ARRL

K0RGR

Joined: Sat, Apr 4th 1998, 00:00 Roles: N/A Moderates: N/A

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Topic Author Posted On
What things have you wanted to try but not yet done? w1rfi on 7/8/12
I've always wanted to build the cheap ham equivalent of the Very Large Array, with a whole bunch of small yagis perhaps on the side of a big hill, that can operate together as though they were one huge antenna. You could call it the 'Very Small Array' but N6TX and his SETI people have already grabbed that moniker.
Wires, is it worth it ? dksac2 on 3/8/12
I think I would agree. I hear one WIRES node on the air in the region - at the ham dealer near the Twin Cities. It sounds great when it's in use, but EchoLink and IRLP are better established. There's a new one I don't know much about that's growing in the west - Allstar. And, I also do DSTAR, which can be lot of fun, too. I'd go DSTAR before I invested in WIRES, I think.

There are some pretty good places to hang out on IRLP if you have a local node you can use.
Suggested radio for beginner lkhedge on 3/8/12
This is a question that I see an awful lot on many forums. It's too hard to try to guess what's right for someone without any knowledge of their location or their interests.

You may have missed the part in your studies where it's explained that VHF and UHF are mostly 'local' in nature. And, VHF/UHF FM is particularly local. Mobile and handheld radios on VHF/UHF are pretty dependent on repeaters to make contacts more than a few miles away. I see FAR too many new hams rush out and buy a handheld, only to rapidly discover that there's nobody to talk to!

Handhelds are very useful if you live in an area with a lot of active repeaters, particularly on mountaintops nearby. In some big cities, there are repeaters atop skyscrapers with good coverage. And, if one or more of the local repeaters is linked to other distant repeaters, either by radio, the Internet, or phone line, a handheld can provide great fun.

For public service and SKYWARN, an HT is a great accessory, but a 50 watt mobile rig that you can use as a portable or a mobile will be much more useful.

In many parts of the country, a Technician license would be most useful on 6 and 10 meter SSB. In some places, you'd really need to learn CW and get on HF to have some real fun.

If you do live in a place like California, Utah, Colorado or Arizona, or in many parts of New Mexico, where there are many high level linked repeaters, an HT can be great to have.

I have two of the Wouxun UV series radios and they are OK. I think I'd get a Yaesu FT-60 before the Wouxun UV6, though - similar price and the Yaesu has many more functions.

A useful compromise that I don't think you'd ever regret would be the FT-817. As a 'packset' it's a great replacement for a triband VHF/UHF HT. It also works SSB on 10,6, 2 and 70 cm.. It runs low power on the HF bands, where even as a Tech you can listen wherever you want, and if you learn the code, you can really use it on the air. It's big brother, the FT-857 would be a better choice, most likely, but you would lose the portability. The FT-897 gives you the portability, but it's pricey with the batteries.

I advise you not to try to start with something 'cheap just to get started'. That ALWAYS ends up costing you a lot more money in the end, unless you get so discouraged you drop out of the hobby, which far too many newbies do, because they started off with a radio that wasn't going to give them much success.

If you want to gamble, get a cheap radio like the Wouxun or the Baofeng UV5, and the programming cable. But remember that the HT is an accessory, NOT your station.
Driving and Transmitting tocoinaphrase on 3/8/12
Recently, on an episode of Ham Nation, it was stated that the 'hands free' law in California that was supposed to have a ham radio exemption does not, in fact, have one. I believe Ontario, Canada has such a law that does apply to hams, too.

Actually, the Bluetooth idea isn't a bad one. We could use more Bluetooth adapters and headsets.

I do worry a little bit when I'm doing mobile CW what some lawyer could make out of that. I don't use it in any kind of traffic, either. But we're getting too many of these overly-broad laws based on pseudo-science or no science at all.
D-STAR Equipment N3BHE on 23/11/11
ICOM has been the sole source for most DSTAR gear. However, some enterprising hams have come up with ways to made other gear work for DSTAR. http://www.dutch-star.eu/ is one supplier of DSTAR compatible boards for building non-ICOM repeaters and gateways. Their boards can also convert a 9600 baud FM into a DSTAR radio, and they have pre-announced a line of DSTAR compatible radios.

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