View Full Version : New to the site and studying for my license

01-25-2016, 06:06 PM
Hi, I retired and am studying for my first license. My dad is a ham W2NZH for some reason I was never interested in getting a license until now. I'll have plenty of questions such as a good first radio and antenna for a fiberglass class A RV.

01-25-2016, 07:06 PM
Well, welcome aboard! :welcome:

I'm a 5ver guy myself but the motorhome folks will be along in awhile with lots of answers.

If you need help prepping for the test just let someone around here know.

01-25-2016, 07:20 PM
Hi there, Accumack. For each of your "plenty of questions" you'll get plenty of answers here, each wildly different from any of the others and each sensible and worth reading.


01-26-2016, 10:28 AM
The answer depends on the band. For VHF/UHF most any of the NO GROUND PLANE offerings from Diamond, Comet and others are nice (mine are Diamond). though for 2 meters I also use either a J-Pole or a coxial dipole (Again depending on different things.

Be sure to keep the tip of the antenna BELOW 13'6" (I keep 'em to 13 or less) and spring mount so if you hit a low hanging tree limb (Seen it happen) the antenna survices (It was a motor home that hit the limb not an antenna, thankfullly low speed so only the limb (Dead) was damaged).

For HF, the Screwdriver line is one of the more popular but there are other options. I use 50-100 feet of wire (Currently 50) supported on fishing poles and flag poles around the rig or on trees (this park has no trees)

01-27-2016, 03:57 PM
Welcome accumak, I am a late bloomer also. My dad was a ham also, k6vhg, and I didn't get my tech license till I was 66 and my general at 68. I don't know why I waited so long, I love the hobby now. Fell in love with JT65. Last year I. Requested a new call sign and am now the new k6vhg, to honor my dad.

01-28-2016, 01:25 PM
Don't know where you live but you may check arrl.org to see if there are any classes in your area. Here in the West Atlanta area we will be starting a 3 session class for Tech license on Feb 6th and 2 more Saturday sessions with an exam at the last class. Right now we are full up with 60 people going to take the class so we will be busy. And 2 months later another 40 for a Tech class. As a VE I suggest you get an ARRL license manual, you can get it from Amazon in print or download to a Kindle or any online/store ham radio dealer, and also check out http://www.hamstudy.org online. Do online testing at http://www.aa9pw.com for practice.
Since you have a class A I would suggest a Yaesu FT-857D for all bands and small size since space may be a premium that won't break the bank, but you may want to wait on getting that much radio at first. Also check on an Eagle One vertical antenna that can mount on your rear ladder, not for mobile use though.

Welcome to the forum, Wade is the gate keeper and great to work with. A great bunch of guys here. Good luck on your studies and don't stop with just a Tech license, jump right in to upgrades.

01-29-2016, 07:15 PM
I've been taking online practice tests and I am consistently over 85% for the technician test.
The earliest test date I see is mid March so I will keep practicing until then. I'm currently in Southern California until end of March beginning of April.

02-02-2016, 12:25 PM
Would this be a good first radio?

02-02-2016, 07:10 PM
They are good radios I have one in my truck. They are FM only units so using 6 meters will only be good for simplex or repeaters on the upper end however 6 and 10 meter FM when the band is open can be a lot of fun. I my case I wanted the 6 meter band because we operate several 6 meter repeaters and really had no real need for the 10 meter band so I can get by fine with a 3 band antenna that gives me a full 1/4 on 6. It's pretty rare to see an FM 10 meter opening but the radio is a great price for a 4 band radio. Another nice thing about them the head can be remoted with a standard 6 pin phone cable no need for an expensive kit.

02-02-2016, 11:08 PM
Looks like a nice radio, but if I were you I'd get a 2m-only radio for 1/3 the price until I had my "sea legs" -- so to speak. Then, as you develop a knowledge of which parts of the hobby are most interesting for you, you can consider more-complicated rigs, including ones with hf and multi-mode capability. The little you spend for that first 2m rig won't be wasted -- it'll continue useful forever despite its almost throw-away price. I have a nice all-mode all-band radio that I very seldom use (Icom IC-7000), and no fewer than four 2m rigs (Kenwood TM-281A) -- one in the motor home, one in the toad, one on a little electric scooter I use at hamfests (it's like the electric carts in grocery stores), and one still in the box. That's in addition to two TM-261As that are APRS trackers, and several handhelds that I never use.

In other words, don't spend much money until you've got a little experience. On 2m you can get to know local hams and get a feel for what you most enjoy.

02-03-2016, 12:25 PM
You can check a repeater directory for your area and see what's out there that may help your decision if 2 meters is it than the rest may not be worth it. We are blessed with mountains where I am and have repeaters for pretty much every thing from 6M to 33CM and even DMR repeaters.

