HAM RADIO - IT'S EQUIPMENT:
WILL BE ADDED LATER
HOW DO I GET STARTED?:
Many people start their involvement in amateur radio by finding a local club. We often provide information about licensing, local operating practices, and technical advice. Newcomers also often study independently by purchasing books or other materials, sometimes with the help of a mentor, teacher, or friend. Established amateurs who help newcomers are often referred to as “Elmers” within the ham community.
DO I NEED TO LEARN MORSE CODE?:
Demonstrating a proficiency in Morse code was for many years a requirement to obtain amateur licenses for the HF bands. Following changes in international regulations in 2003, countries are no longer required to demand proficiency. The FCC, for example, phased out this requirement for all license classes in 2007. However, more hams than ever are learning code, as it is very popular worldwide in radio contesting, DXing (contacting other countries,) and QRP (low power) operation.
HOW WILL I UNDERSTAND PEOPLE IN OTHER COUNTRIES, DO THEY SPEAK ENGLISH?:
Although English may be a “second language” for many hams around the world, there is a universal structure for radio contacts that allows a few common items, such as signal strength, location, and the operator’s names, to be exchanged. Nearly all hams, regardless of their location, will use English for this. Also remember that when you are contacting a relatively “rare” country, there are likely to be MANY other hams waiting to make a contact with that station, so it helps to keep the information exchange brief.
HOW MUCH ROOM DO I NEED FOR ANTENNAS / DO I NEED A TOWER?:
The length of an HF dipole (the most popular type) antenna is directly related to the “wavelength” (or “meter band”) it needs to be used on. Usually, it is half the “meter band” length. Therefore, an antenna for 10 meters is usually about 5 meters, or 16 feet long. At the other end of the spectrum (160 meters) that jumps to 262 feet. Antennas should also be up in the air at least the same height as their length. However, there are MANY schemes for fitting HF antennas into limited space, such as an attic or rooftop – and many books are available on the subject. Many consider this to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the hobby
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?:
Basic study materials for passing the FCC test and getting your initial license usually cost less than $40. There are also classes held by many local groups for people who want more interaction. If possible, taking part in one of these classes is the best way to go, but there’s even an online course you can take if your personal schedule is too hectic. Once you have your first license, most hams find it best to start with simple equipment and grow over time. It usually costs less than $300 to get your own first radio and start operating on HF. Many ham radio flea markets are held all over the country that sell good used equipment for even less
HOW FAR AWAY CAN I REACH?:
It is very easy to contact other US states, as well as anywhere else in the world. There is actually a “minimum skip distance” – about 200 miles – because of the fact that the signal needs to “bounce” off the ionosphere, at a certain angle. This means that it is quite often easier to contact say, Australia – than it is to contact someone only 100 miles away.
WHO CAN I CONTACT?:
Amateur radio operators use their stations to make contacts with individuals, as well as participating in round table discussion groups or “rag chew sessions” on the air. Some join in regularly scheduled on-air meetings with other amateur radio operators, called “nets” (as in “networks”) which are moderated by a station referred to as “Net Control”. Nets can allow operators to learn procedures for emergencies, be an informal round table or be topical, covering specific interests shared by a group.
