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Thread: Graduation From Pre-Noob to Noob

  1. #1

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    Default Graduation From Pre-Noob to Noob

    My father and I drove about an hour and a half this morning and took our ham radio exams along with two other guys. According to the VEs, everybody passed everything they tried for. Dad and I are both Amateur Extras; although he has a record in the FCC database already (because he was already a Technician) and I don't. The VEs said I missed one on the Technician exam, five on the General exam, and one on the Extra exam.

    The ham shack at the radio club where we took the exams was pretty impressive. They had maybe thirty linear feet of desk space crammed with rigs, and shelves above that with lots of other equipment I'm too noobish to recognize; but I did recognize the RF patch panel at one end. Fifteen or so connectors coming from the radios in the shack, above twenty or so connectors running to all the antennas in the yard (I recognized lots of Yagis, including a 10-meter Yagi (big!) dismounted and lying in the parking lot with traffic cones around it). I can't show you the shack, but here's the property with all the antennas: https://www.google.com/maps/@41.0361.../data=!3m1!1e3

    I still have only a little Yaesu handheld and no real objective to shoot for, therefore no idea what equipment to buy to achieve it; but at least I have the license.

  2. #2

    Default Congrats

    I'm hoping to be in your shoes in October.

  3. #3

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    I think that congratulations are in order to both you and your Dad! You did really well on the number of questions that you got right -- and it shows that you did your prep right to pass all 3 in one sitting.

    I got back into ham radio again after about 50 years of absence, and glad that I did. I started with an Icon 768, and after about a year went up to an IC-7000 to get the 70 cm band -- although I have to say that I do not use if from the IC-7000 at all. I recently got a DMR hotspot that I am using with my Anytone 878 and just talked to a guy in Spain -- clear as if next door!

    I had a tech license in the '60s and let it lapse, and then was grandfathered in to a general after taking the test. I figured that I needed learn more about the hobby, so I studied for a month and took my Extra -- don't remember my score, but it was less than 5 wrong. I wanted to help the club, so I am a VE -- but we have not had any testing since the Covid-19 has been in place.

    Enjoy the hobby, and I can't recommend any stronger getting in touch with a club to get the comradery that other hams offer. The Georgia GARS club has been a really good group of people -- and hope that you can find one in your area that is as good.

    73, and enjoy the hobby.

  4. #4

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    Thanks! I'll tell him.

    There was even an opportunity for a little humor. I was the last one finished, since I was the guy taking three exams, and while one of the VEs was grading it, the others were poking him about his pace, because they were hungry and wanted to go to lunch. He finished and came over to me.

    "You got one wrong," he said. "Do you want to take it over?"

    "I missed one?" I exclaimed, aghast. "You're kidding! Taking it over would only be another $15, right? Oh, yes, absolutely, let me take it again: I've got your money right here."

    "Uh..." he said, looking at his VE buddies, who where glaring daggers at him.

    It was great. He was bluffing, of course, and when I called him the look on his face was priceless. But I assured him I was kidding and we left friends.

    One of the VEs even took my father and me on a tour of the antenna farm. The antennas were amazing--most of them beamers with rotators--but another thing I found surprising was a big coil of what looked like 1.25" air-core feedline in a clump of bushes. There must have been over 500 feet of it in that coil.

    He said, "Oh, that: we got that donated to us years ago, but it's so hard to work with that we haven't gotten around to installing it. There's more over there."

    There was another clump of bushes with another big coil of huge feedline. I handled it a little: it seemed very stiff, almost like copper pipe, but much heavier. That's gotta be fractions of a dB per hundred feet. I think if I were they, I would either pay somebody to install it or sell it for what would have to be a huge amount of money. But I'm sure they have their reasons...

  5. #5

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    Congrats to you both. Now you can start to build your shack. Watch plenty reviews & talk to hams before investing your cash.

    Great that they tell you the score. When l sat them 30yrs ago it was City & Guilds in electronics. We didn't have the luxury of sitting them in a ham club, we had to sit them in a college. Then we had to sweat for a few weeks waiting on the results coming in the mail. It was either a pass or a fail. We were never told how many (if any) we got wrong.
    I have sat many exams in my lifetime, mainly to advance my career. And that ham exam was without doubt one of the hardest. Maths was never my strongest subject.

    Had a look at your link. Antennas put out to pasture like sheep.
    They don't have far to go when they need grommets as that factory across the road from the club makes grommets & gaskets.

    Hope to hear your voice coming across the airwaves in UK when you are set up.

