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HAM radio

Discussion in 'Hobbies' started by EddieM, 29 Apr 2018.

  1. ericmark

    ericmark

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    In the days and place where I started, it was an interview with the Post Master who would ask questions to ensure you would not do anything daft, so I became VP8XBHZ which was a special 2 meter only licence, then VP8BKM although I have only a dozen or so HF contacts.

    On return to UK I tried for a reciprocal licence, I was told you must me joking, I would need to take the C&G Radio Exam then I could apply, problem was the collages wanted around £100 for course and exam, and would not allow just the exam as it messed up their record if we failed. However the local radio club would do a course and exam around every 5 years, so I waited 2 years and did it for £25.

    There were objections to how hard it was to take the exam, so this was all changed, now there are I think 3 exams which have to be taken in sequence. As each exam is passed you are allowed to do more, think it's the power you can use, however it is no longer the collage doing exam but radio clubs, and now it involves a lot of practical work, in my day it was all theory.

    Unlike CB there are many types of amateur radio, ham refers to being ham fisted with the Morse key. Lucky for me Morse is no longer required. So with VHF I have communicated with Austria, it was a system called Packet Radio where we digipeated from other peoples equipment to get around the world, used it a lot when licensed as VR2ZEP as from 22 floor not easy to erect a HF aerial, I was a member of HARTS (Hongkong Amateur radio transmitting society) and for VHF you can now get a hand held radio for less than £50 but it would not get around the world in basic form.

    EME (Earth Moon Earth) will allow you to bounce signals to USA, however with power allowed in the UK, this means Morse, you would need something like 5 kW to get over the pond with voice, you can get dissipation to use 1 kW for EME but that's not good enough for voice.

    Using local repeaters you can talk around 50 miles or more using 2 meter or 70 cm, but for any distance you need side band, with side band and sporadic E I have talked some 1000 miles, however under normal conditions 100 miles is about the limit.

    For HF FM is not used, it is all side band, as a rare call sign (VP8BKM) I could get around the world, however as GW7MGW no one really wants to talk to me. I still use the radio once a year on fire work night at local life boat fire work display, but I never bought any HF stuff, and my son, also licensed at 14 year old he got licence nearly 40 now, he took my aerial down, so in real terms that was the end of amateur radio for me.

    I keep a ruck sack with all the equipment needed for an emergency, but the local RAYNET has now gone, not enough events to pay for insurance.


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  2. EddieM

    EddieM

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    ok, I bought a yeasu 3000 fx (somewhat stupidly) I need some of the accessories, speak mic and antenna of course, I guess I need to get myself on a course!
     
  3. mattylad

    mattylad

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    !!!!!!
    A nice radio but why did you buy it if you have not even got a license yet?

    Do you know what the noise floor is around you?
    Can you put up HF aerials? they are not small. I hope you have a really big garden or no neighbours?

    Try setting up a portable/mobile setup where you can go out, find a hill and setup an aerial and use it - then you'll get far and wide.
    Unfortunately in most homes these days the noise floor from broadband stops us doing it.
    Certainly stopped me, I gave up trying at home.
     
  4. EddieM

    EddieM

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    Don't you start! ( had plenty of grief over it already) Anyhow it's not for now, bit later on when we buy a place in the country with plenty of land. I'm struggling a bit with the antenna, I must confess, the rest I'm ok with I think, well apart from how the hell I use it :D
     
  5. EddieM

    EddieM

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    Oh and to specifically answer your question , no idea!
     
  6. EddieM

    EddieM

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    suppose I could try Airchat but I think it might be a tad illegal.
     
  7. mattylad

    mattylad

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    Get on a course, AFAIK the foundation license is really really easy and gives you access to use your nice new radio (albeit on low power) on lots of bands.
     
  8. ptarmigan

    ptarmigan

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    Now it's all state of the art gear, fully digitised and doesn't leave much to the imagination, That is true but try a listen on 3.615 which is used for old military sets going back past the 19 set and the lovely sound of AM.
     
