classylady

Passed the Technician Class test for Ham Radio today

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I’m pretty stoked! I actually passed the exam! If you knew how little I know about electronics you would have been surprised I was able to pass. It was an all morning and afternoon class with the test afterwards. I was dismayed at the material that needed to be learned, especially as it was in an area I know very little about. The terms were all Greek to me.

My husband has had his license for over 20 years. He’s quite happy I was able to pass the test. I think he had his doubts. Two of my sons took the test with me and they both got their licenses too. Yay! Can you tell I’m excited?

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Congrats, @classylady!

1 hour ago, askandanswer said:

I'm guessing that the Technician test is the first step on a long ladder?

Not really. The FCC grants three levels of amateur radio license: Technician, General, and Extra. Extra has all amateur radio privileges; General has privileges on all bands, but some segments are restricted; and Technician has privileges on many but not all amateur bands. Technician class privileges allow an individual to operate radio-controlled vehicles, planes, and drones, so it's the most popular. If that's all you're trying to do, you don't really need anything more. General class is more for the ham hobbyist, and Extra is basically for the hobbyist who's really serious about it and wants to build his own antennas and such. People can and do upgrade their license, of course. But for most people, it's not necessarily a step-by-step process. They just get the license they want.

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I grew up with an older brother who has his Advanced License (no longer available, between a General and Extra Class), and a younger brother who does have his Extra Class. They were always building antennas, radios, and other electronic devices. My husband loves electronics too.  He has about 8 Ham radios. Most of them are hand-held though. I admit, I don’t like those huge antennas that, IMO, make a house look trashy. We aren’t into the radio-controlled vehicles or drones. My brothers and husband have talked to people all over the world with their radios. It’s definitely their hobby, and it can get expensive.

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If you don't already have one, look at the Baofeng radios on Amazon for a cheap handheld.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01J2W4JUI/ref=sspa_dk_detail_4?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B01J2W4JUI&pd_rd_wg=c67z0&pd_rd_r=DXY46K5B78S89VF2V65P&pd_rd_w=q6mxL

About $20-25 more than the dual band option, but with other hams in the family, you can all get on 220MHz and have it pretty much to yourselves in most areas.

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On ‎4‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 11:32 PM, Vort said:

Congrats, @classylady!

Not really. The FCC grants three levels of amateur radio license: Technician, General, and Extra. Extra has all amateur radio privileges; General has privileges on all bands, but some segments are restricted; and Technician has privileges on many but not all amateur bands. Technician class privileges allow an individual to operate radio-controlled vehicles, planes, and drones, so it's the most popular. If that's all you're trying to do, you don't really need anything more. General class is more for the ham hobbyist, and Extra is basically for the hobbyist who's really serious about it and wants to build his own antennas and such. People can and do upgrade their license, of course. But for most people, it's not necessarily a step-by-step process. They just get the license they want.

I was not aware of this.  We need a radio license to fly remote control airplanes?

I have gotten grandkids several of these over the years...and sometimes we went down to a local park to try to fly  them around.  Were we doing something wrong when doing this?

Edited by JohnsonJones

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6 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

I was not aware of this.  We need a radio license to fly remote control airplanes?

I have gotten grandkids several of these over the years...and sometimes we went down to a local park to try to fly  them around.  Were we doing something wrong when doing this?

Not all radio-controlled toys need a license to operate. I don't remember what the actual rules are, but I'm sure you could look them up easily enough.

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No idea that they needed radio licenses to operate.  Hopefully we haven't broken any rules over the years.  Most of the ones I buy are from the stores and such.

Where would I find out the rules of what is or is not legal?  (Sorry, not the most technically literate).

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3 minutes ago, JohnsonJones said:

No idea that they needed radio licenses to operate.  Hopefully we haven't broken any rules over the years.  Most of the ones I buy are from the stores and such.

Where would I find out the rules of what is or is not legal?  (Sorry, not the most technically literate).

http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/590.pdf

Basically, it looks like if you're not flying by first-person view (i.e. from a cockpit camera), you're okay with no license. The same appears to be true for drones:

http://www.tested.com/tech/488686-what-you-should-know-about-getting-fcc-license-flying-fpv/

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7 minutes ago, Vort said:

http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/590.pdf

Basically, it looks like if you're not flying by first-person view (i.e. from a cockpit camera), you're okay with no license. The same appears to be true for drones:

http://www.tested.com/tech/488686-what-you-should-know-about-getting-fcc-license-flying-fpv/

Thanks!

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On 4/22/2018 at 6:54 AM, NightSG said:

If you don't already have one, look at the Baofeng radios on Amazon for a cheap handheld.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01J2W4JUI/ref=sspa_dk_detail_4?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B01J2W4JUI&pd_rd_wg=c67z0&pd_rd_r=DXY46K5B78S89VF2V65P&pd_rd_w=q6mxL

About $20-25 more than the dual band option, but with other hams in the family, you can all get on 220MHz and have it pretty much to yourselves in most areas.

We don’t have one of these. Sounds like a good radio to have.

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On 4/22/2018 at 5:49 AM, Grunt said:

Congrats!  As soon as I get my new antenna hung I'll try to bounce a signal to Utah.

Do you have your ham license?

My husband is in the process of upgrading our antenna. I don’t want anything that’s too big, so our opinions are at loggerheads. 🤪

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28 minutes ago, classylady said:

We don’t have one of these. Sounds like a good radio to have.

Unless someone else in the family has a radio that will do 220, it'll be pretty dead in most areas, but at that price, you can get one for each person.

