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Discussion Starter #1
Well, this topic has been tossed around a couple of times in various forms, but thought I would bring it back up. I wonder who all is involved in Radio Communications in one form or another. I know there are a few hams on here, as well as professional radio personnel.

I am a Ham Radio Operator. I mostly operate on 2 meters, but do have capacity for HF as well. For those of you not familiar with these terms, 2 meters is just below where the police used to operate and just above where airplanes communicate. It's approximately 144.000 mHz (megahertz, megacycles, etc) up to 148.000 mHz. Just about any scanner that is programmable can pick up this frequency range. For the most part, the operators work thru a "repeater" to extend the range of their signal. Maybe 10 miles direct to more than 100 miles thru the repeater. The other term, HF, stand for High Frequency. It starts just above where your AM radio stops and goes on up past the CB range.

Anyway, I like to work in public events such as foot races, walks, bicycle races, simulated nuclear disasters, etc. This helps train new people and old alike in the proper way to communicate in a way that gets it said in the fewest amount of words necessary, but gets the meaning across without fail. Sort of a KISS format. There's many times in disasters that one public service group (police, red cross, army, fire dept., etc) needs to communicate with another group. Problem?? Their radios are not compatible.

I get involved with ARES and RACES on occasion. I like to go out in severe weather and watch for tornados, thunderstorms, etc. "When others take shelter, we go out and look for trouble." A lot of the info on the National Weather Service is information received from hams. We have a network set up to report to their offices and they use this to issue watches and warnings. A few years ago I heard of a tornado moving towards the area that I lived in, moving in from the Southwest. I grabbed my wife, and forgot my camera, and headed out. We rounded a curve on a country road and we were face to face with 2 tornados, one larger one maybe 50 ft across and a smaller one, looked like a snake. They were probably 200 yards apart, both on the ground. The larger one was taking out some farm buildings when we saw it. My wife about croaked. We turned south to get out of its way and then turned around and followed it. Shortly thereafter I handed it over to another ham. This tornado subsequently hit the town of Utica, IL, about 5 miles after I saw it, killing 8 people. I have included a URL of some very good photos of the tornado and the aftermath. About 4-5 days later I went into the town with the Salvation Army to assist in distributing food and supplies to rescue workers. I got some pretty good pictures of my own but they are very similar to these.

I have been active in CB radio, Shortwave Radio, Short Wave Listening, Crystal Radio building, antenna building, etc... Did any of you build any Crystal Radios when you were young and then tried it again, just for fun, as an adult? Were you as thrilled now as then when you picked up that far away station? Or the one on the edge of town?

I wonder who does what with radio. I know that there used to be some CB groups that did public service work. Maybe "REACT"?? Is that still active?

I saw some posts regarding people studying to become licensed hams. Hows the studying going? Do you have helpers or radio clubs that you are working with? What is your area of interest?

Here is the URL:

http://www.wildlifescenicphotos.com/...orm_photos.htm

73's
Brad
KA9WRZ
 

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we have a react group here in leonardtown md., and when i go on the road with the 5th wheel, i put the cb in truck to check for hwy wrecks,ect,ect.

walter

p.s have a save and happy holidays
 

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In college, I put together nearly every Heath Kit ham radio in the catalog for the college ham shack.

Started to get into 2 meter but ran out of time. too many things to do and the clock seems to tick faster each day.

Have an Alinco handi talk that has been "fixed" to operate on the police freq. I was legal to have it and use it on those freq when I bought it. Now it needs a new home--if anyone needs one
 

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I was in CB, for many years, and wanted to move up to ham, but the cost kept me from pursuing it! When I drove For Melton Trucking, I always had the cb on and that is why I still have a CDL and DOT card to drive!!---When I first got on cb, my numbers were KJH 2424 (Phantom 309)---Talked many hours on the little base unit that I set up! --had a guy over in Vancouver,Canada and one in Alaska that I would talk to when "skip signals" were good! aaaahhhh!! the good ole' days!! thanks; sonny
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Very good, Sonny and all. Hey, 2 meter radios can be had for just over $125 if you get them on sale. That is a bargain! Still can't buy the top of the line CB for that. Seems as though CBs have been the same price since I got my first one in 1973. I used to be "Longhair" on the radio. HaHa--I used to have hair, too!! Fun times on there.

Brad
 

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I was an active ham for about 8 or 9 years. Just lost interest a few years ago. I keep my license up (Extra class) because I worked too hard to get to it. Maybe someday I will get the bug again.

I did have an HF station, and tried mobile HF in my truck, but never had any luck. Too much QRM. I also had a FT-8500 Yaesu in the truck. Wore one out even. I still have one in my pickup, but I never drive the pickup so I am never on the air! Funny... when I do listen, I hear mostly new calls I have never heard before. I always wonder if those folks know who built their repeater station(s) (me and another guy who moved from the area) and I was also was either President, VP, and Treasurer of their group for most of the time I was active!

