Author Topic: my personal HAM plan  (Read 41543 times)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2014, 02:09:10 PM »
At lunch I stopped by Office Depot and picked up the cheapest pocket calculator they sold for $3.50.  I figure it's cheap insurance for the exam tonight.  I'd be pretty embarrassed if I failed because I didn't carry a number properly  :-\

While in line I had a profound thought...

For about the price of a latte at Starbucks, in my shirt pocket I have more computing power than was used in the Apollo lunar landing.

Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #31 on: May 13, 2014, 02:31:28 PM »
Good luck on your exam!  Let us know how it goes.

Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #32 on: May 13, 2014, 02:35:08 PM »
Thanks.  That's a really cool idea.  He passed away about 6 years ago (lived to almost 92).  I checked his callsign, and it's listed as "Expired".
Assuming I pass the exam, I understand in a week or so the FCC will mail me a callsign.  Can I pursue the vanity program any time there after?

I've had a heck of a work week, and would love to get in some outdoor recreation on the weekend, but am so close to passing general I need to get in some study time.

Hey, you don't have to wait for the snail mail.  As soon as a callsign shows up next to your name/address in the FCC callsign database, you can apply for the vanity.

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2014, 03:08:52 PM »
At lunch I stopped by Office Depot and picked up the cheapest pocket calculator they sold for $3.50.  I figure it's cheap insurance for the exam tonight.  I'd be pretty embarrassed if I failed because I didn't carry a number properly  :-\

While in line I had a profound thought...

For about the price of a latte at Starbucks, in my shirt pocket I have more computing power than was used in the Apollo lunar landing.

now Imagine how cheap a cup 'o joe was back then........

Offline Black November

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #34 on: May 13, 2014, 04:19:45 PM »
For about the price of a latte at Starbucks, in my shirt pocket I have more computing power than was used in the Apollo lunar landing.

A cheap battery/solar calculator is a super handy prep that is often overlooked and should probably be in every variation of gear bag.


Pop Quiz: Without a calculator..... You have 37 cans of various fruit, soups, and vegetables.  There are 5 people in you party. How much do you allocate to each person, and how long can you expect their rations to last?  Go! :D
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 04:31:10 PM by Black November »

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2014, 10:38:14 PM »
Passed both technician and general class exams tonight.

They convinced me to try for extra but I hadn't prepared and didn't pass.

Offline cpf240

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #36 on: May 13, 2014, 10:40:26 PM »
Passed both technician and general class exams tonight.

They convinced me to try for extra but I hadn't prepared and didn't pass.

Congratulations!

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #37 on: May 14, 2014, 04:16:18 AM »
Passed both technician and general class exams tonight.

They convinced me to try for extra but I hadn't prepared and didn't pass.

Great Job! SmurfHunter/AG  ;)  I say celebrate your victory with a new rig and vanity application!

Congratulations!

SCW

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #38 on: May 14, 2014, 06:55:24 AM »
Passed both technician and general class exams tonight.

They convinced me to try for extra but I hadn't prepared and didn't pass.

Congratulations!  We all had every confidence that you would.

It took guts to try for the Extra, that's a hard test.  Congratulations for taking a a run at it anyway!

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #39 on: May 14, 2014, 06:59:23 AM »


Great news!   This is on my prepper bucket list too.    Awesome job.

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #40 on: May 14, 2014, 07:23:43 AM »
Congrats man! Excellent job and good on you for diving into Extra!

Offline armymars

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #41 on: May 14, 2014, 07:33:14 AM »
OT
   Black November, that's a trick qustion. You didn't say if there where any teenagers in the group.
Grin. 73

endurance

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #42 on: May 14, 2014, 07:43:42 AM »
Congrats!

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #43 on: May 14, 2014, 08:16:31 AM »
Thanks everyone.  I may pursue extra in a few months but at the moment I'm distracted by hardware catalogs :-)

Anyone interested could earn technician with a few hours of focused study.

