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Author Topic: Hello from Missouri  (Read 9720 times)

s2man

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Hello from Missouri
« on: May 08, 2013, 04:13:49 PM »
Hey folks. I've been lurking for a while, and I really like it here. This seems to be the place to introduce myself.

We've been prepping for about four years.  We've got four FRS/GMRS HTs and a base station.  They are handy around the farmette, and not much else.  I figure I could outfit all the neighbors if we were worried about looters or zombies.  I'm thinking of getting some of those air horns for boating.  Somebody lets out a blast and we all turn our radios on.

Anyway, back to ham.  I've wanted longer distance comm's for some time, but they were way down on my list, mostly due to the perceived price.  And I just wanted to be able to listen in during emergencies, like Geek's story.  Then I bumped into the Baofeng UV-5R.  $48?  Why not?  Then, I figured I didn't want to just listen, so I got my Tech license, last month.  Then I ordered a slim jim from N9TAX.  And lmr400 cable.  And a pigtail.  And I'm looking at mobile antennas.  I can see where this prep/hobby is going :-D

We've already bugged out of the big city, about three years ago.  I don't have my antenna up yet, but I'm currently reaching repeaters in our county seat and receiving them in the outlying suburbs.  I'm looking forward to getting it set up and seeing how far I can reach into the city...  I'm also scanning the local emergency frequencies.  DW likes that capability, since local, rural events don't really make the big city news reports.  Or, if they do, its hours later on the evening news.

And, of course, now I am thinking about reaching out even farther.  I'm taking my General exam this Saturday.  I'm devouring and researching everyone's recommendations, here.  And I'm browsing the ham catalogs I've been getting since receiving my licenses.  Oh boy, I can really see where this is going. LOL

Well, its nice to be here.  I look forward to learning a lot more from you guys.

Stew
KD0VBG

P.S. Gramaton550 , I can pick up the repeater in your town, but can't reach it with the rubber duck.  Maybe I'll catch you once I get that antenna up. 

Joe

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Re: Hello from Missouri
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2013, 04:38:18 PM »
Welcome aboard Stew !!! I started in this hobby along the same lines as you did. I am going to take the General exam also but next VE for my area is not til next month, so I will study and keep building my RockMite. For me the prep/hobby has taken off since hanging around here. You think your comms will do then Gil goes on a camping trip, and now I am building a RockMite and learning code.

73 Joe
« Last Edit: May 08, 2013, 04:42:14 PM by Joe »

KK0G

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Re: Hello from Missouri
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2013, 05:02:12 PM »
Welcome and congratulations on the new ticket................... you've only just begun into this highly addictive hobby 8) If you haven't already I suggest you learn Morse code. You can browse the code forum to read about all kinds of advantages to CW operation. 73 de KK0G

"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: Hello from Missouri
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2013, 05:44:30 PM »
Welcome to the forum Stew... as you are finding out, there is a never-ending supply of new things to learn about communications.  There is no shortage of opportunities to spend your money either... it sounds like you are getting off to the right start by focusing on your immediate needs first.  If you have thought out a plan of attack it is easier to resist those shiny ads - sorta.

Wally

s2man

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Re: Hello from Missouri
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2013, 08:13:36 PM »
Thanks for the warm welcome, guys. 

Until a couple of weeks ago, I had zero interest in CW.  After reading your thoughts and Gil's feedback on his learning curve, I am certainly becoming curious.  And the QRP/RockMite stuff!  My goodness, a couple of years ago that was science fiction out of a James Rawles novel.  Now, I'm thinking, "Where could I put a HF antenna"?  LOL

Thanks again,
Stew

P.S.  I just created a new email account for myself, KD0VBG at themillers.us.  I guess I'll be needing it to keep ham traffic separate.

KK0G

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Re: Hello from Missouri
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2013, 08:38:55 PM »
Thanks for the warm welcome, guys. 

Until a couple of weeks ago, I had zero interest in CW.  After reading your thoughts and Gil's feedback on his learning curve, I am certainly becoming curious.  And the QRP/RockMite stuff!  My goodness, a couple of years ago that was science fiction out of a James Rawles novel.  Now, I'm thinking, "Where could I put a HF antenna"?  LOL

Thanks again,
Stew

P.S.  I just created a new email account for myself, KD0VBG at themillers.us.  I guess I'll be needing it to keep ham traffic separate.

