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My plan now is to complete a vanity call sign request and resurrect my late father's first call - WB5SQC - but now you've added a wrinkle. What about WD8NXC identifies it as a novice call? Is a novice call considered a good or a bad thing?


Good question, Mike. This long :( answer involves a bit of recent US amateur radio history:

My understanding is that I took my novice exam relatively shortly after the FCC stopped issuing special "N" prefix novice call signs. In other words, under the previous call sign assignment system my call would have been, in theory, WN8NXC. I then had two years to earn at least a technician class license -- by passing the old general class written (in front of an FCC examiner back then, by the way) -- or just let my license lapse. It was move up from novice or move out back in the old days.

Had I successfully upgraded from novice I would have had the "N" dropped from my license to be replaced with whatever second letter was in the sequence at the time (in this case a "D" to end up with WD8NXC, again assuming the old system had been used).

Back when they were issuing "K" calls, a novice call sign of KN#XXX would have been converted to simply K#XXX upon that licensee's successful upgrade from novice. I expect your dad would have been WN5SQC when he was a novice (and I think all hams HAD to start out as novices way back when) ***braaaap... disregard the previous statement... see post #49 in this thread for details*** and then been reassigned his call of WB5SQC after his successful license upgrade.

HOWEVER, again, I earned my novice ticket after the "N" calls were no longer being issued so I was simply assigned whatever sequential callsign came up, in this case WD8NXC. Nothing in that call identified me as a novice, by the way. What I didn't realize was that during the two year term of my novice license the FCC changed that class from non-renewable to renewable status (I kind of let my interest in the hobby fall away shortly after earning my ticket). Had I realized that I could have renewed the license I would have done so, just for the heck of it if nothing else.

So yes, at one time novices were very much identified by their callsigns and they had very limited bandwidth in which to operate, in CW only and limited in transmitter power (I think something like 75 Watts later going up to 200, or something like that). Of course no new novice licenses have been issued since the year 2000, I believe.

Another thing to note; for a period of time, when N#XXX calls were available, if one had a KX#XXX call there was an assumption that they at least started out as a novice, which was a source of pride for many. Now, of course, that distinction no longer exists in newly issued call signs.

One more note (cripe,when will this guy shut it off :rolleyes: ): The novice class license exam -- up until 1994, plus or minus -- was administered by any two hams of general class or above, who chose to do so, over a certain age (like 21 then down to 18 maybe, I forget) at any place as long as neither of the two hams were related to the examinee. Many a novice took their test over at a local ham's house on the kitchen table. The catch was that with some exceptions, further upgrades were earned at FCC examination sessions.

Then came the VE program in the 1980s, but that's a different story.

To wrap it up (finally :eek: ) it would be cool for you to go for your dad's call sign. Since you're a tech I believe you are in fact able to be assigned that call.

Glad to hear they were looking out so the "So F****** Cool" phonetics didn't find their way over the air :)

Sorry this post was so long (and probably loaded with misspellings... no spell checker in this browser). Hope it provides some interesting background for any current or prospective ham, though.

Dan...
 

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3/14=my 42nd rally anniversary
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Sorry this post was so long (and probably loaded with misspellings... no spell checker in this browser). Hope it provides some interesting background for any current or prospective ham, though.

Dan...
No apologies necessary! I'm not sure how you'd have explained it any better with fewer words.

My Mom (N5INE) thinks resurrecting dad's old sign is very cool and aside from the risk of his old friends overhearing me and wondering how Gene keyed up from the great beyond I can't find a reason not to.

Now it's as good as a done deal since I just submitted the request!
 

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No apologies necessary! I'm not sure how you'd have explained it any better with fewer words.

My Mom (N5INE) thinks resurrecting dad's old sign is very cool and aside from the risk of his old friends overhearing me and wondering how Gene keyed up from the great beyond I can't find a reason not to.

Now it's as good as a done deal since I just submitted the request!
Thanks, Mike. I hope that post made at least a bit of sense. I left out some other detail but had rambled on long enough.

It's very cool that your mom's a ham as well. Her call makes me think of "5-9", a term one tends to hear in HF signal reports. Vanity call, maybe, or just a coincidence?

Terrific that you've already put in for your dad's call. I'll bet it would be pretty interesting to see how a ham that knew your dad reacts if they hear his call on the air again. Kind of sounds like the movie "Frequency", if you ever saw that. :) Also pretty wild how close the two suffixes are to each other in your new call and his old one, i.e. SFC and SQC.

I hope the application for your dad's call goes through quickly and the call WB5SQC is heard on the air over northeastern Oklahoma once again! (And out on the rally stages as well.)

Dan, N8NTO.
 

