Sunday, July 13, 2008

Well, what is going on with me.

First of all, I have discovered that Ham or Amateur Radio is an expensive hobby to get into. Used to be you could run down to Radio Shack and pick up one of these radios or build it yourself for cheap. Not anymore. You are lucky if you can even find a store that sells these things in your town. Radio Shack doesn't sell all the parts for these things anymore nor the completed ones. You are left to the internet to search for a radio if you don't have a shop in your town.

So, I have started stalking the internet. I want to get a good Military specification radio that is tough and good for a starter like me to get used to the idea of transmitting and enjoying the hobby. I don't want someones used jewel that I will have to figure out how to run because he lost the manual years ago when he went on to bigger and better. I don't need all the bells and whistles untill I can figure out which bells and whistles I need.

There are a few good handheld "Walkie-talkie" style radios for under $200. Our hams here are swearing by Icons. I have had good experience with Kenwoods at work, but we use Motorollas now. Yaesu sounds too Japanese for me. I know all of them are made in China, Singapore or Japan, but I still have to think that it is good to at least stick with an American sounding company. However, we had Yaesu's at one of my other jobs and they worked OK.

I even found one close to $100, but its just a one band system. I want one that I hope I can use at work as well. If I had one that could transmit and receive on the bands we use at work, then I can use it instead of the handhelds they issue us. Then I can avoid what happened last night after I got to work and found all the radios had no charged batteries. So I had to grab one that was still red and hope it would last the night. Thank God it did.

The radio I will eventually get will be for a starter to get used to the idea of being a ham and talking over the radio. Eventually I will get a base station and use it in the house. I will probably end up being one of those grizzled old men you see in the neighborhood with a 200 foot antenna in his back yard, looking like he is trying to pick up Mars on his handhelds. I don't exactly relish the idea, but being that I am not married now, the likelihood is that I will remain so. Therefore, I should probably have a hobby other than playing on the net like I am doing now.

If I didn't say before, I just want to remind the reading audience that I couldn't find my license because my name was misspelled. So, I called the FCC and they referred me back to the guys who administered my test and that they would change the name. I don't know if I will keep the call sign I was issued. I kind have been getting used to it. I am also getting used to saying "zero" instead of "oh." That can be a faux pas in radio circles with the purpose of transmitting accurate information. Anyway, the nice lady at the ARRL said they would get on it right away. Considering that it was nice that they got my paperwork processed very quickly, I should be getting a new license soon with the proper spelling of my name.

Getting the radio is going to be the tricky part. Everything else is gravy. Once I get the handheld, maybe I can get used to things and then later I can pass the thing down to someone or sell it when I move up like a lot of hams do.

Anyway, I think that is all for now. Friend update on next blog.

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I am interested in CNG vehicles because they are good for the environment and aren't powered by dead Marines. I still have a little hope for the world. Read the musings and enjoy.

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