Click the links below, these are articles which I have written to help new people understand aspects of Ham Radio.
Ham Radio-Mistakes. I have compiled a list of mistakes that most new radio hams make when they launch themselves into our fascinating hobby but don't worry too much we all make mistakes.
New transceivers are packed full with many features and benefits, some benefit certain area's and others just make life more complex, the majority of new hams buy a two-meter transceiver either a mobile or handheld to get onto the local repeater, your problems start when you try to upload too many frequencies onto your handheld, after all, there are usually just a couple of VHF repeaters in your vicinity and a number on UHF, trying to load up the transceiver with hundreds is a big mistake and will lead to confusion and sadly disappointment, but do not let these teething problems deter you from learning.
Access tones are often problematic to the new radio Ham, C.T.C.S.S. tones were introduced a number of years ago to prevent operators accessing repeaters in other parts of the country during good lift conditions. Take your time and find out what your local repeater tone is. C.T.C.S.S. adds and sub-audible tone to your transmission to open the repeater and some need it on receive. C.T.C.S.S. stands for the Constant Tone Coded Squelch System.
Older repeaters also use an 1750-HZ tone burst to access the repeater, check through your hand-held manual and research your local repeater to see which C.T.C.S.S. tone you need and find out if 1750Hz is required, these simple instructions will allow you to quickly access your local network and allow you to engage in your first contacts. Repeaters use two frequencies an input and output, make sure to learn what the shift is, on two meters its -600KHZ below the output and UHF is often 1.6 Megahertz higher than the output frequency.
Find out where the microphone is in your handheld transceiver, speaking too loud or not loud enough distorts your signal, don't worry though just ask a fellow radio ham what your audio sounds like and adjust settings accordingly, speak a couple of inches away from the microphone if using a mobile rig or mobile transceiver. I find that a separate speaker and microphone which simply plugs into the handheld is a great asset to your operating, the audio quality on receive and transmit is often much better.
Don't expect too much from your handheld transceiver, they are designed as a pocket set and often arrive with a rubber duck aerial or helically would stub, checking these over the years on sophisticated sweep generators I have found many to be less than ideal on two meters, due to the extra length required, UHF or seventy centimeters seem to be where most rubber duck aerials are optimized, however, better hand-held aerials are available to solve this problem.
I came into the hobby after many years spent as a short wave listener and constructor. Listening is a great benefit to the new radio Ham, you find a lot by listening. Find out who the best operators in your area are, take particular attention to how they conduct themselves. Listening for local nets which tend to operate on specific days at precise times will also help your understanding, join in and make new friends and above all ask questions, in my early days I never got into a situation where I struggled for an answer to a radio problem, get onto the air it will help your confidence.
Scanning the repeaters in your area will indicate when activity peaks, don't just sit and listen all the time put a call out on the local repeater ask for a signal report or audio report and do the same if you hear people calling, go back to them and before long you will be making regular contacts and gaining confidence.
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Ham Radio - John G4YDM