you don't need to *spell* it at all when taking the test. You
fill out a form with personal information (address, and similar things,
and a FRN if you have one, or a SSN if you don't yet have one (I had one
from preparing to apply for licenses for a pair of handhelds which
turned out to have license-free channels).
Then, in the tests, you have to be able to print your name, sign
your name, and check boxes corresponding to the correct answers. (A
little bit of calculating, especially in the Extra class test) and you
are given a single sheet of scratch paper in case you need it for your
calculations. With a good scientific calculator, I found that I did not
need the scratch paper for anything -- even in the more difficult
They wanted #2 pencils with an eraser (I needed to use the
eraser once -- when I checked a box on a line for the previous
For those with a good feel for electronics calculations, and
reasonable feeling for safety wiring, it is pretty easy. Take practice
exams and learn from what you get wrong.
But if you don't have that knowledge, get the books and study
for the test -- and check how you are doing with the practice ones.
(The questions on the practice exams are from the same pool that the
real exam uses, so if you can pass several of the practice exams at a
given level, you are pretty likely to do well in the real one. I wound
up taking more practice runs than I probably needed, simply filling in
the time while waiting for the nearest scheduled exam to come around. I
wanted to be sure that I was fresh on it. Some questions are from small
groups, so you see them frequently. And I discovered that at least some
which felt very familiar had the answers in a different order (same
wording, just a different multiple guess letter), so memorizing the
right letter is probably not a good idea. Learn to eliminate the
obviously wrong answers (they call them "distractors"), and select
among the remaining ones. I'm glad tha I saw most of those before the
real exam, just so I did not break out laughing at some of the
The local Amateur Radio club has classes, and a couple hams tried to
talk me into ATV. It would have been interesting in the '60s, but after
being an engineer at three TV stations it just doesn't interest me. I
was part of the group that built our high school's 2 meter repeater in
the late '60s, and I'm not interested in putting up large antennas in
the lightning belt.
I congratulate you on your new call, but after almost 50 years of
working with RF I've lost interest in ham radio. Running a 5 MW EIRP
station with a 1749' AAT antenna kind of spoils you. :-)
Anyone wanting to run for any political office in the US should have to
have a DD214, and a honorable discharge.
And I was not implying that *you* di dnot have the knowledge,
but other read these too. :-)
Thanks! I've been attending hamfests for decades, but without a
strong interest in getting my own ticket -- until now. Another thing to
The part which I will probably play with the most is
experimenting with spread spectrum, which I've discovered is within the
allowed ham experimental range.
I can undestand burning out on a subjet after a number of years.
About the only work I did with RF was in an experiment with meteor
bounce communications -- plus generating a large cloud of ions for a
longer-term bounce. (And mostly I helped set up the antenna towers at
that one site, and helped run the chart recorders and receivers. There
was another part of the experiment which was trying digital packet
communications via the bounces and the ion clouds. This was back in
1963 as close as I remember it. (Also the closest that I got with any
kind of space work. :-)
But I got to spend time watching jet fighters taking off into
the dawn one after the the other, and returning rather later and
lighter. Watching those things getting just a little off the ground and
then standing on their tail and climbing was impressive. :-)
I have a Harris Hybrid high band VHF that was retuned for two meters.
It's a heavy mobile, with a rackmount power supply. I was considering
adding a MPU and a pair of DDS chips to make it tune the entire two
meter band, instead of four rock bound channels.
I have some E.F. Johnson & Midland UHF mobile radios that could be
put on 432. The Johnson use a power varactor after the High band VHF
output stage to triple the frequency. Crystal controlled. The Midland
are synthesized, but little information is available on programming them
I worked around airfields, but only saw copters with student pilots
who came quite close to putting the blades through the window of the
tower while I was repairing equipment in the control room.
Anyone wanting to run for any political office in the US should have to
have a DD214, and a honorable discharge.
That would be a nice improvement. I remember lots of rock-bound
2 meter handhelds back in the 1970s and 1980s (4 channels IIRC). This
little Yeasu (half the size) has a nice synthesizer VFO built in, and
something like 99 frequency pair memories..
