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How To Become a HAM Radio Operator





NYECOGunsmith

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LE uses names for phonetic spelling, Adam, Bob, Charles, David, Edward, Frank, George, etc.
HAMS use the military phonetic alphabet , Alpha , Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Gulf, etc.

ONLY NEWBIE HAMS , like KF7TOE ( a very appropriate call sign!), who are afraid to get on the air, make up hard to understand phonetic descriptors!
 

gixxer760

Domestic Terrorist aka pa
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Not even. But I am guilty of not pursuing the basics.

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When LE runs a plate, and the letters are ADG, they might call in 'Adam David George'.

HAM guys will say 'Abomination Divergence Gratuitous', or some other difficult string of words to try to decipher while bouncing signals off the nearest mountain range, the Moon, and Steve's cat!

And the rest of the chatter is even worse!
We had a contractor team who worked with the military at ft Irwin.... They are well known for saying the first word that comes to mind when calling in number.

We want to verify tracking on a bumper. Line gentle killer dog wolf decimal niner 2 extraterrestrial.

First time the main person was out so I had to help with radio I go ugh can you repeat and every word was different.....
 

NYECOGunsmith

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Yup, that would lead to confusion and in an emergency or combat situation, could lead to people dying.
That's why we use a fixed phonetic alphabet, with one syllable words wherever possible that are hard to mistake for any other word, and that everyone instantly recognizes without having to think about it, or worse, be distracted by it.
 

GatorJim

Squib Saver
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Looks like I am getting back into Ham again, specifically APRS. Is there good coverage in valley and beyond? Any tips or tricks for old dog?
 

NYECOGunsmith

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Are you interested in the text portion of APRS, or just the position tracking, or both?

There are nodes all over the valley, I access the K7CCN-1 bulletin board every Monday evening to check in to the Las Vegas Valley ARES Packet net, I reach it by going through my local node, W7NYE-7 here in Pahrump, then connecting to either the Potosi or Angle digipeaters and then on to the K7CCN-1 site.

Here in Pahrump ,via reversing the above path(s) you could log into the Pahrump BBS, at pahbbs.
Frequency for the Pahrump Digipeater is 145.050.
 

GatorJim

Squib Saver
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Are you interested in the text portion of APRS, or just the position tracking, or both?

There are nodes all over the valley, I access the K7CCN-1 bulletin board every Monday evening to check in to the Las Vegas Valley ARES Packet net, I reach it by going through my local node, W7NYE-7 here in Pahrump, then connecting to either the Potosi or Angle digipeaters and then on to the K7CCN-1 site.

Here in Pahrump ,via reversing the above path(s) you could log into the Pahrump BBS, at pahbbs.
Frequency for the Pahrump Digipeater is 145.050.
I am interested in both, more on the text/communication side. In the process of picking up Mobilinkd TNC3 and pairing with an HT and smartphone. Been awhile since was on the air, so all help is greatly appreciated ,Thanks!
 

ricklaut

Quiet noob
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There are nodes all over the valley, I access the K7CCN-1 bulletin board every Monday evening to check in to the Las Vegas Valley ARES Packet net, I reach it by going through my local node, W7NYE-7 here in Pahrump, then connecting to either the Potosi or Angle digipeaters and then on to the K7CCN-1 site.

Here in Pahrump ,via reversing the above path(s) you could log into the Pahrump BBS, at pahbbs.
Frequency for the Pahrump Digipeater is 145.050.
RE packet: You can get to me on 145.050 at the WVEGAS packet node (K7FYI-7). I hear POTOSI and ANGEL well. My packet nodes are connected to the local AREDN mesh network, as are 2 other local packet nodes (...but their mesh connection is down for a few days due to wind damage from Wednesday).

RE AREDN Mesh: There are now 3 AREDN mesh nodes on mountaintops around Las Vegas (Apex, Red Mountain and Potosi). Potosi is down, but (hopefully) will be back up soon. There are 10+ other nodes connected into the mesh. More on AREDN at https://www.arednmesh.org/; contact me for local configuration details.

We've had a local APRS receiver available to both packet and mesh users, which is useful if you want to query who has been heard (packet) or see local activity on a map, but don't have internet (mesh). It should be back up soon (after the wind damage is repaired).
 

ricklaut

Quiet noob
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Tomorrow and Sunday (6-22-2019 & 6-23-2019) is the annual amateur radio "Field Day" event. Sites across the US and Canada will be on the air from ad-hoc portable locations, club stations, homes, etc from 11:00 AM Saturday through 2:00 PM Sunday. Overview of ARRL Field Day here: http://www.arrl.org/field-day. If you're interested in learning more about amateur radio, this is a great opportunity to get out and see it in action!

I got my Technician license in 2014, and using the local repeaters left me "meh" overall. About two months later, I visited the "Hams on the Hill" Field Day site at Mt. Charleston and that set the hook for the onset of BRD (black radio disease). They put me on the radio and my first contact was with Puerto Rico... no repeaters - just a battery, a radio and some wire. I tested for my upgrade to General (more privileges, including HF) within 30 days and have never looked back.

