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Thread: So Green, I'm still a seed.

  1. #1

    Default So Green, I'm still a seed.

    As the title goes, I'm very new to this hobby. I'm working on an online tutorial to get myself ready for my license.
    I'm hoping to learn much from this forum as well as meet new people with this same interest.
    I am 52 and was forced into an early retirement so I could help my father. He's 80 and has Parkinson's and suffered a mild stroke a couple years back.
    I'm from Hawaii, but I'm newly located in northern Utah where my father lives. He was a radioman in the Navy and he taught me electrical theory when I was 8. I Remember working on tv in his shop he had for a side business. I would desolder components while I watched him use his Heathkit O scope. I even soloed at age 10, having fixed a customer's TV set without any input from him. He still knows his morse code and I'm hoping some CW time will add more smiles in his life.

    David

  2. #2

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    Hi from UK David,

    Wish you luck with that exam.
    They have all exams online your side of the pond. We only have the Foundation exam online ATM. That's the equiv to your Tech exam. Although l am not sure what frequencies the Tech license will allow you to use. In UK the Foundation license allows use of all ham bands. But the power is limited to 10w.

    Wonder if your dad kept up his ham license. Perhaps you can renew that for him. Or he may be happy just to listen in. No doubt he will be proud that you have decided to sit the exam.

    If you need any advice there are many hams happy to help. You will also need to consider your antenna options. Are you in a position to errect a vertical, beam or dipole? As your radio will only be as good as your antenna.

    So remember, just ask if you need to know anything. And best of luck with that exam. Although l think you will pass first time. And your dad will be proud when you frame the license & put it on the wall.

    73 Jim

  3. #3

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    The on-line tutorials are good to use. It gives you a good start. On QRZ.com, and a few other sites, there are practice exams. The exams contain the exact questions that could be asked on the test. Study a bit, take an practice exam, and then research the questions you got wrong. Do that and you will get through the test just fine.

    Since you already have some electronic background, I recommend that you also look into the General and Extra tests. It is very common these days for prospective hams to pass all three tests in one sitting.

    I have had a ham license for 55 years and work mostly CW. It a little challenging to learn, but very worth while. There are groups available that can help you out. For example, the SKCC (Straight Key Century Club) is dedicated to using mechanical keys. These would be straight keys, side swipers (aka cootie keys), and bugs (Semi-Automatic keys). The group is very active.

    Good luck in getting your license and getting on the air. Let us know how you are progressing.
    Martin, K7MEM
    http://www.k7mem.com
    Ash Fork, AZ - 60 miles from the Grand Canyon on Rt-66. Elevation 5,300 ft.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the Welcome!

    Jim, antennas are exactly what I've been starting to look into to. I am able to set a permanent antenna on our house. Even maybe a tower about 6 meters high, but that would be covered in the canopy of a bunch of trees. I'm hoping for 1, maybe 2 antennas while I'm here. Our plan is to move to Wisconsin next summer, if the pandemic allows.
    I was looking into an "octopus"? For multi bands. But I have no idea what I'm looking at or for at the moment.
    I do have the rig decided down to: Icom 7300, Yaesu ftdx1200 or ftdx3000. I dont know what the differences are in those radios yet. More researching.

    Martin, unfortunately my father didn't follow up, or even have an interest in radios after he retired from the navy in the late 70s. He got into computers and went back to the navy to work as a civilian until he finally retired.
    I am definitely going to work with him on trying to get a license for him. I did find his bug. Its a beautiful vibroplax and he teared up last night when I brought it out.
    I'm leaning towards the Icom 7300. It has a cw converter that will help me listen in, and I plan to manually key my transmissions. I just noticed the yaesu ftdx 3000 and 1200 last night and I'm going to look into the difference between those 3. If you have any info on them I'd greatly appreciate it.
    As I mentioned to Jim, I'm also looking into antennas. I have the ability to go with a permanent mount for the aerial and possibly a smallish tower. But the tower would be covered up by trees.

    David

  5. #5
    Super Moderator 5B4AJB's Avatar
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    It might be worth starting with a Software Defined Radio, before you take the plunge and go "all in".

    They can be as cheap as $15 - $150 will get you a good one nowadays, such as the HackRF1 (1MHz-6GHz) or the ADALM-Pluto (which I have my eye on for QO-100)

    Bear in mind though, they only put out a few milliwatts and if you want more, you'll need a linear amplifier/tuner/meter. They do not compare to a "real" radio for convenience and sensitivity, but are great fun and do the job pretty well...

