About Amateur Radio
Ham radio, as it is often called, is a hobby. It is a non-commercial radio communication service whose primary aims are public service, technical training, experimenting with radio electronics, and leisure communication between private persons. Hams are noted for providing communications in times of emergency or disaster. Ham radio exists in nearly every country and on the same frequencies. This allows amateur radio operators to communicate internationally. Amateur Radio is governed by the Federal Communications Commission and by Part 97 of the Title 47 Telecommunications regulations.
By international treaty, the amateur and amateur-satellite services are for qualified persons of any age who are interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest. In areas where the services are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, an amateur operator must hold an FCC or Canadian license or be a foreign-licensed amateur whose country has entered into a reciprocal licensing/operating arrangement with the United States or who holds a CEPT or IARP license. What can I do with a Ham License?
There are so many things, it's a difficult question to answer, but here's some ideas: Talk to people in foreign countries. DX'ing is a favorite of many hams!
Talk to people (both local and far away) on your drive to work
Help in emergencies and natural disasters by providing communications.
Provide communications in parades or walkathons and other public service events.
Help other people become hams. (We call it "Elmering.")
Hook your computer to your radio and communicate "computer-to-computer." Hams use radio modems.
Collect QSL cards (cards from other hams) from all over the United States and foreign countries and receive awards.
Participate in contests or Field Day events.
Provide radio communication services to your local Civil Defense organization through ARES (the Amateur Radio Emergency Service) or RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) ...or even FEMA, (the Federal Emergency Management Agency.)
Aid members of the U.S. military by joining the Army, Air Force or Navy/Marine MARS (Military Affiliate Radio System).
Participate in transmitter hunt games and maybe build your own direction-finding equipment. Fox Hunts
Have someone to talk to on those sleepless nights at home.
Receive weather pictures via satellites.
Build radios, antennas, learn some electronics and radio theory.
Talk to astronauts in space, or use the moon to bounce signals back to people on the Earth.
Experiment with Amateur TV (ATV), Slow-Scan TV (SSTV), or send still-frame pictures by facsimile.
Lash your ham radio to the public telephone system and call your friends toll free. (Auto patching)
Communicate through orbiting satellites. (There are many in ham satellites in orbit that are owned and operated by the amateur community! And you can use them without any cost whatsoever!)
...and this is only the beginning! You are limited only by your imagination and ingenuity.
It's Easy to Get Started
The most popular license for beginners is the Technician Class license, which requires only a 35 multiple-choice question written examination. The test is written with the beginner in mind. Morse Code is no required to get your license.. With a Technician Class license, you will have all ham radio privileges above 30 megahertz (MHz). These privileges include the very popular 2-meter band. Many Technician licensees enjoy using small (2 meter) hand-held radios to stay in touch with other hams in their area. Technicians may operate FM voice, digital packet (computers), television, single-sideband voice and several other interesting modes. You can even make international radio contacts via satellites, using relatively simple equipment. In the US, there are three license levels or "license classes" (Technician class, General class and Extra Class). These licenses are granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Earning a ham radio license has never been easier with The ARRL Technician Class Course for Ham Radio Licensing. This course is available online. See links below, the course prepares students to earn their first Amateur (or "ham") Radio license. There are no prerequisites. This course has 35 learning units, and takes 20 to 25 hours to complete over an 8-week period. Students learn all the information required to pass their ham radio license examination.
The questions are multiple choice and the books give you the answers, thing is, there are 250 questions and technician and general tests are 35 of those questions and the extra test is 50 questions.
There is a small examination charge (currently $15.00) to be administered the examinations necessary to obtain any of the three ham radio licenses. Both the W5YI VEC and the ARRL-VEC organizations have permanent paid staff and this fee goes to help cover the cost of administering and processing the paperwork and electronically filing the application with the FCC.
http://www.eham.net/exams/ is a good link to start, and there are quite a few other resources for learning to take the tests as well.
There is a lot of information on the ARRL web site also. http://www.arrl.org/licensing-education-training
www.w7mcm.com Mike’s web site has a lot of getting started information and links for information on practice exams and on line learning.
