Value of HAM as a CM enthusiast?

Discussion in 'CB & Scanner Discussion' started by FoxStang, May 11, 2018.

  1. FoxStang

    FoxStang Sly fox, dumb bunny. Advanced User Premium Member

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    I am considering getting my HAM technician license for a multitude of reasons, but I thought I'd ask if there is any crossover to the countermeasure community. Are there any frequencies or repeaters dedicated to highway travel? If so, does any useful information make its way across the airwaves or is it mainly just a time-killer and alternative to CB for long-haul drivers?

    Any info is appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. DBMW30

    DBMW30 Driving BMW's since 1994.5'ish Intermediate User Premium Member

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    Im a general class amateur radio license holder and ride with a dual band ID-51+ HT in the car on an external mag mount antenna. I can say definitively that at least here in Colorado, I have only heard one (1) time in 18 years living here two Denver locals talk about CSP air speed enforcement on 2meters 145.310 (the Colorado Connection). Other then that one time Ive never heard anyone else use HAM radio as a CM. Even CB here in Colorado is sparsely utilized. So, Id say its not a valid CM to rely upon, at least here in Colorado.

    With that stated; I would say go for your tech license anyways because HAM radio can be a very fun hobby at times. especially if your in the east coast or California area and surrounding states where the populations are higher with licensed HAMs.

    73's
    Good luck!
     
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  3. mikeoxlong

    mikeoxlong Learning to Fly Beginner User

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    In an urban area, you'll hear occasional reports of traffic but that's about it.

    I would go with a scanner and then a CB before putting in a ham radio.
     
  4. LibbyD

    LibbyD Premium Member Intermediate User Premium Member

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    I've had my "Amateur Extra" for about 7 yrs and occasionally get on the radio in the car but have never heard anything helpful as far as CMs go. Occasionally someone will be report regarding traffic or weather but that's about it. 146.520 MHz is the VHF 'call frequency' that a lot of people supposedly monitor listening for someone to converse with, but from what the old timers tell me, its use has declined dramatically over the years.

    All that said, I still recommend going for it because of its potential benefits being a great back-up form of communications, i.e out of cellular range, or cell phone battery dies, etc. Also, as previously mentioned, it can be a lot of fun to talk to someone thousands of miles away with no more power than it takes to light a low-power night light.

    I have a few buddies who are also hams and we use the radios a lot when taking our scout troop camping and we have a small caravan trying to stay together. [Don't get me started on all the crap going on with the BSA. Thankfully we have a great group and its still a lot of fun. I've served with our troop for over 10 years, so when I've had enough 'BS' from the BSA, I can walk away with no personal regrets].

    If you decide to go for the ham ticket, I'd be glad to help if I could.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
  5. FoxStang

    FoxStang Sly fox, dumb bunny. Advanced User Premium Member

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    I’d take you up on that, I’m literally just getting my feet wet. My only ham knowledge so far consists of a couple of basic YouTube vids I watched last night, and some basic radio mechanics like SWR tuning I picked up when I got into CB

    Good to know. I’ve had my scanner installed for almost two years, and used to run CB but it’s really not in use even by truckers out in my area anymore. The only times I ever heard them turn their radios on was when traffic was already backed up and they were bored, other than that I’d just hear old racist guys on what sounded like kilowatt base stations.
     
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  6. LibbyD

    LibbyD Premium Member Intermediate User Premium Member

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    This site is awesome for any and all levels of ham testing: www.hamradiolicenseexam.com: HamTestOnline - Ham Radio Exam Courses and Practice Tests

    What I like about it, is that it will provide material for you to review and actually get a better understanding of it. It doesn't just throw the questions out there. Best of all, as you answer the questions, it learns what you get right and will ask you those questions less often, letting you focus more on what you get wrong.

    It's not free, but well worth the small price.



     
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  7. Vortex

    Vortex Making Videos Administrator Advanced User Premium Member

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    hm, I could see it being useful if you wanna run a scanner in NY. It's illegal to listen to police frequencies on a scanner unless you're a Ham, for example.
     
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  8. LinuxD

    LinuxD Warp speed..engage! Intermediate User Premium Member

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    Never have heard anyone discussing traffic enforcement per se on ham frequencies, generally not used for that, Tho i have mentioned to a fellow ham while we were traveling together talking simplex and he had no CM's that he might want to watch his speed.
     
