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7 hours ago, W2MC said:

I could go on for an hour about ham radio...if you're somewhat technically oriented, its a LOT of fun, and it's as expensive as you want to make it. 

OK, what would you suggest for a relative newbie to HAM to crawl before he walked and get an understanding of it? Like I mentioned above, I have experience with other 2 way radio systems (CB, Sideband, Marine VHF, police scanner, FRS/GMRS) but really don't know much about all the different HAM bands, meters, frequencies, etc.

Where's a good place to learn and get up to speed?

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39 minutes ago, Sniper said:

Where's a good place to learn and get up to speed?

If you have not already done so, I strongly recommend taking the on-line practice exams to establish a baseline.  You may already know more about ham than you think.

Wikipedia has a pretty good rundown on the basics without being overly technical.  Read the linked page and use that as a springboard for more in depth research.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio

I also learned a lot in two days just by researching the transceivers I was looking into buying. Reading the reviews was quite useful.   It helped put into perspective what each band is used for, and what kind of equipment is required. 

Ham is not just one big fat radio that does everything.  While some rigs will do two, three or even four bands, there is no one set or antenna that does it all. 

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Okay, here's a general question for you old salty cured hams.  Are ham operators allowed to communicate with military deployed overseas?  Like, can we send them messages like merry christmas and happy new year and such?  Are they even listening?  I think it would be cool to send messages to them, let them know we are thinking about them back home.

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3 hours ago, Sniper said:

OK, what would you suggest for a relative newbie to HAM to crawl before he walked and get an understanding of it? Like I mentioned above, I have experience with other 2 way radio systems (CB, Sideband, Marine VHF, police scanner, FRS/GMRS) but really don't know much about all the different HAM bands, meters, frequencies, etc.

Where's a good place to learn and get up to speed?

1.  Your local club.  Ocean County has the OCEAN MONMOUTH AMATEUR RADIO CLUB http://www.n2mo.org/   Jersey Shore Amateur Radio Society  http://www.jsars.org/   and the Holiday City Amateur Radio Club  http://www.hcarc.us/

2.  Stuff to do.  A good place to start is:

https://www.jpole-antenna.com/2014/01/29/i-just-got-my-ham-radio-license-now-what-do-i-do/

and

http://tomsmerk.com/radio/newhams.pdf

3.  Repeaters are a good way for Techs to connect with other ops.  Some of the repeaters are pretty lively, and some of them are pretty dead.  I am usually on the 145.290 repeater in Medford during weekday morning drivetimes.  We chat about everything under the sun.  A map of the repeaters in NJ is located:

http://www.levinecentral.com/repeaters/google_mapping.php?State=NJ

 

that should get you started and give you a flavor of ham radio....or at least allow you to start framing the questions

 

73 de W2MC.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Scorpio64 said:

Okay, here's a general question for you old salty cured hams.  Are ham operators allowed to communicate with military deployed overseas?  Like, can we send them messages like merry christmas and happy new year and such?  Are they even listening?  I think it would be cool to send messages to them, let them know we are thinking about them back home.

Maybe and it depends.

Back in the old days, ham ops used to run phone patches for deployed military.....where they connected their radios to the telephone system so that they could talk to home.   Now, with satcom and internet, there's not much call for that anymore.  

Generally speaking, the Military and amateurs are on different frequencies, and do not interact.  There is a cross-band event held on armed forces day each year, where hams and the military do connect; by hams listening on the military freq and transmitting on the ham bands, and the opposite for the military contacts.     http://www.arrl.org/news/armed-forces-day-crossband-military-amateur-radio-communications-test-is-may-13

As an amateur, you can get connected with MARS - not the planet - but the Military Auxiliary Radio System.  I have very occasionally listened-in, but I do not operate MARS.  More info at:  https://afmars-msn.org/joinmars.php

 

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So it is funny that this topic is back up.

About three months ago I found a complete JVC shortwave radio that was tossed as junk - a little love brought it back to life and, well go the radio bug going again.

