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 HAM Radio Info


HAM "Special" by Tom Primavera

 In HAM radio, the key to making everything work for the maximum number of users is to follow the rules. The best way to get educated about the Ham Radio way of life is to pass the exam and then start using your radio. Remember that at no time is advertising anything about businesses acceptable. This is a big NO NO. Off color language is not tolerated and will hang you quickly!

There are many ways the system works for all but the most important thing is courtesy and respect at all times. Find out who is using HAM bands in the valley and get their input. Get to know the movers and shakers in your area clubs for the protocols THEY en-joy and expect. Find and use frequencies they are not using or will dedicate to your needs. This is not the place to use the technique of begging for forgiveness rather than asking for permission before doing something. Roving HAM monitors use triangulation methods to hunt for HAM banditos. Feds run this thing and they use FINES, seizure of gear/vehicles, and jail to make their point, so get your license BEFORE you transmit!

Anytime you "Key-up", state your call sign then or after transmitting. If you are just listening, say: "this is [your call sign] monitoring". If you are "mobile", say so. If "mobile airborne", say that. When transmitting for longer periods, give your call sign every 10 minutes. Best thing is to keep transmissions short and to the point. Pause between transmissions for replies or to give someone else time to access the system. You are usually being heard by many others on the system. Some don't care but some care a lot about how the system is being used.

Keep your power setting on "low" and on "Simplex" so you don't disrupt distant systems. This is a very good practice because there may be Repeaters operating in the area and we will most likely be the highest antenna around! Even on "low" power, at 3000 feet we can easily be a nuisance.

Repeaters are very nice tools to have at hand when traveling interstate high-ways. They link you up for lots of miles ahead and behind you. You could be talking to someone in Florida while being in Pennsylvania; some fun when it is 2AM and you got a bunch of miles to go. Reach out and touch somebody. Repeaters are built and operated by individuals and clubs/groups at their own expense. If you use these systems SUPPORT them with a contribution of time or money. Best way to integrate yourself into the Repeater network is to obtain a copy of the pocket manual: "The ARRL Repeater Directory" found at any radio supply store or most likely on the internet somewhere. This is a small booklet with all the information you need for locating and using different transmitting frequencies out there. It lists clubs, frequencies and Frequency Coordinators, not to mention "Repeater Lingo" with all the rest of "what to do and what not to do" as a HAM operator.

Please do not think I am offering any more than a heads up on some of the more basic ways to stay out of trouble using this means of communication. I have been 2 meter with Code since 1989 as a passive user. As I explained, above, "go legal" and mind your manners in this game.

More information:


South Eastern Repeater Association (SERA) 2966 Cordell Memphis, Tennessee 38128

The Radio Amateur Club of Knoxville P.O. Box 124 Knoxville, Tennessee 37901

Tom Primavera TTT

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