Offline Ms. Albatross

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #44 on: May 14, 2014, 08:29:40 AM »
Passed both technician and general class exams tonight.


 :clap:

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #45 on: May 14, 2014, 09:50:53 AM »
Thanks everyone.  I may pursue extra in a few months but at the moment I'm distracted by hardware catalogs :-)

Anyone interested could earn technician with a few hours of focused study.

Truer words have not been spoken  ;)

Offline armymars

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #46 on: May 14, 2014, 03:03:03 PM »
  My ham club has " Ham in a Day " once or twice a year. This year they had 17 people pass, out of 23 for one group from a church. Then 23 passed out of 25 with a group of off the street who signed up.
   When people call the ham club and ask if they can take classes to get a licence, they take their name and call them back when they get enough for a class ( Anything over 15 ). The club does not charge for any of this,  not even to take the test.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #47 on: May 14, 2014, 03:49:17 PM »
At the exam I think I counted 16 people.  2 were upgrading from tech to general.  1 from general to extra (his late father was "extra" and in order to claim the callsign he also needed to earn extra - which he did).  Interestingly, 3 guys were students from University of Washington aerospace engineering program.  Apparently one of them needed a technician class license by this weekend as they are launching some weather balloon way out in eastern WA, and it had some instrumentation controlled by VHF/UHF.  Only 1 of those 3 passed because none of them studied.

Before the exam they gave a teasing chuckle when I shared I was a software engineer, because I'm not a "real" engineer like them.  They might know how to build a rocket, but I know how to study.

Another thing that was interesting, the VEs had everyone continue to test upward until they did not pass.  Most folks only intended on tech, but all who passed tried the general, and likewise for me trying extra.



Offline Alan Georges

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #48 on: May 14, 2014, 06:56:00 PM »
Before the exam they gave a teasing chuckle when I shared I was a software engineer, because I'm not a "real" engineer like them.  They might know how to build a rocket, but I know how to study.
Heh, smackdown!  I'm sure you were nice about it, but the results did the talking for you.

Quote
Another thing that was interesting, the VEs had everyone continue to test upward until they did not pass.  Most folks only intended on tech, but all who passed tried the general, and likewise for me trying extra.
Now that's something I haven't heard of before.  Not a bad idea, but maybe a bit of a time sink for the number of successes you'd expect to have.

Offline Canadian Prepper

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #49 on: May 14, 2014, 11:53:13 PM »
Congratulations on the exams and may you have lots of fun shopping for some new gear.

Offline redeyeprep

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #50 on: May 15, 2014, 05:16:55 AM »
Pop Quiz: Without a calculator..... You have 37 cans of various fruit, soups, and vegetables.  There are 5 people in you party. How much do you allocate to each person, and how long can you expect their rations to last?  Go! :D

It depends. How heavily armed is each member of your party?   ;D

Your point about calculators is well taken. As an engineer, I'm more or less surgically attached to a calculator, as my wife can attest. I even keep a little one in my BOB. 

Offline redeyeprep

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #51 on: May 15, 2014, 05:19:26 AM »
Passed both technician and general class exams tonight.

They convinced me to try for extra but I hadn't prepared and didn't pass.

Congratulations and welcome to the fraternity!  :D 

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #52 on: May 15, 2014, 10:56:40 AM »
I've decided before I run out and get my transceiver, I may as well get a simple battery bank together.  I can get a battery tender Jr. to keep it continually charged, and run a mobile rig directly without much RF noise (turn off charger when in use).  This is a prep I've been wanting to build, and it actually costs less than quality HAM specific power supplies for sale.

