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.