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Author Topic: Do you REALLY need that ham license?  (Read 34264 times)

gil

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #30 on: September 28, 2012, 11:59:16 PM »
Quote
If you just want to be prepped, get the knowledge, and borrow a callsign once in a while for testing purposes imo.

As I mentioned in the Welcome message in the General board, it is not all right to suggest illegal activities on this forum.

So, no, do not borrow a call sign! Or if you do, don't post it here, thank you.

Gil.

White Tiger

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2012, 02:31:53 AM »
Nope, just kidding, as I said I have come to the understanding that IF (when?) things get "harry" it will likely take them some time to collate all the various databases I land on!

...and just so you know Frosty, my exam date is 10/6, so I don't really need to borrow a call sign!

Now, for those that are worried about the privacy aspect of rogue types having access to some private information made a matter of public record when you register in the ULS call sign database: I heard one suggestion is to buy a post office box and make that your licensing address. You gain SOME anonimity back!

Kinda makes it hard for rogue types to hunt you down by looking up your address from your published call sign (I've looked up several of you from my iPhone this evening), if they can only get as far as the local post office...well, that's not going to do them much good!

...of course, they could just look for the tell-tale antenna sticking 40' into the air - so I guess it gets back to OPSEC - use the PO box AND hide the antenna!!

...just make sure you check your post office box regularly - would be irritating to have your license revoked simply for failure to reply to a letter from the FCC...
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

WA4STO

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #32 on: September 29, 2012, 09:45:24 AM »
of course, they could just look for the tell-tale antenna sticking 40' into the air - so I guess it gets back to OPSEC - use the PO box AND hide the antenna!!

"no suh, Mr. Deb-booty Sheriff"  "that thar's sure no hamateur raddidio antenna up there; it's my skeeter zapper.  You don't see no skeeters here in my back yard, now do ya?  See?  It's working jess grate!"


Frosty

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2012, 11:26:41 AM »
As I mentioned in the Welcome message in the General board, it is not all right to suggest illegal activities on this forum.

So, no, do not borrow a call sign! Or if you do, don't post it here, thank you.

Gil.

Sorry Gil. Your house, your rules - understood.

...btw Frosty...what'd you say your callsign was again?

Well, maybe KE4KVI would have been a better choice for this thread.  Friends call me Ben btw.

Jonas Parker

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #34 on: September 29, 2012, 02:50:51 PM »
...of course, they could just look for the tell-tale antenna sticking 40' into the air - so I guess it gets back to OPSEC - use the PO box AND hide the antenna!!

[/quote

Heck, my antenna is 60' up! ;)
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 12:29:02 PM by Jonas Parker »

White Tiger

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #35 on: September 30, 2012, 12:14:39 AM »
Friends call me Ben btw.

Hah, well Ben it is, then!

I'm Tim
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

extra_class_ham

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2014, 09:47:35 PM »
From a "radio prepper" perspective, registering your home with the FCC/DHS as a radio communications facility, while hiding your antenna from your neighbors who could just look you up online if they wanted to know if your a ham, makes no sense to me.

I dont know why a neighbor would look you up if he didnt know you were a ham unless you told him and you can list a PO box on your FCC address instead of your mailing address.
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IT Tech

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2014, 07:08:34 PM »
In forty years of hammming and MORE in shortwave radio, I have not yet taken a direct hit from lightning.  I did however, have nearby strikes cause damage to my mobile radio, likely because of the 16 foot military whip antenna...

As a precaution, I only have the antenna plugged in to the radio when I am operating.  There is no need to have it IN when not operating, so why take the chance of damage froma bolt out of the blue?  So far, no loss of a house hold radio.  The direct strike is not the most likely cause of damage.  Being in the area near a strike causes a 'surge' which a long antenna can pick-up and bring down ito your radio, damaging components.  You won't know it, until you try to use the radio. 


>RadioRay ..._ ._

One thought comes to mind, if a lightning bolt can travel a couple of miles through the sky, can't it travel a couple of inches or feet in the vehicle or the shack if left unterminated.

