the hard facts of life. for the new
with SE Idaho NEW Hams in mind
This page is here for one purpose, to enlighten you , not to run you off.
We want you new hams to attend our meetings, we want your ideas, your input, and your friendship.
Please think about attending our meetings.
This page is written by KØIP and reviewed by other PARC hams. Many guys say I am toooo hard on the new guys, COULD BE ?
Sorry, I call it the way I see it. 99% of the old hams are willing to help you. HOWEVER BE advised 'not all hams are created equal'.
and quite honest many may not have the answers you want or need.
I dare you to read and watch all links on this page.
I dare you to join one of the clubs in Pocatello, PARC (Pocatello Amateur Radio Club) or PV-ARES.
You need to attend more than one club meeting to feel your part of a group, so start coming to meetings,
Start mingling with the guys at the meeting , start learning about Ham Radio. We really want you to be part of our club.
Watch the 4th video below, overcoming Frustration, He discusses the same things, you probably won't be 100% accepted
into the group on your first visit .
now here is a list of things that seem to be on my front burner !..
WHY IS 2 meters DEAD ??
This question seems to be ask by lots of people, the answer is simple,
NO ONE LEAVES THEIR RADIOS ON !
Remember, if your radio is OFF, the band is dead ! In the olden days for 2 meter +/- about 20 to 40 years ago, all the
local guys left their "base" radios ON all the time, maybe even at night, if you were upside down in a ditch, someone
would probably be listening to the repeater to help you ( life before cell phones)
and for sure if you wanted a QSO in the daylight hours someone would be willing to chat..
NOW remember everyone left their radios ON.
Most of those old guys are now dead. its up to you "new guys" to fill the gap.
Solution: all you new guys, turn your radios on, monitor the local repeater, answer calls, leave your radios on.
Think about this, if everyone's radio is OFF, and you decide turn yours on and call CQ , guess what, no one will hear you There all switched off !.
the likelihood of two of you switching your radio on at the exact same time is fairly low.
TURN YOUR RADIOS ON AND LEAVE THEM ON
Heres four pages you
should look at.
New Ham - what do I do now (ask dave #12) a must watch Video
I think this video just about sums it up, join a club, join the ARRL, get on HF radio, life on two meters is limited.
New Hams - GET AN Elmer - Join a club
New Hams - How to fit in with the grumpy old guys
and why their grumpy, how to make that first 2 meter contact, and what to do with your old CB radios, and more
New Hams - Overcoming 'new ham' Frustration (ask dave #43)
Watching that first video listed above, (ask dave #12) and
reading those links, it looks like the old guys
are stuck in a rut
Joining a Local CLUB and the ARRL. By joining ARRL, you get QST magazine which is one of the best ways to learn things,
unlike Playboy magazine, where everyone just 'read the articles' and didn't look at the pictures, looking at the pictures in QST and reading the
advertising can add to your knowledge base. and if you happen to read an article thats even better, ,
ARRL membership/renewal Link
FYI, when you join a club, you need to attend the meetings !
In Pocatello there are two amateur radio groups
One being the page your on now, the Pocatello Amateur Radio Club (PARC Home Page), and
The Portneuf Valley Amateur Radio Emergency Services group PV ARES .
PARC is a general interest club, and PV ARES is mostly interested in emergency communications and parade, race, local event communications.
If Emergency preparedness is why you got a Amateur License you should investigate them.
However if you got a license to explore all the aspects of HAM radio like DXing, weak signal vhf , contests, building projects, Just learning new things.
Then PARC is for you, Think about this, Join both groups, get the best of both worlds.
If you don't live in Pocatello see this Other Ham Clubs in our area
Repeaters: and programming your 2 meter radio.
It seems like most new hams get on 2 meters, this is OK and you can do
many things using only 2 meter FM. However,
its only one very small segment of ham radio.
you've got a license but your lost in a world of confusing terms and strange sounding do-dads? nothing makes any sense .
and programming that new HT makes even less sense ??
probably the best thing to do is come to our meeting, get an ELMER, he can help* you.
Try Watching these three videos , they might give you some insight about programmed your HT.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmOfkdhJL1U&t=323s part one
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrRLBPhwaus part two
Repeater list for
Repeater list for Idaho
*one thing that needs mentioned, just because I've been a ham for 50+ years, doesn't mean I can figure out how to program your Chinese radio.
IF you need a computer and software to program your radio, I think you probably have the WRONG RADIO,
you need to be able to change frequencies and program it via the front panel buttons, on the fly, any time, any place, night or day, with or without AC power .
Handy Talky (HT)
buyers guide: This is my advice to you as an Elmer:
DONT spend a small fortune on a two meter radio, however, I DON'T recommend
those really cheap Chinese radios, they are hard (almost impossible) to program without a computer
I DO recommend a single band 2 meter radio, that has a BNC antenna connector, like mentioned in those videos,
forgot all the "bells and whistles" . most of that "stuff" IS USELESS.
