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amateur radio operators: Please give a primer on HAM, 10 meter, 2 meter, CB, etc.

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  • amateur radio operators: Please give a primer on HAM, 10 meter, 2 meter, CB, etc.

    A thread in the Squad Room got me interested, but I want anyone to be able to respond. For the radio operators out there, can you give us non-radio folks a quick primer on the different types? I know what CB is and have owned one in the past, but I don't think that will really cover what I want to do. I think 5 mile range is pushing it with a CB, and that won't even get to the nearest town from where I live. Heck, it won't even get to the nearest highway!

    What are the others? What types of licenses are needed, etc? Equipment recommendations?
    MAC

  • #2
    This is a GENERAL overview------not a technical primer


    There are 3 licenses available for Amateur Radio operators
    Technician-----------Mostly UHF &VHF however there are some small parts of the HF spectrum available

    General--------MOST of the HF spectrum here as well as all areas open to Technicians

    Extra-----------ALL frequencies available for amateurs

    For the most part UHF is the 400-mHz radios (like most police radios today) VHF is mostly the 145-147 mHz (similar to the old police radios) Think generally 20-30 miles using a repeater These are NORMALLY FM radios (frequency modulation)

    HF is high frequency radios that coupled with ham antennas can talk around the world NORMALLY AM radios (amplitude modulation)

    CB is an AM radio that is really at the LOW end of the HF spectrum.................

    To get the Technician license you have to pass a 35 question test on theory, rules, and operating procedures

    Another 35 question test on more advanced theory, rules and procedures for General

    A 50 question test on ADVANCED theory, rules and procedures will get you a EXTRA license

    A good source
    http://www.arrl.org/licensing-education-training
    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

    Comment


    • #3
      "Citizen's Band" was spun off from the ham bands in the late 1950's, I think, in an effort to get more people interested in Amateur (ham) Radio. Getting a ham license requires some knowledge of radio theory and regulations, and used to require some ability to copy Morse code. (Higher license levels required higher copy rates in words per minute, WPM.) At one time, a license was required for CB, but about all that was needed to get a license was to be a U.S citizen and have a detectable heartbeat. It was supposed to be limited to 5 watts output power, but became a regulatory nightmare. "Handles" were being used instead of call signs (license numbers) and a bunch of bubbas using linear amplifiers made it into a mess that most people were unable to use in its intended form because it was pretty much overloaded.

      The lower a frequency, the more subject it is to "skip" or skywave. That can be a good thing, or a bad thing. It's great if you're a ham looking for DX (distance) contacts on 10 meters (a band just below CB, which is 11 meters). It sucked if you were Jane Q. Public, trying to call hubby who was just across town, and tell him to pick up milk on his way home from work, while some goober was hollering "Ola, ola, ola" on that channel, from somewhere around 18° 15' N, 66° 30' W.

      I got my Technician license way back when I was in Civil Defense/Emergency Management, mostly to be able to operate on 2 meter (144-148 MHz.) FM voice, and some other FM VHF/UHF bands. I tried high frequency (HF, 3-30 MHz.) CW (continuous wave, or Morse code) for a little while in the 1980's after a friend loaned me a spare radio he had. I made one contact with a guy somewhere in the Midwest, but I can barely copy 5 WPM. It was just on a "long-wire" antenna strung around the attic room where the transceiver was, and it made the lights in the apartment blink every time I keyed the radio, but it was kinda fun.

      If you've ever operated on one of these, you are an OM. I think I've worked 2M and 6M (50-54 MHz.) on one. gonset-6.jpg

      Nowadays, they can cram at least two bands into a little bitty handheld. I might get one of these Puxing dual-band handhelds. I think the first image I found was bigger than the radio is.
      Last edited by RR_Security; 12-01-2014, 01:47 PM.
      --
      Capital Punishment means never having to say "you again?"

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by RR_Security View Post
        It was supposed to be limited to 5 watts output power, but became a regulatory nightmare.
        It still is by rule----------if not by practice. Occasionally you will see a forfeiture when someone gets caught


        Originally posted by RR_Security View Post

        Nowadays, they can cram at least two bands into a little bitty handheld. I might get one of these Puxing dual-band handhelds. I think the first image I found was bigger than the radio is.
        They actually have TRI (3) band and even QUAD (4) band hand helds..............................
        Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

        Comment


        • #5
          I remember as a kid, my dad was HUGE into CB radio. We had a 120 ft tower out back with a huge friggin' antenna. He built on to the house just so he could have a "radio room". It had more crap in there than I can even remember. And yeah, he didn't follow any output power rules. He had amps or whatever they are called, and was talking around the world on CB. He didn't bother with HAM, I had a few cousins that did. Life was way different back then. I can remember a 3-song acoustic "concert" played on Channel 19 by a little band leaving Muscle Shoals, i think their name was Leonard something. lol

          Thanks for this thread - that little flashback memory made me smile and remember a much simpler time of life.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
            It still is by rule----------if not by practice. Occasionally you will see a forfeiture when someone gets caught
            Yeah, but I think they have to annoy a bunch of neighbors with TVI or jam local aircraft radar or something that draws attention to their misbehavior for that to happen.