WHAT IS THIS "REPEATER TECHNOLOGY" YOU MENTIONED IN THE VHF BANDS?:
An amateur radio repeater is an electronic device that receives a weak or low-level amateur radio signal and retransmits it at a higher level or higher power, so that the signal can cover longer distances without degradation. Many repeaters are located on hilltops or on tall buildings as the higher location increases their coverage area, sometimes referred to as the radio horizon, or "footprint." Amateur radio repeaters are similar in concept to those used by public safety entities (police, fire department, etc.), businesses, government, military, and more. Amateur radio repeaters are usually assembled from receivers, transmitters, controllers, power supplies, antennas, and other components, from various sources. Marion Amateur Radio Club (MARC) and Marion Amateur Radio Emergency Service (MARES) operate repeaters in the 2 meter and 70 centimeter bands. (See top of page)
DO I HAVE TO BE LICENSED TO OPERATE THIS AMATEUR RADIO EQUIPMENT:
Not to monitor or listen to broadcasts on a multi-band radio or scanner. But, a license is required to transmit on any of the amateur allocated frequencies. Three sequential levels of licensing exams (Technician Class, General Class and Amateur Extra Class) are currently offered, which allow operators who pass them access to larger portions of the Amateur Radio spectrum and more desirable call signs. Although the entry-level technician license grants limited HF radio privileges, those interested in long-distance communication usually obtain the General and Extra licenses. There are also other FCC rules that must be adhered to regarding effective radiated power, types of transmission in certain segments of the bands, types of transmissions according to the class of license you have passed a test for, and other provisions of the FCC rules.
TELL ME MORE ABOUT COMMUNICATING WORLD-WIDE WITH "HF":
HF stands for “High Frequency,” specifically the range of 3 to 30 MHz – as opposed to “VHF” or “UHF,” which are in the hundreds of MHz. You can think of it as “from just above AM, to just below FM.” HF is very popular with hams, who take advantage of direct, long-distance (often inter-continental) communications, and enjoy the “thrill factor” resulting from making contacts in variable conditions. The “HF bands” are:
160 meters – 1.8-2.0 MHz – Actually in the MF portion of the spectrum, it is used for relatively local ham radio contacts during the day when signals are heard via ground wave and, dependent upon transmitter powers and antennas, distances of 50 miles or more may be reached. At night, when the D layer in the ionosphere disappears, distances increase and it may be possible to hear stations several hundreds of miles away. For stations in North America and Europe, it is even possible to make transatlantic contacts when conditions are right if sufficiently good antennas are available at both ends. It is even possible to make contacts over longer distances. For very long distance contacts on this band, the whole of the path must lie in darkness. However, there can be significant improvements at dawn and dusk for contacts with the other side of the globe. These enhancements may only last for 10 to 15 minutes at maximum, and sometimes less.
80 meters – 3.5-4 MHz – Best at night, with significant daytime signal absorption. Works best in winter due to atmospheric noise in summer. In the US and Canada the upper end of the sub-band from 3600-4000 kHz, permits use of single-sideband voice; often referred to as 75 meters.
60 meters – 5 MHz region– A relatively new allocation and only available in a small number of countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. In most countries, the allocation is channelized and may require special application, and in the USA it is mandatory to operate in upper sideband mode.
40 meters – 7.0-7.3 MHz – Considered the most reliable all-season DX band. Popular for DX at night, 40 meters is also reliable for medium distance (1500KM) contacts during the day. Much of this band is shared with broadcasters, and in most countries only the bottom 100 kHz or 200 kHz are available to amateurs. However, due to the high cost of running high power commercial broadcasting facilities; decreased listener-ship and increasing competition from net based international broadcast services, many ‘short wave’ services are being shut down leaving the 40 meter band free of interference for amateur radio use.
30 meters – 10.1-10.15 MHz – a very narrow band, which is shared with non-amateur services. It is recommended that only Morse Code and data transmissions be used here, and in some countries amateur voice transmission is actually prohibited. Not released for amateur use in a small number of countries. Due to its location in the center of the shortwave spectrum, this band provides significant opportunities for long-distance communication at all points of the solar cycle. 30 meters is a WARC band. “WARC” bands are so called due to the special World Administrative Radio Conference allocation of these newer bands to amateur radio use. Amateur radio contests are not run on the WARC bands.
20 meters – 14.0-14.35 MHz – Considered the most popular DX band; usually most popular during daytime. QRP operators recognize 14.060 MHz as their primary calling frequency in that band. Users of the PSK31 data mode tend to congregate around 14.071 MHz. Analog SSTV activity is centered around 14.230 MHz.
17 meters – 18.068-18.168 MHz– Similar to 20m, but more sensitive to solar propagation minima and maxima. 17 meters is a WARC band.
