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Discussion in 'FAQ: Things You Should Know!' started by hards, Sep 22, 2018.
any advice on what ham radio to buy for my truck?
looking at kenwood tm-d710ga?
Here's a link to an entire subform on Overland Communications, where you will find multiple discussions on similar questions.
I have the Uniden Cmx760. It’s a small radio with all the controls on the mic. Easy to tuck away...
I have that Kenwood and really like it. I have the second side set to APRS so my position can be beaconed out automatically.
But nowadays you should see if you have any digital voice repeaters in your area and pic a radio that supports that digital voice mode, something like Fusion maybe.
I also have CB though and have a empty spot in my console for an eventual GMRS.
thanks for that , i was looking at the ken woods
I just purchased and installed a Yaesu FT-897D ham radio for my rig. I have no idea how to use it. I'm taking the self study course and I feel totally lost. Anyone out there have any good ideas on how to learn how to use this darn thing? I know I have to get licensed with an amateur license first and then I'll try for my general license...but I gotta get past this stumbling block of getting started. I read all of this stuff about kids doing it. What the heck? I went to a good UC college and got a degree for heaven sake. I feel like such an idiot for not being able to grasp all of the stuff that needs to be known to get past first base!! So frustrating. I think the guys at HAM Radio Outlet got me the right gear, but it's useless to me right now. HELP! I think I'd be much better off getting together with someone to have them show me what all this means. Penny for your thoughts.....any tips out there?
I will have a local Ambassador contact you.
What self study course are you following? Here's my thoughts, and the advice I give to every aspiring ham i've helped: Don't try to understand the test material, don't try to figure out the radio yet, just MEMORIZE the question pool and pass the first test as soon as possible. You won't be able to really grasp how it all works until you can really play around with it and use it with other hams, and you can't do that until you have your license. The fastest way to do that, is to not worry about understanding the material, just memorize the answers.
I know, i know, this may sound intimidating, but like you said, even kids have their license - this is exactly how the kids study programs work as well. Memorizing the question pool is easier than you might expect, in fact, many of the questions are simple restating of the same question. I always recommend people use the free study website https://hamstudy.org/ as the main tool for memorizing the question pool. Create an account, select "Technician" then start going through the Flash Cards section. Initially just guess and answer if you don't know. If you got it wrong, guess again, continue until you get it right. After finding the correct answer, read the question and then the answer again. You will also notice a "dog ear" appear on the flash card after you guess an answer. Click that to flip the card and see any user-entered notes. This is where i found the most value when i was studying for my exams. Often times these notes will give needed context to the answer, and sometimes they'll even contain some trick to help memorize the correct answer. Do these flash cards for 30-45 minutes a day. HINT: install the HamStudy.org app on your phone ($4, well worth it) then whenever you find yourself with a few minutes to kill (like sitting on the toilet) just open the app and run through some flash cards. HamStudy.org keeps track of what sections you are doing well at, and what ones you need to focus more time on:
The grey bar is what percentage of the questions from each section you've seen, and the blue bar is how likely you are to answer the questions correctly for that section. Once you have "seen" 60-70% or more of the questions, and your aptitude for most of the sections is past 50-60%, start mixing in the "Practice Exams" part of the app. This will generate a 35 question exam (that is basically a "real" exam, question-wise). Take the exam, don't worry if you don't do well. Just keep practicing for 30-45 minutes a day. Once you are able to take a few practice exams a day, and are consistently passing them with about 80%, you are ready to pass an exam.
I also recommend that everybody schedule an exam session RIGHT NOW. Don't wait until you are ready, schedule it (give yourself at least a couple weeks, though) and then let the pressure of the looming exam date motivate you to keep up your studying.
There is also a pretty good "Ham Cram" course available on YouTube that can be helpful. When i was first studying, i watched all 6+ hours of it, but i put the video speed on like 1.5 speed to crank it out in less time. Don't worry that this ham cram is for the old exam, it still covers all the same questions in the current question pool
Once you pass your exam, then you can dive in and start using your radio. Find a local club and just show up at their next meeting (you can do this before you get your license, too!) and let them know that you are new and would like some guidance. There are plenty of "Elmers" who love nothing more than helping people learn the ropes
What brien said.
All of it.
All I would add, is that from a guy coming from your exact same position a few months ago, is that if you understand a few electrical concepts and are good at taking multiple choice tests (can naturally logically eliminate two answers every time) you can probably pass without even studying. I don't say that to encourage not studying, just to relieve some pressure if you are good at test taking.
Also, the cheap radios are much harder to program and that can set you back.
