Just getting into radio/comms

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Just getting into radio/comms

Post by 74 or more » Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:42 am

Is there a website or a thread that can give me an overview on all things radio and comms? I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to learn about this on my own. My preps are severely lacking in this area and what i'm learning is that i have no idea what i want. I've been reading through threads in this section and saying to myself "what in the hell is everyone talking about?".

I'm not sure if what I'm looking for is a scanner, CB, two way, or all 3.
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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by woodsghost » Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:47 am

My first thought is "how much money and time are you budgeting for this?" Because I think with an understanding of your constaints, we can make some suggestions for a direction forward and outline the capabilities within those constraints.
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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by 74 or more » Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:50 am

woodsghost wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:47 am
My first thought is "how much money and time are you budgeting for this?" Because I think with an understanding of your constaints, we can make some suggestions for a direction forward and outline the capabilities within those constraints.
Well since I don't really know what I'm getting into and I've been browsing some stuff on amazon...lets just say that based on what I'm looking at my budget is $150. And I have no idea if that's laughable or not. I'm willing to change that number based on what ever I learn in this thread.
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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by NT2C » Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:53 am

The next question you need to answer is: What is your purpose for the comms? What would you like to be able to do?
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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by woodsghost » Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:55 am

$150-$250 and 10-20 hours of learning can get you on a decent foot going forward. I'll add more later. Many here are more knowledgeable than I am, and will have a lot of good advice.

$100 and the same hours of study can get some decent capabilities in your hands. Bus as said above, what are your goals and needs? Or can we help to outline what is feasible?
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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by 74 or more » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:25 am

NT2C wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:53 am
The next question you need to answer is: What is your purpose for the comms? What would you like to be able to do?
Initially I was thinking mostly in the "whats going on around me" category. So I was thinking scanner. But some of the CBs i was looking at seem to do the same thing as a scanner (+ other features)....but i have no idea what i would do with a CB. When i start down the CB rabbit hole, that's when it gets confusing. Bands and channels, digital vs analog, licenses for certain bands and whatnot.

I was looking at two way radios separately but then i started thinking it would be nice to have a CB at the house that could communicate with another radio or two if cell towers were down. Or will a CB comm with any set of two way radios (generally speaking)?

NOAA alerts would also be nice.
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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by NT2C » Fri Sep 28, 2018 1:31 pm

74 or more wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:25 am
NT2C wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:53 am
The next question you need to answer is: What is your purpose for the comms? What would you like to be able to do?
Initially I was thinking mostly in the "whats going on around me" category. So I was thinking scanner. But some of the CBs i was looking at seem to do the same thing as a scanner (+ other features)....but i have no idea what i would do with a CB. When i start down the CB rabbit hole, that's when it gets confusing. Bands and channels, digital vs analog, licenses for certain bands and whatnot.

I was looking at two way radios separately but then i started thinking it would be nice to have a CB at the house that could communicate with another radio or two if cell towers were down. Or will a CB comm with any set of two way radios (generally speaking)?

NOAA alerts would also be nice.
Okay, that makes things a little easier. CB is what is called a "license by rule" service, meaning that so long as you follow the FCC regs for that service you're considered "licensed" to use it, with no paperwork or forms to fill out and no special training required. With the right antenna and decent elevation above the surrounding terrain, a legal CB set is quite capable of clear communications in a 15-20 mile circle. This range will vary quite a bit if the terrain is rugged, if there are a lot of trees, etc. Many CB sets these days also include all the NOAA weather channels, so you'll be able to tune those in as well.

For anything beyond that you're looking at more complex/expensive gear. For example, if you wanted a scanner to scan your local police & fire frequencies, and maybe a few others, you'll need to learn how to program it, what the different bands are, what modes they use, etc. That's for a basic $100-$200 scanner. There are preprogrammed units that are almost "turn it on and go" but those are in the $400+ range.
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except sailors. They will kill you and sing songs about it.

