Author Topic: Amateur radio operators here?  (Read 9220 times)
Solanaceae
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Re: Amateur radio operators here? « Reply #15 on: January 16, 2016, 03:11:42 AM » Author: Solanaceae
Nice to hear. 8)
I see a person in school parking lot (maybe a teacher)? Who has a ham license plate. I had one of those realistic car CB radios with the big boy antenna that stuck to the top of the vehicle with a strong magnet, but iirc it stopped working and I tossed it. I also had some white tornado branded CB amp that I tried to sell online, but I didn't know it violated the FCC's signal amp regulations. Thankfully eBay completely understood that I don't know how to radio and let me off ok.
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Re: Amateur radio operators here? « Reply #16 on: January 16, 2016, 05:45:08 PM » Author: hannahs lights
Congratulations on your new call well done
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ace100w120v
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Maybe more like "pirate" radio? « Reply #17 on: January 17, 2016, 03:22:48 PM » Author: ace100w120v
Kinda...if you count having a 1/2 watt FM transmitter.  It's SCARY how far 1/2 watt gets out, even in a neighborhood of trees/hills/houses!  (1/2 watt on the high setting that is).  Scary because it's undoubtedly...ahem...not legal at that power. 

Just bought this thing for like $58 on Amazon.  On the low setting it's about like any good part-15 transmitter from before they forced the power way down on those, too.  Maybe slightly less than a SiriusXM car unit we have that broadcasts on FM as well, which we used for years to cover our house and yard.  But this thing I have now, on the "High power" setting, on the second floor of a house, is kind of scary how far it gets out! (I've range-tested and had a useable signal like 1/2 mile away! )

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Re: Amateur radio operators here? « Reply #18 on: January 17, 2016, 03:48:00 PM » Author: themaritimegirl
Oh yeah, it's impressive how far a low-power signal can go under the right conditions. In amateur radio there's an activity called QRP whereby people make long-distance contacts using a tiny amount of power - usually no more than 5 watts. I saw a video on YouTube of a guy in Italy who contacted someone in the USA - over 5000 miles - on 1 watt of power.
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Solanaceae
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Re: Amateur radio operators here? « Reply #19 on: January 17, 2016, 03:55:30 PM » Author: Solanaceae
How would you do that with no external amps? Would a bigger antenna do any help?
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Re: Amateur radio operators here? « Reply #20 on: January 17, 2016, 05:26:12 PM » Author: themaritimegirl
That's what I mean - no external amplification. The guy talked to someone 5000 miles away with 1 watt out his antenna.

It's actually quite easy to talk long distances with little power. It's called skywave propagation. Normally radio signals either get absorbed by the Earth's ionosphere or travel off into space, but when you use a low enough frequency (the example case took place on 28 MHz), your signal can bounce off the top layer of the ionosphere, and travel thousands of miles as a result. This best happens at night, so the sun doesn't create ionization at the lower levels, which will just absorb radio energy.

The right antenna indeed helps. Not bigger, but the correct size, because an antenna has to be tuned to the right frequency so that it radiates as efficiently as possible. Having it as high as possible helps. The right type of antenna helps too, depending on what you're doing.

When my professor first introduced me to the school's amateur radio station, he contacted someone in Ontario, 1000 miles away, and I mentioned reaching someone in Montreal, Quebec, 350 miles away, during the ARRP contest. This is using 100 watts of power through a crappy antenna with a bunch of sources of interference around it.

CB radio is 27 MHz, so it's possible to make long-distance contacts through an ordinary CB transceiver, too.
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Re: Amateur radio operators here? « Reply #21 on: January 17, 2016, 07:10:27 PM » Author: Solanaceae
A bit off topic, but I made my own tv station for the house by wiring an old analog tv signal amp backward and connecting that output to a rabbit ear antenna. It actually worked well, broadcasting the start screen of Mario bros for Nintendo NES, and broadcasted somewhat colored picture until I reached the sunroom, then it was black and white. Iirc it reached out front since my room is on the top floor.
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Re: Amateur radio operators here? « Reply #22 on: January 17, 2016, 07:35:36 PM » Author: ace100w120v
Yeah, mine is impressive! It is, after all, transmitting from the second floor of my house...and there is some water involved, so a clear, unobstructed path to other areas. 
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Re: Amateur radio operators here? « Reply #23 on: January 18, 2016, 01:10:47 AM » Author: tolivac
My Grandfather was an ameteur radioman-he specialized in QRP communications.The largest transmitter he had was a 100W Heathkit HF.The other ones he used were homemade 5W or even less and ran from batteries.For antennas-DESIGN-DESIGN-DESIGN!!!and how it is oriented.I used to answer the reception reports at an AM-FM station I worked at.-the furthest for the FM was a listener in Nebraska-forget the town.He received the 95.5 Mhz FM signal from WPGC FM in Wash DC.Gladly sent him a QSL card.The was kinda fun.They had reports of listners getting the 10Kw AM in other countries.Again sent out the QSL cars.That was a job for the transmitter engineers to do-I did that.At that time the AM-FM transmitter site was manned.For VHF frequencies like FM or TV-you can get a "tunneling" effect where the signal could travel for thousands of miles.It is rare-but does happen.The atmospheric conditions have to be just right for it.Oh remember when "HAMS" BUILT their equipment instead of buying it as done today?
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Re: Amateur radio operators here? « Reply #24 on: January 18, 2016, 11:38:19 AM » Author: ace100w120v
I've never attempted QSLing anything so I've never got anything back but I almost did do so once!  (At least writing the station engineer). 
Yeah, mine seems to be pretty efficient in terms of design.  After living for 7-1/2 years in a place with a mostly empty FM dial, my definition of a usable/listenable signal may be different from other people's.  (In other words, I'm willing to put up with, for example, the somewhat annoying transition in and out of stereo on FM with a marginal signal).  Or skywave AM fading in and out. 