IT Tech

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #38 on: January 18, 2014, 07:15:34 PM »
As a prepper who once thought about emergency radio in JUST the sort of way - under the radar and only after the SHTF. Later, as I did the mental calculations for what I thought would be needed, it became obvious that I would need a license...if for nothing else...to talk to people who had licenses!

I remember quite recently stating that I didn't want to be on any more databases - especially since I had only recently popped up on one in particular - kept by my local guns store owner...

...but gaining knowledge by having discussions with some very intelligent hams - at least one of those conversations with a long-time ham who probably views government more dubiously than even I do - and I'm probably less concerned about showing up on yet another government database.

This is a very real fear - because I don't know if many of you noticed - but the government has been overreaching a LOT lately...and the problem is...when they do stuff it has a tendency to be long-lasting (if not permanent), and the innocent folks are the one that end up having to pick up the pieces, and clear their names and spend their own fotunes doing this.

What has pushed me into this isn't that I plan on doing something out of the ordinary. It is rather that I will be targeted for doing something perfectly legal - like having a prayer meeting in my house in Arizona for friends, family and neighbors. That guy is still in jail.

...for peaceful assembly, pursuing a natural right, the legality of which is acknowledged by our own constitution.

But as Gil may (or may not) have realized he alluded to...maybe staying OFF the radar is NOT the way? Maybe the best way is to establish a show of force - by illustrating JUST how many citizens are GOING to staying in contact with one another.

...so just this one, last, database...but after this one...no more!

There is less then 700,000 licensed hams in the USA today and 65% of them only has a Technician Class LICENSE!  Many of those people plans to break the law or does not understand the law when it comes to illegally operating during an emergency.

700,000 licenses equals .015% of the population.
Where as, 65% of the population has a cell phone.

The NSA and the cell phone companies are logging every word you speak, every text message you send, every stupid picture you take and everything you look at on the phone, along with GPS triangulation - they know where you are at 24 hours a day.  Since no one goes anywhere without their cell phone.

I would have to say that the stupid people are the ones with the cell phones, not the ones operating legally with the ham radios.
The thought of any of my neighbors understanding what I do as a hobby is hilarious.

Some people thinks that it is just the walkie talkie carrying people, or that it is the same as CB radio or that you don't have to know anything or know how to do anything, just buy stuff and get on the air.

IT Tech

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #39 on: January 18, 2014, 07:28:30 PM »
I have to be brutally honest here.

I have been thrown off every Prepper board in existence for speaking my mind when it comes to amateur radio.  The reason for the squabble is exactly the same reason described on this forum,  many people thinks that there is no reason to get a license and that they can buy a couple of $40 walkie talkies and that they will be welcome to get on the repeater or the radio and just talk without any repercussions.

The truth to the matter is - they read the part in the Part 97 that says that anyone can use anything available to them to call for help, and they confuse the call for help with just a plain old emergency.

In an emergency, can I call for help on a police frequency - technicially NO, because it is not allowed, but honestly if you had a police vehicle in front of your house and the officer was shot and couldn't get to the radio - yes you could use his radio.. You just can't shoot him so you can use it.
ONCE your call for help is sent, you have to get off the radio.
This is where the confusion lie's.. These people thinks that because it is an emergency, all the rules of radio are dropped and it is a free for all.

Just today I was trying to work digital modes on 10 meters and on both 28.070 and 28.120 MHz USB - there were Spanish speaking people on the band.   This tells me that they own either illegal CB radio equipment, judging by the rodger beeps - this leads me to believe it is true, along with others that probably bought legal ham radio equipment but does not know the rules or has a license.

I turned the transmit power up to 40 watts and started sending CW, followed by a couple of bursts of PSK 31.....  Just enough to let them know that their free banding was neither wanted or allowed on our bands.

Do the Preppers get upset when I tell them that it is not legal to build illegal repeaters on the GMRS that are not coordinated and has no call sign?  Of course they do, but the forum owner just lets them keep right on giving instructions on how to build them out of everything from legal ham radio equipment to just tying two Woxshun walkie talkies together and putting them  on a tower 300' off the ground - connected to some type of antenna with a little gain.....

Is it illegal for them to use their Boefang walkie talkies on the two meters or the Marine band to talk between husband and wife and wife and kids like a telephone? 

