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How To Become a HAM Radio Operator

Tophog

Biker Trailer Trash
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Well, IMO, only TopHog qualifies as looking like a scary looking Harley rider, so do I still pass?

-Don- AA6GA/7 Pahrump, NV
Any 'scariness' on my part is countered by my ol' lady, The Warden! :wink:
 
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DonTom

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Well, I made it to Furnace Creek, Death Valley. I will stay here four days and then head for my Reno place and then after a day or two, to my Auburn QTH.

It's been a nice trip, espcally with the HF CW to keep my busy at night. But being on the road for two months is long enough for me this time.

Seems here at 220 feet below sea level, 40 M works better than it does from hilltop. I hear a lot of very strong CW signals here from all over the USA and they are hearing me just as well.

In a few hours, I should be hearing from Japan, Russia, and other places across the Pacific Ocean. But I am more into rag chews than DX.

73. -Don- AA6GA Death Valley National Park, CA
 

NYECOGunsmith

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Don, had dinner last night at the Winery, talked to the owners about the Wifi, reason you had such slow connection is ..............they don't have WiFi at the campgrounds yet!

What you were picking up was the Wifi signal from the office on the second floor of the winery / restaurant itself, they just don't have a password on it Bill told me!
 

DonTom

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Don, had dinner last night at the Winery, talked to the owners about the Wifi, reason you had such slow connection is ..............they don't have WiFi at the campgrounds yet!

What you were picking up was the Wifi signal from the office on the second floor of the winery / restaurant itself, they just don't have a password on it Bill told me!
It worked fine after the first night. Perhaps somebody was misusing the system when I first got there with a large download or something like that.

I was told differently then you were.

I have the papers they gave me right here. The Wine Ridge RV Park wireless has the name "WineRidge". Password is ""3800WRguest". It's shown on their map of the RV Park with the Gate Code and other such info. The signal was strong, was only unusably slow the first time I tried to use it. I used it every day and night after that with no issues.

Here in Death Valley, I am at the Sunset Park far from everything. I am using my own V W/L hotspot which says ""Extended Network, 3G". A little slow (3G), but has a very strong signal. SSI shows five bars, the max possible.

73, -Don- AA6GA/6, Death Valley Nat'l Park, CA
 

iweb

Ham Radio Operator
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Don, our VFW riders group will be doing a ride to Death Valley Sunday but sounds like you will be gone so safe travels. Post here if you ever decide to do HF phone when you get home.
 

DonTom

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Don, our VFW riders group will be doing a ride to Death Valley Sunday but sounds like you will be gone so safe travels. Post here if you ever decide to do HF phone when you get home.
I plan on leaving here on Dec 4 and then head for Reno. After a couple if days in Reno, back to Auburn, CA so I do not have to winterize this RV.

I suppose I could try my mics out. I own two Yaesu FTdx1200's (one in Reno and the other in Auburn) with a base and mobile mic each, which I never even connected to either rig.

Last night, I was hearing a strong 40m CW signal from South Korea. Callsign was DS23RLZ. Not listed at QRZ.COM, for whatever reason.

73, -Don- AA6GA/6 Death Valley Nat'l Park, CA
 

NYECOGunsmith

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It worked fine after the first night. Perhaps somebody was misusing the system when I first got there with a large download or something like that.

I was told differently then you were.

I have the papers they gave me right here. The Wine Ridge RV Park wireless has the name "WineRidge". Password is ""3800WRguest". It's shown on their map of the RV Park with the Gate Code and other such info. The signal was strong, was only unusably slow the first time I tried to use it. I used it every day and night after that with no issues.

Here in Death Valley, I am at the Sunset Park far from everything. I am using my own V W/L hotspot which says ""Extended Network, 3G". A little slow (3G), but has a very strong signal. SSI shows five bars, the max possible.

73, -Don- AA6GA/6, Death Valley Nat'l Park, CA
Interesting!

I spoke to Bill Lokken the owner of the whole shebang up there, and he said they didn't have Wifi for the RV park yet and that you were probably getting in on the office WiFi.

Next time I see him I will have to rib him about not knowing what his business has to offer!

Safe travels, enjoy NV while you are here, CA not the place it used to be, sad to say.
 

NYECOGunsmith

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Next HAM EXAM in Pahrump 13 Jan 2018

1300 hours at the Nye County EOC, 1510 Siri Lane.

Contact Dick Grady at 775- 513-4388 if you want to attend the study class that morning from 0800 to noon.
 

DonTom

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Interesting!

I spoke to Bill Lokken the owner of the whole shebang up there, and he said they didn't have Wifi for the RV park yet and that you were probably getting in on the office WiFi.

Next time I see him I will have to rib him about not knowing what his business has to offer!

Safe travels, enjoy NV while you are here, CA not the place it used to be, sad to say.
I got back to Reno yesterday. Death Valley to Reno in one day. Now, I am back in Auburn.