Interesting. Not sure that there is room to build a mobile rig
into my Nissan Cube -- and keep the room for people which I need. :-)
Something like that might work well as a starting point for the
spread spectrum once you cut it free from the rocks.
[ ... communications experiment snipped ... ]
Real motivation to getting the tower back on the air, I guess. :-)
My only experience with 'copters was a flight simulator for the
SH-3A (sub hunting 'copter) which my employer built four of. Three in
pairs of 18-wheeler trailers (one for the electronics, and one for the
cockpit and the sonar room with the instructor's console in between),
and one laid out to be installed in a building.
I remember spotting one thing that the engineers missed in the
power rack. They mounted a big contactor on its side to take up less
space, not realizing that the thing needed gravity to turn off quickly.
That may be why I was eligible for the shift to technician
from assembler when that project (and the following A7A simulator) were
Before you go to take the test, it does not hurt to take the
on-line practice exams. The two sites which I tried were:
The practice exams are made up from the same question pools used for the
real exams, so they give you a pretty good idea how you will do. I
first tried the Technician class test, figuring that I had a pretty good
chance at that from my previous employment (except for the rules based
things, of course). After a little while I decided to try the General
test as well, and got pretty comfortable with that, so I went on up to
the Extra class test, had to refresh my memory on various things.
Learned things from the questions I got wrong earlier. (The practice
tests show you what you got wrong, and what the proper answer should
have been.) Once you are comfortable with them (you can get up to 9
wrong out of 35 on the first two tests, and up to 13 wrong out of 50 on
the third one for Extra) you can take it feeling pretty confident,
knowing that you will get some wrong, but that you are very likely to
For me -- it worked simply taking the practice tests, and
learning from them. For others, learing from books, and just an
occasional practice test works better. It depends on how much
electronic theory you have in your head, and how much about antenna
theory. (And there are questions about various safety things, too.)
That was my feeling about a Marconi rigged sailboat after having
learned on a Gaff rigged one. Not enough lines. :-)
Yes. Set up a blinker to exchange cell numbers, or sail close
enough to shout. :-)
There are also citizens radio service handhelds which work up
around 400+ MHz, and which are legal without a license for some of the
chanels (limited power) and on other channels, you need an operator's
license or a station license for the handheld (not a ham license).
On Sunday, July 14, 2013 9:26:04 PM UTC-4, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
sure you can get a Baofeng dual band walkie Taklie for about $40 on Ebay a
nd use it on the amateur bands and the marine band. Plus it has a FM radio
Mea Culpa. The Baofeng in not legal on the marine band or the frs, murs,
or GMRS bands in that it is not FCC part 95 approved. It is not so much th
at it will not work at those frequencies , because it will transmit and can
receive on those bands. The problem is that the operator can program it
to other frequencies. And FCC 95 requires that the radios be designed so t
hey can only be used an those frequencies. So if you have bought one of t
hese, you can use it to monitor the marine band frequencies. But you can n
ot legally transmit on those frequencies.
But do not go buy a marine band radio on Ebay unless you make sure it compl
ies with the narrow band requirements that went into effect last January.
Sorry about that
On Mon, 5 Aug 2013 06:51:13 -0700 (PDT), " email@example.com"
A little thing like Part 95 is not going to worry me in the slightest.
Least of all in the areas where Im likely to use it. Shrug.
The "Friendly Candy Company" isnt like the ATF...anymore.
However..I am..am looking for a good used, individual Marine radio.
None of the old ones have been Grandfathered? Id be tremendiously
suprised if that were the case. Any info on that? (later note..check
My Baofeng UV-B6 shows that it will be delivered today as it hit the
local post office at 7am, according to the tracking data
The programming data is already on my computer and the freqs and
whatnot are already programmed in for marine, ham and several local
agencies (receive only), when it arrives, Ill plug in the charger and
this evening, program it. Ill give a review in the next day or 2.
Almost 3 weeks shipping. The programming cable took 6 days to get
Shrug...Ill not be going on the ham bands until I get my ticket, but
now Ill be able to test any marine radios I encounter in my scrounging
efforts. (low power and a dummy load is in my truck already)
And I thank YOU for the original information leading up to the
monumental cost of $40 for the radio and $3.50 for the programming
cable and software.
