Just Getting Back Into Ham Radio
I have recently gotten re-interested in ham radio. I got my Technician and General licenses back in the mid 1970's but have been pretty much off the air completely since about 1985 although I have kept my license up to date. Needless to say, a lot has changed since I last used my Wilson 2m HT that had crystals instead of a VFO. I just bought a Yaesu 2900R 2m rig this weekend and am getting my feet wet again after a 27 year hiatus. I would like to upgrade from my current General license to the Amateur Extra. I've noticed that the FCC will allow credit for pre-1987 Technician licenses.
One of my questions is...How do I go about proving that I was licensed pre-1987?
My other question is.... is there a good website that will explain things like "Packet" and "Echolink" and other important practices of the hobby to an old dinosaur?
Welcome back to ham radio, and congratulations on your re-kindled interest in the hobby.
Since nobody else has answered your questions, I will attempt to briefly address the issues you've raised.
I don't understand your reason to reference the credit for pre - 1987 Technician licenses, since you already hold a valid General license. The answer to that question is a page from a callbook of that era showing your call, name and address, or any other evidence, like a copy of the license, showing that you held that class license prior to that time would suffice. BUT it makes no difference in your case though, since in order to obtain your Amateur Extra license, all you need do is pass only that written exam.
Regarding "Packet and Echolink", many hams will argue that they are not really part of ham radio. I won't burden you with that though, but you need to know that there are now numerous, really fun, and interesting (and for the most part with free software available) digital modes available. I work most of them from time to time and enjoy them all. You will need a fairly modern HF rig, along with a PC and an interface device, to work most of these modes. Those devices are not terribly expensive, and you can even home brew your own from directions available on line, if you are handy with a soldering iron.
This page: http://www.hfradio.org.uk/html/digital_modes.html is a good place to start. It describes some of the digital modes available. There are many other websites that will help you learn more. GOOGLE is your best friend for that. Bear in mind that this is the website of a British ham, so there may be some differences in frequency privileges, and terminology.
Go for it and have fun. One warning though, the digital modes can be addicting.
73, Randy K5RCD south Texas
Welcome back Victor.
Things have changed a lot since the good old days.
Now that the Code requirement has been dropped you should have no problem getting your extra.
Are you able to have Antennas where you live now ?
Echolink is a good alternative for antenna restrictions but is far from the the real thing.
"Theory only works perfect in a vacuum." KA9JLM Don
Welcome back - yes, things have changed, some for the better, some not. You will still find people on the HF bands at all hours, and VHF has become a lot more spotty. There has been a proliferation of new modes and activities in the last few decades. Digital text modes on HF have become more popular as the proliferation of home computers has happened.
I went to the K5EHX website and did a search for repeaters centered on your callsign. It came up with 5 - all on 2 meters, one of which covers Savannah as well, so I suspect you'll find some activity there. I see that one of the repeaters is on the 'Cherry Blossom Intertie' which is a network of 7 repeaters covering a large part of Georgia. http://www.cherryblossomintertie.net/
EchoLink, IRLP, Allstar and DSTAR linking - adding interest to repeaters worldwide 24X7
When it's time, it's time, and it maybe sooner than you think.