Your a beginner, buy a simple radio, who knows 6 months from now you might not even be interested in 2 meters anymore.
There's got to be some FM only , plain Jane, FM HT for say less than $100. Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom, Alinco pick one.
simple and cheap, not Chinese, with a BNC jack if possible.
forget D-Star or Fusion, GPS, APRS , etc etc ,
The radio manufactures what to sell you the most expensive thing they can grind out,
TOOO many options, TOOO much memory, TOOO much BS. simple is better.
See this joke link about how much memory is too much Ozzy Osburne it might be a joke but its mostly true.
There are NO D-Star, or Fusion repeaters in SE Idaho, so forget expensive radios than include these digital modes. Their useless here in SE Idaho
THE REAL FACT IS:
There's almost NO activity on the existing FM repeaters, DEAD AIR, so be warned. , see above "why is two meters dead"
heres a few examples of simple HT radios(as of 2017) , alinco DJ-100T DJ-500T Kenwood TH-K20A, Yaesu FT65R, and ICOM V80 sport,
which is the best in my opinion, it has a BNC, and a AA battery pack, which means you can run it on Standard AA batteries in an emergency.
this also means for daily use you will need to buy some rechargeable batteries and the correct charger for your batteries, I still use NiCad's in my HT.
Speaking of FM,, as discussed above,
the three digital audio modes DMR - Dstar - Fusion are all
INCOMPATIBLE with each other. The
people that spend a ton of money putting up these specialized repeaters will tell you how great the audio is, Hi Def audio,
Quadraphonic (remember, the absolute "end all" to your stereo system in the 70's) Now dead and gone. Anyway they will tell you how great it is,
and how you can't live without it ! What they are doing is in fact, SEGMENTING 2 meter voice into 4 groups, all incompatible with each other.
Answer, Buy 4 kinds of radios, ??? NOT, at least for a starter, stick with what's now called "analog FM" ,, its not HiFi, but it works
Technicians ON TEN
, GREAT IDEA, however this being written in 2017 the hard truth
you had better set down for this, because its not what you want to hear.
its going to be a lonely world, more lonely than 2 meter FM.
am I lying , some might say I full of Bull, BUT the sunspot cycle is headed to the bottom,
NO sun spots equals NO propagation on the higher HF bands, Not to say skip won't happen some times,
Sporadic E skip is the main driving force for skip on 6 meters.. That same Sporadic E makes for some great contacts on 10 meters..
The Question is , What Day, What hour, maybe What year ???
you better keep the radio on all the time, those openings will be far and few in-between.
Whats the answer, a general or extra license,
giving you more HF privileges
2018 update: Surprise, this spring and summer was full of 10 meter openings, even on the clubs .36 repeater's 10 meter link, lots of activity
SO,,, I was somewhat wrong about conditions and the possibility of making a contact, HOWEVER, you needed to keep your radio on,
and be attentive to band conditions. as of mid Aug, the sporadic E has mostly faded away .. m
lets hope 2019 will be as active ,,,,
Things to watch and listen to,
There's so many different people making all sorts of Ham Radio videos, so much of it is TOTAL BS, be careful who's giving the advice.
Dave and K7AGE seem to have their facts in order,
ASK- DAVE videos see this Watch the ones you think pertain to you , or watch them all, they will broaden your horizons
The same goes for K7AGE videos on youtube.com
since episodes don't appear to come up in any order, scan for ones that might interest you.
This guy did one on installing Power Poles connectors, it was great..
I highly recommend using them on all your radios. PARC stocks these in our "company store"
Now between you and me, K7AGE has joined with the "Ham Nation" video group, which includes
many "semi" famous hams and some that are only famous in their own minds (???) , similar to myself?
SORRY I think many of these guys are a bunch of sappy idiots, K7AGE does spew a bunch of BS , don't believe everything !!
in particular, I watched Randy K7AGE Ham Shack Build Part 1: Ham Nation 226 it was all Blabber & Blabber BLAB BLAB BLAB,
He said NOTHING. Talking about himself and his shack, really didn't say anything worth hearing .. .
However ASK Dave had one on setting up a SHACK and it was very informative . Ask Dave Episode 3
AUDIO ONLY Podcasts , this is great stuff, the ARRL's "The Doctors IN", Link to index of audio podcasts
OK you want to be heard, then you need an outside antenna, for 2 meters a cheap J-Pole will do the trick, but its got to be outside your house, connected
with good coax, Like RG8U or RG213 type coax. the Higher you can mount the antenna the better , up on your roof somewhere. if you ever need to talk
simplex, ( a novel idea) your rubber duck isn't going to work very well. There is a host of other vertical outside antennas for 2 meters, most are somewhat
expensive considering what your getting, however, they are factory antennas and tend to last forever.