The 897d is a great radio. It's my base radio at home.
IMHO, it's too much to start with. Right now I think you would be better served to set it aside and pick up a used 2m/440 mobile to play with. You need to get your tech and begin using your license. Check in to local nets, learn the proper protocol, and TALK ON THE RADIO. These radios also have a lot fewer settings so you won't be ads afraid of messing up the radio.
Find yourself an Elmer! Go spend some time with them operating and learning the basics.
You're not gonna learn this overnight, but you're also not going to learn if you are so afraid of your radio that you won't use it. Download and read the manual. Look up terms you don't understand. It took me a pretty good while to get mine set and it's taken a couple years off intermittent operating to get comfortable and familiar with the menu structure.
There are so many folks who passed the test but can't setup their own radios, let alone deal with them if they make a mistake and change something in it. I've made cheat sheets for my rigs and bought the "Nifty Manusls" when available for a quick reference if I forget something about the radio. I have 3 Yaesu, 2 Icom, 2 Baofeng, 1 TYT and 1 TenTec. Even the the Yaesu radios have different menu structures but I try to stay able to input frequencies and set tones and shifts by memory, just in case.
Find a club and get involved in it! Go to meetings and activity nights. Operate contests with them! Participate in field day! Above all, go have fun!
I have a set of Kenwoods. Programming these radios from the screens and buttons on the units is a nightmare. Just getting through the menus is exhausting.
Look for software and a cable that will allow you to program your unit from a laptop. I have the Kenwood programs and it is waaaaay easier. Also you can download and install firmware updates to your radio.
I have a Kenwood TS-2000 base station and it's just a myriad of buttons and menus. I have only programmed it from my laptop.
Take a feature at a time and you will be fine. Don't let your eyes glaze over on it. I have found the 2-meter band to be invaluable when bad weather looms. You will find a lot of current weather data reported there as it's where the weather watchers report.
Hi Brien & Ditcherman,
Thank you very much and this is exactly what I was hoping to get from our community. You guys are awesome! I’m going to do everything you said. Seems like that makes so much sense. I have been absolutely struggling and feeling so discouraged, but I think the best thing as you said, is to study the question pool using the tools your turned me onto, get my exam scheduled a few weeks out, study for a couple hours each day, get the apps to make it easy to access from where ever, take the practice test a bunch of times, etc... By the sound of it, it sounds like good ol’ fashioned college test cramming! I wasn’t a great test taker, so I’ll be memorizing the question pool for sure. This is great!! I’m sure many on this OB forum will greatly benefit from your advice here. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
Do you have an FCC Ham License?
YUP...Everything Brien said!!!
I think the best bang for your buck radio out there right now is the Yaesu FTM 400 XDR. They are on sale right now ($170 off) at most major retailers so you are looking at $395 for a true dual band radio with a large color touch screen, APRS, GPS built in and it is fusion digital. You won't find another radio this feature packed anywhere at or near this price point. Just my 2 cents.
The HRO price on the FTM 400XDR right now is NUTS. That price was super tempting, but I still ended up picking up a TM-710G a few days ago. It's still $100 off at HRO right now, so i "only" dropped $500 on it. I was torn between the Yaesu and the Kenwood for a couple years, ended up going with the Kenwood because it's just more feature packed for APRS and packet radio, and it has an actual TNC so i can hook up laptop for packet radio in the wilderness, the FTM 400XDR's software TNC is not useable by the end user, which was a bummer for me. For me it was worth the extra $100 for more advanced APRS and packet radio features
That's very interesting. I honestly didn't look much further into that aspect of it once I saw the 400 had a data port. I probably should have checked into it but packet isn't really a big thing in this area. I had interest in using it with RMS Express for e-mail. It looks like my SingaLink USB will work with it with the addition of a $30 adapter, the CT-164. There's a virtual tnc program I run with RMS Express in order to do 2m packet with my FT-897D so I would think it would be the same.
I'm sure I'd be more interested in packet if it was more prevalent in this area. To be honest, I'm not even sure what all packet is capable of since most of my exposure to it has just been old articles read online when something about it catches my interest.
857d is a fantastic rig. I had one that burned up in my semi truck. they have a lot of gizmo on them and once you have it figured out you will be very pleased with it
I've looked at the 857d and the new 891 for a while for mobile HF. Not quite ready to pull the trigger on one just yet though. The 2m side band of the 857 keeps it in the lead though. I love my 897, it was a dream radio and I got a nicely optioned specimen reasonably priced from a local who takes very good care of his gear.