The Okanogan County Amateur Radio Club is giving FCC testing, when you are ready let us know and we will schedule a test near you with-in 30 days hopefully… that is our plan anyway [email protected] is the clubs email and a good way to get ahold of us,
This is just a taste of what amateur radio is about, there is so much, and so many different modes and uses.
The motto for Ham radio is:
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS AMATEUR RADIO.
http://k7ek.org/viewpage.php?page_id=6 thank-you Gary K7EK. Every one needs to read this and check out his web site.
by Rusty Bumpers N4LID
On two meters lately, I have noticed a tendency of people making a concerted effort to sound like a LID (i.e. poor operator, read: IDIOT). Since this seems to be the new style in amateur radio, I thought I would present this handy guide to radio nerd-dom. The following is what I call "How to sound like a LID in one easy lesson".
1. Use as many Q signals as possible. Yes I know they were invented solely for CW and are totally inappropriate for two-meter FM (or any voice mode), but they are fun and entertaining. They keep people guessing as to what you really meant. i.e. "I'm going to QSY to the kitchen." can you really change frequency to the kitchen? QSL used to mean "I am acknowledging receipt", but now it appears to mean "yes" or "OK." I guess I missed it when the ARRL changed the meaning.
2. Never laugh, when you can say "HI HI!." No one will ever know that you aren't a long time CW ragchewer if you don't tell them. They'll think you've been on since the days of Marconi. Why not simply laugh? IE: Ha Ha... etc. What a concept!
3. Utilize an alternative vocabulary. Use worked like "destinated" and "negatory." Its OK to make up words here. "yea Bill, I pheelbart zaphonix occasionally myself".
4. Always say "XX4XXX (insert your own callsign) for I.D." Anything that creates redundancy is strongly encouraged. That's why we have the Department of Redundancy Department. (Please note that you can follow your callsign with "for identification purposes" instead of "for I.D." While taking longer to say it is worth more lid points.)
5. The better the copy on two-meter FM, the more you should phonetically spell your name, especially if it a short or common one. i.e. "My handle is Al... Alpha Lima" or "Jack... Juliet Alpha Charlie Kilo." If at all possible make up unintelligible phonetics. "The personal here is Bob... Billibong Oregano Bumperpool."
6. Always give your callsign, and that of everyone who is (or has been) in the group, whether they are still there or not. While this has been unnecessary for years, it is still a wonderful memory test.
7. Whenever possible, use the wrong terminology. It keeps people guessing. Use "modulation" when you mean "deviation" and visa-versa. And even if the two-meter FM amplifier you are using is a Class C type amp, and thus not biased for linear amplification, be sure to call it your "linear". Heck, refer to all FM-style amplifiers as "linears". You'll be the king of the "wrong terminology" hill.
8. If someone asks for a break, always finish your turn, taking as long as possible before turning it over. Whenever possible pass it around a few times first. This will discourage the breaker and, if it is an emergency, will encourage him to switch to another repeater and not bother you.
9. Always ask involved questions of the person who is trying to sign out. Never let him get by with a simple yes or no. Make it a question that will take a long time to answer.
10. The less you know about a subject, the more you should speculate about it on the air. The amount of time spent on your speculations should be inversely proportional to your knowledge on the subject.
11. If someone on the repeater is causing interference, you should talk about that person at great length, making sure to comment on at least four out of six of the following:
A. His mental state
B. His family
C. His intelligence, or lack of the same
D. His sexual preference
E. His relationship to small animals
F. His other methods of self entertainment.
12. If you hear two amateurs start a conversation on the repeater, wait until they are 20 seconds into their contact, and then break-in to use the patch. Make sure its only a simple routine phone call. It's also important that you run the autopatch for at least three minutes. This way, once the two re-establish contact, they wont remember what they were talking about.
13. You hear someone on the repeater giving directions to a visiting amateur. Even if the directions are good, make sure to break-in with your own "alternate route but better way to get there" version. This is most effective if several other LID trainees join in, each with a different route. By the time the amateur wanting directions unscrambles all the street names whizzing around his head, he should have driven out of range of the repeater. This keeps you from having to stick around and help the guy get back out of town later.
