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» RSGB EMF compliance
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Rich13
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PostSubject: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeFri Aug 06, 2021 11:02 am

Hello
My interest in radio started back in 1980 with the old AM CB and the new FM when they legalised them then they went out of fashion. I've not done any transmitting since except on the marine band from a boat .
I had radio scanners and listened to HF radio on an old Realistic DX394 for many years and made a few crude antennas with long wires and a dipole from tubing etc which seemed to work ok . I still have an old discone in the loft with nothing connected to it now.

I have been looking at a crt 6900 radio and sigma venom half wave length antenna. Just wondering if iit's going to be worth  it ? I don't expect much, if anything on the standard  40 FM CB channels living up here near the Cumbrian coast , but are the side bands  active enough for the occasional contact to justify the outlay given my location ? I sold my HF receiver as the reception had become very poor 3 or 4 years ago after being quite good for a few years , I experimented with different aerial set ups but I ended up just listening to static on many occasions toward the end .  I never actually listened to the CB bands however, as I'd assumed it was dead , not realising SSB  now seems quite popular . I understand conditions change day to day and hour to hour , and low sunspot activity is a problem and am prepared to tinker about
All the best.
Rich'

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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeFri Aug 06, 2021 11:55 am

Hi Rich,

Welcome to Charlie Tango.

Great to hear about your interests in radio.


CB radio nowadays can be a bit hit and miss and definitely changed from the old days when the bands were packed. If you're lucky and live in an area with an active CB following it can all be as good as the old days with people having a good chin-wag and generally enjoying radio. Usually though CB operators today are spaced apart far more than the old days requiring a good base station setup or taking things mobile and maybe even driving up to local high spot.

There are plenty of 'nets' that are run nowadays for people to make their best attempts to get into and most still surviving do so because of the activity they receive. Sometimes these are straight FM nets but the SSB users have the advantage of greater transmission/reception distances so such nets have operators from near and far.

There's the DX activities of course where Sideband transmission excels, (although I've had good DX contact even with straight FM when conditions are ripe), and as you mention this is very dependant on conditions. There's usually a propagation lift or 'skip' during the summer months and a briefer spell mid-winter but we are heading towards a solar peak in the coming years where it will all become much more fun! Wink



For myself I found my return to CB radio a little lacklustre due to little to no activity in my area. I did enjoy some winter skip and brilliant summer skip with DX contacts into continental Europe but the months inbetween saw me listening to constant static or noise. Definitely not the same as the 'old days'.

I explored further and scanned the PMR, (Public Mobile Radio), frequencies but apart from children's walkies and local warehouse depot staff was devoid of the PMR style DX. Again in some areas the activity is high and often with regular nets but not unfortunately in my own area.

Wanting more radio activity I finally decided to go for my 'Ham ticket' helpfully supported by many of the members here at Charlie Tango. With a bit of free online training, some study and less than £30 exam fee later I passed my Foundation exam. (All online too which became available due to the lock-down and has been very successful.)

Now I have access to a multitude of bands, frequencies, modes from HF to UHF and boy have I been exploring them! Smile  (There's ALWAYS activity somewhere on the Ham bands. Returning to radios. 1f44d)


So really it's going to be up to you and dependant on activity in your area. It's definitely a lot harder and requires more work for CB radio nowadays in that you'll need a good setup or be prepared to go mobile and maybe sit out those chilly nights to join a 'net'. Wink

But for me personally in monetary and radio enjoyment terms the Ham exam and a simple handheld to start with was infinitely cheaper than a complete CB setup from scratch. (Not only the radio & antenna, but the coax, power supply, SWR meter, patch leads, etc. etc.......!)

......although Ham radio can and usually does become more expensive because you want to use every band/frequency/mode available to you! Smile


Anyway, food for thought for you.

However you move on with your radio interests I wish you the very best. Returning to radios. 1f44d 


BTW, if you do want a Charlie Tango call sign you only have to ask but otherwise enjoy the forum.
There's a bunch of helpful people here more than happy to offer advice or help and indeed their own personal experiences.


