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[#] Tue Aug 12 2014 07:47:34 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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"Getting Started in Ham Radio in just a Few Easy Steps"

1. pass the General Class test (which implies also passing the Technician)

Compared to "back when I did this" today it is pitifully easy since, on the internet, there are a plethora of sites where you can take practice exams which will drill you in the questions and correct answer for each - drawn directly from the FCC authorized "exam pools" of questions/answers. Take the tech practic test online for about 4 days or so; then do the same thing with the general test. And you will be ready. Even if you know absolutely nothing about ham radio and electronics. Easy. Simple. An absolute "radio idiot" can do this successfully.

Just find your local VE (Volunteer Examiner) group and get their testing schedule. These groups are everywhere and you should be able to line up a testing date at least once a month. They charge a small fee (usually $5) to take the test (the fee covers all the tests you want to take that day). The fee is *not* a licensing fee - the license itself is free.

An inexpensive two meter FM transceiver (we call them "rigs") can be had, NEW, for less than $150. If you need help finding one, just look for the nearest Ham Radio Outlet store. And do NOT spend more than $150 on the rig. You will also need a power supply for the rig - 12 volts DC at roughly 20 amps should serve you fine for this, and will also be usable to power your basic HF rig (the "low band" radio that you'll be wanting since two meters is ok for local stuff but...).

2. the antenna for two meters at home

I strongly recommend the ($70) "J-pole" that HRO sells. Easy to assemble, Simple to get up in the air (it weighs all of about 2 pounds or so) and works like a raped ape! It is vertically polarized (go look that up) and omnidirectional (go look that up also), both of which are absolute requirements for 2 meter FM. Get that thing up in the air about 40 or 50 feet and feed it with RG8/U coax cable with a PL259 connector on each end and you are good to go. If you don't like soldering connectors onto coax cable you can buy a pre-assembled "run" of cable at HRO (25', 50', or 100'). If you are in a hurry and don't mind a little feedline loss (go look that up) then you can get RG8X at your friendly local radio shack which will do the same thing, and actually be a bit less expensive. I don't recommend it since the line loss (you've looked that up, right?) might be considerable for any "run" over 50 feet. Much better to use the RG8/U instead.

You'll need a mast on which to mount that J-pole. I recommend a 30 ft mast, aluminum works fine, about 1 1/2" OD. You'll probably have to figure out how to join three ten-foot aluminum sections together, or you can buy a pre-made telescoping mast. Mount that to the side of the house using side-mount brackets (put the antenna on the top along with the coax - first); run the cable into your brand new ham shack, and you're basically done.

Total project cost, including a Very Good PreMade Telescoping Mast, should be less than $400. Make the mast yourself using aluminum tubing and you should be able to shave at least $50 off that cost.

And it might be a good idea to join the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). Lots of folks like them; lots of folks hate them; but they are the *only* national body of ham radio operators with decent lobbying at the federal level. They are NOT 'political' in the party sense. They don't care about that; their only interest is defending the rights of radio hams in the United States, and they are very very good at that.

Here endeth the lesson.

--K2NE

[#] Tue Aug 12 2014 21:56:31 EDT from Sig @ Uncensored

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However, we were thinking "zip line" rather than "antenna" :)


It's so cute you think these things are mutually exclusive.

[#] Tue Aug 19 2014 14:08:55 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

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Now that i'd call usefull wearable: reins for cyclists.

https://twitter.com/PearlChen/status/501558655524044800/photo/1



[#] Wed Aug 20 2014 11:38:46 EDT from Freakdog @ Dog Pound BBS II

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Interesting...I think I'll just wait for my HammerheadNav, though.



[#] Wed Aug 20 2014 20:46:40 EDT from ax25 @ Uncensored

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You put a sharks head on your head, or does it go on the bike?



[#] Thu Aug 21 2014 08:49:47 EDT from Freakdog @ Dog Pound BBS II

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Wed Aug 20 2014 08:46:40 PM EDT from ax25 @ Uncensored

You put a sharks head on your head, or does it go on the bike?

On the bike.

http://hammerhead.io/



[#] Fri Aug 22 2014 08:05:18 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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That basically looks like a turn signal aimed at the rider instead of at external traffic.

Problem: it's a cute little readout but it's still running the GPS in your phone.  That's going to kill your battery.  I'd rather have a handlebar mount for the phone itself, hooked up to a little generator to keep the device charged.



[#] Sat Aug 23 2014 00:30:51 EDT from ax25 @ Uncensored

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That is great.  I guess if I needed to keep the gps running, I could hook up a bottle charger to the wheel or solar, or a bit of wind as I ride to top it off, or hell, just wire up a larger battery to the frame.  I would most likely tire out before the larger battery store gives out :-)

Wish I was younger.  Much out there to do.

What if this was just an LED in the corner of some sunglasses for the rider that dimly blinked the turn and flashed faster as you approached (of course dimly enough to not blind the rider).

Probably to litigious a society to accept, but I would love to make something like that for my own use.



[#] Mon Aug 25 2014 10:40:32 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Are we going to start seeing receivers that can combine data from GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo?  Presumably the more birds in the sky the better the accuracy will be...