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by 74 or more » Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:07 pm

NT2C wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 1:31 pm
Okay, that makes things a little easier. CB is what is called a "license by rule" service, meaning that so long as you follow the FCC regs for that service you're considered "licensed" to use it, with no paperwork or forms to fill out and no special training required. With the right antenna and decent elevation above the surrounding terrain, a legal CB set is quite capable of clear communications in a 15-20 mile circle. This range will vary quite a bit if the terrain is rugged, if there are a lot of trees, etc. Many CB sets these days also include all the NOAA weather channels, so you'll be able to tune those in as well.

For anything beyond that you're looking at more complex/expensive gear. For example, if you wanted a scanner to scan your local police & fire frequencies, and maybe a few others, you'll need to learn how to program it, what the different bands are, what modes they use, etc. That's for a basic $100-$200 scanner. There are preprogrammed units that are almost "turn it on and go" but those are in the $400+ range.
Gotcha. So as far as CBs go, buy a quality one, and the antenna (and height of antenna) is what will mostly determine range. Correct?

The area i'm in is relatively flat. I don't live in the mountains. My neighborhood has a lot of really big trees though. I suppose it's just trial and error to see how much of a problem that would be
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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by woodsghost » Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:13 pm

If you go CB/NOAA, you will probably want to put some thought into how you will keep it powered in the event of an emergency.

Also, if you plan to listen to local police traffic you will want to figure out what system they are using. Around here they use a "trunking" system which allows for better managing of traffic on a limited set of frequencies but makes it very difficult to listen to(and I believe they use digital radios as well). I'm not aware of many scanners able to track local police frequencies for less than $400, but I'm not an expert on scanners, either. Some local police units may use a different, older, less complicated system. In some places, fire and other services may also use a trunking system (bigger towns/cities).

The local prison is very easy to listen to.

So be aware of who you want to listen to and maybe ask around locally or ask us for tips on what might be needed to listen to your target groups.
*Remember: I'm just a guy on the internet :)
*Don't go to stupid places with stupid people & do stupid things.
*Be courteous. Look normal. Be in bed by 10'clock.

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -Bilbo Baggins.

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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by NT2C » Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:35 pm

74 or more wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:07 pm
NT2C wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 1:31 pm
Okay, that makes things a little easier. CB is what is called a "license by rule" service, meaning that so long as you follow the FCC regs for that service you're considered "licensed" to use it, with no paperwork or forms to fill out and no special training required. With the right antenna and decent elevation above the surrounding terrain, a legal CB set is quite capable of clear communications in a 15-20 mile circle. This range will vary quite a bit if the terrain is rugged, if there are a lot of trees, etc. Many CB sets these days also include all the NOAA weather channels, so you'll be able to tune those in as well.

For anything beyond that you're looking at more complex/expensive gear. For example, if you wanted a scanner to scan your local police & fire frequencies, and maybe a few others, you'll need to learn how to program it, what the different bands are, what modes they use, etc. That's for a basic $100-$200 scanner. There are preprogrammed units that are almost "turn it on and go" but those are in the $400+ range.
Gotcha. So as far as CBs go, buy a quality one, and the antenna (and height of antenna) is what will mostly determine range. Correct?

The area i'm in is relatively flat. I don't live in the mountains. My neighborhood has a lot of really big trees though. I suppose it's just trial and error to see how much of a problem that would be
Oh hell, I just realized you're pretty local to me. Yes, the trees are going to be a problem (actually the leaves on the trees) but you should still get decent range up there in Fairfax. Now, on the CB, you don't need to spend a fortune on one, there are several under $100 that will work fine for you, but you will need a way to power it since it will likely be a 12vdc mobile rig. There's two ways you can do that, either with a battery and charger or with a power supply to power it directly. My recommendation is to go the battery/charger route as that will give you comms even if power goes out. Your choice of antenna is going to depend on what you're allowed to put up. I have no idea if you rent or if you own your own house, or if you're subject to HOA restrictions. Ideally, you'll want a vertical omni-directional antenna with a modest amount of gain (around 5-7dbi) and decent coaxial cable to connect it to the radio. An SWR meter (used for checking and tuning the antenna so you don't damage the radio and get a good signal out) would also be handy. Total cost should be in the $200-$300 range for everything, depending on battery size and type.

