Time to get a HAM ticket :-)

and add my Part 15 operation to the top!

Originally posted on Youtube, obviously, and a tip of the baseball cap to robmatherly.com for pointing it out (and saving me from wading trough the skateboard, chic talk and fake car crash vids!).


WILCOM LABS's picture

You can thank the FCC,the ARRL and Congress for passing PRB-1 which is a Federal law covering licensed ham station antennas. It supercedes any local restrictions. This is our payback for all the Public Service us hams do. I have been a ham and Commercial Radiotelephone licensee since 1976. We do our part. Remember that broadcast radio began from ham radio,too bad we cant do it now......what happened????? Regards,Lee

n9xcr's picture

PRB-1 is a great thing, but...

I don't think it means someone could put up ANYTHING they wanted. I think someone had a real good lawyer that fooled a few people in this one. lol

DISCLAIMER: I could be wrong, though. I am not an expert. :)

radio8z's picture

PRB-1 addresses zoning restrictions made by government entities.

This does not affect protective covenants and restrictions administered by homeowners' associations which the deed bearer agreed to when they bought the property.

This is not legal advice but is base upon what I have read. Do some more research before acting on this.


WILCOM LABS's picture

Did you know that the FCC has dropped the morse code requirement to get a ham license? And did you know that the licensing has been streamlined and new frequency privelages were given to some license classes? Its easier than ever to get your ham ticket. Go for it!!!

radio8z's picture

It has never been easier to get a ham license and I know of a few in my social circle who are pursuing this. Most communities have organized ham clubs which can help interested folks with this. Also check the ARRL or QRZ websites for information, contacts, and study guides.

Imagine not having to worry about antenna and ground lengths, milliwatt power limits, etc. There are technical rules, but not in anyway as restrictive as part 15.

Local repeater groups are a great way to meet some fine people and even get involved in community service activities.

If you are a serious part 15 experimenter you are most likely 90% of the way there to passing the exams. Just brush up on some theory and rules and be good to go. If not, a few days with a study guide or in a ham club sponsored class will be good preparation.

Music and broadcasting are not permitted on the ham bands but experimenting and two way communications are, and the range is from local to worldwide depending on the band used. There are some nice used VHF rigs on net auctions with which one can get on the air for about $100 once licensed. Last year I bought a Kenwood TR-7400 as a backup rig for $45. This is a base/mobile rig but all it takes is a handheld to operate on VHF base, mobile, or portable.

As Lee said, "Go for it".



Rattan's picture

I think broadcasting music and the other things we put in our programs are what a lot of part15 folks are into, though. Not saying hams don't also serve their community, but aside from other hams and maybe swl, it isn't received directly on commonly available equipment for the average person in the street.

If all one wanted was to just get a signal out, one could go with CB. No licensing requirement, 50 times the power of a part15 AM, no limits on ground or antenna, and resonant antennas in practical fractions of the wavelength are quite practical. Plenty of gear for it at things like garage sales as well.

And no, for the hams on the board I am not equating ham and CB, just pointing out that if the milliwatts limit and peculiarities of the antenna/ground system (or the field strength limit for FM) were the only problems one saw with part15, and one just wanted to have an RF signal, CB would also be an option.

Not that I have anything against CB, either. I ran 11 meter from the mid through the late 70s and it's not like we were all speaking slang or 10 codes and etc. At least in the rural area I grew up it was useful. In bad weather, it was good to be able to keep in touch with anyone from the family that was coming home from work or making a trip to the nearest town to know they were ok, or get help if the car went off the road and etc. It also had a pleasant community environment at least on most channels, so it was social. Well, except when the ionosphere would shift wrong for a few hours and it'd get swamped with nitwits yelling "skipland" and trying for basically DX contacts. Then I'd turn the thing off and fire up the SW and see what I could hear.

I thought about going for a ham ticket back then, but news from people who'd gotten their license and "made the jump" to 10 meter was rather discouraging. The ones I knew said their reception by those already there was less than warm and mostly they ended up just talking with other newbies in the same boat. I also listened in on some ragchews on other bands when I was SWL where they didn't sound particularly cheerful about new people either. I'd think that was maybe just back then, but I've wandered through some ham forums when doing searches for technical info and found posts in the past year or so that also indicate that while most hams are no doubt fine people, some of them sure don't seem very keen on new people. When the topic of the morse code being eliminated as a license requirement came up (before it had ever actually happened), some of them sounded like they figured it was the fall of civilization as we know it.

I also figured the cost would be prohibitive, other than possibly converting old CB gear for 10M. When CQ magazine would have articles on what a great hobby it is, then sometimes tell newbies not to bother if they weren't going to put at least a few grand into gear at least if they wanted to be "serious", it's not particularly encouraging to those of us in lower income levels. But then, some people say that about computers and part15 as well. Doesn't necessarilly make it true.

In any case, I've considered going for a ham ticket at various points over the years, and I'm toying with the idea again now. I took a random test (cold) for each class on the qrz.com site and got 89.7 on the technician test, 80 on general, and a 66 on advanced. The areas I'm soft in are the frequencies and power limits for specific bands and the particulars for some things like RTTY, packet, repeaters and etc I never listened to when SWLing and that sort of thing. Basic electronics/rf theory I'm reasonably ok on.

But it really isn't necessarilly the same "bug" as part15 on the BCB.


radio8z's picture


Many of your thoughts about getting into ham radio ring true to my experience. I was thwarted early by the code. Growing up in a rural community where no one was there to help me kept me out for a long time. I had not yet mastered self directed study. In 1976, I took a class given by a ham club and succeeded, and over time earned the extra class license. I later taught a course for another club and helped many others over the code and theory "hump".

As did you, I also ran 11 meters before getting the ham license and I found that most of the ham locals had the same background and I had no problems at all being welcomed. As in CB, hams have their lingo. The Q signals are used frequently and come in handy when conversing (QSOing) with one who speaks a different language. A few days listening and operating allows one to pick up the protocol and lingo easily.

In the '70s the low band operators were pretty cordial, even to newcomers. I could call CQ and get a response within minutes. Later, things changed. It appears that unless you are on a net or working a contest CQ is not answered and "rag chews" are rare compared to my early experience. I rarely use HF now for this reason.

VHF is still a good place to "rag chew" and after a while one gets to know others by name and the familiarity gives a sense of friendship even if the parties never met. (Sort of similar to participating on this board.)

I am not pushing ham radio but wanted to encourage those who may be interested to pursue it. It is not as difficult nor expensive as some may think and study guides and classes are available. Most hams phase into the hobby with a basic transceiver and antenna and take years to build the beautiful stations we see in some photos.

As you said, ham radio is not the same as part 15 BCB. I enjoy both modes though they differ. I find them complimentary, each offering a good, though different, experience.