Amateur Radio FAQ

The #1 community for Gun Owners of the Northeast

Member Benefits:

  • No ad networks!
  • Discuss all aspects of firearm ownership
  • Discuss anti-gun legislation
  • Buy, sell, and trade in the classified section
  • Chat with Local gun shops, ranges, trainers & other businesses
  • Discover free outdoor shooting areas
  • View up to date on firearm-related events
  • Share photos & video with other members
  • ...and so much more!
  • Billyb

    Active Member
    MDS Supporter
    Nov 7, 2022
    234
    Towson
    If not, check out this guy's YouTube channel. He is posting videos from his current Technician, General and his most recent Extra class sessions. He even has videos posted from a morse class.


    I just got the ARRL guides to go with the classes that he is teaching so that hopefully sometime soon I can test for both Technician and General.
    I highly recommend the Fast Track books by Michael Burnette. They are $10 each for the Kindle versions.
    https://www.amazon.com/Track-Techni...830&sprefix=Fast+track+to+your,aps,182&sr=8-1
     

    gamer_jim

    Ultimate Member
    Feb 12, 2008
    12,967
    Hanover, PA
    Dang, hope something like it comes around again.
    There's lots of opportunities to study online, some free.



     

    E.Shell

    Ultimate Member
    Feb 5, 2007
    10,152
    Mid-Merlind
    *** Ham Exams In Two Weeks ***

    Tuesday, November 7, 2023 5:45 PM

    American Legion Post 175,
    832 Manhattan Beach Rd
    Severna Park, MD


    Administered by Laurel VEC & Maryland Mobileers Amatuer Radio Club.


    Pre-registration is now required to guarantee a session will be in progress.

    We have had some sessions where we set up in spite of no one having pre-registered and had no one show up. We often get walk-ins, but not always. It takes about 9 of us to conduct exams and some of us drive 30 minutes, which is a huge waste of time, gas and effort if no one is coming to take the exams.

    Because of this, we have changed our procedure and will not be setting up for exams if no one has pre-registered.

    If you want to take a chance of just showing up, you can certainly do that and IF we are conducting exams that night anyway, you will be welcomed and registered on the spot, but there is also a chance we will not be there and you will have wasted your time. PLEASE pre-register.

    EXAM Pre-registration info:
    https://sites.google.com/view/mmarcveteam/pre-registration

    It DOES make things smoother for YOU if you have already gone to the FCC site, registered there and have been issued an "FRN" (Federal Registration Number). The FRN is used in reporting your successful exam results to the FCC. ( https://www.fcc.gov/rofrn )

    Note that the exams are given FREE and no payment is needed to take the exams.

    The FCC is now charging a $35.00 license fee. We do NOT collect the fee at the exam, we will send successful exam results to the FCC for the candidate and they will have up to 10 days to pay through the FCC site. This fee does not apply to upgrades (Tech-to-Gen, Gen-to-AE).

    Side Note #1:
    If you're interested in Amateur Radio ("ham"), would like to eventually get licensed, you have read through this thread and STILL don't know where to start: https://www.ar15.com/forums/outdoor..._learning_basic_VHF_UHF_operations/22-646491/

    Side Note #2:
    If you are taking the Technician exam with us and pass, you will be eligible for your first year of membership with Maryland Mobileers Amatuer Radio Club FREE. We meet monthly in Millersville, and meetings are also available remotely via ZOOM.
     
    Last edited:

    km04

    Get crackin you muggs!!!!
    Jul 12, 2010
    3,740
    Harford Co.
    There's lots of opportunities to study online, some free.



    Thank you for the links, I appreciate it!
     

    km04

    Get crackin you muggs!!!!
    Jul 12, 2010
    3,740
    Harford Co.
    So I bit the bullet and picked up a couple of UV-5R's. Heard good stuff about them. Great to learn on and not expensive. Plus I figured if the bug doesn't bite me I'm not out of a lot of cash, but if it does then no harm, no foul. I was looking for some place local to take a class, but didn't have much luck. I think I'll do the online course, may be easier, who knows?
     

    jc1240

    Ultimate Member
    Sep 18, 2013
    14,595
    Westminster, MD
    So I bit the bullet and picked up a couple of UV-5R's. Heard good stuff about them. Great to learn on and not expensive. Plus I figured if the bug doesn't bite me I'm not out of a lot of cash, but if it does then no harm, no foul. I was looking for some place local to take a class, but didn't have much luck. I think I'll do the online course, may be easier, who knows?