HF antennas for the beginner, A DIPOLE or a ONE Band Vertical. You don't have to invest a fortune on an antenna, prices on new Trapped Verticals
are ridicules. As are multi band Store Bought dipoles, MAKE YOUR OWN ANTENNA it will be almost free... and you don't need a PhD to install them.
Which Band, Well ???? (as of 2018) 10, 12, 15 meter bands are almost USELESS for the next 4 or 5 years, No SunSpots. So my 2 cents worth
is either 20 or 40 meters. maybe 80 meters. dipoles are really easy to build and the club can help you get one up if you need or want the help.
See the Q&A button for measurements. resonant dipole
Vertical Antenna, a 20 meter antenna is only 16 feet tall, if you can mount it on your roof you will only need a few radials, four are more than enough..
On the ground you need lots of radials, not impossible, but a bit more work. 40 Meters is 32 feet tall, harder to put on your roof, but not impossible.
If you check 'the Doctors IN' topics, ( see above) they have discussed all sorts of antennas , the Plusses and minuses of all different types
FI AUDIO. on HF . (fools are easily separated from
HIFI I ask WHY. There are several manufactures that sell audio enhancement devices, my question why ?
ANSWER: if you make it, some fool will eventually buy it, and tell you how great it is.
if you tune around 14.188mHz and listen, eventually you will hear a bunch of these HIFI audio guys all discussing how great they all sound,
now , tune slightly off their signal a bit and hear the strange artifact, kind of a "wow wow" sound. Its terrible.
Generally their bandwidth is wider than a normal SSB signal, all the extra "base" might sound a bit better, but its totally stupid.
SO just don’t get sucked into the stupidity. Just say NO.
(fools are easily separated from their money)
YOU Ask , Do I need a special microphone ?? answer NO
The microphone supplied with your radio was made for your radio.
if you really want to improve your operating position, buy a fairly good HEADSET, like Heil or Radio Sport,
you’ll need a foot switch too. DON’T buy the Heil foot switch, a total rip off. Too thick , too hard to press down, TOO expensive...
EBAY footswitch, see what pops up. buy something FLAT to get your foot on. I use a foot switch made for a old Dictaphone machine.
I almost always use headphones, I can hear better, the boom mike is attached, I don’t need to lean up to the desk to talk,
I can use my hands to do my electronic logging,
I also say PHOOEY to that Rush Limbaugh golden microphone suspended with springs on a boom device, PHOOEY
Heil sells a lot of this "stuff" , its not worth what it costs,,
What not to do: spend a king ransom on a microphone.
Lets see, some manufactures, especially Yaesu, make WAY EXPENSIVE microphones.
The top Yaesu mike, the “M-1 special addition” priced at $690, WHAT, CRAZY (do you have money to burn ??)
Heil sells a lot of mikes and booms and other “stuff” that only extracts money from your pocket. and doesn't improve your signal !
So what did I ask, do you really think you need a FOUR HUNDRED DOLLAR microphone ??? NO ,
Those dollars are WAY better spend that on an Antenna, or a headset.... The mike supplied with your radio should work just fine,
other than it's a HAND mike and it ties up one of your hands.
A note about HEADSETS: Heil isn't cheap, but good, and Radio Sport seems too expensive for me being cheap. I actually use a
strange looking Telex headset. I'm not even sure where I got it, I had to add a 1 transistor amplifier so it would work with my Icom radio.
and yes, its not the totally comfortable leather coated expensive headset, however I get great audio reports . years ago a friend of mine bought
a cheap headset advertised in QST,, from Warren Gregoire LLC in California, I gave him a ration of BS about those cheap things, but I
operated for a few hours in a contest from his shack, and actually think those cheap things were OK, good audio, not too tough on the ears..
they cost $59 dollars now see www.superheadsets.com. There are also a lot of people using cheap Computer headsets, if I ever
find a good article about this I will put a lin here.
they (computer headsets) work quite well too. I guess what I'm saying , you don't have to spend a fortune on headsets either. so shop around
LOGGING your contacts
OK guys, way back in the olden' days, not so many years ago, it was an FCC rule that every transmission
should be logged, yes every transmission, if you called CQ, you logged it, even if no one answered you. seems extreme doesn't it ,
lucky we don't need to do that any more, however, keeping a log is important, (ok OK !! not so important for 2 meter FM)..
Some day , you might decide to get some "wall paper" , like the ARRL's
Worked All States WAS award. without a log it "ain't" going to happen !!
Ok it isn't going to happen. Paper logs are OK, BUT, not really ,
hey its the 21 Century and we have computers, FYI your shack computer doesn't need to be a I 7 processor with 16g's of memory, and a 10 trillion gig hard drive.
