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Old 10-28-2012, 11:15 PM
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Thinking of going HAM

I was just given a iCom IC2100 (FM) and the handset is a iCom HM-133S. I have no idea about HAM other than you need a license and you can talk a whole lot further than a CB. So I have a few newbie questions.
1. Is this a decent set up for a mobile platform?
2. Can you talk to a CB with a ham?
3. What kind of antenna and cable do I need.

Thanks for any info you can give.

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Old 10-29-2012, 08:44 AM   #2
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1. Yes, it has been discontinued, but it is reletively new and very workable. It will have all the features that you need.

2. No, that is illegal. Also this radio operates in a diferent frequency band. Once you have your license you cal still use a CB radio though. Your Jeep would have two radios installed. Not uncommon.

3. You need a 2 meter antenna. Very common and not expensive. Some come with the coax included, others you have to buy seperatly. For a vehicle instillation it is the same type as a CB uses.

Your first step is to find a local amateur club. Use the ARRL's club locator. American Radio Relay League | ARRL - The national association for AMATEUR RADIO
They can help you find licensing courses and exam sessions. They can also assist with equipment selection and setup.

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Old 10-29-2012, 09:42 AM   #3
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If I could get in on this. Could I use my current 4' Firestik with a 2 meter radio?
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:27 AM   #4
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Way OT, but this thread title made me chuckle a bit.

In hip-hop and basketball circles, going HAM has quite a different meaning (to go all out)

Hard As a Motherf****r

As in....D-Rose went HAM last night......dropped 35 and 10 on the Knicks domes...

OK...carry on...
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:40 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by lolpetewtf View Post
If I could get in on this. Could I use my current 4' Firestik with a 2 meter radio?
No, two very different sets of frequencies. CB is 11 meter, centered around 27mhz. 2 meter amateur is 144 to 148 mhz. Just won't work.
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:09 PM   #6
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If I can throw in my shillings:

1. There are practice tests online I found very helpful, as well as sites that will allow access to part 97 of the fcc (what governs ham radio in the US) free of charge. I can give links if ya like.
2. The morse code requirement is gone, making the exam much easier. You will need to know how to read a wiring schematic, though (or at least what the symbols mean).
3. Get good coax, and an equally good antenna. Buy once cry once. Learn about mounting options, then buy a mount.
4. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
5. Listen to Sparky. He has sage RF wisdom.
6. I did not go the club route yet, for my own reasons, but I would 2nd what Sparky said about joining a club 1st. Best source of info available, and friendly folks too.

Happy to answer any other questions.

73

And on the antenna thing, we tune swr to a specific frequency, right? So we need diff ones for each band of frequencies. Citizens Band, CB is, as said, 27mhz. It borders next to a ham band, but it still isn't "convertable". There are many different bands, and the type of license gives access to different bands, which reach generally further and further as you progress.

Panthermark, you can imagine how confused I getnwhen I see it. I think in both worlds, lol.
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Old 10-31-2012, 05:51 AM   #7
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BlurRidge, I'd like to see those links! I have been in CBs for years, nearly got into HAM when the code was required and considered it several times since. I need to study up and go on and pull the trigger.
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:09 PM   #8
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I have many more ham questions, I will have to compile them and post them soon =)

Looking forward to starting.
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:33 PM   #9
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AARL, great resource.
Homepage:
http://www.arrl.org/

All about licensure:
http://www.arrl.org/licensing-preparation-exams

Here is their posting and pdf of part 97, the rules of radio:
http://www.arrl.org/part-97-amateur-radio

All about HAM, products, and forums:
http://www.eham.net/

This site I found very usefull and well layed out. It was the one I went to most before passing the exam.
http://aa9pw.com/radio/

Bands/license allowances in the US, in a (sort of) easy way to read (posting from my tablet, this may not work. Google AARL Ham bands, you'll find it.):
www.aarl.org/files/file/Hambands_color.pdf

Another great reference, especially for finding what repeaters are around or emergency personnel channels (FD, PD, EMS, etc):
http://www.radioreference.com/

Licensing, at least for me, meant driving to meet a few VERY friendly volunteers to give me a short (35 ques) multi-choice written test. It cost iirc 15$, which is for 10 years + a 2 year grace before expiration. Best deal in town.

I am a Tech class, the lowest available; you can usually go general (second up) if you can pass the Tech, it is harder though. Or so I am told. I just wanted a 2 meter band for now, so I went Tech only. I can reach many repeaters, pretty much anything within 40-50mi of my Jeep, without turning by broadcast strength past low (5w). My radio is capable of 75w TX. You will be heard on 2M, especially if repeaters are near. 4 of the 5 counties surrounding me use the band just above 2M, in the 150-160mhz range, for all their emergency comms - which I can listen to, as long as it isn't trunked. I live in the sparsly populated mountains, cities tend to be digital or trunked now. But being in property management it is nice to have, I have heard 3 distress calls from houses I know the owners of or watch. Sometimes the stuff I hear is better than any movie you could write. Sometimes you know what road to take or when a firetruck is gonna come up behind you.