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4 hours ago, classylady said:

Do you have your ham license?

My husband is in the process of upgrading our antenna. I don’t want anything that’s too big, so our opinions are at loggerheads. 🤪

I do.  I've had it forever.  Depending on what your intentions are and what radio you have, you often don't need much of an antenna.  I had a cheap wire antenna run through the attic and I could bounce a digital signal to Europe and Asia from sea level New England all the time.

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9 hours ago, Grunt said:

I do.  I've had it forever.  Depending on what your intentions are and what radio you have, you often don't need much of an antenna.  I had a cheap wire antenna run through the attic and I could bounce a digital signal to Europe and Asia from sea level New England all the time.

We have tall mountains out here, which of course without repeaters, block our signals. I know we need a taller antenna than what we have to get into some of the repeaters. My husband knows what repeaters to use. Let me know when you get your antenna up.

Edited by classylady

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13 hours ago, NightSG said:

Unless someone else in the family has a radio that will do 220, it'll be pretty dead in most areas, but at that price, you can get one for each person.

I have four sons. Three of them have their license now. The remaining son wants to get his this year also. He wants it because he goes off-road a lot and is thinking of using a radio to communicate in case of an emergency, or communicate between members of the group that is off-road with him. Would that radio work under those circumstances?

Edited by classylady

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On 4/21/2018 at 11:32 PM, Vort said:

Congrats, @classylady!

Not really. The FCC grants three levels of amateur radio license: Technician, General, and Extra. Extra has all amateur radio privileges; General has privileges on all bands, but some segments are restricted; and Technician has privileges on many but not all amateur bands. Technician class privileges allow an individual to operate radio-controlled vehicles, planes, and drones, so it's the most popular. If that's all you're trying to do, you don't really need anything more. General class is more for the ham hobbyist, and Extra is basically for the hobbyist who's really serious about it and wants to build his own antennas and such. People can and do upgrade their license, of course. But for most people, it's not necessarily a step-by-step process. They just get the license they want.

Also, many people get their license for emergency response. In a disaster event, most likely cell phones and land-lines will be down. Technician Class in most cases would be good enough for that kind of help. My husband belongs to several community ham radio groups that assist with emergencies and civic events such as parades, etc. 

Edited by classylady

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11 hours ago, classylady said:

I have four sons. Three of them have their license now. The remaining son wants to get his this year also. He wants it because he goes off-road a lot and is thinking of using a radio to communicate in case of an emergency, or communicate between members of the group that is off-road with him. Would that radio work under those circumstances?

Depends on conditions.  In a very remote area, he'll be limited to line-of-sight, but that can be improved a lot by getting a good antenna as high as possible.
Communicating within the group should be fairly easy, but for real emergency situations, consider a satellite phone and/or an EPIRB.

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I’ve been preparing for the Technician exam and will be taking it this week. I’m still looking into a good radio. I’ve been thinking of starting out with a high-end handheld with a good antenna and then getting a base station.

For those who have been doing ham radio for a while, is there a specific brand/model of radio that you prefer? Do you use a handheld or base station, or both?

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5 hours ago, Jedi_Nephite said:

I’ve been preparing for the Technician exam and will be taking it this week. I’m still looking into a good radio. I’ve been thinking of starting out with a high-end handheld with a good antenna and then getting a base station.

For those who have been doing ham radio for a while, is there a specific brand/model of radio that you prefer? Do you use a handheld or base station, or both?

I use both.  It really depends on what you want to do with your license.   Looking for DX or digital?  Remote operations in your vehicle?  Repeater use?   If you're going to start out local on repeaters then a handheld with a mag mount car antenna and lighter plug is a good way to pass the time while commuting.

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2 hours ago, Grunt said:

I use both.  It really depends on what you want to do with your license.   Looking for DX or digital?  Remote operations in your vehicle?  Repeater use?   If you're going to start out local on repeaters then a handheld with a mag mount car antenna and lighter plug is a good way to pass the time while commuting.

Mainly, I would like to use it as part of my emergency preparedness plan. Ideally, I would like to be able to communicate with my family that’s about 200 miles away; however, they will need to get their license if we are to communicate with each other, but, if not, at least I would be able to relay information to them.

But I also find this fun and interesting, so I can see this turning into a hobby.  I’m interested in DX and digital, and definitely repeater use. Unless I’m flying to client sites, I usually just work from home, so I don’t usually have a commute, but I like the idea of using a handheld with a mag mount and car antenna.  

How far have you been able to reach with a handheld? And what kind of handheld do you prefer?

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On 4/22/2018 at 2:46 AM, classylady said:

I’m pretty stoked! I actually passed the exam! If you knew how little I know about electronics you would have been surprised I was able to pass. It was an all morning and afternoon class with the test afterwards. I was dismayed at the material that needed to be learned, especially as it was in an area I know very little about. The terms were all Greek to me.

My husband has had his license for over 20 years. He’s quite happy I was able to pass the test. I think he had his doubts. Two of my sons took the test with me and they both got their licenses too. Yay! Can you tell I’m excited?

When I was a kid, I had a friend whose father and elder brother were ham radioists. When the father found out I was interested, he lent me a whole load of textbooks so I could study up for my own license. (I still have one of those books in my office....guilt, guilt, guilt...) I never did take the test, though I did later take a degree in electronics. I'm curious to know what they asked though...was it all about transistors and Ohms law and stuff? Or was it more about deciphering Morse code messages? Or both?

Edited by Jamie123

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