15 meters – 21-21.45 MHz– Most useful during solar maximum, and generally a daytime band. Daytime sporadic-E propagation (1500 km) occasionally occurs on this band.
12 meters – 24.89-24.99 MHz– Mostly useful during daytime, but opens up for DX activity at night during solar maximum. 12 meters is one of the new WARC bands.
10 meters – 28-29.7 MHz– Best long distance (e.g., across oceans) activity is during solar maximum; during periods of moderate solar activity the best activity is found at low latitudes. The band offers useful short to medium range groundwave propagation, day or night. During the late spring and most of the summer, regardless of sunspot numbers, afternoon short band openings into small geographic areas of up to 1500 km occur due to Sporadic-E propagation. “Sporadic-E” is caused by areas of intense ionization in the E layer of the ionosphere. The causes of Sporadic-E are not fully understood, but these “clouds” of ionization can provide short term propagation from 17 meters all the way up to occasional 2 meter openings.
WHAT IS THE BROADEST CLASSIFICATION OF HAM (OR AMATEUR) RADIO:
The first breakdown of ham (or amateur) radio would be into four basic categories; LF, HF, VHF, and UHF.
The LF (Low Frequency) amateur radio band is 135.7-137.8 KHz. The 136 kHz amateur radio band has only been available for radio amateurs in the past few years and is proving to be very popular with experimenters who are interested in LF band operations and the unique challenges it presents in ham radio.
The HF (High Frequency) amateur radio bands provide a vast variety of global communications, divided into 9 frequency bands to take advantage of propagation characteristics of the varying frequencies from 1.8 to 29.7 MHz.
The VHF (Very High Frequency) amateur radio bands are:most popular for local and regional communications usually incorporating repeater technology.
The UHF (Ultra High Frequency) amateur radio bands with the highest amateur frequencies are popular for local and mobile communications and for experimentation..
MARION'S CLUB REPEATERS
From homemade to ultra-expensive, from hand-held to base stations to repeaters.
THE HISTORY OF HAM RADIO:
Amateur radio came into being after radio waves were proved to exist by Heinrich Rudolf Hertz in 1888 and were adopted into a wired communication system in the 1890s by the Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi. Following Marconi's success many people began experimenting with this new form of “wireless telegraphy”. Information on "Hertzian wave" based wireless telegraphy systems (the name "radio" would not come into common use until several years later) was sketchy, with magazines such as the November, 1901 issue of Amateur Work showing how to build a simple system based on Hertz' early experiments. Magazines show a continued progress by amateurs including a 1904 story on two Boston, Massachusetts 8th graders constructing a transmitter and receiver with a range of eight miles and a 1906 story about two Rhode Island teenagers building a wireless station in a chicken coop. In the US the first commercially produced wireless telegraphy transmitter / receiver systems became available to experimenters and amateurs in 1905. In 1908, students at Columbia University formed the Wireless Telegraph Club of Columbia University, now the Columbia University Amateur Radio Club. This is the earliest recorded formation of an amateur radio club, collegiate or otherwise. In 1910, the Amateurs of Australia formed what is now the Wireless Institute of Australia. To curb interference, Congress approved the Radio Act of 1912, which required amateurs to be licensed and restricted to the single wavelength of 200 meters. In 1914 the American Radio Relay League was founded by Hiram Percy Maxim, who found that messages could be sent more reliably over long distances if relay stations were organized. Transatlantic transmitting and receiving tests began in 1921 and by July 1960 the first two-way contact via the Moon took place on 1296 MHz.
Today we’re on CW, phone, SSB, AM, FM, packet, TV, DIGITAL, and other modes, bouncing signals off the ground, ionosphere, satallites, and the Moon. Hams are active in nearly every country of the world and from ages less than 10 years to more than 100.
About Ham Radio
It's operational conventions and rules ... Under the FCC..
It's history and what it is today.
234 S. High St.; P.O. Box 241; Caledonia, OH 43314-0241