14. Use the repeater for an hour or two at a time, preventing others from using it. Better yet, do it on a daily basis. Your quest is to make people so sick of hearing your voice every time they turn on their radio, they'll move to another frequency. This way you'll lighten the load on the repeater, leaving even more time for you to talk on it.
15. See just how much flutter you can generate by operating at handheld power levels too far away from the repeater. Engage people in conversations when you know they wont be able to copy half of what your saying. Even when they say your uncopyable, continue to string them along by making further transmissions. See just how frustrated you can make the other amateur before he finally signs off in disgust.
16. Give out wacky radio advice. When a newcomer's signal is weak into the repeater, tell him he can correct the problem by adjusting the volume and squelch knobs on his radio. Or tell people they are full quieting except for the white noise on their signal. Or..... well, you get the idea. It would really be great if you knew what you were tallking about.... and not propagate mis-information.
WTF is white noise? You don't have a bloody clue! You simply parrot what you've heard others say, because it makes you sound knowledgeable. Like them, this makes you one of the ultimate lids.... It so happens that "White Noise" is one of the most mis-used and mis-understood terms in amateur radio. If you don't know what something means, don't say it.... White noise my A$$!
17. Use lots of radio jargon. After all, it makes you feel important using words ordinary people don't say. Who cares if it makes you sound like you just fell off Channel 19 on the citizen's Band? Use phrases such as "Roger on that", "Roger that", "10-4", "I'm on the side", "Your making the trip", "Come back", and "Negatory on that". Leave that crap on CB. This is amateur radio - Start talking and acting like it!
18. Use excessive microphone gain. See just how loud you can make your audio. Make sure the audio gain is so high that other amateurs can hear any bugs crawling on your floor. If mobile, make sure the wind noise is loud enough that others have to strain to pick your words out from all the racket.
19. Be as verbose as possible. Never say "yes" when you can say "He acquiesced in the affirmative by saying 'yes'" (No kidding, I actually heard that one).
20. Start every transmission with the word "Roger", "Roger that", or "QSL". Sure, you don't need to acknowledge that you received the other transmission in full. After all, you would simply ask for a repeat if you missed something. But consider it your gift to the other amateur to give him solace every few seconds that his transmissions are being received.
21. When looking for a contact on a repeater, always say you're "listening" or "monitoring" multiple times. I've always found that at least a half dozen times or so is good. Repeating your multiple "listening" ID's every 10 to 15 seconds is even better. Those people who didn't want to talk to you will eventually call you, hoping you'll go away after you have finally made a contact.
22. Give out repeater FM signal reports using the HF SSF R-S system ("You're 5 by 9 here"). Sure it's considered improper for FM operation and you may even confuse some people, but don't let that spoil your fun!
23. Always use a repeater, even if you can work the other station easily on simplex ... especially if you can make the contact on simplex. The coverage of the repeater you use should be inversely proportional to your distance from the other station.
24. If you and the other station are both within a mile or two of the repeater you are using, you should always give a signal report ("I'm sitting under the repeater and I know you can see it from there, but you're full quieting into the repeater. Ho about me?").
25. In the same vein as the previous step, when monitoring a repeater, you should always give signal reports as if the repeater didn't exist ("Yep, I'm right under the repeater. You've got a whopping signal! You're S-9 plus 60. That must be a great rig!")
26. When on repeaters using courtesy tones, you should always say "over". Courtesy tones are designed to let everyone know when you have unkeyed but don't let that stop you. Say "over", "back to you" or "go ahead". It serves no useful purpose but don't worry, it's still fun!
This concept can be taken one step further. FM communications uses a squelch circuit to quiet the receiver when no signal is present. When someone ends a transmission and unkeys, there is usually a very distinct noise, or squelch tail, as the receiver quiets. That being said, there is NO need to say OVER, period. Those listening know immediately that the transmitting station has stopped, and that it is their turn. This applies to simplex and repeaters, with or without courtesy tones. Show your ignorance by saying OVER after every transmission.