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As an addition, Bruce W. mentioned antennas. Given a choice, spend your money on a better antenna rather than more power. We've been given the math on 70 vs 50 watts. A 1/4 wave is a 0bd gain antenna. A 5/8 wave is usually 3db gain. Every 3db gain is a doubling of the effective radiated power.
As an example, we worked the spectator area in the far NW edge of SNO*DRIFT. A handheld can hear-not heard-with a long duckie- a short rubber duck is useless. The mobile radio had an S2 signal on a 5/8 antenna. I switched to an inexpensive colinear antenna and got an S9 signal. The colinear is a 9db gain antenna. At 7 ft or so tall , it's tough to drive with in the roof but the result is great.
Because STPR is run in the mountains, antenna selection there is even more critical. I've seen controls running on 15db gain Yagis on 30ft masts to insure getting in.
 

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As an addition, Bruce W. mentioned antennas. Given a choice, spend your money on a better antenna rather than more power. We've been given the math on 70 vs 50 watts. A 1/4 wave is a 0bd gain antenna. A 5/8 wave is usually 3db gain. Every 3db gain is a doubling of the effective radiated power.
As an example, we worked the spectator area in the far NW edge of SNO*DRIFT. A handheld can hear-not heard-with a long duckie- a short rubber duck is useless. The mobile radio had an S2 signal on a 5/8 antenna. I switched to an inexpensive colinear antenna and got an S9 signal. The colinear is a 9db gain antenna. At 7 ft or so tall , it's tough to drive with in the roof but the result is great.
Because STPR is run in the mountains, antenna selection there is even more critical. I've seen controls running on 15db gain Yagis on 30ft masts to insure getting in.
Man, Bruce, you've reminded me of the hams that used to work the old Sunriser 400 here in Ohio. (I used to work it as a non-ham.) Almost all of them ran the old Hustler (by NewTronics, back then) two-meter colinears. The things started out with a 1/4 wave radiator at the base with a 1/4 phasing section on top of it then a 5/8 radiator on top of that! The whole thing came out to about seven feet, just as you describe. I wouldn't be surprised if that's essentially the same antenna you're running.

One point Bruce W. made about a 1/4 wave back in post #28 of this thread was its typically high angle of radiation. Where a 5/8 wave or colinear effectively get their gain by sqeezing their angle of radiation down toward the horizon, a 1/4 wave vertical in the middle of a good ground-plane will emit a wider band of omni-directional radiation (in an RF sense, I should add) about 30 to 45 degrees up from the horizon.

As I believe Bruce W. alluded, there may a very occasional time, say if one is in a valley or something, where that higher angle of radiation is actually an advantage.

Kind of along the lines of your post, it would be ideal to have 1/4 wave, 5/8 wave and colinear antennas all available out on the event. I suppose if there can only be one antenna a 5/8 wave on a good mag-mount or trunk-lip mount would be the best bet (unless one goes "all the way'" and pops a 3/4 inch hole in the middle of their roof for an NMO or Motorola mount, but that's asking a lot).

Good post about antenna gain and selection, Bruce. I've put up quite a few post on this thread recently so I'm planning to relax with that a bit but the mention of colinears just made me want to throw in my comment about the Sunriser folks.

Dan, N8NTO...
 

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I have three antennas that I use.

One is a little 12" high 1/4 wave Comet that I leave on the car when I'm driving around the city & parking in garages. It's small enough that i never catch it on anything, and it keeps water off the connectors.

The second is a 1/2 wave Comet that goes on when I'm running a lead car. Long enough to work well, short enough not to get caught up in every branch, and short enough that it can't whip around and take out a window (it's happened to people I know).

The third is this monstrosity of a 5/8 wave that's taller than the Subaru wagon at about 5' 2.25" total height. It really looks silly on the Sentra. It's so big and bulky that it only goes on when I'm stationary, like working radio at a start/finish or out at a marshal point.

The 1/4 wave stays with me all the time as a backup, regardless of which of the others I'm using as my main.

Om my HT, I bought the longest antenna the shop sold in a SMA connector. It's a 1.5w unit and I've been able to hit net control via simplex and hit repeaters in locations where 5W HTs with the stock antenna couldn't.
 

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Mike's Mom

When Mike and Emily rolled the RallyTruck at Paris awhile back, I was the first operator on the scene, and I dutifully reported the incident to net control...which was being run by Mike's mom and Emily's mom - an excellent net team.

Beryl Ann's comment after that day: "I want to be like Rose Halley when I grow up."

Bruce
Emily's dad
 

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(and I think all hams HAD to start out as novices way back when)
To anyone studying up for a ham radio trivia contest, please disregard the above statement quoted from one of my previous posts.

I can't find anything in the old amateur radio literature I have sitting around to support it. It may have been common practice for hams to start out in the Novice class many years ago but I'm not sure where in the cobwebs I dug up the idea of it being a requirement.

There was a requirement for those testing for the Amateur Extra class to have had at least a General or Advanced license for a certain period of time noted in the 1971 and 1974 ARRL license manuals (but no longer in the 1977 edition). That may be where I somehow picked up the notion of a preliminary Novice licensing requirement.