I use XP on an older, but not cold machine and things work really well in my shack.
There are many logging programs for not too much money, I use N3FJP, his product is relatively inexpensive , for me does the job I want.
Some software is just TOOOOO complex, If your spending $100+ its probably "bloat ware".
I don't need a wall covered with 32 inch monitors to keep track of the "gray line"..
as with many things, most of the time "simple is better" !!
LOG ALL YOUR HF Contacts as well as your Weak Signal VHF contacts, is there a VUCC in your future ??
it's NOT going to happen without a LOG..
Log on your computer and then use LoTW, for awards, you might want to have some QSL cards on hand too....
Log even if you have NO intention of getting a VUCC or WAS , WHY ?, because the other guy REALLY needed IDAHO on 6 METERS,
and you were that important contact,, he's depending on you to CONFIRM that "hard to get contact" ..
Heres a screen shot of what I have uploaded to LoTW, to decode this, I have uploaded 52,595 QSO's and have CONFIRMED (QSL) 19,377
Confirmed means both my log and the other fellows log Match , time , date, call sign, ETC..
just to make sure we all understand, Logbook of The World (LoTW) is NOT a logging program, its a database for awards.
Yes, a time tested way to confirm a contact, IF YOUR active on HF, you need some printed QSL card,
If your working DX the cards will arrive at the incoming BURO for your call district..
PARC gets cards all the time via the BURO...
Get a few QSL cards printed, or print your own, 100 should be more than
enough to start.
sign up for LoTW the ARRL electronic awards database. Don't get fooled by eQSL and
QRZ's Logbook or similar internet sites. ARRL and CQ magazine awards are where it's at.
QSL cards should be 'post card' size 5... by 3 1/2
inches, card stock.
The prefer card has all the info on one side, but it's not necessary. Pictures are always nice, but not necessary either
Learn about SASE's ,, check out your incoming QSL buro, you need to have envelopes at the buro.
http://www.arrl.org/incoming-qsl-service will have contact info.
To use the outgoing buro, you must be an ARRL member.
Don' t hide in your
Something I think is important, thats being able to Email hams and have others be able to contact me, for ham radio folks, that means QRZ.com,
It's a defact STANDARD in call sign lookups
Now don't send them any money, The guy's probably a multi millionaire, without your help. QRZ is a great ham asset for looking up contacts. However
lots of the "BLOG stuff" is total BS, There is absolutely NO reason to send him money. I've used the site for years, (free) there is a limited amount of lookups you
can do every 24 hours, like 25 or so, why would I want to look up more ???
That being said its a great web. Now what do I think is stupid, several years ago , the owner made it mandatory to LOG IN, to get most of the info about a station.
I don't like it, BUT, I have never suspected him of mis-useing email address... SO get signed up, then you can manage your page and see all the info
for the station your looking for. you can post a picture of yourself, PLEASE not your radio, I know what a Yaesu looks like !!
I don't know what you look like !! OK .. put up some kind of BIO about yourself, and your EMAIL info.
Remember ITS FREE
Be ready for an
emergency, if you want, join in with the ""emergency
guys"", like PV-ARES,
you'll probably get some good training, and some new friends on the radio..
BUT when the ""big one"" hits, HF long haul communications is probably going to save the day when "" all else fails ""
what exactly is the " big one" ?? floods, tornados, earthquakes, a 2 meter HT's is great for "parade duty" or bicycle race, maybe at the local shelter
during a snow storm. However, when the lines are down for hundreds of miles you need HF, or maybe a satellite phone.
You also might need to communicate with guys with HT's around town, so have a two meter base radio, with a good antenna., and emergency power,
it doesn't take much of a AC generator to power a 60 watt FM rig.
Question: how are you going to power your radio, that HT battery won't last forever, have backup power for your radios,
BE READY, get savvy enough to repair antennas , cables, learn how your equipment works, , etc IF you don't you may be part of the emergency ??
WHO PAYS FOR
it isn't the federal government or the city, its the hams that own the repeater. most repeaters are operated by clubs, there are a few
that individuals put up and the owners foot the bill.
It costs money to keep these radios on the air. This year alone, PARC had to replace 10 year old batteries at Scout Mt. and the lighting protector on the
solar panels failed, just getting there take a toll on 4 wheel vehicles, again, WHO pays ???? Club members do !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you use repeaters , any repeater, you should join the club that supports those repeaters, you dues keep these radio systems running.
Pick a club, and join, even if you never attend a meeting. Be advised, most clubs want you to attend meetings, not just pay dues, but your
dues help with repeater expenses.
OK you guys, want to express your ideas,
do you have any ideas, think I'm too harsh, or want to tell me to drop dead, email jcwilson(at)ida.net
so far no one has sent me any advice ?????????????????