I use a Yaesu FT-2900 2M mobile transceiver. I like it, it has a massive heat sink built in which is great if you are long winded or have to juice it up. I use the heat sink to use a cable gunlock to secure mine to its mount. The only thing I could say is a detachable face is much easier to mount, and nearly all duel band (or more) radios have them. I also have echolink, an app for that from the Play store. It lets me use my tablet on any linked repeater. You must have a license to use this app at all.

Tons to learn, but I think it is a LOT of fun. That should get ya guys far enough to know if ya want more or not, lol.

Happy to answer, as usual.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:14 PM   #10
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www.arrl.org/files/file/Hambands_color.pdf

Helps if you spell it right. Oops.
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:43 PM   #11
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Wow thanks so much for the info. I am also interested in the FT-2900 as a first radio. Question: Why does it (and others) have adjustable wattage? Why not run at 75w all day?
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:22 AM   #12
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Blue,
I am picking nits I know. To clarify, the test cost $15 a session. If after passing the technician exan and you wish to try for general, there is no additional cost. The license itself is free from the goverment. When you renew in 10 years it is just fill out the form online, no retest, no fee.

lope,
One of the principles of amateur radio is to only use the ammount of power needed to maintain contact. No need to use 50W when 10W will work. In the real world, in general with a vehicle mounted radio most operators just run at full power.

However, for those times you are running from a seperate battery, maybe in an emergency communication operation, running lower power keeps the battery from draining quickly. As example, those hams providing communication for hurricane Sandy. If they are in a location without power they need to stretch the battery reserves as long a possible. Running 5W versus 50W will keep them communicating a lot longer.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:19 PM   #13
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Thanks for the reply. Love this stuff =)
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by sparky
Blue,
I am picking nits I know. To clarify, the test cost $15 a session. If after passing the technician exan and you wish to try for general, there is no additional cost. The license itself is free from the goverment. When you renew in 10 years it is just fill out the form online, no retest, no fee.

lope,
One of the principles of amateur radio is to only use the ammount of power needed to maintain contact. No need to use 50W when 10W will work. In the real world, in general with a vehicle mounted radio most operators just run at full power.

However, for those times you are running from a seperate battery, maybe in an emergency communication operation, running lower power keeps the battery from draining quickly. As example, those hams providing communication for hurricane Sandy. If they are in a location without power they need to stretch the battery reserves as long a possible. Running 5W versus 50W will keep them communicating a lot longer.
Absolutely correct. Thanks.

I thought I remembered the 15 being to cover the admin costs of the volunteers, not being a cost of licensure, but I couldnt remember for sure.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:10 PM   #15
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I've got the ARRL Ham Licensing Manual for the Tech level. I'm currently on Chapter 3 but I've been making flashcards using an app on the iPhone. If anyone's interested I could share them.

I'm hoping to take the test in a few months at the longest....
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:22 AM   #16
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BlurRidge, I'd like to see those links! I have been in CBs for years, nearly got into HAM when the code was required and considered it several times since. I need to study up and go on and pull the trigger.

I started a thread over "there" and I've gotten a lot of good information as far as test links and pratice exams go. Check it out...

Why are you a HAM?
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:27 AM   #17
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I also have echolink, an app for that from the Play store. It lets me use my tablet on any linked repeater. You must have a license to use this app at all.
OK wait... so I can use my wifi only iPad on a linked repeater?? Am I understanding you correctly?
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:13 AM   #18
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OK wait... so I can use my wifi only iPad on a linked repeater?? Am I understanding you correctly?
Yes. The repeater must be hooked into the interwebs, but if it is you can TX via your tablet on that repeater (and RX). Your tablet sends it via interweb to the repeater which broadcasts, opposite happens to recieve. According to echolink, there are 2088 active nodes in America right now. There is also a echolink finder app which will tell you which repeaters are usable.

You can actually be a ham without a transceiver with this software, but it will not work without the internet - so it isn't really radio. Neat toy though.

It is the same technology that some repeaters use to allow radioing in to 911.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:49 AM   #19
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Question: Why does it (and others) have adjustable wattage? Why not run at 75w all day?
§ 97.313 Transmitter power standards.
(a) An amateur station must use the minimum transmitter power necessary to carry out the desired communications.

That said, 75 watts is a lot of heat, wasted DC current, and RF exposure when not necessary. When using repeaters, my jeep rig is rarely over 10 watts.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:24 AM   #20
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Thank you
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:17 PM   #21
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lolpetewtf (and others):

Please don't run more power than you need when running mobile. There's no need to tie up a frequency for 25+ miles in every direction when you talking to your friend who is 300' behind you on the highway.