02-10-2016, 03:25 PM
I am scheduled for my technician test on Saturday. Wish me luck.

02-10-2016, 03:42 PM
Reading your posts, I judge that you're intelligent and diligent. You'll do well.

Since you're going to pass the Technician, you'll be offered the General test at no added cost. Take it; many do, and many get a pleasant surprise. Pass the General? Take the Extra. Nothing to lose, and something to gain.

If the examiners neglect to offer the next test, request it. You're entitled.

As they say in Show Business, break a leg! That's the strongest good-luck wish there is.

02-11-2016, 01:54 PM
Radio and antenna depend on class of license.. But frankly you need to drop in on HRO or AES or Dayton Ham Vention (Best) or Orlando HamCation) Also good. and play with a few dozen radios.

For VHFUHF, I use Diamond dual banders

For HF I use a long wire, Most use Screwdrivers.

02-13-2016, 08:09 PM
I passed the Technician test I missed 1 question. I'll take the General next month.

02-14-2016, 10:24 AM
I passed the Technician test I missed 1 question. I'll take the General next month.

Good job! Now you can think about a DC to day light radio!

02-14-2016, 04:06 PM
Good news! Celebrate with ham & eggs. Green, if you like green eggs & ham.

02-14-2016, 08:39 PM

welcome to the clan!

02-24-2016, 04:47 PM
My license was just posted on the FCC website. I'm KG5LTL. My 10 meter radio should be here in the next few days. I have a Baofeng uv5r for 2 meters for the road.

02-24-2016, 06:59 PM
SSB 10 meter? If you don't have one get a programing cable for the Baofeng their cheap!

02-24-2016, 07:38 PM
The programing cable is coming from China it was shipped a couple of weeks ago and should be here in couple of more.

02-24-2016, 08:26 PM
I had a Radio Shack 10 meter in my previous truck. It's the same radio as a "Ranger" just with the RS name on it. Nice rig! Used a center loaded RS CB antenna. Worked all over North Africa and Eastern Europe with that thing running mobile with 25 watts.

What fun that was!

02-24-2016, 10:52 PM
Accumack, are you a full time RVer? I see your address is Livingston, TX at an Escapees RV park. I go through Livingston on my way to DD's house in Magnolia, TX. Last time we stopped at Sandy Creek COE west of Jasper (a beautiful lake). It may this fall before I get back that way since I have a 2000+ mile trip planned in late July going to Iowa for my 55th year class reunion, the trip to Magnolia is about 1700 miles round trip. If you are still around there I'll give you a call on 146.52 or a local repeater.

02-25-2016, 06:25 PM
We don't spend time at Livingston. We are currently wintering in Hemet, CA. and are heading to Bastrop Texas in late March early April then to New Mexico. Back to Hemet then back to New Mexico and heading up to South Dakota for the summer. I have a 10 meter unit coming in tomorrow and will use that when parked.

03-17-2016, 10:17 AM
I passed my General last Saturday in Palm Springs CA. I'm going to wait to study for my Extra as the test questions change July 1st. I'm going to try to learn CW in the mean time.

03-18-2016, 09:28 AM
1st Radio and antenna depends on many things.

First what band: VHF/UHF
For VHF/UHF a good NO GROUND PLANE antenna, Diamond, Comet, Single or dual band (Depending) works well. Mine is mounted on the Mirror arm, but a second one can be mounted... in other places. (long story).

These antennas do not need a metal surface.

Radios: There are some very cheap China made hand healds like the Baoefeng (Which I happen to have one of) I'm not very impressed with it.. Though many say it is hard to "program" I've not had that problem,, But it flat does not perform as well as I'd like. I think I paid 50 bucks.

Yeseau, Kenwood and Icom all have very good radios, both hand held and "mounted" single and dual band, and some of them offer advanced modes like Digital. Hand healds can sell for as much as 500 dollars or more... Generally mounted radios are lower in cost. (You can get a decent used one from HRO or some such for as low as 100 bucks if you are lucky, perhaps less at a swap meet).

HF, I Picked Kenwood (TS-2000) back when the model number was the price, along with a KAT-1 Auto tuner and a long wire (Currently 50 feet) and a few fishing poles and a flag pole to hole it up.. (I really like a longer wire)

ICOM also makes some great stuff as does Ten-Tec, Yesau, Elecraft and a host of other companies.. I actually would hesitiate to recommend any of them over the others.

OH, so why did I pick the TS-2000... Well I measured the space where I was going to mount it, and I measured the TS-2000 (And a few others) it fit, the others did not.

03-18-2016, 09:29 AM
Suggestion.. If you can convince your traveling partner to get a Tech license.. The little Baofeng or the other company (Starts with W as I recall) might be a good "Intercom" rig for when one of you is outside and the other is inside.