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How to start out

Dec 12th 2020, 14:38

mikemyers

Joined: Sep 17th 2020, 11:18
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I'm new to all this. I bought the book I need to read and learn, so I can pass the test to get a license. Hope to do that in the next two weeks.

I'm receiving the magazine - but saying I'm "lost" is an understatement. Is there a post here that describes in simple terms what I will need to buy to get involved in ham radio?

Back in the 1970's, I visited the local radio shop, with walls and shelves full of mysterious gear that presumably would allow me to talk to others via ham radio. I didn't know enough to even start to ask what's what.

Photography and cameras I know and understand. Here, I don't even know how to select a basic radio to start with. I know I can't broadcast until I get a license, but I thought I could start out by listening.

Anyway, that's how ignorant I am, as in totally. Maybe there is a post or write-up here the will start to explains that a newcomer can read and understand.

(I think there is a ham radio group in Ft. Laderdale, with wold be a great place to visit, once it's safe to travel. I live in Miami, so it would be a short trip.

Hopefully I'm posting in the right place - no idea what "contesting" means, and also hopefully I will be notified of replies to these questions.
Dec 12th 2020, 20:35

W1VT

Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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http://www.arrl.org/getting-licensed

http://www.arrl.org/find-a-club

It may help to describe what you would like to do.
A wedding photographer often needs different equipment than someone taking pictures of jewelry or the stars at night.

It may also help to describe what you can do for antenna supports. It can be difficult for someone in an apartment or HOA to talk around the world, even though they can buy expensive gear and pass all the amateur exams.

Zak W1VT
ARRL Senior Lab Engineer


Dec 14th 2020, 13:26

WB1GCM

Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hello Mike,

It would be faster if we could talk on the phone: I will be happy to answer your questions. There is no question too simple.
860-594-0210. A good time to catch me on the phone is AT 3 PM, Monday through Friday. I try to stop testing at that time to answer the phone and take care of emails.

Bob Allison
WB1GCM
ARRL LAB
Dec 16th 2020, 07:45

mikemyers

Joined: Sep 17th 2020, 11:18
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Excellent - that is a start!!! Please also tell me what I need to do to get notified when someone responds to something I wrote. I need to select "follow this thread" or whatever the appropriate wording is.

I plan to call you this afternoon. If your time zone is different from EST let me know, and I'll adjust accordingly.

I purchased the Ham Radio License Manual. Need to start reading it. Hopefully it has a chapter for total beginners.

Thank you!!
Dec 16th 2020, 07:47

mikemyers

Joined: Sep 17th 2020, 11:18
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Total Posts: 0
Oops, double post.
Dec 16th 2020, 12:00

AI4BJ

Joined: Sep 2nd 2003, 12:14
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
The Ham Radio License Manual is an excellent place to start. The first chapter answers a lot of beginner questions, including "What is contesting?".

Something I always ask newcomers to the hobby is "Why are you interested in amateur radio, and what do you hope to get out of the hobby?". My next question is "Do you expect to do most of your operating from home, and if so, describe the physical characteristics of "home" (detached dwelling?, apartment?, yard available?, trees available? roof accessible? attic accessible? HOA restrictions?). Some hams prefer to operate from the field, either in their vehicle, from a park, or while hiking/backpacking.

My last question is "What kind of budget do you have to work with?" You can get started in the hobby for less than $100, but just as with photography, you can easily spend a whole lot more!

The ARRL forums are rather limited in terms of functionality, e.g. I don't believe there are notifications available for threads you are following. Their advantage is that you will often receive replies from very knowledgeable folks at ARRL HQ, such as Zak and Bob. You should also check out the forums at QRZ.COM, though they tend to be rather more rambunctious.

Which magazine are you receiving from ARRL? If it's QST, you might want to check out back issues of On the Air magazine online, which is targeted to newcomers like you. http://www.arrl.org/On-the-Air-Magazine

Keep asking questions!

73,
Mark AI4BJ
Dec 16th 2020, 13:42

WB1GCM

Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Mike,

Please consider purchasing the ARRL book, "Your First Amateur Radio HF Station" :

http://www.arrl.org/shop/Your-First-Amateur-Radio-HF-Station/

It is written by Steve Ford, who is a top notch writer and a very practical Radio Amateur. He just retired from here and we miss him very much.

I can remember what it was like 47 years ago when I started out; it was very overwhelming. Please remember, no one can be an expert on all topics related to radio; it's impossible these days. Be patient and savor the fact that all of this is new to you. I learn something everyday that I am active investigating, building, or operating, Have fun!

Bob

Dec 16th 2020, 15:03

mikemyers

Joined: Sep 17th 2020, 11:18
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Quote by WB1GCM
Hello Mike,

It would be faster if we could talk on the phone: I will be happy to answer your questions. There is no question too simple.
860-594-0210. A good time to catch me on the phone is AT 3 PM, Monday through Friday. I try to stop testing at that time to answer the phone and take care of emails.

Bob Allison
WB1GCM
ARRL LAB


Bob, I tried to call you when I got home, 4pm. No answer. I'll try again tomorrow afternoon. Thanks!!!
Dec 16th 2020, 15:13

mikemyers

Joined: Sep 17th 2020, 11:18
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Quote by WB1GCM



I went to buy the book, but it says "no items available"....??
Dec 17th 2020, 01:47

W1VT

Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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It is available from Amazon for $20 as a paperback or $10 as a Kindle ebook.
https://www.amazon.com/Your-First-Station-Steve-Ford/dp/1625950071/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Mar 26th, 23:00

WB5EMX

Joined: Aug 25th 2016, 23:32
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hello, Mike,
You will not find a community where folks are as eager to get you started as the community of Amateur Radio Operators. I'm guessing that by now you are licensed, or pretty close to being licensed. Your license will let you know what modes and frequencies you can operate. Then, when you buy a rig, you will know what frequencies and modes that the rig will let you operate on. After that, you choose. Well, you find out what the Sun is doing to our propagation, then, after that, you get to choose!
But, where I was going with all of this is that you need to get started, and operate until you feel comfortable with it, then try operating on a new band, or try a new mode. Just build slowly rather than trying to do too much at once.
Drop me a line at WB5EMX@ARRL.net and I'll give you advice via email.
Hope you have a blast with all of this!
73,
WB5EMX ie. Bob

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