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Amateur Radio Starter Kit
radio : by Tommy - September 26th 2016, 07:16PM
I recently posted on Facebook for some friends about an incredibly cheap radio out of China. It's the Baofeng UV-5R.
The little dual-band radio has been the source of much consternation among the old guard of amateur radio because of it's cheap construction, low quality display, and some technical problems with the radio (some which make it technically illegal to operate on some frequencies). However, it is 100% legal to operate on the 2m amateur band (144-148MHz). The price of this radio is what makes all shortcomings able to be overlooked. It costs $25 on Amazon with free shipping for Prime customers!

Now, the radio is not a super great radio, but it's a phenomenal starter radio. (Or, as I call the one I keep in my car, a "burner" radio. I can drop it, lose it, or have it stolen and I simply would not care.) If one were to purchase this little capable radio for the mere $25 price tag, one should also get a couple of pieces of kit that should be standard: a better after-market antenna (Option 1 or Option 2) and a USB programming cable in order to program all the frequencies of nearby repeaters using software like CHiRP. All in, the whole kit still comes in around $40 which is still a fraction of the cost of a dual band radio from one of the major amateur radio manufacturers like Icom, Kenwood, or Yaesu.

Study, study
Anyone interested in amateur radio should consider studying for their license before dropping any money on a radio. While the radio is cheap, it's still money wasted if you can't use it because you don't have a license. The student guide's I most often recommend are the Technician study guide by Gordon West, WB6NOA, or the Technician study guide by the ARRL.

Continue reading...

tags: ham_radio license radio

( Comments : 0 | Full article )

Extra, Extra N5DUX is Extra
radio : by Tommy - March 16th 2005, 11:30PM
I just got back from passing my Amateur Extra test. This is the top of the licensing structure, I now have full privileges on the ham bands. It's not quite as big of a step from General to Extra as it was from Technician to General, in terms of privileges. There's just a bit more frequencies I can use now, and it feels good to have climbed the ranks. Granted, there's still plenty that I don't know, and plenty that I'm hungry to know more about.

The Extra test was just a written test (no code test involved), but the content is a bit more in depth and alot more technical than the previous tests. I had only really been studying in earnest, this week (Spring Break). I didn't just beat the snot out of the test, it was a nail-biter, much like my previous Morse test. I could probably do better if I took it again at a later date and studied more - but I passed, that's all that matters, and I'm happy for that.

tags: ham_radio license

( Comments : 3 | Full article )

N5DUX now General
radio : by Tommy - February 16th 2005, 07:42PM
Tonight I passed both the written and code section of the FCC Amateur Radio Licensing tests to gain my General license. I had studied Morse Code off and on for the past few months. I thought I was ready back in December, but failed at that attempt. Tonight I passed, not perfect, but a good showing, nonetheless. I was sure I would walk away defeated once more, but after Army, AE5P, counted up more than 35 characters in a row, I was elated to find out I passed.

I also gave the written portion of the test a try and found out I remembered more of it than I thought - I hadn't studied since December! (...and that was studying with a slightly outdated book!) I passed with a 24/30, not as good as I'd liked to have made, but a passing score is a passing score.

It will take a few weeks for the FCC to process the paperwork to officially grant my General class standing, but in the meantime, I can still operate as a General license holder by appending "/AG" to my call. (I think it stands for Awaiting General)

I was really shocked, I was only expecting to eek by on the Element 1 code test, but, in the end, I got both. Very glad to have accomplished this.

tags: ham_radio license

( Comments : 11 | Full article )

New License Plates
radio : by Tommy - December 1st 2004, 11:59PM
I just got my new license plates in today. Texas allows amateur radio operators to get license plates with their callsign on them for a whopping $2.
I placed the order in the first couple of weeks of November and got them today.

Some people say that ham plates are the epitome of being a radio geek, maybe so, but when I'm driving and I see call letters on the back of a car, I give a wave and almost always can talk to the other guy on 146.52MHz. It's an interesting way to meet other drivers when you're making a long road trip. It's just something neat to do, and it didn't cost me much of anything. So I like it.

Mackieman sez: I got new plates too, but I opted for customized over my ham callsign. Behold the glory that is OMG BBQ.

tags: ham_radio car license

( Comments : 2 | Full article )


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