I kinda wish we'd had this convo six months ago, when I still had my comms truck mostly operational with all the radios. I would have offered to meet up with you and give you a tour of how various radios work and what can be done with them. I'm still happy to answer your questions though, and we could probably arrange a meetup one day if you need help getting things setup.
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except sailors. They will kill you and sing songs about it.

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by NT2C » Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:39 pm

woodsghost wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:13 pm
If you go CB/NOAA, you will probably want to put some thought into how you will keep it powered in the event of an emergency.

Also, if you plan to listen to local police traffic you will want to figure out what system they are using. Around here they use a "trunking" system which allows for better managing of traffic on a limited set of frequencies but makes it very difficult to listen to(and I believe they use digital radios as well). I'm not aware of many scanners able to track local police frequencies for less than $400, but I'm not an expert on scanners, either. Some local police units may use a different, older, less complicated system. In some places, fire and other services may also use a trunking system (bigger towns/cities).

The local prison is very easy to listen to.

So be aware of who you want to listen to and maybe ask around locally or ask us for tips on what might be needed to listen to your target groups.
He's in Fairfax, VA, not too far from me. All the good comms (PD/FD/EMS/etc.) he'd want to listen to up there are 100% trunked and encrypted digital. I'm not really certain that even some of the more expensive pre-programmed units can decrypt those transmissions. I'll have to ask around and see what I can find out.
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except sailors. They will kill you and sing songs about it.

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by 74 or more » Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:49 pm

NT2C wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:35 pm
Oh hell, I just realized you're pretty local to me. Yes, the trees are going to be a problem (actually the leaves on the trees) but you should still get decent range up there in Fairfax. Now, on the CB, you don't need to spend a fortune on one, there are several under $100 that will work fine for you, but you will need a way to power it since it will likely be a 12vdc mobile rig. There's two ways you can do that, either with a battery and charger or with a power supply to power it directly. My recommendation is to go the battery/charger route as that will give you comms even if power goes out. Your choice of antenna is going to depend on what you're allowed to put up. I have no idea if you rent or if you own your own house, or if you're subject to HOA restrictions. Ideally, you'll want a vertical omni-directional antenna with a modest amount of gain (around 5-7dbi) and decent coaxial cable to connect it to the radio. An SWR meter (used for checking and tuning the antenna so you don't damage the radio and get a good signal out) would also be handy. Total cost should be in the $200-$300 range for everything, depending on battery size and type.

I kinda wish we'd had this convo six months ago, when I still had my comms truck mostly operational with all the radios. I would have offered to meet up with you and give you a tour of how various radios work and what can be done with them. I'm still happy to answer your questions though, and we could probably arrange a meetup one day if you need help getting things setup.
Ha That would have been awesome. I might take you up on that when i get a little farther down this road.

The CBs i'm looking at are both $120 on amazon. I haven't begun to look for an antenna yet (I own and don't have an HOA))
https://www.amazon.com/Cobra-29LX-Profe ... ref=sr_1_5
https://www.amazon.com/Uniden-Sideband- ... sspa&psc=1

I realize these are more for the cab of a truck but does that matter? And to be honest, maybe i just wan't thinking about it, i figured i would just plug it into the wall.
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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by 74 or more » Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:54 pm

woodsghost wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:13 pm
If you go CB/NOAA, you will probably want to put some thought into how you will keep it powered in the event of an emergency.

Also, if you plan to listen to local police traffic you will want to figure out what system they are using. Around here they use a "trunking" system which allows for better managing of traffic on a limited set of frequencies but makes it very difficult to listen to(and I believe they use digital radios as well). I'm not aware of many scanners able to track local police frequencies for less than $400, but I'm not an expert on scanners, either. Some local police units may use a different, older, less complicated system. In some places, fire and other services may also use a trunking system (bigger towns/cities).

