DEM / HI-EMA Linked Repeaters:
|PL Tone: 88.5||PL Tone: 103.5||PL Tone: None|
|146.680- Waimanalo||444.325+ Waimanalo||146.760- Peacock Flats|
|146.880- Diamond Head||444.350+ Diamond Head|
|147.060+ Diamond Head|
|146.980- Downtown Honolulu|
PL Tone: 88.5
|(Stand Alone Repeaters)|
PL Tone: 88.5
|146.800- Makakilo||444.150+ Olomana|
ARES / RACES VHF Simplex:
|146.550 MHz||District 1|
|146.475 MHz||District 2 North|
|146.460 MHz||District 2 South|
|146.535 MHz||District 3|
|146.505 MHz||District 4|
|146.490 MHz||District 4 Alternate|
|146.550 MHz||District 5|
|146.565 MHz||District 6|
|146.565 MHz||District 7|
|146.445 MHz||District 8|
|146.580 MHz||City Hall|
Being new to the hobby my “ham shack” is not big at all. It’s literally more like just my computer desk. It’s not much, but hey, it’s mine! 😊
So what sort of hardware am I working with?
- Baofeng UV-5R
- Signal Stick antenna
- Kenwood TH-F6
- EchoLink (on PC and iOS)
At this time I’m currently working with two handheld radios. My first radio was just a “cheapo” Baofeng. I know they aren’t considered great radios, but honestly, it’s the cheapest and thus the easiest way to start off in the hobby. Living on an island, it has no issues hitting the local repeaters and making contacts, especially when I pair it with a nicer antenna like the Signal Stick. This is the radio that I tend to take out with me when I’m mobile.
I inherited the Kenwood from my father. The radio, while older, is still a great radio. While I still need to get a new tri-band antenna for this one, I really like the range of bands that this radio can utilize. And the step-up in quality compared to my Baofeng is also instantly noticeable. Being my nicer radio, this one tends to be more of my home rig.
I had also inherited an RTL-SDR. I haven’t really gotten around to figuring out how to use it, but it’s on my list of projects to do. I think it’ll be neat to learn how to use it.
And the final thing in my shack is EchoLink. Think of it as voip-for-hams. It’s a great way to turn your computer or smartphone into your transceiver and connecting with other hams all over the world. I think it is a really neat digital means to get on the air. While analog radio is interesting, coming from an IT background I am really interested in learning more about these newer digital modes of radio.
Q-signals are a type of radio shorthand that is based on old wireless and telegraph codes. By using these universal abbreviations, we can easily communicate with amateur operators who might speak a different language and share information with them.
While the full meanings of the Q-signals are listed below in a second table, they are often used casually and very informally in conversation. When listening, you hear them used to simply substitute or replace a word. Here is a list of those more common “short” meanings.
|QRQ||High speed CW|
|QRS||Low speed CW|
|QRSS||Very low speed CW|
|QRT||Shut down the station|
|QRZ?||Who is calling me?|
|QSL||Confirmation or card to confirm contact|
The Q-signals that amateurs radios operators use are a subset of the larger collection of International Q-signals. While they are based on older systems, today we use them all the time in ham radio. Here is a more detailed “formal” list of commonly used Q-signals.
Note that the Q-signal is only considered a question if it is followed by a “?” character.
