Radio Preppers

General Category => Licensing => Topic started by: medic photog on October 20, 2013, 02:28:52 pm

Title: Another new tech
Post by: medic photog on October 20, 2013, 02:28:52 pm
Just got home from Perkasie PA, took the tech test and passed, now to do some serious mobile radio shopping.
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: gil on October 20, 2013, 04:22:24 pm
Congratulations!
Gil.
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: Joe on October 20, 2013, 09:02:07 pm
Congrats !!! Study up and take the general while the tech is still fresh, it will be much easier.

Joe
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: KK0G on October 20, 2013, 09:04:47 pm
Awesome! Congratulations and welcome to amateur radio.


Joe has some excellent advice, now is the time to continue studying.
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: gil on October 20, 2013, 09:17:59 pm
Quotenow is the time to continue studying.


Yep, General isn't much harder. Also don't forget that you do have privileges on 80m and 40m  ;)

Gil.
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: Flatus on October 21, 2013, 02:30:15 pm
I passed my Technician test on Saturday! For giggles the guys gave me a general test to take ... "Why not" they said.  Of course I did not pass that exam but I agree with the earlier post it didn't seem to be extremely difficult (I was able to get about 20 questions correct).  I have purchased a General class textbook and our next testing will be in December.

I am very interested in QRP and by convention CW.  For now I am going to explore SSB and maybe some PSK31 (must feed my inner gadget geek).  I have received a cheap Baofeng handheld from Amazon for 2m/70cm work and I have a Yaesu 817ND en route as my beginning GRP rig.

I would like to ask the experts a few questions:

1. I have a Par Enz Fed trail-friendly 40/20 meter antenna to use with my 817ND ... do I need a tuner and if so which one (size and weight constraints being paramount)?

2. I want to build a small portable CW QRP kit.  Any suggestions on a kit and an antenna to go with it? I would like to put this in my bug-out-bag and I have standardized all of my other equipment on AA batteries.

3. What iPhone app would you suggest and what method would you suggest for me to learn CW?

Thanks for the website and for any advice!

Kevin
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: gil on October 21, 2013, 03:04:21 pm
QuoteI have a Par Enz Fed trail-friendly 40/20 meter antenna to use with my 817ND ... do I need a tuner and if so which one (size and weight constraints being paramount)?


Nope. You shouldn't, especially if you operate in the CW part of the band. For SSB, high up, you might have to, or trim the wire per PAR's instructions, but then you'll need a tuner for the CW part... I left mine as is, works great and bandwidth is wide enough for me, even using SSB.

QuoteAny suggestions on a kit and an antenna to go with it?


I would really suggest an Elecraft KX1, even if you have to save up a bit to get it, with the ATU and later, the 80/30m module.
The "Trail Friendly" version of the PAR 40/20/10 would be the best choice for an antenna, though with the ATU, the KX3 can use simple wires.
I would bet a hundred bucks that the PAR would get you better results though.

QuoteWhat iPhone app would you suggest and what method would you suggest for me to learn CW?


"HamMorse," hands down!

Gil.
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: KK0G on October 21, 2013, 03:25:05 pm
Congratulations Kevin! Welcome to the ranks of amateur radio, I'm very happy to hear you want to learn code. Another great tool is LCWO (http://lcwo.net/), a very handy online way to learn code. Remember that Morse code is an audible language, do NOT try to learn it visually. Use the Koch method of a high character speed with longer inter-character spacing so you can't mentally count dits and dahs. You want to learn to recognize each character instantly by it's unique sound, counting dits and dahs and the then mentally translating that to a character takes lots of brain time and will come back to haunt you as you try to increase your code speed.


Another bit of advice is to get on the air as soon as possible after you know all the characters even if you don't think you're ready because of your slow speed. Trust me, there are plenty of operators out there, including myself, that are more than happy to slow way down for you and put up with your inevitable mistakes, learning is so much faster when you're having fun making contacts as opposed to using software. Good luck.


I'll second the recommendation of a KX1, in my opinion it's the perfect trail radio when combined with the auto tuner and 30/80 meter module. The integral paddles are well worth the added expense also.




Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: Flatus on October 21, 2013, 07:35:09 pm
Great advice and thanks again! I will definitely look at the kx1. I had looked at the kx3 instead of the 817 but it was so much more expensive for what I want to do and I got the Yaesu with the Harris cw filter, battery pack etc for 460 on ebay used in good condition. After I get my feet wet I may move up to a kx3 ... Definitely a fine radio but not sure how trail-hearty it is?
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: Archangel320420 on October 21, 2013, 09:02:27 pm
Congrats on youse guys getting licensed. This is wonderful news!
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: gil on October 21, 2013, 10:12:27 pm
QuoteAfter I get my feet wet I may move up to a kx3 ... Definitely a fine radio but not sure how trail-hearty it is?


The KX3 is an awesome radio. I use mine at home only though, so far. It is just a tad big for me to put in my bag. I also wouldn't want to damage it in the field. For camping, I use my Weber MTR, but good luck finding one  :-\ I do plan on building a KX1 at some point because of it's small size and four bands. If there is a new MTR ever release though, I'll jump on that, maybe even buy two! I saw a guy sell his unbuilt kit for $300; he paid $120 for it... A KX1/FT-817 would be a good combination. The KX1 would assure you a long time of operating on a few AA cells... You would only turn the electron-hungry Yaesu if you heard something interesting on the KX1 requiring SSB... I suspect however that you would soon leave the Yaesu at home once you got comfortable with the code.

Gil.
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: medic photog on October 21, 2013, 10:30:11 pm
I'm already reading the general book.  I initially hoped to take both the same day but that pesky thing called a job got in the way of studying.  They test every odd month not far from me and I've met and chated with a couple of the folks in the club that do the testing and they are looking forward to seeing me next month.  Now to get my radio picked out and bought.  Ive decided on a multi band Yaesu, either an 8900, an 857D, or an 897D.  I'm actually leaning more towards the 857 right now and with a couple photo jobs coming up in the next couple of weeks the cash flow will be fine for any of the three.
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: gil on October 21, 2013, 10:33:16 pm
QuoteI'm already reading the general book.


Try the practice tests on QRZ.com, they haelp a lot.
Why not try for Extra at the same time? It's just a bunch of formulas to remember and a little more material...

Gil.
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: RichardSinFWTX on October 22, 2013, 08:34:10 am
Quote from: medic photog on October 21, 2013, 10:30:11 pm
Ive decided on a multi band Yaesu, either an 8900, an 857D, or an 897D.  I'm actually leaning more towards the 857 right now and with a couple photo jobs coming up in the next couple of weeks the cash flow will be fine for any of the three.


I've got the FT-8900R right now.  I'd say save up the extra money and go with the 857.  I'm gonna pull the trigger on one of those very soon myself!

Welcome to the group!
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: John Galt on October 22, 2013, 10:24:09 am
Quote from: KF5RHI on October 22, 2013, 08:34:10 am
Quote from: medic photog on October 21, 2013, 10:30:11 pm
Ive decided on a multi band Yaesu, either an 8900, an 857D, or an 897D.  I'm actually leaning more towards the 857 right now and with a couple photo jobs coming up in the next couple of weeks the cash flow will be fine for any of the three.


I've got the FT-8900R right now. 


That's what I have as well.  I'm curious as to the shortcomings of the 8900.   Other than it's FM only?
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: cockpitbob on October 22, 2013, 11:33:04 am
Quote from: John Galt on October 22, 2013, 10:24:09 am

That's what I have as well.  I'm curious as to the shortcomings of the 8900.   Other than it's FM only?
I don't have an FT8900, but I sure can't think of any shortcomings.  4 bands with cross-band repeater and ARTS.  What more could a person want?
I can say I have an old FT2600 (2M mobile) I got at a ham flea.  It's badly beat-up and still functions perfectly.  If Yaesu's build quality is still as good the FT8900 will serve you well.
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: raybiker73 on October 22, 2013, 06:48:04 pm
Quote from: gil on October 21, 2013, 10:33:16 pm
QuoteI'm already reading the general book.


