Getting started with amateur radio

After listen to the local police and fire departments on a scanner, I decided I wanted to get into amateur radio.

It is something I have been interested in since I was a boy at summer camp and the staff used two-way radios to communicate. After speaking to a ham that was involved in our local Boy Scout Council we purchased a police scanner and listened in at events they held, at summer camp, and to the police and fire departments in my home town on a few occasions. Then FRS radios came about and the interest in getting a license died off, until recently.

When trying to tune in different entities on my scanner I started making antennas. I started with simple dipoles, and now have started making quarter wave antennas, and will be attempting other designs and purchasing things online that I find interesting or useful for the hobby.

For now I am going to start with an HT, the Baofeng UV-5R+, to get on the air with the local repeaters. It is far from perfect, but it affords the same basic functionality and power of a name-brand radio for only $40! That is an incredible value, and for that kind of money I can afford to have a few spares to kick around.

My goal is to have communications available in an emergency, should Internet and cell phones fail to work. I am also going to look into getting involved with Skywarn and ARES to provide storm spotting from the comfort of my home, and assist with emergency communications in the event of a disaster. There is also some interesting things happening with amateur radio with internet relays, digital voice, packet data, and mesh networks.

As time permits I hope to be able to post some interesting things I have found while pursuing this hobby.

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