            They actually have TRI (3) band and even QUAD (4) band hand helds..............................
            Somehow that doesn't surprise me. I have really been "out of the loop" for awhile. I haven't worked 220 (now "222," from something I read earlier today) since my ICOM handheld got stolen 20+ years ago. I don't think I've ever used 440.
            Some of that handheld 70-cm stuff makes me think of that line from MIB 3: "Don't put that up to your head!" But I guess we' re doing that and maybe worse with cell phones, anyway.

            A friend in MA talked me into getting on EchoLink, and I finally got it set up a few months ago. Made one contact, with a guy up in Brownville Jct., and that was it. Never did get into packet radio, because by the time I got a computer, I didn't have any suitable radios to use with it. I'm far from being one of the guys who builds all his own gear and operates nothing but CW, but I'm pretty amazed by the compact multi-band gear available now.
            Jeez, I can remember when scanners used crystals, and had to be all "VHF high" or "VHF low."

            A friend who's a detective on the local S.O. sent me a Facebook message the other day, asking if I still had my ham "ticket." He said he's thinking of retiring, and is looking to get back into ham radio for something to keep him occupied.

            Dang, now I'm tempted to get one of those little Yaesu VX-6 or VX-8 handhelds. Gotta read up on those some more.
            --
            Capital Punishment means never having to say "you again?"

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by RR_Security View Post
              Yeah, but I think they have to annoy a bunch of neighbors with TVI or jam local aircraft radar or something that draws attention to their misbehavior for that to happen.

              Somehow that doesn't surprise me. I have really been "out of the loop" for awhile. I haven't worked 220 (now "222," from something I read earlier today) since my ICOM handheld got stolen 20+ years ago. I don't think I've ever used 440.
              Some of that handheld 70-cm stuff makes me think of that line from MIB 3: "Don't put that up to your head!" But I guess we' re doing that and maybe worse with cell phones, anyway.

              A friend in MA talked me into getting on EchoLink, and I finally got it set up a few months ago. Made one contact, with a guy up in Brownville Jct., and that was it. Never did get into packet radio, because by the time I got a computer, I didn't have any suitable radios to use with it. I'm far from being one of the guys who builds all his own gear and operates nothing but CW, but I'm pretty amazed by the compact multi-band gear available now.
              Jeez, I can remember when scanners used crystals, and had to be all "VHF high" or "VHF low."

              A friend who's a detective on the local S.O. sent me a Facebook message the other day, asking if I still had my ham "ticket." He said he's thinking of retiring, and is looking to get back into ham radio for something to keep him occupied.

              Dang, now I'm tempted to get one of those little Yaesu VX-6 or VX-8 handhelds. Gotta read up on those some more.
              Save your money and get one of the Chinese Boafoungs (or whatever they are called). Small, cheap and works well



              The tri band
              http://www.mtcradio.com/kenwood-th-f...w-tri-band-ht/


              The quad band
              http://beasurvivor.blogspot.com/2013...quad-band.html
              Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

              My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

              Comment


              • #8
                Aha, so the "meter" measurements refer to the wavelength in which the radio operates? So a 2 meter uses a shorter wavelength than a 10 meter (and thus a higher frequency)?

                But my main question remains: What equipment do you recommend? I'm willing to get a license, want to be able to talk at least 100 miles.
                MAC

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mac266 View Post
                  Aha, so the "meter" measurements refer to the wavelength in which the radio operates? So a 2 meter uses a shorter wavelength than a 10 meter (and thus a higher frequency)?

                  yes you have HIGH FREQUENCE (HF) VERY HIGH FREQUENCY (VHF) AND ULTRA HIGH( UHF)

                  But my main question remains: What equipment do you recommend? I'm willing to get a license, want to be able to talk at least 100 miles.
                  Get a technician license which will license you for everything "above" 50 mHz. that is 2, 6, meters and/or 70 CM bands (70 cm is 440 mHz)

                  your area has a LOT of repeaters and since they are mostly sitting on tops of mountains----you will get close to 100 miles

                  FM radio is line of sight. Your antenna has to electrically "see" the antenna that you are trying to contact (exactly the same as our police radios)

                  A "standard" Ham mobile is a dual band 70cm/2 meter (runs right at $250-400) for quality radio & $60 or so for an antenna.---------------HF equipment is MUCH more expensive and harder to deal with in a car.

