AMATEUR RADIO -- SOUTH-WEST BC -- SURVIVAL GUIDE
PRODUCED BY ALAN MUIR, VE7BEU. Muir Communications Ltd. Victoria, B.C. Phone 250-475-2004 Webpage -> http://www.muircom.com Email = ve7beu at muircom dot com
TABLE OF CONTENTS. 1) Introduction. 2) Getting Started. 3) Equipment Considerations. 4) Local Clubs / Associations. 5) Repeaters. 6) Common Terms.
1) Introduction: This booklet is intended as an introduction to Amateur Radio for the "New-comer" The contents of this booklet is a guideline for your introduction to Amateur Radio. I would hope that the suggestions will make you First step into the world of Amateur Radio an easy process.
2) Getting Started: Don't forget, we all were beginners. We were just as nervous as you are now!! All of us can remember our "First time" on the air !! Please let everyone know that you are "new" to the Fraternity of Amateur Radio. In the past years, call signs were issued in a sequential order. It was therefore easier to tell the newer callsigns because they were in blocks of callsigns, ie VE7BAA, VE7BAB, VE7BAC....etc. Now, with callsigns being issued in any order, it is difficult to guess at the "new-ness" of a callsign we hear on the air. It is very important that you associate yourself with a local club or organization. This is your means of getting advise and information about the mysteries of Amateur Radio. All of the Clubs have membership lists for your use to locate someone near you to give you a helping hand. Two-meters is your best resource for getting help from your fellow Amateur Radio operators. Amateur Radio is a World Wide Fraternity and is there for you and your enjoyment.
3) Equipment Considerations: Initially, you will probably start off with using 2-meters FM. This is due to the fact that this is the band on which there is the most activity, or people to talk to. There are three types of equipment: a) Mobile radio unit in your car, truck, boat etc b) Basestation unit in your house, cabin, office etc. c) Handheld unit. The type of unit you require depends upon your lifestyle and in what areas you intend on operating. Most users in a metropolitan area use a Handheld Unit because of the following points: a) The Handheld is self contained, it has its own battery, antenna, and is ready to operate. b) It does not require any extra equipment to operate. c) The local Repeater (relay) station operated by the Club will relay your signal over a large area. d) It can be used in your vehicle as a mobile unit, as well as in the back yard while doing other projects.
Mobile Units have the following considerations: a) You will require an antenna on the vehicle b) You will require wiring to the 12 volt battery system. c) You will have a greater radio range because of the greater transmitter power, and the better antenna, as compared to the antenna on a Handheld unit. d) The radio left in the Vehicle is sometimes an invitation to be stolen due to the advertising of its presence by the antenna on the vehicle. Watch out for the limitations of your insurance coverage due to the fact of how the unit is mounted to the vehicle. A handheld can be removed from the vehicle when you leave.
Basestation Units have the following considerations: a) Your will require a outdoor antenna and structure: i) The structure can be a simple pole, a tree, or a tower ii) There can be some municipal licensing or regulations to conform to. iii) The antenna could be a simple ground plane antenna or a complex yagi or stacked array. iv) The transmission line (coax) is another consideration, it can be RG8 or RG58 type cable. v) RF grounding of the equipment. b) A 12-volt power supply is required to power the radio, if you are like most people, and you are using a mobile radio as a basestation.
Handheld Portable Units have the following considerations: a) Size of the Handheld unit. b) Battery capacity. c) Power output of the transmitter. d) Add on accessories. e) Ability to adapt to other antennas for mobile and basestation usage. f) Handheld if fully self contained, it has its own antenna, battery and is ready to go! g) Theft of a small unit from the car, office etc.
4) Local Clubs and Associations: a) The local clubs are a group of interested Amateur Radio Operators that gather once or so each month and hold a meeting to discuss matters of the organizations. b) The clubs usually have a "purpose" or "interest" in an aspect of Amateur Radio. c) The clubs usually have a fund raising process through their "dues" structures. This is the way they support their projects. d) News letters are common with the clubs. e) Membership lists are also available for each member. f) There are a number of types of Clubs: i) Repeater clubs ii) Packet radio iii)High Frequency (HF) iv) Emergency, PEP, Municipal organizations. g) An example of a large local club is the Westcoast Amateur Radio Association. The organization meets with regular monthly meeting in Victoria. It is comprised of the following sections: i) Repeater section ii) Teaching section for "Ham" courses. iii) Public service section, for events communications. iv) Field day communications events. v) Club Station This is a very large club of approximately 400 members and therefor has a number of sections within the organization.
5. REPEATERS. A Repeater is a relay station located on a hill top. Its purpose is to extend your radio range and coverage. There are two frequencies involved: #1 for Receive, #2 for Transmit. Or, you receive on one frequency and transmit out on the second frequency. Frequencies for Repeaters are established by Band Plans and a Frequency Coordination process through the Amateur Radio Groups. Repeaters can be on VHF and UHF frequencies such as 144, 220 or 440 Mhz frequencies. These are the most common bands. There are other repeaters on 29, 50, 900, and 1200 Mhz. Altitude above average ground level is the prime consideration for radio range: a) 500 ft = not bad b) 1000 ft = good. c) 2000 ft = very good d) 3000 ft plus = excellent A lot of Repeaters are equipped with PHONE PATCHES for the memberships. Phone patches are a device for making a telephone call from an Amateur Radio Transceiver. These phone calls, in the tradition of Amateur Radio, are for PERSONAL use only. Calls cannot be made to Commercial Companies to order parts or make enquiries about parts, equipment, etc. Most autopatch systems are on a Repeater. They can also be on a simplex frequency. Due to the expense of the equipment and telephone lines, the Phone Patches are usually restricted to use by members of the organizations.
