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Thread: Amateur Radio Classes in Columbia.

  1. #1

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    Amateur Radio Classes in Columbia.

    For those of you that wish to make the glorious change to Amateur Radio, there will be free classes at the SCETV building next to Williams-Brice Stadium. The classes will be the evenings of June 12-15 and the exam will be held on Saturday, June 16th. The classes are free and the exam will be $10.

    http://scheart.us/ham-radio-classes-in-june-2018/

    Advantages of Amateur Radio over CB are:

    1. Installation is easier. An unloaded 1/4 wave CB antenna is 8.6 feet whereas a VHF is 1.6 feet and UHF is just over 6 inches. There are many VHF/UHF radios available that have remote heads so You can mount the bulky radio out of sight and only have to deal with a much smaller head unit to mount on the dash or windshield.

    2. Sound quality is better. CB is AM and VHF is FM. Think of AM radio vs FM radio stations.

    3. The classes are not too difficult, but they do teach you a lot so that if you have comm issues you will have a deeper knowledge base to troubleshoot problems.

    4. Cost and convenience. If all you really want to do is trail comms for a short distance, you can get a cheap Chinese radio for only $25.

    5. Having an Amateur Radio license grants you access to thousands of repeaters which can increase your range from only a few miles to a radius of up to 20-50 miles, depending on terrain and elevation. I was once halfway between Abbeville and McCormick making full-quieting contact with a repeater on Sassafras Mountain. That is just over 70 miles. Granted I had to crank my power up to 50 watts, but I got in there crystal clear.

    Here is an interesting idea I once had for a completely stealth (and not thief attracting) install idea for Jeep Wrangler. The fiberglass & composites in the hard tops and the canvas & vinyl in the soft tops are effectively invisible to radio waves. A Jeeper could easily mount a center loaded 1/2 wave dual band antenna that is around 19" tall in the rear cargo area. A 1/2 wave antenna will not have ground-plane issues like a 1/4 wave antenna and your antenna will be completely enclosed preventing trail damage and being less noticeable to "prying eyes."

    It's fun, you'll like it. Tripp can back me up here.

  2. #2
    Twilliamson's Avatar
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    Its great that you brought this up and pointed out some of the major benefits! Brooks and i were just talking about this on the ride home from OSCAR, I had mentioned we could even have our own classes and VE session if there was enough interest. Its really not a hard test to pass and its a pretty cool hobby! I cant want to do some Remote HF work in the future.
    Look at the Word Differently - In a World of Talkers, be a thinker and a doer.

  3. #3

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    I've been interested for a while now, but I have always had questions & doubts about making the switch. I never seem to get the time to sit down, and figure out what if any misconceptions I have about making the switch.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Twilliamson View Post
    Its great that you brought this up and pointed out some of the major benefits! Brooks and i were just talking about this on the ride home from OSCAR, I had mentioned we could even have our own classes and VE session if there was enough interest. Its really not a hard test to pass and its a pretty cool hobby! I cant want to do some Remote HF work in the future.
    I have a General, so I could become a VE for just the Tech exam. You, me plus one more General license holder and we have a VE team just for the club.


    Sent from my SM-J320P using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Twilliamson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billoftt View Post
    I have a General, so I could become a VE for just the Tech exam. You, me plus one more General license holder and we have a VE team just for the club.


    Sent from my SM-J320P using Tapatalk
    Dad is a extra and is both ARRL and westcars registeres. He helps with the testing sessions in greenwood and columbia. We could easily do our own class and testing.
    Look at the Word Differently - In a World of Talkers, be a thinker and a doer.

  6. #6
    SUPPORTER 97TJGUZZY's Avatar
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    I'm interested in this for sure. Need to figure out which way we want to go as a club if we do decide on a different radio type.
    --Brooks

  7. #7

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    On the flipside, it looks like FRS is getting bumped up to 2 watts of power. For trails, especially with open topped vehicles, that is plenty. Heck you can reach out a bit if needed. I have looked into it and I haven't seen any radio I'd actually trust (yet) to use.

    But yes ham radio has been pretty awesome.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by LR Max View Post
    On the flipside, it looks like FRS is getting bumped up to 2 watts of power. For trails, especially with open topped vehicles, that is plenty. Heck you can reach out a bit if needed. I have looked into it and I haven't seen any radio I'd actually trust (yet) to use.

    But yes ham radio has been pretty awesome.
    I was looking at FRS. Don't know enough about it.

  9. #9
    Twilliamson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LR Max View Post
    On the flipside, it looks like FRS is getting bumped up to 2 watts of power. For trails, especially with open topped vehicles, that is plenty. Heck you can reach out a bit if needed. I have looked into it and I haven't seen any radio I'd actually trust (yet) to use.

    But yes ham radio has been pretty awesome.
    Well...yeah, 2watts is better than .5 watts, but doesn't touch 45-50 Watts. The other negative thing with FRS is its UHF, Its more line of sight so not so great in mountains.
    Look at the Word Differently - In a World of Talkers, be a thinker and a doer.

  10. #10

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    VHF and UHF are both Line of Sight, however in this area VHF would perform a bit better by being able to "punch" through the trees a bit better. UHF likes to "reflect" and "bounce" off of objects. If you were in downtown Columbia, you would have better luck with UHF for that reason.

    As far as repeater use, VHF is vastly utilized more around here than for UHF. For this reason, if I was in a group that would use a local repeater for backup if simplex was not reliable, I would pick a UHF repeater with a large footprint on account of it not interfering with the old guys talking about their birdfeeders on the VHF repeaters.

    Sent from my SM-J320P using Tapatalk

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