Geoff w5omr at att.net
Wed Feb 15 18:45:52 CST 2012

On 2/15/2012 4:54 PM, Ben Price wrote:
> Hello Kernel,
> Did you end up getting the information on ham radio that you were
> looking for? If not, give me a call.

Here's part of the exchange that Ernest and I had about Ham Radio, Ben...

On 1/29/2012 9:06 PM, Kernel Architect wrote:
> I saw "But and Uhf"...I'm assuming you meant VHF and UHF (typo?) or 
> something else? 

Autocorrect fail on the 'Droid (DOH!)  Yeah - VHF/UHF, where propagation 
is line-of-sight.

> Too bad I missed the swap. I'll look on ebay as well. While I have 
> purchased stuff of of ebay before, with electronics, I usually like to 
> get them new (with warranty/exchange policy) or at least try them out 
> (local) to make sure they work first. I guess in this case, I wouldn't 
> know what to look for aside from whether or not the unit actually 
> turned on.

Going to a HamFest is kinda like going to an open-source fest - you get 
to put a face (and in OS-fest, a voice) to the messages, where at a 
HamFest, you get to put a face to the voice.  Occasionally, I'll go 
looking through other peoples gear that they're trying to off-load, *if* 
I'm looking for something in particular.  I've been in Ham Radio now for 
28 years, come Feb 16.  I've collected a bunch of stuff, built a few 
things, bought, sold, traded others.

> As an aside, another thing I am really interested in is powering the 
> setup off of solar. I am looking to get a small array that puts out 50 
> or 60 watts and connect it to a battery bank. What will my limitations 
> be in terms of equipment?

Most of the commercially made gear now runs on 12vDC.  You could go 
elaborate and spend thou$and$ on that golly-gee-whiz new off-the-shelf 
radio that YaeComWood has come out with (a parody on Yaesu, Icom and 
Kenwood, the big 3 in Ham communications gear, while GE, Johnson and 
Motorola are still kings in Commercial communication 2-way stuff), or 
get a mobile radio that does exactly the same thing for a lot less money.

> I am also looking to setup a decent antenna in my back yard. Any 
> recommendations on those? If I am doing 'close' communication, I 
> assume something as short as 4 or 5 feet would be ok? I also assume 
> that for more robust purposes, I would need a very tall pole antenna?

Depends on if you plan on working through a repeater to gain distance, 
or you prefer to work point-to-point.  As I said earlier, propagation on 
VHF/UHF (and higher) is line of sight.  The higher the better.  As far 
as HF frequencies (30MHz and down) antennas can be as elaborate as 
multiple element beams, or simple wire antennas.

> I will also look into the online resources a few on list have given. 
> Eventually, the plan is to get my license and then figure out how to 
> connect my laptop and send data packets across.

Digital communications are very popular with those that are interested 
in that sort of thing.  APRS is one such facet where a GPS, interfaced 
with a Terminal Node Controller (TNC) and a radio can allows others to 
see where you are, and see them, while driving around town, or across 

On HF, PSK31 is the new 'popular' mode.  You don't need a lot of power 
there, either and the 'stream' is contained in a 31Hz sliver of the 

> Thanks for the advice from everyone! ... and keep it coming...

Your best bet, Ernest, is to go spend some time at the Ham Store on 
Gulfdale.  They're on the same side of the street as the old Altex was, 
just on the other end, near Nakoma.

Good luck and keep us informed.


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