Radio Preppers

General Category => New To Radio => Topic started by: medic photog on September 07, 2013, 08:19:34 AM

Title: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: medic photog on September 07, 2013, 08:19:34 AM
Hello, I'm Jeff, a paramedic for 38 years here in PA.  I'm also a medical specialist on the Urban Search and Rescue teams.  Except for my day to day use of the radio gear in our rigs and some GMSr usage, I'm going to start from scratch.   Way back in the late 70's and early 8-0's I played with CBs and Ham radio, but since then have forgotten more than I care to admit.  Lack of use means things fade.    I'm looking to test for technician and general in the next few months and am interested in adding a handheld and mobile 2 meter multi band system along with a new(er) CB to my commo gear.  Any ideas on what to get and what to stay away from would be great.  Since I may be posting from the rig computer I might not have time to research previously addressed subjects so bear with me.  Thank all in advance.
Jeff
NREMT-P
CCEMT-P
PA TASK FORCE 1
Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: KC9TNH on September 07, 2013, 09:45:06 AM
Welcome to the forum Jeff.  Your other skillsets are incredibly valuable so it's likely others may learn from you as well.
Happy trails.
 :)
Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: cockpitbob on September 07, 2013, 10:25:44 AM
Hi Jeff, welcome aboard!

For a handheld it's really hard to beat the Baoefeng UV-5Rs.  They've gotten stupid-cheap on Amazon (<<$40) and they do 90% of what my $160 Yaesu FT-60R does.  It's a dual band, 5W 2M/70cm that also receives broadcast FM, NWS broadcasts and has a little LED flashlight built in.
 
The only down side, and this is pretty much true for all handhelds though to a lesser extent, is that it takes a genius to program repeaters into the radio by hand.  We all use the free Chirp software and the ~$10 programming cable.
 
I don't have useful opinions on the other stuff except to say that if $ is an issue (and when isn't it? I would hunt down some ham flea markets as well as look at the adds at swat.qth.com and eham.net.  Used stuff is usually just as good as new.
 
 
Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: KK0G on September 07, 2013, 11:15:13 AM
Welcome to RadioPreppers Jeff. I'll second Wes's comment, we could probably learn a thing or two from your skills, glad to have you here.

If you want a handheld I'd also recommend a Baoefeng only because they are dirt cheap as already pointed out. With that said I'm not a big fan of handhelds, because of their crappy antennas and low power they're very limited in what they can do on their own in comparison to a a mobile rig with good antenna. Working VHF FM with a handheld, or even a mobile rig for that matter is only an extremely tiny slice of what's available in amateur radio. Don't fall into the trap that I've seen so many new hams do of passing their technician, getting a handheld, chatting on a couple of repeaters for a month or two and deciding that ham radio is pretty boring, there is SO much more to amateur radio than that. Try some VHF weak signal, HF, CW, digital modes, slow scan TV, APRS, fox hunting, satellites, portable operating, DX, etc. I've barely scratched the surface of what's available in amateur radio but you get the point.


Again, welcome to the forum.
Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: Archangel320420 on September 07, 2013, 03:38:54 PM
Hi, Medic Jeff,

I grew up and spent most of my adult life in Butler County before moving to Minnesota. Look for a local club like the Butler County Amateur Radio Association. All counties have clubs. I am new to this forum but willing to help Jeff if I can. Believe me, if you passed the Paramedic courses you can pass even the extra class license in the Amateur Radio Service with a little effort in study :)  Hand helds are OK for local tactical situations but the numerous repeaters in Pennsylvania will be gone due to lack of power if/when the grid goes down. I guess I don't have to tell you any of that? For that reason we all try to concentrate on batteries ,solar, etc. Anyway, welcome aboard, Jeff.
Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: Archangel320420 on September 07, 2013, 03:44:35 PM
p.s.  These folks in here are a good bunch, Jeff.
Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: Joe on September 07, 2013, 04:22:56 PM
Welcome aboard Jeff !! As Archangel has said everyone on here is great.

On gear selections it depends on what you expect to achieve with it. Do you just want to talk and receive info within a couple of miles of your location, the gear your looking for will do just fine. But if your looking beyond that CW (morse code) will be the best option. Low power requirements, portability, and longer distances.

Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: RadioRay on September 07, 2013, 07:40:37 PM
Hi Jeff,

Welcome to Radio Preppers.  I appreciate reading through the certs you listed.  Here, we have a good collection of people and skill sets, communications being a center point but never the only point.

