HAM NEWBIE

Discussion in 'Communication & Navigation' started by 1973Guppie, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. 1973Guppie

    1973Guppie Supporting Vendor SILVER Star

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    Hi Folks,

    have some questions for everyone. I am interested in moving to a ham radio but am a complete newbie in this arena. I have always just had a cb in my 4x4 vehicles for trail runs to speak with the other drivers in our group. That is all I have really needed in the past.

    That being said, I realize that CB is very quickly becoming obsolete in that most drivers have switched to ham. So, I would like to do the same. I really only plan to use the radio when on the trail to speak with other drivers, etc and in emergency situations. Probably it will be used maybe a few times a year. I see no use for it on the road as I have cell for that. Right now I am using a handheld semi mounted device, basically I just plug it in when off road and remove it when not needed. Link here: Midland 75-822

    Questions:

    ? - For my use is getting a ham license really necessary? I know, I know, technically illegal but so is jay walking. I just don't see an FCC cop arresting me on a mountain top for using my ham to communicate with the people I am with.

    ? - Is there a radio that anyone would reccomend that uses cb and ham in one unit? It will also need to be removable same as my existing radio.

    ? - I am guessing I can use a simple antenna mounted / clamped to my roof rack. I believe I should have a ground plane of some sort but I do have a hard shell RTT that takes up most of my rack.

    ? - any good tutorials for learning the very basics of operating a ham based on my planned usage above?

    Thanks,

    Noah
     
  2. Izzyandsue

    Izzyandsue Izzy SILVER Star

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    Noah,
    Yes, you need to get a license. And the penalties could be high if you, even accidentally, end up interfering with other signals. The license is not a big deal, easy questions middle school kids can answer. The best place to start is the Boy Scouts, Radio Merit Badge Resources has all the training the scouts get to take the test. So you can see how easy it can be. For radio, one do it all radio is not possible due to the different way signals are emitted for different band ranges. But, I found the TYT TH-9800 to be capable of all the bands, even CB as long as they are nearby like on a trail convoy. Easy to find in Amazon too.
     
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  3. 1911

    1911 chupacabra

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    Yes, it is necessary, if you want/expect help and a modicum of respect from other ham operators. Without one, and the call sign that comes with it, you will come across as an asswipe to legitimate operators, even if you are not (or don't intend to be). The test for Technician is not difficult, anyone could pass it with a small amount of effort. Young children pass it all the time. There is really no excuse not to take the test - refusal to do so only proclaims laziness to a rather extreme degree, and disrespect for the hobby and legitimate operators who have all taken the test.


    That radio would be illegal in the U.S., as the cb and ham bands are completely different services with different requirements and regulations. There are several multi-band HF ham radios that will receive on cb frequencies but not transmit. It is possible to (illegally) modify some of those to transmit on both, I am told (have never done it myself). It may be possible to buy a foreign-made radio that will already do that, but I don't know any specific examples.


    You can use a simple antenna, if you are only going to use one or two bands, such as 2 meters and 70 cm. 2 meters is the most common band for trail comms. When you start adding HF bands like 10 meters and up, and cb (which is approximately 11 meters in wavelength), your antenna will necessarily be more complex and expensive, assuming that you will want 2 meters also.

    Ham radios are much more powerful than cb radios (one of the reasons for the test and license), and so antenna tuning and ground planes become more important then with a cb. If your installation precludes a good ground plane, then use a 1/2-wave antenna(s) for the band(s) that you want to use. A 1/2-wave antenna is much more forgiving of lack of ground plane than 5/8 or 1/4-wave antennas.


    ARRL | Licensing, Education & Training | Getting on the Air

    https://www.amazon.com/Technician-2...rd_wg=DOoJT&psc=1&refRID=71Z58M2ZXQM9BC4HHF8J
     
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  4. 1973Guppie

    1973Guppie Supporting Vendor SILVER Star

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    so what do most guys run that want to be able to have cb and ham? two seperate radios?
     
  5. Dharma Dude

    Dharma Dude

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    I don't know what everybody else would do but I would buy both and bring the one used by others on my trip. The radios are just for inter-convoy communication. Ham or CB are no longer dependable as emergency response anymore, in my opinion. Not enough people listening on the HAM repeaters now a days, and I don't want to carry and set up a full HF setup.

    For emergencies I carry a Garmin InReach which can call SOS on the Iridium network.

    Yeah. I'd carry at least two radios.
     
