Fieldcraft  Ham Radio Contact

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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Jul 9, 2002
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alpine44 and I made contact on 40 meters at a little past 2300 utc. While on 40 it seemed to be getting longer as I was talking to guys in Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio, as well as Kentucky. Never heard anything short/close though. Anyone else want to try voice/phone or digital tomorrow? Is anyone else set up for SSTV, also? This is something we could turn into a net, if we could get enough interested. You would need at least a general ticket for the HF bands we would most likely be using. Or do a few different 40 meter nets around the country then switch to 20 to relay info, farther out. Or the reverse,...just throwing stuff out there for consideration. All of us can learn radio from each other, while giving the newer operators a place to learn w/o the std CB'ers that want to chime in an berate new folks. Guessing it would have to be a directed net, but open to everything,....
Even if you don't have a general license should you have an HF, or SW set, you could still listen to gather info as well as net procedures.
What say you?

 

JoeZ

Private
PX Member
Minuteman
Jan 16, 2012
133
125
SE Wisconsin
Completely new to Ham here so please forgive the simplistic questions.
Are you using repeaters to get that range?
If not, is your antenna NVIS?
How many watt output do I need to send that far?
 

Gunfighter14e2

Rusty Nail
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Jul 9, 2002
7,845
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On not using any repeaters on HF, however there are a few remotes around the country. NVIS is normally only good for 150 mile +/- radius, however I have made contacts out to 700 miles before on mine but that is rare. I have many different arrays(antennas) in in the air. Main for HF is a fullwave 80 meter + loop. Second is a 1/2 wave, center fed 80 meter dipole, than I install a reflector under to turn it into an NVIS when needed. Another is a dedicated 60 meter dipole for national issues. Then there is a Hex Beam at 45' that covers 20, 17, 15, 12, & 10. Lastly a J-pole for 2, 1.25 & 70cm. I have not installed the 2.4gig Mw dish yet but it's here an the horn has been sweep an comes in at 2.476. The truck has many different mobile arrays that can be used for 80meters to 70cm if the need is there.
Most people worry about output power, however the first thing they need to worry about is the quality of the array, an it's location. I can throw 400 watts into any of the arrays I have when on 60 meters(illegal as hell) an not have the ability that I do with the dedicated 60 meter array using only 50 watts. Anytime you have to use a tuner all your doing is turning radio or amp output power in heat vs the array radiating it. Once you have a decent array pushing more power is a different story. The first 600 watts makes a huge difference with a good antenna, but you can put 1500 watts into a bad antenna an not have the reach you would with a 100 watts into an good one. Location can make a huge difference as well. One of the reason I can trump the home setup went using the truck parked at the right spot. The truck only has 1/2 the power the QTH (home) does but I can place the arrays where I want them an use the water near by, as a ground.
 

Sean the Nailer

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  • May 20, 2006
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    I'll definitely be 'in on this' one day. It's going to happen, though I just don't know 'when'. The interest is there Guns, so please,,,,, keep up the good work and intent.

    My Lady has even commented a number of times about 'taking the course', to which I'm in 1k % support of that. Now that everything's shut down, it probably won't happen until next year. Argg.
     

    W54/XM-388

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  • Oct 1, 2005
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    I'll definitely be 'in on this' one day. It's going to happen, though I just don't know 'when'. The interest is there Guns, so please,,,,, keep up the good work and intent.

    My Lady has even commented a number of times about 'taking the course', to which I'm in 1k % support of that. Now that everything's shut down, it probably won't happen until next year. Argg.

    I'm not sure how it works in Canada, do you have to take a course, or is it just home study on your own and then show up for testing?

    Assuming she needs the licence for HF bands to get down to the rest of us (as do you), that's probably a solid month of part time studying.

    Then we can take up a collection to get you a HF radio and see who might be going to Canada to try to smuggle it in for you HA!
     
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    Gunfighter14e2

    Rusty Nail
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    For those who just want to listen to a net in operation there are many around the country operating every day. Here is a very good list but there are others as well. Some are open, some closed, most are whats called directed. Just listen in to get a feel for how they are ran as well as how strong some signals are based on location an time of day. As the Gray Line moves thru you will see things change as Ionospheric absorption changes. Once you understand this, it will help you to know why some signals you could hear fine yesterday, you can't today.
    Much in radio comes from listening an learning. The more you learn the more those little light bulbs start lighting up your path. Like anything else the brighter it is, the more you can see,... and learn.
     

    alpine44

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    Mar 23, 2010
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    Sorry, I am late to this thread. Spending too much time on the ham radio these days :D

    I am all for trying to connect on the radio regularly. @Gunfighter14e2, could you please propose frequencies and a schedule in UTC. We should have alternate frequencies and/or alternate bands in case we cannot connect in the first 5 minutes due to band condition or other stations hogging the frequency.

