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where to start with Ham

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where to start with Ham

Postby encoreman » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:27 am

Hi guys, new here came from MSGO. I want to know the process to get a license and although I may not use it much I want to be able to communicate if a shtf scenario ever happens. I saw the post on the handheld units and would like to be able to use them in an emergency. I want my wife and kids to be able to communicate also so I am assuming they all need a license. Thanks for the help and thanks fastback.
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Re: where to start with Ham

Postby medicmike » Sat Nov 02, 2013 6:35 pm

You are correct that anyone using the amatuer frequencies would need to be licenced. Now that being said, the FCC does allow in an emergency for anyone to use any communication necessary. And in a true SHTF situation I doubt the FCC is going to care. These would be useful for short range comms. If you want longer range you will need to look at HF and getting your General ticket (not terribly difficult).

The cheap import portables are about the best communications buy out there at the moment, they are a bit of a pain to program through the menus. After I got mine I ordered a programming cable and downloaded "Chirp". This made life much easier in that regard.

There isn't much of a learning curve to working FM on the VHF/UHF bands, it is all pretty much plug and play. I would recommend using the radios you chose to see how well they work for you, range, etc so you will know what to expect should the need arise. If you decide to get on the HF bands, there can be a pretty steep learning curve to the equipment and working longer ranges (learning propagation, antennas, etc) so going that route I would recommend becoming an active ham. Besides, it is a heck of a lot of fun :)

Welcome to the board! It isn't super active and has been a little slow lately (I think everyone has been busy getting ready for winter) but you will not find a better, more helpful group of people out there. Cheers and don't be afraid to jump in with advice or to ask questions!
"Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."
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Re: where to start with Ham

Postby fastback65 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 6:58 pm

Encoreman, I was discussing having a technician class at our last board meeting for the Pelahatchie Police Department. I am not sure what part of the state you are in, but we meet in Brandon, and most likely the class will be held at River Oaks Hospital or the Rankin County EOC building. Honestly, you can prepare for the Technician test by yourself with just a little memory work. If you are thinking about a hand held radio, a technician license will do all you need. You will likely want more later. Go to and look for the practice tests under the resources tab. These tests are taken from the FCC question pool and are worded exactly as they are on the actual exam. There are no trick questions. Take these practice tests until you are familiar with the questions and the corresponding answers. When you can consistently pass the practice tests, you can pass the actual test. We give the test at the end of every meeting and we meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. If I can be of any assistance, please email me at I will help in any way I can. The cost of the test is $15.00 and your license is good for 10 years. You do NOT have to retest to renew your license.

"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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