|QRA||What is the name (or call sign) of your station?||The name (or call sign) of my station is …|
|QRB||How far are you from my station?||The distance between our stations is … nautical miles (or km).|
|QRG||Will you tell me my exact frequency (or that of …)?||Your exact frequency (or that of … ) is … kHz (or MHz).|
|QRH||Does my frequency vary?||Your frequency varies.|
|QRI||How is the tone of my transmission?||The tone of your transmission is (1: good, 2: variable 3: bad)|
|QRK||What is the readability of my signals (or those of …)?||The readability of your signals (or those of …) is … (1: bad .. 5: excellent).|
|QRL||Are you busy?||I am busy. (or I am busy with … ) Please do not interfere.|
|QRM||Do you have interference?||I have interference.|
|QRN||Are you troubled by static noise?||I am troubled by static noise.|
|QRO||Shall I increase transmit power?||Please increase transmit power.|
|QRP||Shall I decrease transmit power?||Please decrease transmit power.|
|QRQ||Shall I send faster?||Please send faster (… words per minute).|
|QRS||Shall I send more slowly?||Please send more slowly (… words per minute).|
|QRT||Shall I cease or suspend operation?||I am suspending operation.|
|QRU||Have you anything for me?||I have nothing for you.|
|QRV||Are you ready?||I am ready.|
|QRX||Shall I standby? / When will you call me again?||Please standby. / I will call you again at … (hours) on … kHz (or MHz).|
|QRZ||Who is calling me?||You are being called by … (on … kHz (or MHz)).|
|QSA||What is the strength of my signals (or those of … )?||The strength of your signals (or those of …) is … (1: very weak .. 5: very strong).|
|QSB||Are my signals fading?||Your signals are fading.|
|QSD||Is my keying defective?||Your keying is defective.|
|QSK||Can you hear me between your signals (while transmitting), and if so can I break in on your transmission?||I can hear you between my signals (while transmitting); break in on my transmission.|
|QSL||Can you acknowledge receipt?||I am acknowledging receipt.|
|QSM||Shall I repeat the last telegram (message) which I sent you, or some previous telegram (message)?||Repeat the last telegram (message) which you sent me (or telegram(s) (message(s)) numbers(s) …).|
|QSN||Did you hear me (or …) on … kHz (or MHz)?||I did hear you (or …) on … kHz (or MHz).|
|QSO||Can you communicate with … direct or by relay?||I can communicate with … direct (or by relay through …).|
|QSP||Will you relay a message to …?||I will relay a message to … .|
|QSS||What working frequency will you use?||I will use … kHz (or MHz).|
|QSU||Shall I send or reply on this frequency (or on … kHz (or MHz))?||Please send or reply on this frequency (or on … kHz (or MHz)).|
|QSV||Shall I send a series of “V” on this frequency (or on … kHz (or MHz))?||Please send a series of “V” on this frequency (or on … kHz (or MHz)).|
|QSX||Will you listen to … on … kHz (or MHz)?||I am listening to … on … kHz (or MHz).|
|QSY||Shall I change transmission frequency (to … kHz (or MHz))?||Please change transmission frequency (to … kHz (or MHz)).|
|QSZ||Shall I send each word or group more than once?||Send each word or group twice (or … times).|
|QTC||How many telegrams (messages) have you to send?||I have … telegrams (messages) for you (or for …).|
|QTH||What is your position in latitude and longitude (or according to any other indication)?||My position is … latitude, … longitude.|
|QTR||What is the correct time?||The correct time is … hours.|
One of my 2022 goals was to get my amateur radio license. It’s been on my “to-do later” list for quite some time. This year, the excuses finally stopped and I put up at the top of my “priority” list. Truth be told, I actually found getting my license to be easier than I was expecting it to be.
The FCC has removed mandatory CW (that’s morse code) requirements from all of the classes of its Ham radio licenses, which makes it even easier to get your license today than ever before. The FCC wants you to earn your license. They just also want you to understand what your license allows you to do and not do. In order to pass you just need to score at least a 74% on a 35 question exam. The exam is all multiple-choice, and they provide you with the entire question pool and answers ahead of time to study. They are not trying to pull a fast one with surprise or trick questions. Simply by studying either the ARRL’s official manual or some other material [likely based on the official manual] you really shouldn’t have any problem preparing for the exam and passing it.
To study for my Technician exam, I took a look at quite a few different resources. But I really only used the three different sources listed below – a YouTube collection, an Audible audiobook, and a website with practice questions/tests.
- YouTube Series – ARRL’s Learning Center; Dave Casler (KE0OG) Technician Course
- I found a link to this collection on the ARRL’s website. Dave brakes down all the information required for the Technician License into digestable segments as works his way down thru all of exam content. He has been in this hobby for some time and is quite knowledgeable about the subject matter – and it shows in with his stories he ties to the topics. He follows the ARRL official manual chapter by chapter, so if you have their book, it’ll be easy for you to follow along. Even if you don’t have the book though, it is still easy to follow along with him. The course collection is a series of 37 videos, and while it sounds like a lot, you can power thru this content pretty quickly.