I for one was VERY active in the early to mid late 90's - I had dipoles in trees - I still have that 3 badn beam up - I worked 50Mhz VUCC Satellite VUCC - ran mobile CW on 40M - ran mountain top 2m/440SSB from the truck in VT - rag chewed my ass off on 2M/440FM and SSB - activated some islands on HF - all on a tech plus ticket.  I loved packet radio ! LOL

So the bug hits again - I am not working the LEO FM birds with some success on the HT's whip antenna - *BUT* - 

FM repeater are dead - in NW NJ and the corridor to NYC - the repeaters in NY are DEAD - LIMARC - which had a big mobile following is DEAD.  FM simplex is dead - APRS is dead - all you see are beacons - objects, wx stations.  No person to person contact.

So far the LEOsats have activity for the most part - but I am in torn - I would love to get fully back into it - uplift the ticket - but for what?

I would love to get an HF/50/2m/440 All mode rig - hang the dipoles back up - get some egg beaters again for sat work and terrestrial SSB on V/U - but I have seen reports that no one is on the SSB birds -   :(

So far it seems and yes this has been kicked around time and again - is amateur radio finally dead?

The last test will be this spring for some mountain top 50MHZ QRP roving with a resurrected PRC-126.

As they say - change my mind.......

 

 

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1 hour ago, USRifle30Cal said:

So it is funny that this topic is back up.

About three months ago I found a complete JVC shortwave radio that was tossed as junk - a little love brought it back to life and, well go the radio bug going again.

I for one was VERY active in the early to mid late 90's - I had dipoles in trees - I still have that 3 badn beam up - I worked 50Mhz VUCC Satellite VUCC - ran mobile CW on 40M - ran mountain top 2m/440SSB from the truck in VT - rag chewed my ass off on 2M/440FM and SSB - activated some islands on HF - all on a tech plus ticket.  I loved packet radio ! LOL

So the bug hits again - I am not working the LEO FM birds with some success on the HT's whip antenna - *BUT* - 

FM repeater are dead - in NW NJ and the corridor to NYC - the repeaters in NY are DEAD - LIMARC - which had a big mobile following is DEAD.  FM simplex is dead - APRS is dead - all you see are beacons - objects, wx stations.  No person to person contact.

So far the LEOsats have activity for the most part - but I am in torn - I would love to get fully back into it - uplift the ticket - but for what?

I would love to get an HF/50/2m/440 All mode rig - hang the dipoles back up - get some egg beaters again for sat work and terrestrial SSB on V/U - but I have seen reports that no one is on the SSB birds -   :(

So far it seems and yes this has been kicked around time and again - is amateur radio finally dead?

The last test will be this spring for some mountain top 50MHZ QRP roving with a resurrected PRC-126.

As they say - change my mind.......

 

Results from September VHF contest...I help with the unlimited multiop station W2EA - 

https://contests.arrl.org/ContestResults/2018/Sep-VHF-2018-FinalFullResults.pdf

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There are several repeaters that are active between nwnj and NYC area. Wa3mdp in Bangor PA,k2gg in Mount Olive,w2li I think is union area are all active. W2lv in Branchville doesn't quite cover rte 80 since it it up near the Sussex fair grounds.

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On 12/29/2018 at 11:06 PM, USRifle30Cal said:

So it is funny that this topic is back up.

About three months ago I found a complete JVC shortwave radio that was tossed as junk - a little love brought it back to life and, well go the radio bug going again.

I for one was VERY active in the early to mid late 90's - I had dipoles in trees - I still have that 3 badn beam up - I worked 50Mhz VUCC Satellite VUCC - ran mobile CW on 40M - ran mountain top 2m/440SSB from the truck in VT - rag chewed my ass off on 2M/440FM and SSB - activated some islands on HF - all on a tech plus ticket.  I loved packet radio ! LOL

So the bug hits again - I am not working the LEO FM birds with some success on the HT's whip antenna - *BUT* - 

FM repeater are dead - in NW NJ and the corridor to NYC - the repeaters in NY are DEAD - LIMARC - which had a big mobile following is DEAD.  FM simplex is dead - APRS is dead - all you see are beacons - objects, wx stations.  No person to person contact.