Thought I'd best set the record straight. Sorry if that caused any confusion.

Dan, N8NTO...
 

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In the old days you got a novice class but unless you upgraded within a year the novice license was cancelled !! I took novice and general at the same time and a year later got my extra class.In any case , try to learn instead of just passing the test ! And the learning process continues after you get the license !! AC2RC
 

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And to keep learning, you need to practice using your radio. So join ARES or RACES and work marathons and bicycle tours.
 

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I hear it was EMily's boyfriend (who still seemed happy having spent an entire weekend hanging/working with her extended rally family) who came up with the phonetics but some advised they not tell me lest I let 'er rip on the air. I had San Francisco California firmly entrenched by that time any way ...



Agreed, THAT could work!
Finding mnemonics for one's call sign can be a LOT of fun, but please don't use them on the air. Sierra Foxtrot Charlie will never be mistaken for a sentence fragment and anyone hearing it doesn't have to go, "Let's see....'super', that's 's", 'fast' that''s...uh....'f" " Tempted as I am to sign on and off with "Kilo India 6 HELP!" I save it for remembering my seldom (but correctly) used call sign.
 

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In the old days you got a novice class but unless you upgraded within a year the novice license was cancelled !! I took novice and general at the same time and a year later got my extra class.In any case , try to learn instead of just passing the test ! And the learning process continues after you get the license !! AC2RC
Something of which I was reminded while digging through my old ham radio books in the past couple of days; If there's one constant in ham radio it's rule changes!

As Robert said, the Novice was a one-year non-renewable license at one time. By the time I took my Novice test it evolved in to a two-year non-renewable license. And, as I mentioned before, I would have been a Novice a whole lot longer had I realized the rules changed yet again while I held the ticket and could have renewed it after all. Eh, watta ya gonna do?:(

Good points in the previous few posts by RadioRobert, Richard M and dmoser, IMHO.

Dan, N8NTO
 

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3/14=my 42nd rally anniversary
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Motorola Radius SM50 VHF ...

I finally threw the Motorola Radius SM50 VHF 2-way, commercial radio on eBay, here - http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200199472220

It wraps up in just an hour & a half (~1400 Eastern Time) but just in case someone was looking for something like that I thought I'd toss it out here.

if it goes for enough I'll be bidding on an ICOM or Yaesu soon ...
 

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Vanity call signs!

My tenure with KE5SFC was short-lived thanks to FCC's vanity call sign program! I now have my late dad's old call sign, Whiskey Bravo Five Sierra Quebec Charlie!

Now I just need a radio ... eBay here I come!
 

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Mike,
For what most radios are going for used on eBay, it's probably worth the extra 10-15% cost to just buy new. I looked for a couple of months, seemed like everything was going for 85% of new! I ended up getting a new Icom 2200 for the car. I wanted a dual bander with cross band repeat, so the next time I work an event I can park the car and use my HT, but the budget just wasn't there.

Good luck!
 

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3/14=my 42nd rally anniversary
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Mike,
For what most radios are going for used on eBay, it's probably worth the extra 10-15% cost to just buy new. I looked for a couple of months, seemed like everything was going for 85% of new! I ended up getting a new Icom 2200 for the car. I wanted a dual bander with cross band repeat, so the next time I work an event I can park the car and use my HT, but the budget just wasn't there.

Good luck!
Thanks Andrew! I bet you're right and since I've mysteriously started receiving HAM gear catalogs (Kenwood's was in the mail box right after I got home from S*D) I now have research documentation at hand!
 

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My tenure with KE5SFC was short-lived thanks to FCC's vanity call sign program! I now have my late dad's old call sign, Whiskey Bravo Five Sierra Quebec Charlie!
Well done, Mike! What an excellent tribute to have your dad's call on the air again. It even has a nice cadence to it with the standard phonetics, as you used.

Dan, N8NTO.

P.S. It is pretty amazing how much ham radio related mail one receives shortly after earning a license.
 

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For those who are in the rallynewyork area -RallyComm [Richard N2ZKX ] has announced an on the air class for newbie rally Hams available to a number of repeaters in the area as they are linked. For details see www.n2zkx.com .
 

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A few comments about our recent RNY experience. The Catskill Mtns are notorious for radio problems ,therefore we require 25 Watts.Yes you can bring your HT but don't expect it to work in most places. We are given a number of frequencies to fit the situation. All locations were checked some time before the rally and all locations could access the main repeater which has excellent coverage .However on Recce day I found some locations where I would be working could not make connection ! I passed the word that another repeater would be necessary during the rally because of propagation changes ! They didn't believe me but it was true .That's Murphy's law which seems to aways happen to me !! :rolleyes: In any case it's a good example of the need for multiple frequences. It is your job to COMMUNICATE ,you have to find a way !
 
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