Amateur Radio: Lurking Frequencies & Conversations in NY

In summary, the conversation discusses the topic of amateur radio and one individual's interest in it. They mention the lack of interesting conversations on local repeaters and their plans to get involved in 2m. Another individual talks about their interest in homebrew contesting on the microwave and millimeter wave bands. They also discuss the use of lower frequency bands for long-distance communication and the possibility of using internet links for communication. The conversation ends with a remark about the limitations of long-distance DXing and the inclusion of VOIP.
  • #1
cronxeh
Gold Member
1,007
11
So I did a little search and I can't seem to find any threads regarding amateur radio. Is anyone a ham out there and what frequencies do you lurk at and where? I'm a new ham, don't know why I decided to get into it but timing seems to be about right with new radios like Yaesu VX-8R and many other portable and powerful radios appearing on the market. I am in New York but it seems there aren't that many interesting conversations happening on local repeaters.
 
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  • #2
I always promise myself when I build a full working transceiver from scratch I will sign up and a get a call sign. So far I have build a 3.5 MHz and 7 MHz receiver. I was particularly surprised at how crowded the bands are. Also have put together a 10 GHz receiver, but didn't really pick up anything, then had to disassemble it for parts.
 
  • #3
The only Ham I know on the forum is berkeman.
https://www.physicsforums.com/member.php?u=8921"
I'm planning on talking a lot to him when I retire. Thought I would get involved with maybe 2m.
 
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  • #4
cronxeh said:
So I did a little search and I can't seem to find any threads regarding amateur radio. Is anyone a ham out there and what frequencies do you lurk at and where? I'm a new ham, don't know why I decided to get into it but timing seems to be about right with new radios like Yaesu VX-8R and many other portable and powerful radios appearing on the market. I am in New York but it seems there aren't that many interesting conversations happening on local repeaters.

Are your interests more in local emergency preparedness group communications, or in long-distance round-the-world chatting and contesting?

My main interest is in the former (which you can probably tell by my footer), so I mainly stay on the 2m and 70cm bands.

The best thing you can do as a new HAM, IMO, is to find some weekly practice Nets, and participate in the check-ins. Our weekly Net is described at the website I list in my footer. You can use the ARRL.org website to find your local repeaters (or just scan around). When you get a chance, and the repeater goes quiet for a bit, you can just say, "This is <callsign>, and I was looking for information about local practice Nets. Can anyone help me out with that info?" Most likely you will get folks that come back with info on which nights and which repeaters are used, and maybe which clubs sponsor the Nets. Usually you can then find websites with info on those Nets, including the Net Control Script, which is what they are reading as the Net is conducted.

Checking into your local weekly practice Nets is a good way to get comfortable with your radio, and how to talk well on the radio. You can also ask about local training classes for new HAMs, where you can go and learn a lot more about the best ways to use the bands and the radios.

Then, after you are more comfortable, check out some of the big public events in your area (like the New York Marathon?) -- they are often looking for HAM radio volunteers to help with event communication tasks. One of the events that I do each year as a combination EMT and HAM is the "Tour de Max" bicycle ride that starts and ends in Palo Alto, and benefits the Lance Armstrong Cancer Research Foundations. We have to use a pretty complex combination of repeaters (including a human Relay/Repeater station) to be able to talk to all the SAG wagons down in the canyons out toward the ocean, where some of the ride is routed. GREAT practice for complex HAM communication events, er, like the next big earthquake that's unfortunately coming soon to a fault line near me...

Post more questions if you have them. This could be a fun thread. 73, KI6EGL
 
  • #5
Berkeman isn't the only ham lurking around. ;)
 
  • #6
I'd like get into a contest and compete with homebrew rigs especially in the microwave and millimeter wave bands.

I always wonder how do hams make contact at microwave frequencies? Do they usually decide to be on the air at certain times, and in certain direction, or do you just have to point the dish somewhere and hope you get a signal?
 
  • #7
Mmmmm ham.

When are they going to invent steak television?
 
  • #8
waht said:
I'd like get into a contest and compete with homebrew rigs especially in the microwave and millimeter wave bands.

I always wonder how do hams make contact at microwave frequencies? Do they usually decide to be on the air at certain times, and in certain direction, or do you just have to point the dish somewhere and hope you get a signal?

To do the long-distance contacts and contesting, the lower frequency bands are used to be able to take advantage of skip off the ionosphere. Typically the 40m and 20m bands are used. It also helps to be in the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle, which is coming up in a couple years. Right now the skip is a bit lame, I'm told.

