Amatuer Radio Blog

The possibilities of Amateur radio can be overwhelming. Where do I start

My intent is to start my ham journey with a VHF/UHF handy-talkie or HT as the hams prefer to call them.  That I have. Ok then – but what’s next. My local club, HDARC has a nice presentation on what you can do with a HT. That’s a very good start. It ties into what I’m getting at in this post.

I’m usually a somewhat timid when trying new things – what I prefer to do is survey the lay of the land. By this I mean identifying what are the major areas of interest and activity within the domain I am observing, before I jump in. What are the things I can do with my HT, and which ones should I tackle first?

Subconsciously, we make a mental list of choices when confronted with a large decision,  but with Amateur radio being such a very large field of endeavor, and as it’s very new to me,  it’s best to just list them on paper (or this blog). The process of writing down what I learn will help tremendously.

Here’s what I know so far. These are the major things hams do on VHF/UHF.

A large portion of what hams do is voice communications. This can be either analog FM, or it can be digital voice. There are other purposes too, but I’m initially sticking  with the two most common ones here.

Analog FM

The first topic to analyze is analog FM voice. You can directly communicate with another ham one to one, which is known as simplex operationor you can communicate through a repeater, which is a split-mode, or duplex radio mode. By duplex, we mean that transmit and receive frequencies are different. (In simplex mode however, both transmit and receive frequencies are the same.)

Repeaters are usually located on high ground, such as a mountain or hilltop, and they transmit with much higher power than a handy talkie. By setting your HT to a repeater frequency, you greatly increase the distance you can receive and transmit to.  Anyone within range of the repeater can transmit on the repeater’s uplink frequency, and the repeater will retransmit their voice on its output frequency. 

There’s much more you can do with repeaters, and I will cover thins in my next post.

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