Amateur Radio Operators, Beginners Advice?

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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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On an Australian trip, I built a 1/4 wave with a ground plane out of #8 stranded wire so I could fold it into my suitcase with the radio. With a tip string, far easier to put up than a dipole. VK3ZZZ temp, I think I was using.
 
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lostplanet

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Aug 18, 2005
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I couldn't find the app ed, could you link it?

Just started Module 1 online with essexham, things starting to make more sense.
 

SaraR

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Mar 25, 2017
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I couldn't find the app ed, could you link it?

Just started Module 1 online with essexham, things starting to make more sense.
When I did mine, a lot of people who’d just done it said that the mock exams available on the RSGB’s website were a lot easier than the exam itself, whereas EssexHam’s mock exams were similar to the real thing. I did think that the lever of difficulty was matched quite well by the EssexHam ones, but the wording was fairly different, so maybe it would have been good to do some of the RSGB ones just to get used to that...
 

lostplanet

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Aug 18, 2005
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having a look at the RSGB mocks, thanks

Just got module 2 and a lot more to remember. I guess the unprogrammable scientific calculator is only needed in a "sit in" exam and i can use the sci calc on my phone?
 

SaraR

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Mar 25, 2017
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having a look at the RSGB mocks, thanks

Just got module 2 and a lot more to remember. I guess the unprogrammable scientific calculator is only needed in a "sit in" exam and i can use the sci calc on my phone?
I'm not sure you need more than just an ordinary small calculator, to be honest, but can't quite remember. Just make sure you're comfortable using whatever you'll have in the exam when the time comes.
 

stevec

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Oct 30, 2003
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Sheffield
You just need a simple scientific calculator, nothing fancy to handle the exponent. However if you are confident with handling powers yourself 'manually' then a kiddy calculator will do. For what it's worth, I took a standard Casio sci calculator to all 3 exams, and never used it, I did all the sums in my head. But then I'm used to the sort of numbers that come up. Having a numerate degree and working as a physics teaching lab technician prepares you a bit
 

ONE

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Nov 21, 2019
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I guess the unprogrammable scientific calculator is only needed in a "sit in" exam and i can use the sci calc on my phone?
I don't think you'll be permitted any (potentially) internet connected device other than the machine you're using for your exam.

Edit - FWIW I'm a maths klutz but handled Foundation, almost literally, on a fag packet.
 

SaraR

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Mar 25, 2017
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Y
I don't think you'll be permitted any (potentially) internet connected device other than the machine you're using for your exam.

Edit - FWIW I'm a maths klutz but handled Foundation, almost literally, on a fag packet.
yeah, no mobile phones, tablets etc allowed and your laptop is locked while doing the exam so you can't use the calculator on that either.
 

SCOMAN

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Dec 31, 2005
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I did my Foundation this year and passed, MM7PWO, using the lessons created and available free from an operator with the Stirling club;


He also offers Intermediate and full. I also had the book and used the app UKAmatuerRadio.... for test questions.

I have a Baofeng but where I am there is little 4m/2m traffic. I did a fair bit of research and talked to an experienced operator and invested, heavily, in a secondhand Elecraft KX3, had to sell a lot of kit for that one! With the range of 160m - 6m bands it's great and I've been doing a little SOTA and just operating it mobile during nights away with work. Low power working is challenging though. I don't think I'll be able to get a good fixed antenna at home, my wife isn't keen, so it's another excuse to get out for the day.

Maybe we should set up a sked to meet up?
 

SaraR

Full Member
Mar 25, 2017
789
494
Ceredigion
I did my Foundation this year and passed, MM7PWO, using the lessons created and available free from an operator with the Stirling club;


He also offers Intermediate and full. I also had the book and used the app UKAmatuerRadio.... for test questions.

I have a Baofeng but where I am there is little 4m/2m traffic. I did a fair bit of research and talked to an experienced operator and invested, heavily, in a secondhand Elecraft KX3, had to sell a lot of kit for that one! With the range of 160m - 6m bands it's great and I've been doing a little SOTA and just operating it mobile during nights away with work. Low power working is challenging though. I don't think I'll be able to get a good fixed antenna at home, my wife isn't keen, so it's another excuse to get out for the day.

Maybe we should set up a sked to meet up?
Congratulations!

SOTA is great as people are actively trying to get hold of you, as long as you give them a heads up before hand.

I want to get back out doing SOTA, possibly just chasing portable when nearby hills are on the Alert. I've only got 2m/70cm and no home station or big antenna, so it takes some effort either way.

