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Frustrated New Ham...

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

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  1. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you just need a few feet of twinlead, I have a couple of suggestions. First, you could go back to Radio Shack and ask for an FM antenna. They should have one that consists of about 5 feet of twin lead, put together as a folded dipole. By cutting it up, that will probably give you enough (although I forget off hand how long those things are).

    You're right to not buy the coax with the connectors already on it. They charge extra because there are many solderphobics out there, and solderphobics will pay a lot to avoid having to solder. If you can buy it by the foot, you can install the connectors yourself. It takes a bit of practice, but it's not particularly difficult.

    Have fun on 2 meters, but start figuring out a way to get on HF, since you will have a lot more fun.
  2. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Here's a rather fancy antenna you can make out of coax:

    I've built a few variations on this theme. If you just carefully fold about 19.5 inches of the outer braid back over the outer jacket of a piece of coax, you get a sleeve antenna. In this fancier one, they use copper pipe in place of the outer jacket. Note that the antenna in the picture is for 90 Mhz., not 2 meters, but they give you the formula for calculating the lengths.
  3. WJ5O

    WJ5O Ham Member QRZ Page

    300 Ohm twin lead

    I found twin lead by the foot at the local home improvement center. (Lowes)...Maybe Georgetown has a Home Improvement store. :)
  4. K1POO

    K1POO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, I thought about a home improvement store as well. As a matter of fact, I cruised over to Home Depot today and they had all other kinds of wire, but the discontinued carrying the twin lead since they weren't selling it very often, or so the sales guy says. :(

  5. VE3PP

    VE3PP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Congrats on getting your license. Do not get discouraged though. You will enjoy being a ham. When I was first licensed in 1992 I had VHF only and had a ball using repeaters and simplex. I used a 50 watt 2 Meter mobile and outdoor antennas, mainly beams.

    Check and see if any of your local repeaters have IRLP capabilities. If they do this will allow you to access repeaters around the world. Then you can find someone to talk to.

    One local 440 machine near me has an Echolink setup. Sure some will say "that is not real radio" But I hear guys on it from Russia, Japan, the UK, Italy, Germany, and lots of US stations too. So there is lots of activity on it.

    Hang in there, study for your General, buy an HF rig and then you can have some more fun!
  6. KE5PIH

    KE5PIH QRZ Member

    Congrats, John......

    John, I am Jeff. I live in Lake Charles, LA and have a couple of ham friends there by my home.

    However, I now work in the Houston area and there is so many opportunities to get on the air here. I will say that Houston seems to always be connected to your area (Austin) through the "Saltgrass Link System" (covers a large portion of the state of Texas).


    You might check this link out too:

    I might here you from way over here.

    Jeff (KE5PIH)
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
  7. W0TQ

    W0TQ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Congratulations on the new call

    I have a lot of vhf/uhf FM stuff but frankly it doesn't get used much except for ARES drills. But as you get to know people in the area you'll start to find out who and when for repeater stuff.

    But don't limit yourself there. As others have mentioned the satellite service can be pretty exciting. So is 6 & 10 meters, which don't require much in the antenna department.

    Lastly if all else fails, find some QRP'rs, you won't find them stand-offish I bet:)

    I think you said your around Austin TX, try

    73 es cul Lou W0TQ
  8. AD5ZC

    AD5ZC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Were you talking about this list?

    Pretty good. With 70 stored in memory you should start hearing some more "stuff". Don't forget about 70cm. I actually hear more repeater traffic there than I do on 2 Meters here in San Antonio.

    Also, once you get that j-pole up, check the simplex frequencies. Almost every night here in SA, there will be 2 or 3 simplex roundtables going on while every repeater in the city is dead as a doornail.

    I think that due to some scares with fines and some rulings by the FCC, repeater owners/moderators got a lot more stringent and protective of who they welcomed on the machine and repeaters just became......less friendly and consequently, less populated. Relaxed license requirements drew a lot to HF as well. I get the feeling some places too that I need to have my hat in my hand and be ready to genuflect and profusely give thanks for being able to talk on the repeater. Phone patch was the cool thing back in the old days too but cell phones stopped that.

    Keep up with the meetings. You'll eventually break through. One of my favorite times in ham radio was when I was a member of SCARS (Solano County Amateur Radio Society) while stationed at Travis in Northern California. I wish I had time to be in a club. Didn't have any kids back then.
  9. KD4AEN

    KD4AEN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Life as a Tech really stinks like a pile of trash, I know you're feelings well! I only use the VHF/UHF bands when I'm in the car. It seems to me you are going about everything the right way. Give the guys in your area some time and they'll come around.

    Everyone is always suspicious of the new guy, and this will pass. Get on HF and stay there! That's where the real gold of amateur radio is! General is the way to go unless you really have time to study for the Extra as well. There is truly much more to do on HF than on the FM bands any day.

    I worked some DX today and enjoyed it! Truthfully, the FM bands are only for monitoring. No one's there most times because FM is the CB portion of Ham radio, it's true!

    The guys on 80 meters can get a bit raunchy, but then again...liquor and radio are like drinking and driving, they don't mix. I find many a great QSO on 40 Meters and 20 Meters, unless you're a digital lover then 30 Meters is for you! I love all of amateur radio except the FM bands. By the way, don;t fall for the ads telling you to buy a 10 Meter FM rig....ya really need a good band opening to work 10M FM DX.

    I'm anticipating an opportunity to learn CW and become good at it. Lot's of CW on the bottom portion of 40 meters!
  10. KB0YYO

    KB0YYO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Welcome to the Hobby.
    Being a tech is not all that bad. I am a general, recently upgraded. I find that UHF VHF is good on some days and not so good on others. Sort of like HF and the sun spots, and day light or dark. Just limited distance.

    Today I turned on the FT8900 and went to 52. I heard someone and called them. They were at least 50 miles from me. I in Flagstaff AZ and he in Sedona AZ. Pretty good for having mountains between us. Both mobile.I was on low power.
    Nice QSO. The distance surprised me.

    Remember. it is a hobby and you will only get out of it what you put in to it.
    Ht's can and do hit the Birds. My first radio was a VX7R. Next radio is going to be HF.

    Google Tape measure antenna.
    I built one and it works just like it is supposed to. I use it for Fox hunting. reccomended by many for working the Sats.

    Also Google, Desk Buddy antenna. I built one of those too and it works just fine.
    I built a copper pipe J pole and it is used for my 2 mtr 440 base now.
    I have invested less then $25 bucks in all three total.

    You might just be able to borrow a HF rig from a club member to TEST. Or be invited to a members shack to see HF in action in person and be able to use it .

    The longer you listen, the more you will learn, the more Ham friends you will make, the better you will feel. Sounds like a commercial huh?

    Don't get discouraged, Ham radio can have one heck of a learning curve.
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