  6. #6
    K7KBN's Avatar
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    David--if you get a chance, take a look at the north side of Washington Island WI. Google Earth will show you a few antenna farms. I was visiting the area several years ago and used up a lot of drool...
    73
    Pat K7KBN
    Semper ubi sub ubi.

  7. #7

  8. #8

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    It appears to me that when a person makes a statement like this that they are not asking for help and the replies quickly goes in tangents.

    Without a grasp of what amateur radio is all about, you don't get much out of something if you don't know much about it.

    1960's / 70's television isn't the same as amateur radio today. There are no discreet components in a modern day amateur radio.

    Not many people realizes that even though there is only a couple of questions on the amateur radio exam pertaining to the rules, it is the responsibility of the licensee to learn all the rules in the part 97 sub part 15.

    And amateur radio is more than just talking - just like talking on a telephone.

    Here is my advice, forget about cheating your way into the hobby by just learning the questions and the answers and learning them just long enough to parrot them back to someone to get the license. Make a real investment into the hobby. The people that invests more gets more out of it.

    Buy yourself the ARRL Technician, General, and Extra Class License Manual and READ! READ! READ!

    These manuals are produced to produce real hams!

    Amateur radio - and I know you think that just because you did something a looong time ago that you know this stuff, but you don't, that this hobby must be about the electronic side of things, but it isn't. The purpose of the electronics part is only because in the old days we built things ourselves, because we had to. Unless we were rich, which young people are never rich unless they are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, they have to look for alternate sources of equipment.

    The first hams were of mixed age, but a lot of them were kids, because kids grasps technology a lot better than adults.
    World War 1 and World War 2 and the Korean War and to a lesser extent Vietnam, wars are fought by kids. 18 - 36 yr olds were drafted during World War ll. They were taught radio code at radio school, they were taught electronics theory in radio school - because out in the field if it broke, they had to fix it themselves.. There wasn't no tv repairman that was going to come to your tent in the Argonne Forrest to repair your radio. And the enemy is not shooting at you when you are working in a television repair shop.
    Some military radios traveled with spare tubes. Tubes were expendable, but they were also durable. A tube would take a lot of abuse. CB'rs worries about SWR. SWR is just a product of the antenna. I saw references to people building their own antenna as a good first project, but why? Why do you need to build a crappy antenna when you can buy a good antenna?

    Antennas are built because radios today do not have discreet components and people wants to feel like hams after they get the license.
    It makes them feel like a ham when they build their own antenna - even if the antenna is a piece of crap, because they want to do something to justify their skills and proficiency. They need some sort of affirmation that they belong here.
    Some learns Q code terms and they throw them out like the first pitch at a baseball game every chance they get, to make themselves appear as being knowledgeable. Oh Qsl Qsl,Roger that, roger that, copy that , copy that.

    What you need is an ELMER, AN ELMER, not a Ten Tec Eagle or a Icom 7610 or a Flex, an Elmer, someone knowledgeable about amateur radio. it doesn't have to be someone who's only claim to fame is how long they have been licensed. There are a lot of bad drivers out there on the road that has been licensed 40 years. Can you learn much, if anything right from them?
    The same is true with amateur radio!

    Does code make you knowledgeable? yes your dad knew code, but you don't. You can't ride on the coat tails of your dad, you are the person getting the license not your dad. My dad knew code - that don't grandfather you in!

    Most people don't do code anymore.. And that is a fact! Most bands - 6 meters included, you don't hear people talking anymore, because they are all doing ding dong modes. The saddest song on the radio is when I stopped hearing voices and started hearing ding dong ding dong buzz humm buzz humm.. People don't talk to each other anymore, they text.. They don't want to be hams anymore, they want to play ham cell phone and send messages to each other. Some wants to talk - just like they did on the cb radio, and they will probably find what they were looking for, just listen to 7.200 in the afternoon. People playing recordings and music and acting like idiots.

    We Need Hams! Real Hams! Not CB'rs. Buy the books, learn the material, come by it honestly!

    http://www.arrl.org/part-97-text

    https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-id...15_main_02.tpl

    Now lets see how many people can cheat their way into the hobby by trying to speak the lingo.
    Last edited by R2D2; Tue 19th May 2020 at 13:19.

  9. #9

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    This may seem funny, but I have an Uncle that got me into radio and scanner listening a long time ago, more than 50 years ago.

    My Uncle is very intelligent. He started out in CB radio, which lead to going to Tech School and taking a job working for General Electric.