So far the LEOsats have activity for the most part - but I am in torn - I would love to get fully back into it - uplift the ticket - but for what?

I would love to get an HF/50/2m/440 All mode rig - hang the dipoles back up - get some egg beaters again for sat work and terrestrial SSB on V/U - but I have seen reports that no one is on the SSB birds -   :(

So far it seems and yes this has been kicked around time and again - is amateur radio finally dead?

The last test will be this spring for some mountain top 50MHZ QRP roving with a resurrected PRC-126.

As they say - change my mind.......

 

 

No, I don't think its dead.  I work 80 and 40 CW in the morning (when the noise level is low) and I still hear a lot going on.  Cellphones and the internet haven't killed the hobby yet.  My equipment is old:  Heathkit Transmitter/Receiver combo and a modified Hustler 4BTV vertical.  Its fun..........and keeps me away from the Boob Tube!

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On 12/29/2018 at 11:06 PM, USRifle30Cal said:

So it is funny that this topic is back up.

About three months ago I found a complete JVC shortwave radio that was tossed as junk - a little love brought it back to life and, well go the radio bug going again.

I for one was VERY active in the early to mid late 90's - I had dipoles in trees - I still have that 3 badn beam up - I worked 50Mhz VUCC Satellite VUCC - ran mobile CW on 40M - ran mountain top 2m/440SSB from the truck in VT - rag chewed my ass off on 2M/440FM and SSB - activated some islands on HF - all on a tech plus ticket.  I loved packet radio ! LOL

So the bug hits again - I am not working the LEO FM birds with some success on the HT's whip antenna - *BUT* - 

FM repeater are dead - in NW NJ and the corridor to NYC - the repeaters in NY are DEAD - LIMARC - which had a big mobile following is DEAD.  FM simplex is dead - APRS is dead - all you see are beacons - objects, wx stations.  No person to person contact.

So far the LEOsats have activity for the most part - but I am in torn - I would love to get fully back into it - uplift the ticket - but for what?

I would love to get an HF/50/2m/440 All mode rig - hang the dipoles back up - get some egg beaters again for sat work and terrestrial SSB on V/U - but I have seen reports that no one is on the SSB birds -   :(

So far it seems and yes this has been kicked around time and again - is amateur radio finally dead?

The last test will be this spring for some mountain top 50MHZ QRP roving with a resurrected PRC-126.

As they say - change my mind.......

 

 

I posted a very long, detailed response that somehow didn't appear. 

You're 100% correct. Several times I've come within a hair of selling all my ham crap. 

I belong to two clubs local to me. Both suck, to be frank. They have three events per year (winter field day, field day, and their hamfest) and that's about it. The meetings are held for the sake of having meetings, as far as I can see. But they're run according to Robert's Rules of Order so you can go to your final reward knowing that they may not accomplish anything, but they do so in a most official manner.

There's close to zero standardization in ham equipment, and the technology they brag about -- that we pay multiples for, like touch screens and bluetooth -- is 30 years old and has a fraction of the functionality you'd find on a $15 tablet. I've also found a disturbingly large number of hams who are dishonest crooks, who sell used equipment that they claim "works as it should" but is too often D.O.A. 

Forget the "Elmer" factor. If I hear that word one more time from some old geezer I'm going to puke. Elmer is ham dingy-dong-doo-lingo for mentor. Yes there are a few, who virtue-signal ever fart they let out to advance the hobby, but even they are few and far between. The clubs and ARRL do NOTHING to retain members, to explain the many complexities of this hobby. ZERO. I'd guess that the conversion from glorified CB (repeater rats) to HF operators is no better than 50%.