  6. bj70_guy

    bj70_guy

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    In our local circle you still pretty much need both, as a lot of guys haven't transitioned to ham radio :bang:
    A small cb like the Uniden 510 or 520 eats up less space, as does a ham radio with a removable face plate.
     
  7. Corbet

    Corbet Speski OffRoad LTD. Supporting Vendor

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    Go get a license slacker.

    Here is a cheap handheld. Amazon.com: BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio with one more TID Battery Car Charge one Hand Mic. and NA-771 ham radio: Car Electronics I have a similar older version I keep as a back up. Add an external antenna to this and your good for 10x what a CB can do.

    You'll have to keep your CB for when you wheel with cavemen.

    You can take the practice test online until you simply know all the answers to all the possible questions. Or you can get the book and learn it.
     
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  8. Kofoed

    Kofoed

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    Two radios....the FCC states that ham gear can't operate on CB and vice versa

    Take the test. Nobody will likely talk ot you if they find out you are a bootlegger
     
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  9. Helipilot

    Helipilot SILVER Star

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    X2 to all the above advice given. Take the test, it will make you feel better and you'll be legal to boot.
     
  10. 1911

    1911 chupacabra

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    That's what I do. The cb hides in my tuffy console and I never use it (or even bring the mic for it) unless I know I'm going to be in a trail group that doesn't have 2M ham.
     
  11. 1973Guppie

    1973Guppie Supporting Vendor SILVER Star

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  12. Brentbba

    Brentbba Former Golfer SILVER Star

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    Noah - Get Gordon West's book it's a quick easy read. All the FCC questions on the exam are in the public domain. I found that West's book, that publishes the question pool does a good job of a little info around the question, the question, the answer and discussion of why usually. I read it once thru and then skimmed for just the question/answer. You can take practice tests out on several sites for free. Take a few and when you are routinely passing with 80-90% correct, you are good to go. Quick search will find you those sites.

    Two radios - reasons covered above. Shoot - I keep a CB in my truck for one particular friend that doesn't go out much anymore and only has a CB.

    You can get away with a handheld ham radio like a Baofeng or Wouxun but it's usually limited on power to 5 watts. CB's are 4 watts. A simple Yaesu radio (not a handheld) can be had for around $100-150, add an antenna and you've got 50 watts of power and even more range and clarity.
     
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  13. george_tlc

    george_tlc SILVER Star

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    Take the test. If you need shaming to do it :) ....

    My two sons got their technician class license when they were 9yrs old and 7yrs old respectively. I just got them to do the FREE online renewal a few months ago for their 10 year anniversary (license needs renewing every 10 yrs).

    If you take the test you will actually learn useful information (and a bunch of less useful information) that will help you understand some of the capabilities of a VHF/UHF rig - an no, you won't be talking to Malaysia from the US with it (unless you go through an internet portal)...

    cheers,
    george.
     
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  14. Dragos80

    Dragos80

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    If you are off roading with your not so uptight buddies a license is not necessary.
    5W out of a Baofeng on the right frequency will not interfere with anyone.

    How the hell would you interfere with other signals?
    You choose a predetermined off road frequency and you will not end up interfering with anybody's business.

    Just listen to 147.435 here in SoCal and you get the idea about what can be done.
     
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  15. N22

    N22

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    x2 on the book. Study it and go get your Technician's.
     
  16. FJ60Seth

    FJ60Seth SILVER Star

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    Start with the baofeng. It’s cheap and will work fine for trail communication. I wouldn’t bother with an external antenna. And yes take the test.
     
  17. custyota

    custyota Meatball SILVER Star

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    Thanks for the information everyone, this has been very informative.
     
  18. 1973Guppie

    1973Guppie Supporting Vendor SILVER Star

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    borrowed a baofeng handheld this past weekend in big bear on a trail ride, worked well, cheap, I did not get arrested and was able to keep in touch with everyone in my group. Similar to CB but better. I may eventually install a ham into the car but for now I am going to go handheld outlaw style and change as my needs arise.
     
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  19. Brentbba

    Brentbba Former Golfer SILVER Star

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    I'm very sorry you've 'chosen' to go 'outlaw style'. It's a slap in the face to the hobby and everyone that's made the effort to get licensed.
     
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  20. 1973Guppie

    1973Guppie Supporting Vendor SILVER Star

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    badge_9_large.jpg 200_s.gif
    lol, I am sorry you are offended. You guys need to switch to decaf, seriously. Thx for the help but I think I am done here. Carry on.......
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017
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