27. Think up interesting and bizarre things to do to tie up the repeater. The goal here is not to facilitate communications, but to entertain all the scanner listeners out there. Do something original. Try to hum CTCSS (PL) tones. Sing pager tones (You're getting the idea).
28. Use the repeater's autopatch for frivolous routine calls... especially during morning or evening commute times. While pulling into the neighborhood, call home to let them know you'll be there in two minutes.... or, call your spouse to complain about the bad day you had at work. After all, the club has "measured rate" service on their phone line so they get charged for each autopatch call. Your endeavor is to make so many patches in a year that you cost the club at least $20 in phone bills. That way you'll feel you got your money's worth for your dues!
29. Never say "My name is ....." It makes you sound human. If at all possible, use one of the following phrases:
A. "The personal here is ..."
B. "The handle here is..."
30. Use "73" and "88" incorrectly. Both are already considered plural, but add a "s" to the end anyway. Say "73's" or "88's". Who cares if it means "best regardses" and "love and kisseses." Better yet, say "seventy thirds"! (By the way, seventy thirds equals about 23. . MORE APPROPRIATELY: Don't ever say 73 and 88, Q signals, etc on voice. 73, 88, and Q signals are meant for non-voice modes. When on voice modes, why not speak plain english and simply say "Best regards" or "Love and kisses", "My location is....", etc". Once again, leave that crap on CB! "3's and 8's... I'm gone!"
31. Make people think you have a split personality by referring to yourself in the plural sense. When you're in conversation and are alone at your radio, always say "We're" or "We've" instead of "I'm" or "I've" (ex. "we've been doing this...", "we're doing that...", "we're clear"). Everyone knows you're by yourself, but when they ask you who is with you, make up somebody important like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bill Clinton or better yet, tell them your royalty. Is that a mouse in your pocket??
32. Always attempt to use the higher functions of the repeater before you have read the directions. Nothing will work, but you'll have great fun and get lots of people to give you advice. This works even better after a six-pack of beer.
33. Test repeater functions repeatedly (that's why they call it a repeater!) Test your signal strength from the same location several times every day. Concentration on testing the things that really matter, like the number of time the repeater has been keyed-up. That stuff is fun to track. Test the outside temperature as often as possible. The farther the temperature goes from the norms, the more often you should test it. Also, if you get a pager set to the repeater's output frequency, as soon as you receive it, set it off every 30 seconds or so until the battery runs down. Better yet, interrupt conversations to test it.
34. If the repeater is off the air for service, complain about the fact that it was off the air as soon as it's turned back on. Act as though your entire day has been ruined because the repeater wasn't available when you wanted to use it. Incessantly bug the repeater owner about system outages, above and beyond the initial notification of a problem. This will make him immediately drop everything including his primary employment, in order to cater to your demands. Make him understand that the universe revolves around proper operation of your repeater.
35. Find ways to get around the "no business" rule on autopatches. Your plan is to try and fool the repeater control operators. Invent code words your secretary at work will understand to disguise any business talk so it sounds like personal chatter. Or get to be friends with the local Domino's Pizza manager. Make it so that when you call him on the patch and ask him to bring over the "floppy disk" you need to your house, he shows up 30 minutes later with a piping hot pepperoni and sausage pie. The possibilities are endless!
Want to avoid "Sounding like a lid"? In the old days there was something called an "Elmer". That's a nickname for mentor, a knowledgeable amateur operator that would groom new people for their amateur radio career. Elmers would walk their students through the mine field of do's, don'ts, and radio theory (what makes your radio work, and WHY), teaching them all of the things they would need to be successful amateur radio operators. Most important was courtesy and operating procedure.