    For classes, the Carroll County Amateur Radio Club schedules classes in accordance with demand. Note that these classes are detailed and go along the lines of the first of 2 ways to get ready for the exam (below). Club membership is NOT required, and the classes are typically free and taught at the Carroll County Public Safety Training Center on Kate Wagner RD (between the votech center and Carroll Community College). Contact ccarc.k3pzn@gmail.com if you are interested. No idea of what is closer to Harford County.

    Two major ways to get licensed.

    One way - study the science. There's some with the Technician license (entry level) most of Technician is more about FCC rules, more math/science with General, and a whole lot more with Amateur Extra. The Extra level has a whole lot of math. Makes my brain hurt.

    Other way - the exam pool Q&A are public info. Just study the answers. You still learn, don't get me wrong. I used this series of books (this is the Technician): Amazon product ASIN B09TRXHRCQ
    Some complain about getting licensed that 2nd way, but it really depends on your goals. I personally won't be designing my own antennas. I've built some following plans, but I'm not into modeling. Not going to build my own radio. I'll buy used/retail and be happy. I'm going to get my Extra license, but only so I don't have to worry as much about privileges within the bands. Twice I "hunted" a park activator in my early days only to realize I was outside the General portion of the band.
     
    Last edited:

    E.Shell

    Ultimate Member
    Feb 5, 2007
    10,152
    Mid-Merlind
    The field of amateur radio is so broad and varied, passing the exams and getting a license essentially only postures you to learn. Getting licensed is considered a "good start" and to become a good operator across the bands will typically require quite a bit of hands-on experience that is only possible after getting licensed.

    How one best does so is really personal preference and goal related.

    If one is interested in electronics and/or radio theory, the very best way is to "study the science". as suggested by jc1240 above. It will help one make sense of the exam questions vs memorizing the Q&A without knowing 'why' a given answer is correct.

    If one is more interested in only using the radio, then the method of studying for the exams is of less importance.

    Understanding certain aspects of electronic theory is of less importance to simply "operating", but I would say that understanding at least some of the theory will help one to design & build antennas (which can be a substantial investment in manufactured gear), pick the optimum antenna for your situation, understand feedline losses and other technical aspects of the equipment. "I know way too much about this stuff." said no one ever.

    The book linked just above is certainly a good resource, although if one is merely 'studying for the exams', there are several 'practice exam' sites that are free and available on demand, such as https://www.hamexam.org/.

    As a Volunteer Examiner, and loosely speaking for other VEs on our team, we really don't care how you study and our main goal is to fairly administer the exams. We try to make the experience as comfortable and possible and we sincerely hope that you pass.

    And, speaking of "exams", we are conducting exams in Severna Park TOMORROW EVENING (11-7-23), as per my posts above.
     

    km04

    Get crackin you muggs!!!!
    Jul 12, 2010
    3,740
    Harford Co.
    Thank you both for that information. I am the type that needs the class because I kinda need to know the why behind the what. I've seen the online free courses and the books to self study, but I can't answer all of my own questions.

    I'll keep looking for a class closer to home, but know I may have to bite the bullet and travel to get my but in a chair.
     

    K31

    "Part of that Ultra MAGA Crowd"
    MDS Supporter
    Jan 15, 2006
    35,533
    AA county
    It's a shame there's not a thread somewhere with a post at the beginning where all this is covered...
     

    K31

    "Part of that Ultra MAGA Crowd"
    MDS Supporter
    Jan 15, 2006
    35,533
    AA county
    Upcoming (I assume just by the filename) General class, Zoom license course.

    December 26-29, 9am - 1pm.
     

