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Thread: Ham for dummies

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Land of the Midnight Sun

    Default Ham for dummies

    I couldn't tell you a damn thing about frequencies or what not

    My thought is are there certain chan/frequencies that y'all use vs other ones

    Like if there is and I had someone with a set up and I wanted to get a hold of members here that you could give me so I had a list.

    Or am I just being dumb?
    And before you answer remember I still have a ban hammer 😜
    Once during a hunting trip in Remote Alaska I ran out of Twinkie’s and was compelled to live off of of fish and moose meat

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Mountains & Lakes of the extreme NorthEast


    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska View Post
    .... remember I still have a ban hammer 😜

    I think the freqs you are referring to might be more local/regional than nationwide
    Last edited by Winni; 09-07-2017 at 01:15 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Mountains & Lakes of the extreme NorthEast


    I'm studdering again
    Last edited by Winni; 09-07-2017 at 01:13 PM. Reason: dup post

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    N. Texas


    Hey look! Alaska and I are both Dummies when it comes to Ham setups! Lol I too don't know sh-t about them.
    "The First Gay President", L'dMAO!! "Peace can ONLY be achieved through SUPERIOR FIREPOWER, STOMPING LIBS and CARPETBOMBING"!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Northern Idaho


    The problem is it's very situational and individual.

    I occasionally monitor a local repeater, but that frequency is only good for about 50 miles or so max.

    There are plenty on HF talking world wide, but the range on those is dependent on atmospheric conditions. Someone here was organizing a regular net on HF but I can't remember who nor the frequency.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    East Tennessee


    I would suggest looking into all the bands as opposed to a specific freq. If times get bad, there is no telling what band (and segment) might be open and in use. Learn them all and be prepared to use what you need. At least to listen on.
    Greater love hath no man than this, That a man lay down his life for a friend.
    John 15:13

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2016


    Not really any way just out of the blue to do that.
    Closest thing is to have schedule starting at some freq. on some band at a certain time.
    then if no QSO, goto the next band in the list.

    10 meters, forget it.
    20 meters shuts about midnight here and does not open up till about an hour after sunup.
    40 and 80 are ur best hope.

    Today has been pretty quite.
    Listened to the Hurricane Net for a bit.
    Heard the net controller in Tx, could not hear the Cuba site he was talking with.
    Then the Tx net faded out on me. This was in a 20 minute time period.

    Actually u may have better results with another member here using digital mode PSK-31 when bands seem silent.
    It allows for typing of msgs.

    If no power, well ur radio is running on battery, so can a laptop.
    There are computer in a box that run off 12vdc. Sealed against the elements. Expensive though.

    Actually to see what bands may be open at the current time, go here: WSPR Net Org
    Click on the map, scroll down and select the band you want to look at.
    Last edited by Nicor; 09-07-2017 at 10:17 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2016


    Ham radio uses frequencies...not channels per se...a digital numbered frequency. Channels are mostly a storage space...where in one stores a frequency.

    All the channels on your television have a specific frequency..the carrier frequency. So too your AM and FM radio. A broadcasting radio or television channel is basically a preset..a standardized preset or slot... so that you never have to remember or know a frequency. You just go to the channel wherein your preset frequency is stored.

    for example...

    I know the CB frequencies by memory..having used them for so long. Channel 20 is 27.205 MHZ. Most do not know this..they just go to Channel 20 on the CB and never think it through any further.

    Nicor is pretty much correct on the band or frequency spread and the times to use them.

    I use my radio mostly at night and on the weekends using 80 and 160 meters between this location and my friends home in Eastern Tennessee...about a 400 mile distance.

    There are nights when it is difficult to make a clear contact with limited power...100 watts for which the radio is designed. We bump it up to some 200 watts to get our signal just above the weeds. This is because the noise or static level goes up and down affecting ones reception.

    Experience combined with knowledge is the way to go...other hams will be glad to help you and some even helped me when I was still operating on the CB bands.