Btw...I just did a quick search o the subject
You may review the very last data line at the bottom. If its hard to
read (and Ive not corrected the formating..so it probably is hard to
read) ..simply click on the link below.
Narrowbanding Myths and Realities
Myth: The Narrowbanding Mandate requires licensees to "go digital"
(i.e. P25; NXDN; MotoTRBO, TETRA)
Myth: The Narrowbanding Mandate requires licensees to use 6.25 KHz
Myth: The Narrowbanding Mandate requires licensees to change to a new
frequency or band
Myth: The Narrowbanding Mandate requires licensees to use trunking
The above claims are false in the context of any of them actually
being required to comply with the
narrowbanding mandate. They may, however, be valid OPTIONS for
consideration by individual
licensees or certain types of radio system user groups (i.e. Public
Safety) when comparing the features, capabilities, benefits and added
value those advanced technology options offer with those provided by
existing radio systems and/or, in determining whether present systems
still effectively meet a licensees
current and future communications needs and requirements.
It is imperative that licensees thoroughly discuss, analize, and
understand how these OPTIONS may
(or may not) be beneficial to their specific radio system operations.
Using the services of qualified radio communications professionals
when planning and implementing any narrowband migration project is
Myth: Wideband licensees may continue to operate on a "secondary user"
basis after 01/01/2013
Not true. ALL Part 90 VHF and UHF two way voice dispatch, data, SCADA,
and private radio paging systems must be operating in a 12.5 KHz
narrowband (or equivalent) mode on or before the 01/01/2013 date
unless -- and only if -- a Narrowbanding Waiver has been issued to
Myth: Everybody must narrowband again by 2017
This myth is inaccurate. This date applies only to Part 90 Public
Safety 700 MHz systems which must be operating with 6.25 KHz
emissions/equivalency by January 1, 2017. Part 90 VHF (150-174 MHz)
or UHF (421-470 MHz) licensees are NOT required to migrate to 6.25 KHz
emissions/equivalency by this or any other date
Myth: 3rd Party narrowbanding "kits" may be used to modify equipment
to comply with the Mandate
No. "To be compliant with the commission's rules, the radio must be
specifically certificated for
narrowband use under Part 90" (Ira Keltz, deputy chief, FCC's
Office of Engineering and
Also see the FCC's responses to FAQ's regarding other
Also see VHF/UHF FAQ's
Reality: Part 90 narrowbanding is NOT optional
Reality: Do NOT ignore the narrowbanding compliance date of January 1,
Reality: Failure to comply without an FCC Waiver WILL result in
license revocation and/or monetary penalties
Reality: Narrowbanding is not complete until all subscriber and
infrastructure radios in a system have been
either replaced or re-programmed to operate in the
narrowband mode. Many existing radio systems are
still operating in the wide-band mode - do you know
the status of YOUR system?
Reality: Interference WILL occur to wideband systems as new narrowband
deployed on narrowband frequencies adjacent to those
used by wideband systems
Reality: After 01/01/2013, any Part 90 system still operating in the
wideband mode that causes
interference to compliant narrowband systems will be
subject to several FCC enforcement
actions, including the immediate shut down of the
Reality: Low, potentially distorted, or unintelligible audio or,
corrupted data, WILL occur
between wideband and narrowband devices operating in the
Reality: Narrowbanding WILL require well-planned and coordinated
to avoid disruption of normal day-to-day radio
communications and operations
Reality: After 01/01/2013, all dual-mode capable 25/12.5 KHz radio
equipment must be operated
only in the 12.5 KHz narrowband mode
*** Note below ***
Reality: The Narrowbanding Mandate does NOT apply to Low Band (30-50
MHz) 220, 700, 800 or 900 MHz Part 90 systems, nor to FRS, GMRS, MURS,
Amateur, Marine VHF, or CB radio users
""Almost all liberal behavioral tropes track the impotent rage of small
children. Thus, for example, there is also the popular tactic of
First -- do you have a license? If not, are you ready to go
through the licensing process?
I just (yesterday) went through the process of getting tested
for a ham license -- and passed all three, so I am now an Extra class
amateur, but waiting for the FCC to put up my call sign on their web
How big is the sailboat? If you are moving it from lake to lake
on a trailer, it is probably not large enough to provide a safe dry
place for the radio, so a handheld might be the best bet there.