    Monday 8 - 19 - 69 was his anniversary start date at GE, The Friday before he graduated from Tech school, the following Monday he started work at General Electric. Was he a licensed ham? well no, he couldn't pass the code test, it all sounded like dits and dah's and he was too busy doing things to take time out of his life to learn the code. He worked after school and on weekends in an Army Navy Clothing surplus store.
    He saved his money $.65 an hour and bought a expensive $265 cb radio and a expensive $250 beam antenna - Hy Gain Duo 10, and built his own antenna rotor out of a tv antenna rotor and a locking mech made out of a solenoid and a piece of file that was shoved into the gears inside of the tv rotor to lock it in place. This lead to a career at GE where he became the head of customer service and management, until management dug a hole so deep they couldn't get out and the business went out of business.

    My Uncle restored dozens of ham radios, both for himself and others. My Uncle to this day still works every day, repairing microwave radios, power supplies, Marti's etc. For the government, the military, NASA, US Border patrol, Vandenberg Airforce base. Even equipment used by the FCC, Green Bank and Arecibo.

    If it wasn't for my Uncle telling me that amateur radio was a joke and all you had to do to get a license was sign your name the right way on the application and pass a simple test, I wouldn't be licensed today. because he made it sound so easy and so dumb that anyone could do it, I did it to show him that I could do it, apply myself and make something of myself.

    I don't have an expensive radio, I don't over compensate my lack of knowledge with amplifiers and expensive equipment.. I spent a disproportional amount of time listening, and very little time actually operating, I pick and choose whom I talk with and how long I talk with them. Yes I do CW, I listen to CW, it took me 7 years to teach myself code. I use a practice oscillator all the time to practice.. I practice cadence. Every letter exactly the same way every time exactly the same spacing, over and over again, until it sounds like a keyer. I won't talk to someone if they send sloppy code. I just won't do it. I call CQ, I don't hang out on nets. I try to help people, but most people are beyond help. I fix equipment for those that are deserving, but I don't hang out a shingle and do it as a business.
    I always ask for help from others when there is something i don't know or don't understand.
    Yes, I do have Elmers that I use when there are things that I don't understand. But I also have a computer, the greatest computer ever made, it sits on my neck above my shoulders, if I don't know something, I can look it up online, but even that is not always the right answer, when the person giving me advice is giving me their opinions and not factual advice.
    There are lot's of Wikipedia pages out there that explains most topics. You can usually do a search and find what you are looking for.

    But just learning the questions and the answers to pass the test to get the license so you can hang out and call yourself a ham doesn't really show how smart your are, just how lazy you are.. Just doing the bare minimum isn't something that I would ever brag about!
    It doesn't show how smart someone is, just how dumb they are!

    Amateur Radio does not stand for anything anymore! And that is a fact! At least when we had CODE, the CODE kept 90% of the LIDS out. The Code is something you can't fake. You either learn it or you don't go any further. That is why there was never a whole lot of licensed hams out there, but there was a lot of shortwave listeners. The shortwave listeners didn't necessarily want to be hams.
    shortwave radio - broadcast shortwave radio was more entertainment, or factual - listening for world news, then just listening to your neighbor Joe talk to some drunk - BOB in the next town on a 2 meter repeater. If you talk to that person long enough, eventually you will have heard all of their stories and there won't be anything left to talk about except what you watched on tv and what you saw going on outside of your house or what you read in a newspaper or on the internet. Politics and sports.

    30 years ago when they dropped the code requirement, people got the license because they felt it made them something, it made them appear to be smart, because long time ago only smart people had a license.
    Then the husband and wife got a license so they could use it like a cell phone.. Fathers and sons got a license so they could talk to each other. Only you look at QRZ and you look at the licenses being cancelled and what do you see, those very same people that got the license so they could talk, now are letting the license die because they don't need it anymore.. They got cell phones and they don't want to be bothered with a ham radio where everyone can hear what they say and they don't want to put up antennas or be real hams!
    Last edited by R2D2; Tue 19th May 2020 at 22:07.

  10. #10

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    When choosing your radio you need to consider what bands you want to use.
    FTDX3000 will give you HF + VHF & UHF. The other 2 you mentioned won't.
    So do you want to buy a separate radio for the VHF/UHF bands? Or do you want a radio that has it all?
    Do you want to use your radio portable or mobile? If so then another one to look at is the FT847. Or is that scope in the ftdx models a must? A scope can be connected to some of the other radios. If you can afford to buy a radio that has all the bells & whistles & that's what floats your boat then that is the way to go.