I still enjoy building repeater stations and have done 3 commercial stations now. Matter of fact, I was on a 60' tower I put up just yesterday in the cold wind...! Not to do antenna work, but to put a star on the tower for the friend who owns the station! Hey... I told him I'd have it up by Christmas!

Thanks for reminiscing Brad!
 

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My dad has been a Ham for YEARS!!!!!I dont know all the terms, but know he has done the contests, and worked a lot of events and stuff. He is also able to build/repair the radios also. I looked into getting my lincince,but back then you needed to know code, and I could just not wrap my mind around it. it just never happanded.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Paul B--What's your dad's call, and when was he licensed??

Brad
 

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N7LRG here, got the scanner on listening to marine weather reports as we have a front moving in from the pacific bringing high wind rain and a little snow in the Cascade foothills. HF rig is on, listening to 3.860 for the local ragchewers. Later I will go up to 17 and 20m and hang out there. 2 meter rig is on for local island chat on 147.570. I have a cb but usually only have it on during real bad weather/power loss and monitor for anyone in distress. Glad to meet you, 73.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just a short note! With the severe weather season apparently starting already it brought this to mind. In many places in the country there are Severe Weather Spotting classes held to help people identify the type of clouds that produce tornadic activity. Usually the Weather Service is affiliated with these classes, about 2 hrs long, and held at schools, churches, county buildings, etc. Don't have to pay anything for them and they are quite informative. No need to be an emergency worker in most cases. Usually publish these in the newspaper with dates and locations.

In the spring I always keep a close ear to the scanner with the National Weather Service frequencies programmed in. Very handy to keep track of what's going on.

Brad
 

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I keep thinking about getting my ham license. I bought some study guides, and do pretty well on the first two levels. Now that they have dropped the Morse requirement, I might go for it. I would still like to learn code, though. I'm thinking once I move out to the boonies, a ham radio might be a useful thing to have, both for my family, and others who might need help.
 

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I'll be perfectly honest about the code. I learned it in about 3 hours. I did it backwards, tho. I wrote the letters down then the characters after it. I drove 75 miles to work each way. I took my paper with me and I would do the roadsigns in code in my head as I drove to work. They say that is a bad way to learn, cause it's easier to convert from letters to code than vice-versa. You can down-load free code tutors from the internet that will teach you to recognize the sounds and convert them to letters.

Are you trying to learn the requirements by yourself, or do you have any radio clubs in the area that are giving classes? There are 5 radio clubs within 20 miles of your city, 4 of which advise that they offer entry level classes. Or, you can go to ARRL.ORG and click on "getting started".

Ham radio operators are kind of like people on this web site. Eager to help newcomers and willing to share and teach. You would probably be amazed at the activity going on in your area, especially during severe weather, emergencies, etc....

If you would like any more info or assistance, please don't hesitate to ask or contact a club in your area.

Brad
 

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The only radio I was into was CB. Mostly liked talking to the older crew on the sideband channels due to the younger crowd(around my age) making to much noise with the toys on the am channels. I guess I was more interested in conversation than just making alot of noise like alot of the other guys my age. I still have my washington base in a closet(just took the Antron 99 off the roof last summer), and the Grant XL is still on the dash of my truck connected to a Wilson 1000 on the roof. The older guys I use to talk to on sideband ranged in age from 60 to 90 years old. Good bunch of guys to talk with, I even met a couple of them in person. I kind of miss talking with them every night at 7:00 and weekend mornings at 8:00. Learned about alot of stuff talking with the older generation, there is alot of wizdom there. Alot us younger guys should learn. Plus they know alot of good jokes to.
 

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I know what you mean about learning from the older guys. Back in the late '80's and early '90's I used to drive about 65 miles each way to work. In the a.m. there'd be anywhere from 2-8 guys on the ham bands. We could talk thru the repeator and be as much as 120 miles apart. That is called a "roundtable" where everyone takes a turn. Sure passed the time and sometimes you'd only talk 2 or 3 times and be to work! Sometimes, when a few guys were maybe talking computers before i got one, I'd pass my turn and let them have at it and I sure learned a lot before I even had one. Very interesting.

Quite a few of the old gents have since passed away, but I'll remember them for years. One fellow that I used to talk to on the way home from work would always ask me where I was and my wife would be listening to us on the scanner. That way she knew when to expect me for dinner. (or to chase the strange guys out of the house, I don't know which!) He used to tell me about his years in the war, old cars he had, where he worked, etc. Lots of history there.