And you're also right about uhf/vhf FM. DEAD AS A DODO. My serpentine belt burst on Rte 84 three years ago, on my way home from the Middletown hamfest, ironically enough. For shits and grins I called on 146.520 and the three repeaters I could hit from my location. I called and called for 30 minutes, and NOBODY responded. So I whipped out my cell phone and a truck was there in 15 minutes.

The "public service" hams brag about is similarly B.S. More virtue-signaling. They put on irredescent belts and stand out in the rain fantasizing about end-of-world scenarios, when all they're really doing is counting heads at an Under-13 Girls 5k Run for Papilloma Virus Awareness. 

All that being said, I'm still a ham because of the enjoyment ****I**** get out of the hobby. I can still talk to people in Latvia on 5 watts without trillion dollar infrastructure, and that's cool.

You're obviously more experienced in radio than me, and know 10x as much. However, if you'd like to talk POSITIVES about our hobby let me know. I might inspire you -- and sell you one of the many radios I never needed but bought anyway.

 

adp

 

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Love you too, Neutonian.  Good to see yer back.

All of what you describe does exist in amateur radio, but we could easily cross-out "ham radio" and write-in most any hobby you want.  It's a techno-hobby, to be sure: and, like any other hobby; it is what you put into it.

 

Right now, my club is planning Field Day - a cross between an expedition, readiness drill, and radio contest.  If you like setting up and operating multiple radios simultaneously, starting with an empty field, this is for you.  We operate from Marlton NJ; in what's called Savitch Field, which about a mile from the intersection of routes 70 and 73.  

The video below was from several years ago....we set up an even bigger operation now.  Last year we were #1 in our category, and #6 overall.  We will be out there again on the weekend of June 22-23.  Stop by and say hi!

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, USRifle30Cal said:

So.....   ham radio=dead....

 

Sad to say....  dumped the gear for pennies on the dollar...

 

shoulda kept the gear.....will make for comms when the shit hits. 

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1 hour ago, 1LtCAP said:

shoulda kept the gear.....will make for comms when the shit hits. 

Yup, you can use it for target practice a week after SHTF, when every creature larger than a cockroach within a 50 mile radius of where you live has been harvested. 

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1 minute ago, 1LtCAP said:

had someone in the ham community tell me this is false. i asked her directly because it seemed kind of extreme.

CA is not "banning" ham radio, they can't do that, so in that regard it is false.  What CA has decided to do, though, is discontinue publicly funded support for ham radio.  The state will no longer allow repeaters on state owned land, towers or buildings.  All existing repeaters will have to be dismantled and moved to private towers and buildings.

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1 hour ago, Scorpio64 said:

CA is not "banning" ham radio, they can't do that, so in that regard it is false.  What CA has decided to do, though, is discontinue publicly funded support for ham radio.  The state will no longer allow repeaters on state owned land, towers or buildings.  All existing repeaters will have to be dismantled and moved to private towers and buildings.

Costing big $$$...

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3 hours ago, Scorpio64 said:

What CA has decided to do, though, is discontinue publicly funded support for ham radio.  The state will no longer allow repeaters on state owned land, towers or buildings.

I know NOTHING about ham radio. But what you're saying sounds slightly different than what the article is claiming. And I'm curious to know which is the truth. Your comment implies that the state was somehow actually providing funds... the article implies the state was merely letting private owners put this equipment on public land for free (but weren't laying out any funds per se).

I think it's a distinction with a difference. If it was literally costing the state NOTHING... then this new policy is really short-sighted thinking. I've recently been reading that book (loaner from @Zeke) "Lights Out" by journalist Ted Koppel which gives a fairly chilling look at the vulnerability of our power grid, for instance. Yikes, it's pretty eye-opening! And then when you consider the history of natural disasters in California alone - what with the earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, etc. - I guess my question is: why would the state go out of its way to dismantle any proven back-up systems that might proven helpful in local, regional or even national emergencies? Especially if they're not paying for it? And even if the technology is old (but proven)? It really does seem to be an incredibly bizarre policy!

