Author Topic: Unique or fun doin's on a HAM  (Read 8673 times)

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Tex

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Unique or fun doin's on a HAM
« on: February 03, 2012, 11:41:20 PM »
On another forum that I belong to a guy asked the other night what HAM's do on their radios. Do they just get on and chat, or see how many places they can contact or what. He was like myself and alot of other non-HAM's as he did'nt really have any idea what all is possible.
A bunch of the HAM operators on that forum immediately startes flaming him and call him a troll just for asking what I thought was a legitimate question. At this point I jumped in and said that I was curious too. Well, then we started getting answers and it seemed that there were as many different answers as there were people responding.

If you guys dont mind, maybe you could give us new guys some examples of what all is possible. I would like to hear what your area of expertise is or your forte' so to speak. Has there over been a memorable or funny episode? Have you ever used your radio for something really important?

What little bit that I know, I have learned in the past week. I want to absorb all that I can and see what is possible.

Thanks
Tex
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GDP

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Re: Unique or fun doin's on a HAM
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2012, 07:49:30 AM »
Hey, Tex!  You've asked a good question.  Amateur Radio is a wide open hobby, and it's all about communications.  That may be where folks get the idea that we only sit around and chat.  If you'll check my post in the Moderator Introduction, it will give you a little peek into what types of activity you can find as a Ham!
« Last Edit: February 04, 2012, 08:18:51 AM by GDP »
GDP

idial1911

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Re: Unique or fun doin's on a HAM
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2012, 08:51:51 AM »
Good question.

For some reason parts of the ham community can be very clickish. Thats a big part of the reason this was started. It's like anything else i guess there is a cross section of people including assholes....

The reason you got so many answers is there are so many things and you have to find out what you enjoy, or what interests you.

There are still a lot of people who love CW (morse code) and do that exclusively:
www.cwops.com
www.naqcc.info

There are people who love to build, and communicate with satellites:
www.amsat.org

Some people enjoy building radio and other kits:
www.elecraft.com
www.tentec.com
www.foxdelta.com

Some enjoy contesting where there is a set of parameters and the goal is to make as many contacts and unique contacts in strange countries as you can in a set period of time for a score:
www.contesting.com
www.arrl.org/contests

Other like to operate QRP which means low power and see how many contacts they can make by using 5 watts.
www.amqrp.org

Some still yet like to take their equipment run it off of battery power in the woods and see who they can contact from the middle of no where off battery power:
www.hfpack.com

There are organized nets with different goals you can check into or listen to:
www.n1yz.com/HFNET_LIST.HTM
www.hfradio.net/nets.html
www.14300.net

Antique type radios are still very popular tube radios:
www.vintageradio.com

There are a lot of people who just stay on vhf/uhf and play with stuff like APRS:
www.aprs.org
www.aprs.net
www.openaprs.net

Some just like to listen sometimes to shortwave broadcasts, include pirate radio, and trying to find military or intellegence agency "numbers stations"
www.spynumbers.com
www.dxing.com/pirate.htm

Last some people enjoy simply "ragchewing" just chatting, and the fellowship that brings. Down in the south and I would assume Texas the 80 meter band and 40 meter band in the evenings are packed full of guys just shooting the bull.

At the end of the day, it comes down to what you enjoy, and what you want to make of it.


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MG

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Re: Unique or fun doin's on a HAM
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2012, 12:03:03 PM »
I am likely repeating things that other guys have said since I am late into this thread but this is the most versatile hobby you can have.  If you can dream it, there is likely an opportunity to implement radio.

My fascination has always been with the idea of being able to oscillate and electric field and somehow that electric field ends up on the other side of the world - its as magical now as it was when I was 16 years old..

I've spent most of my career DXing and contesting (influenced by my "elmer" (mentor)).  I also collect certificates and QSL cards, commonly referred to as "wall paper" in the hobby.. I like collecting plaques from winning contests too, and have done that quite a few times... You may just like chit chatting with guys and thats fine too.. I havent done a lot of that until the last few years.  You might like experimenting and building little radios and antennas.... You might like just listening to stations and learning something new... if you like computers, you might be interested in operating digital modes...Its a completely fascinating hobby with endless possibilities.  One thing that I have recently gotten back into is Fox hunting. this is where you hide a transmitter and then guys search for it, taking bearing with an antenna and plotting them on a map.  Normally this is done on VHF or UHF but originally it occurred on 80m.  My local club is in preparing to start fox hunting on 80m, which has a whole different set of propagational characteristics...

If you have the opportunity to get involved with a local ham group, particularly one that is active, you stand to benefit tremendously from hands-on activites.

I will make an effort to take video of some of the various activities that our club does and post them here and they happen.

73,  MG

Tex

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Re: Unique or fun doin's on a HAM
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2012, 02:35:25 PM »
Building radios and different components sounds pretty neat. I will have to go througj all of the links that you guys posted and I'm sure I will have some more questions.

Someone mentioned "Pirate Radio", what is that?

Tex
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MG

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Re: Unique or fun doin's on a HAM
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2012, 04:04:08 PM »
Pirate radio is just that - someone hi-jacks a frequency and broadcasts their own programming.. it is done by some unlicensed types on the amateur bands but generally occurs int he broadcast bands.

Google to movie "Pump up the volume" and read the summary.  there is probably a wiki page for it as well.   Anyway, that movie is pretty representative of what priate radio is... Its interesting to listen to but its bad to do...

idial1911

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Re: Unique or fun doin's on a HAM
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2012, 05:13:48 PM »
Yea MG is right.. Ever see the movie "Pirate Radio"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoCbOLtStBQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tc8PIUqa8WI&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cmlAoYPAwY

I get to hear them a lot because I am in GA, and they transmit alot out of the carribbean. The or gulf. I hear Radio Free Euphoria "DJ Gonja" the other night for about an hour.

Also numbers stations are fun to try and find.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbJDDjJEC_c&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcJK56Ep5Rw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg3dsOdRAPE&feature=related

Used by countries during the cold war, and some still today to send messages to their spies. You can pickup with a ham radio or shortwave. I haven't heard one yet but have been looking. I've heard plenty of pirate radio stations though, i have it easier as a lot are in the carribean.
The more I learn, the less I know.