Yes, but no one likes being told that they are not allowed to do it...

It is the old CB radio mentality of there is going to be so many of us breaking the rules and since we are mobile and have no call sign, you don't have any way of catching us so blow your rules out your butt!
And that was what ruined CB radio in 1976.!

KK0G

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #40 on: January 18, 2014, 09:25:42 PM »
I have to be brutally honest here.

I have been thrown off every Prepper board in existence for speaking my mind when it comes to amateur radio.  The reason for the squabble is exactly the same reason described on this forum,  many people thinks that there is no reason to get a license and that they can buy a couple of $40 walkie talkies and that they will be welcome to get on the repeater or the radio and just talk without any repercussions.

The truth to the matter is - they read the part in the Part 97 that says that anyone can use anything available to them to call for help, and they confuse the call for help with just a plain old emergency.

In an emergency, can I call for help on a police frequency - technicially NO, because it is not allowed, but honestly if you had a police vehicle in front of your house and the officer was shot and couldn't get to the radio - yes you could use his radio.. You just can't shoot him so you can use it.
ONCE your call for help is sent, you have to get off the radio.
This is where the confusion lie's.. These people thinks that because it is an emergency, all the rules of radio are dropped and it is a free for all.

Just today I was trying to work digital modes on 10 meters and on both 28.070 and 28.120 MHz USB - there were Spanish speaking people on the band.   This tells me that they own either illegal CB radio equipment, judging by the rodger beeps - this leads me to believe it is true, along with others that probably bought legal ham radio equipment but does not know the rules or has a license.

I turned the transmit power up to 40 watts and started sending CW, followed by a couple of bursts of PSK 31.....  Just enough to let them know that their free banding was neither wanted or allowed on our bands.

Do the Preppers get upset when I tell them that it is not legal to build illegal repeaters on the GMRS that are not coordinated and has no call sign?  Of course they do, but the forum owner just lets them keep right on giving instructions on how to build them out of everything from legal ham radio equipment to just tying two Woxshun walkie talkies together and putting them  on a tower 300' off the ground - connected to some type of antenna with a little gain.....

Is it illegal for them to use their Boefang walkie talkies on the two meters or the Marine band to talk between husband and wife and wife and kids like a telephone? 

Yes, but no one likes being told that they are not allowed to do it...

It is the old CB radio mentality of there is going to be so many of us breaking the rules and since we are mobile and have no call sign, you don't have any way of catching us so blow your rules out your butt!
And that was what ruined CB radio in 1976.!

I've been active on this forum for quite some time now so I speak from experience when I say that the top 15 posters who make probably 80% of the total forum posts, are all active hams. As a whole we have have always promoted the "if you don't use it now, you won't use it then" philosophy. In other words, passing the technician test and stuffing a Baofeng in a bug out bag will be completely useless without real world, practical experience. Since we've never advocated breaking the law on this forum, then by default to follow our advice one must be a licensed amateur to utilize the amateur bands.

I definitely agree with Gil; there's no way in hell I'd ever advocate for mandatory public service for hams and in fact I'd fight vehemently against it. The last thing we need is the government forcing us to do something else against our will.

PS: Technically it is allowed to call for help on a police frequency in a true emergency. The odds that the circumstances exist which it would be allowed would be so obscure as to make it almost unrealistic, but technically, it is allowed.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

Quietguy

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #41 on: January 18, 2014, 10:11:01 PM »
PS: Technically it is allowed to call for help on a police frequency in a true emergency. The odds that the circumstances exist which it would be allowed would be so obscure as to make it almost unrealistic, but technically, it is allowed.
I think we need to note that it is not a violation of FCC rules, but it may well be a violation of state/local laws regarding interfering with police activity.  There was a case where a passerby found an unconscious police officer and used the officer's vehicle radio to call for help.  He was rewarded by being charged with interfering with police activity.  I do not know the outcome of that incident; maybe the charges were dropped and maybe they weren't.  I read about it some years ago.  It did seem like reinforcement of the old rule that "No good deed goes unpunished."

