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Any Amateur Radio Operators (AKA "Hams") Here on The HughesNet Community Forums?

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El Dorado Netwo
Advanced Tutor

Any Amateur Radio Operators (AKA "Hams") Here on The HughesNet Community Forums?

I was a Ham when I was 12. Had a Technician Class license, WA6ZHL. Fell out of it when I got into high school. Wish I had stayed in.

Now, I'm studying to take the tests to get my license renewed. But this time I'm going all the way for the top Extra Class, something I could only dream about when I was a kid.

 

Great site I found, http://www.hamstudy.org. I've gone through the Technician and General Class questions and was happy about what I still remembered after all these years. Now working on the Extra Class questions. Once I get to about 85% pass on those, I'll go in to take all three exams at once.

 

Have to say I'm glad they eliminated morse code as a license or even an exam requirement (when did that happen?). I hated learning code, and could barely get to 5 WPM to pass the Novice and Technician Class exams. 13 WPM for General and 20 WPM for Advanced were simply way too far out of my reach at that time. I'm sure some old-timers would say the standards have all gone downhill from the "good old days,"  but I'm glad I won't have to learn and pass an exam on a technology I'll never use.

 

Anyway, would like to hear from any fellow Hams on this forum? Let's QSO 🙂

 

 

El Dorado Networks |Diamond Springs, CA | eldoradonetworks.com
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Let the rest of us "Ham's" know what you purchased with your $2000.00.  This way we can salivate a little.

73's

Bernie  KD2JYU

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39 REPLIES 39
MarkJFine
Professor

Not a ham but used to be an avid SWL... and started getting back into it until my buried coax got cut by an overactive lawnmower. I just need time to repair it, as well as remount the balun and then should be back in 'business'.

 

Was working on a rudimentary receiver control for Macs using the EiBi database before it got cut. 😠


* Disclaimer: I am a HughesNet customer and not a HughesNet employee. All of my comments are my own and do not necessarily represent HughesNet in any way.

@MarkJFine - I used to love staying up late at night and just tune across the dial to discover and listen to something from some far-off place. That was the magic - something I hope to catch again. 

El Dorado Networks |Diamond Springs, CA | eldoradonetworks.com

Best bet is playing around on AM broadcast. Maybe not so surprising, but a lot of the old guard on HF is long gone. Many international broadcasters have chosen the less expensive, digital streaming via internet route.

Guess no one wants to maintain massive steerable antenna arrays 500MW transmitters, let alone deal with bi-annual frequency steering committees.

 

Edit: Oh, and all those regional Africans that used to dominate the afternoons with hilife music - all gone.


* Disclaimer: I am a HughesNet customer and not a HughesNet employee. All of my comments are my own and do not necessarily represent HughesNet in any way.
BirdDog
Assistant Professor

Not an operator but lots of friends in the military when I repaired vacuum tube Collins KW2-MA transceivers. Boy, they could punch out the power. Very touchy to tweak, lots of band adjustment capacitors that took a jeweler size screwdriver and very small turns. I finally discovered injecting the appropriate 1st, 2nd stage frequency with a freq generator and adjusting worked miracles. Wasn't in the technical manual at the time.

 

Old man digressing, solid state has killed off need for technical repair and adjustment at such low levels. All board replacement now. Old dinosaur who's time is history but do have fond memories of the HF shacks most military bases had.

Collins was the box everyone wanted. Now they're like vintage guitars ~ $1,500 on EBay

El Dorado Networks |Diamond Springs, CA | eldoradonetworks.com


@El Dorado Netwo wrote:

Collins was the box everyone wanted. Now they're like vintage guitars ~ $1,500 on EBay


Lol..sounds like me except doubt I'd bring $1500 if even wanted.

 

Saw that on EBay......wow! Don't see tranceivers though. Doubt many people left to tune them plus the vacuum tubes. Also they did have spurious frequencies on transmit so maybe gov banned them. They could punch through even hurricanes though. Smiley Happy

 

EDIT: OK, did some more brain refreshing since so long ago. Maybe never a tranceiver but seperate units even on military side. Now that I think about it was two different boxes. Just remember working on the transmitter more. Shoot, been 37 years since I worked on them, give me a break. Smiley Happy

I always wanted one of those.

 

That, or one of those georgeous, green Heathkit boxes.

While some of my buddies were (air quotes) "reading" Playboy, I was drooling over the latest HeathKit Catalog:

 

Heath SB102.JPG

That was nirvana. Unfortunately, at 12 years old in the sixties, I didn't have a job, or the money to buy one.

 

El Dorado Networks |Diamond Springs, CA | eldoradonetworks.com

Dang, Heathkit what a techie nerd time that was. A bag of parts, boards, solder and time. Ended up with a piece of working electronics if done right. A few radios, oscilloscope, multimeter and TV here. 

 

The nerd kids are doing drones and robots these days. Good on them. Just was a bit different when you had to build the board instead of just hooking it up. Time marches on.

I used to have that exact Heathkit!

I started with a "Star Roamer" receiver kit first.

