[Bloominglabs-announce] Ham study, test, clubs, and gear.

Corey Shields cshields at gmail.com
Mon Mar 4 09:27:56 EST 2013

Thanks to those who attended the ham cram on Saturday!  Hopefully it will
help you pass the test.  I'm sending this out to the broader audience in
case these links and info might be of use to someone else.

https://hamstudy.org/  Click Browse Pool, then Browse Technician.  Any
question you don't understand click the "explain it" link at the top of the
card.  If you create an account you can take practice tests.  The questions
are divided into pools (T1-T10) and sub-pools such that a small number are
taken from each topical pool.

** Bloomington Amateur Radio Club (BARC) -
http://www.bloomingtonradio.orgmeetings 1st friday of the month, 7pm,
Wegmiller auditorium in the
bloomington hospital. Meetings are open to the public, if you want to join
and help contribute to the club dues are $10/yr students, $20/yr everyone
** Indiana University ARC (K9IU) - http://www.indiana.edu/~k9iu $15/yr
membership which gets you access to the radio room in the IMU (Good array
of HF gear there! Get a feel for HF with your 10m privileges)
** Other clubs across Indiana can be found through

*Upcoming test details:*
The special test held this coming Sunday March 10th is at Maple Grove
Church, 1503 W. Simpson Chapel Rd, Bloomington 47404.  Registration begins
at 4:00, testing begins at 4:30.  $15 (might be $14, I'm getting
conflicting answers). Bring photo ID. Calculators are allowed (remember
ohm's law and 300/wavelength in m=freq in mhz). The church is at the
diamond intersection with Simpson Chapel and Sample Road. Sample crosses IN
37 N at Wylie Floor Covering. It may only have a Co Road Number in your
Garmin GPS. Take Sample west to a hard right, then to the Simpson-Sample
intersection, bear left. Church is on left. The meeting room is in the
building next to the airplane -- that'll be easy to spot!  I plan to be
there to help cheer you on.  If you can't make that, the next Bloomington
session will be the first Saturday of every month at First United Church,
2420 East 3rd St. at noon (come 20 mins early to fill out your application)

I spoke a bit about your first VHF/UHF radio - and I really recommend
getting a radio with both 2m/70cm capabilities.  There is just too much
activity split across each to miss out on one band.  Beyond that, picking a
radio comes down to your budget and what features you want and ease of
use.  The new, inexpensive chinese radios are flooding the market and they
are sufficient in functionality, but can be difficult to program and use
(Wouxon, Baufeng, TYT, Puxing).  The more expensive "name brand" radios are
typically Kenwood, Icom, and Yaesu. Look for 5 watts if you are going with
an HT.  If you go to http://www.eham.net/reviews/ you can find ratings and
reviews on just about any kind of ham radio and accessory.  Feel free to
ask me too.

Some things to look for: "dual band", typically meaning 2m and 70cm but be
careful that those 2 bands are specified, some radios are coming out with
2m and 1.25m but pics advertise differently..  "dual vfo" means you can
monitor 2 frequencies at the same time, or often scan through 2 banks of
memories at the same time.  The alternative to that would be a single VFO
where only one frequency or scan group is shown and monitored at one time.
Most of the name-brand radios have much greater receive capabilities and
can double as a portable scanner (minus trunking and digital), and are
built a little stronger.  Also, some offer newer radio features like APRS
or D-Star digital voice, but start small and stick to a simple radio until
you find out what you want to get into.

With that, here are some basic HTs to look at:
** Wouxon KG-UV3D ($120) Dual band, dual vfo:
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/5003.html (programming cable is
cheap, and recommended for this one)
** Baofeng UV-5RC ($65) Dual band, dual vfo (sortof):
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/4133.html  NOTE THE "FCC PART 90"
here, meaning this radio has to be pre-programmed for each frequency you
want to use.  You can't just type in a frequency and use it.  I recommend
staying away from part 90 radios, but if your budget is tight it is better
than nothing.  You will have to buy the programming cable with this one
($20).  There are other Baofeng radios even cheaper than this, typically
putting out 1-2 watts max.  Again, better than nothing if your budget is
** Yaesu FT-60R ($160) Dual band, single vfo:
** Yaesu VX-7R ($370) Quad band, dual vfo:
** Icom IC-91A ($320) Dual band, dual vfo (Icom's equiv to the VX-7R, but
upgradeable to D-Star) http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/0091.html
** "mobile" radios (also used for home) - another area where the chinese
manufacturers Wouxun and Anytone are undercutting the name brand
manufacturers by $100+..  I've not had experience with these yet as they
just hit the market, but I imagine they would be sufficient and work well.
Here's a catalog of all vhf/uhf mobiles
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/fm_txvrs.html  Check the eham

Even if you go with an HT it would not hurt to put a simple antenna up at
home, all HTs have removable rubber duck antennas and you can plug a coax
with the right adapter straight into your radio.  With a good antenna you
can run your radio on its lowest power setting and make the battery last
longer.  While I love homebrew antenna building, the perfect inexpensive
VHF/UHF starter antenna has got to be the Arrow Antennas J-Pole:
http://www.arrowantennas.com/osj/j-pole.html  for $39, or $30 if 10 people
go in on a group order.  We did the group order a few years back amongst
the Bloomington clubs, and everyone is happy with their antennas.  Solid
construction, good performance.  It is not as high-gain as some antennas
can be but you're pushing $150+ for high gain.

-Corey  KB9JHU

Corey Shields
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