Try the practice tests on QRZ.com, they haelp a lot.
Why not try for Extra at the same time? It's just a bunch of formulas to remember and a little more material...

Gil.


Listen to Gil, he's absolutely right. I took the Tech and the General at the same time, and after about a week I decided I needed to get the Extra. I wish I'd have done all 3 at the same time. There is very, very little difference between the General and Extra exams. Go for it.
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: KC3AOL on October 22, 2013, 08:06:07 pm
Quote from: raybiker73 on October 22, 2013, 06:48:04 pm
Quote from: gil on October 21, 2013, 10:33:16 pm
QuoteI'm already reading the general book.


Try the practice tests on QRZ.com, they haelp a lot.
Why not try for Extra at the same time? It's just a bunch of formulas to remember and a little more material...

Gil.


Listen to Gil, he's absolutely right. I took the Tech and the General at the same time, and after about a week I decided I needed to get the Extra. I wish I'd have done all 3 at the same time. There is very, very little difference between the General and Extra exams. Go for it.

When did you take the exams? I ask because I just took them over the summer and there was very little in common between General and Extra. Maybe they have changed since you took them?  General was much closer to the Tech exam, but with a little more math and a lot more about the band allowances. Extra was almost completely technical with some pretty heavy math and electronics.

Sent from my Transformer Prime TF201 using Tapatalk 4
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: raybiker73 on October 22, 2013, 08:10:21 pm
I took the General in summer 2012, and the Extra in fall 2012, and they were remarkably similar. Does each testing session and site use different questions from the pools? It may be that we got significantly different chunks taken from the whole.
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: gil on October 22, 2013, 10:42:37 pm
Getting all three is not that hard. It just requires a lot of reading time. The ARRL books pretty much have the same chapters for the three licenses. So, you read one chapter from the Tech. book, then read the same chapter in the General book, then the Extra. So, you reinforce the same chapter every time, the same day. In the evening you do practice tests.. It takes two weeks that way. The formulas for the Extra are not hard. You just try to remember them and when to apply them. After I passed the Tech. and General, the guy gave me the Extra test. I had forgotten most of those formulas by then! Somehow I scored high enough... I really wanted a five-character call-sign!

Gil.
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: RichardSinFWTX on October 23, 2013, 08:34:14 am
If you've got an Apple or Android tablet I highly recommend the exam prep apps by a guy named Patrick J. Malloney.  I just kept going through the practice tests over and over for an hour or two a day until I was scoring at least 30 out of 35 right every time.  After that I went to my club and took my tests.  I passed both my Technician and General exams scoring 34 out of 35 right each time!

The best part is...the Technician and General apps are FREE.  The Extra app does cost a little bit; but if it works for me that's what I'll use.

Just my two cents though...your mileage may vary.
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: WA4STO on October 23, 2013, 11:50:06 am
Quote from: raybiker73 on October 22, 2013, 08:10:21 pm
Does each testing session and site use different questions from the pools? It may be that we got significantly different chunks taken from the whole.


The exact questions (always from the pre-published pools) are sent to the Volunteer Examiners by the Volunteer Examiner Coordinator(s).

So, for a given exam site, during two different sessions, the questions are very likely to differ.

Back when I was an active VE, I made it a point to schedule two different VECs for the same session.  That way, if somebody failed the ARRL exam, they could turn right around and take the W5YI exam.  Almost guaranteed to have different questions.  Almost guaranteed to cause the applicant to PASS!  :)

   Luck, WA4STO
ARRL A1-operator, BPL Medallion holder, circa 1977
VUCC Satellite (all CW)
NTS(D) Digital Relay Station, Central Area
NTS(D) Target Station, CAN, TEN & NE
TCC Station "Fox"
Title: Re: Another new tech
Post by: extra_class_ham on January 12, 2014, 09:29:06 pm
Quote from: medic photog on October 20, 2013, 02:28:52 pm
Just got home from Perkasie PA, took the tech test and passed, now to do some serious mobile radio shopping.


Welcome to the "brotherhood"  ;)