Special Stage Forums banner
81 - 100 of 101 Posts

·
R4Vlg>TREE
Joined
·
231 Posts
Find a HAMFest or your local ARRL club and go learn hands on. It doesn't hurt to get a radio and start using it (non-TX). You can learn a lot just by understanding setting up offsets, tones, tuning antennas, etc.
 

·
RallyX Weenie
Joined
·
672 Posts
It doesn't hurt to get a radio and start using it (non-TX). You can learn a lot just by understanding setting up offsets, tones, tuning antennas, etc.
+1 - I had my 2900 for ~6 months before I even started studying to take the test. Easy enough to lock the PTT button so you can't TX, and don't even bother plugging the mic in unless you're using the numeric pad to program freqs etc.

As far as actually learning the material, rather than just learning the test questions, I listened to all the Technician class from the "Ham Radio Podclass" - http://www.podfeed.net/podcast/Ham+Radio+Podclass/4186 - and combined with a few practice exams, missed a total of 1 or 2 questions on my actual exam.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
That podcast might be just the ticket for me. Thank you.
I don't have a radio yet. I was hoping to get my hands on some stuff prior to buying something to see what I'd like. I'm trying to avoid a big expenditure there if I can. Aside from the specific models listed in this thread, which goes way back in time, I wouldn't know what features to be searching for.
 

·
Feeling like an "old timer."
Joined
·
581 Posts
One thing I would suggest is once you take the test and get your license, try to go to an event and "use" it sooner rather than later. I took my test/got my license and NEFR was about a month later, so everything was fresh in my mind and I could easily remember what to do. Putting it to use right away then helped lock it in.

Matt
 

·
Zero Cents!
Joined
·
311 Posts
Seth, Whata you guys use for all the hill climbs up that way? Perhaps you could talk to some of the folks there, and see if they would have a radio you could try out. I would also expect to make some connections and maybe try out some stuff when you go to take the exam. I happened to take my exam on "Field Day" so there were tons of folks around who were set up, and more than willing to let me try things out. As you know from studying, you can transmit off someone else's rig, even if you don't yet have your ticket, so long as they are present as the operator.

Another Matt
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
X mon, we actually use land line radios at the hillclimbs for the most part, and business band hand helds when you have to leave the land line. So no opportunity to use it at our hills. I did figure that there would be a few folks at the testing site that would be able to steer me in the local direction of some radios. This thread is a great resource, but a quick look at ebay for some of the models listed here, I saw descriptions like "vintage" and "classic" , which leads me to believe some of it isn't as current as I probably want.
RRR_k2, yep, use it or lose it. The local test is April 17th, toying with the idea of going to empire state rally which is the following weekend. Figured it would be useful for NEFR.
I think my plan is to buy a cheap handheld to get familiar with stuff, then when I have a better idea of what I'm doing, get a mobile.

In my mind approx $150 seems reasonable for a handheld. Mike suggest AES earlier in this thread. There handhelds are here. http://www.aesham.com/ham-radios-handheld-multiband/ which radio do I want? Is there something else I should be considering that AES does not sell?

Thanks for the help.
 

·
Feeling like an "old timer."
Joined
·
581 Posts
Handhelds are ok for listening in, though generally you'll need to hook up a mobile antennae to be able to hear "everything." Unfortunately, with only a few watts of power your TX distance will be very limited, especially with the hilly terrain here in the northeast. If you're looking to be able to actually serve as an "official" radio person you're going to want to get mobile rig.

As far as brands, Wouxun tends to be very proprietary with their connections/accessories. So if you don't have something, or yours breaks/stops working, unless someone else has a Wouxun (and that item), you're probably SOL. Yaesu is the gold standard, both in terms of durability and universality. As you'll find out when studying, new laws require all radios to TX on narrow(er) bands, so if you are looking at older equipment make sure it has narrow-band capabilities. Ham Radio Outlet is another good source for gear: http://www.hamradio.com/

One thing to think about is whether you plan to stay put (in your vehicle) when using the radio, or if you plan to be out and about when using it. For my main rig I use a Yaesu FT-8800R (2m and 70cm) mobile radio. I also have a Yaesu FT-150 (2m) HT, and a Yaesu VX-127 (70cm) HT that I cross-band with the 8800 so that I can get out of the car and still be in contact. As a chief of controls and a stage captain I find this extremely invaluable. In fact, the mobility of the HT combined with the power of the mobile rig became a real necessity when, all at once, I had to do FTC timing, radio, and traffic control at Black River Stages last year. Also, one of the nice features of the VX-127 is that it's weather resistant (as are other HT's), which means I don't have to constantly worry about ruining it in the conditions in which we run rallies.