                  There are 2 "wide area" repeaters in your area------------wide area means they "probably" will cover close to 100 miles or so-------------one is 2 meter one is 70 cm

                  146.970 Wide area KB0SRJ


                  448.450 Wide area KB0SRJ


                  AND two "local" repeaters which will probably get you 50 miles or so

                  145.265 Local KB0SRJ Lower foothills above COS

                  448.800 Local KB0SRJ Lower foothills above COS
                  Last edited by Iowa #1603; 12-01-2014, 09:58 PM.
                  Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                  My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Make and model of radio equipment is like Guns--------------------ask 100 people which is best and you will get 95 different answers.

                    I have several Yaesu Radios (dual bands) a couple Alinco's and one or two "others" as well as a Vertex (professional grade) hand held that also is programed for our Sheriff's frequencies and a few ham frequencies

                    I am not a brand snob for either guns or radios-------------I use whatever works and whatever the price is right
                    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Can you set the frequency on a ham radio to talk on the CB channels? As a teenager I was in to CBs, and had a base station in my room (base station CB, not ham). I once talked to a guy who claimed to be in Tyler, TX (I was in Iowa). My base station had good range FOR A CB, but it still wouldn't go beyond about 15 miles.
                      MAC

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mac266 View Post
                        Can you set the frequency on a ham radio to talk on the CB channels?
                        I don't know if you can get an Amateur radio (10-meter) that will operate on the CB frequencies, but the FCC doesn't allow CB radios that will get onto Amateur frequencies, so the reverse might be true also. If there are any ham radios that could get down to 11 meters (26.965-27.405 MHz.), you'd have to be darn careful about the output power limit and other FCC regs, or it might result in loss of your ham license. "Transceivers used in the Amateur Radio Service below 30 MHz do not require FCC authorization prior to being imported into or marketed within the United States, but transceivers for other services, including the CB Radio Service (CB), do require Commission approval." <http://swap.qth.com/fcc/fcc-cbtable2.htm>
                        I don't know if radio manufacturers would bother to get "type acceptance" or whatever it's called so that their 10-meter radios could be used on CB, when most users of those radios would be quite content to just operate on their authorized (ham) frequencies.

                        As a teenager I was in to CBs, and had a base station in my room (base station CB, not ham). I once talked to a guy who claimed to be in Tyler, TX (I was in Iowa). My base station had good range FOR A CB, but it still wouldn't go beyond about 15 miles.
                        "Skip wave" is funny stuff. Years ago, I was driving around my old town in MA and heard a guy with a "region zero" call sign (W0ABC, KA0XYZ, etc.) asking what repeater he was on. US call signs with zeros are issued in CO, IA, KS, MN, MO, ND, NE, and SD, so I figured he was vacationing in MA or maybe had moved to the area. (Call signs issued in the six New England states have a 1 in them.)
                        I told him he was on the K1KKM repeater in Haverhill, MA, and asked where he was. He said "Right now I'm on the southern end of Campobello Island, operating an Icom 02AT into a portable beam antenna." With the right battery pack or 12 volts DC external power, an 02AT could crank out 5 watts. I don't think he said he was running the handheld into an amplifier. It's about 328 road miles from where he was to where the repeater was in those days. I think that's not bad for 5 watts on a VHF frequency.

                        Something else I thought was pretty cool was back before I got my license, when I worked a forest fire tower in southern NH. One afternoon a guy carrying a 2-meter handheld hiked up the mountain to visit the tower, and he was "hitting" a repeater in Saugus MA. The distance was maybe 50-something miles, but the best part was the HF link (20 meters, I think) that was on the repeater. He had a contact going with a ham in Scotland.
                        Last edited by RR_Security; 12-02-2014, 02:39 AM.
                        --
                        Capital Punishment means never having to say "you again?"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mac266 View Post
                          Can you set the frequency on a ham radio to talk on the CB channels? As a teenager I was in to CBs, and had a base station in my room (base station CB, not ham). I once talked to a guy who claimed to be in Tyler, TX (I was in Iowa). My base station had good range FOR A CB, but it still wouldn't go beyond about 15 miles.
                          Go to any truck stop and you can buy a "CB" radio that has bee ILLEGALLY tweaked to work on the 10 meter band. Truckers use them on I-80 all the time.

                          Legally no, you can not buy a Ham radio that operates on CB frequencies------------However the 10 meter band works much the same way as CB and has the same characteristics. The CB frequencies are in what USED to be the 11 meter HAM band----and yes the "meter" designation means the wavelength.

                          Like RR Security stated-------skip is funny. Back in the days when I was still in college and riding with a deputy in NW Iowa we still had the old 37.10 mHz mobile radios. One night we couldn't talk to our county base station much because we were "walked on" by gun battle traffic in Central Texas . That was on police radios with the 102 inch whip antennas.


                          I will PM you a couple links because I don't want to out you as to location---------------you can contact someone on there to get some local info
                          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Tonight there is a good primer om HAM radio if you go to survivalblog.com. It will be in the archives for Thursday Dec 4 if you don't get to it today.

                            Comment

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