HAM RADIO LICENSE INFO

#1
I'm looking into getting my Tech license and was looking for info on a decent radio for a beginner. Either portable or a base model, not looking to spend a arm and a leg due to money being tight. Also I would like to hear some feed back on how hard or easy the test is. I'm pick up the book next week to start studying for the test at the beginning of 2017. Thanks for any and all input on this.
 

EZDog

EDC Master
#3
Well not to step out of line but.....

If you are in the U.S. then you really need no book at all.
Google ham test online and read and just take the test until you pass easily every time and you should be good to go.
The tests that they give use the exact same questions as the pool of questions on the real test.

I would buy a mobile radio from Icom,Yaesu or Icom as a first radio but these days this is rarely the way people start it seems.

Most will buy a Baofeng or other cheap HT and start from there.

If you do that you may be frustrated as the low power of an HT is not a good way to see how the bands will work for you really where a full power mobile will be able to reach out in your whole area if there are repeaters around you.

You can get the HT for $35 and a mobile & antenna for $120 roughly.

Where are you located?

Ed

Oh and just kidding too,I was Born to step out of line!
 
#4
Well not to step out of line but.....

If you are in the U.S. then you really need no book at all.
Google ham test online and read and just take the test until you pass easily every time and you should be good to go.
The tests that they give use the exact same questions as the pool of questions on the real test.

I would buy a mobile radio from Icom,Yaesu or Icom as a first radio but these days this is rarely the way people start it seems.

Most will buy a Baofeng or other cheap HT and start from there.

If you do that you may be frustrated as the low power of an HT is not a good way to see how the bands will work for you really where a full power mobile will be able to reach out in your whole area if there are repeaters around you.

You can get the HT for $35 and a mobile & antenna for $120 roughly.

Where are you located?

Ed

Oh and just kidding too,I was Born to step out of line!
Im located in Albuquerque New Mexico been talking to an instructor that gives the test here locally. This is all new to me, but I'm will to put the time in to learn it. Biggest thing is getting the right equipment. Id like to get a mobile unit and a base unit later for the house once i get comfortable with it all.

Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
 

EZDog

EDC Master
#5
Im located in Albuquerque New Mexico been talking to an instructor that gives the test here locally. This is all new to me, but I'm will to put the time in to learn it. Biggest thing is getting the right equipment. Id like to get a mobile unit and a base unit later for the house once i get comfortable with it all.

Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
Actually the gear is the least of it really.
It all does the same thing.

I have a good friend here who is from Albuquerque and has his dads old call sign too!
KB5YZY,I am sure he is still known around those parts too!

Has you instructor passed on any gear wisdom or does he echo what I just said?

You can get Mobile radios pretty cheap and most use the same radios at Home and for Mobile and like I said the big 3 brands are the ones I suggest for sure.
They all do the same thing and you can hardly make a bad choice.

Also as Hams are notoriously the cheapest bastards that I have ever known there is also a huge market in used radios and I am sure that if you join a club there and ask around someone will find you a nice $50 radio too if that works for you?

The Antenna is really the most important and variable part of the whole deal and it will depend on your actual needs what I would suggest.
As long as your Local guy is a Ham too he should be able to steer you right I would think?
 
#6
Actually the gear is the least of it really.
It all does the same thing.

I have a good friend here who is from Albuquerque and has his dads old call sign too!
KB5YZY,I am sure he is still known around those parts too!

Has you instructor passed on any gear wisdom or does he echo what I just said?

You can get Mobile radios pretty cheap and most use the same radios at Home and for Mobile and like I said the big 3 brands are the ones I suggest for sure.
They all do the same thing and you can hardly make a bad choice.

Also as Hams are notoriously the cheapest bastards that I have ever known there is also a huge market in used radios and I am sure that if you join a club there and ask around someone will find you a nice $50 radio too if that works for you?

The Antenna is really the most important and variable part of the whole deal and it will depend on your actual needs what I would suggest.
As long as your Local guy is a Ham too he should be able to steer you right I would think?
I'm meetimg with him next week to get more info on all of this. Ill check out the brands you mentioned also. Its more now just learning all of this which he said he would help me out with, plus i have customer up north who is big into ham so I'm going to pay him a visit also.

Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
 

mctacticool

Apocalypse Ready
#7
Now that i think of it, there is an app named Ham Tech i've seen recommended elsewhere...

From what i've read it should teach you what you want to know, but i'm not in the US so to be honest and fair i actually don't know...

Could worth checking out since it is free after all...
 

Sharaz_Jek

EDC Grand Master
#8
Lets get @Sharaz_Jek in on this... he is the planets HAM guru...
I missed this thread.

The app I use is simply called "Ham Test" for Android. It's strictly practice tests but when I upgraded to General class I used it with auto correct turned on so you can see the right answers. I just drilled it into my skull that way. The real learning happens after you get on the air for the first time and meet other amateur operators.

As for a good beginner radio, I'd go with a nice two meter (VHF) hand held and, if your budget permits, a dual band (VHF/UHF) hand held. Baofengs are cheap as heck but I like to see people pick up something with a little more quality.

If I were a newbie again, I'd pick up something like these:

Two Meter:
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/4380.html

Dual Band:
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/0070.html

I prefer iCom over Yaesu because iComs are very easy to field program where as Yaesu's are heavily menu driven.

Back to studying for the test; I'd track down a local amateur radio club where you can meet operators and have a look at their equipment. Most folks are more than happy to help you learn and even let you get on the air if you're unlicensed. That is legal as long as there is a license holder overseeing things. I'd also check the local library and see if they have any books. Even if they're outdated, they will give you a solid grasp on the basics.

If you have a scanner receiver you can tune into a local radio net and listen in. Most nets broadcast info on study sessions and testing sessions in your local area.
 

AdmSlc

Stay Sharp!
#9
This ham radio is on the top of my list of things I'd like to have, however I never seem to study very much for it. I need to buckle down and get it done.
 
#10
I missed this thread.

The app I use is simply called "Ham Test" for Android. It's strictly practice tests but when I upgraded to General class I used it with auto correct turned on so you can see the right answers. I just drilled it into my skull that way. The real learning happens after you get on the air for the first time and meet other amateur operators.

As for a good beginner radio, I'd go with a nice two meter (VHF) hand held and, if your budget permits, a dual band (VHF/UHF) hand held. Baofengs are cheap as heck but I like to see people pick up something with a little more quality.

If I were a newbie again, I'd pick up something like these:

Two Meter:
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/4380.html

Dual Band:
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/0070.html

I prefer iCom over Yaesu because iComs are very easy to field program where as Yaesu's are heavily menu driven.

Back to studying for the test; I'd track down a local amateur radio club where you can meet operators and have a look at their equipment. Most folks are more than happy to help you learn and even let you get on the air if you're unlicensed. That is legal as long as there is a license holder overseeing things. I'd also check the local library and see if they have any books. Even if they're outdated, they will give you a solid grasp on the basics.

If you have a scanner receiver you can tune into a local radio net and listen in. Most nets broadcast info on study sessions and testing sessions in your local area.
Bringing this thread back to life I have been dealing with some medical issues over the last year and beginning of this year and finally got it taken care of. With that said I had to put off this whole topic for quite some time and I am really looking to get started with this. Unfortunately when it comes to the equipment part of it I am a Dumb a$$ and have no idea what I am looking for. I do have the android app and am also picking up the book to study. Any thoughts or advise would be great about getting started with all of this. I have been in touch with one of the instructors here and they are telling me to wait until after July to take the test due to the new test questions that will be coming out. So If I wait I want to get the equipment so I am somewhat ready.
 

EZDog

EDC Master
#11
It does not take a lot of getting ready time aside from setting up antennas if wanting a home station so I would get your Ticket first which should help you decide which gear to get!

This might help avoid getting an HT as a first radio unlike what I fid too?

Wouxon or Flex they all do pretty much the same thing.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#12
It does not take a lot of getting ready time aside from setting up antennas if wanting a home station so I would get your Ticket first which should help you decide which gear to get!

This might help avoid getting an HT as a first radio unlike what I fid too?

