Hand held ham radio for the BRD

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Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby teardropper » Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:32 pm

Complete rookie with ham radio. Will be spending a lot more time in the Black Rock next year with the Spring Monitoring Project and want to get a good hand held. Talked to a couple of BLM guys last year at Rendezvous and they explained the repeaters to me. I'm just beginning to look at these so any input from those that're using 'em would be appreciated.
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby gyre » Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:36 pm

Phil?
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby phil » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:48 pm

What's your callsign, teardropper?
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby teardropper » Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:07 pm

Phil, I'm really at the beginning of this. I am not a ham guy at all. Meaning I know little and still have yet to get my license. Are you a ham operator? Would take any recommendations you might have for course to get it and the radio, too.
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby TT120 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:56 pm

The test for the Technician class license is very easy. There are web sites that have sample questions from the FCC test. You can study a bit and pass easily. Once you get that, you can use 2 meter and 440Mhz walkie talkies. These are the most common ones these days. I think there is a 2 meter repeater in range of BRC. I have a General class license and will be bringing some of my equipment to see what I can find. My call is W6BJD. I've never been so I can't say for sure but I'll wager there will be traffic on 2 meters, 440 Mhz, FRS/GMRS, and CB out there.
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby gyre » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:31 pm

Do you still have to code?
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby TT120 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:58 am

No code. They dropped that requirement.
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby illy dilly » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:37 am

I've also, thought a lot about getting a HAM set up....
But I know so little that I need to do a lot more research before I even have questions.
Any further discussion and insight would truly helpful.
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby teardropper » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:32 pm

A couple of BLM guys spoke on this last year. My understanding from the limited time I spoke to them and the limited knowledge I have about this is that there are repeaters all around the Black Rock, not just the playa. He said a handheld would probably be able to hook up to one, and that a $100 unit would probably work fine --- for that purpose. Right now that is my purpose, to have limited and emergency contact with the outside world. This, ham radio, is a fascinating 'hobby', my uncle had extensive equipment that I used to marvel at, but right now I would like to USE it for this purpose. My wife pointed out the 'dangers' of its hobby status -- I think she meant the money I tend to spend on shit. I've seen a couple of books on Amazon that appear would teach me what I need to know. Then, which inexpensive handheld??? TT120, are you talking about bringing your stuff to Rendezvous? That'd be great, but I hope to have my license and my first handheld, and maybe a stick on antennae, to use and test out by then.

Oh yeah, they also recommended the helicopter medivac policy that would get me, or any family member out of the desert for the, I believe, $65/year premium. Instead of a $15,000 fee. Works for me and my wife all year for any medical emergency, any time, including BM.
Last edited by teardropper on Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby illy dilly » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:38 pm

Thats kinda where I'm at too.
I'd like to start cheap and portable. But a radio that would be reliable.

For emergency service and chit chatting on playa.

Also, wouldn't hurt to have at home, godda be ready for Z-day! :wink:
Why don't ya stick your head in that hole and find out? ~piehole
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby teardropper » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:52 pm

illy dilly wrote: godda be ready for Z-day!


Don't know exactly what Z-day is, but fear it is an apocalyptic reference. Not because I think you're crazy, 'cause I've got beans and rice and water in metal storage cans in the basement. (Drop dry ice into your cans, let it 'purge' the oxygen and it increases the storage life by years.)

...but I digress from the ham handheld inquiry...
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby illy dilly » Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:20 pm

teardropper wrote:
illy dilly wrote: godda be ready for Z-day!


Don't know exactly what Z-day is, but fear it is an apocalyptic reference.
...but I digress from the ham handheld inquiry...

Correct,
"Z-day" is the slang term for the Zombie Apocalypse. But, is commonly used to mean "any sort of apocalyptic event" and by associated it with zombies makes it a little funny.
and makes it seem like your 'just kidding' so people don't know your crazy
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby phil » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:50 pm

Thanks to TT120 for all the helpful information. This has been covered on ePlaya before: http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?t=38593

The information includes local repeaters. I have a little Alinco 0.3W radio that I used in Reno to talk to a guy in Gerlach on the repeater. Normally, handheld radios are 5W, so the range in the Reno area is gigantic. The link I've posted gives information on how to get on the local repeaters.

