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Getting kids on the air affordably...

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KE0GAL, Dec 12, 2015.

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  1. KE0GAL

    KE0GAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am looking for suggestions to get me and my siblings onto the HF bands without breaking the bank. Out of 7 kids 3 of us are hams, 2 are just about to test, and 1 has began studying ( practice exams are awesome!) In addition to getting licensed, we have revived our school club station (K0KID) through participation in events and are starting to build some interest among our classmates as a result of our new licenses. My 12 year old brother (KE0GAM) is making plans to organize and teach a class too. At the moment our Dad has his Icom in the car which makes it difficult for us because it is either too hot/cold for long operations, we have to wait for him to be home and available to sit with us due to safety as it is a manual shift car, and it is too difficult to move the radio into the house or school for group activities. Please share your ideas regarding antennas, radios, feed lines, expanding kid's interest, on-the-air activities, teaching/study helps, etc. Thanks in advance, '73
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  2. AD0AC

    AD0AC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Pick up a cheap older rig for the house, some ladder line, antenna tuner, and make a dipole out of some speaker wire. Work the world for less than $300.
    K1OIK likes this.
  3. KE0GAL

    KE0GAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    What would you suggest for an "older rig" that is reliable and user friendly?
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Congrats on having a school station, that's a great thing.

    Back when I was in HS, a whole lot of schools had ham stations. Ours was K2GPT and my English teacher was the trustee...although three teachers were hams. I used to ditch 'lunch' and operate the station at lunchtime, quite a bit. It was better than my home station, especially the antenna which was a 130' Windom at about 75' above ground, because the school was a tall building and the antenna was strung between two tall chimneys...I know, I strung it up there.

    But IMO it's impossible to convince anybody to be interested in 'radio, for the sake of radio.' Either you're interested, or you're not. Not many are, which is why out of 320 million people there are only 750K hams, and probably half of them are not active, so it's really more like 375K.

    The first spark should be if the kids are interested in 'shortwave listening,' which in my day, to be a ham, we all were and we all did that. If you're not interested in that, becoming a licensed amateur may be a bit useless. You have to be interested in 'wireless communications' just for the sake of it being possible, and want to know how it all works; everyone without that interest drops ham radio like a hot rock pretty quickly.
  5. K1OIK

    K1OIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Kenwood TS-140
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    TS-520 or FT-101 are good choices.
  7. W8IXI

    W8IXI Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'll just mention the FT-757 as another example.

    For expanding kid's interests, I would recommend just getting a cheap HT, lashing up a home-built gain antenna of some sort, and listening in on some satellite QSO's.

    Today's kids are pretty jaded regarding technology, but this, plus EME, never fails to get attention.

    Good Luck!

    73, Mike
  8. N7ZAL

    N7ZAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    You're of an age where learning new things should be easy, including Morse code. CW transmitters/transceivers are usually cheaper either new or used. Not to mention it is fun.

    If you want phone/voice then costs are higher. If you have a club don't you have equipment to operate?

    Once you get operational there is a world of excitement in many areas including, contests, satellites, moon bounce, Arduino, etc. The ARRL Handbook will give you just about all you need. Just find what you like. :)

    Glad to see students getting into Ham radio.
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Also satellites, which didn't exist when I was a kid but did begin to exist in about 1972 with the first OSCAR that actually worked and provided contacts. I still have my certificate for working it on its first pass, mode A, 144 up, 28 down. That was quite a thrill, and not so many made that first pass contact.

    Back then, it took a 'station' to make that work, but today it can be a dual band hand held along with a hand held antenna...a bit less work, but I imagine a similar thrill.
  10. KE0GAL

    KE0GAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    We had an awesome teacher who helped to get the school club started and brought in his own equipment for us to operate once in a while but was forced to retire. We only have the club's call sign these days but as interest grows we hope to put in a simple station for all to use.

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