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  #1  
Old 01-14-2012
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HAM License

I've already mentioned that I am using HAMtestonline to study for my Technician/General HAM license and how studying for the test doesn't teach much for actually using it.
Anyway I keep running into references about using the phone on HAM frequencies and protocols to be used. How is that possible, using your phone for radio communications?
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Old 01-14-2012
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When hams use the word "phone" they mean voice communications, generally SSB.
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Old 01-14-2012
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Ive heard about needing a liscence but i only know one person out of all the boaters i know that actually have the liscense. What the point of the liscense. i plan on getting one just to have one. sorry didn't mean to hijack
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Old 01-14-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokesailor View Post
How is that possible, using your phone for radio communications?
"Phone" usually refers to voice communication as opposed to "Code", which refers to using Morse Code for communication. There are several other digital communication methods too.

There is also a way to utilize a UHF or VHF repeater to support phone patching, assuming the owner of the repeater set it up to do so. This predates cell phones and allowed a UHF/VHF user to patch into the phone system to make a phone call over their radio.

I strongly recommend that if you are going to operate on the Amateur frequencies, you get a license. Visit American Radio Relay League | ARRL - The national association for AMATEUR RADIO for more information.

I have my general class and actually taught myself morse code to pass the test (which is no longer required by the way). Knowing morse code is certainly a skill that is not a bad thing for sailors to have.

-Paul D (Amateur Call Sign KB1MAU - general class license)
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Old 01-14-2012
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This is why I usually suggest a class instead of self study, at least for the first test. You can read the book, memorize the questions and answers, and pass the test. But that won't tell you how to get on the air and what to do when you get there. And a side benefit is you will also get the chance to get plugged into the local network of ham operators.
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Old 01-14-2012
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Whilst at the ARRL website, you can find classes in your area as well as locating a mentor to help you along after getting the license. Many boaters and pilots are hams and see the value in learning.

Don't forget the digital modes are available as well.
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Old 01-14-2012
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I got my General Class license when I was just 12 years old, 60 years ago. I was active until about 1962, when I decided to get married and settle down to some degree. (Never really settled down, though.) My call sign was W3JQL, and unfortunately, I never took the time to renew the license when it expired. Now, contemplating a trip down the ICW and across to the Bahamas and Mexico, that license may just come in handy.

Cheers,

Gary
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Old 01-14-2012
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I've had a ham license of one sort or another since about 1975. I was a Tech+ WA4YNH until about 1990 when I became Advanced KO4MI. I now hold an Extra class license as well as some commercial licenses. I use my ham license at sea regularly.
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Last edited by SVAuspicious; 01-14-2012 at 06:31 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-14-2012
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If you check the ARRL web site, you can easily find amateur radio clubs in your area. Like sailing, most involved in the hobby are very willing to help newcomers into the field. Like anything, you can get book smart, but there's no substitute for having a mentor (elmer, as ham mentors are called) who can answer all the simple questions that many books gloss over.

As mentioned above, Morse code is no longer required for licensure. Many old hams beefed about this, however, since eliminating the requirement, I have noticed a huge surge of interest in code. It is certainly a reliable way to communicate if band conditions are poor. Lots of fun too.

But to answer your question, it sounds like "using the phone" is referring to a repeater patch, which allows VHF and UHF (mostly in the form of small, mobile radios akin to CBs, or walkie-talkies) to "patch" into phone lines. You must be within range of a repeater (VHF line-of-sight) usually 5-10 miles depending on terrain and radios. Otherwise, "phone" is referring to vocal communications in the form of am, fm, or SSB.

Good luck with the exams. Feel free to PM if you have any other questions.

Dave
KB3WNA
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Old 01-14-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallboatlover View Post
Ive heard about needing a liscence but i only know one person out of all the boaters i know that actually have the liscense. What the point of the liscense. i plan on getting one just to have one. sorry didn't mean to hijack
SBL, no license required for VHF. You need a Restrictd Radio Operators license from the FCC to transmit on an SSB marine radio, which has no test. You just send the fee and you get it in the mail, good for life. The OP is studying for a Ham license, which is only necessary for amateur radio stations and not absolutely necessary for boating. Some want to use amateur radio bands for the boat.
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