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Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan

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Chemsoldier:

--- Quote from: Alan Georges on November 30, 2014, 08:51:36 PM ---
What kind of ranges did you get?  In similar neighborhood walk-arounds, we're getting 1/2 mile on FRS, 3/4 mile on GMRS.

--- End quote ---

About the same here, probably a little less range (maybe 15% less).  We likely could have gotten more with the home radio standing on the porch rather than inside the house.  Could use the home VHF set up to monitor and step out on the porch to transmit with the GMRS.

Chemsoldier:
So I went to my Ham Club's "Ham Breakfast" Saturday at a local diner.  I brought the whole crew with me, little ones are a great conversation starter.  I have started putting faces to call signs.  Met one of the top three or so in Colorado Springs ARES.  I got roped into helping with the set up for today's special events station.  The club did a Pearl Harbor Day special event station.  I was so irritated at the news last night I forgot to post about it on the Ham board. 

Today was the special event station out of a local volunteer firehouse, which is also the home station for my club.  We had three HF rigs, two base stations, one operating on a big long wire type antenna that are still beyond me in describing,  The other base station was off of a hamstick dipole up around 30 feet.  The final HF was the ARES guy's portable rig.  He has a big box with two radios in it.  One is an APRS equipped dual band radio.  The other is a big quad band radio that he was using for HF and running an NVIS antenna.  The whole smash was powered by a car battery and he had a solar charger set up as well running off two solar panels.  Pretty cool set-up.

I made my first QSOs on HF operating as the event station.  Indiana, Oregon, Kansas, New York, New Mexico, Washington State, California, Canada, Ohio, Illinois.  Tried to juggle my first pile-up with mixed success.  Unfortunately my battle was eating lunch when it occurred so I was manning the radio, trying to copy things down while remembering how to talk properly on the radio.  But I muddled through.  I learned a bit about setting up antennas, how coax works and a little about antenna tuning.  One of the old birds in the club gave the spiel about how people should head to hardware store with thirty bucks, not spend hundreds on purpose build antennas.  I told him I was calling his bluff and he needs to come with me to the hardware store and show the whipper snapper how it is done.

Meanwhile the rug rats got a guided tour of the firehouse and the trucks from one of the ladies who is a volunteer firefighter, treasurer of the department, one of their EMTs and had a tremendous number of facial piercings and tattoos.  Don't judge a book by its cover.  The relationship between the department and the ham radio club has been beneficial.  A little volunteer department has a great communications set up and the ham club has partnered with them to give the department a back up power capability that would likely be the envy of a big city firehouse. 

Oh...are feeling a little old?  Do you need a new hobby with social life?  Then dont take up video games, you are going to be the oldest person in the room.  Take up ham radio!  My city has 4 or so ham radio clubs.  I am not the youngest, but the youngest who was present today.  There are other groups in town where a 60 year old can slide in and be the youngster.  Also, preppers are the norm in this crowd.  The may not all read JW,R (though some definitely do!) but they are definitely prepared. 

Good times, Wednesday is their annual Christmas party.  They are raffling off three radios and a bunch of other goodies. Loving it. 

Carl:
Good for you Chem...HAM clubs are small social groups and once you get to know others ,they make for a great support group.
I am glad you got such friendly,positive response as some clubs are not so open to new-comers as they are mostly preppers without knowing it as such...always back-up as if the hobby were the most important thing to them...and for some ,it is.

Alan Georges:
Sounds like about a perfect ham weekend, Chem.  Glad the family was in on it and had fun too.  That's the best.

Canadian Prepper:
It sounds as though Chem's beat me to it, as was going to suggest doing more reading about HF antenna design and keeping on the lookout for second hand gear that's got good ratings online and is available for cheap. The latest ARES meeting described a few post above apparently has him well down the road of networking with people who'll set him straight in that direction. Besides, a decent used HF rig can sometimes be had at the fraction of the cost of new and a safe bet if it comes from someone that can be trusted and vouched for.

I'll have to take a cue and formulate my own plan for 2015, though I'll let that wait until I'm done a thorough tidy up of the apartment that will also maximize the readiness of much of my emergency oriented gear. I could easily foresee the first project being to get my dipole reinstalled, hopefully another five to fifteen feet higher than it's previous setup. Followed by backup power, getting on digital, etc....

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