Ham license on the way, now what? - Rubicon Owners Forum
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 07:58 AM Thread Starter
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Ham license on the way, now what?

I passed the technician test last night easily. As John Canfield recommended, I also took the general test...cold. Too bad I never looked at that material as I was just 4 questions shy of passing. I'll put some effort and get that upgrade soon.


The local club who administered the testing held a drawing for everyone passing their technician test...yup I won the grand prize. So, now I have 2 Baofeng radios. The one that I won is already programmed. I've heard these particular radios can be difficult to program; the recommended way is by plugging it into a computer. I'll need to get on that so both of my radios will work (at least the same way). Also, the local guys are using a repeater that needs a tone for access, so I need to figure out how to do that.


So, I need help/advice on what next - is there a handy guide available on what frequencies to use for certain purposes? Also, I think I want a mobile to install in the scrambler.


I don't know if its possible, but if I can make a radio call to all of you ROFers across the US, I'm willing to give it a shot (can these little handhelds do the job?). Anyone interested in trying to get radio contacts across ROF?
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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 08:43 AM
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I can hit the repeater here with my Baofeng radio, but the repeater is a few miles away as the buzzard flies. It is also much easier to program these with the computer. I do not use the Baofeng software, not unless the software has improved over the last few years. I use another S/W which I can't remember the name.
I do not get on the radio much anymore. My mobile 2m/70c radios memory won't hold, so I don't use it. I thought about getting an adapter coax to use the baofeng with the antenna on the tower but never did. I have been randomly thinking of getting a new mobile radio for the house, but again if I don't use it no sense buying.



Congrats on the test! I also did the same thing with the General, missed by a couple.
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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 09:45 AM
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Congrats Don! The Baeofungsuzuki talkies are difficult to program and not specifically designed for the US amateur market, I think their best use is being a paperweight (I have two of them.) I accidentally changed one of mine to Chinese and it took quite a while to figure out how to get back to English. Even so it's one way to get started and then move on to amateur radio specific equipment.

You can program them with an app called CHIRP and a serial interface cable (USB on the PC to the microphone/earphone jack on the radio. Some of the programming cables sold work and some won't (it's a bit of a story.)

Here's the ARRL band plan which gives you the big picture of all of the amateur radio allocations for all license classes. Join your local club and you'll learn a lot from chatting with them. There are repeater directories available online and you can buy pocket repeater guides. There are linked repeaters and there are local repeaters - linked repeaters can be linked via the Internet or by radio backhauls. Also there are different kinds of Internet linking - our local repeater is usually linked to the Internet with EchoLink (unless it's broken on our end!)

Spend some time poking around the ARRL website.
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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 09:58 AM
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Congratulations, Don and welcome to the hobby.

The programming comments regarding those radios mainly pertain to manual input. Using software like CHIRP (free) and RT Systems (About $50 I think) makes it easy. RTS includes the cable. The program on the prize radio can be read by either product, saved, and then installed on the other radio, or multiple radios. That would transfer the tone info for the repeaters for you, but you should also gain knowledge of what those tones are.

The ARRL Repeater Book is handy to keep in the vehicle for reference regarding repeaters across the country. RFinder (fee) and RepeaterBook (free) are online repeater databases that RTS and Chirp can access to grab the repeater info and populate the radioís program automatically based on location search. Cool stuff, and very handy.

As for national 2/70 chats, that requires internet connectivity at a repeater or personal hotspot. Analog radios can use protocols such as Echolink, Allstar or IRLP through repeaters setup for to do so. Digital radios are specific to one of several digital protocols such as D-Star, DMR, C4FM. The least expensive and currently very popular system would be DMR. There are now some hotspots that allow cross platform communication. I am not active with any of these systems, but others on the forum might be able to chime in with more specifics.

Have fun!
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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 09:59 AM
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Yes, Chirp with a Baofeng cable worked for me. There are also instructions in real English which better explains the functions of the radio. I believe I found them thru the Chirp website. The radios are a bit testy but once setup they are fine for what they are.
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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 10:00 AM
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Ha, John typed faster than I could thumb it on my phone
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 06-06-2019, 09:51 PM
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Congtratts Don...
i did the same...some how i squeaked through to Gen class at the same time ...then following year got the Extra
( don't ask me how i passed....LOL ...but being retired i just went all in and got it by + 1 )

I also have the "Cheap Bofanit" radio ...carry in my JK
As mentioned I use CHIRP and a serial interface cable I use an older XP laptop and have the programs i want saved in a file.
buy a good antenea (ExpertPower XP-669C 7.5-Inch Dual Band SMA-F Antenna for Baofeng Radios) available thru amazon made huge difference )
buy a new programing cable...the one that comes with the radio is crap ..(BTECH PC03 FTDI Genuine USB Programming Cable for BTECH, BaoFeng, Kenwood, and AnyTone Radio) both items on Amazon

yes...I need to get a good radio... perhaps ill get one for the new JT


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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 08:32 AM
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Extra - wow, didn't know that Mac! Congrats!
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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the replies. I need to keep my momentum so I don't lose the starting knowledge. I got signed up with the local club when I tested. Their field day is 22-23 June. I hope to get out there to see radio guys doing their thing!
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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 10:16 AM
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Congtats!
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Frank!
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