The best deal going (for < 50AH) seems to be something like this:
http://www.batterysharks.com/Kit-of-Two-12-Volt-12-Amp-Batteries-Free-Shipping-p/12v-12ah-f_b12-12_x2.htm

2x 12vdc 12AH SLAs.  I'd run in parallel for 24AH.  In a pinch a single battery should power a mobile rig for a little while on moderate power.
I like that redundancy and at ~15lbs. for the pair, it's reasonable to carry along short distances if needed.  Price shipped per AH is $2.38

On the other hand, I could go "big" and get 2x 35AH like this:
http://www.batterysharks.com/Set-of-2-12V-35Ah-Batteries-Free-Shipping-p/b12-35_b12-35_x2.htm
Same redundancy, but weighing in ~50lbs. for the pair, these are going along on any hikes. Price shipped per AH is $1.77

Long term I see value in having multiple battery banks - one stationary, and one my wife and lift into the back of the truck in a BOB situation.
Maybe I'll start with the 24AH rig so I can setup a portable/BOB kit to showoff at the next TSP meetup in my area :)

I appreciate any thoughts or criticisms on this approach.

Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #53 on: May 15, 2014, 07:55:43 PM »
STAY AWAY FROM THE BATTERY TENDERS!

They are horrible pieces of crap that will eventually destroy an SLA battery.

Steven Harris rails against them, and I personally have killed an SLA with one.  Use a computer-controlled charger, such as the Schumachers that Steven Harris recommends on battery1234.com.


Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #54 on: May 15, 2014, 07:58:30 PM »
You'll need a lot of capacity, since with your rig on high power you'll need to pull at least 11 Amps.  C/20 is the usual rate, so that means your battery capacity should be at least 220 AH to support that kind of drain.

My recommendation is to skip the sealed lead acid and AGM batteries, which are expensive, and go directly to a maintenance-free marine deep cycle battery.  More for less.

Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #55 on: May 15, 2014, 08:02:55 PM »
Passed both technician and general class exams tonight.

They convinced me to try for extra but I hadn't prepared and didn't pass.

And by the way, congratulations. 

The Extra Class written has some "serious electronics" questions on it, and while it would require some study, I bet you could pass it.  I attempted it when I took my Advanced class exam (years ago, no longer exists), but hadn't studied for it.  There were too many "what frequency?" questions on it and not enough "serious electronics" questions to allow my electronics engineering knowledge (what I do for a living) to get me a passing grade.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #56 on: May 15, 2014, 10:59:26 PM »
I couldn't pass up this deal:

http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-010078

$139 after rebate for a 75watt 2M transceiver!

Next weekend the club I tested at is having a swap meet.  I'm hoping to scrounge up a power supply.
For antenna, I might start with a portable J-pole.  Inexpensive, and having a portable antenna seems like a handy prep:

http://www.2wayelectronix.com/Vhf-Slim-Jim-Antenna-with-16-rg-58-vhf-slim-16.htm

Once I figure out what repeaters I want to reach in my region, that'll drive my permanent antenna choice.  One of the oldsters at the club insisted I could make a DIY copper 2M J-pole for less than $20

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #57 on: May 16, 2014, 06:03:04 AM »
$139 after rebate for a 75watt 2M transceiver!
The fact that I bought one last week ensured that they'd go on sale this week. ;)   Congrats on the deal, Smurf Hunter!

Offline Canadian Prepper

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #58 on: May 16, 2014, 07:08:11 AM »
If it makes you all feel better, the same transceiver sells up here for $230 plus 13% Harmonized Sales Tax, totalling $260. Even after the $40 mail in rebate, it's still $240.

The government is keeping the value of our dollar down to help our manufacturing sector compete with others, but they never seem to build anything I want or need, forcing up the prices of items like this.

Perhaps that's the explanation the US government will use to lower your dollar when the day of reckoning comes, to compete with Chinese manufacturers!

But lets go back to our regular programming, which is much more fun to follow!

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: my personal HAM plan
« Reply #59 on: May 16, 2014, 08:04:22 AM »
Speaking of Canada, I'll be camping very near the border this weekend in Anacortes, WA.  That's a few miles/km due east of Victoria, BC.
Next week at a funeral up in Lynden, WA (find a tall tree and you can spit across the border).

I only mention that because many of the local Seattle area HAMs regularly interact with operators in BC.  I'm going to pack along my scanner and see what I can pickup while I'm north of home.