All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeFri Aug 06, 2021 1:21 pm

Thanks for taking the time to reply Victor.

Hind sight is a good thing . Had I kept my DX394 receiver , I could have answered my own query and got  an aerial dedicated to the right band width or even plugged the old discone in ? & tuned into the relative bands and listened to see how active they were .

Nearest land to the  West of me is The Isle of Man and Southern Scotland to the NW with a fer villages and towns to the N, S & E (used to get contacts with those back in the day using a DV 27 on a biscuit tin). Am I correct in thinking that despite living in a relatively spread out area I'd be able to make the odd  contacts occasionally on SSB from other areas in the UK as it doesn't rely on line of sight like the 40 FM channels? After all part of the interest of  HF and scanning was just leaving it on in the background and listening for some activity  on some of the less busy frequencies often not hearing anything for a while but enough to keep you interested  . I was mainly concerned about getting my gear set up and it being so quiet that I can't get a radio check to see if I'm working OK .
Rich

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Alan Pilot
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeFri Aug 06, 2021 1:53 pm

The old DV-27 on the biscuit tin i think we all had that setup lol.
Not that long since i returned to radio after a 26 year brake and found it very different to when i left as in silence.
It did put me off a bit i must say but i stuck with it and joined this forum and one other.
Well i went the same way as our Victor and got my ham licence in fact only a couple of weeks after Victor and with a lot of encouragement from Victor i might have not gone for the test if he had not pushed me along.
So as he said you will get any help you might need so stick with it Rich.
Regards
          Alan.

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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeFri Aug 06, 2021 2:20 pm

I had thought more than once over the years  about getting an operators licence , but always thought it would be difficult learning morse code etc I was always interested in the aerial building side of it and the general equipment and always enjoyed it when a mate and I  got enlisted to set up neighbours and friends gear in cars and houses.

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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeFri Aug 06, 2021 2:26 pm

Just going out so a quick one.
You don't need morse code now.

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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeFri Aug 06, 2021 3:23 pm

Rich,

As Alan has mentioned, the requirements for Morse Code have long been dropped.
(Although I hear more Morse on air weirdly since they dropped it. Wink)

You do sound like an ideal candidate with radio experience and enjoyment of it all, (your past CB experiences and Marine radio you mention), to look at the licenced Radio Amateur route. The stepped system they employ nowadays of Foundation, Intermediate and Full although still a 'gated' system allows people to progress into Amateur Radio at their own pace and interests.


The Foundation exam is designed as an introduction route and they are looking for someone who will be responsible and competent at radio operating practices, not a genius in all things electronic and RF. Wink
(It is a lot easier than it may at first seem but still requires some study.)

Since the exams became available online a lot more people seized the opportunity to becoming a Ham and the last time I checked there was some 3,000+ new Foundation licence holders.


The nice thing is, as many here can attest to, you can still be a Ham.....and.....a CB operator. Returning to radios. 1f44d 


In fact the first 'surge' of licenced Amateurs came from that old 1980's CB days and moved onto becoming Hams. Seems that this second resurgence is much the same with old CB hands coming back to radio and taking opportunity of this new online world. Great that there are also people starting from new as well with many youngsters and a lot of 'new blood' joining in what is after all a fun hobby.


CB Radio is great, there's no bones about it. 
Unlicensed use is now the norm and legal, legality of using AM and SSB modes and the fact that people come back to the hobby in their droves. But you can become a Ham for far less money and know that there are operators out there. (Newer technologies such as Digital modes expand your horizons with more possible contacts than ever before.)


Anyway, again food for thought.
(You'd think I was an RSGB enlister or something. Very Happy)


If it helps any Rich I'll leave you a few links you can peruse to gain more information and make up your own mind.