    Your journey has just begun
    Last edited by G7NFP; Sun 12th Jul 2020 at 02:40.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by K4CQO View Post
    I think that congratulations are in order to both you and your Dad! You did really well on the number of questions that you got right -- and it shows that you did your prep right to pass all 3 in one sitting.

    I got back into ham radio again after about 50 years of absence, and glad that I did. I started with an Icon 768, and after about a year went up to an IC-7000 to get the 70 cm band -- although I have to say that I do not use if from the IC-7000 at all. I recently got a DMR hotspot that I am using with my Anytone 878 and just talked to a guy in Spain -- clear as if next door!

    I had a tech license in the '60s and let it lapse, and then was grandfathered in to a general after taking the test. I figured that I needed learn more about the hobby, so I studied for a month and took my Extra -- don't remember my score, but it was less than 5 wrong. I wanted to help the club, so I am a VE -- but we have not had any testing since the Covid-19 has been in place.

    Enjoy the hobby, and I can't recommend any stronger getting in touch with a club to get the comradery that other hams offer. The Georgia GARS club has been a really good group of people -- and hope that you can find one in your area that is as good.

    73, and enjoy the hobby.
    Back in the day the Tech and General used the same exam, the only difference was the speed of code used. Tech was slow maybe 12 wpm and General was faster - maybe 18 - 24 wpm. 12 wpm all you are doing is writing down letters.. 24 wpm u are copying whole words.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by dnwiebe View Post
    My father and I drove about an hour and a half this morning and took our ham radio exams along with two other guys. According to the VEs, everybody passed everything they tried for. Dad and I are both Amateur Extras; although he has a record in the FCC database already (because he was already a Technician) and I don't. The VEs said I missed one on the Technician exam, five on the General exam, and one on the Extra exam.

    The ham shack at the radio club where we took the exams was pretty impressive. They had maybe thirty linear feet of desk space crammed with rigs, and shelves above that with lots of other equipment I'm too noobish to recognize; but I did recognize the RF patch panel at one end. Fifteen or so connectors coming from the radios in the shack, above twenty or so connectors running to all the antennas in the yard (I recognized lots of Yagis, including a 10-meter Yagi (big!) dismounted and lying in the parking lot with traffic cones around it). I can't show you the shack, but here's the property with all the antennas: https://www.google.com/maps/@41.0361.../data=!3m1!1e3

    I still have only a little Yaesu handheld and no real objective to shoot for, therefore no idea what equipment to buy to achieve it; but at least I have the license.
    Rule of thumb - admitting that you don't know nothing is the first step towards learning..

    The test and the number of questions you got right or wrong has nothing to do with actually knowing anything..

    Field Days would have been an excellent opportunity for both of you to learn how to operate and the difference between a cheap and more expensive radio and a good antenna and a great antenna and a G5RV.

    G5RV's aren't good for anything!

  8. #8

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    Yes we are called radio "amateurs" not radio "professionals".
    Why are hams called "hams"?
    This article says we are called hams because of our poor Morse code skills.
    https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Na...nk-the-Titanic

    But is the above article accurate?
    We know that Jack Philips could tap out 39 wpm. Harold Bride was slower.
    However the author of this article suggests speeds of 80-100 wpm.
    If you can do 100 wpm or you know someone who can, please tell us as l would need to hear it to believe it
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/47018360/n...lives-titanic/
    Last edited by G7NFP; Tue 14th Jul 2020 at 09:46.

  9. #9
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    Tech: 5 WPM.
    Conditional/General: 13 WPM.
    Extra: 22 WPM.
    73
    Pat K7KBN
    Semper ubi sub ubi.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by G7NFP View Post
    Yes we are called radio "amateurs" not radio "professionals".
    Why are hams called "hams"?
    This article says we are called hams because of our poor Morse code skills.
    https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Na...nk-the-Titanic

    But is the above article accurate?
    We know that Jack Philips could tap out 39 wpm. Harold Bride was slower.
    However the author of this article suggests speeds of 80-100 wpm.
    If you can do 100 wpm or you know someone who can, please tell us as l would need to hear it to believe it
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/47018360/n...lives-titanic/
    It isn't the speed - how fast you can tap out a message, but the correctness, how many letters you got wrong, how many letters you misplaced, how many letters you misspelled because of poor cadence.

    A year or two ago there was a US Army Veteran that came back disabled that wanted to learn code, so I worked him every morning for about a week. At the end of the week he was sending no better then when he started because he refused to listen, he refused to practice off air and he refused to change the way he pounded on the key.

    I told him that instead of working on speed, he needed to learn words, he needed to work on his cadence..

    CADENCE - any person that has marched in a high school marching band learned cadence..

