Getting into HAM in 2024?

I got my Technician license (now General) and started with a Baofeng 8 years ago. The antenna that it came with was crap. I built myself a 2M dipole so I could hit the nearest repeater 5 mi. way. Of course, my radios are better now. Funny thing about Baofengs, you can't own just one
 
I got my Technician license (now General) and started with a Baofeng 8 years ago. The antenna that it came with was crap. I built myself a 2M dipole so I could hit the nearest repeater 5 mi. way. Of course, my radios are better now. Funny thing about Baofengs, you can't own just one
The inexpensive Baofeng and the other Chinese derivatives are basically disposable radios. They are an excellent way to get on the air if you are on a tight budget though. I was fortunate that my Elmer gave me one of his disused Yaesu Vertec 2M HT's to get started. Later I bought a dual band and passed the Vertec to a new 11 year old Technician class operator.
 
I just did the online practice tests until I couldn't see straight, passed my General pretty easy that way. I have an IC-706mkii, MFJ Versatuner, and a big horizontal loop fed with ladder line for HF, and a J pole built outta junk for 2M. With the loop and 100 watts I can talk to most of the lower 48 on 20/40/80M pretty easy. I have lots of repeaters within 70 mi or so up on 10,000 ft mountains, I can kerchunk all of them with a few watts and that junk J pole.

Baofengs are ok and mine (UV-5R) performs on 70cm/GMRS good, 2M performance is poor though. I have an old Rat Shack HTX-202 I fixed up that does a lot better on 2M.
 
Yeah most of those Baofengs are not great on 2 meters and have you seen one on a spectrum analyzer, they are very trashy on 2 meters. They are trashy elsewhere but not as bad as 2 meters. They do perform best on 440(70cm). I think they were really designed for that frequency range like GMRS/FRS. That is why they work better at UHF.
 
You guys that are having issues on 2M with the Baofengs, have you upgraded the antenna to a Nagoya NA-701? Much improved. I have no trouble hitting a repeater that's several miles away.
 
I found out that my brother lives only 13 miles away (straight line) from me. Is this still to far away even with a repeater about 4 miles away without getting a tall tower?
 
Been practicing and the ones that are giving me the most trouble are the one that ask me what frequency is in the whatever band is shown.

I have yet to figure out the difference between 2 meter, 6 meter, 20 meter etc are.

But i ma getting there I guess. :D
 
My advise:
Try to get your HF privileges asap.
Join local Amateur Radio club (s), get to know other hams. Lots of "Elmers" to help you out.
Look for good used gear, VHF/UHF/HF, feedlines, power supplies, tuners... Clubs often have equipment for sale/wanted lists.
Build your own antennas whenever possible.

And yes, get to know that frequency chart... :)

Hope to catch you on the air soon!
 
I have been using Hanstudy and have all the questions down now. I am not tinkering with the General questions. I am thinking of learning them both and taking both tests the same night. (Is that allowed) :D
 
I have been using Hanstudy and have all the questions down now. I am not tinkering with the General questions. I am thinking of learning them both and taking both tests the same night. (Is that allowed) :D
Yes, you can take them all 3 back to back if you wish.
 
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You may take all three in one session. I always tell candidates that they are welcome to take the next exam as long as they have studied and are prepared to pass. A single session fee for the examination team covers one, two or all three elements. Looking forward to working you on RF!
 
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You may take all three in one session. I always tell candidates that they are welcome to take the next exam as long as they have studied and are prepared to pass. A single session fee for the examination team covers one, two or all three elements. Looking forward to working you on RF!
Yep can't wait to work Scott Greczkowski on RF!! Then introduce him to POTA.
 
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