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Thread: New to Ham radio

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2020
    South Killingholme

    Default New to Ham radio

    Hello out there.

    I am just starting out on Ham radio, and taking My Foundation Exam on the 10/6/20. Moving forward I would like to go onto intermediate, then to Full licence. I have found that in general the foundation course is not that hard. I did slip upon Ohms law, but ok now.

    The history of radio started with Me in the 70s with CB, moving onto radio scanning. Listening to aviation and other radio communications. Aviation is My other hobby, along with photography. When put together the hobbies work well together, when at a airport/airfield. I listen for the aircraft on the radio, which in turn prepares Me for the photograph as it lands/takes off. lastly it is the identification of the aircraft (registration).

    Due to having time on My hands, I thought I would further the radio hobby, and go for My amateur licence. On the back burner, I may take up a interest in electronics. You are never too old to learn, at 61.

    David P

  2. #2


    Hi from Nottingham David.

    I also had the radio bug from an early age & had a CB. But decided to sit the RAE 30yrs ago. Glad that l did as the exam structure has now changed meaning all 3 stages must be passed to get a full licence. I sat 2 exams (2hrs 45 min) & that was it. No practical exams needed back then if you went straight for the RAE. I have been off air for a while due to work commitments, but renewed my licence every 5yrs. Now retired at 62 & have radios & much other gear in boxes atm. Now l need to decide if l should set things up in the house, or in my workshop beside the lathes.

    You should manage the Foundation exam without difficulty. Unsure how far away l am from you, but if you need any advice just pm me.

    There is a thread on "UK remotely invigorated online Foundation exams are now operational". You should pop over & have a read. I will give you the link that l put on that forum below.

    So best of luck with that exam & hope to hear you on the air soon.

    73 Jim

  3. #3


    All I will say is that most of what you said probably applies to 90% of everyone involved in amateur radio. We are old, we remember the old days. We have time on our hands and money to spend and are looking for a hobby.

    My opinion?

    Well I wouldn't waste my time buying FM radio equipment or walkie talkies, they don't talk very far and you will quickly run out of people you want to talk to - if you have any sort of educational background you wouldn't want to talk to dullards.

    Save your money, buy the very best HF radio you can afford, nothing used, nothing cheap, and the very best commercial antenna, no G5RV'S , sorry Lou Varney, but even Lou G5RV WILL TELL YOU, HE WENT TO HIS GRAVE WISHING THAT HE NEVER DESIGNED IT.
    Even that is kind of a lie, because it was a very old design that he copied and modified to use in his garden behind his house.
    Lou was a really neat guy, knew about things like how to use a Smith Chart. But he never did get his antenna to work right on much of anything except 20 meters. Then again, his radios used tubes and he didn't have all the problems we have today..

    I would recommend all hams read this book -

    It will give you an idea of where we came from...

  4. #4


    Whilst the dipoles may not be everyone's choice, they are cheap. However if you want to work all HF bands then an ATU would be a good idea as the inbuilt ATU in most modern radios have their limitations. But your radio is only as good as your antenna. And your antenna choice will come down to..... How much money you have to spend + your location. Planning permission will be required for towers, beams + some big verticals.
    So if we knew your home situation. EG: Flat, House in town, House in country ect, then we can offer any advice if you should need it.

    R2D2 suggested a couple of books. But l notice they are USA links (OP is in UK). Perhaps they can be downloaded.

    My interest in radio came from history lessons in school. Namely ..... "MGY CQD/SOS". I, like millions of people, was captivated with the story. And many more, if not all, would have died but for that radio.
    I acquired some radio gear as a kid then was arrested by the police for transmitting without a licence. TBH l never even realised that l needed a licence. They let me off due to my age. But they seized my gear.

    Then l left school & my career took over my time.
    Was about 30 when my attention turned back to radios. I had some like-minded mates so we all decided to go to night school then sit the RAE.

    I would agree with R2D2 re VHF/UHF, not much activity on those bands. But you can buy a baofeng dual band radio for peanuts & it may also cover the aircraft frequencies. Unsure of the exact frequencies they use without looking it up.
    Many of the modern HF radios have those bands included. If you join a local club you will want a handy to keep in touch.

  5. #5


    Antenna tuners are a waste of money.. Why spend money on something that does nothing when you could apply it towards a antenna that actually works! I use this on all non warc bands from 80m to 70cm without an antenna tuner..

    They ought to give me a free one for as many times as I have promoted this company online.

  6. #6


    This will give you a general idea of how they work:
    If you take an 80-meter 1/2-wave antenna and feed it in the middle, the impedance is around 72 ohms and is a very close match for 50-ohm coaxial cable. This same antenna is resonant on numerous other bands, such as 40, 20, and 10 meters. If you take this same antenna and use it on forty meters and keep the feed point in the center of the antenna, the feed point impedance will be around 3000 ohms. This is not a good match for coaxial cable. This antenna is a full wave antenna on forty meters but has to be fed at a different location if one wants to use 50-ohm coaxial cable. Move the feed point of this antenna so it is positioned one quarter-wave length in from the end of the antenna. The feed point impedance of this antenna will again be about 72 ohms and is a good match for 50-ohm coaxial cable. If you use this antenna on 10 meters, again move the feed point of this antenna so it is one quarter-wave in from the end. Again you will have a good match for 50 ohms coaxial cable and now have the makings of a long wire antenna with gain.

    To make this same 80-meter dipole usable on numerous bands without moving the feed point for every band, you have to find a common point where numerous frequencies converge at a given impedance. By feeding this antenna one-third of the way in from the one end, you will find this so-called, "Sweet Spot". The only thing left to resolve is the high impedance of this antenna at that point. The impedances of the numerous bands, on this antenna, will range from as low as 150 ohms up to around 300 ohms at this feed point. By placing a 4:1 Guanella Current Balun at this point you will have an almost perfect transformation of impedance so the 50-ohm coaxial cable can be used. The end result would be an antenna that is usable on seven ham bands.

    The overall length of this antenna is 135 feet. One leg of this antenna is 45 feet long and the other leg is 90 feet long. This will place the feed point of the antenna 45 feet in from one end.

  7. #7


    OCF80 80 meter Off Center Fed Antenna @ 135 feet long rated 5KW $135.95 $14.50

    For the price of a cheap, please note I did not say GOOD, antenna tuner, you now have a antenna that needs no tuner that can work 8 bands and is efficient.. Fits in about the same area as a Gee god, why did I buy this antenna, 5RV..

    This is the purpose of finding a true Elmer is - to find someone that will advise you well and not mislead you in the wrong direction.

  8. #8


    A dipole with 2 X 45 feet legs may be fine if you have a very big garden.
    I, like many, don't. That takes us back to verticals & ATU's. Although l have ATU's built into my HF rigs, l also have a manual ATU.

    So antenna options comes down to...
    What bands do you want to work?
    How much space you have available.
    If you "need" planning permission, is it likely to be granted?

    As the OP is in UK, the answer to the last question would be "probably not". Local authorities tend not to be sympathetic to ham antennas. Same goes for neighbours, many will complain.
    Many hams have been ordered to take down their towers.

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