Amateur Radio (HAM), Trail Coms, and Navigation Resources

Tony_Farson

GOLD Star
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Messages
801
Location
Reno, NV
Yeah this is going to have to be one of the items on my "to-do" list for this year. Been wanting to do it for a couple years just never been available when they are here.
Don't sweat it. I am not a good student or test taker and I didn't study at all prior to sitting down for the cram... I was sick and exhausted and still managed to pass. You should do just fine.
 

gregnash

Anal Retentive Analyst
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Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
10,818
Location
Carson City, NV
Don't sweat it. I am not a good student or test taker and I didn't study at all prior to sitting down for the cram... I was sick and exhausted and still managed to pass. You should do just fine.
Yeah you aren't the first one to tell me that. I just need to find a date that I know I will be around for and schedule it.
 

rusty_tlc

Dain Bramaged Member
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
13,866
Location
Reno, NV
Yeah this is going to have to be one of the items on my "to-do" list for this year. Been wanting to do it for a couple years just never been available when they are here.
If you take the practice exams on-line you can skip the ham cram and take the test any time. Trust me, you are smart enough to pass easy, Just make sure to do all of the tests a few times each so you see all the questions.

Follow the link----->>>>> Practice Amateur Radio Exams by QRZ Ham Radio

Testing in Carson City link----->>>>>Exams - Carson City - Sierra Nevada Amateur Radio Society, Inc
 

BadReligion

SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
634
Location
Reno, NV
I hounded @BadReligion until he went and got his license too. I think it'll be really nice to have comms on club runs.
Glad you did...otherwise that would still likely be on my to do list.

I should have done it years ago. Having a HAM License is really convenient for everything from offroading to hunting and even emergency communications.

The test isn't bad. I spent 2 hours taking practice tests and studying why answers were right/wrong. Takes all of 2 hours to take the actual test, with half of that time being spent filling out paperwork.
 

gregnash

Anal Retentive Analyst
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Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
10,818
Location
Carson City, NV
Yeah this is something that I have been wanting to get for a number of years, just never really got around to it or when the HAM Cram sessions were around I was out of town. Will probably do like Rusty Dan said and just practice for the next couple weeks and hit the one on the 21st.

Dumb question though.. how long did the actual test take you guys? That is the weekend of the big RV show up at the convention center that the wife and I are planning to hit to start "looking" for a trailer for Alita to pull.
 

lelandEOD

SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Messages
1,442
Location
Northern Nevada
The ham cram offered by SNARS is a half-day. If you’re just showing up to take the test, figure a couple hours. Like others have said, the hardest part is just actually signing up for the test. Once you’ve sort of committed yourself, it’s pretty easy to sit down before hand and cover the material.
 

rusty_tlc

Dain Bramaged Member
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
13,866
Location
Reno, NV
The last time I shopped local they had to order anything I wanted so no real advantage IMHO. I got most of my radios, antennas etc from Hamcity, nice folks. It seems like a family business. They are extremely helpful and will make sure everything you buy will be compatible. Their pricing was also very competitive when I got my stuff.


When shopping for antennas I strongly endorse Larsen. Your antenna can make or break you, don't go cheap. I have an SWR meter when it comes time to do your antenna install any of you guys can borrow it.
 

Tony_Farson

GOLD Star
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Messages
801
Location
Reno, NV
Thanks! I know they're online and their are in Oakland too. I already ordered my mobile unit, the FT-2980R. What I'm looking for is some hands on with antenna's and mounting solutions for the Bronco... then the F150 and eventually the FJ40. Both local shops were closed today... seems like a bad business decision to not be open at least one day per weekend. Oh well, I'll check em out sometime this week.
 

rusty_tlc

Dain Bramaged Member
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
13,866
Location
Reno, NV
Thanks! I know they're online and their are in Oakland too. I already ordered my mobile unit, the FT-2980R. What I'm looking for is some hands on with antenna's and mounting solutions for the Bronco... then the F150 and eventually the FJ40. Both local shops were closed today... seems like a bad business decision to not be open at least one day per weekend. Oh well, I'll check em out sometime this week.
What do you need to know? I have the FT-2900 which is your radios older brother. I use a Larsen 2M whip NMO mount, I also use a Comet rubber ducky NMO mount for tight trails. Both work well in their applications. Electrically I like the NMO mount best, its just a solid design.
The Larsen is a 5/8 wave antenna which has about 3dBi gain, it is great for longer range. The Comet is a 1/4 wave which has unity gain, not so good for long range but great for the trail because it has a low radiation pattern and won't get hung up on brush.

1/2 wave antennas are great if you don't have a ground plane, your bronco has a fiberglass hard top right? This might be the best choice for that rig, with w 1/4 wave rubber ducky for trails.

The main thing is pick one style of mount, in my case NMO, and stick with it that way if you move radios and antennas between rigs everything will play with the rest . I move antennas between my FJ40 and 100, and the 60 when I had it.
 

Tony_Farson

GOLD Star
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Messages
801
Location
Reno, NV
Thanks! I really appreciate the advice. :)

I am looking at mounting it on the windshield cowl either near the AM/FM antenna (assuming there's no problem with that???) on the passenger side or on the opposite side of the (driver side) of the cowl using an NMO lip mount. I am considering a 1/2 wave no ground plane antenna with a built in spring to help ensure it doesn't get caught on branches and and brush.

I can also mount it on my rear or front steel bumper, and I think the front would be better... Aussie style! I plan to avoid the fiberglass top for mounting. I could use the steel cab, but other than drilling through it, I'm not sure how I'd mount an antenna up there and I think the trees and brush would dislodge a mag mount. I had a drip rail, so can't utilize the door frame.
 

rusty_tlc

Dain Bramaged Member
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
13,866
Location
Reno, NV
All you need for a ground plane it 1/4 wave diameter, IIRC 19.75" for 2M .
I have broken a bunch of antenna with built in springs, the safest bet is a rubber duck antenna for the trail. There a few 2m 1/4 wave nmo options out there that work well Diamond, Yaesu, ICOM.

Locating the antenna as near to center of the vehicle will may it less directional. Grounded masses will act like reflectors.
 

Tony_Farson

GOLD Star
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Messages
801
Location
Reno, NV
All you need for a ground plane it 1/4 wave diameter, IIRC 19.75" for 2M .
I have broken a bunch of antenna with built in springs, the safest bet is a rubber duck antenna for the trail. There a few 2m 1/4 wave nmo options out there that work well Diamond, Yaesu, ICOM.

Locating the antenna as near to center of the vehicle will may it less directional. Grounded masses will act like reflectors.
Thanks, I’ll check em out!
 
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