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Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

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  • Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

    Ever since a group of local hams blew everyone's mind at the first (and subsequent) Hawaii Geek Meet (which started as the HawaiiThreads annual anniversary picnic), I told myself I'd get a license and get on the air myself.

    There's an active amateur radio community here in the islands, and many of its members are friends. Heck, many veteran HawaiiThreads members were licensed, too (Pineapplejuice, Richfuel...). I borrowed a book or two from some of them years ago, but never opened them. But it seemed every few months I'd run into them at an event, and have to admit that I'd not done anything to get there.

    Well, at this year's Geek Meet, I made the same old excuses. But Ron Hashiro (AH6RH) stepped up and said, "I don't teach anymore, but if I tutored you personally, would you commit?"

    I couldn't turn down an offer like that. My radio cohost Burt (Quark) and I had both been procrastinating for ages. So just like that, we bought a book, we printed out some online study guides, and we'd meet with Ron every week.

    Turns out I picked one of the hardest years of my life to knock this one item off my bucket list. But I persevered. I studied and practiced more than I'd studied or practiced anything since college (which, mind you, took me nine years to get through). And this week, Burt and I took our Technician class license exam, and passed. Our forms are on their way to the FCC, and in about a week, we'll have our callsigns.

    However archaic it seems, it's still relevant in terms of independent communications and emergency response. Amateur radio is pretty "old school," the first global "social network" in a way, and that certainly appeals to me as well.

    I cant wait to get my first radio, get on the air, and go to my first "Field Day" (June 23). So I thought I'd share, and ask if anyone else here is a ham?

  • #2
    Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

    No, but I have access to all the equipment needed, and have had numerous opportunities to be walked through the licensing process. I think my drawback is that I just hate electronic stuff so much, that I dread the idea of having to learn how to keep the equipment tuned in, etc, to do HAM. It's not like turning on a TV and "boom it works".

    Both my mom and dad are HAMs, so I know a bit about it from observation.


    Congrats on sticking to it and getting your license!
    Now run along and play, but don’t get into trouble.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

      The thought has crossed my mind. Another friend of mine recently got his license. Don't know if he is actively doing the radio thing or not.

      If Ham radio is anything like shortwave radio, I often wonder how is the reception both transmitting and more importantly receiving here in urban Honolulu. I used to have a shortwave receiver that worked wonderfully well when I took it to the rural country of the Big Island but was always met with interference (local stations heard on SW bands) in the urban core where I live.

      Because of that I was/and still am not motivated. This has to be convenient for me to use right here in the city and not require a trip out to the country just to listen much less transmit.

      Also what is the cost of typical gear on the low end for beginners?
      I'm still here. Are you?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

        What do hams do on air, anything but yammer at each other?
        https://www.facebook.com/Bobby-Ingan...5875444640256/

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

          Yes, the yammer with each other, but additionally they are capable of yammering worldwide, including to/from ships at sea.

          They also provide emergency communication in the case of disasters (earthquakes, etc). From the FCC:
          When normal communications systems are not available, amateur stations may make transmissions necessary to provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property [47 CFR 97.403]. This provision of emergency communications is regulated by Part 97, Subpart E of the FCC's rules. One advantage for amateur radio operators in public emergency communications is the wide range of available frequencies [47CFR 97.407].5
          They are regulated by the FCC, and licensed, so it you won't find misbehavior by a$$holes. That makes it an attractive hobby for lots of folks.
          Now run along and play, but don’t get into trouble.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

            Not a ham, but have access to Radio Shack Trunking Scanner that can receive in the 6 meter (50-54 MHz) and 2 meter (144-148 MHz) range.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

              Originally posted by Amati View Post
              ...additionally they are capable of yammering worldwide, including to/from ships at sea.

              They also provide emergency communication in the case of disasters (earthquakes, etc).

              They are regulated by the FCC, and licensed, so it you won't find misbehavior by a$$holes.
              Whoa, well then!

              That is the big plus, when the stickypoo hits the fan they will be the saviours.