Tolivac: Do you listen to skywave AM at night frequently? I still do, probably one of the few from the millenial generation that does.  Granted, I'm also listening to Pandora as I type!
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Re: Amateur radio operators here? « Reply #25 on: January 19, 2016, 01:23:38 AM » Author: tolivac
No-haven't listened to AM in a while-working at the SW transmitter plant and there is more RFI on the AM band then before.CFL,LED lights are guilty there.Many DX'ers I know of use only incandscent lights during their listening sessions.Not only lighting-but the digitally controlled appliances contribute to the RFI din.Some Digitally tuned radios interfere with THEMSELVES-making DX with those impossible.Its hard to find an analog tune radio these days-those are best for DX work.So for DX use-an older analog radio running from batteries is best.I used to use a DeWalt analog radio for DX work-you could run it off the tool battery-then recharge the battery when it ran out.Another excellent radio for the DX use is the GE "Superradio" series.Radio Shack used to make a similar radio.These were TRF units.The GE radios can run from batteries.They also have a wider bandwidth so the audio quality is better.AM audio quality can be better than most folks think.They are used to listening on the narrow bandwidth radios.You tune a local station on a wide BW receiver and it is startling on the quality-can sound like FM!!Since I was in the commercial radio biz-used to use the Superradio as a portable monitor.
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Re: Amateur radio operators here? « Reply #26 on: January 19, 2016, 11:33:09 PM » Author: themaritimegirl
Sunday night I made my first-ever amateur radio contact. I introduced myself to the local repeater group during one of their weekly nets. It was awesome; they seemed quite pleased to hear a new voice. Tonight I did so again, and I think they called me Brent.  :P My bad for not spelling an uncommon name out during my first contact.

I have a dilemma, now. I want to get my own handheld transceiver - right now I'm just using the one provided by the school's amateur radio club. The dilemma is, do I get a new Baofeng for $25, or do I get a used Icom, Yaesu, or Kenwood for at least $50? I *want* the latter, because they are better radios, and I'd like a larger, older one anyway, but buying used means no guarantee that it will last any length of time, or work at all. The Baofeng radios are so cheap, and actually decent for how cheap they are, that it seems stupid to pay more for a used radio that comes with extra risks. So I don't know what to do.
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Re: Amateur radio operators here? « Reply #27 on: January 20, 2016, 08:44:25 PM » Author: ace100w120v
Oh absolutely!  Here it's not as bad, being in a rural area with no city power, so it's actually doable, but fluorescents, etc. still interfere.  F32T8 electronic ballasts are horrible, even on FM! You can hear it's in stereo (switching in and out) but the (weak) signal is covered up by the "Hash".

The earlier-model GE SuperRadios were great from what I hear.  I'd like to get a SuperRadio myself.

Commercial radio? What station/format, and where? Portable monitor...just making sure the station is functional while off site?

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Re: Amateur radio operators here? « Reply #28 on: January 21, 2016, 12:42:14 AM » Author: tolivac
Station I worked at most of the time-WPGC AM&FM in Wash DC area otherwise helpted a contract engineer in stations both in DC and in Baltimore.Don't know if Superradios are still available.Yes,as a portable monitor to check if a station that called a problem was on air and what they sounded like.The radio could get FM,too so if it was an FM call you could check if they were on air.The set could be easily taken with you-AC cord was built in-so no external adaptors required or to lose.
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Re: Amateur radio operators here? « Reply #29 on: January 21, 2016, 12:27:38 PM » Author: ace100w120v
Interesting!  As you can tell I'm a radio nut.

I've heard the last generation of the SuperRadio was pretty much garbage...what version did you have?  (I've read this AND talked to someone in person who substaniated this). 

I'm always hunting for a vintage AM/FM tuner/amplifer with analog tuning, incandescent dial lamps, etc...preferably a Sansui 2000-A. 

Alaska is a neat/weird place for radio, period!  DXing at night from where I live brings in all the 50Kw west coast AMs from San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, etc. as well as places in Canada like Vancouver or Calgary.  I get a couple other southeast Alaskan stations at night.  With a real good antenna high up though you can hear all sorts of stuff during the day...but with most radios forget anything on AM during the day here. 

Anchorage and Fairbanks have somewhat-normal-sounding radio markets, almost more heavily radioed than some places since there's no other adjacent signals to interfere.  For example, Anchorage has I think 36 FM signals and Fairbanks is up to 20 now, and Juneau is up to 19 last I heard.  I've been to all 3.  The rest of the state is (at least IMO) grossly underserved on FM, being so rural...just lots of NPR stations/translators and of course the "Bible Banger" Christian translators...

I always take a radio with me when I go to a new city/place since I always like to check out what their radio dial is like...especially FM. 
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