Ham Radio Primer… how to get started with Ham Radio…

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  • #1077
    Zombie Axe

    An intro on getting starting: http://www.hello-radio.org/” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false

    Ham radio is not like many other radio services that you may be familiar with. FRS, GMRS, and CB are just several channels in one band. Ham radio is many frequencies on many bands.

    Ham radio is not unlike any other hobby. You can spend around $250 to several grand for ham radios. Quality brands are Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu, and Alinco. The type of gear that most beginners prefer are handie talkie (2 meter and 70cm also known as 144mhz and 440mhz, VHF/UHF) as well as mobile radios in the same frequency ranges. However if all that can be purchased is a single band radio, 2m/144mhz equipment is the minimum standard.

    For comparrison I will link to 2m and then dual band equipment to understand the pricing differences.

    A good 2m Ht (handie talkie) like the VX-150 costs around $125 http://www.gigaparts.com/store.php?action=profile&sku=ZYS-VX-150-64B” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false This is a complete unit ready to go out of the box. A 12V DC “car charger” plug is also recommended as it may be the only means to recharge the battery when the power goes out… You can always charge it from the car or a small solar setup!

    A good 2m mobile radio is the Icom IC-V8000. This radio is very rugged and easy to use. http://www.gigaparts.com/store.php?action=profile&sku=ZIC-V8000″ onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false This radio will give you much longer range communications (20+ miles or greater over open terrain depending on antenna choice) or even longer distances with repeaters.

    A cheaper alternative is the Kenwood TM-271A http://www.gigaparts.com/store.php?action=profile&sku=ZKW-TM-271A” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false

    You will also need an antenna for a mobile radio. Such as a 2m antenna on a magmount for around $50 or if you wish to use this @ your home as well, you will need a 2m base antenna, for about the same price…

    A good dual band HT is the Yaesu VX-6r http://www.gigaparts.com/store.php?action=profile&sku=ZYS-VX-6R” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false, or I really like the tri-bander Kenwood TH-F6a http://www.gigaparts.com/store.php?action=profile&sku=ZKW-TH-F6A” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false

    A dual band mobile rig is the Icom IC-2820H http://www.gigaparts.com/store.php?action=profile&flash=1&sku=ZIC-2820H” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false , or the Yaesu FT-7800R http://www.gigaparts.com/store.php?action=profile&sku=ZYS-FT-7800R” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false

    There are expensive radios out there, but they do the local UHF/VHF and HF (HF is called high frequency , but don’t let it confuse you, HF is lower in frequency than VHF (very high frequency) and UHF (Ultra high frequecny) is higher than either VHF or HF) HF allows you talk around the world if the atmospheric conditions are optimal and it is the correct time of day.

    What we as survivalist/preppers areshooting for as team/group commo is the local and regional comms capabilities of the VHF and preferably VHF/UHF dual band rigs. I do have the world wide capabilites of HF but as a team, everyone does not need that capability. However, you may find a new hobby that you will want to pursue further.

    Getting you license is not difficult. You must pass a test with about 35 questions on it that are pulled from a pool of over 600 questions. Just a few hours a week and in a month or two you will be ready. My wife is also a ham and it gives us alternative communications should the cellphones and phonelines go down for whatever reason. All it takes is dedication and a will to do it!!! Here is a license guide I would use: http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=9639″ onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false Feel free to shop around for a better price if you wish. Alot of the questions you have about ham radio, will be answered by this book…

    Once you feel like you are understanding the material you will want to take practice tests on http://www.qrz.com/p/testing.pl” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false or http://www.eham.net/exams/” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false Your first license is the Technician class one and it will get you as far as you need to go to get started. Like I said, you may want to go further if you want.

    Once you are making over 90% on the online practice tests, you will want to locate an exam testing session near your location @ http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/examsearch.phtml” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false . If you find that you learn better in a classroom environment some clubs offer classes http://www.arrl.org/FandES/courses/” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false or if you want to learn from some of the locals try looking for a club near you http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/club/clubsearch.phtml” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false

    The cost to take the test is $10-25 depending on what the local VE test team charges this will also include your application fee if you pass. License is good for 10 years. Renewal costs about $10-15 ,also depending on what the FCC charges the year of renewal. For comparrison a GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) costs $85 for 5 years.

    If you have any further questions just ask the folks in this forum, got many a good person in these forums

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