the hard facts of life. for the new guys                     Written with  SE Idaho NEW Hams in mind                          HOME


This page is here for one purpose, to enlighten you , not to run you off.
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 ?
If you need that warm fuzzy feeling about everything then you've come to the wrong person.  99% of the hams are willing to help
you. BE advised 'not all hams are created equal'.     I dare you to read and watch all links on this page.  I dare you to join
one of the clubs in Pocatello,   PARC 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.

Heres three pages you might want to look at. 

New Ham - what do I do now  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,   & Oh yes   C l i c k y   C l i c k y on 2 meters.
 


CLUBS

Watching that first video listed above,  and reading that stuff, it looks like the old guys are stuck in a rut
Joining a CLUB and the ARRL.   Getting QST magazine is one of the best ways to learn things,  unlike Playboy magazine, just looking at
the pictures  and reading the advertising can add to your knowledge base.  and if you happen to read an article all the better, ,
                                                                                                                                                           ARRL membership/renewal Link

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, but its limited..

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1PtDM3lI3Q              part three           Repeater list for Pocatello,     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 cheap 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 on the front panel of the radio, 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 DONT recommend
those really cheap Chinese radios,  they are hard (almost impossible) to program.  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. its going to be a lonely world on 2 meter FM

As President Trump says,  "TRUST ME", ,   15 memories are way more than you need.

another source of a inexpensive radios ,  the radio CLUB


Technicians ON TEN meters   , GREAT IDEA, but this being written in 2017 the hard truth is ?? 
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 it 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 occurrences will be far and few in-between.

Whats the answer, a general or extra license.,,  FULL stop, .                  giving you more HF privileges


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,   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 (???) ,   
SORRY I think most of these guys are a bunch of sappy idiots, again sorry,    and 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 


Outside antennas,  
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.

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 ????  in actual fact 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 is more than enough..
On the ground you need a lot more,  not impossible,  but a bit more work.     40 Meters is 32 feet tall,  harder to put on your roof, 

If you check 'the Doctors IN' topics,  ( see above)   they have discussed all sorts of antennas ,  the Plusses and minuses of all different types 


HI FI AUDIO..    (fools are easily separated from their money)
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. 
(Like those guys on TV selling  magnets you put around your cars gas line which would double your gas mileage) "10-4"

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 , just 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, and 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.


MICROPHONES (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 off 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 a penny,,  

What not to do:  SPEND a king ransom on a microphone.

Lets see, most 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 boom and other “stuff” that only extracts money from your pocket. and doesn't improve your signal !

So what did I just say,    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.


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,  Test transmissions where no one was even contacted, yes every transmission.  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, I use XP on an older, but not cold machine and things work really well in my shack.  There
are many verity's of logging software for not too much money,  Without plugging his product the N3FJP software is
relatively inexpensive , and for me does a great job.  Some software is just TOOOOO complex, If your spending $100+  its probably overloaded software.
I don't need a wall covered with 21 inch monitors to keep track of the "gray line"..   sometimes 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 52595 QSO's   and have CONFIRMED (QSL) 19,377
Confirmed means  both my log and the other fellows log Match ,  time , date, call sign,  ETC.. 


QSL CARDS
Yes,  time tested, a way to confirm a contact,  IF YOUR active on HF,  you need some printed QSL card, 
get connected with your Incoming QSL BURO,   get some envelopes on file.   If your working DX the cards will arrive.  
PARC gets cards all the time via the BURO...  Just do it,  quit griping , OK,  
 


 

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 anything to me    plus or minus?????????????????