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Author Topic: CQ CQ QSL?  (Read 4335 times)
Brian D. Bray
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« on: January 24, 2010, 02:56:40 PM »

Will I finally did it.  I've jumped into the frying pan of Ham Radio.  I started taking an 8 week course for Ham Radio Licensing.  I'm going to write for both the Technician and General License at the same time. 
1st class, registering and buying manuals, is out of the way and I've read the Tech manual cover to cover and I'm about 1/2 way through the General manual.  Went to www.qrz.com and took 3 practice tests for the Tech license. 1st test scored 97,1% (missed 1), 2nd test scored 80.0% (didn't notice the NOT in the questions), and 3rd test scored 89.6 ( a little hazy on foreward overload).
At this point I'm pretty confident I'll at least obtain the Tech license as it is pretty straight foreward and simple logic with just a touch of theory.  But since I still have 7 weeks of classes, the tests are scheduled for March 10th, I think I can continue to bone up on the Tech data and soak up enough on of the General data to squeak a passing grade.
My goal is 100% on the Tech test and 85%^ on the General.

I'll keep you updated.
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2010, 03:17:54 PM »

My brother and his buddy have been working on their ham licenses, too, I have no idea what level they're at, they've been at it for awhile.  Since I have no idea what's involved, I can't comment further, but they're very intent with it!
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2010, 03:49:49 PM »

Been meaning to write this for days not it seems, work will not allow me access to LOGGING IN into the Beemaster Forum - I have to come in as a guest and cannot post. And I've been working a lot.

I was License in 1976 I Believe, first as a Novice as KA2HHS then later as a GENERAL being N2CIW which I retain today. I have logged in over 30,000 more code contacts, working 100 countries in QRP (LOW POWER for the members) And I worked 100 countries on 4 bands. I did radio Teletype, slowscan TV, moon bounce (as if you don't know) and I worked two major Earth Events as message hub, I delivered many a sad message, to many, so sad in the Italian earth quake, and me I don't remember my age then, barely 20 I imagine.

I have a Kenwood TS 950S and love it, although I haven't used ham radio in about 4 years. IF we can find a good reliable band (and I've seen 15 meters follow the Sun so that the skip eventually hits the West Coast, early evening. 15 meters is interesting, I hope we eventually get the sunspot activity we are suppose to have. We are only getting 100-150 on many days, normal in the cycle it would be almost 600 a day.

I'm great at antenna Theory, it truly is magical to know what all of HF has to offer, it was always my home. My 2Meg local club was very snobby and I couldn't see attending their cliques. So I was active on 10 and 15 and 20 during the major sunspot season in my teens: I 'd play pool with three players and both in different continents. Many of a time I played Uri in the Soviet Union a game of CHESS and the winner either play Clayton in South Africa or Brian outside Liverpool. Cool Stuff and the CYCLE will come up.

I loved 10 the best, when it is in you talk to the world easily and your incoming signal meter isn't even moving - for hours! And like clock work for 7 or 8 months. Then 15 meters, its SKIP AREA follows the track of the sun - you can typically talk to the place which has the sun at noon thier local time.

I have lots of stories if you'd like to hear them.
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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2010, 04:41:04 PM »

I took a weekend course in Manchester,NH and received my Novice license N1XEN w/code...I played with HF on 10 meters for a year and then took another weekend course for my General......fast forward a few years and I needed my Second Class Radio Telegraphy license for the Coast Guard  as a Radio Officer in the Merchant Marines...this is 2001...yes they are still using Radio Officers at sea but no Morse code. I had to drive to Essex Junction, Vt. in a blinding snow storm for the last test in all New England..I left at 10 am for the test at 6:30 pm and just made it. On a good day it is a four hour drive. I passed the high speed code test and was out the door by 8...had to take the three testers out for a beer then off for home...I finally arrived home at 3am. I would use the GMDSS HF radios on board ship and as long as we were at sea I did not need to apply for other licenses.....It was nice talking to ham friends "up close" instead of 10,000 miles away.....BeeMaster..I hear you on the stories...let them roll.

John
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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2010, 05:24:26 PM »

I'd love to hear your stories, John, but I don't know if I'll understand them!
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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2010, 10:48:43 PM »

I've always wanted to get my ham license because my uncle who got me interested bees was also into ham radios. Jhnr, how much was that course in Manchester and how much does it cost to get into the hobby ? Thanks !
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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2010, 12:22:14 PM »

Well then.... Let's see.

