Month: March 2015

Ham radio license

Ham radio license

Ham radio license

Extra Class

Why becoming Ham Radio operator?
How do I get into Ham Radio?
How do I get my first Ham Radio License?
How does Ham Radio work?
Is there more than one Ham Radio license?
What can I do with Ham Radio?
Why is it called “Ham” Radio?
Where do I get the Study Materials?
Is the exam Hard?
How much does a Ham License cost?
Do I have to learn Morse Code? 

How many easy questions!
Let’s start saying that in the States ham license release is done by ARRL.

Ham radio is the licensed use of ham radio equipment for private recreation, experimentation, emergency communications.
Ham radio operators are doctors, lawyers, farmers, CEOs, kings, politicians, plumbers or store clerks. They are male or female, young students or retired grandparents.
Once you get your own local license you can perform local operation with FM repeater or speaking with all the world in HF (high frequency 0 – 30 Mhz). you can use digital mode (RTTY, PSK31) or talk with other Ham radio op. in morse code (CW). Network computers over the radio with Packet. Send video over the radio with ATV (Amateur Television) – SSTV. Design and build antennas. Emergency Communications. Study the propagation.

Ham radio is cool. Talking to someone using ham radio is commonly known as a ‘QSO’ or a ‘contact’. And after a few ‘contacts’, you’ll be wanting to make more and more. There are many ways to make a QSO, some of the most common being through morse code (CW), phone (voice communications), and data (RTTY, PSK31 PSK63).

There are three licenses you can aim to:

[1] The Technician License
The entry-level license of choice for most new ham radio operators:
Just 35 questions on radio theory, regulations and operating practices. This license will give access to all Amateur Radio frequencies above 30 Mhz.

[2]The General License
Earning the General class license requires passing other 35 questions.
General class licensees must also have passed the Technician written examination.

[3]The Amateur Extra License. Earning the license is more difficult; it requires passing a thorough 50 question examination. Extra class licensees must also have passed all previous license class written examinations.

Tricks and tips:
It’s possible to memorize the answers and therefore to pass the exam: the question pool and answers are all fixed.
However If you are not an independent learner, some clubs offer classes.
There are some nice website like this (click on the arrows)

114837-magic-marker-icon-arrows-arrow11-right where you can test your preparation.

Ham equipment

Ham equipment

Ham equipment (QRP)

Dear folks,
first of all we may try to answer to the famous question that many people will ask you once you start your ham radio shack:  “What do you do with ham radio?”

Well my answer usually is : “I enjoy contesting (the sport of trying to see how many contacts can be made within a defined timeframe – with a score that is calculated by multiplying by a factor such as the number of countries contacted during that time) and DXing (the hobby of trying to contact as many “countries” as possible) – among many other aspects of the hobby. Other possible question is “If you want to talk to someone on the other side of the world can’t you just call or email them?”

Ham radio is an art and science and love of radio… With HF radio propagation (and many other factors), you never really know what you’ll find on the airwaves. That’s what makes it fun.

Here we try to describe how to setup (and where to buy) your first HAM RADIO SHACK (Ham equipment). Choosing the right equipment is an important part of setting up your radio shack.

[1] HF radio
The radio isn’t the core of your station. You will need a transceiver, a radio that can both send (transmit) and receive on the amateur radio bands. Okay. But don’t start with a 100 Watts. It will be so easy (and expensive!). Why don’t you start with a simple CW (morse code) kit? 20$ and it will be yours. Maybe look for it on Uh? Or..if you have money to spend (maybe you’re rich) you can have a very good transceiver like FT 1000 or YAESU FT 857 if you wanna have ham equipment going portable!

[2] Power supply
Almost all ham transceivers operate from 13.8V DC power.  The 20$ transceiver radio (CW) I advised you before is powered by 2 simple batteries (1.5 volt) whereas if you buy a 100W transceiver rig it will consume around 25 Amp supply.

An old hamradio saying suggests that if you have 1000$ spend 900$ for antenna and 100$ for the radio. This is the most important part of the ham equipment !!! Choose yours properly.  Dipole ? loop magnetic ? End fed antenna?
Click on the arrow down to see a video on the classic ham equipment






Vertex Yaesu products – New ham radio transceivers

Vertex Yaesu products – New ham radio transceivers

Vertex Yaesu products – New ham radio transceivers

Review of the compact HF radio VX-1400

The VX-1400 is designed to occupy less space while providing all the features you need for optimal mobile HF communications.

This transceiver with its digital Signal Processing (DSP) is perfect for voice enhancement and digital noise reduction. It eliminates background noise for clear message transmission and reception. Operating modes include: CW (A1A), LSB/USB (J3E), FSK/AFSK (J2B) and AM (A3E).

– Space-Saving Compact Size
– Two Large-Diameter Cooling Fans
– Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
– Large Channel Capacity
– Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) Option
– Voice Encryption Option
– Programmable Key Lock Function
– VFO (Variable Frequency Oscillator)
– Memory Channel (ITU Marine Channels Preset)
– One-touch Alert and 2182 kHz Channel Programmable Option for S1/S2 Keys
– Call Modes: SELCALL, TELCALL, Message, Position Request, Position Send, Beacon Request
– Message Recall (SELCALL or ALE)
– Voice Guide Announcing Memory Channel Number
– Voice Storage
– Clarifier
– Noise Blanker
– Priority Scan
Click down here on the arrow to see the video review! 





