Amateur Radio - Where to go next?

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Zembecowicz
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Amateur Radio - Where to go next?

Post by Zembecowicz » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:54 am

I got my tech license about four years ago, primarily because a high power rocket club I was in at the time used 2 meter HTs for crew communication. I ended up finding a Kenwood TM261A and a power supply on Craigslist, and back before I moved it set up with a ground plane antenna in my attic.
I got the thing set up again a few weeks ago (this time with a commercial antenna on the roof), and have been checking into which repeaters I can hit.

I picked up study materials for my General class, and am planning to start studying as soon as I finish reading a programming book that I've almost finished. I know that there are a lot of things that can be done with amateur radio, both prepping and otherwise. What do you folks do on the radio?

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Re: Amateur Radio - Where to go next?

Post by woodsghost » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:38 pm

My plan, once I get my license (hopefully in a few days), is to start learning about the real abilities of the radios my friends and I have. Then start experimenting with NVIS and tropospheric communication. That alone could keep me busy for years with a limited budget.

After that I plan to learn about DXing. Maybe even learn CW.

I feel the real point is either to keep in touch with friends, or make new friends. I hope to do both.

Friends and I will also get out and do exercises from time to time to keep the comms muscles in shape. Just get out and see where the radios work and where they do not. Or that is the plan...

I have a friend who has turned into a Ham Evangelist. I'd like to follow in his footsteps too.
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Re: Amateur Radio - Where to go next?

Post by TacAir » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:29 pm

Having fun is a big part of ham radio.

I was a radio tech for years, so playing with the equipment is a part of having fun as well.

Once you have been on the sir, you might look for the 'bigger challenge' of working QRP. 5 watts and CW will yield a lot of fun contacts and sharpen your antenna skills. The next step after that is QRP in the field. I think it is a blast as do many others - see any of the SOTA related sites to get an idea of what is going on in the low power world.
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Re: Amateur Radio - Where to go next?

Post by Zembecowicz » Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:16 pm

I actually just got my general class license on Saturday, and found a local simplex VHF net the following day.
Once our Thanksgiving guests are back home I'm going to start learning CW, so QRP will definitely be an option. Once Spring has rolled around I think I'm going to start doing SOTA.

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Re: Amateur Radio - Where to go next?

Post by taipan821 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:33 pm

If I can suggest one thing to learn, it is to learn antennas. learning about how certain antenna radiate can dictate which one you use.
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Re: Amateur Radio - Where to go next?

Post by Zembecowicz » Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:44 am

I like the way you think taipan821.
Eventually I want to be at the point where I'm homebrewing radio gear, and I think antennas are a good place to start. I've been reading about G5RV antennas for the house and they seem interesting. I'm going to talk to some folks on the web and the local simplex net on Sunday and see what they think. I also found some articles the other day for homebrewing a buddipole clone. I'll probably try to cook up a yagi for my Baofeng to compliment my slimjim soonish as well.

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Re: Amateur Radio - Where to go next?

Post by doitnstyle1 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:49 pm

taipan821 wrote:If I can suggest one thing to learn, it is to learn antennas. learning about how certain antenna radiate can dictate which one you use.
This^ and try the QRP.

Congrats on your General license!

One of the first things I did was develop my own antenna, after the Buddipole system and I love it. It outperforms a lot of market antennas and I kept it below $100 from some used and scrap parts. I am developing a portable Beam antenna from 40-10 meters. This is fun stuff.

Try also the Digi modes. FT8 is a great new one to use. I will be learning about it hopefully this week with a friend.
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Re: Amateur Radio - Where to go next?

Post by Zembecowicz » Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:06 pm

I've decided that the first thing I'm going to do is get an antenna up and coax into the house, assuming that the weather holds (it's been unusually mild lately). That way I can set up a HF rig as soon as funds allow, rather than waiting for the snow to melt.

One thing I found to be interesting is the Arduino QRP shield. That would probably be fun to play with on chilly Winter nights.

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Re: Amateur Radio - Where to go next?

Post by taipan821 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:36 pm

one suggestion I can make, when the weather is too cold/hot/wet/burning to play outdoors with antennas, or when the bands are dead look into some DIY projects.

- A computer PSU makes a great benchtop fixed power supply
- make your own random wire length antenna tuner (great for qrp)
- learn about batteries (energy density, power capability etc) for portable ops
- look into digital modes, such as APRS, wiresX etc
- build a dummy load for QRP radios

when the weather is suitable for outdoor activities
- Participate in summit on the air (SOTA) either chasing summits or activating them
- go portable
- play with antennas
- participate in radio related activities (hamfests)

Also, you will end up with a collection of coax connectors, power connectors, data connectors, wires, coax cable, batteries, power supplies etc. have a storage system in place for these items and always keep your eye out. You will learn how to repair electrical devices, and this knowledge will extend to fixing up household electronics, simple stuff at first, like replacing switches.


Have Fun! :clap:
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Re: Amateur Radio - Where to go next?

Post by Zembecowicz » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:58 pm

I know a little bit about electronics from taking physics back in college, but I definitely have a lot to learn. After I finish working through an information security book I'm reading I'm going to snag a copy of The Art of Electronics and work though it while building some projects as well.

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