Essex Ham have run successful online training for years and I can personally recommend them :-

https://www.essexham.co.uk/train/foundation-online/



There are even online mock exam papers available to have a go at and see if you'd pass or not :-

https://radiotutor.uk/l/F/exam

https://rsgb.org/main/clubs-training/training-resources/mock-exams/


I hope that's of some help to you, we do happen to be a friendly bunch here at Charlie Tango and this mirrors the world of radio as a whole nowadays. They'll always be the 'odd fly in the ointment' but most of us are more than happy to help someone along with their radio interests. Returning to radios. 1f44d 

(Oh and BTW, there's a few Amateur radio repeaters available up your way and a plethora of 'Hams' including clubs. Smile)


Once again I wish you the very best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeFri Aug 06, 2021 4:50 pm

Cheers Victor.
I actually just had a look at a video  for the foundation level  before I read your reply there ,it was on the radio society GB website . It's maybe  worth thinking about , as I seem to keep getting drawn back to radio in one form or another even if it's just listening to the marine band in the local harbour .
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeSun Aug 08, 2021 12:46 pm

If you get a foundation licence , does it have a time limit  before you have to move to the next levels ? 
Also what bands / equipment does it give you  access to compared to the  next two levels ?
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeSun Aug 08, 2021 1:46 pm

No time limit.
All bands at max 10w output.
Go for it Rich if i can pass it you can and with a good score.
Look up "Essexham" they do a free online course.
But as i said you will get help from us lot on here.
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeSun Aug 08, 2021 2:16 pm

Thank you for that info again Alan .
I am actually about to order one of those CRT 6900 sets to get back into it  , I am however giving serious consideration to going for the licence sooner rather than later , I've noted though, the comments above which said it can be reasonable , cost wise  initially to set up with the HAM gear  . 
That radio has a lead to programme it from what I can see I've used a PC to programme a yeasu scanner I had once before  so could expand it's 10/11m coverage in future I assume  or upgrade stuff the as time went on .
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeSun Aug 08, 2021 4:04 pm

Rich13 wrote:
That radio has a lead to programme it from what I can see I've used a PC to programme a yeasu scanner I had once before  so could expand it's 10/11m coverage in future I assume  or upgrade stuff the as time went on .
Hi Rich, and welcome to the forum. I found the 6900 very easy to reprogram once got it connected to a PC.. that initial bit took a bit of fiddling. Mine came with UK 27/81 channels on band A, then the other bands were Super Low through to Super Hi.

You can actually have up to 60 channels programmed per block, so I wiped off Super Hi from block F and programmed 60 channels on 10m to cover the main SSB part of that band. Kept the rest of the CB blocks as they were, but have programmed channels 41 to 60 on a few other blocks to cover AM and FM 10m frequencies and the 8 Japanese AM CB frequencies.

There's obviously better rigs out there if you're prepared to pay more, but the 6900 has served me well getting back into playing with radio this year.

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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeSun Aug 08, 2021 6:52 pm

Thank you for the reply. I think the cable is part of the package and once I get to know what frequencies are  needed I'll probably have a go . I assume the radio has to have the band range expanded via the PC programming and it hasn't got the full spectrum in there which you can tune in to  and add to the memory blocks using the buttons on the radio ?
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeSun Aug 08, 2021 7:01 pm

Sgt Bilko has a load of .dat files for programming this type of radio.

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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeSun Aug 08, 2021 7:09 pm

sounds interesting
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeSun Aug 08, 2021 7:12 pm

The radio almost certainly will not arrive with channels programmed across its full available spectrum, but it will depend on where you buy it from and how you ask them to program it, as to how its set up when it gets to you. E.g. Knights have two default configs they set up for customers, as a 10m radio, or as an 11m "CB" one which will arrive similar to how I detailed my mine arrived in my other post.
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeWed Aug 11, 2021 5:56 pm

Hi to everyone just got my call sign 29-CT-065  today so if you heare me calling DX please do key the mic for a chat. Have been looking at some of the posts and its  good to heare  like minded people with similar intrests shareing their supports to eachother which is great to see.73  for now stay safe all . Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeSat Aug 14, 2021 11:44 am

Alan .
Might be possible to reach you on Anglesey using SSB from my location when I get set up ? On the Cumbrian coast with only the Irish Sea between us . 
We  can receive Hollyhead coast guard and Douglas harbour on the IOM  on the marine band VHF loud and clear from the house .
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeSat Aug 14, 2021 1:42 pm