The local prison is very easy to listen to.

So be aware of who you want to listen to and maybe ask around locally or ask us for tips on what might be needed to listen to your target groups.
I was looking at a few scanners on Amazon. I'll post them below. But they say they get Fire and Police. Maybe they get a lesser used channel? I'm probably going to get a scanner regardless. That'll give me the emergency "awareness" now and i can work to build up my CB infrastructure. Or maybe that's redundant since it looks like some of these CBs function the same? I don't know. Still working out what route i want to travel.

Here is one of the scanners i was looking at.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00772MR0K/?c ... WL0O&psc=0
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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by NT2C » Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:39 pm

74 or more wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:49 pm

The CBs i'm looking at are both $120 on amazon. I haven't begun to look for an antenna yet (I own and don't have an HOA))
https://www.amazon.com/Cobra-29LX-Profe ... ref=sr_1_5
https://www.amazon.com/Uniden-Sideband- ... sspa&psc=1

I realize these are more for the cab of a truck but does that matter? And to be honest, maybe i just wan't thinking about it, i figured i would just plug it into the wall.
Of those two, the Uniden offers more "bang for the buck" in that it covers sideband operation and will gain you some distance if communicating with another sideband radio. Sideband operation is a bit advanced for someone who has no radio experience though.
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except sailors. They will kill you and sing songs about it.

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by NT2C » Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:43 pm

74 or more wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:54 pm

I was looking at a few scanners on Amazon. I'll post them below. But they say they get Fire and Police. Maybe they get a lesser used channel? I'm probably going to get a scanner regardless. That'll give me the emergency "awareness" now and i can work to build up my CB infrastructure. Or maybe that's redundant since it looks like some of these CBs function the same? I don't know. Still working out what route i want to travel.

Here is one of the scanners i was looking at.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00772MR0K/?c ... WL0O&psc=0
That scanner you linked to is a pretty barebones analog scanner that would be next to useless in your AO. About all you'll have to listen to is "in the clear" military stuff, the aircraft bands, and little else. I really can't recommend that one. Hell, there's apps for your phone that offer more than that.
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except sailors. They will kill you and sing songs about it.

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by woodsghost » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:09 pm

74 or more wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:49 pm

I realize these are more for the cab of a truck but does that matter? And to be honest, maybe i just wan't thinking about it, i figured i would just plug it into the wall.
Plug into a wall? That makes two of us. I had no idea when I got into radios that you could not just plug them into a wall. It has to do with AC power causing noise when transmitting, so only DC power is used.

You can run it in a truck or in a home. NT2C has good advice about powering it. Getting a solar setup and a good battery would be very flexible and relatively cheap.
*Remember: I'm just a guy on the internet :)
*Don't go to stupid places with stupid people & do stupid things.
*Be courteous. Look normal. Be in bed by 10'clock.

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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by 74 or more » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:39 am

NT2C wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:43 pm
That scanner you linked to is a pretty barebones analog scanner that would be next to useless in your AO. About all you'll have to listen to is "in the clear" military stuff, the aircraft bands, and little else. I really can't recommend that one. Hell, there's apps for your phone that offer more than that.
What I'm learning about scanners is that I'm either going to pay $70-$100 or $400+. Good Heavens. What would you recommend?
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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by NT2C » Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:12 am

74 or more wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:39 am
NT2C wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:43 pm
That scanner you linked to is a pretty barebones analog scanner that would be next to useless in your AO. About all you'll have to listen to is "in the clear" military stuff, the aircraft bands, and little else. I really can't recommend that one. Hell, there's apps for your phone that offer more than that.
What I'm learning about scanners is that I'm either going to pay $70-$100 or $400+. Good Heavens. What would you recommend?
Unless your budget can take the $400+ hit without whimpering too much, or you have an absolute need to monitor such radio traffic, put a good scan app on your phone for browsing those, get a good battery powered AM/FM radio and listen to regular commercial broadcasts for emergency broadcasts, monitor your CB for local info, and consider studying for a ham radio license for a little greater comms reach.
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except sailors. They will kill you and sing songs about it.