    1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, each and every letter the same way every time, with the same gaps between letters, with the same gaps between words. 1 2 3 4..

    I had one guy that sent 40 wpm he sent - himynameisjohnjohnmyqthiscoventryenglandiam65yrsol dhwcpy?btudekc3rst

    To this person, he thought he was the worlds greatest ham radio operator. To me he was just wasting my time.

    40 wpm is - ab12c de kc3rst gm nm hr is john == qth coventry eng == my ant is 80m ocf at 95f == i am a member of qcwa = = sigs r gud tdy == u r 599 5nn hr == txrx is a ken 590s== temp is 88 f 88f bt did u gt my msg ystrdy ? fb on the last msg u snt bt sri i didnt gt to ur reunion bt we hd a bit of bd luck hr lst wk = = xyl fell n brok her leg bt she sz that she is ok bt u kno hw tt is bt well i gtg nw and eat sum brkfst tnks fer the qso this morn on 80m 73 i wl kep our sked tmrw wit u gb ab12c de kc3rst sk all in about 60 seconds.
    Last edited by R2D2; Tue 14th Jul 2020 at 21:17.

  11. #11

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    Okay, my record’s in the database. Looks like I’m AD8FY. But they misspelled my name. I wonder if that’s important.

    So...now I’m authorized to transmit on every US amateur frequency there is. I haven’t actually transmitted on any yet, but I suppose it’s good to know that I could if I wanted to.

    I need an objective, is what I need.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by dnwiebe View Post
    Okay, my recordís in the database. Looks like Iím AD8FY. But they misspelled my name. I wonder if thatís important.

    So...now Iím authorized to transmit on every US amateur frequency there is. I havenít actually transmitted on any yet, but I suppose itís good to know that I could if I wanted to.

    I need an objective, is what I need.
    Now we have a callsign to listen out for.
    As for mis-spelling your name. Perhaps drop them a line & point that out. Then they will correct it in their own time

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by R2D2 View Post
    It isn't the speed - how fast you can tap out a message, but the correctness, how many letters you got wrong, how many letters you misplaced, how many letters you misspelled because of poor cadence.

    A year or two ago there was a US Army Veteran that came back disabled that wanted to learn code, so I worked him every morning for about a week. At the end of the week he was sending no better then when he started because he refused to listen, he refused to practice off air and he refused to change the way he pounded on the key.

    I told him that instead of working on speed, he needed to learn words, he needed to work on his cadence..

    CADENCE - any person that has marched in a high school marching band learned cadence..

    1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, each and every letter the same way every time, with the same gaps between letters, with the same gaps between words. 1 2 3 4..

    I had one guy that sent 40 wpm he sent - himynameisjohnjohnmyqthiscoventryenglandiam65yrsol dhwcpy?btudekc3rst

    To this person, he thought he was the worlds greatest ham radio operator. To me he was just wasting my time.

    40 wpm is - ab12c de kc3rst gm nm hr is john == qth coventry eng == my ant is 80m ocf at 95f == i am a member of qcwa = = sigs r gud tdy == u r 599 5nn hr == txrx is a ken 590s== temp is 88 f 88f bt did u gt my msg ystrdy ? fb on the last msg u snt bt sri i didnt gt to ur reunion bt we hd a bit of bd luck hr lst wk = = xyl fell n brok her leg bt she sz that she is ok bt u kno hw tt is bt well i gtg nw and eat sum brkfst tnks fer the qso this morn on 80m 73 i wl kep our sked tmrw wit u gb ab12c de kc3rst sk all in about 60 seconds.
    Yes you are very right. Speed counts for nothing if the amount of errors makes the code unreadable.

    Could "you" send 100wpm without errors, & do you know anyone who can?
    Although a computer could send at that speed, l fail to understand why anyone would send it as only a computer would be able to decode it at the other end.
    Although Jack Phillips could tap out 39wpm, on that night, he chose to send slower. Obviously to ensure that "every" operator was able to read what was being sent. I have no idea if Harold Cottam was able to send or receive 39wpm. His mate, Harold Bride, could only send 26wpm. That was fast enough to be considered a radio "professional".
    Harold Cottam came from Nottingham England. That was where he died. About 6 Miles from my QTH.

    There is no doubt that the guy who wrote the article quoting speeds of 80-100wpm could not send nor read code.
    The fact that he quoted those speeds demonstrates that he did not do the research prior to writing the article. When l discover inaccurate content in an article l consider the entire article to be a waste of my time reading it.
    Last edited by G7NFP; Wed 15th Jul 2020 at 09:32.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by franklewtie View Post
    I'm hoping to be in your shoes in October.
    What are your aspirations? What do you hope to do with your license?