Wally

gil

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #42 on: January 18, 2014, 10:35:02 PM »
I am glad this site has attracted top-notch members, people with good knowledge and their head on their shoulders. As Chris said, the top posters are all Hams. Not that others are not welcome, by any means. I started with CB myself in the 80s when it was still civil and self-policing. I think the natural route for anyone interested in radio is to become a licensed Ham. Being limited to CB, MURS and FRS radios doesn't leave much potential for experimentation. Besides, the lowest band of 11m isn't open as often as say, 20m. Ham radios are also generally better built.

Being a Libertarian at heart, I do not like too many laws and regulations. There is a good argument for the air waves to be free for all. The potential for abuse however is just too great. We do need some rules and band limits. Since we don't want more rules than necessary, better not break those in place right now. That means getting a license. It also means not using a modified CB or an illegal amp. I do own an old President Jackson with 200+ channels and 35W but it is in storage. I bought a legal CB instead. I will not break the law because I want to keep my Ham privileges. Getting a license is easy and cheap. There is no good reason not to get one.

A note about emergency communications: There are two kinds in my opinion... Personal emergency communications and community emergency communications. The first one deals with an individual, his family and close friends, maybe a preppers group. The second deals with helping the community in general, often in collaboration with various agencies. These are two very different goals requiring different gear and procedures. They are not mutually exclusive. Personally I am mostly interested in the first. I would participate in an effort to help my community, but I am not the sacrificial lamb type. We are talking about life-and-death emergencies here, not the sporadic hurricane or power outage... That I would gladly participate in any effort to fix things up. When things get really bad though, it's every man for himself, no matter what one idealistic fantasies were. One thing I am adamant about again is that forced community service is slavery and I don't want any such talks here.

Nobody is going to be thrown off for suggesting respecting the law. Actually I don't remember anyone being thrown off this site since it opened. Though people have left because it is a regulated private forum. I hate censorship, so will not censor anyone unless absolutely necessary, such as with foul language, personal attacks, trolling and such. Most forums have similar rules anyway.

About using any frequencies in an emergency... It depends on the emergency. As I understand it, it has to be a dire emergency where life is at risk. You can't use a Ham radio to call a tow truck because your car broke down. Now, if you are broken down in a remote area and the temperature is going to be well below freezing that night, you have a legitimate reason to use the equipment. Most people think you just turn the radio on, grab the microphone and start calling... After all, doesn't it work like that on television? And there will be someone to answer of course... Ah, but what band to use for the time of day and season? What's a band anyway? Right... What mode has the best chance of success? Where are the common calling frequencies? Not to mention technical challenges like tuning an antenna... Joe Prepper who bought a Ham radio and has never used it before is facing a steep learning curve while his buddy might be bleeding on the floor...

Quote
There was a case where a passerby found an unconscious police officer and used the officer's vehicle radio to call for help.  He was rewarded by being charged with interfering with police activity.

Now I would take that all the way to court; there is no way he would be convicted. Just the fact that he was charged though is appalling and a sad reminder of what this country has become. But that's another story.

Anyway, I believe all preppers should have a Ham license or at least have one guy in their group, if they belong to one, with a Ham license and the knowledge to use it. Not just a Technician license but at least General. The General exam is really just a few more questions than the Tech, the difficulty is barely above Technician level. I would suggest anyone to attempt both at the same time.

Gil.


RadioRay

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #43 on: January 19, 2014, 09:11:09 AM »
" One thought comes to mind, if a lightning bolt can travel a couple of miles through the sky, can't it travel a couple of inches or feet in the vehicle or the shack if left unterminated."
---
Yes , a direct lightning strike can easily span a few miles, thus easily span a few feet. However, you know from electrical laws  that even for a direct strike,  electrical current follows the path of least resistance. So if the ladder line is laying on the lawn rather than connected to the radio inside of my house, the energy should find that a very much more direct path to ground rather than than leaping off elsewhere - though the near field energy might cause damage.

However, the induced field from a near-by strike can and does dump a LOT of energy into surrounding conductors. By being disconnected from the rig by even inches, the induced current from a near-by, but not direct strike is far less likely to damage my radio gear and I can sit back and enjoy the SHOW!



