Why do you forum?

Why do you forum?

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  • Mainly because I have some knowledge and want to share, but I want to learn equally from others

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Maven8ter

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E.Shell

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Interesting stuff! Thank you for taking the time to type such a detailed response.
You're welcome.
Do you get a lot of doomsday prepper type folks in the community?
Yes, especially more recently. Two main types: Type 1 wants solid commo for distant friends and relatives in case their normal infrastructure isn't working. Type 2 wants 'tactical' communications, like handheld radios that can be used among associates. Hunting, paintball, orienteering, stuff like that. Both groups tend to overestimate the capability of radio, such as thinking a handheld unit (normally 5-7 watts with the worst antenna imaginable) will get them more than a few miles, or think that an HF radio can talk all over the planet (which it can) 24/7 (which it cannot). Both groups are typically directed and encouraged to the licensed, and in that process, learn the reality of it.
Making EMP-proof units which run on off grid, standalone energy sources, etc?
Yes, the idea of maintaining working equipment '30 seconds after' is not new and is not limited to preppers. Most experienced operators maintain what is called a "Go Box" or "EmComm Box"that will have capability to operate off household AC, DC from on-board batteries, which are charged by solar or tapping a temporary source like a vehicle alternator. https://www.ar15.com/forums/outdoors/The_EMCOMM_Box/22-648273/? I have enough backup batteries sitting at my feet right now to run my VHF radio for days, which get topped off every time I turn on my desk power supply to run a radio. Also in the average Go Box is at least one portable antenna and some sort of connecting cable, like flexible coax.
That's about the only genuinely real potential practical value I can see (and even then, hopefully it'll never be relevant, and even then, if an EMP has been set off and you're not already dead, it's probably unlikely you'd even want to be using it. In a natural disaster of extreme proportions it could potentially be practical, but wow, you really need to use the imagination to come up with a hypothetical scenario.
Agreed. For preppers, the radio is very much like the rifle, in that it cannot be treated like a talisman, to be bought and stored away. One must learn effective operation and maintenance BEFORE any event requiring its use. Also much like the rifle, many preppers seem to become fixated on these aspects without having long term food/water/meds/shelter provided for.
But, still, in many ways it beats a completely useless hobby like memorising football statistics and players' names, or following celebrity gossip.
Ha, this is true, there are MANY things that could be described this way.
 

Sdaji

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You're welcome.Yes, especially more recently. Two main types: Type 1 wants solid commo for distant friends and relatives in case their normal infrastructure isn't working. Type 2 wants 'tactical' communications, like handheld radios that can be used among associates. Hunting, paintball, orienteering, stuff like that. Both groups tend to overestimate the capability of radio, such as thinking a handheld unit (normally 5-7 watts with the worst antenna imaginable) will get them more than a few miles, or think that an HF radio can talk all over the planet (which it can) 24/7 (which it cannot). Both groups are typically directed and encouraged to the licensed, and in that process, learn the reality of it.Yes, the idea of maintaining working equipment '30 seconds after' is not new and is not limited to preppers. Most experienced operators maintain what is called a "Go Box" or "EmComm Box"that will have capability to operate off household AC, DC from on-board batteries, which are charged by solar or tapping a temporary source like a vehicle alternator. https://www.ar15.com/forums/outdoors/The_EMCOMM_Box/22-648273/? I have enough backup batteries sitting at my feet right now to run my VHF radio for days, which get topped off every time I turn on my desk power supply to run a radio. Also in the average Go Box is at least one portable antenna and some sort of connecting cable, like flexible coax.Agreed. For preppers, the radio is very much like the rifle, in that it cannot be treated like a talisman, to be bought and stored away. One must learn effective operation and maintenance BEFORE any event requiring its use. Also much like the rifle, many preppers seem to become fixated on these aspects without having long term food/water/meds/shelter provided for.
Ha, this is true, there are MANY things that could be described this way.
Thanks again for taking the time to share your insights. I suppose if I ask you if you think it's worth getting into, you'll say yes, so, what would you suggest is the best way for a novice to get started?
 

