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Not sure if this is the best place to ask this, but it does fit.  I have been into shortwave and scanning radio for many years, off and on, and have long had a desire to get into amateur radio as well.  A long time ago, fear of learning code kept me out, but I think that not now required, so...I have absolutely no idea of where to start.  I'm thinking portable for my first radio is a good idea, and maybe get a base station later on.  Can anyone recommend a good starter rig for a newcomer?  I'm so lost I dont even know what bands to start with.  I posted here as a STTF possible use, but I also envision this as another hobby to get into as I plan to reire in a few years.  Figure funds will be tighter then, so might be a good idea to buy the equipment now.  I welcome any and all suggestions.

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If you are on the dreaded BookFace, try this elmering group.  They deal with the questions you pose on a daily basis.

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/293204677817745/ "Ham Radio / New to the Hobby"  

It is a closed group, so you will have to join to see the postings.

 

You are correct, Morse coded is no longer required. But it ia actually a growing segment of the hobby, and interestingly a lot of preppers are learning it  (now that they don't have to - they have discovered what an effective means of communication it really is)

 

There is at least one exam session in your area - http://www.arrl.org/exam_sessions/nashville-tn-37220-1304-16

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1 hour ago, JAlexanderMSgt said:

I'm so lost I dont even know what bands to start with.  I posted here as a STTF possible use, but I also envision this as another hobby to get into as I plan to reire in a few years.  Figure funds will be tighter then, so might be a good idea to buy the equipment now.  I welcome any and all suggestions.

With a Technican class license, the starter license, the most common bands you are going to have access to are 2-meter and 70-centimeter.  This puts you in the 140MHz and 440Mhz bands which are fairly well covered by local repeaters and local simplex traffic.  This is where you'll be able to communicate with folks all over the mid-state area by using local repeaters, participate in local ARES nets, etc.  ARES nets are activated during emergencies and severe weather, which can be both fun and useful.

When you say you're wanting to go with a portable unit, that generally refers to a handheld walkie-talkie style radio.  Is that what you had in mind or were you thinking about a mobile radio for your vehicle?

Bear in mind that a portable unit generally broadcasts a maximum 5-watts and has pretty short range.  A mobile unit generally broadcasts between 50-100 watts and has a much further range.

 

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If you are deadset on getting a handheld first, I would recommend the Baofeng line. That being said, I strongly suggest getting a mobile radio first which can be used as a base or mobile because you are severely limiting yourself with only a handheld. You can get a decent mobile for just a little bit more than a handheld and as David pointed out, you get a LOT more transmitting power. But ultimately the decision is entirely yours. Cheers and 73,

Billy 

KE4PJR

 

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Thanks, guys for the tips!  When I said mobile, I was thinking handheld, but perhaps a mobile would be better after all...recommendations on those?

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XK83VRV/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il?ie=UTF8&m=AA3MGRC7F9EI2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B06XK83VRV&linkCode=as2&tag=btek-20

this is just one option. I only keep going back to baofeng since I don't know your price range. Personally I don't own them but the only bad thing I have heard about the brand is they are hard to program with out a cable and computer. I mostly own Icom radios myself but everyone is different and you have to decide what features are important to you. cost, ease of use, durability, mars operation, etc... 

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Watch the Black Friday sales.  Some of the Yaesu mobiles were *very* well priced last year. 

 

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21 hours ago, JAlexanderMSgt said:

Not sure if this is the best place to ask this, but it does fit.  I have been into shortwave and scanning radio for many years, off and on, and have long had a desire to get into amateur radio as well........  I'm so lost I dont even know what bands to start with.  I posted here as a STTF possible use, but I also envision this as another hobby to get into as I plan to reire in a few years.  Figure funds will be tighter then, so might be a good idea to buy the equipment now.  I welcome any and all suggestions.

Before spending money on equipment which may not be best suited to your needs, locate a local ARRL club and obtain an Amateur License.  The bands you can legally operate on will be explained during the training necessary to pass the examination for a license.