I had my Novice license and was ready for the General but couldn't quite get my code speed up to it.

NOW I understand the license is for life 😠

I feel ripped off.

Those were fun days though.

 

Don  🙂

I used to have that exact Heathkit! KB4DVI

I started with a "Star Roamer" receiver kit first.

I had my Novice license and was ready for the General but couldn't quite get my code speed up to it.

NOW I understand the license is for life 😠

I feel ripped off.

Those were fun days though.

 

Don  🙂

Hi Don,

 

I was WA6ZHL.

 

It's never too late. Especially with all the natural disasters lately, Ham Radio may come in handy when all the cell phones and land lines go down.

 

Yeah, Morse code. To me, that was about one step up from learning smoke signals. Still working through the Extra Class questions. Once I get to about 85% to 90%, I'm going for the real thing. (Takes min. 74% to pass, meaning you just have to be "average") 

El Dorado Networks |Diamond Springs, CA | eldoradonetworks.com

Morse... it's why 98s make cra**y 05s.


* Disclaimer: I am a HughesNet customer and not a HughesNet employee. All of my comments are my own and do not necessarily represent HughesNet in any way.

@El Dorado Netwo

 

You're certainly right about being handy during a disaster situation.

The thing I did like about Morse code was that with a good antenna you could really talk anywhere with just flea power.

On the subject of testing, do you have to go to a test center? Is it online? How is it done today?

When I got my license another Ham did it for me. I think (bad memory) that higher levels had to be done by the FC*.

Except that my skilz are somewhat antiquated I could probably pass general with a minimum brush up.

 

Don  🙂

Used to be you could get a Novice or Technician Class ticket by taking the test proctored by a local licensed Ham. To get a General or Advanced ticket, you had to appear in person at an F Cee Cee facility, found only in major cities. At the time I got my Technician license, that would have been San Francisco,130 miles away. They did have a Conditional license you could test for locally through another licensed Ham, that had similar priviledges to a General. 

Nowadays, the testing is held in most communities and takes place frequently. Most local Ham Clubs actively participate. Head over to the ARRL website and enter your ZIP code to find places and dates in your area: http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session

There are 2 ~ 3 per month within 25 miles of my area. The testing sites are supervised by three licensed ham radio operators holding a General-class or higher license. Cost is cheap, $15. After all, Ham radio is supposed to be non profit 🙂

 

(Funny to find that eF C C is a banned word here, LOL)

El Dorado Networks |Diamond Springs, CA | eldoradonetworks.com

I built many Heathkits over the years. I built an HW 16 in 1975 as my novice station,crystal controlled. Also converted old military Arc 5 equipment. The last Heathkit i built was the entire Hw 5400 station. I still have an Atlas 350 xl that works well. Not active in a few years. Mike KJ6NT

mikehvac
Freshman

KJ6NT, One of the few Advanced Class operators left. Not to active in the last few years. Enjoy

Bernie in New York-Technicians Class KD2JYU

Nice to meet you, fellas! I'd kinda forgotten I had started this topic, and it's nice to hear there are other Hams in this group.

 

Update - On Dec 2, I took and passed all three exams in one sitting, earning myself an Extra ticket. Just got my call sign issued last week, AJ6AR. Just might keep that one since AR is the first two initials in my name (also stands for "Amateur Radio" 🙂

The "F Cee Cee" no longer issues paper licenses but my wife is getting my CSCE framed:My Certificate - 800 PX.jpg

 

Also, you might be interested in the article I found that ran in our home town paper when I first earned my Novice license in 1962: 

The Mountain Democrat August 02- 1962-Formatted.png

 

Today, we're heading to Oakland in the SF Bay Area on a Christmas shopping trip to a Ham Radio Outlet warehouse. Wife said I can spend $2,000 to get my rig and antennas set up. Looking to get an ICOM 7300 as the centerpiece. 

 

 

El Dorado Networks |Diamond Springs, CA | eldoradonetworks.com

Hmm, maybe someone here would know...

Had an RF Systems MLB and it looks like the squirrels took to it like a hickory nut.IMG_0531.JPG

 

RF Systems no longer makes these (might be out of business), but it looks like Palomar makes something similar.

 

Anyone ever tried the Palomar and if so, does it work well?

 

 


* Disclaimer: I am a HughesNet customer and not a HughesNet employee. All of my comments are my own and do not necessarily represent HughesNet in any way.

I'm not familiar with using long-wire antennas or baluns for them, but I've read some good things about using long-wire antennas.

 

My limited understanding of long-wires is that you can use virtually any length of wire and it can be made resonant at many different frequencies. Some hams and SWL'ers like using those for working 160 meters or lower frequencies because they don't have to string up hundreds of feet of wire just to match a limited frequency range within one band.

One thing bad about them I've read is that you can't bring that wire anywhere near your radio because it will radiate along it's entire length and you could get a nasty burn. That's where the balun and a coax feeder come in.

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/9209

El Dorado Networks |Diamond Springs, CA | eldoradonetworks.com