    While the US Amateur Radio Handbook and the RSGB Handbook are good, you might look specifically for the RSGB UHF/VHF Handbook. That handbook is dedicated to operating on the UHF/VHF frequencies. A few years back, I got a mention in one of their issues. They sent me a free copy. I was impressed on how nice it was. The RSGB VHF/UHF Handbook goes for about $20, new.

    You can also get an old on-line copy of the RSGB VHF/UHF Handbook. But it's rather old (1969) and may not be suitable. Not that old manuals are not good. There is still lots of good information. But something more up to date would be better. I do have a PDF of the 2009 RSGB Handbook. If you like, I can put it on-line and provide you a link.
    Martin, K7MEM
    http://www.k7mem.com
    Ash Fork, AZ - 60 miles from the Grand Canyon on Rt-66. Elevation 5,300 ft.

  7. #7

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    Hi Feenone,

    You don't mention your location. That would help as then we would be able to calculate your distance to the nearest repeater. I am assuming that your radio is dual band.
    I am in Nottingham. Not been active for a few years but have many radios, dual band & hf sitting in boxes waiting for me to set up a station.
    I passed the RAE in the 90s.

    You may have better luck connecting your HT to an external antenna. Very cheap & easy to do. Then you will reach the repeaters. You can even add an amp if needed.

    I also have a couple of baofeng hands. But never use them as l have a yaesu vx-8e sitting in its box.

    73 Jim

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