AK4SZ

Edited by tnhawk
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Getting a Technician license is good. Getting a General is REAL good. Wider spectrum with which to work with, additional modes.

Has to be said, my whole purpose of study and running through 442 question flash cards stacks  for General was as part of prepping. Comms will be vital in a SHTF situation, and I am not so naive as to think the repeater net will be up after a Carrington event or a synthetic EMP. Possibly if it is a net /grid hack, but I don't know. Hence being able to punch through distances without dependence on repeaters or internet/RF mixes.

KI7CIL is never, EVER going to be smart enough to be an Extra. But if you are, I recommend it.

SWC

a/k/a/ KI7CIL

 

Edited by SWCUMBERLAND
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5 hours ago, tnhawk said:

Before spending money on equipment which may not be best suited to your needs, locate a local ARRL club and obtain an Amateur License.  The bands you can legally operate on will be explained during the training necessary to pass the examination for a license.

AK4SZ

+1  (visit clubs, strike up friendships, take a few ham ops out to lunch and ask plenty of questions.)  Maybe even go to the range with a few of the gun-toting mobile operating hams here and look  at / LISTEN to their rigs.

Edited by R_Bert
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There's a pretty good ham forum over on ar15.com in the outdoors section. They have a few stickied threads and links that will help you. Also a pod cast called ham radio 360 that is pretty good. I can't see your location from my phone but there are several clubs around that will be glad to help you. Several of them has weekend classes and then test sessions. 

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On 11/18/2017 at 11:32 AM, R_Bert said:

You are correct, Morse coded is no longer required. But it ia actually a growing segment of the hobby, and interestingly a lot of preppers are learning it  (now that they don't have to - they have discovered what an effective means of communication it really is)

 

Morse code?  Is there an ap for that?

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37 minutes ago, No_0ne said:

Morse code?  Is there an ap for that?

Actually, a lot of them.

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I'd add that spending time building antenna is going to be extremely beneficial to you as a learning opportunity.  Antenna construction is often very easy and much less expensive than buying them commercially.  Check out ac6v's site - I've referenced it for years as I researched various things in the hobby from tower construction to home made antenna.  

http://ac6v.com/antprojects.htm

 

 

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1 hour ago, MemHeli said:

I'd add that spending time building antenna is going to be extremely beneficial to you as a learning opportunity.  Antenna construction is often very easy and much less expensive than buying them commercially.  Check out ac6v's site - I've referenced it for years as I researched various things in the hobby from tower construction to home made antenna.  

http://ac6v.com/antprojects.htm

 

 

I didn't know of that one, thanks.

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On ‎12‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 7:15 AM, MemHeli said:

I'd add that spending time building antenna is going to be extremely beneficial to you as a learning opportunity.  Antenna construction is often very easy and much less expensive than buying them commercially.  Check out ac6v's site - I've referenced it for years as I researched various things in the hobby from tower construction to home made antenna.  

http://ac6v.com/antprojects.htm

 

 

Thanks.  I just posted that to Hams Helping Hams and 470 ARG on FB.

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One of my rigs is a Yaesu FT-60 HT. It seems to be popular out here, but wonder if it is so out in TN. I have RTsystems programming and cable for it, as well as Chirp.

If there is a following for that particular rig out there, I'd appreciate a copy of an .ft60 file appropriate for central and eastern TN, so I could hit the ground running. Lacking that, a textfile of the better repeaters for that area would work as well, or a link to TN Ham website with that data.

 

Being where I am at the moment, what hams exist in the area are Californians, largely. They've fully embraced internet / ham, to the point of having no backup if (gasp) the net should go down, even temporarily. Me, I just about get along with repeaters, in the EM hell that is Vegas. That, and I am near the bottom of a bowl, geographically speaking, and lacking in places to hang decent antennas for 40-80m work

 

SWC a/k/a KI7CIL

 

 

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