    BTW: For those interested in ham radio but not having a physics or engineering background, this article may be helpful to understand the comments above about achievable distances with different frequencies depending on the conditions of the Earth's upper atmosphere.
     
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    Gunfighter14e2

    Rusty Nail
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    First we'll need to know where those that are interested live, plus the UTC time everyone wants to meet. Relays can be done depending if the chosen band is long or short.
     

    alpine44

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    Mar 23, 2010
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    First we'll need to know where those that are interested live, plus the UTC time everyone wants to meet. Relays can be done depending if the chosen band is long or short.
    I am currently, and the way it looks for the next couple months, in FM29bm. Prefer 40m band; and 20m as an alternate. Any day and time of day is fine.
     

    verdugo60

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  • Jul 6, 2010
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    I am interested in getting HAM licensed in the next few years. Seems like a good way to have alternative comms for times like this and worse. Several friends and I in my neighborhood have been looking into hanhelds like the Baofeng and Wouxon to get started with something better than FRS. My buddy on the hill got his GMRS license and will probably get a repeater set up in the house to start.

    I know we need a license for HAM but that would be an ultimate goal for me to be able to talk all over the country and world. Alternative comms from Denver to Idaho where I have family would be ideal too. (I'm in Denver.) Just not sure where to start besides handhelds and the test, last thing I need is another expensive hobby, lol.
     

    Sean the Nailer

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  • May 20, 2006
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    I'm interested, but 'excluded' due to only having 2m radios and having to go through IMRC (or whatever the internet relay thingy is called again)
     

    W54/XM-388

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  • Oct 1, 2005
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    First we'll need to know where those that are interested live, plus the UTC time everyone wants to meet. Relays can be done depending if the chosen band is long or short.

    DFW Texas area, can only do nights / weekends.
    I still need to get my HF antenna up.
     
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    earthtrekker1775

    The Prodigal Gun
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    Apr 3, 2009
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    I just got licensed on GMRS and have my vehicles set up with midland micromobile 115 in one and midland mxt400 in the other. I have a couple Baofeng UV5R handhelds and plan to get into HAM but haven't gotten around to studying for the exams yet.

    Honestly, looking into Amateur Radio can feel a bit overwhelming and it is difficult to figure out where to start. I don't want to have to make multiple purchases and upgrades in a row because of my ignorance of where to start. When I do get going I want a set up I can grow into as my knowledge and interest increases, not grow out of after a few months because I started with inferior kit.
     
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    alpine44

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    DFW Texas area, can only do nights / weekends.
    I still need to get my HF antenna up.
    If you have tall trees on your property, the simplest and quickest solution is a horizontal 1/2 wavelength dipole. End-fed wire is even easier to install but you need a 1:9 Unun due to the high impedance at the antenna ends.
     

    alpine44

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    Mar 23, 2010
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    I just got licensed on GMRS and have my vehicles set up with midland micromobile 115 in one and midland mxt400 in the other. I have a couple Baofeng UV5R handhelds and plan to get into HAM but haven't gotten around to studying for the exams yet.

    Honestly, looking into Amateur Radio can feel a bit overwhelming and it is difficult to figure out where to start. I don't want to have to make multiple purchases and upgrades in a row because of my ignorance of where to start. When I do get going I want a set up I can grow into as my knowledge and interest increases, not grow out of after a few months because I started with inferior kit.
    Get the Technician license and use the Baofengs on the local repeaters. You will get to know local hams that can help you with the HF stuff. For voice and data on HF you need General or Extra license.

    Both Gunfighter14e2 and I use well regarded radios from the 80's and 90's which can be found on egay for good prices if you are patient. You do not need to sink thousands of dollars into HF to make long-distance contacts. A good antenna and some knowledge about band conditions is more important than the transceiver.
     

    earthtrekker1775

    The Prodigal Gun
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    Get the Technician license and use the Baofengs on the local repeaters. You will get to know local hams that can help you with the HF stuff. For voice and data on HF you need General or Extra license.

