Radio Preppers

General Category => Licensing => Topic started by: BrankoBem on July 20, 2017, 12:57:37 PM

Title: Getting License or NOT
Post by: BrankoBem on July 20, 2017, 12:57:37 PM
I was Ham radio operator in former Yugoslavia 30 years ago. I am still holder of Class A license in now Croatia 9A6LAM. Class A is license is to operate on all amateur bands with power up to 2 Kw. My Morse code speed was around 150 character per minute. They do not measure WPM over there. I almost completely forgot Morse code but it will come back with practice. Couple Years ago I decided to go back to Ham radio and I purchase Yaesu FT-857D transceiver and antennas. About 1 month ago I had to replace roof on my house and that was good time to install antenna. As far i know I cannot transmit without US license but I can listen. What disappointment. Except some RTTY on HF and some chat on VHF and UHF there was 0 activities on the bands. Not even on CB. No single Morse code that you can hear. 30 years ago you had hard time finding free frequency to transmit. I am wondering should get US license or NOT? Did I just waist money buying Ham equipment? Is it going to get better? If I do I would like to get Extra license. But do I have to go thru 3 steps Technician, General, Extra? I do not know even how to get to exam. Who is doing exam? How to get to people who are doing exam? I would like to get opinion what should I do. Please do not tell me that license is good in case of big disasters. I case of disaster you do not need license to transmit, plus we are not going to have that big disaster. If we do it is not going to be like in the Hollywood movies. Please help me with my dilemma and go to band and start calling. Only if you start calling as much as you can  Ham could come back. It is long shoot. 
Title: Re: Getting License or NOT
Post by: gil on July 22, 2017, 04:40:19 AM

You might be able to transmit under your call sign using a prefix, but the US license is VERY easy to get. I passed my Technician, General and Extra exams in the same session, for $15! I bought the three books from the ARRL and studied one chapter per day in each book. Since the chapters are on the same subjects, you study three chapters per day on the same subject from the three books. You can find the dates and locations of the exams on the ARRL web site. The people doing the exam are ham operators authorized by the FCC. The exam usually takes place at a local radio club.

When I lived in Florida there was a LOT of activity from every state, and a lot of Morse code. This was only two years ago. I am surprised you don't hear much... Maybe your antenna or you are not listening in the right places.

I'd say that you should get the US license. This way you can practice. You should be hearing lots of traffic. Make sure you listen on the right frequencies and check your equipment.

Where are you located?

Title: Re: Getting License or NOT
Post by: BrankoBem on July 31, 2017, 11:49:57 AM
Hello Gil,
Thank you for your reply. I am located in Plano Texas. I installed 3 vertical antennas on my roof. Vertical 11 m CB antenna that could be tuned to 10 m. VHF and UHF vertical antenna and Hy-Gain AV-18VS vertical antenna for 80-10 m. I build and replace tuning coil with motorized tuning coil that has position feedback, so I do not have to clime to roof to tune antenna for selected frequency. This project turned to be very good and I will post video with instructions how to build it on YouTube and here if I find that there is interest for it. I live in higher part of suburb area and I can not put Yagi antenna. Maybe only for VHF and UHF to try to communicate with space station when flying close by. Even now neighbors ask me what is that "skeleton"  on your roof. My lot is not big enough to put 160 m dipole. I am retired electrical and mechanical engineer and I was hopping I am going to be able to design and build lot of staff for ham radio. I think I was wrong.
Maybe you are right. Maybe I should get US license. I tried some online tests and I was able to get most answers right even before studying.
On what frequencies I could find most Morse activities? I would like to listen and practice because I have hard time even with 20 WPM.
Thank you again.
Title: Re: Getting License or NOT
Post by: gil on July 31, 2017, 12:18:14 PM
Hello Branko. Don't be too hard on yourself. 20wpm is not easy for me either. Try listening between 7000 and 7050 kHz, also 3560 and 14060 kHz for CW. When you go for the license test, try for both Technician and General at least, and if you pass General, and you will, try Extra.


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