Hope that helps. :)
Matt
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,258 Posts
Seth, I felt and still feel somewhat the way you do. I passed my test 2 years ago and am still learning stuff. Not enough rallies (or enough time to do them all) to use it alot to quicken the learning curve. I'm sure Richard Miller will chime in here and tell you to work the local bicycle races, etc for experience. But that takes TIME which can be mightly scarce. Take the test, pass it (I missed by 1 question the first time) then dig in and begin to learn in practicality. Don't sweat it. And an HT isn't always quite as bad to start with as some people make it out to be. My $.03 (Inflation).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Understood that I'll want a mobile AND a handheld. I will likely buy a new handheld first. Yaesu seems like a good choice. Is a FT-60R a good choice to get my feet wet? New prices are at $149. Or do I want the Vx-3r for 40 bucks more.
Later this spring, I'll pick up a mobile.
My logic is that I work at/on a mountain, I can toss the radio on my desk at work to see if I can hear any activity.
 

·
Zero Cents!
Joined
·
311 Posts
The VX3R is nice for a pocket rig to LISTEN on. Otherwise it's mostly useless at a rally, unless I'm cross-banding. It doesn't have a whole lot of power, and going to a larger antenna makes the whole thing top heavy. I have one, and typically loan it to our fans (ok the parents/wives) if they come out to watch an event. It's also only a single-channel.

I also have a Wouxun KG3UDV (it's the 3 not the 1 or 2, don't quote me on the letters) dual-channel. It's cheap, rugged and does everything I need it to and theoretically can be opened up fairly easily with some software mods. However programming is a PITA by hand, so we almost always tote around a netbook so we can program the radios.

The FT-60R is probably the best compromise of price and features. Having dual-band will also let you crossband repeat later.

I run an 8800 in the Recce Car, but prefer the 2900 for it's sheer power and lack of a fan in the rally car. Keeping with the same brand means that you'll have similar menu structures across the board.

The actual car I'm in has an Icom 880H in it, and the service rig has an IC-2200. This is mainly because Kevin is an ICOM guy, and he wanted a remote head in the car. The downside is that the crew can't cross-band through the van, but they're usually close enough to walk back and transmit from it, should they not be able to reach us from their HT's when we're headed into service.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
For HTs don't forget about things like the MFJ-1730 or any other roll up 2 meter antenna. At most rallies throwing that thing up in a tree will help you a lot more than all the wattage in the world tight on the ground.

That and I've use one of them on an FT-2900 with a jump pack a few times when I don't want to sit in my car with great success. The key to a battery operation is a mobile rig that has low receive power draw.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Well, I take my technician class license exam tonight. Wish me luck.
As chance would have it, I'll be sitting in the silly seat at ESPR, so I'm sure I'll be picking the brains of some of you folks at the event.
Provided I pass, it'll be a tight squeeze whether my license will be active by the event.

Thanks for all the help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Passed the test. I was taken a little by surprise, they asked if I wanted to take the general level exam, which I didn't prep for. Didn't cost anything to give it a try.......I'm fairly sure the second test was written in Greek.
So in in the world of rally, what would be the benefits of getting the higher grades of license?
 

·
Spectator Wrangler
Joined
·
831 Posts
So in in the world of rally, what would be the benefits of getting the higher grades of license?
IMHO,no. The higher grades give you access to HF, which is not currently used at most rallies. Almost all rallies are VHF with some UHF on the left coast. A tech ticket gives you almost all you need.
That said, I started as just a rally ham and got further involved so I upgraded to General. Then again I tested so long ago all I had to do was fill out paperwork to upgrade. No-brainer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Simon is right, even if he does speak a bit funny...

So in in the world of rally, what would be the benefits of getting the higher grades of license?
I've been trying to convince certain events to have a few workers using NVIS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_Vertical_Incidence_Skywave) setups. Even the thickest forest and steepest hills are no match for bouncing things off the ionosphere. Good stuff, but not press and speak like 2 meters.
 
81 - 100 of 101 Posts
Top