              Aw shoots, auto-me-out...
              https://www.facebook.com/Bobby-Ingan...5875444640256/

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

                Congratulations, Ryan!
                I remember a while back they were going to ease up on the Morse Code requirements for the test. It used to be so tough that many people didn't take the test for that reason (including me ).
                I'm not licensed but I've listened to ham radio extensively for a few decades for sailing-related stuff. First when I was writing articles for the boating magazines on major long distance races. The fleets were required to do daily check-ins on ham radio, usually follwed by an hour or so of chatting to each other. People used to wonder how my articles had so much 'insider' info, and a lot of it was from listening to ham radio.
                Also, you mentioned that it was the first 'social network' and that's true. There were and still are many 'nets' for long-distance cruising sailors. It's a way for sailing friends to stay in touch and to get helpful info on weather, potential dangers, etc etc. (Especially true now regarding Somali pirates.) There's also 'nets' in individual harbors, run by sailors who live there who can provide info to new arrivals about where to moor or dock, legal requirements for entering that port, where to resupply, etc.
                Also, it used to be legal (and probably still is) for non-licensed people to use ham radio in cases of major emergencies. As I said earlier, 99% of my ham use was listening only, but there were a few instances where I was on my boats doing search and rescue work and used ham for two-way communications when we were too far offshore for normal VHF radio use.
                Congratulations again, Ry!
                Last edited by LikaNui; June 8, 2012, 10:08 AM.
                .
                .

                That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

                  Thanks! I got on the air on UHF (70cm) after some fumbling, but I'm learning a lot of activity lives at the VHF (2m) range, so I probably bought the wrong starter gear. Mel, you can get a dual-band handheld ham radio for $100, though the good ones will run you $400-$500. Once you start building a "ham shack" at home with receivers, power supplies, antenna, and so on, you could be looking at thousands.

                  I'm already studying to try and get my licensed upgraded from Technician to General class. The last, highest class is Amateur Extra, but the 700-question exam pool changes next month, so I'm going to let that settle for a while.

                  If you want to see hams doing what they do, come down to the front lawn of Bachman Hall on Saturday, June 23. It's international "Field Day," where amateur radio folks around the world gather to make contacts and practice their emergency preparedness.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

                    One of my pleasures in this realm is building equipment from scratch.
                    Obviously that excludes high end store bought radios.

                    I really enjoy antenna construction and mast mounted low noise pre amplifiers.
                    A very enjoyable pastime is trying to catch ducting , which funnels transmissions here
                    and there via weather related events. Carry on Gentlemen and Gentlewomen.!


                    Last edited by lensperson; June 18, 2012, 11:21 PM. Reason: afterthought

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

                      Originally posted by pzarquon View Post

                      I cant wait to get my first radio, get on the air, and go to my first "Field Day" (June 23). So I thought I'd share, and ask if anyone else here is a ham?
                      Have fun on Field Day!

                      My callsign is KU5Q.

                      I operate CW most of the time.


                      Last edited by tlp123; June 23, 2012, 05:37 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

                        One very interesting site for the homebrew enthusiast is www.sparkbangbuzz.com
                        The focus is on using commonly available stuff to make oscillators and such
                        from various minerals including Iron Pyrite.
                        The author includes oscilloscope traces of his fascinating experiments.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

                          Originally posted by pzarquon View Post
                          And this week, Burt and I took our Technician class license exam, and passed. Our forms are on their way to the FCC, and in about a week, we'll have our callsigns.

                          However archaic it seems, it's still relevant in terms of independent communications and emergency response. Amateur radio is pretty "old school," the first global "social network" in a way, and that certainly appeals to me as well.
                          Kinda makes me wish internet use was also similarly licensed. Would do wonders in filtering out the immature, potty-mouthed riff-raff that has ruined/curtailed many a once-quality online forum, HT not excluded.
                          This post may contain an opinion that may conflict with your opinion. Do not take it personal. Polite discussion of difference of opinion is welcome.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

                            Originally posted by tlp123 View Post
                            Have fun on Field Day! My callsign is KU5Q.
                            Thanks! Field Day was great. I made a video:

                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWAOjXXJe-M

                            And posted some photos:

                            http://www.flickr.com/photos/hawaii/...7630258274930/

                            And I took and passed the exam to upgrade my license to General!

                            The dropping of the morse code requirement opened things up quite a bit, but there are still people studying and practicing it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

                              Originally posted by pzarquon View Post
                              Thanks! Field Day was great. I made a video:

                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWAOjXXJe-M

                              And posted some photos:

                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/hawaii/...7630258274930/

                              And I took and passed the exam to upgrade my license to General!

                              The dropping of the morse code requirement opened things up quite a bit, but there are still people studying and practicing it.

                              Good deal!

                              Fine business on the videos.

                              Best wishes to you in the ham radio hobby. It has many, many aspects to examine. Hopefully, you will find many to enjoy, and upgrade to Extra soon.

                              de KU5Q

                              Comment

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