Rich13 wrote:
Alan .
Might be possible to reach you on Anglesey using SSB from my location when I get set up ? On the Cumbrian coast with only the Irish Sea between us . 
We  can receive Hollyhead coast guard and Douglas harbour on the IOM  on the marine band VHF loud and clear from the house .
You never know but radio is a funny thing.
Like i said i think i did lol my m8 is over up above Caernarfon and on ssb i know that someone is there but can't make a word out.
If we go on the2m band FM he pushed me +30 or even a bit more you would think he was down the road.
We will give it a go one day we can set a time and a frequency and see if we can make the trip.
I can communicate better with the USA better than 25 miles away.
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeSat Aug 14, 2021 3:23 pm

Rich13 wrote:
Thank you for the reply. I think the cable is part of the package and once I get to know what frequencies are  needed I'll probably have a go . I assume the radio has to have the band range expanded via the PC programming and it hasn't got the full spectrum in there which you can tune in to  and add to the memory blocks using the buttons on the radio ?
It will come programmed for you. Some shops give you an option as to how the bands are set out.

Welcome to the CT site Rich.

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeSat Aug 14, 2021 9:39 pm

Just to say some great contacts to be had on 40ukfm or mids when sporadic e is about or good propagation. In the past week from up here on Lewis despite conditions not being to good chatted to a guy in Brighton 565 Miles and just tonight in poor conditions spoke to a guy in Bavaria Germany 850 miles using a CRT Xenon on just 6watts with a homebrew Inverted Vee in my loft.
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeSat Aug 14, 2021 9:48 pm

Sgt Bilko wrote:
Rich13 wrote:
Thank you for the reply. I think the cable is part of the package and once I get to know what frequencies are  needed I'll probably have a go . I assume the radio has to have the band range expanded via the PC programming and it hasn't got the full spectrum in there which you can tune in to  and add to the memory blocks using the buttons on the radio ?
It will come programmed for you. Some shops give you an option as to how the bands are set out.

Welcome to the CT site Rich.

Paul.

hi Paul .
Yes I think it's just programmed with the standard band , but it does have the cable and software to expand in future.
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeSat Aug 14, 2021 9:58 pm

Alan Pilot wrote:
Rich13 wrote:
Alan .
Might be possible to reach you on Anglesey using SSB from my location when I get set up ? On the Cumbrian coast with only the Irish Sea between us . 
We  can receive Hollyhead coast guard and Douglas harbour on the IOM  on the marine band VHF loud and clear from the house .
You never know but radio is a funny thing.
Like i said i think i did lol my m8 is over up above Caernarfon and on ssb i know that someone is there but can't make a word out.
If we go on the2m band FM he pushed me +30 or even a bit more you would think he was down the road.
We will give it a go one day we can set a time and a frequency and see if we can make the trip.
I can communicate better with the USA better than 25 miles away.

Yes I remember listening to SSB on HF radio,  you could occasionally get planes on the far side of the Atlantic and hear nothing more locally. We often used to get people on the isle of Man even on the old FM 40 channels back in the early 80s
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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeFri Oct 08, 2021 5:09 pm

Just like to thank you all , and Alan and Victor for informing about the  Essex ham online course and encouraging me to go for my foundation exam, which I passed this afternoon ( a bit daunting after not seeing an exam for the best part of 40 years , but I enjoyed the course and even the exam in the end up) .
Just one question  about callsigns for now ? As I'll likely be issued an M7??? one when do I use my 26 CT one ? Is that mainly for the 11m band or would you use the M7 there too ? 👍

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Posts : 310
Times Thanked : 17
Join date : 2021-01-30
QTH or Location : Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Equipment Used : SS6900N, Xiegu G90, DX-300 for SWL, all antennas home-made

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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitimeFri Oct 08, 2021 5:43 pm

Congrats Richard on passing. Well done!

Use your Ham callsign just on the Ham bands and the 26 CT one on non-Ham bands, 11m etc.

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PostSubject: Re: Returning to radios.   Returning to radios. Icon_minitime

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