    Same for antennas. If you can afford the biggest & best go for it.
    When l started out with radios money was an issue. So my first antennas were dipoles cut from lengths of copper wire. But if l had the kind of money that l have now l would have bought the best.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by G7NFP View Post
    When choosing your radio you need to consider what bands you want to use.
    FTDX3000 will give you HF + VHF & UHF. The other 2 you mentioned won't.
    So do you want to buy a separate radio for the VHF/UHF bands? Or do you want a radio that has it all?
    Do you want to use your radio portable or mobile? If so then another one to look at is the FT847. Or is that scope in the ftdx models a must? A scope can be connected to some of the other radios. If you can afford to buy a radio that has all the bells & whistles & that's what floats your boat then that is the way to go.

    Same for antennas. If you can afford the biggest & best go for it.
    When l started out with radios money was an issue. So my first antennas were dipoles cut from lengths of copper wire. But if l had the kind of money that l have now l would have bought the best.
    Something I don't understand, you are already recommending a radio, but he doesn't even have the license yet?

    Seriously, you are giving your opinion on which radio is best, when what this person needs is encouragement to get the licenses.

    Anyone can jabber like a monkey sitting in a tree, its the technical side, grasping the theory - that should come first.

    Find someone knowledgeable to Elmer you. Not a CB'r, but someone that truly knows how to operate properly.

    Digital modes should come - if you want them, after you first master the basics. You people are putting the cart before the horse.

    A good house is built on a good foundation, no foundation = a house that won't stand!

    As far as all in one radios goes, they make a good cb radio, but they tend to be poor performers when it comes to really operating.

    In the long run it is much cheaper to start out with a simple $300.00 UHF / VHF Kenwood / Yaesu / Icom FM radio.

    Then when it comes time to upgrade to General and HF you can buy a decent HF + 6 radio such as the Kenwood TS590SG.

    Without good antennas, the radio, by itself, doesn't really do anything.

    That is why I said about not building your own antenna to make you feel like a ham, and buying a good commercial antenna - like an off-center fed antenna that will get you multiple bands without an antenna tuner and amplifier.

    But again, we first need to concentrate on the basics, learning the rules of the road before we talk about radios and antennas and building your first station. This foundation can only be built using the proper tools, books such as the ARRL License Manuals and learning the rules - which I posted on a previous post. Finding someone to teach you how to operate properly.. There is a lot more to amateur radio then just buying a radio and a power supply and a tuner and transmitting. That's the only reason why I even mention cb radio, because that was all that there was to operating cb radio was buying things, hooking them up and transmitting.

  12. #12

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    Lot's of people will say - I'm going to be a ham, but very few of them follows thru and does it all the way..

    I've seen lot's of them that showed up for VE Test exams that failed because they didn't realize that they needed to know the material before hand and they did not study properly and just learned question TE:123 - the answer is C - E=I/R..
    When it came time to take the exam, and it looked different, or there were too many questions, they started guessing and failed, and then they never came back to attempt it again, because it was too hard!

  13. #13

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    While I tend to agree with a high percentage of your posts in this thread, I have a hard time giving anyone "cred" that won't use a call sign on a forum. Not just this forum, either.

    My problem, obviously.

  14. #14

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    So here l am jabbering like a monkey from my tree. But my tree is in UK and there is no exam that l can take to get a higher ham licence (UK spelling) as l already have the highest l can get.

    Absolutely no shame in planning ahead. Very few will fail those exams.

    30yrs ago when l sat those exams they were very difficult as the second exam was a City & Guilds exam in electronic theory. TBH, even after many months of study & night school, l expected to fail.
    But even so, l had already worked out what gear l could afford on my budget. The vision of that station gave me the incentive that l needed to do the study & pass those exams. Everyone is different. And everyone has the right to dream, then turn that dream into a reality.

    PS: l had also decided what car l wanted "before" l sat my driving test.

    A guy slags me off for suggesting radios to the OP before he has his license. He then goes on to suggest some radios himself.

    But he won't compliment his posts with his callsign. Perhaps he is a CB radio user himself.
    Last edited by G7NFP; Wed 20th May 2020 at 11:31.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by WZ7U View Post
    While I tend to agree with a high percentage of your posts in this thread, I have a hard time giving anyone "cred" that won't use a call sign on a forum. Not just this forum, either.

    My problem, obviously.
    Careful, the empire may strike back.

  16. #16
    Ots's Avatar
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    I think R2D2 shouldn't hold back so much and should tell us how he really feels.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ots View Post
    I think R2D2 shouldn't hold back so much and should tell us how he really feels.
    But he did say he spends more time listening & very little time operating. A man of few words perhaps.
    I am at a loss to recall the rest of it. I tend to nod off a lot since l retired.

    I hope the OP has not been discouraged & will pop back to tell us he has passed the exam.

    So if you are still awake David. Check out the mock exams, do the little study required for that Tech license then get your online test booked.

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