BTW, it seemed to me that I could make more contacts on HF at 200 feet below sea level than I can at my Reno home that is on the very top of a hill in the clear (with a great view).

I've heard that on HF being up high and in the clear makes little or no difference, but it now seems to me the lower in the valley is even better for HF than the top of a hill in the clear.

I have been home less than 24 hours and I already feel like taking another RV trip!

It's been raining here. Nice and dry in Death Valley, as well as warmer.

73, -Don- AA6GA, Auburn, CA
 

iweb

Ham Radio Operator
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Anyone into DMR? I bought a HT and have been talking all over the world with 5 watts. Quite a learning curve to program the radio but had a local help me out.
 

NYECOGunsmith

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Well, the late Fred Jones and a guy by the name of Bob Wollum and now you are the only three folks I ever knew with DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) radios.

The repeater here at the Hospital is capable of digital input/output as well as analog, as it is a Yaesu Fusion repeater.

I think I heard someone say recently that the low Potosi repeater at 146.790 had recently been converted to Digital mode only, but no confirmation of that yet.

You must be hitting a DMR repeater that is linked to the internet via Echolink or IRLP to be able to talk all over the world with a DMR hand held, 5 watts won't do it in the VHF band or the UHF band, and I don't think anyone is currently making a 5 watt HF DMR hand held.
 

ricklaut

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Anyone into DMR? I bought a HT and have been talking all over the world with 5 watts. Quite a learning curve to program the radio but had a local help me out.
I have a couple DMR radios (...but you already knew that since I use them to talk over the hump with you on them!).

NYCOGunsmith: The 146.790 and the 449.975 repeaters on High Potosi are definitely full time DMR now. I've heard that the owner of them may put the VHF machine back on analog (more likely mixed mode), but don't have any idea how accurate that is.

For those that may come upon this and not know anything about DMR, it's one of the three major digital modes in use on the amateur VHF / UHF bands (there are others... like P25). The other two popular modes are D-Star (primarily Icom, but now also on a Kenwood HT) and System Fusion (Yaesu). DMR is adapted from the commercial market. They aren't programmable from the front panel, and they aren't known to be particularly amateur friendly in the way that the traditional analog radios from Kenwood, Icom or Yaesu are. Almost all are analog capable, so programming normal ham simplex and repeaters along side DMR talkgroups is the norm. DMR uses 12.5 kHz (compared to 25 kHz for analog), and two conversations can happen simultaneously with TDMA (time-division multiple access - the two conversations are essentially interwoven into the signal).

To the point about talking long distance on 5 watts, a lot of what goes on with DMR is indeed using internet linked repeaters. There are DMR talkgroups for most any interest / geographical area, and connecting to them is just a matter of programming the radio. There is an older chap in the UK that I get a kick out of listening to on talkgroup 3100. Iweb's 5 watts are getting him to the top of the hill, and the linked network brings the rest of the world to the top of the hill.

The two major DMR networks are the Brandmeister network and the DMR-MARC network. There are pros and cons with each, but (for simplicity sake), Brandmeister is more like Android (looser rules, more end user latitude in choosing talkgroups) and DMR-MARC is more like Apple (repeater owners decide what you can listen to). Having said that, Iweb and I talk over the mountain on just the repeater since we can both reach it. Or, if one of us is out of town, we can almost certainly hit a Brandmeister repeater where we are and reach back to that same repeater using one of the linked talkgroups. As with analog radios, cheap DMR radios are starting to hit the market. Instead of a $500 Motorola or Hytera, users can find capable DMR radios for under $100 (new!). That price point makes DMR pretty appealing compared to D-Star / System Fusion radios.

In Vegas, there are at least two VHF and a plethora of UHF repeaters that run DMR (a good mix of both Brandmeister and DMR-MARC). I don't know of any linked DMR repeaters in Pahrump, but fortunately the one high up on the mountain covers it pretty well it seems. There are no 900 MHz DMR machines here, although there are in other cities (there are a number of 900 MHz analog machines though). Some say that DMR's popularity in Vegas already peaked, which may be true (I've only had one since August). More likely, though, is that there are now a number of personal hotspots (like the SharkRF openSPOT) available for DMR (and D-Star / System Fusion) that individual users can use to link into the network (...via internet).

I see DMR as another tool on the belt. Most of my time is spent on HF, but I do spend a few minutes each day chatting with friends on V/U (analog or DMR), typically during the commute (...as I'm listening around on HF with my other ear).

Yikes... that got longer than I intended!
 

NYECOGunsmith

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That's why I took it, because the odds were against me taking it, and I made a ton of money off you suckers! R R R R RR R R!

The fix was in, the Cat helped so she and I split 75-25, she gets the 75% as the brains of the outfit.
 

Tophog

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That's why I took it, because the odds were against me taking it, and I made a ton of money off you suckers! R R R R RR R R!

The fix was in, the Cat helped so she and I split 75-25, she gets the 75% as the brains of the outfit.
Looks and brains. A good combination . . . in a cat! :smile5: