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I Made My First Ham Contacts This Evening

I got the loaner radio this evening. As soon as I got home, I fired it up to the local repeater and listened. And no one was on the air. yarbiedoll told me to go ahead and throw my call out. But I didn't have anything to talk about! As excited as i was about it, and I couldn't think of anything to say!

Well, I got over that pretty quickly, as I soon heard some other people start talking. I listened to their conversation, and when one of them needed to go home, I threw my sign out to see if the other person would pick it up and chat a bit. Sure enough, KE4FCW was happy to chat with me for a bit. He was one of the instructors for the class, and the class organizer. Soon, we were joined by K4HC (one of the other instructors) and N4BYU (one of the volunteer examiners). I chatted with them for a little less than ten minutes before signing off. It really was pretty neat to be able to do that.

Anyway, it's fun meeting these guys and chatting with them. I'm really looking forward to getting to know the local guys better, and get more involved in the hobby.

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
digiduckie
Oct. 28th, 2007 02:37 am (UTC)
What's the price range for a set-up? Do you need an outside antenna hooked up?
drmellow
Oct. 28th, 2007 10:50 am (UTC)
You don't need an outside antenna to get started. Once you get into it, you'll probably want one, though. The radio I'm borrowing is a handy-talkie (HT). It's a public safety-type radio, about the size of a brick, with a rubber ducky antenna on it. The kind of radio that you see cops, firemen, paramedics, etc. using.

You can get a basic HT for around $100. That's what you would need, at a minimum, to get into it. On the high side, you can easily spend thousands of dollars on the hobby. A lot of people who do this have an HT for very portable operation and a mobile (about the size of a CB radio) in their car for when they're driving, and a base station (about the size of a stereo component) in the house. It will be years before I collect that much equipment. But this is a hobby I expect to enjoy the rest of my life, so I eventually plan to collect that much equipment.
digiduckie
Oct. 28th, 2007 01:22 pm (UTC)
Thats really cool. My family was big into CB radios when I was younger. It was less than 10 years ago that I got rid of the mobile and bas units that we had. If I get back out into the country where I can throw up an antenna I have thought about getting another base unit.
gorski
Oct. 28th, 2007 08:19 pm (UTC)
Rubber duckies are pretty useless, from what I can gather--? shouldn't it be straightforward to just plug in a straight-wire dipole--? wouldn't even cost hardly anything--not like a dipole antenna has to be any fancier than any other piece of wire...

having said that--I don't know what band you were in. a 1/2-wave dipole in the 80m band is still a lot of wire to string out:)

peace,

--me


who's on the lookout for cheap/second-hand/part-DIY hardware to get started, but mostly hopes to build gear of his own some day

and who also doesn't remember for sure, but thinks 80m is probably CW-only; YMMV
drmellow
Oct. 28th, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
Rubber duckies aren't entirely useless. They're very convenient, flexible, and sturdy. If you're working with a handheld, sometimes that's all you need, especially when you're hitting another station or repeater that's nearby.

I'm operating 2m right now, so we're not talking about a lot of wire. Still, the convenience of the rubber duckie is more than adequate for the contacts I'm making.

80m is CW-only for Novice and Technician licenses. Other licenses hold phone and RTTY privileges on 80m. You might enjoy looking at the band chart that the ARRL puts out.
bartacus
Oct. 28th, 2007 04:34 am (UTC)
I think that this is Bert Carter (geocacher of the same name).
drmellow
Oct. 28th, 2007 10:43 am (UTC)
Ah! Yes, I've met Bert a time or two. Cool, thanks!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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