But, then again... California! :facepalm:

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1 minute ago, Mrs. Peel said:

I know NOTHING about ham radio. But what you're saying sounds slightly different than what the article is claiming. And I'm curious to know which is the truth. Your comment implies that the state was somehow actually providing funds... the article implies the state was merely letting private owners put this equipment on public land for free (but weren't laying out any funds per se).

I think it's a distinction with a difference. If it was literally costing the state NOTHING... then this new policy is really short-sighted thinking. I've recently been reading that book (loaner from @Zeke) "Lights Out" by journalist Ted Koppel which gives a fairly chilling look at the vulnerability of our power grid, for instance. Yikes, it's pretty eye-opening! And then when you consider the history of natural disasters in California alone - what with the earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, etc. - I guess my question is: why would the state go out of its way to dismantle any proven back-up systems that might proven helpful in local, regional or even national emergencies? Especially if they're not paying for it? And even if the technology is old (but proven)? It really does seem to be an incredibly bizarre policy!

But, then again... California! :facepalm:

Prepper Peel. That book was where her addiction started...

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8 minutes ago, Zeke said:

Prepper Peel. That book was where her addiction started...

My cupboards are still pretty empty. My normal M.O. is a well-stocked wine and liquor cabinet, but not enough food or bottled water in the house to even get through a day, lol. But I won't lie... reading even the first few chapters of that book has prompted me to start building up a modest stash of food and H2O. I figure, it couldn't hurt to adhere (at least a little bit!) to that "Be Prepared" scouting motto! I'm really thinking that having a 2-week supply of those basics in the house is really a bare minimum. :good:

But, I'm not building a bunker or anything... yet. (Let's see how I feel when I finish the whole book. :unsure:)

 

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There are many moving parts to this story. 

For many, many years, amateur radio has been able to acquire some pretty valuable tower space for their systems via a combination of side deals, handshake agreements, quid pro quos (such as tower property maintenance), and providing emergency backup service to existing communication systems. 

Unfortunately, time marches on, the "old guard" retires or dies-off, and many people begin to wonder what real value is being provided for the free ride amateur radio is receiving.  Add to that others (FRS, GMRS, etc) complaining -- they want the same free ride, too! -- eventually ruin it for everyone.

Fold into this equation the lessons learned from various disasters over the last 20 years -- the need for backup communication and interoperability between services -- that have been a focus of FEMA and other government grants -- and you have a situation where the Amateur Radio Service has been relegated to backup of the backup status, and isn't really needed anymore. 

 

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5 hours ago, Mrs. Peel said:

I figure, it couldn't hurt to adhere (at least a little bit!) to that "Be Prepared" scouting motto! I'm really thinking that having a 2-week supply of those basics in the house is really a bare minimum. :good:

That's your project for tomorrow. Don't do a single other thing until that's accomplished...

Otherwise, we'll send you to timeout. :nono:

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I don't know if the news story is accurate or not. It's hard to tell these days.

I do know a thing or two about amateur radio though. The nonsense about people dying because of this decision is ridiculous. I was once driving home from the Middletown hamfest when my serpentine belt blew. For shits and grins I tried calling SOS on the simplex frequencies, as well as the 3 repeaters I was able to hit from my location on Rte 84. I called and called and called. After about 40 minutes I pulled out my cell phone and a tow truck arrived within 10 minutes.

In case of a true emergency serious enough to knock out cell phone towers, the repeaters will almost certainly be down as well. 

One of two things might be at the bottom of this. 1) some lawyer for the state convinced someone that maintaining the repeaters involved some sort of liability risk. Hams tend to be old and fat. One of them falls or has a heart attack climbing a tower and he'll own the damn forest. Or 2) the state does not approve of communication that they can't control, monitor automatically, that doesn't require a trillion-dollar infrastructure. 

 

 

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