    Both Gunfighter14e2 and I use well regarded radios from the 80's and 90's which can be found on egay for good prices if you are patient. You do not need to sink thousands of dollars into HF to make long-distance contacts. A good antenna and some knowledge about band conditions is more important than the transceiver.
    Thank you, that is the direction I am headed. As I learn more I will have many more questions I am sure.
     

    Gunfighter14e2

    Rusty Nail
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    Jul 9, 2002
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    Radio is much, much cheaper if you can build your own junk, or repair what others throw/give away. The trick to this is knowledge/education an sometimes Trial &Error. If you study the books a take the test/s you will learn much. If you just try to memorize the answers you'll have a tough an long road to Hoe. Learn the basics an expound for there. Much like guns no one knows everything, plus like anything electronics the tech changes rapidly, but the basics stay the same. Many including me, have tried to de-fie the laws of physics, math or a components ability, but w/o letting a little smoke out every so often, how else can you test/keep your self sane,...LOL
     

    earthtrekker1775

    The Prodigal Gun
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    Apr 3, 2009
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    Radio is much, much cheaper if you can build your own junk, or repair what others throw/give away. The trick to this is knowledge/education an sometimes Trial &Error. If you study the books a take the test/s you will learn much. If you just try to memorize the answers you'll have a tough an long road to Hoe. Learn the basics an expound for there. Much like guns no one knows everything, plus like anything electronics the tech changes rapidly, but the basics stay the same. Many including me, have tried to de-fie the laws of physics, math or a components ability, but w/o letting a little smoke out every so often, how else can you test/keep your self sane,...LOL
    Sage advice, thank you. I got started with GMRS first as the learning curve is significantly smaller and I wanted comms in the vehicles as I commute 30 miles or so from home and don't trust cellular systems during crises. I do like to tinker, so I could see radio becoming another consuming hobby (for better or worse.)
     

    verdugo60

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    Minuteman
  • Jul 6, 2010
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    I don't love to tinker, especially with electronics. Is there a plug and play system to get started?

    For example: buy a Tikka CTR in 6.5, put ARC rings and a Nightforce SHV F1 on it and buy Hornady 140 ELD-M ammo and go to the range...

    That in HAM?
     

    AKMarty

    Sergeant of the Hide
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 2, 2019
    291
    127
    AK
    alpine44 and I made contact on 40 meters at a little past 2300 utc. While on 40 it seemed to be getting longer as I was talking to guys in Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio, as well as Kentucky. Never heard anything short/close though. Anyone else want to try voice/phone or digital tomorrow? Is anyone else set up for SSTV, also? This is something we could turn into a net, if we could get enough interested. You would need at least a general ticket for the HF bands we would most likely be using. Or do a few different 40 meter nets around the country then switch to 20 to relay info, farther out. Or the reverse,...just throwing stuff out there for consideration. All of us can learn radio from each other, while giving the newer operators a place to learn w/o the std CB'ers that want to chime in an berate new folks. Guessing it would have to be a directed net, but open to everything,....
    Even if you don't have a general license should you have an HF, or SW set, you could still listen to gather info as well as net procedures.
    What say you?


    I have a modified CB radio with SSB. I have no experience in using it only that it can span some distance. In AK no one uses CB. Mostly marine VHF and satcom.

    Any way to use ssb to have comms with you guys?
     

    Gunfighter14e2

    Rusty Nail
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    Minuteman
    Jul 9, 2002
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    I don't love to tinker, especially with electronics. Is there a plug and play system to get started?

    For example: buy a Tikka CTR in 6.5, put ARC rings and a Nightforce SHV F1 on it and buy Hornady 140 ELD-M ammo and go to the range...

    That in HAM?
    Yes it can all be bought, an most things today are plug an play. Go Here first, then go Here All the info an gear you want/need. The guys at HRO can answer any question about gear or operation you have.
     

    Gunfighter14e2

    Rusty Nail
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    Jul 9, 2002
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    Any way to use ssb to have comms with you guys?
    Not with a CB radio, it would have to be an Ham or Military HF set to talk to us, an from AK it would most likely be on 20 or 17 meters. Which would/should work for both of us at that distance. I work most everything in AK on 20 as well as everywhere else of this rock. There are times when 17 works better but most of the time for reaching out it's 20 with phone/aka voice. That said, I'm using a Hex Beam an shoving some power into it.
     

    thegrayham

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    Jun 9, 2011
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    San Diego, CA
    www.thegrayham.com
    First we'll need to know where those that are interested live, plus the UTC time everyone wants to meet. Relays can be done depending if the chosen band is long or short.
    40m and 20m work best for me, but I can try 80 if that's what others prefer. Nights and weekends would be my preference for timeing, but could also likely do earlyish in the mornings. I am in the San Diego / SoCal area.
     

    wigwamitus

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    ... Gonna start studying for the test one of these years ...

