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#46985 - 08/30/05 02:07 PM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
jshannon Offline
Addict

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 585
Loc: North Texas
Amateur radios response thus far.

http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2005/08/29/2/?nc=1

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#46986 - 08/30/05 02:13 PM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
jshannon Offline
Addict

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 585
Loc: North Texas
The PSK-31 mode sounds interesting. My guess is that you will be using a pda device connected to your HT to have a truely portable solution rather than an all in one device. I read that what is needed is a pda with a dsp sound card and sound input, something not yet being manufactured.

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#46987 - 08/30/05 06:09 PM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
amper Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/02
Posts: 187
Loc: US
Ah, my mistake. I'm just a lowly, newly-minted Tech, after all.

Thanks for the correction.
_________________________
Gemma Seymour @gcvrsa

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#46988 - 08/30/05 08:45 PM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
paulr Offline
Addict

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 448
I think the Strongarm/Xscale-powered pda's have enough compute power to do psk31 without a dedicated dsp. Question is how many of them give you a clean path to the a/d converters in both directions. Lots of them have clean headphone output (so you can listen to music) but only have built-in microphones (for voice input) with no place to plug in an external audio source. I do think PSK31 should be built into radios, especially those radios that already have DSP's. Maybe VOIP programs will create some demand for pda's to accept headset mics. Finally, PSK31 (to me) is more interesting on hf than vhf, because hf's long range capability makes it useful for remote areas. For situations like Katrina, where a few dozen miles is enough range, higher speed VHF packet and digipeaters are likely to be much more useful than PSK31.

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#46989 - 08/30/05 11:22 PM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Seriously guys, what is the learning curve like on this? there are only so many hours.

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#46990 - 08/31/05 01:07 AM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
KG2V Offline

Veteran

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
Learning curve? Oh ham radio? I've seen a neophite pass the test in less than 8 hrs of studying, and I've seen it take a lot more. A "typical" set of classes would be something like 3 hrs, once per week, for 2 months or so. If you are a good study on your own, by the book "Now your talking" - read it, and you should pass

From THERE, it's a lifetime - huge hobby - what is the learning time on say, a computer


Edited by kc2ixe (08/31/05 01:08 AM)
_________________________
73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

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#46991 - 08/31/05 01:36 AM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
KG2V Offline

Veteran

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
There was an interesting article on how new communications technologies are taking disaster comms out of the hands of hams - it's actually a good thing! (and that is speaking as an ARES EC)

I see our job as to provide communications to our served agenices - be it by ham radio, or better yet, phone, internet, fax, or whatever works, including taking a note and running down the hall

it's about communications, not ham radio (IMHO)
_________________________
73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

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#46992 - 08/31/05 05:43 AM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
amper Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/02
Posts: 187
Loc: US
As to the learning curve, well, I can say that I personally think that the Element 2 (Technician) examination could definitely stand to be a lot tougher than it is. I've been thinking about amateur radio for a long time, but a couple of weeks ago I got an itch to really go for it. I had never studied anything about the topic before I discovered some of the practice tests online.

My first attempt at a practice test resulted in a passing grade. As I kept taking practice exams, I began to learn a lot more about radio topics. Now, I have a pretty good background in math and science, plus I've studied a bit about electronics due to my interest in guitar amplifiers and recording, but I've never studied anything specifically related to radio.

After a couple of days playing with practice tests online, I went to a local bookstore and picked up a copy of the ARRL "Now You're Talking" book to help me brush up on radio-specific topic areas where my knowledge base was weak. Approximately two days later, I found out that the local VE group was giving exams that evening. I passed the Element 2 with only one question wrong (and I know which one--it was about repeater offsets and I guessed at it).

I would think that anyone with a good grounding in math and science, plus a basic knowledge of electronics would be able to pass Element 2 as easily as I did, if not easier. My opinion is that the Technician exam places too much emphasis on basic technical knowledge that no one should have graduated high school without, and not enough emphasis on rules, regulations, and operational procedure and etiquette. Judging from what I've seen so far of the Element 3 question pool (General class license), it looks like there's a lot of emphasis on regulations and statistics that can be easily looked up but are difficult to remember, but a little diligence will go a long way here toward entraining your memory for the test.

The biggest stumbling block for most people will probably be the Element 1 exam, which is the 5wpm International Morse Code test. People have told me that since I'm a musician, I will find it much easier than most people, but I'm stil having a lot of trouble learning the alphabet. Then again, I've only been studying Morse code for a week or so. You need Element 1 for a General or Extra license, currently. The FCC has issued a proposal to eliminate this requirement, and it will probably pass into effect soon. There is much debate in the ham community as to whether or not this is a good thing.

Anyway, even the Technician privledges provide wide latitude for operation. Full access is granted to all bands above 30MHz, which includes what are probably the most popular frequencies (70cm UHF, 2m VHF, 6m HF). Those three bands alone will go a long way in a localized emergency situation. 2 Meter range can get out to 100 miles on a good day with a powerful station, or so they say.

Today I added a Diamond RHF40 antenna to my Icom IC-W32A. I was able to easily hit my local club's repeater from 10 miles away transmitting at 5 watts from inside my car. Try *that* with a Motorola Talkabout on GMRS. Even without the new antenna, and operating on AA batteries (1.5W), I was able to be understood through that repeater from over 9 miles away on relatively flat ground.


Edited by amper (08/31/05 06:29 AM)
_________________________
Gemma Seymour @gcvrsa

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#46993 - 08/31/05 04:04 PM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
jshannon Offline
Addict

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 585
Loc: North Texas
I disagree that Element 2 should be more difficult. It is the entrance exam and to make it MORE difficult is only asking for even fewer people to try. That's part of the reason the Element 1 (morse code exam) may be eliminated, IMO. I won't be surprised if Element 1 exam is moved to the the Extra class (Element 4) license.

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#46994 - 08/31/05 04:08 PM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
jshannon Offline
Addict

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 585
Loc: North Texas
There is a learning curve, less for a technician license and more for a higher class, of course. If you are motivated, you can do it all for free by downloading the exam questions, downloading a morse code application to practice, and checking out books at your local library. I challenge everyone to at least get a technician license with a learning curve of probably a few hours.

Practice exams are free online too. I don't have the url's right on hand.

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