The rest of us monitoring that frequency will appreciate it.

Tks.

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Old 11-02-2012, 01:59 PM   #22
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Yes. The repeater must be hooked into the interwebs, but if it is you can TX via your tablet on that repeater (and RX). Your tablet sends it via interweb to the repeater which broadcasts, opposite happens to recieve. According to echolink, there are 2088 active nodes in America right now. There is also a echolink finder app which will tell you which repeaters are usable.

You can actually be a ham without a transceiver with this software, but it will not work without the internet - so it isn't really radio. Neat toy though.

It is the same technology that some repeaters use to allow radioing in to 911.


Wow! Seriously? How cool is that?

I'm a 911 operator and I had no clue you could even do that! And I've been doing it for 7 years now!! I'd definitely like to learn more about that!!
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:52 PM   #23
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lolpetewtf (and others):

Please don't run more power than you need when running mobile. There's no need to tie up a frequency for 25+ miles in every direction when you talking to your friend who is 300' behind you on the highway.

The rest of us monitoring that frequency will appreciate it.

Tks.

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I see how it works now. Sort of like CB in terms of tying up a frequency...Thanks.
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:32 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by lolpetewtf

I see how it works now. Sort of like CB in terms of tying up a frequency...Thanks.
Yessir, like a wireless cloud. The stronger broadcast, the bigger the cloud. If 2 guys were trail riding in the Nat Forest, and two other dudes are driving down the highway 10 miles away, and all are at full power and the same freq, everyone hears everyone. So the guys in the forest are waiting for the others to stop TXing so they can. If everybody turned down, both conversations could happen at the same time.

It uses resources not needed, which prevents others from using them.
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:46 PM   #25
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Did you guys jump from CB to ham?
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:33 PM   #26
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I've had CBs before, if that's what you mean. I never thought they were more than walkie-talkies. Really cool ones, but walkies none the less.

With ham, you can talk to the moon. THAT is radio. When I was a little boy in school, about 8 or 9, my teacher had a nice ham transceiver in the classroom. Obviously that left an impression on me about what ham can be; I remember talking to a school class in Australia. I had no idea how nice that radio was until recently, lol.

Before anybody gets mad, Autopatch, what lets phone calls be made from radio repeaters, isn't really the same as the aforementioned node system, but it makes since to explain it that way. Autopatch must be initiated by the radio by code to make a call, the node system just taps into the active repeater. Big difference, but same principle - the repeater connects to the outside world via other means than RF.
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:11 PM   #27
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Does studying for the Tech license get any easier after chapter 3 of the ARRL manual?

Honestly, I've had to push myself to read this far. I don't have an interest in building my own radios and these chapters on wavelengths, frequencies, transistors, capacitors, oscillators, discriminators and everything else are starting to loose my attention. I'm more interested in pushing the button and talking, so thank gawd for premade radios.

I'm about to move on to chapter 4.
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:22 PM
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Thank you all for the info. There seems to be a lot more to getting a license than I thought!
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:28 PM   #29
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Thank you all for the info. There seems to be a lot more to getting a license than I thought!
Not really, its actually kind of simple.

There is a question pool of 396 questions that will be in use until 2014. The Tech license test is made up of 35 random questions taken from this pool. The ARRL manual, and multiple online tests give you the questions and correct answers.

If you're good at memorization, all you have to do is study these 396 questions well enough to get 26 our of 35 questions correct on an exam, and you're licensed.

Other than that its $15 fee to cover the examiners time, and you're done.
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:39 PM   #30
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Does studying for the Tech license get any easier after chapter 3 of the ARRL manual?

Honestly, I've had to push myself to read this far. I don't have an interest in building my own radios and these chapters on wavelengths, frequencies, transistors, capacitors, oscillators, discriminators and everything else are starting to loose my attention. I'm more interested in pushing the button and talking, so thank gawd for premade radios.

I'm about to move on to chapter 4.
Uh, no. Sorry. That part can be very dull, but on the bright side the test is 35 questions from 10 catagories:

T0: Electrical and RF Safety*
T1: FCC Rules, station license responsibilities*
T2: Control operator duties*
T3: Operating practices*
T4: Radio and electronic fundamentals*
T5: Station setup and operation*
T6: Communications modes and methods*
T7: Special operations*
T8: Emergency and Public Service Communications*
T9: Radio waves, propagation, and antennas

So really you can not know about two sections and pass, but you really do need to know about all of it, mostly for safety and legal compliance. Keep the faith, you'll get through it. They probably will throw a picture of a circuit up and ask about a componant in it or what type of circuit it is. That can get tricky if you are not familliar with wiring diagrams, but you get 9

But like you said, it is 396 questions, that isnt going to change. It will be 35 of them. I wish schools did that, lol.

And like Sparky 1st said, go join a local Ham club. They can be a huge wealth of information to you.

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