    Hecque, I study for the test EVERY year ... just never get done studying enuff to take the test !! :D :D :D
     

    Gunfighter14e2

    Rusty Nail
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    Once your in the 90% range on every P-test you take, it's time for the real thing. The questions will be the same, the answers will all be the same, but in a different order. One of the reasons some just memorize the correct answers an pass. Then when it comes time for hands on the issues start popping up, an only compound there after. You can go in an take all three tests in one setting 125 question in all, an walk out an extra. I've seen it done more than once, but ask them a simple question an you get the deer in the headlight look.

    Much like shooting you can memorize your way in very easily, then answer most simple questions with google,....however you will be only cheating yourself in the long run,...much like many safe queen owners.
    Get a good grip on the basics an learn from there. The Tech an General tests are for the basics, an some rules, the Extra getting deeper into theory an some obscure rules. The real learning comes for the rest of your life.
    Every time I talk/work someone I learn something, which turns on another light-bulb.
     
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    docohm

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    Aug 18, 2019
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    Good luck taking your ham radio exam. I'm on our club's VE Team and we've shut down ALL exams due to the virus scare. It sounds like all the clubs in this area have too because I've gotten several emails requesting the exam lately, no group is doing them at this time.
    73, Doc
     

    alpine44

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    Mar 23, 2010
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    Good luck taking your ham radio exam. I'm on our club's VE Team and we've shut down ALL exams due to the virus scare. It sounds like all the clubs in this area have too because I've gotten several emails requesting the exam lately, no group is doing them at this time.
    73, Doc
    Our local VEs are discussing how to administer the test remotely. I think a well positioned webcam and one proctor per candidate should easily keep folks honest with the "closed book" rule. The questions and answers are easily transmitted electronically.
     

    alpine44

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    Mar 23, 2010
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    I found the videos on this channel very helpful to pass General and Extra in one shot. He also has videos of Technician classes.
    Then there are several smartphone apps that give you practice exams and allow you to address your weak areas with flash cards.
     
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    Gunfighter14e2

    Rusty Nail
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    Jul 9, 2002
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    It appears that the FCC is doing some-kind on line testing, I have not looked into yet.
    Those of you who what or are ready to be tested might what to dig deeper.
     

    Snuby642

    Two Star General
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  • Feb 11, 2017
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    I just passed my exam for tech license waiting on numbers.

    No equipment yet looking for bargains.

    A general noob question.

    Can I use a ht to key up a repeater to go to another repeater?

    Are repeaters just the one hop?
     

    docohm

    Private
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    Aug 18, 2019
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    I just passed my exam for tech license waiting on numbers.

    No equipment yet looking for bargains.

    A general noob question.

    Can I use a ht to key up a repeater to go to another repeater?

    Are repeaters just the one hop?
    There are many repeaters that are tied into a network of other repeaters. These are called linked systems. There are several all over the country, they often cover part or all of a state or more than 1 state.
     
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    wigwamitus

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    Taking the tech exam Dec 12 (2020). Wife finally got motivated (as we are in rural and cell phones don't work outside the house) ... so we are motivating each other and studying each night.
     
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    missed

    nothing
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  • Feb 21, 2013
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    I need to get my gear put back together in the house and take the general this winter. I'm in north Texas also.
     
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    Ranchhand

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    Apr 30, 2020
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    I'm in central Oregon and have my general ticket.
    I also need to get off my ass and unass my wire antenna, it's been down since may.
    Good to go on 2m and 70cm though.
     
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    wigwamitus

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    Wife and self taking the Tech exam 12 Dec 20. If we'd known that if we had known we could immediately take the Gen, we would've been studying for it for the past month :D ... now we have a week to study for the gen ... and we're pounding on it ... if we fail it won't be for lack of trying !!

    I picked up a used IC 7100 ... now trying to figure out what antenna to try to set up first for it. If one of us passes the gen, will want to explore down to 80m ... and that will require a hecque of an antenna !!! A quarter wave will be longer than the house ! We live in rural so we have options for a longer antenna.
     