    Attachments

    • Ham class announcement 2023-12-26 general.pdf
      118.4 KB · Views: 22

    jc1240

    Ultimate Member
    Sep 18, 2013
    14,595
    Westminster, MD
    I'm looking for antenna ideas. I currently run "portable" even at home. Current set-up (when set up):
    Yaesu Ft-891 (100 Watts)
    Wolf River Coils "Sporty 40" coil and 213" telescopic whip
    50' Messi&Paoloni POTA-Flex-7 (LMR-240 before the POTA-Flex was released)

    Wanting to avoid:
    tuner
    amplifier
    Displeased wife
    Physical antenna adjustments when switching bands <--an absolute

    Other problems:
    Wife worse than an HOA with regard to aesthetics.
    Tree to the left of the house is a weeping willow and my wife's favorite. Nothing goes in or on that tree. ;)

    Lay of the land (photo below):
    - White/gray rectangle on left side of house is a foundation to an addition (now fully constructed).
    - Yellow hand drawn box is covered deck extending original deck
    - Red circle is the approximate location for the antenna I currently deploy
    - Red X is the shack location (ground floor).

    I run the cable out the window using a cut-up pool noodle to cushion the cable from the closed window (slit for the cable itself) and as insulation on the top of the partially open window. Unrelated to the "problem" I used to use 16 to 24 radials (depending on lazy factor). My son's friends aren't the brightest sometimes, and they would ride dirt bikes across the radials, so I set little soccer cones at the end of each one. Let me tell you how my wife's panties drop when I set that antenna out in the front yard for all the envious neighbors to see. Now I use the "magic carpet" - 36" x 84" aluminum window screen (photo for your enjoyment below).

    Bands desired:
    40, 20, 15, 10, 6.

    Goal:
    More-permanent deployment that can be in year-round weather and doesn't need adjustment when swapping bands. I'd like the shack to stay where it is (my office) but may try to relocate somewhere else. Problem is my father-in-law lives in the basement and my parents live in the addition, so they are off-limits.

    I'm considering a DX Commander...if I can convince the wife.
    EFHW?? Problem is where to physically deploy it
    This "HOA Buster" that uses gutters and down spouts (no shortage of those out front, but I lose 6m and probably very compromised but plus is it would have the shortest coax run)
    Simple speaker wire dipoles seem to be for one band each
    What else??

    Feedline loss is a concern, so feedline type also needs to be determined and I'm not 100% against an amplifier...just more money I don't have.

    Screen Shot 2023-12-05 at 7.12.53 PM.png


    screen_mesh.jpg
     
    Last edited:

    6-Pack

    NRA Life Member
    MDS Supporter
    Jan 17, 2013
    5,614
    Carroll Co.
    I have a 43’ vertical, but I’ve been eyeing up a flagpole antenna because I want to put a flagpole in the yard, and a flag pole antenna would make it twice as useful. Unfortunately, I can’t speak to which flagpole is the best - I’m still doing some research. The 43’ vertical has worked well for me, but I had to bury radials all over the yard. I went with LMR-400 feed line.

    How do you like the FT-891? My brother was asking me about it this morning.
     

    jc1240

    Ultimate Member
    Sep 18, 2013
    14,595
    Westminster, MD
    I have a 43’ vertical, but I’ve been eyeing up a flagpole antenna because I want to put a flagpole in the yard, and a flag pole antenna would make it twice as useful. Unfortunately, I can’t speak to which flagpole is the best - I’m still doing some research. The 43’ vertical has worked well for me, but I had to bury radials all over the yard. I went with LMR-400 feed line.

    How do you like the FT-891? My brother was asking me about it this morning.
    I like it a lot. 100 watts is its max...I don't need more than that. If there is any one thing I wish it had that it doesn't - a waterfall. But they didn't need no stinkin' waterfalls in the 1900s. ;)

    Do you use a tuner with the vertical?
     

    6-Pack

    NRA Life Member
    MDS Supporter
    Jan 17, 2013
    5,614
    Carroll Co.
    I like it a lot. 100 watts is its max...I don't need more than that. If there is any one thing I wish it had that it doesn't - a waterfall. But they didn't need no stinkin' waterfalls in the 1900s. ;)

    Do you use a tuner with the vertical?
    I use a tuner with the vertical and I’ve had good luck on 80M - 6M with it. I can get it to tune 160M, but my CW isn’t that great. I have an auto tuner on my FT-897D and a manual MFJ tuner on my FT-101 (old school). I got around 250-300 contacts in Field Day 2023 with the vertical.

    I’ve never actually used a waterfall display. They came out about a decade after I got into ham radio (and already spent a decent amount on my radios).
     

    Forum statistics

    Threads
    274,110
    Messages
    7,223,464
    Members
    33,160
    Latest member
    FullBackBob

    Latest threads

    Top Bottom