Wouxon or Flex they all do pretty much the same thing.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Question for you, Looking on Amazon I am seeing Baofeng UV-5R radios cheap. For a beginner is there anything wrong with these? I'm just looking for something to practice on and then move up as I learn more. I am planning on putting a base unit in the house at some point, but figured if I find a radio cheap and for some odd reason I just do not like the whole thing then I am not out a whole lot of money. Any thoughts?
 
#13
I do not have a license, so take this with a grain of salt....

I keep thinking about getting my license. I occasionally take practice tests but don't study. And I usually just barely fail and occasionally just pass.

If you remember high school physics and have done electronic or audio things as a hobby, there's a good chance you're at least close to passing already, at least IME.

I did take a digital signal processing class in college, and that helped with a question or two on at most one of the PTs I've taken. But I also learned those things from hobbies.

My plan is that whenever the bug hits again to take a glut of PTs and then go in for the test when I start passing them more often.

Sent from my BBD100-2 using Tapatalk
 
#14
Okay don't judge me because of what I bought, but price was a major factor right now for me. So i ordered a Baofeen UV-5R with programming cable, ear bud, and mic. I figured start cheap and if i like the whole thing then i can upgrade later on after i have my license. For now i will be listening and learning to program them.


Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
 
#15
So The radio came in and is charged up, Now I have no earthly idea what the Hell I am doing. So now I am looking for help to get this thing programmed and what everything does. I am ordering a better antenna and a better battery for it so that is the next upgrade I am doing. I am downloading the chirp software this weekend and going to mess around with it to see how easy it is.

I do have a question for anyone out there with a UV-5R, should I do a reset on the radio before programming it. It seems that there are already several freq already programmed into it and I heard that you can not use them here in the U.S.
 
Last edited:

nolaradio

EDC Grand Master
#16
Just seeing your last message. I wouldn't worry about resetting the radio you can always just program something over the preloaded frequencies. The chirp software is definitely the way to go. It's kind of easy once you get the hang of it. Do you have a good source for local frequencies?

Sent from the Bayou Bunker Command Center, Portable Unit #33, FEMA Region 6.
 
#17
Just seeing your last message. I wouldn't worry about resetting the radio you can always just program something over the preloaded frequencies. The chirp software is definitely the way to go. It's kind of easy once you get the hang of it. Do you have a good source for local frequencies?

Sent from the Bayou Bunker Command Center, Portable Unit #33, FEMA Region 6.
At this time no, But I am looking into it. A friend of mine is going to walk me through it tonight setting it up. He mentioned looking into Radio Reference.
 

nolaradio

EDC Grand Master
#18
That's a good source for frequencies. Not sure how update or how extensive the ham radio repeaters listings are them. Check out this website I found online caravanradio.org. looks like a local Club in your area. If you're free on the weekend of the 23rd and 24th you may want to visit their field day operations. On the website it says that they will be at Montgomery Park. Not sure how close that is to you.

Sent from the Bayou Bunker Command Center, Portable Unit #33, FEMA Region 6.
 
#19
That's a good source for frequencies. Not sure how update or how extensive the ham radio repeaters listings are them. Check out this website I found online caravanradio.org. looks like a local Club in your area. If you're free on the weekend of the 23rd and 24th you may want to visit their field day operations. On the website it says that they will be at Montgomery Park. Not sure how close that is to you.

Sent from the Bayou Bunker Command Center, Portable Unit #33, FEMA Region 6.
Definitely appreciate the help. I check them out and the website. That weekend is going to be really hard, It's the wife and I's anniversary, 25 years so I really don't think she is going to be cool with me taking off to go hang out over there, I might be living in the dog house for awhile, but I will get in touch with them next week sometime.
 

nolaradio

EDC Grand Master
#20
Definitely appreciate the help. I check them out and the website. That weekend is going to be really hard, It's the wife and I's anniversary, 25 years so I really don't think she is going to be cool with me taking off to go hang out over there, I might be living in the dog house for awhile, but I will get in touch with them next week sometime.
I understand.

I didn't look at their plans for the weekend but the event runs for 24 hours. If the are operating overnight and you can sneak away for an hour or two, that may be an option.

Sent from the Bayou Bunker Command Center, Portable Unit #33, FEMA Region 6.
 
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