    NineHotel

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    Low bands won't be "plug and play" for you or anyone else. You need to understand basic radio theory, how antennas work, how to use an antenna analyzer, how to tune antennas without an automatic tuner, etc. You can try plug and play, though will experience very few if any QSOs along with most likely burning up the power amp in your radio.
     
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    Chief_Rick

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    Aug 12, 2020
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    Radio is much, much cheaper if you can build your own junk, or repair what others throw/give away. The trick to this is knowledge/education an sometimes Trial &Error. If you study the books a take the test/s you will learn much. If you just try to memorize the answers you'll have a tough an long road to Hoe. Learn the basics an expound for there. Much like guns no one knows everything, plus like anything electronics the tech changes rapidly, but the basics stay the same. Many including me, have tried to de-fie the laws of physics, math or a components ability, but w/o letting a little smoke out every so often, how else can you test/keep your self sane,...LOL
    Do you recommend the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual 4th Edition/General Class License Manuals or the Gordon West 2018-2022 Technician Class/2019-2023 General Class manuals?

    I was an Electronics Technician in the Navy (1990-1992) but I've forgotten so much of what I learned. Always enjoyed operating the HF transceivers in the radio shack and working with the MARS stations CONUS while we were deployed. Back in the day before internet and cell phones.
     

    Alpine 338

    Lumberjack
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    I think both will work for your needs, if you're like me, the comms/electronics questions aren't the hard part, just the rules and regulations.
     
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    W54/XM-388

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    Do you recommend the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual 4th Edition/General Class License Manuals or the Gordon West 2018-2022 Technician Class/2019-2023 General Class manuals?

    I was an Electronics Technician in the Navy (1990-1992) but I've forgotten so much of what I learned. Always enjoyed operating the HF transceivers in the radio shack and working with the MARS stations CONUS while we were deployed. Back in the day before internet and cell phones.

    I would recommend the Gordon West series for studying to take your test.
    If you want to have it all, go for his combo package that has the book and the computer programs with the study tests and book and then also get the audio CDs as well.

    Listen to the Audio CDs over a couple times as you are driving, read the book and then hit the practice tests & you should pass easily enough.
    The Audio CDs give all kinds of tips for remembering things to help you in the test that are not in the book.
     
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    NineHotel

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    I got my Novice with 5 WPM code back in the 80s using a Gordon West book and cassette tape. Good stuff. General w 13 wpm code achieved in 1989.
     
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    Snuby642

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  • Feb 11, 2017
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    Search online for ham radio test app.
    Makes it easier.

    I believe books are a better backup reference tool for when you have your license to learn.

    As a new ham that is how I easily passed the technician exam.

    Once a license is granted join the local amateur radio club you will be gtg.

    On a biased note: I am so glad I saved up and bought a Yaesu ftm-300dr instead of a cheaper brand or modle with less capability.
     

    Badfinger

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    Wife and self taking the Tech exam 12 Dec 20. If we'd known that if we had known we could immediately take the Gen, we would've been studying for it for the past month :D ... now we have a week to study for the gen ... and we're pounding on it ... if we fail it won't be for lack of trying !!

    I picked up a used IC 7100 ... now trying to figure out what antenna to try to set up first for it. If one of us passes the gen, will want to explore down to 80m ... and that will require a hecque of an antenna !!! A quarter wave will be longer than the house ! We live in rural so we have options for a longer antenna.

    I also run an Icon 7100 and it's a great radio.
     

    Chief_Rick

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    Aug 12, 2020
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    Search online for ham radio test app.
    Makes it easier.

    I believe books are a better backup reference tool for when you have your license to learn.

    As a new ham that is how I easily passed the technician exam.

    Once a license is granted join the local amateur radio club you will be gtg.

    On a biased note: I am so glad I saved up and bought a Yaesu ftm-300dr instead of a cheaper brand or modle with less capability.
    I'll be travelling for the few weeks or so - so I bought the Kindle edition of the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual and put it on my tablet. Prefer paper, but I needed to buy it now. Will give me something to do when I don't have internet. Will look at the online test apps when I can.
     
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    Snuby642

    Two Star General
    PX Member
    Minuteman
  • Feb 11, 2017
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    I believe the arrl test app was the best one. I downloaded it but not sure if it is stand alone.

    It has the test pool questions on it the answers study material and more.

    It kept a running tab on what I scored and what sections needed more study.

    Good luck in your travels.
     
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