Best QRP transceiver kit

Best QRP transceiver kit

Best QRP transceiver kit

Hendricks QRP radio
BITx – two version 20A (14 mhz) and 17A (18 mhz)
Score: 7/10

Bitx20A – 14 mhz (20 meters band) transceiver by Hendricks radio

The BitX20A and BitX17A are complete SSB kits with board, all parts, digital display and custom powder coated and punched case that is based on the BitX20 that was designed by Ashlan Farhan (VU3ICQ). The kit includes a commercial quality plated through, silkscreened, solder masked board, and all board mounted parts, plus the polyvaricon tuning capacitor, digital dial, custom powder coated and punched case, knobs and controls. Everything you need to build the kit is provided.The original design produces six watts of SSB on twenty metres and is based on a common bi-directional amplifier block using cheap NPN transistors. The radio also uses a filter using cheap crystals and mixing is done with 1N4148 diode.The current project is based on the new version produced by Henricks QRP Kits of Dos Palos, California. Known as the BIT20A, the kit is based on a professional PCB, has push-pull output and a number of other enhancements. As of October 9th, 2007, the first batch of 200 kits are being dispatched around the world. These transceiver kit represent a real bargain.

Receiver: 9. Not noisy at all. Decent single conversion receiver.
Portable: 3. Poor. No battery enclosure
Power: around 5 watts basing on our test @13.8 V

Tribander CW transceiver qrp kit
(Any three ham bands, 80, 40, 30, 20, 17 or 15 meters)
Score 7.5/10

KD1JV tribander CW transceiver kit
  • 5 watts output on all bands with 13.8V supply
  • Built in Iambic keyer with 5 to 40 wpm code speed, selectable Iambic A or B modes and two 63 character message memories.
  • Receiver sensitivity, 0.2 uV MSD
  • DDS VFO for rock steady stability with 50 Hz and 200 Hz tuning rates
  • Easy to read four digit LED display with leading zero suppression.
  • Rotary knob tuning
  • RIT (receive incremental tuning)
  • Four IF crystals for excellent selectivity and opposite side band rejection

Receiver: 8.5 – Decent single conversion. No QRM at all. Excellent work by IF crystals. Especially on 20 meters.
Portable: 5. Small size, 6″ wide, 1.5″ tall and 4″ deep. 12 ounces (light weight)
Power. 8 – 5 watts out. 90 mA on receive and 800 mA when on air
Small wonder labs
CW or PSK 40, 30, 20 meters kit
Score 8.5 / 10  

Small wonder lab rockmite

 It is a capable single band, DDS-synthesized, superhet, 2W transceiver. It has a built-in PIC-based keyer, and the PIC provides a number of other functions in controlling the rig. You have an audio frequency readout, in CW; a really nice RIT; two tuning rates that really do the job-using an optical encoder; and an extended frequency range on receive, covering pretty much the entire 40M band and some beyond. DSWs are currently available for 40M, 30M, and 20M. All HF bands are planned. At about $90 for the basic pc board and parts, and another $35 for the cabinet, it’s incredible. And that striking blue cabinet with engraved front and rear panel legends makes the cabinet practically a necessity! Total construction time was 1 day. Nice and easy construction. What we like is that is very small and with low power consumption (only 32 mAh). That’s great! This QRP radio kit is capable of putting out 2.5 watts with adjustable power  ( 1 watt up to 2.5 watts).

  •  Single-board transceiver, 2.8 x 4.0″ (7 x 10.1 cm)
  •  True VFO: 35-40 kHz coverage
  •  Superheterodyne design, with crystal filtering
  •  Quiet solid-state T-R switching (QSK)

Receiver 8. Excellent radio kit. Good built with true VFO and no QRM.
10. Outstanding. In a tuna tin it will be perfect.
Power 7.  Two watts are okay for us – it’s a QRP and we love QRP for this reason but 5 watts would be perfect.

SDR Cube transceiver kit
1-30 mhz transceiver
Score 7/10

SDR Cube – transceiver
 The SDR Cube is a totally self-contained, embedded best SDR all mode transceiver (CW, SSB, AM) . It uses a Softrock for the RF front end and a pc board implementation of an HF modem.  You don’t need a PC / MAC to use the SDR Cube, as all DSP processing is accomplished by an embedded DSP processor on the three internal pc boards.  The Cube is designed to fit into an optional 4” x 4” x 4.5” pre-cut,black powder-coated aluminum enclosure containing all controls, a blue graphic display indicating transceiver settings and an exciting 8 kHz-wide band scope of spectrum signals, and the popular Softrock RXTX v6.3 board.
What we liked:
 Low Power … 90ma (Cube), plus 100 ma (Softrock Rx) or 400 ma (Software Tx)
 Graphic LCD Display … Provides clear indications of the many status and options
 Bandscope … Provides +/- 4 kHz spectrum visibility for Rx, signal monitor for Tx
 Audio filtering … Low corner 200Hz, high corners 700, 1500, 2400 or 3600Hz
Receiver: 9. Excellent receiver. No problem to copy long distance signals.
Portable: 3.5. Not very easy to transport.
Power: 8 – Low power adsorption. Only 120 mA.
More transceiver kits? click on the arrow down.
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114837-magic-marker-icon-arrows-arrow11-rightLink to transceiver kit