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  9. LeftLaneInPA

    LeftLaneInPA School buses are my nemeses. Intermediate User Premium Member

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    Clue's in the name
    I've had a Technician-class license for quite a while (I want to say 20 years or so), and I've never noticed any sort of cross-over between CMs and Ham radios.

    With the possible exception of trying to fit CMs and Ham equipment in car can get a little challenging.
     
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  10. Hillbilly Medic

    Hillbilly Medic Premium Member Intermediate User Premium Member

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    One advantage of having your amateur license is having scanning options in an area where scanners are illegal. Most ham rigs can scan police frequencies.
     
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  11. danpass

    danpass Learning to Fly Beginner User

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    <— No Code Extra checking in.

    I’ve never experienced any real time utility in listening on the amateur freqs for CM related info.

    It’s great for VHF/UHF when you know the local repeater freqs.

    If you don’t know the freqs then HF is where it shines. While traveling eastbound on I-595 I was speaking with Odin Thorr in Iceland, dude in Patagonia (Argentina) and so on. :D
    That was on 10m.


    I like that the statute could be read that way ....
     
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  12. FoxStang

    FoxStang Sly fox, dumb bunny. Advanced User Premium Member

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    I wonder if we could make this a thing. I know the few ham operators I’ve talked to run mobile setups in addition to their home shacks, but then again they also really haven’t been the type of person who would really need CMs
     
  13. Hillbilly Medic

    Hillbilly Medic Premium Member Intermediate User Premium Member

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    I run a mobile ham rig. Its in attached to the same power attachment of my R3. :D
     
  14. NPark

    NPark -NNJCTG- Rollin', windows down, music up Advanced User Acceptus Premium Member

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    Thinking of going for mine. What I would do at that point, is get an actual police radio.

    I would get a VHF and UHF radio. Program in both police and ham frequencies. Police would be receive only(obviously), and then of course you have the Ham freqs.
     
  15. ALS

    ALS PSL +5 Intermediate User

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    I got the books and did some studying and got tied up at work and never got around to taking the Technicians test. You know wrong day wrong time situation. Anyways I'm just waiting for the new manual to come out in June so I can get the updated test questions.

    FYI for someone looking at getting their license. The manual changes every three years due to the revamping of the possible test questions asked on the exam. The new Technicians license manual comes out in June of 18 and is good for three years.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  16. FoxStang

    FoxStang Sly fox, dumb bunny. Advanced User Premium Member

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    HAM score.png
    Breezed right on through that training, great resource! Thanks @LibbyD ! Going to schedule my real test soon.
     
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  17. siq49

    siq49 Learning to Fly Beginner User

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    upload_2018-5-14_13-56-6.jpeg
     
  18. PhilP

    PhilP Premium Member Intermediate User Premium Member

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    Also a ham (Extra class... was going for my General and just did a little more studying- passed both at the same time).

    I've also never seen much overlap between CM and ham. Where I find VHF ham radio coming in really handy is for severe weather. A local repeater near here is used by the NWS to communicate with storm spotters. Listening to that (and having done the training, I can contribute too) will clue one in on where the really nasty stuff is at and if they're about to trigger an alert.

    Some vehicles are easier to outfit than others. Full size trucks are a piece of cake- I have a Yaesu FTM-400D in my F-150 connected to a fender mount for an NMO style Comet dual band antenna. Works great. My VW GTI, however, I've yet to figure out how to cram a decent radio in there. I'll probably just use a handheld connected to an external antenna for now. I don't think I can justify a new detachable faceplate mobile unit for that thing given how little I tend to use the radio.
     
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  19. wirelessandy

    wirelessandy It's a very exciting time Advanced User Premium Member

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    Extra-class checkin in.

    I often wonder what it would be like to set up a DSTAR chat session for RDF folks. I digress.
     
  20. LinuxD

    LinuxD Warp speed..engage! Intermediate User Premium Member

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    Never used Dstar. I use DMR and helped set up our local DMR machine. Dstar isn't poular around here. We've 2 UHF-FM repeaters a VHF that never gets used and the DMR machine. I use DMR most often as it's nice to use a hotspot when out of OTA range