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Posted: 6/22/2016 6:24:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/22/2016 6:24:40 PM EDT by PanzerOfDoom]
This is where I'm starting: The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual; ordered it yesterday.

I have always had an interest, hobby type. Have some connections in the local HAM club. Have an electronics back ground and am familiar basic comm procedures(LE/FF type)

Looking for any useful advice, thanks in advance.
Link Posted: 6/22/2016 6:39:50 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/22/2016 6:40:26 PM EDT by SCWolverine]
Link Posted: 6/22/2016 6:41:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/22/2016 6:46:16 PM EDT by Prosise]
Ditto on the podcast. Find an Elmer and you will learn from experience.. Hang back on any purchases for a little while.. Go have some fun this weekend at field day at a club..


Prosise

Link Posted: 6/22/2016 6:42:26 PM EDT
That's a good place to start - but it will also be useful to have one or more local hams to discuss anything about the hobby or the exam that you might not understand, or to get some hands-on experience with a working "radio shack".

A local ham radio club is usually a good place to start if you don't already know any local hams. The ARRL can give you contact information for local clubs if you don't already have such info.



Link Posted: 6/22/2016 6:44:48 PM EDT
With that kind of background, you should breeze through the tech exam, so go ahead and study for your general at the same time. You'll probably breeze through it, too.

You can knock out both tests for the same fee.

Just make sure you're using the proper study materials. The exams change every few years.


Link Posted: 6/22/2016 7:50:28 PM EDT
Great time to take up the hobby. There will be a whole bunch of people out and working HF this weekend. Its field day weekend!
Most clubs will bend over backwards to get people showing up at field day, and will probably have info there for ya.
Link Posted: 6/22/2016 8:29:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/22/2016 8:30:28 PM EDT by NUCdt04]
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Originally Posted By otar:
Great time to take up the hobby. There will be a whole bunch of people out and working HF this weekend. Its field day weekend!
Most clubs will bend over backwards to get people showing up at field day, and will probably have info there for ya.
View Quote



I agree

get out to a local field day site - that's how I caught the bug and I'd recommend it to anyone.


be sure to get your hands dirty - put up antennas, hook up wires, help cook.... whatever is needed.
Link Posted: 6/22/2016 9:02:47 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By NUCdt04:



I agree

get out to a local field day site - that's how I caught the bug and I'd recommend it to anyone.


be sure to get your hands dirty - put up antennas, hook up wires, help cook.... whatever is needed.
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Originally Posted By NUCdt04:
Originally Posted By otar:
Great time to take up the hobby. There will be a whole bunch of people out and working HF this weekend. Its field day weekend!
Most clubs will bend over backwards to get people showing up at field day, and will probably have info there for ya.



I agree

get out to a local field day site - that's how I caught the bug and I'd recommend it to anyone.


be sure to get your hands dirty - put up antennas, hook up wires, help cook.... whatever is needed.


This is the best, and worst answer.

The only reason I say that is because if you have a good local club, field day can be a great experience with lots of opportunities to learn. However, if you have a bad club, if can make you want to give up before you ever get started. Just remember that if you choose to find a place to participate in field day and it turns into a bad experience, not all hams are like that. In fact most aren't, especially here where we have some great guys and a ton of knowledge and experience.
Link Posted: 6/22/2016 9:18:54 PM EDT
This is an incredibly diverse hobby.

You can be/do anything with it.

Some guys here are true techies, some are operators (like me) and some are both.

I can say I've had a lot of fun chasing DX, running guerrilla portable ops and working for entry level awards.

I have 210 DX entities confirmed and have made a number of overseas friends in the process.
Link Posted: 6/22/2016 9:55:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/22/2016 9:57:58 PM EDT by Frank_B]
Welcome to our crazy hobby. It's the other BRD.

Go ahead and try for your General at the same time. HF opens up so much more than just the Technician.

There are friencly clubs and some that are not so friendly. Don't let the bad ones get in your way as they are in the minority.

incidentally, our hobby is referred to as simply "ham radio", not HAM. It's not an acronym.
Link Posted: 6/23/2016 9:31:42 AM EDT
Thanks for all the info; I'm going to hit the local field day this weekend. I'll post an update later.
Link Posted: 6/23/2016 9:57:54 AM EDT

I guess I would ask "which part of the hobby most fascinates you?"

That will determine where best to start.

Fair warning though, the hobby has a lot of wandering paths. I get lost a lot.
Link Posted: 6/23/2016 11:41:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/23/2016 11:42:54 AM EDT by Frank_B]
Since you're comfortable with electronics, consider building a DC (Direct Conversion) receiver for one of the HF ham bands. They're very simple and can provide usable signals with just some wire tossed out into a nearby tree, or even strung around the ceiling or attic. 40 Meters will provide the most activity. Parts are readily available from vendors such as www.mouser.com and digikey.com.