  15. #15

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    Heyyyy...I just had my very first amateur contact. Some guy 25-30 miles away was setting up his VHF rig, and when I called CQ on the local repeater, he heard me and replied. We had about a fifteen-minute conversation about radios and work, and signed off.

    So I was using my little Yaesu HT, transmitting at about 50mW, which is enough to rouse the local repeater. He was using a Yaesu base station with a random-wire antenna. I don't know how beefy his transmitter was, but it was enough to pop my repeater open at quite a range (for VHF, anyway).

    Cool.

  16. #16

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    That's the very 1st of many thousands of QSOs you will be having as the years flash by.
    It will begin to feel very normal to pick up a mic.
    I always carried a VHF rig with vox in the car. Most of my VHF QSOs were mobile.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by G7NFP View Post
    That's the very 1st of many thousands of QSOs you will be having as the years flash by.
    It will begin to feel very normal to pick up a mic.
    I always carried a VHF rig with vox in the car. Most of my VHF QSOs were mobile.
    Yeah, it was more exciting than I expected it to be.

    I've thought about getting a mobile VHF/UHF rig, but the fact is that I go almost nowhere in the car these days, and my employer just sent around a message that we'll be working from home until January at the earliest. So...we'll see.

  18. #18

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    I am fortunate that l have now retired. No need to worry about work. Very happy about that as l was a registered nurse by profession. Which means l would have been in the front line.

    But many VHF/UHF mobile rigs on the market capable of 50w (got one myself). Therefore they can also be used as base rigs. Even add an amp if needed. I also picked up an FT900 last year. Great rig for HF mobile.

  19. #19

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    BTech DMR 6x2. Only on sale in USA. Worth checking out the reviews if you are considering a dmr radio as it's one of the best options on the market ATM.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by G7NFP View Post
    That's the very 1st of many thousands of QSOs you will be having as the years flash by.
    It will begin to feel very normal to pick up a mic.
    I always carried a VHF rig with vox in the car. Most of my VHF QSOs were mobile.
    Well, a few days back I got a multiband OCFD antenna, supposedly good for 40m-6m, and tied it to a tree in my backyard (with a pulley, so I can lower and raise it without endangering my half-century-old butt again). The balun is about 8m above the ground, and I tied the ends to the top of a 6ft privacy fence. So far, the feedline is just dangling to a coil underneath the tree: if I want to use it from inside the house, I have to bring it in and leave the back door open.

    So I hooked it up to my little Yaesu HT (which transmits only VHF and UHF, but receives clear down into the AM broadcast band) and started listening. The first night I heard an English-language AM broadcast from Italy on 40m, and something in Russian, also on 40m. I heard some hams talking back and forth too, but my little radio only does 2SB, not SSB, so I couldn't understand them--but I could tell their sex and their general emotional state.

    Then the next night I heard a guy transmitting music on 80m in short five- and ten-second bursts, apparently to taunt the FCC.

    That was enough to persuade me to acquire a mobile-style HF+6m rig (Yaesu FT-891) and a power supply to run it with, both of which arrived today. I hooked it up to the antenna and spent some time listening, and heard a few ragchews, what sounded like a little contesting, and a lot of data. Even with the antenna as low as it is, and given its admitted lack of capability at 80m, I seem to get a lot more traffic on 80m and 40m than I do on anything shorter. I heard a conversation on 20m, but it was just on the other side of Indiana, and I'm in central Ohio. Just hundreds of miles, not thousands.

    I haven't done much transmitting yet. The transmitter can do 100W, but I have it run down to 25W because I need to investigate the exposure limitations to make sure I'm not frying anyone's gonads. I transmitted on every band from 80m to 6m to check the antenna's SWR (just "Testing, testing, AD8FY, testing"), and it was really nice on 80m, 60m, 40m, 20m, 10m, and 6m, but not on 17m, 15m, or 12m. (I didn't try 30m; that's CW and data only, and I'm not set up for that yet.)

    It was fun listening to people's conversations, but the distinguishing characteristic of them seemed to be that they were all _boring._ Really boring. One guy, for example, was complaining that after his insurance agent passed away, the insurance company had automatically placed him with a different agent: he wanted to continue with the deceased agent's son, who had apparently been helping his father toward the end of his life, but wasn't really an insurance agent himself. Another guy was complaining on 20m about the traffic at a particular intersection. On the other hand, I heard one guy refer to a prominent US national politician as "the liver-spotted demon," which was pretty funny.

    I wonder if I can raise my father with 25W from 20 miles away or so.

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