Take care,
Brad
 

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Brad:

I used to be into CB (90% sideband) in the 70's/80's. I mostly was into 10 meter (shooting skip) and had a Moonraker 4 quad antenna. I have QSL cards from most all over the world (except Australia). I have contacted them but could never QSL before signal would fade. I used to love it. I started to go for the ham but never could grasp that code thing. We moved and life got really busy and I never pursued it any further. I pass by a fellow’s house each day that has had a crank up tower sitting in his back yard (cranked down) and has been sitting for years. I often want to stop and see if he wants to get rid of it. I may check out the new codeless license and maybe get into it again. I still have a yearning for it sometimes. I live between two mountains and signal is impaired but that shouldn’t affect skip style talking. :fing32:
 

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Very good on all that. Sunspot cycle is coming back in the next few years and the "skip" will be rampant. I had a converted CB radio that put out about 6-8 watts on sideband and talked to Alaska, Spain, Argentina, etc.

A very good band for someone that just wants to "talk" and not be amongst the big boys is 40 meters. I had a 40 meter loop antenna and that is called a "cloudwarmer" cause the signal goes basically straight up and 4-800 miles is normal talking range. Your location might be a problem with FM signals, but Salem, VA probably has many repeaters and maybe some linked systems so you'd not be landlocked. The other bands (HF) would not be affected by the terrain. Just looked at your area on the map. That's some pretty country, isn't it?

Brad
 

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I may have to put my A99 back up soon. The winter months is when the CB was the bussiest around here. There was alot of guys around here pushing a little more power from their radios than whats legal. There was alot of bleed over from other channels. Kind of took the fun out of it. One guy from the city was bleeding over 24 channels and he was 30 miles away from me. Legal for CB is only 4 watts on AM and 12 watts on SSB right?
 

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First CB call was KBG8894 and later (still trying to remain "legal") KKU0242... But on the air I was always "The Bedbug". On the town job I had a quick mount in each piece of equipment I drove/ran. Always used to enjoy the radio most during heavy snows... as the town operators got more fortification time all communication protocol went out the window...

"Hey Fuzzy... What's yer 10-20 at there hey?"
"That you Gypper? I'm sandin' Ole's area, his spinner puked out... Margaret's Hill is a 'glade' of ice here hey!"
"OK Fuzz, I left you a couple in Ol' Man Reese's mailbox... get that?"
"Missed ya there Gyp... I was 10-100 back of the wing for a second..."

Etc.... and all through the night until pure adrenalin and fatigue and boredom and gray dawn killed the buzz!

Our CB was a bit more "organized" than the town radio during a snow for some reason. Small plow guys doing their best to keep track of their help down in the hollows where CB signal feared to tread and always looking for a tow out...

"Bogus Billy Goat to Pochontas Base... I'm behind the shopping center with a tore out front shaft..."
"Say again Goat... the babies were cryin' an' PD's got a biggie goin on the other radio!"

And I too never wanted to have to learn code, so to make me happy finally they cut that out of the lower end of com radio. Too late for me...

Now I can hear the harried voice of perpetual cronyism re-appointed Assistant Junior Hiway Super "Maurice" trying to jam his signal out over several new and original lively verses of "I Gotta Gal Lives On A Hill"...

"RANDALL 26... dahgahdammiit... YOU RANDALL hafassed $#%T come in RANN-DALLL!!!! Where IS that dumb $#%...?"

"...uhhh... Boss, I think he's out Crupper Lake Road doing the pump house..."

"Well git YOUR A$$ out there NOW and tell him he's sittin up against his mike button again jammin' everything up... AND remind him how all office staff has got scanners at home now!"

Then the entire free world hears another of Randall's original blues verses ".....she won't do it but her Grammawww wi-illlll", (followed by several lengthy but on tempo rude intestinal noises and the distinct sound of a poptop pressure release....

"On the way, Boss.... Truck 26.... come in Randall...."

I wish I had mounted a tape recorder instead of the CB during those snow marathons! :D
 

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I never went for the HAM lisense but spent a lot of time in years past listening to the shortwave, scanner and CB. I was always a listener rather than a talker even on the CB. I went by and still go by Antennaman. I was the only geek in high school with a 102" CB whip, a manual tuned police band radio / antenna, and FM radio add on external antenna on my car and all running at the same time. At home I had a copper wire for shortwave stretched from the chimney to the TV antenna mast across my parents house roof along with a homemade CB antenna strapped to the chimney. Also a second mast with a scanner antenna donated to me from an elderly neighbor lady for removing it from her house.

Today I still have an external scanner antenna which along with my two scanners is also used for my rebroadcast of NOAA weather radio to WeatherUnderground via a third old scanner that has weak audio output. Still works good though for sending audio into the computer.

( http://audioplayer.wunderground.com/FCW/Lancaster.mp3.m3u )

I'm using the aluminum gutters as my shortwave antenna. I don't run the shortwave much anymore. The computer has really taken over the time when I would listen to shortwave in the evenings.
 
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