I don't know if anybody's still offering kits, but numerous plans are available online. Example: https://frrl.wordpress.com/2008/11/15/direct-conversion-receiver-making-friends-with-the-signetics-sa602/

FWIW, many hams enjoy making their own gear (homebrewing).
Link Posted: 6/23/2016 1:12:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/23/2016 1:15:31 PM EDT by Gamma762]
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Originally Posted By PanzerOfDoom:
I'm going to hit the local field day this weekend.
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Originally Posted By PanzerOfDoom:
I'm going to hit the local field day this weekend.

Amateur radio folks always suggest field day.

Keep in mind that if you go, what you will hear on the air is not indicative of typical operating conditions. The voice bands are barely organized chaos on field day.

Originally Posted By Frank_B:
incidentally, our hobby is referred to as simply "ham radio", not HAM. It's not an acronym.

Actually it's "amateur radio", "ham" is a slang term and often used derisively by those outside the activity.
Link Posted: 6/23/2016 2:33:10 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Gamma762:

Actually it's "amateur radio", "ham" is a slang term and often used derisively by those outside the activity.
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Originally Posted By Gamma762:
...incidentally, our hobby is referred to as simply "ham radio", not HAM. It's not an acronym.

Actually it's "amateur radio", "ham" is a slang term and often used derisively by those outside the activity.

In 62 years of pounding brass, my experience has been to the contrary. You may be thinking of the term "LID", which originated with the land-line telegraphers and carried over into radio telegraphy, then voice, and digital modes.
Link Posted: 6/23/2016 4:01:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/23/2016 4:01:49 PM EDT by Gamma762]
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Originally Posted By Frank_B:

In 62 years of pounding brass, my experience has been to the contrary. You may be thinking of the term "LID", which originated with the land-line telegraphers and carried over into radio telegraphy, then voice, and digital modes.
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Originally Posted By Frank_B:
Originally Posted By Gamma762:
...incidentally, our hobby is referred to as simply "ham radio", not HAM. It's not an acronym.

Actually it's "amateur radio", "ham" is a slang term and often used derisively by those outside the activity.

In 62 years of pounding brass, my experience has been to the contrary. You may be thinking of the term "LID", which originated with the land-line telegraphers and carried over into radio telegraphy, then voice, and digital modes.

Absolutely no one outside of amateur radio knows what the term "lid" means in the usage you describe.

Tons of people outside of amateur radio use "ham" in a derogatory fashion. In common linguistic usage it means clumsy, ineffectual, and/or comedic. With regards to radio, by the uninformed it's generally interchangeable with CB or other hobbyists and often associated with creating interference to "normal" activities.
Link Posted: 6/24/2016 5:24:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/24/2016 5:31:40 AM EDT by Dr_Dickie]
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Originally Posted By Gamma762:

Absolutely no one outside of amateur radio knows what the term "lid" means in the usage you describe.

Tons of people outside of amateur radio use "ham" in a derogatory fashion. In common linguistic usage it means clumsy, ineffectual, and/or comedic. With regards to radio, by the uninformed it's generally interchangeable with CB or other hobbyists and often associated with creating interference to "normal" activities.
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Originally Posted By Gamma762:
Originally Posted By Frank_B:
Originally Posted By Gamma762:
...incidentally, our hobby is referred to as simply "ham radio", not HAM. It's not an acronym.

Actually it's "amateur radio", "ham" is a slang term and often used derisively by those outside the activity.

In 62 years of pounding brass, my experience has been to the contrary. You may be thinking of the term "LID", which originated with the land-line telegraphers and carried over into radio telegraphy, then voice, and digital modes.

Absolutely no one outside of amateur radio knows what the term "lid" means in the usage you describe.

Tons of people outside of amateur radio use "ham" in a derogatory fashion. In common linguistic usage it means clumsy, ineffectual, and/or comedic. With regards to radio, by the uninformed it's generally interchangeable with CB or other hobbyists and often associated with creating interference to "normal" activities.
I have never met anyone that used HAM in a derogatory fashion--ever.
When I was in commercial radio, several of the engineers were HAM radio folks, that was how they referred to it (as did everyone I have known since the 1960s when I was first introduced to the term), not once have I ever had anyone say it like it was anything more than someone who was a amateur radio operator.
Just my experience.

To PanzerOfDoom, just ask here. You will get the best advice and we love to spend other folks money.
Be certain to ask which radio is best

Oh and when you test, go for both tech and general at the same time (or even extra)! There is a huge overlap between tech and general, and general gets you most all of HF (which, to me, is where it is at).
take the practice tests at QRZ. Just taking the tests every now and again for a week or two will get you your general license. Extra will require a bit more work (or you might just guess well enough to get it!!). The license is a license to learn. But ask anything here.
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