REPEATER BASICS A) A Repeater is a Receiver and a Transmitter B) Its purpose is to receive a signal on one channel (146.240 MHz) and re-transmit it out on another (146.840 MHz). C) It is then located on a very high hill, so that two or more people can communicate via the repeater over a great distance. D) Their signal is relayed through the mountain top to each other. E) A number of mountain tops can be linked together to increase the area covered.
OPERATING GUIDELINES The following is a section of guide lines to assist you in Repeater Operation..... A) Select the Repeater frequency on your radio. 146.840 MHz...receive (VE7VIC Repeater) -600 KHz ...Duplex (which is 146.240 MHz on transmit). B) Listen First, As always in Ham Radio, listen first, and listen for many seconds, not just for a brief moment. If fact, you should make sure all is quiet for at least thirty seconds. C) Push the push-to-talk button on your mic or side of your handheld. i) Identify yourself with your callsign. ii)Talk about "1-inch" (2.5 CM) from the microphone. iii) Release the mic when finished talking. iv) Use the word "OVER" to signify you are finished and it is the other persons' turn to talk. D) The Repeater stays on the air for approximately 5 seconds after you stop transmitting. -you do not have to wait for it to drop (stop transmitting). -you just have to WAIT for the second "BEEP" before talking or the timer on the repeater will cut you off after a couple of minutes. E) "CQ" is not used on VHF or UHF as a means of general calling. -use phrases such as: "VE7XXX Monitoring". "VE7XXX Listening on VE7VIC Repeater". -there are other versions used as well. F) "PLEASE" tell us if you are "NEW" on the air!!! We cannot tell by your callsign if you are new to Two Meters and need a little help.....
Handheld/Portables Techniques A) Transmitter at 1/2 Watt will do!! -Saves battery life, battery will last longer till next charging is required. B) Antenna "straight" up and down, not horizontal. -if not, your signal will be weak into the repeater. -repeater antenna is vertically polarized, you have to be as well. C) Talk 1-inch away from the portable. (2.5 cm)
Mobiles A) Mount the antenna at least 1-meter (one half wavelength) away from any metal objects. IE - your broadcast band (FM) antenna, roof racks etc. B) The Antenna is 90% of the radio system. - 1/2 wave or 5/8 wave antenna work best !! C) 5 Watts on low power will do !! - creates less interference to other repeaters on the same frequency !! D) Speak about 1-inch (2.5 cm) from the microphone. - don't squeeze the touch tone buttons on the back side.!! E) Wire the Radio directly to the battery to stop alternator whine on your transmitter. - use a second fuse at the battery connection incase the wire shorts at the fire-wall. - make sure there is a fuse in the black negative ground wire to the radio. The radio will be damaged by the starter current if the ground comes off the motor. F) VERY IMPORTANT, use a mic clip on the dash, and ALWAYS hang up the mic on it...!!! - many times, lots of us have sat on the microphone and provided live entertainment for the repeater listeners..!!!
6..... COMMON TERMS... AUTOPATCH....a means of making phone calls via a repeater. BOOTLEGGER...a non Ham who illegally uses amateur radio radio frequencies. CTCSS...Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System, used to activate some repeater systems. DB....Decibel, term used to indicate signal gain or loss. Every 3db increase indicates doubling of power. DB Gain...Decibel gain as referenced to a 1/2 wave dipole DBi Gain..Decibel gain as referred to an Isotropic Radiator, (a DOT in space that radiates in all directions). Therefore, a 1/2 wave dipole has 3 "DBi" gain over a Isotropic Radiator. This allows some Manufacturers to "exaggerate" their antenna gain figures by 3 DB. DEVIATION...is the amount of audio on a transmitter signal, express as 0 to 5 Khz. 5 KHz is maximum deviation on FM. DTMF....Dual tone multi frequency, the tones used for autopatches. DUPLEX...your radio receives on one frequency, and transmits on another. FINGER-PRINT UNIT...This is a computer device that will identify a transmitter by measuring the start up waveform of the transmitter. HARD LINK...two or more repeaters that are linked together at all times, some links are turned off and on by the users. INTRUDER....a non Ham who illegally uses amateur radio frequencies. Link...method of tying one or more repeaters together. MODULATION...is the process of putting the audio (your voice) onto the carrier (146.000 MHz). OFFSET...when you transmit, your transmitter steps off to another frequency (+ or - 600 KHZ) to transmit. PATCH...is a means of making a telephone call via amateur radio, see AUTOPATCH. PL....Motorola term for CTCSS (see CTCSS) SIMPLEX...talking from radio to radio, not using a repeater. SUBAUDIBLE TONE....see CTCSS REPEATER...radio relay station.