As for your communications goals, it's rather like in your business: "Measured Response".  Think about the first problem that you want to solve and maybe a second which is broadly a matter of communication, then toss it up here.  This would allow us to focus on helping you with data & experience, usually from someone who is already doing it successfully.   As you know: better to learn from OTHER people's experience.  The bloods been shed learning, so let's spread the benefit of that around.

This approach was successful for more than a few people on this forum.



de RadioRay ..._ ._
Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: raybiker73 on September 10, 2013, 09:44:19 PM
Hallelujah, I'm no longer the only Keystone Stater around here. We need a few more Pennsylvanians, maybe class up the joint a little bit.  8)

Welcome! Where are you in PA? I'm up in the sticks between Pittsburgh and Erie.
Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: raybiker73 on September 10, 2013, 09:50:02 PM
Hi, Medic Jeff,

I grew up and spent most of my adult life in Butler County before moving to Minnesota. Look for a local club like the Butler County Amateur Radio Association. All counties have clubs. I am new to this forum but willing to help Jeff if I can. Believe me, if you passed the Paramedic courses you can pass even the extra class license in the Amateur Radio Service with a little effort in study :)  Hand helds are OK for local tactical situations but the numerous repeaters in Pennsylvania will be gone due to lack of power if/when the grid goes down. I guess I don't have to tell you any of that? For that reason we all try to concentrate on batteries ,solar, etc. Anyway, welcome aboard, Jeff.

You're from my neck of the woods, then. I'm in Armstrong County. Went to the BCARA hamfest the other day, as a matter of fact.  :)
Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: Archangel320420 on September 10, 2013, 09:56:04 PM
Hi, Ray. Great on the HamFestation at Unionville. I QSO some Butler guys on 14.271 Mhz every afternoon at 1630 eastern time USSB Monday through Friday. They keep me posted on things. My buddy K3HPS won one of those Chinese handhelds. I just bought one because of him winning and from a thread on this forum about them. I want to keep up with the Jones and have one too. Nice to see you on here, Ray. Armstrong County were our very good neighbors!
Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: medic photog on September 12, 2013, 04:30:08 PM
Hallelujah, I'm no longer the only Keystone Stater around here. We need a few more Pennsylvanians, maybe class up the joint a little bit.  8)

Welcome! Where are you in PA? I'm up in the sticks between Pittsburgh and Erie.

Pottstown, the other side of the state between Reading and Philly.
Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: raybiker73 on September 12, 2013, 06:44:52 PM
Pottstown, the other side of the state between Reading and Philly.

Perfect! Now if we can round up somebody from around Altoona, we'll have the entire Commonwealth covered. Welcome!  :)
Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: TexasRadio on November 09, 2013, 07:19:52 PM
I have a friend who lives in/near Erie.
Worked with him a few years ago in Houston.
Anyone near there?

Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: raybiker73 on November 09, 2013, 10:17:59 PM
I'm about four counties away, 2 hours by car, 100 miles or so as the crow flies.
Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: IT Tech on January 18, 2014, 10:31:23 AM
Hi,

You need to BUY or Borrow the ARRL or Gordon West - Technician Class License manual and the General Class License manual.

The problem with most people today is that they get into such a big hurry to get on the air that they only memorize the questions and the answers just long enough to get the license and then they quickly forget even the most basic of things that they had to put into their short term memory to pass the exams.

The CB radio had no license requirements, the early license just required you to buy a license and ID every 10 minutes.

The amateur radio has a whole bunch of rules, which they call the Part 97.
It is a good idea, if you want to become an amateur to read the Part 97.
You can find a downloadable copy online.

At least one forth of everything that is on every license exam pertains to the rules!
Title: Re: Hello from PA, the state of confusion
Post by: IT Tech on January 18, 2014, 10:41:39 AM
The radio part of the equation should be the least of your worries.

A good ham, that never was a ham once said to me, that a good ham listens about 90% of the time and only talks 10% of the time.

My first radio when I got back into the hobby was a old Uniden BC 890XLT and a old television antenna and rotor.   It has a decent amount of sensitivity and is programmable from 6 meters to 999 MHz.
As with many transceivers, the only thing necessary to receive the cell frequencies was to remove a blocking diode or resistor.

The most common CB radio would be the Cobra 29 - which does not require any license, does not do SSB - from what I remember and only produces a couple of watts.

The Ham radio mobile options - 847- 857D Yaesu, 706 - 7000 Icoms etc... will listen to the CB radio frequencies but will not transmit on them.  I would opt for a transceiver with a built in antenna tuner.

The Tarheel / Tarheel jr antenna is a good option for both  HF operations in your mobile.
The Larsen 2/70 antenna is a very highly regarded mobile whip.