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Sunday, March 31, 2013

PRODUCT REVIEW - How to be a General

The Book to get to be a General

This is the book used by almost all General classes.  It coveres all the questions in the General question pool.  If you know this book the test is a walk in the park.  There is a Kindle version and I tend to like ebooks better.  As a rule they cost less, are installed almost instantly and become part of my traveling elibrary.

If you are working on your General you might like the "Its Good to be General" post lower on this page.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

PRODUCT REVIEW - BaoFeng Dual band UV-5R VHF/UHF Dual Band Radio 136-174 400-480Mhz Transceiver

Click the above link for more info

* Frequency Range: 136-174 / 400-480MHz 
* Dual-Band Display, Dual Freq. Display, Dual-Standby 
* Output Power: 4 /1Watts 
* 128 Channels 
* 50 CTCSS and 104 CDCSS 
* Built-in VOX Function 
* 1750Hz Brust Tone 
* FM Radio (65.0MHz-108.0MHz) 
* LED Flashlight 
* Large LCD Display 
* Hight /Low RF Power Switchable 
* 25KHz/12.5KHz Switchable 
* Emergency Alert 
* Low Battery Alert 
* Battery Saver 
* Time-out Timer 
* Keypad Lock 
* Monitor Channel 
* Channel Step: 2.5/5/6.25/10/12.5/25KHz 

1 x UV-5R (VHF136-174 UHF 400-480Mhz) 
1 x 7.4V 1800mah Li-ion Battery Pack 
1 x Antenna 400-480Mhz 
1 x Belt Clip 
1 x ENG Manual 
1 x Desktop Charger ( 100V ~ 240V ) 
1 x Earpiece 

Price, price, price!
Very good audio on TX and RX.
Great battery life.
Good sensitivity and selectivity.
Great features.
Expanded TX without modification.
Did I mention price?

Somewhat Mediocre build quality.(but fine for the price)
Programming cable not included.
Very quirky programming without the cable.
Almost Completely useless manual.
Channel skip and alpha tags only available using the programming software.
SMA Female antenna instead of standard SMA Male antenna.
Slow scan speed.

4 star rating.  Works great for in town and backup.  For the price can not be beat.

This is one of those things that you have to try to belive.  Although it will never be confused with Icom or any of the other major brands it works almost as well at a cost so far less that it is the Bic pen of radios.  I got one as a spare.  I am tempted to get a 2nd one as a 2nd spare at this price.  For less than a good pair of walking shoes this HT will give you countless hours of air time and fun.

Make sure you get a programming cable and save yourself some pain.

Click the above link for more info

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ham - Send in the Clowns

The Memorial Day Parade

There were no clowns, unless you count the pageant moms (but more about that later), but there was every other facet that makes a great parade. There were floats, military vehicles, police vehicles, horses (followed by guys with shovels), Scouts (of every shape and size), pretty girls, fire trucks, goats, dogs, cheerleaders, tractors, trucks, new cars, very old cars and very very small cars. Of course there was the main ingredient for any successful event, volunteer Hams. But I should start at the beginning.

We start, as all good Ham related activities do, with breakfast and coffee (lots of coffee) at a Waffle House near the event. I got there early to enjoy maximum conversation time with Hams I have not seen since last year’s parade.

Why is it in a hobby/community that is centered on communication we do so little of it over the year with those nearest to us but talk weekly or more with those thousands of miles away?

The coffee was good, the conversations great, life just doesn’t get any better than this. But all too soon its time to load up and get to the event.

It looks like an emergency evacuation as almost every vehicle in the Waffle House parking lot tries to pull out on the road at the same time, leaving one old guy in a pickup that was trying to pull in at the time, bewildered and questioning his choice of breakfast places.

We gather at the parade staging area (a church parking lot) and Earl hands out the maps, parade participant lists and makes assignments. Everyone loaded up on sun- block. The participants start filing in and get lined up. Everything went like clockwork.

About then I notice my row was comprised mostly of cheerleaders (cursed again) and all form of pageant winners. There were so many pageant winners they were loaded on floats in groups and I think some were double stacked (the floats not the pageant winners)

There were so many rhinestone tiaras my sun block gave up and took cover. There must be someone in town whose full time job is coming up with pageant titles. I think I saw a Little Miss Junior Pothole Lake View Sub-Division.

And with each pageant winner came a pageant Mom barking orders like a German field officer and trying to make sure their little darling had the best seat on the best side with the best lighting. There was more than one heated discussion among the Moms, very heated. If I had a large tub of Jell-O I could have paired up the Moms, sold tickets and made a few bucks ……….. but that would be wrong........ very,very,wrong.

Eventually it was time to start the parade. The rows unfolded like a large paper snake. Soon everyone was gone without a problem and it was over. Over till next year. We gathered for a group picture and then dispersed. Each alone in their vehicle but still connected to the others by the invisible thread of our radios. Where else can you have this much fun for free?