For a handheld -- bring along as many pre-charged replacement
batteries as needed for your expected time out there, plus one. Assume
that you will have it just listening most of the time, but if you have
trouble, you may need to transmit a lot more than would normally be the
case. Keep the handheld and the batteries in sealed ZipLoc baggies.
This means a longer baggie for the radio with its antenna.
Sorry -- no.
By itself, no -- but with an antenna on the top and radials you
might get a good enough one. Except that it will tilt every time the
craft heels over. Not sure what effect this would have on the radiation
pattern. But a handheld could be held to keep the antenna vertical
under most circumstances. Unless the lakes are really big, the range of
a 2 meter handheld should be sufficient. And I know that mine can
*receive* outside the ham bands, though it is locked from transmitting
there. (I suspect that this is a SMOP (Simple Matter Of Programming) to
change what is allowed, but I have not dug into mine to see whether it
can be done. Better to get one designed for the use.
Does anyone even listen to CB frequencies these days? The best
transmitter in the world is no good if nobody is listening while you are
Size of craft? Handheld is my first suggestion, until I know
whether there is enough space to mount it where it is protected from the
Are the stays (stainless) steel wire or something
non-conductive? If non-conductive you might be able to do some creative
wiring to make the mast (aluminum?) serve as the antenna -- though the
effect of heeling over may be counterproctive.
FWIW, my call was posted this morning, I am KV4PH.
O.K. That should be sufficient to provide safe storage for a
somewhat larger rig -- though the little handhelds you are looking at on
eBay may be quite sufficient for the size of the lake.
And keeps the water splashes off. (More of a problem in salt
water, of course.)
O.K. But is anyone using it on the water? An 18-wheeler on
land won't be much help if you have problems on the lakes.
Enough room. I would be tempted (assuming a centerboard, so you
would not be moving down the center belowdecks), mounting one of the
bigger ones to the underside of the deck where the hatch cover slides
over it. Of course, be careful that your mounting does not leak.
[ ... ]
Yes, an adjustable one would be an intersting thing to sell.
(Not sure just how bad the fading from heeling might be.) Something
operated by a pendulum inside below the base of the mast might work
well. Probably add a damper of some sort for when the waves just happen
to hit resonance. :-)
But -- with the handhelds you are looking at (other thread
branch), you know where the horizon is, and can tilt it in your hand to
keep the antenna pattern reasonable.
Handhelds are used commonly in salt water here, by small boats. It all
depends on how much distance you have to cover. If Gunner is going out
to blue water in his little 21 footer (unlikely) then he'll need
something more. Prayer would help, too. <g>
If he's sailing coastwise or in bays in a populated area with lots of
shore stations, probably not.
Thanks. it was on my similar list -- until last hamfest I won a
nice little Yeasu 2-meter handheld as a door prize, so I suddenly needed
a ticket to be able to use it for anything other than listening. :-)
That moved it up in priority. I started taking the practice test for
Technician, and found it pretty easy (and learned things from the ones I
got wrong), so I tried the General, and after a little while decided
that it was also a doable thing, so I tried the Extra, and while I was
less certain about it, I felt that I had a very good chance for anything
but a particularly bad (for me) clustering of the 35 questions from the
474 question pool. :-) As it worked out, I got an unusually easy one
there -- no sweat at all. I expect that I got some wrong, but got
enough right to get the license. I almost feel guilty with that easy a
Go to hamfests with a higher admission cost. This one had a
$10.00 one instead of the usual $5.00 cost, so the door prizes were
Now -- I have to worry about buying more things at hamfests, the
things which I have been skipping because I could not use them fully
without a ticket. (I wanted a particular good receiver, but most of
them came attached to transmitters, and I didn't want the chance of
accidentally hitting the wrong button and breaking the law. :-)
Now I need to learn code to use some of the bands properly.
No, not at all.
In fact, few inland waterways monitor VHF any more.
Use a cell phone.
If you really want to sound and look nautical, get a hand-held VHF.
All the cool kids have them.
Then learn proper marine radio procedures.
Using it like a CB will probably get you boarded.
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.