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by MacWa77ace » Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:45 pm

NT2C wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:39 pm
74 or more wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:49 pm

The CBs i'm looking at are both $120 on amazon. I haven't begun to look for an antenna yet (I own and don't have an HOA))
https://www.amazon.com/Cobra-29LX-Profe ... ref=sr_1_5
https://www.amazon.com/Uniden-Sideband- ... sspa&psc=1

I realize these are more for the cab of a truck but does that matter? And to be honest, maybe i just wan't thinking about it, i figured i would just plug it into the wall.
Of those two, the Uniden offers more "bang for the buck" in that it covers sideband operation and will gain you some distance if communicating with another sideband radio. Sideband operation is a bit advanced for someone who has no radio experience though.
That's what I was thinking. Remove the SSB and NOAA requirement and you can probably get a decent starter set for $50 in the 4watt range. If I was paying in the $100-150 range for a CB it should be a 25watt unit. NOAA is on $5 portable radios and portable HAM radio's are available with scanners, NOAA, FRS, GMRS, MURS in addition to 70cm and 2m, for $25 -40 price range w/ multi power outputs selectable to 1w, 5w up to 8 watt. You can buy, program, learn to use, listen, and scan with HAM radio's without a license. You just can't transmit legally. Get your license and you can, add $15 license fee.

PROJECT 1:
Buy 2) ~$40 4w CB, w/ a $40 antenna [don't skimp on the antenna] and a $23 SWR meter. GOAL SEAK: Make one mobile and one a base unit using a battery power source. [whose price isn't included but the boosters with the cig lighter work] Set up and comm between the units. Determine your max range from base to mobile in all directions, under all weather conditions.

PROJECT 2:
Buy 2) $30 portable HAMs [rechargeable Lion], a programming cable and mic for another $16, GOAL SEAK: learn how to program using CHIRP and the frequencies and repeaters in your AO worth programming. Scan and listen to HAM transmissions. Program and scan, FRS, GMRS, MURS channels in addition to repeater channels.

PROJECT 3:
Buy a Set of 2) GMRS radios for <$40. GOAL SEAK: figure out the range in various terrains. Use with a friend at big box store, amusement park, or grocery store instead of cell phones when you get separated.

Now for ~$286 you just got started on 3 different radio link systems.
As you work with each of them you'll learn their pros and cons, how best to utilize them. Because in an emergency your neighbors and friends may have at least one of these types. So you can link up with them.

PROJECT 4:
You can get a basic handheld scanner in the <$60 range that you can program to scan all these link's frequencies, CB, FMRS, GMRS, MURS, and HAM, and usually the others like marine, police, fire, air, EOCs, but program a scan bank to scan just those basics. You won't get any truncated stuff, but this scanner is to scan the frequencies you can respond to. Set up your HAMs to scan your programed channels. Most Portable HAMs will come with NOAA, FM radio, and scanner included, and will scan FRS, GMRS, MURS in addition to your other programmed channels or just frequency scans.

PROJECT 5:
After learning what you've got and it's limitations, buy additional accessories and upgrades for each system to 'trick out' as you like. Buy better equipment as you get better at each system.
As you upgrade sell off your old equipment to partially fund the new stuff or keep as backups.

PROJECT 6:
Find and download apps that live broadcast police, fire, EOC, etc. These are broadcasts of the truncated stuff your scanner can't pickup, and lots are free.
Find and download apps that are a reference to repeaters in your AO, use this to refine your repeater lists on your HAMs.

Don't neglect looking into the used market, as people upgrade they sell their perfectly fine 'old' stuff. Used is a great way to get better stuff for mediocre stuff prices.
Join a HAM club, and they will help you pass the test for the license; make friends there and they may donate or loan you equipment to play with.

