HAM Questions

Discussion in 'Communications' started by HarpeR, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. HarpeR

    HarpeR Guest

    Just ordered the ARRL Technician study manual and am planning on getting my Tech license.

    My goals for HAM are simple: to have a means of emergency communications when the phones, cell towers, internet, etc. are disabled due to weather or other reasons.

    My questions are,

    Can I do this with VHF only, or do I need HF or UHF? I understand that HF has more range at low power, but can I use voice with a Tech or will I need General or Extra?
  2. dzdiver

    dzdiver Guest

    Good Questions...

    The Technician License in USA gives you transmission rights for all VHF and UHF Bands using all modes. That includes FM and SSB (voice) according to the band plans. Having a high-power mobile 2 Meter Radio and a good antenna gives you the ability to communicate with others in most areas of the USA. In many areas you will be able to work FM 2-Meter repeaters. You will also be able to use the national simplex calling frequency to call for assistance.

    The Technician license also allows you to work the 70 centimeter band which also has a lot of repeaters. If you have a dual band 2 meter/70 centimeter band mobile radio with a good dual band antenna, that gives you access to both repeater networks and simplex communications.

    You can get a good dual band mobile radio and dual band antenna for not much money. The antennas for those bands are easily mounted on all vehicles and do not require a lot of expense or room.

    I just gained my HF privileges (General License) recently. I have little personal experience with the HF Bands. From my research, 20 Meters is a good band for local, regional, and long-distance communications. There are certainly mobile radios that will work on HF/VHF/UHF bands. These radios are more expensive. The antennas for HF can be expensive to mount on a vehicle for mobile operation.

    For my Jeep I just purchased a Kenwood TM-271A mobile 2 Meter radio. It is a mil-spec ruggedized radio. The cost is under $180 delivered. I have that coupled with a 5/8 wave antenna. The combination of 65 watts of power with a good 5/8 wave antenna gives great performance and reach.

    For base operations, I use that rig and antenna presently with an Astron RS-20A power supply. Works very well. I am going to mount a base antenna on my house in the near future. I can power the radio from a battery during power outages.

    The Technician license is easy to earn. Read the manual through from cover to cover at least once. Pay attention to the rules and operating procedures. The question pool and answers in the back of the book are exactly the same questions that the actual license exam will be taken from. Exactly. I would recommend that you study for the exam this way: Highlight the correct answer for each question. Use a sharpie to blacken out the wrong answers for each question. That way your brain doesn't even see them and register them. Then rote memorize the questions and correct answers. Start doing this about 2-3 weeks before the exam date. Once you have a question down cold, then use another highlighter color to mark the question. Then keep studying the questions that you do not have cold. You can take practice exams on QRZ Ham Radio. When you are consistently scoring 85 percent or so, you are ready for the exam. THen, once the exam is over, go back and read the book again. This time you are trying to learn the craft, not pass the exam! Join a ham club. That is where you will learn the most. Do some research, buy a rig and get on the air.

    Best Wishes,

  3. BlueRidgeYJ

    BlueRidgeYJ New Member

    Definitely take the practice exams, ad nauseum! I tried to absorb the text as much as possible, especially FCC rules and what-not. I finished the book, section by section, taking the quizzes along the way and reviewed all the questions from the exam pool in the back, but nothing helped so much as repeating the practice exams. As KD6SNH mentioned, you can find some at QRZ Ham Radio Practice Tests. QRZ.com is a great resource, all around. I used AA9PW FCC Exam Practice » Amateur Radio Exam Practice but it's apples to apples, really. You'll find that your Technician's license will be all you need for your stated purpose. That allows priviledges for you and anyone operating under your direct supervision, but if you're interested in setting up a station at the house, and one in each car, you might want to talk others in the family into getting theirs, too. (I think that got covered in that other thread you were in.) Regardless of where you live, you're gonna find a good group of people who really enjoy amateur radio, and KD6SNH is right; You'll find those VHF repeaters virtually everywhere you'll find Hams. Obviously, most of those repeaters aren't going to be of great use during "When all else fails..." scenarios, but if the emergency is very localized, it's likely you're going to be able to hit one and get much farther outside your area.

    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  4. oldjeeper

    oldjeeper New Member

    I am studying for my technician license and will take the exam this month. I drive a Jeep Wrangler and would be interested in how you mounted the radio and antenna in your Jeep. I have an overhead bar that runs from the windshield center loop to the center roll bar. I am hoping to get a radio that allows me to mount the face plate on the overhead bar and the rest under the passenger seat. There is an antenna mount on my swing out tire carrier (passenger side) and am also hoping that I will be able to mount the antenna there.

    Does the Kenwood you installed have a removable face plate? Any guidance you can provide will be most appreciated. Thanks

  5. kc5fm

    kc5fm Emergency Manager

    Radio Range

    The question you ask needs additional information of where do you want to talk?

    On HF, you can use voice in the 10-meter band only as a Technician. If you are going to go to that trouble, why not just upgrade to General? You don't have to do this all at once, just because someone else did. :)

    VHF and UHF will give you local communications only, with the exception of Echolink.

    HF, on the other hand, will give you further range.

    This will be particularly important when all communications is lost and only HF remains. Having an HF radio in the car would, at that time, be invaluable as I'm bugging out.

    As you consider HF mobile, you will want to become very familiar with Net Operations.

    Lets get licensed first, though. :)
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008