>de RadioRay ..._  ._



"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

IT Tech

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Re: Do you REALLY need that ham license?
« Reply #44 on: January 19, 2014, 09:37:26 AM »
Well Gill,

I find it a personal choice for those that choose not to participate in Amateur Radio and I wouldn't force it upon anyone.
However, if you want to play, you have to pay.
I understand that it is costly in both time and money to invest in amateur radio.
I myself, with lot's of time on my hands, been disabled since 1998 - WAS able to study for the Technician class license and pass in just one week.
'Went home, studied two more weeks, found another VE test session - passed, went home - studied two more weeks, forgot my glasses, couldn't see the test, had to wait four more weeks until I found another 'VE test session" missed 3 questions - passed with flying colors, became a VE that day.

'Went home, took the ARRL VE test exam, got 100% right, sent in my credentials and got my ARRL VE certificate.   But then again, that was just me.   It's what I wanted to do....

There is a whole world out there, and the internet just goes to show that it keeps getting smaller and smaller due to the fact that what we do today is global.

The reason why HAMS should have to do something to justify their license is due to the fact that the Privileges given to them are Privileges - not a right, and that if we don't do things to justify our license to the rest of the world, we risk loosing those privileges to those that will either pay to use those frequencies, or will do something to justify their license.

There is no restrictions today on CB radio as far as power goes, as long as you keep your signal inside of the 40 channels given to them.  The only time the FCC enforces any of the rules is when someone breaks the rules and causes harmful interference.   The most recent violations were interference with aircraft bands and a prison radio system.. Neither of which should have had anything to do with a 11 meters transmitter.   The Prison interference was in fact someone that was once a ham that had FM ham equipment that was modified to operate on the Prison frequencies.

The Police frequencies are verboten because they are a public service and emergency service and anything done on their frequencies is considered harmful interference.
However, if a policeman was shot and a regular citizen used the policeman's patrol car radio to call for help, I don't know of any police that would prosecute someone for trying to help. Nor could they prosecute someone because the offense would be Federal / not state.

Everything that we do on the radio is 'Federal!

My suggestion would be two fold,

First - I would suggest that you study and get your amateur radio license.   If you do not have any prerequisites that prohibits you from getting a license ..   The license opens many doors.

I oftentimes explain to people that the amateur frequencies are no different then the citizen band, other then the fact that we have more frequencies, and everyone has to have a license.

Even though we have those frequencies, there is nothing magical about them.   You can't automatically just talk all over the world just because you can operate on 20 or 40 meters.
In fact, sometimes that is a good thing, while other times it is a bad thing.

20 meters during the day is mostly rag chews and nets, or people from Italy or a Spanish speaking country that camps out on one particular frequency and calls CQ or rag chews.   
Radio transcends the boundaries of countries or continents.

40 meters - day or night is even worse.

The thing about having the Amateur Extra Class License is that I can transmit everywhere, which allows me to get away from all of that noise, but then again, the only people you can talk to in the AE portion of the bands is other AE's..  Some of them are old while others are just new hams that don't know a whole lot.. 'What the old hams calls a Extra Light' - of which I am considered one.

The other disturbing thing is that most hams neglect to include people from the other radio services when they conduct their SET - Situational Emergency Test..

The ARES / RACES should include CB radio, MURS, GMRS, and even the FRS where applicable.

That is a true barometer of what actually can be performed by a group of people that are willing to all work together and it would gravitate more people towards AMATEUR RADIO as not only just a family friendly hobby but as an actual service that we should perform in times of need.

A trained pool of licensed amateurs that can be called upon in an emergency, that are self trained, and at no cost to the government.  We performed essential duties in world war one and world war two, by either physically volunteering to act as radio operators, or as instructors in the radio schools to teach others how to properly operate a radio and teach those operators code which was an essential requirement at that time.

Today the government has their own satellites and radios and CW is no longer a requirement to operate a radio efficiently, due to the fact that digital modes has taken its place.
But it still takes trained operators to set up those radios and operate them.
Today computer literacy is much more important then knowing how to cut a dipole antenna for 80 meters or build ladder line out of communications wire and some plastic insulator spacers - ladder line..