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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by NT2C » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:26 pm

Good advice. I just want to make one correction. There is no license fee for amateur radio. There is (usually) a testing fee, but that fee is not set by the FCC. The maximum allowed exam fee is set by the FCC but each VEC (Volunteer Examiner Coordinators) group decides what's reasonable for them to charge for conducting the test session and processing the results. Individual VEs are not compensated for their time (though they may have reasonable mileage costs reimbursed). Some groups waive the fee entirely or include classes in addition to the testing. My local club RVARC does it this way, with a tech class given once or twice a year.

I was trying not to push HAM at him too hard because he's new to radio comms and already somewhat overwhelmed by it but it really does factor in strongly with prepping.
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except sailors. They will kill you and sing songs about it.

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by MacWa77ace » Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:35 pm

Ah, right, its a testing fee which is $15 in my AO. In my mind it costs $$ to get the license if you have to pay for the required test. My bad.

Also to add, and correct me if I'm wrong, he only needs to buy an SWR meter if he buys a tunable antenna for the CB's and even then, a 4 watt CB won't really damage itself if the antenna is off a little compared to a 25 watt. Also a beginners antenna may just be a factory recommended match, non - tunable model, and that may or may not cost less.


For me it wasn't hard at all to get up and running on the 70cm and 2m HAMs having never used them before. And I really just got into them to learn how to mess with them. But my goal was to reach home from ~40 miles away from my work. We have this network in Florida called SARnet and there is SAR repeater within range of my HT near my work and one that is 2.8 miles from my house. [both carry a 70cm and 2m repeater] So 'bing bang' 40+ miles as long as the repeaters are up. But I only found out about SARnet after I got the radios.

While doing my research, before purchasing my first HAM, I figured out what I was going to buy, what accessories, and I even downloaded and played with CHIRP software before I even had a HAM radio to program. After ordering it I watched a few Youtube videos on How to this and how to that, and I had all the repeaters and channels I wanted in memory in my HT HAM, standing by in CHIRP for when the radio arrived.

So needless to say by the time it did come in I had it programmed and was scanning repeaters and setting up channels for comms, within minutes. Now that I've had them, I realized that there is a whole new world to explore and participate in if I want, and that's just on the available tech class frequencies. But that's another thread.

That being said, my first CB I wired into my car [not the cig lighter kind] went to my fusebox and ground. Well I got a lot of noise on that. Took me a while to fix that. It was a simple $39 unit and $29 antenna 15 years ago and it wasn't so simple. :lol:

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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by NT2C » Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:13 pm

I'm a strong proponent of testing SWR on any setup on a regular basis. Now, a lot of CBs these days have SWR meters built-in that, while they aren't great, will at least let you know when things have gone really fucky, such as if you have a broken antenna, damaged coax (squirrels sometimes like to gnaw it), a large bird sitting on it, etc. Some CBs these days do have self-protection features that will reduce the output power to protect themselves from high SWR, but not all of them do and if his goal is to get the best signal out/in then low SWR will be a critical factor.

Base station antennas are sometimes adjustable, sometimes not, just like mobile setups.
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except sailors. They will kill you and sing songs about it.

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by NT2C » Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:20 pm

MacWa77ace wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:45 pm
If I was paying in the $100-150 range for a CB it should be a 25watt unit.
That would be illegal though.

§95.967 CBRS transmitter power limits.

The limit is 4 watts, 12 for SSB
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except sailors. They will kill you and sing songs about it.

Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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MacWa77ace
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Re: Just getting into radio/comms

Post by MacWa77ace » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:14 am

NT2C wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:20 pm
MacWa77ace wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:45 pm
If I was paying in the $100-150 range for a CB it should be a 25watt unit.
That would be illegal though.

§95.967 CBRS transmitter power limits.

The limit is 4 watts, 12 for SSB
Wow, didn't know that and have watched a lot of YouTube videos of guys with high power amplified mobile setups. :oops:

You'd never know from watching these:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDhfoM-jsEM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psW6CZk0tCI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRiNaiWva0w
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1Z6J08OQJw

There are 10,000 more like this.

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