  9. ericmark

    ericmark

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    The course now is in 3 parts, when I did it just two, the RAE was the exam then needed Morse, now Morse requirement has gone, but where I could just sit the exam, now the course work is the exam, so you have to do all three courses to get full licence. I think the new system is likely easier, but you have to find a club running the course, and I know my local club tends to do one stage a year so if you start at wrong year it could mean a wait of 2 years to start course and three years to sit all the stages so can take 5 years to get full licence.
     
  10. Robert Stoubos

    Robert Stoubos

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    How about getting your own slot on local community radio stations or hospital radio? I've done it, all the equipment set and ready, all you gotta do is bring yourself.
     
  11. mattylad

    mattylad

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    I gave up ham radio due to the interference levels at home.

    Now I use cheese radio. :)

    Unfortunately there is another ham at work, he knows I'm licensed so he keeps wanting to talk radio to me...
    TBH I have no interest in it these days, the interweb is far more useful for communication to me.
     
  12. EddieM

    EddieM

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    Ah, but that's the point, when the apocalypse comes and there's no interweb or mains power, who ya gonna call? Ok I think I need to add foil hat to list of items I need. I'll get me coat. As you were.
     
  13. ericmark

    ericmark

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    Well I went to the one event in the year, one radio the battery failed early on, the other battery will allow receive only. Too old to get replacement batteries, yes could rip the battery to pieces and use an external, but the Chinese radios are so cheap today, it's just a new radio.

    However what I really want is a radio which does not need a licence, a way to talk to wife while on bike rides, we have loads of old CB sets, however a bit on the large size. There are it seems 8 licence free UHF frequencies with maximum transmit power of 0.5 watt. However there are loads of radios sold as pairs with 5W output so legal £56 licence free, but requiring licence £20 a pair, so PMR446 would likely be best staying within the law.

    Looked at the CB and yes there are now some smaller neater sets, however expensive, double the price of PMR446. However we have loads of the old CB's it is just they are heavy and bulky.

    2 meter and 70cm are really no more than CB's, OK I have side band 2 meter, but today side band CB is allowed, so since my wife is not licensed, I am looking at licence free.

    It seems so silly here I am with a ham licence looking at licence free, and your there without a licence looking at getting one.
     
  14. mattylad

    mattylad

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    A bumfeng will likely do what you want including vox, however you may have to accidentally stray outside the band :)
    Will anyone give a monkeys? doubt it, will anyone do anything about it? doubt it, will you disturb anyone else? doubt it.

    You just have to be careful you don't contact Rick Grimes, Michone or any of the other TWD crew using them :)
     
  15. ericmark

    ericmark

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    OK I got two Baofeng BF-888S and a Baofeng UV-B6 radios, also a computer patch lead, they were all advertised as being PMR466 however it was a good job I checked think they were set to Family Radio Service (FRS) as used in USA, even when they came through amazon from a UK supplier.

    They took some setting up, had to do some things direct on radio, some with CHIRP and some with UV-B5 Radio Program SoftWare and HKT-480 Radio Program SoftWare for example setting time out only the HKT-480 would work, setting language had to be direct with radio, and until I used CHIRP could not stop alarm from sounding with the BR-888S, the Baofeng UV-B6 however was in comparison plain sailing.

    As to what is legal not a clue, set correct frequency, correct power, correct time out, and narrow band, and Busy channel lockout on, so doing all a PMR446 should do, I have looked to see if they need a sticker saying they comply with xxx but from what I read, if set to PMR446 spec then OK.

    I am using same CTCSS code as local repeater on two channels, and on tests today it gave me around 4 mile before it stopped working, which is ample. The main problem was people talking over me. It would seem although I have set BCL on that is not done by all users, or they were using over the 0.5 watt permitted.

    As to the amateur use not sure, using GB3CR or GB3MP OK, as will be using CTCSS however using normal squelch not tried, I am uncertain what "Test Mode Setting" are, however every squelch level 0 - 9 shows 255, that does not seem right.
     

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