    It is not just a radio..but an entire combined system about which one is talking here. The radio, the antenna...the feed line between radio and you choose to power it ..are you going to run a tuner for random antenna lengths etc etc.

    I have switched from coaxial line to Ladder feed line of recent for my HF set ups.

    By the way...HF radio means from 30 MHZ on down to 1.8 MHZ. This verses the shorter wavelength frequencies up from 144 MHZ and higher.

    And 1.8 MHZ is just above the AM broadcasting band.

    Then how you choose to operate it.

    If you folks can learn to clean, cook, take care of your gear....shoot and reload et can learn this step at a time.

    There are lots of licensed hams willing to help you out here. The time to learn is in good times..not when the SHTF. It will become like riding a ...using various tools to reach a goal.

    It is nice not being tied to a cell phone service...or land line....particularly when you can keep a schedule...of where and when to meet. But this takes training ...experience and knowledge to get the best out of the system you have.

    My .02,

    And a very 73 to the members here,


    Not an Ishmaelite.

    Post Script,

    In places like Houston...and the aftermath when the storm passes and leaves such a path of destruction and devastation ...and so many of the services are down for the count....particularly the land lines and cell phone towers...

    It is the hams which fill the gap..until services can be restored.

    Our city has an government approved emergency room set up with ham equipment and monitored by hams during an emergency situation.

    But it is often local hams who go about with their vehicles and walkie talkies giving situation reports and casualty a central command post..when all other communications are down.

    Until some level or normalcy and communications is restored it is the Hams which often fill the gap.

    I am sure this is happening in Houston and soon enough down in Florida.

    No matter what they tell you about how heavily built these commercial towers and cell phone structures are ...they can and often do go down in heavy weather.

    The major improvement I see today is the portable Cell phone towers which can be set generators. So hopefully it will not be as bad with lack of communications as was in years past.

    End of Transmission/post script.
    Last edited by orangetom1999; 09-08-2017 at 10:18 AM.

  9. #9


    One thing you might try, is to join a HAM club in your area. Participate in some of the events like handling message traffic or participate in a contest. They will know what frequency bands to set up, and will answer all your questions. They will teach you how to set up a working station, everything.

    Some of the people in my club learn best by doing, so I was teaching them how to set up notch and filters using lengths of scrap coax. This way we could run several HF antennas very close to each other, on different bands at the same time. The clubs will also give you lots of practice contacting other operators throughout the country. We are working with a Boy Scout who is trying to make contact with each state.

    Frequencies come into play when you are planning a shot, because of distance, sunspots, time of day. Learning by doing, might get you the knowledge you need. "OJT" is what we used to call it.
    We learn from history that we do not learn from history. Georg Wilhelm F. Hegel

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Lake LBJ, Texas


    I joined my HAM club but not really sure why now. They are a close knit group and at 58 I'm a youngster and newb. They are nice enough but not helpful at all. I have a quad band mobile unit to install and have had it for a few years, but never installed. Ran coaxial from antenna mount into cab. Ran power wire rom battery into cab and to where radio will be mounted. A guy in the club said he would help get it installed and would call when he had time. It's been a year or more now. They have a sunday night check in on the NET that is part of ARES and CERT. About a year ago a repeater went down and it is up again, but my HT does not reach it.

    I need to find a radio shop now to finish it up. I can do crimp type coax connectors but I bought and want to use solder type. I just don't know how to solder these connections, and not going to experiment doing it correctly. Anyway, a local club may be the answer for you, but it has done nothing for me.

    I'm only a tech so not allowed on some of the bands my radio has. My theory is that if necessary, I don't really care if I'm supposed to be there or not. Also some of the bands I have are not supposed to be very popular, but for me, that's like telling me I can have a frequency all to myself.
    Once on safari in deepest darkest Afganistan we ran out of Gin, and were compelled to survive on food and water for several days.

    I typically carry a flask of vodka for snakebites. I also carry a small snake.- W. C. Fields

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