- Audible audio book – The Fast Track to Your Technician Class Ham Radio License, By: Michael Brunette AF7KB
- I want to start off by saying that I love audio books! If you are studying for your Technician, I feel like this book should be a must for you. Michael does an awesome job of presenting both all of the exam topics and reviewing all of the questions in the question pool. The one caveat to his book is that his content does not follow linearly thru the exam module or question pool. He groups similar topics together so he’ll cover all “like” material together. I found it really helpful. I waited to listen to this book until after I watched Dave’s YouTube series that I listed about. I found it easier to retain the content in the audio book in my head when it wasn’t the first time I was learning about it, hence why I turned to it second. To be honest, I actaully listened to this book twice. It was really easy to turn on and listen to while I drove to/from work or did errands. The author had a clear voice – almost like he was used to doing radio – and it was enjoyable to listen and learn to. I really look forward to using his book to study when I start working towards my General class license.
- Practice tests and question pool – HamStudy.org
- This resource was Huge! This is a website that, in my honest opinion, really is the quinensenstial amateur radio study site. It’s a collection of the entire question & answer pool for your exam. It has a study mode, and a quiz mode. You can work thru the entire pool of questions and see all four hundred and something of them. I really liked that it had explainations for each question. It made it really easy to review questions I was having difficulty with. I also was a fan of the mobile app. The app made it super easy and conveninent to study and test and assess myself no matter where I was. The other thing about this using this site, is that it’s basically the same test engine that most the volunteer examiners use when you take your exam, so you’ll already be familiarized with the layout.
I did not use the ARRL’s official manual in my study materials, even though it is a good resource. I simply gave myself about a month to study for it and learn the content. I figured that a month would be more than enough time to study, especially if I was able to commit an hour or two each day.
After putting in the hours of studying, I booked an online exam session. The online sessions are administrated and proctored by at least three volunteer examiners thru the use of Zoom, webcams, and screen sharing so they can make sure that there is no cheating. If you use HamStudy.org to study then you are already ahead of the game as they provide the testing solution that the majority of clubs use to test folks. So you will already be used to the user interface and everything will look and feel very familar to you. Thankfully, my study materials did serve me well, and I was able to pass the Technician exam missing only a single question.
So, to wrap it all up… If you’ve ever thought about getting into Ham Radio, there is no better time than now! If you are interested in the hobby, please feel free to reach out to me and ask me any questions you might have. If you are already a licensed ham radio operator, then hopefully I will get to hear you on the air sometime! 73
ARRL Links http://www.arrl.org
CHIRP is a piece of software used to program your baofeng (and similar) radios. It may not be the most user-intuitive, but once you figure out how to use it (hint: plenty of videos on YouTube) it makes programming all of your desired frequencies into your radio super easy.
EARCHI – http://www.earchi.org/
A shout out to my local area’s club, the Emergency Amateur Radio Club – Hawaii (EARCHI).
EchoLink – https://secure.echolink.org/
This is a great way to connect with other Hams around the world. EchoLink is only available to licensed hams, and you have to verify your license before you are able to use it. It essentially a way to tie the analog radio world together with the digital computer world. You can use your smart phone or computer to connect directly to other hams or connect to digital repeaters (for lack of a better name) and participate in nets anywhere in the world.
Ham Study – https://hamstudy.org/
This is, IMHO, the best site for studying for your Ham radio exams. They provide a study mode and a random quiz mode that make it feel just like sitting the real exam. They include the entire question pool for all three classes of licenses. The website is well designed and modern. They have companion apps on iOS and Android that make it easy and convenient to study anywhere you go, no need to be connected to the internet. Best of all – It’s FREE!
I’m not sponsored for this endorsement, but the company behind this site (SignalStuff.com) does make and sell some great antennas for your handheld radio that are made in America and come with a lifetime guarantee.
Ham Academy – http://www.hameducation.org/2020/
This is another site to help you with studying and taking practice exams. This site is entirely free and is run by EARC.
Radio Reference – https://www.radioreference.com/
Look up frequencies in use by local government agencies and businesses in your area.
RepeaterBook – https://repeaterbook.com/index.php
RepeaterBook is Amateur Radio’s most comprehensive, worldwide, FREE repeater directory. It also offers free iOS and Andriod apps for your smart phone too.
Stay tuned! More stuff to come….