This map shows clubs that are open to guests: http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator . Some, like the one at Mt Charleston, have a "GOTA" (get on the air) station set up for visitors who can operate under the supervision of licensed hams.

Myself and another local ham will be operating on solar / battery power camped in the hills northwest of Vegas. Good times expected, and the weather is going to be FANTASTIC compared to the past several years.
 

NYECOGunsmith

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For those on the Pahrump side of the hump, our field day set up will be at the Calvada Eye, almost the middle of town.
From highway 160, turn west onto Calvada Blvd ( the only way you can go, it's a T intersection), and about a mile later you will run into the Cavada Eye, lots of trees, a large duck pond, and tomorrow, lots of Hams. If you spot a white H1 HUMMER , then I'm there, although this year I don't plan to stay for the whole 27 hours.
 

nlvmike

Just one more
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This field day sounds very interesting to me. I'm out of town through tomorrow, but home on Sunday. I'm a total newby, as I got my call sign on Wednesday. I'd like to dip my toe in, but I have an addictive personality and I'm pretty I will come down with a case of that BRD you refer to. Tell me more about the field day.
 

NYECOGunsmith

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Field day is a HAM event where all over the world HAM set up stations, usually in non standard locations (not in homes, offices, Emergency centers, but instead in remote spots like parks, mountain tops, beaches, etc.) and the stations are usually run off emergency power (batteries, solar, wind, gas generators, bike pedal powered generators, etc.) to simulate an emergency condition.
Then we get on the air for 24 hours on all bands and try to make as many contacts as possible. Contact information that has been registered with the ARRL is transferred when a contact is made, all that gets logged.
Then at the end, the logs get sent to the ARRL, who tabulates them, and "awards" are announced for the station(s) with the most contacts in various types, such as Phone SSB, Phone AM, CW, or the many digital modes.

That's about it.
 

ricklaut

Quiet noob
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We had a great time in the hills NW of Vegas. We ran on battery power / solar. The weather was beautiful and we made contacts all across the US and Canada, just like we expected. Attached are a couple photos of our setup.
D045C6AA-ADCB-4C89-AA35-177303A3D04A.jpeg

6F8A2EC1-0C52-4C38-8BA4-7187E9D2011A.jpeg
 

ricklaut

Quiet noob
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Good stuff right there.
What was you solar and rig set up?
My buddy brought a 100W solar panel that we connected to my Flint Hills Radio solar charge controller (http://ki0bk.no-ip.com/~pwrgate/LLPG/Site/Solar.html ) charging a 105 AH AGM battery. I think the battery may have lasted without charging, but it was nice to know it was always topped off.

Our two primary radios were my FT991 w/ Heil Pro 7 headset and my buddy's FT817ND. He was making CW & SSB contacts at 5 watts (and a few with 2.5 watts on its internal battery). I was working nearly everyone I could hear with 100 watts on the FT991. Operating casually, we ended up with 142 QSOs. 20 and 40 meters were open and packed the whole time. 15 meters was strong and very busy mid-day on Saturday and 10 meters was busy enough that it was worth checking when I was tired of the QRM on 20 / 40. 6 meters was open for a bit Saturday morning, and a shorter period Sunday before we tore everything down.

I left the FTM400 in the truck most of the time (beaconing APRS) and listening for 146.52 traffic on an external speaker. On 146.52 and a vertically polarized yagi, we had no difficulty talking into Vegas, Pahrump, Armagosa Valley and one chap who said he was at work somewhere NNE of 95 / 160 ( :unsure: ).

We had my Cushcraft R8 on a 10' antenna hitch mast for 6 - 40 meters and my home made mag loop for 40 & 20 meters (QRP) for the FT817ND. A 4 el horizontal yagi and a 170 watt amp netted a few SSB contacts on 144.200, but just Vegas and Pahrump. I thought we'd do better with it (i.e. Utah / Phoenix, since we were at 6000').

I set up a 124.5 end fed with a 9:1 unun (for 80 / 160), but forgot my good auto tuner at home. I couldn't get the match good enough for the FT991's internal tuner, so instead of staying up all night on 80 / 160, we got some sleep. I brought a 4el LFA for 6 meters, but just used the Cushcraft vertical since it has an omnidirectional pattern.

A few important lessons learned:
* Don't forget important stuff at home thinking you'll remember to unhook it from the home antenna system at 5:00 AM (outdoor base mounted tuner)...
* Don't bring too much stuff... simple was effective. Too many pieces loaded / unloaded and not used.
* QRP and 5 watts can work wonders, even with simple antennas.
* Field Day is more fun when it's 75 degrees / 50 degrees!
 

iweb

Ham Radio Operator
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Good job on the contacts and nice pics of your shack on the hill! I am still amazed that we could talk so good on 2m with me being all over Pahrump but that is what makes ham radio so fun.
 

Xodius

Blaster of Birdies!
I am curious, I am finally getting into ham and am curious what frequencies some of you program here in southern Nevada. Maybe that is a dumb question but I am curious.