I've been thinking of getting either the KX2 or the KX3, but I can't decide which one to get and keep going back and fort in my reasoning. I've told myself I can get one once I've learnt Morse code properly. Other commitments get in the way at times but it's a carrot to keep coming back to it.
 
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timditda

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Jun 28, 2021
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Evening all, with regard the Foundation test...don't worry about it, its simple. straightforward and really is more of a quiz than an exam so just read through the course material and you'll be fine. I would say join a club if possible, you'll learn far more there than an online course and you'll learn standard operating procedures and protocol/etiquette which is very important, you need to know how to 'act' on air.

The little Baofengs are great value for money but don't expect too much from them but learn how to programme them for local repeaters and you'll often talk to more hams via a repeater than just shouting CQ on 2m.

Once you pass sign up free to EchoLink which when registered lets you access radio ham repeater stations all over the world from your phone/PC/tablet etc, its the start of you digital ham radio journey
https://secure.echolink.org/

Portable rig? You can't go wrong with a Xiegu G90, SDR radio covering the HF bands with an output of 1w - 20w. I've run one off a cheap 7Ah gel battery through a wire dipole or vertical without problem. Radio, battery and Ariel for under £500 brand new and look them up on Youtube, lots of vids on there being used outdoors including on data modes like FT8.

Its a great hobby, I've been licenced since 1994 and still get a kick out of it. On mobile use low power (QRP) CW (Morse code) is my prefered method of operation.

Sorry for the long first post but its why I signed up this morning ;)
 
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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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Get your CW. Get at least 15 wpm. You can take pride in having learned a rare language that shuts out most people. Use it a lot. I think Advanced in Canada used to be 20 wpm, I forget. I really liked the 15M skip to run CW into the UK like it was in the same room.
I regret that time and 'phone killed that interest. My Yaesu FT901DM is still on the desk beside me. Bencher paddle on the inboard keyer.
VE7APC
 
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stevec

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Oct 30, 2003
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Sheffield
I keep starting to try and learn morse code, I get so far then drift away. I've started to do the 'lockdown morse' course on YouTube so I'll see how I get on with it. Most of my radios are in a storage box in the attic. Including a Hendricks PFR3B which should be good for outdoor stuff.
 
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timditda

New Member
Jun 28, 2021
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West Midlands
An old timer told me that Morse makes no sense, just noise in your head but...leave it on in the background and one day a switch flicks in your head and all becomes clearer and it worked, the fella was absolutely right.

I've got a tower up in the garden with a Yagi, couple of dipoles, cobweb, vertical and run an ic-7300 and its lovely but truth be told I get a real kick from working CW QRP DX on 5w from the back of my old and battered campervan :)
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
I can remember the night when I realized that I was hearing short words as "single sounds." A melodic thing that just sort of floated by. rcvr for example.

What was my driver? The single minded desire to learn another language. I sat my test and got 20WPM without a mistake. Sending is nothing when compared with comprehension.

Can you remember seeing old film of coders with headphones, banging out text on typewriters?
 

TeeDee

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Nov 6, 2008
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I've chatted to some army signals guys about how you learn Morse and the general consensus was you lock yourself away in a room and keep playing it ( one letter at time - repeated , one word at a time -repeated , one sentence at a time - repeated ) until you have successfully brain washed yourself.

I guess its a bit Pavlovian but seems to work.
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
9,278
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McBride, BC
We learned an odd combination of letters each week. The Method had a name.
Every evening, if you had 80m HF, one guy would pound out blocks of text with just the letters and numbers that we had learned to that time. Then he would come on 'phone and recite the text so we could check our work. 10 wpm was the goal. Do 12 to make certain.

I had my Dad's National NC-57B SW rcvr and it still worked! Weekly class time was part electronics theory and another set of letters. 4? 5 6? I can't recall. Then it was time to visit the Royal Canadian Legion branch and decompress.

For Advanced, I went into the Gov.Can.Comm. office in August and they gave me a course outline. Then said that the final exams were in April. You figure out all the rest of it, theory, regs and 20wpm CW, on your own. I got a study buddy, we taught each other each week over that winter and we killed the tests.

It's worth it. It's an accomplishment that nobody can ever take away from you.
Bite the bullet, thrash the thing to death and come up a winner.
73
VE7APC
r
 
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ONE

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Nov 21, 2019
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one letter at time - repeated , one word at a time -repeated , one sentence at a time - repeated ) until you have successfully brain washed yourself.
That's Koch method. More or less. You learn to recognise the sound of letters and words rather than the sequence of .s & -s that make them up.
 
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