(Although those crazy euros can't seem to get their launches correct ... [http://tinyurl.com/p47q7u7] ... they launched the latest two satellites into the wrong orbit.)



[#] Mon Aug 25 2014 11:02:11 EDT from LoanShark @ Uncensored

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Until the Russkies start sending invalid packets designed to crash your GPS receiver... :)

[#] Mon Aug 25 2014 11:02:42 EDT from LoanShark @ Uncensored

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(Anywhere in an iPhone to disable GLONASS and run GPS only?)

[#] Mon Aug 25 2014 11:22:44 EDT from Freakdog @ Dog Pound BBS II

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Fri Aug 22 2014 08:05:18 AM EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

That basically looks like a turn signal aimed at the rider instead of at external traffic.

Problem: it's a cute little readout but it's still running the GPS in your phone.  That's going to kill your battery.  I'd rather have a handlebar mount for the phone itself, hooked up to a little generator to keep the device charged.

I run GPS based apps for tracking my rides, already. Battery drain is significantly lessened by not running the screen.

The generator's a nice little idea, if you aren't going for speed (i.e. I'm not a commuter...I go out for distance rides, attempting to get stronger/faster as I go along).

I put my phone in a battery/charging case with capacity that is double my phone's capacity...I've been out on my bike for 8 hours and not dipped into my phone's actual battery capacity.



[#] Mon Aug 25 2014 18:29:15 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

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Mon Aug 25 2014 11:22:44 EDT from Freakdog @ Dog Pound BBS II

 

Fri Aug 22 2014 08:05:18 AM EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

That basically looks like a turn signal aimed at the rider instead of at external traffic.

Problem: it's a cute little readout but it's still running the GPS in your phone.  That's going to kill your battery.  I'd rather have a handlebar mount for the phone itself, hooked up to a little generator to keep the device charged.

I run GPS based apps for tracking my rides, already. Battery drain is significantly lessened by not running the screen.

The generator's a nice little idea, if you aren't going for speed (i.e. I'm not a commuter...I go out for distance rides, attempting to get stronger/faster as I go along).

I put my phone in a battery/charging case with capacity that is double my phone's capacity...I've been out on my bike for 8 hours and not dipped into my phone's actual battery capacity.



 

well, not much to invent - just a bit heavy on the credit card.

https://www.bike-components.de/products/info/p33126_Lumotec-Luxos-IQ2-U-LED-Frontlicht-mit-StVZO-Zulassung.html

(fancily they first built [and still sell] https://www.bike-components.de/products/info/p23049_E-Werk-mobiles-Ladegeraet.html?xtcr=1&xtmcl=e-werk+e+werk+mobiles+ladeger%E4t )

https://www.bike-components.de/products/info/p24191_Son-Delux-Disc-Center-Lock-Nabendynamo.html?xtcr=5&xtmcl=son+son+delux+disc+center+lock

there you are.

don't wory about your performance to much, the guys riding 600km on the roadbike without stopping for longer than half an hour use that.

 

regarding the galileos - yes a pity. I guess they're bringing them ladders on the next start so they can climb the remaining altitude...

 

regarding the receivers - garmin has stuff which actually can navigate you without draining battery in large amount.



[#] Tue Aug 26 2014 22:09:28 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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From what I understand, the reason a cell phone sucks down so much power when navigating compared to a "real" GPS is because the geopositioning work is all done in software, making the CPU do work that a dedicated GPS unit would do using a bunch of ASICs.

(I think that's it; but I'll bet Vince knows for sure)

[#] Tue Aug 26 2014 23:02:23 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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Heh. Actually, no.
My 'GPS' experience is exceptionally minimal.
[transl: If I told you I'd have to kill you.]

[#] Wed Aug 27 2014 10:45:17 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

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having forgot my garmin in the cellar with no satelite reception trippled its battery life ;-)

so, its also expensive in those.

however, there are more places where they're made to save energy; most probably the passive display is one big point too.



[#] Thu Aug 28 2014 00:49:16 EDT from ax25 @ Uncensored

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I have taken a phone on my last trip and put it in airplane mode.  I did it to use only the GPS and downloaded maps for navigation (using the OsmAnd~ program - from the F-Droid store).

My experience was that as long as I did not run the screen, and calculated the route before I departed the start point, the battery drain was minimal.  The most battery drain I had was when I was checking for location on the map with the display actively tracing the route, rather than just giving the verbal turn directions (i.e. sleep mode mostly).

The reason I ran without any cell service was due to the fact I had no coverage in the countries I was visiting, so turning off the cell phone portion of the phone was efficient.



[#] Thu Sep 04 2014 18:40:24 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Some sort of wasps (probably yellow jackets) are appearing in my bathroom light fixture.

I suspect they are in the attic, but for some reason they have not appeared in any other fixtures.

At this point I am too cowardly to go into the attic and look around. Suggestions?

[#] Thu Sep 04 2014 18:45:41 EDT from LoanShark @ Uncensored

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Suggestions?

GROW A PAIR! ;)

[#] Thu Sep 04 2014 19:00:58 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Oh, that's a thought. Grow a pear, and let them enjoy it?

You should probably have an exterminator give it a good looking after, before you have too much damage.

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