Please, please, please, use the repeaters with proper callsigns and courtesy. I've been on local threads, and we cause a great deal of aggravation with our 'playa fox' and such slang without callsigns. The people in the Black Rock area _need_ the repeaters to be available because many times there's no phone coverage.

Get on the Burning Hams email list and you'll get to meet lots of people you'll never see. There's a noon time net on simplex on the playa (you'll get to understand simplex and repeater usage when you get your license and start learning about ham radio -- ask on Burning Hams.)

Here's a link to study guides: http://kb6nu.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/07/2006techstudyguide.pdf

I recommend giving it a quick read even if you don't understand what all's going on --it's a nice overview.

The test questions and answers are available online: http://www.ncvec.org/downloads/Revised%20Element%202.Pdf
Louise and I downloaded the questions and answers, memorized the right answers, took the test in 5 or 10 minutes on a Saturday, and had our licenses and callsigns on Monday. As TT says, no Morse code is required for any license level.

Study the test, go here: http://www.eham.net/exams/ and take the technician practice test until you pass. Go here: http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session and enter your ZIP code in the box and find an exam given in your area. Here's what you bring to the exam: http://www.arrl.org/what-to-bring-to-an-exam-session. There's a modest fee (I can't remember what we were charged; twenty bucks? Twelve?)

I recommend joining a local club: http://www.arrl.org/find-a-club and ask for advice on handheld radios and for help setting up your first one. You'll get all sorts of conflicting advice, including from me. I recommend a cheap or used one as your first HT because you'll get one you find you won't need all the features of or that you really really need a feature it doesn't have -- but nobody knows what that feature is till you find out what you'll use it for. Alinco used to be the cheapest, but Wouxun is now the cheapest radio I recommend. BaoFeng has a $45 radio, but some models don't meet FCC requirements and are thus illegal to use in the US even though they're sold here; don't buy one unless you can confirm that particular radio meets US specs. Models by Yaesu, Icom, and Kenwood are more expensive but excellent choices. I'd suggest a Wouxun for the playa and as a first radio, although many will disagree. shrug -- they're expendable and you can learn from them (the radios, not the people who disagree). I've got a pair, and people are surprised to find out I'm using them -- they can't tell by listening.

Sorry this is so long. Let's plan a meet up on the playa via radio.
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby teardropper » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:11 pm

Wow. Sorry that it's been covered -- does the new search work better than the last one...? I'll have to check.

Thanks. That's what I was looking for. I appreciate that people are serious about this radio. I want it mostly for serious reasons. I'll check out those links...
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby TT120 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:22 pm

Thanks Phil. I can use a lot of that information. I'll definately catch you on the noontime net on 146.52 i believe. I figured there would be some hams out there. Wouldnt be hard to spot their camps and go say hi.

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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby illy dilly » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:08 am

WOW!
Phil thanks for all the info!

Thats awesome!
I now know what I'm gonna get for xmas!
Why don't ya stick your head in that hole and find out? ~piehole
Plan for the worst, expect the best. Make the most out of it under any conditions. If you cannot do that you will never enjoy yourself. ~CrispyDave
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby TT120 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:29 am

Has anyone ever had any trouble bleeding over onto the sound systems out there? My 2 meter rig probably wont have a problem but my HF rig with a G5RV Jr. antenna might have some issues.
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby illy dilly » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:44 am

I typically don't bleed onto the sound systems unless I stumble drunk and cut my self on something
:wink:
Why don't ya stick your head in that hole and find out? ~piehole
Plan for the worst, expect the best. Make the most out of it under any conditions. If you cannot do that you will never enjoy yourself. ~CrispyDave
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby phil » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:04 pm

Louise and I operated on HF and didn't have problems with local soundsystems:
http://civex.smugmug.com/Other/N7B-2005/1090934_Tq3MNL#50717966_USKgN

Personally, I wouldn't take my expensive ham gear out there, but to each her own.
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Re: Hand held ham radio for the BRD

Postby TT120 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:09 pm

LOL...I don't HAVE any expensive ham gear. All my junk is just that...... :D
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