There are two ways to operate... like a LID, or the CORRECT way. Unfortunately the tradition of "Elmering" newcomers has mostly fallen by the side. Shame on you, radio clubs! Most new amateur radio operators today are of the "shake and bake" variety. They attend a weekend class at the local radio club (a cram-session that does nothing but teach the prospective new amateur the answers to multiple-guess written examinations). If they do not attend a class, the prospect digests just enough out of a written study guide to pass the test.... or they use a online source... The result is always the same. The FCC has tested your short term memory, your ability to pass a multiple-choice written examination, 99% of which you won't remember a week after passing the exam. That is an insult and dis-service to you, and all amateur radio operators. You bluffed your way through a written exam. So what? That does not prove anything. You don't know the first thing about correct operating procedure and expected courtesy, let alone anything electronic. If you took a weekend exam-cram at your local radio club, you were ripped-off, if they did not take the time to explain the how and why of each exam question. You did it to yourself if you only studied the question pool, without researching the how and why, and doing in-depth study.
In the old days there was the Novice Class license, which was akin to an apprenticeship. That license class gave the new operator a hands-on approach, thus lessening the impact of the exam-cram method of licensing. You had to learn how to do things right before your license expired and you were forced to upgrade or go off of the air. Those were the days. Now a 7 year old can memorize the questions, take the written exam, and be a fully licensed ham in the course of several weeks or months.... but they won't have a clue as to what they will do with the license once it arrives in the mail. The ensuing LID-like operation is not their fault. They did not have an Elmer to nurture and mentor them. If any of the aforementioned sounds like you, I strongly encourage you to dig deeper. Learn how and why your station works. Get an Elmer... Go back to that radio club and have them teach you all of the fine print that the instructor left out. They owe it to you. Don't take NO for an answer. Emulate good operating procedure and courtesy. The bands are full of people you can use as examples of how NOT to do it. You got that license... Now it's time to get the maximum benefit out of it by becoming experienced and knowledgeable... Once you have some years of good operating experience, PLEASE give something back by Elmering a new ham, so they won't have to learn everything the hard way like you. Above all, teach them now NOT to sound like a LID on the air!
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from Don Keith, N4KC on October 14, 2011
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As you can imagine, when I became active again in amateur radio in 2005 after a twelve-year hiatus—kids, job, writing, all competing for time and attention—there were numerous things that had changed in the hobby while I had been away. I am now celebrating my 50th year of being licensed and I can honestly say that I am as enthusiastic about ham radio as ever. I’m glad it was still around—and better than ever—when I returned to it. And I am deeply thankful to those who roll up their sleeves and make it even better. Or even keep it in existence.
Many of the changes I noticed when I came back to the airwaves are good ones: new bands, new modes, satellites, computer/radio interfaces, transceivers in tuna cans, SDRs, continued growth within our ranks, new countries opened up to the hobby around the world, and more. Other changes? Well, maybe not so good in retrospect. In many cases, though, one man’s wonderful evolution is another’s travesty. But isn’t that the case in all aspects of society?
One thing I noticed has unfortunately not changed at all. Way back in 1961, when I was an awe-struck 13-year-old on a tiny farm, fascinated by all this radio stuff and how it allowed me to go way beyond our few acres, there was one thing I noticed right away. When I twisted the dial on my Hallicrafters, I would invariably hear some people who vociferously condemned the American Radio Relay League. It was, according to them, the League’s fault that single sideband and its incessant “duck quacking” was becoming the ruination of amateur radio. The League’s fault that kids (like me) could get a Novice license without knowing how to build a linear amp from old TV parts and only needed to copy code at five words-per-minute to join “their” hobby. Those old guys in Connecticut’s fault that transistors were replacing tubes and QST was running ads for factory-made gear and the bands were full of contesters two weekends in November. Heck, even the low point in the sunspot cycle was somehow the fault of the League.
I suppose I should not have been surprised that I still catch those same kinds of charges today, though it’s not a Hallicrafters anymore on which I hear them. And it extends to media that would have been science fiction to me back then. There are new ways of doing it thanks to the Internet, online forums, and blogs and the opportunities are not wasted.
It comes to mind now because of not only some snatches of conversation I have heard on the air but also because of discussions I sample on the various ham radio discussion forums, including the new one on the League’s web site......READ THE WHOLE STORY HERE AND MORE - http://www.eham.net/articles/26958