It’s been ages since I’ve posted here. The newest activity for occupying my time is Amateur Radio. It’s a hobby that has always intrigued me, but I never got around to. I have a million things I would like to do – but I never seem to find the time for all of them. This hobby, though, is one of the lucky ones. I’m sure what kicked Amateur radio off into action is probably when I got a radio scanner and discovered I could pick up VHF/UHF amateur radios with it. I suppose it’s more fun if you participate? Anyway, Police and Fire were getting boring and and the occasional [spoken] faux pas found on the business channels were far and few between and I needed something new. Amateur radio is it.
There’s ton’s of things happening in Amateur Radio – all to do with radio communication, electronics, and computers. It’s exciting, and lets me use my background in computers and hi-powered RFID (900Mhz) to advantage. Feel’s like the good old days! I’m just barely starting out though. I do have a UHF/VHF handheld that does analog FM and DMR. A nice starter radio, the well known Anytone 878UV. Eventually, probably sooner than later, I’ll need to set up a UHF/VHF base station – I have a metal roof on the house and UHF reception/transmission indoors can be spotty. An outdoor antenna will solve that. Until I’ll need to get out and QSO (contact) the local hams using that handheld radio.
I’ve joined a few local amateur radio clubs – and now I need to begin participating in some of their weekly “nets” where members call in via radio. This will need some planning on my part to ensure that my signal will reach the radio repeater needed to participate – I may have to stand outdoors somewhere to avoid indoor radio/handheld issues. Either that or learn to use Echolink – which is a voip to radio repeater system that hams can use.
My Amateur callsign is KI5LQF.
I’ve also have a separate license for the GMRS radio service – WRJP634.
You can find anyone with an FCC issued radio license here.
GMRS radios share frequencies with FRS radio (the kind you can find a two-pack of at a Walmart) – but they are allowed much more power – up to 50 watts for a mobile GMRS, vs. 2 watts or less for FRS. Plus, they can communicate through GMRS repeaters giving much greater range. For that reason, ythey are becoming popular amongst the ATV/UTV crowd, who are beginning to convert from CB radio.
You do need a license for GMRS though – but you do not need to take any test as you do for an amateur license, and the license covers not only you but your immediate family members as well. You just pays your money and the FCC issues you a license. Before you request a GMRS license you’ll need to register for a FCC FRN number. It is free and what you’ll need use to to request and manage your FCC licenses, and it uniquely identifies you.
GMRS does regional networks somewhat similar to Ham radio, but they are a bit more relaxed. I have started checking into a southwest regional net.