There you go, positive attitude! You can learn code, hundreds of thousands (hell millions for all I know!) of people before you have done it, you can too. If I can do it........ anyone can   ;D
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

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gil

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Re: Hello from Missouri
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2013, 08:40:34 PM »
Hello All,

I am glad there is interest in Morse code. A year ago I didn't even know I was going to learn it, or what could be done with small radios. Today I am absolutely amazed at what I have been able to do, and the fact that although it took time, it wasn't rocket science.. Indeed it is science fiction! I remember as a kid playing with walkie talkies which were powered by a 9V battery and operated on 11m using a short telescopic antenna. Half a mile was the maximum range, which of course for a 12-year-old is pure magic. Now I can contact someone more than 5000 miles away using the same 9V battery, with a rig smaller than those toys.. No voice mode can do that, period.

During my first radio camping trip one thing became painfully apparent: Weight is the enemy. I knew it, but I thought I was tough enough. Well, I got there, but it wasn't pleasant. I can't imagine carrying more than a few AA cells to power anything. Seems excessive? I read once about a guy who met hikers on the Continental divide. He offered them two cans of coke but they refused because carrying the empty cans would be too much! Some hikers cut their toothbrush handles in half to save weight. Even Steve Weber, the designer of my MTR, who right now is on the A.T. is not packing a radio because he says he'd rather pack more candy bars.. I can't imagine anyone carrying a heavy battery for anymore than a few miles before ditching it on the side of the trail. Sure you might say "I have a truck, I don't plan on walking," or "I'll bug-in." How do you know you won't have to walk? Even if you have some form of transportation, saving weight is important. I have more important things to pack than radio gear, so it has to be light.

Morse code also gives you a little privacy. Not many people can copy it. It could even be used with local comms to reduce risks of eavesdropping. You can even use flashlights! Or wire a key on a laser pointer.. Aim at a pre-defined spot between the two stations, and you can cover miles that way.

Most importantly, you can tell real Morse from fake code in movies and know what they say! How cool is that!?  ::)

Gil.

WA4STO

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Re: Hello from Missouri
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2013, 10:07:45 AM »
I've wanted longer distance comm's for some time, but they were way down on my list

Stew -  welcome to the motley crue assembled here.

I'm NW of you, about 45 miles from Lincoln Nebraska.  My interest in ham radio has to do with the existing digital networks that we have in place, so as to provide SHTF info for my fellow preppers as well as the general public.

Since you're fairly new, it might be of interest to you to know that here in the Midwest, we have a pretty spectacular network running.  What makes it slick is that:

1.  The data is error-corrected and pretty much guaranteed to be what you intended.

2.  The network is available to you on a 365/24/7 basis.  More info on how that could possibly be if you'd like it.

3.  Last month, I handled 1,582 messages.  Some were on CW, zero were on voice, and the vast majority went by digital modes. 

73 de "Luck", WA4STO
http://www.qrz.com/db/wa4sto

s2man

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Re: Hello from Missouri
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2013, 12:47:23 PM »
Yes, WA4STO, I'd like to learn more about digital networks and comm's.  Where should I start?

I've had the ARRL Operating Manual recommended as a good tool to learn where to go next with ham radio.  Any opinions on that, or other references?

I haven't been around for a couple of days because I've been busy at work, and my wife likes me to spend time with her, in the evenings.  What's up with that?

I passed the General exam, this morning.  I didn't ace it, like the Tech, but a pass is a pass. 

Joe

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Re: Hello from Missouri
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2013, 02:08:07 PM »
Yes, WA4STO, I'd like to learn more about digital networks and comm's.  Where should I start?

I've had the ARRL Operating Manual recommended as a good tool to learn where to go next with ham radio.  Any opinions on that, or other references?

I haven't been around for a couple of days because I've been busy at work, and my wife likes me to spend time with her, in the evenings.  What's up with that?

I passed the General exam, this morning.  I didn't ace it, like the Tech, but a pass is a pass.

Congrats on passing the General !!!