The higher frequencies are mostly line-of-sight communication, although repeaters in high places help to extend your reach for local communication. There are even "linked" repeaters that are connected via the Internet, so you can basically talk all around the world on your 2m handheld radio!
 
  • #9
IMHO long distance DXing is lame. Its just pointless. 1500 Watts may be enough for some but its just not that much to spread over the planet. And that whole internet link or EchoLink is not radio.. its .. VOIP! bleh.
 
  • #10
berkeman said:
To do the long-distance contacts and contesting, the lower frequency bands are used to be able to take advantage of skip off the ionosphere. Typically the 40m and 20m bands are used. It also helps to be in the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle, which is coming up in a couple years. Right now the skip is a bit lame, I'm told.

I noticed that during the evening, activity in the 40 meter band would sky rocket, but during day time there was almost no activity.

The higher frequencies are mostly line-of-sight communication, although repeaters in high places help to extend your reach for local communication. There are even "linked" repeaters that are connected via the Internet, so you can basically talk all around the world on your 2m handheld radio!

Interesting to have repeaters connected via the Internet. Also heard, that amateur satellite repeaters can relay information across a larger area.

One form of an "ultimate repeater" that is appealing is Earth-Moon-Earth (EME), that is bouncing signals off the moon to anyone across the globe that is in direct line of sight with the moon.
 
  • #11
cronxeh said:
IMHO long distance DXing is lame. Its just pointless. 1500 Watts may be enough for some but its just not that much to spread over the planet. And that whole internet link or EchoLink is not radio.. its .. VOIP! bleh.
Actually talking to someone half way across the globe on 50W is quite exhilarating. There is even a whole crowd who get a big charge, out of DXing with 5W or less. In radio jargon, this is called QRP. Transmitting 1.5KW is often overkill, more than is necessary to maintain good communication. If you were transmitting that much power, once contact is made, it is considerate practice, to reduce power to the lowest level where you can still communicate effectively with the other station.
 
  • #12
waht said:
I'd like get into a contest and compete with homebrew rigs especially in the microwave and millimeter wave bands.

I always wonder how do hams make contact at microwave frequencies? Do they usually decide to be on the air at certain times, and in certain direction, or do you just have to point the dish somewhere and hope you get a signal?

Yes on microwave bands, people may contact each other on another band ahead of time and work out a schedule (aka sked), so they know what date, time, frequency & direction (to point antenna) for meeting on the microwave bands. I've met hams with microwave transmitting equipment on mountaintops, to take advantage of line-of-sight communication that berkeman described. On a weekend hike to the top of a small mountain in New England, I found several people set up, with a horn, dish and also some multielement UHF beam antennas.

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) sponsor a couple of http://www.arrl.org/contests/calendar.html" for operation at 10GHz and up. This year, one is scheduled for Aug 15-16, and another for Sept 19-20. A good bet for meeting other microwave enthusiasts, is to set up your equipment on a hilltop during one of those weekends.

waht said:
I noticed that during the evening, activity in the 40 meter band would sky rocket, but during day time there was almost no activity.
You may have noticed a similar behavior on the AM broadcast bands.

It is because higher layers of the ionosphere, http://www.tpub.com/neets/book10/NTX2-18.GIF" (MUF) for successful communications are determined for ionospheric propagation.
 
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Related to Amateur Radio: Lurking Frequencies & Conversations in NY

1. What is "Amateur Radio"?

Amateur Radio, also known as ham radio, is a form of communication that uses radio frequency waves to allow licensed individuals to communicate with others around the world. It is a popular hobby and also serves as a way for emergency communication during disasters.

2. How do I become a licensed amateur radio operator?

To become a licensed amateur radio operator, you must pass a written examination administered by a volunteer examiner team. The exam covers topics such as radio regulations, operating practices, and basic radio theory. After passing the exam, you will receive a call sign and can legally operate on designated amateur radio frequencies.

3. Can anyone listen in on amateur radio conversations?

Yes, anyone with a radio receiver can listen in on amateur radio conversations. However, it is important to note that only licensed amateur radio operators are allowed to transmit on these frequencies.

4. Are there any regulations or restrictions for amateur radio operators?

Yes, there are regulations and restrictions that amateur radio operators must follow. These include using only designated frequencies, following proper operating procedures, and obtaining permission before transmitting on certain frequencies. There are also restrictions on the type of equipment that can be used and the power output of transmissions.

5. How do I find out what frequencies and conversations are available in my area?

You can find out what frequencies and conversations are available in your area by using a frequency database or by listening to local amateur radio clubs. You can also use a radio scanner to scan different frequencies and listen for amateur radio conversations. It is important to note that not all conversations may be suitable for all audiences, so use discretion when tuning in.

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