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Thread: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

  1. #1
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    Red face 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. #2

    Default 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 donít get into trouble.

  3. #3
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    Default 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?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

    What do hams do on air, anything but yammer at each other?

  5. #5

    Default 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 donít get into trouble.

  6. #6
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    Default 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.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

    Quote 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...

  8. #8
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    Default 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 8th, 2012 at 09:08 AM.
    .
    .

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

  9. #9
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    Exclamation 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.

  10. #10

    Default 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 18th, 2012 at 10:21 PM. Reason: afterthought

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

    Quote 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 23rd, 2012 at 04:37 AM.

  12. #12

    Default 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.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

    Quote 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.

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

    Quote 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.

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

    Quote 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

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

    Picked up a Radio Shack scanner a couple of weekends ago. This one can pickup the 10 meter, 6 meter, 2 meter and 70 centimeter amateur bands.

    One of these days need to go for the Technician amateur license.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

    Quote Originally Posted by helen View Post

    One of these days need to go for the Technician amateur license.
    Hopefully, you will be interested in studying and passing the exam. You may find it's not difficult.

    Also, you may already know there is much information available across the internet on ham radio.

    www.qrz.com is a popular website.

    There are free practice tests for the technician class license here;

    http://www.qrz.com/ht/?op=start&t=t2010

    Your interests may motivate you to find a radio club & VE (volunteer examiner) team to administer the test when you are ready.


    Best wishes to you as you pursue your interests.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

    I took the practice test a few weeks ago, didn't pass the parts dealing with antenna safety and FCC regulations.

    Do have the study guide and will attempt the test later in the fall.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

    Quote Originally Posted by helen View Post
    I took the practice test a few weeks ago, didn't pass the parts dealing with antenna safety and FCC regulations.

    Do have the study guide and will attempt the test later in the fall.
    Good deal Helen, I'm sure you'll get it

  20. #20

    Smile Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

    A talented group of students recently found a way to use maser amplifiers at
    room temperature.

    Maser amps are closely akin to lasers and were one of the few ways to amplify

    microwave signals with a decent signal to noise ratio.

    Thus enabling very weak signals from satellites and various space probes
    to be read.

    Parametric amplifiers were used earlier,and are another fascinating topic
    worthy of lots of reading and research.
    Congrats to those who master morse code. It has the ability to be heard
    and deciphered through large amounts of QRM.


    The early models used liquid ammonia gas and were pesky to operate.

    Later on , new semiconductors like Gallium Arsenide made the use of microwave bands seem routine.
    Last edited by lensperson; August 16th, 2012 at 11:33 PM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

    Quote Originally Posted by lensperson View Post
    Congrats to those who master morse code. It has the ability to be heard
    and deciphered through large amounts of QRM.
    Yes, morse (CW-emission mode A1A) is the only mode I use in ham radio. Most of the time, a straight key with my favorite hf xcvr here;


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

    You enthusiasts are... too cool!

    Had I my 40 year old brain, I might join in! Alas, those days are 25 years gone.
    Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!
    ~ ~
    Kaʻonohiʻulaʻokahōkūmiomioʻehiku
    Spreading the virus of ALOHA.
    Oh Chu. If only you could have seen what I've seen, with your eyes.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Got ham? Amateur radio in Hawaii!

    You can always listen in, you don't need an Amateur license for that. It is needed when you want to transmit.

    For about $120 you can purchase a Pro-404 scanner from Radio Shack which is what I got a couple of weeks ago.

    Beside being able to receive the Amateur bands it can pick up Marine (as in boats), police/fire, aircraft and the NOAA weather bands.

    A couple of nights ago I came across somebody talking on 444.7250 MHz which was winding down. Last night I tried just after 8pm HST to listen to that frequency and it was getting voice traffic from the US West Coast, then as the time went on had people from Alaska, Nevada, Florida and even someone from Israel joining in.

    At first my reaction was that little handheld scanner powered by 4 AA batteries with 8 inch (guessing on the length) antenna was able to pickup signals from far away places in the middle of urban Honolulu, but after doing some web searching I come to find out that I stumbled across a system of repeaters that has a location on Oahu at 444.7250 MHz.

    What I was listening to was something called the Insomniac Trivia Net.

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