My wife is the same way I try to sneak into the gun room to get some work done, and then she appears at the door, no words exchanged, expresion on her face says it all

KC9TNH

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Re: Hello from Missouri
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2013, 03:37:03 PM »
Now, I'm thinking, "Where could I put a HF antenna"?  LOL
Careful for your passengers; you'll be out for a drive & everything vertical will start to be evaluated in terms of its relevance as a mast.. the mind wanders.
 ;D

WA4STO

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Re: Hello from Missouri
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2013, 03:55:18 PM »
Yes, WA4STO, I'd like to learn more about digital networks and comm's.  Where should I start?

I've had the ARRL Operating Manual recommended as a good tool to learn where to go next with ham radio.  Any opinions on that, or other references?


You betcha; a pass is most definitely a PASS.  Job well done.

Yes, the Operating Manual is excellent for learning the overall gist of how radio amateurs enjoy -- and utilize -- their gear. 

My own interest, related to prepping, is the exercising of my own capabilities insofar as using the existing digital networks to exchange messages with people around the country.  I do this for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I want to know -- well in advance -- exactly who I can communication with, on an error-free, digital basis. 

For me, CW and voice modes are fun.  I like them a lot.  But I can't count on them because I can't trust the lack of error-correction.  I need to know that what I 'hear' in response to my SHTF inquiries is exactly what the guy on the far end (maybe a dozen hops away) said initially.

Thus, I use the existing pactor, NTS(D)  and Winlink/WL2K systems.  To start with WL2K, for example, take a peek at:

http://www.winlink.org/GetStarted  which all looks very confusing, perhaps, so feel free to ask specific questions right here if you like.  Better yet, over on the digital communications portion of this forum.

Best 73

Luck, WA4STO
ARRL A1-operator, BPL Medallion holder
VUCC Satellite (all CW)
NTS(D) Digital Relay Station, Central Area
NTS(D) Target Station, CAN, TEN & NE
TCC Station ?Fox?


s2man

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Re: Hello from Missouri
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2013, 04:04:06 PM »
No specific questions, so I'll just document my digital learning, here.  I've read every post in the Digital section, the WL2K FAQ, A Winmor Primer (AWP), and numerous web sites.  At least I know a Winmor from an fldigi, now ;-)

Off on one digital tangent I found Missouri has a 6m digital back bone with 2m gateways.  So I may be able to do something with my current 2m/440 radio...  That lead me to searching for HT cables for the Signalink (which they do not support, though they give schematics).  I found a cable for Kenwood-style mic's from Argent Data. 

But the price for the Signalink puts me off a bit.  AWP has a schematic for for a computer/radio interface, but I don't want to build from just a schematic.  Gil pointed out 4SQRP's 4S-Link kit for $40.  I like that.  Then I found Easy Digi by KF5INZ.  He offers a kit w/ PCB and components for $9.  Basically AWP's interface in kit form.  He also offers it assembled in a box with audio jacks for $23, assembled with custom cables for $35, and in various other forms.  Reviews sound like he is a helpful, flexible guy.   He seems to sell only on eBay.   

Okay, one question; Would you guys recommend a VOX or PTT version of the Easy Digi?  I'm thinking about the flexibility/ease of interfacing with other radios in the future.

Lastly, the author of AWP strongly recommends a separate USB sound card for digital transmisions.  Just a couple of bucks on eBay, so I'm sure I'll take his advice.

WA4STO

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Re: Hello from Missouri
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2013, 07:22:10 PM »

Off on one digital tangent I found Missouri has a 6m digital back bone with 2m gateways.

Missouri is evidently the hotbed of all things digital.  I'm in Nebraska, but the very best NTS(D) Pactor node that I can reach is KB0OFD's setup in Forsyth, MO. 

I connect to him about ten times a day.  If I can't hit him on 40, no problem, as he scans all/most of the HF bands so I eventually latch on to him. 

Last month I had a total traffic count of 1,582 messages.  Most of them went through his station.

Oh, almost forgot; he's the NTS(D) hub for the whole Central Area.  Imagine that, little Missouri with BIG signals!  :)

73

Luck, WA4STO

Radio Preppers

Re: Hello from Missouri
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2013, 07:22:10 PM »