E.Shell

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Not sure how it works in your area, but it seems like about the same as it does here.

I would suggest you search for nearby radio clubs and attend a meeting. Introduce yourself and explain your interest, and I would bet you get as much help as you need. Most amateur radio operators are very helpful and old-timers realize the future of the hobby lies in new blood. Our local clubs offer coaching ("Elmering"), licensing classes and testing. If someone walks in and want to be involved, they are usually welcomed with open arms and helped along.

Here is a club/site that provides video classes that i found with a few minutes of searching, and I'm sure you can find more. It actually looks like a great resource. At this site, in addition to a LOT of information, I see it offers a guide to becoming licensed.
https://vkfaq.ampr.org/lichow.php

I see from your profile you are in Victoria. Here is a link to the 'Victoria Associated Radio Clubs' site:
https://www.wia.org.au/clubs/vk3/
You could find a club near you, go to their website and see when they have meetings.

For example, say your near Wagga Wagga. Click on the tower icon at Wagga Wagga and club info pops up. Click on the club link and you're there. We can see that meetings are held on the last Friday of the month at 8pm, but also there is a good chance of catching club members at the clubhouse on Saturday mornings after 10am, so you could do either. It even says on their site "Visitors always welcome for a cuppa and a chat." Can't beat that...

I will warn you ahead of time: If your amateur radio operators are like ours, at any given event, you will have mostly outwardly normal casual users, some outright fanatics that live and breathe ham radio, and even a few decrepit hermit-type basement dwellers that use radio to overcome/offset social disadvantages. What they call a "wide cross-section of humanity"...

Here is your local governing authority's website, where you can look for more information:
https://www.acma.gov.au/amateur-radio-licences
I suspect you would begin with the"Foundation" license, which starts you out with limited privileges. In my area, 144 mHz ("2 meters") is a very popular frequency band for local (up to about 75 miles max) communication and that is available to your 'Foundation' license, much like our 'Technician' level license. The general idea is to start new operators off on the shorter-range stuff, so they inflict minimum interference with their developing skills, then allow more frequencies as one advances. Certain frequencies travel better at certain times of day and some can get you around the world, and as you advance through the licensing levels, you can begin to use the fancier stuff.

You can dump a lot of money into it if you're not careful. Like many hobbies, you can get by with this, but it would really be great to have that... I started out with a handheld "HT" (handy-talkie) 15 years ago and just listened to local stations for a long time, then got licensed and started using the radio and started adding things. Now...ugh...
 

Sdaji

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For example, say your near Wagga Wagga. Click on the tower icon at Wagga Wagga and club info pops up. Click on the club link and you're there. We can see that meetings are held on the last Friday of the month at 8pm, but also there is a good chance of catching club members at the clubhouse on Saturday mornings after 10am, so you could do either. It even says on their site "Visitors always welcome for a cuppa and a chat." Can't beat that...

If there are people half as helpful as you, I'm sure I'll be in very good hands!

I will warn you ahead of time: If your amateur radio operators are like ours, at any given event, you will have mostly outwardly normal casual users, some outright fanatics that live and breathe ham radio, and even a few decrepit hermit-type basement dwellers that use radio to overcome/offset social disadvantages. What they call a "wide cross-section of humanity"...

Haha, this definitely comes as no surprise! I've mixed in a lot of circles with colourful demographics. Herpers are a pretty good example, but DIY tech nerd circles are obviously going to include some fine examples of humanity indeed!

Thank you so much for all the information you've provided! I'll be sure to make good use of it, you've been inspiring as well as informative!
 

E.Shell

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Hi Sdaji, fair warning, LOL: With regard to equipment, here's what CAN happen. Obviously, the next major piece of equipment I need to purchase is a decent chair...
 

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