Frustrated New Ham...

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by K1POO, Apr 8, 2009.

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  1. KB9BVN

    KB9BVN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Amen Amen, verily I say to thee, Amen.

    HF baybeee...that's where it's at.
     
  2. K0CMH

    K0CMH Ham Member QRZ Page

    You might also look into a local emergency communications group, such as ARES and RACES in your area. These guys use vhf and uhf a lot. They may get on to some local nets, etc.
     
  3. N4WSH

    N4WSH Ham Member QRZ Page

    At the next local meeting bring chocolate, especially dark chocolate. :D
     
  4. W6ONV

    W6ONV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Skip trying to work repeaters and study for the General exam. From my point of view, I did not have fun working local repeaters because it was not what I wanted out of ham radio. I wanted HF privileges, I wanted to chase DX, try to work all states and the other countless awards that are available.

    As for local clubs, I still belong to one, but I rarely go. I found some as you described, "standoff-ish" so I would sit for 90 minutes or so, watch the presentation and then leave. It seemed to be very clique-ish, of which I was not in. But with that said, there were some good presentations.
     
  5. W0BKR

    W0BKR Guest

    To be honest...

    I have found most repeaters around here to be vacant of activity and I have been licensed a bit longer then you...it's not against you, it is just a lack of activity.

    The only ones I hear on repeaters are the same guys that talk to each other.

    As to club meetings. Most people don't run to someone new and throw their arms around you. You have to be "visible", that is, interactive, not standing there with your hands in your pockets. They have no idea you are a "new" op. They just see you as someone "new" at the meeting and have no idea if they will see you the following month's meeting. It takes a while.

    Attach yourself so to speak to a member you know and you will get around and know some of the other members. It doesn't happen that fast in one setting. Same holds true in just about any setting and it doesn't happen to be amateur radio. People are somewhat cautious or standoff-ish. Get use to that. It just takes time.

    GL
     
  6. KB2FCV

    KB2FCV Ham Member QRZ Page

    There's defintely plenty you can do with your technician license! I'll second the notion on satellites, they are a blast to try out! With your handheld and a simple antenna you can work the FM satellites. You can build an antenna for about 25 bucks or you can buy the arrow antenna for somewhere over $100. Its a little more difficult on a handheld but certainly 'doable'. I've made plenty using 5 watts and a simple yagi I built.

    Don't get discouraged if your repeaters are empty, it's the same deal around here. Like others said, you can find a better antenna and perhaps reach more repeaters where you'll find people.

    Also, check out the ARRL site for clubs in your area. There may be several in your area you can check out and find the right one for you.
     
  7. KB2FCV

    KB2FCV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree there, to a point. I did the bulk of my operating on HF for 15-20 years with some repeater use mixed in to talk to the locals here and there. THEN I discovered the other part of VHF/UHF... SSB/CW, contests, satellites, and soon EME! VHF can be a privilege if you make it one. If you just limit yourself to VHF/UHF FM repeaters, then you don't know what you're missing.. there's much more to it!
     
  8. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Don't get discouraged, you haven't experienced the good stuff yet.

    2 meters is great, but it should be an accessory for everybody, not their main event. Hopefully, you can find something locally that will make use of it - ARES< public service events, etc.. It's fun when you're travelling, too, if you can take the time to pre-program the repeaters and their PL tones for systems you will find along the way.

    Here's another suggestion for you, since you have the Tech ticket - investigate EchoLink. Your local repeaters may be dead, and I actually think most of them are, but if you stick with it, you can use EchoLink to find repeaters all over the world that you can use to talk to people. And, it doesn't matter it it's 2 a.m. in Texas - it's commute hour in England at that time.

    Yes, you have HF privileges. In a few weeks, we should start seeing 10 and 6 meters open up for Eskip - from Texas, it will not be that hard to work stations all over the country. But the openings are 'sporadic' and unpredicatable - they can happen any time. I'd gear up for this if I were you - you will also likely find some local people on 10 and/or 6 . There are lots of nets on those bands down in Texas.

    You could also try copying CW with a computer. Some brave souls try using the computer to have CW QSO's on 40 and 80 meters. There is no real good reason not to! Try listening around 7065 or 3565 Khz.. Or, if you're really bored and discouraged, try to learn the code. There are VERY slow people out there, usually between 7.1 and 7.125. We'll all do what we can to help! If you do learn it, even if you're slow, you will have opened a whole new world for yourself, and you won't even need that General for a while. You may decide you like CW more than SSB, like many people do.
     
  9. K1POO

    K1POO Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK, things are cookin' now!

    Thanks all for such great advice! My budget is limited since I just purchased my VX-6R. I did splurge and get the data cable and software to program it. I also found a pretty good list of the repeaters within a 50 mile radius of me amd programmed all 70 of them in. I also got down and dirty with the manual to learn how to scan them all. Wow! :) Can I tell you that made a bit of a difference! With my magmount on my truck I was able to get out about 35 miles using a repeater and I don't have to type in each frequency to "guess" where there is traffic.

    I've also been looking at making a J-pole antenna out of 300 Ohm twin lead cable to hopefully get a better range while sitting at the house. I went to the local radio candy store and Radio Shack and they both had a roll of the ladder twin lead cable for $30 for a 100' roll. Well, I just need qbout 10 ft., but they weren't willing to cut a roll. I also wanted to get a coax RG-8x 20' cable with the connector already on it, but they wanted close to $25 for that alone. So, I called local TV shops and they certainly don't carry the twin lead anymore. So, would anyone be willing to donate some spare twin lead and coax that you have collecting dust and sitting around? This would go to a ham, namely me, that is willing to learn and would really appreciate it!

    I have made a few more contacts and I can hear them at 25 miles away ok, but they all state that they can barely hear me at 5 watts. I have to admit that the contacts I have made have been very cool about answering my questions and helping me. I even attended a ARES net as a visitor and I thought that was cool. I have a ways to go before I could be of benefit to any amergency project.

    Thanks all for the help and opening mu eyes to the options that ham radio has available!

    John
    KF5AKN
     
  10. KI4WCA

    KI4WCA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Welcome and congratulations!

    I hope one of the local guys will help you out with the twin lead and coax, the j-pole will work from inside.If you are not going to upgrade for a while a mobile 2 meter rig will work great either in the car or off a power supply inside.My first rig was an Icom 2200H.Inexpensive with 65 watts on high power.I built a 1/4 wave ground plane antenna and put it on a pvc mast on the chimney.It gets out very well.I enjoyed using tropo openings to surprise guys on distant repeaters..so there is fun on 2fm if you use your imagination.I also built a 3 element quad on a pvc frame for mountain topping, that is a major blast here in the mountains of NC.
    HF is fabulous...so go ahead and get that general.But be warned, my 2 meter rig is getting dusty....and that might happen to you too!
    I have little time to operate, and I love to DX, so I spend my time with my Icom 718.But the 2200H is a fine rig....just tough to raise Brazil on it!
     
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