I got licensed as a novice when I was 14, I have ALWAYS been proficient to 40+WPM CW (morse code) CW was asways my preferred method as a teen - I BUILT MY RADIO it was a Heath Kit 4 band HF Transciever that has 4 watts input (you will need to understand my slang to do well on your tests) and I kept mainly to 10/15 meters and 4o meters in the day and 80 meters at night. I had thousands of people to use my paddle keyers with. It really was my high point of being a wizz-kid but life continued on, by time I was 35 I had pretty well peaked in online time. The Internet hasn't killed HAM but it surely hurt it.

Speaking of which, I'm not shooting digs at any of you, but if you want to talk to the world, come into Ventrillo - get some behind the mic time in and meet your fellow members. I leave that there Smiley

But, here are some of my highlights, dates range from 1974-1990 approx.

*I talked to the two pilots on the THIRD Space Shuttle Mission - they were 6 hours before launch, and in a highly published date in QST and 73 magazines and THOUSANDS of hams tried to talk to the pilots at the launch site, the day they were to blast into space. It was the FIRST mission they flew without painting the Massive main fuel tank. It saved them over 800 pounds in paint/load that needed to be blasted into space. That 800 pounds of paint was likely worth hundreds or thousands of pounds of fuel.

Side Note:SIDE NOTE: another FYI thing... Whenever HAMs are in the position where EVERYONE is trying to talk to JUST ONE PERSON - everyone shouts out their call-signs until the lone party calls the last three letters back at you, then everyone shuts up, and only the people with those exact letters call out - usually there is only one and sometimes the person can only pull from the mod TWO letters, making the old of more people to come forward, all giving their callsigns in full. The lone operator calls out which one he thought he heard. Very organized and very clean system.

*I talked to King Hosain of Jordan (JY1 is WAS his call) in order to talk with the King, you had to schedule a time to talk and on the band they choose. It was about 6 in the evening in the Winter, I remember it being dark out and finally, after listening to him talk with 30 other people) and remember and HAM Contest or Event (and there are soooo many cool contest are on HAM.) but the king was an avid ham and like all hams he wishes to work as many countries as they can - if they are DXers. But people who don't know have to realise in HAM radio we can exchange callsign information and location in 30 seconds and it counts as a contact. Then hams, generally exchange QSL cards with each other as proof ot the contact. Mind you, both the CALSIGN and the LOCATION must be exact on each card or it does not count. It's easy to cheat the sysem on that one though - no one know if the other person copied the info correctly.

*I talked to President Ronald Reagan around 1984, he was doing an event in NY, I cannot remember why he was on 40 meters, I seem to remember it being related to National Communication issues. He was on the radio for nearly an hour, enjoying not making contacts, but meeting the people from all over - I guess it was a real treat to him. This event was not scheduled I assume, serious Secret Service issues I would think. I head he was on from one of the GROUP FREQUENCIES (again lots of ham chat rooms - many where they need to round-table the mic time. But I heard about it on one band and switched to the other and got lucky.



*I did MOON BOUNCE and it is extremely cool to do. Moon bounce simple means that you get in the HAM magazines the date and time that the moon will reflect signals DIRECTLY BACK to the HAM. You are also give the frequency to best do it on. At the time scheduled, I held a 2 meter handheld (don't say walky talky - other hams will know you are an new ham say handheld instead.

So I was standing in the field across from my home, somewhere around 146.something mhz and for a minute before and after I tried calling my callsign into the small transciever and about 40 seconds into trying, I heard FROM THE MOON me saying "The is John Clayton, N2CIW, Lakehurst, NJ and in around 5 seconds time, I heard myself repeated perfectly from the moon.

In 1987 I ran a HAM radio Certificate event from the crashsite of the Hindenburg, with permission from the then captain I announced it two months previous in the magazines and around 2400 BEAUTIFUL certificates (ready for framing) showing a quality drawing of the Hindenburge, all the contact info and MOST SPECIAL a soil sample from the actual crashsite itself. The sand there at the time SURELY was not the same sand, but it was lying for years at the site. Today, it is tarmacked over forever more. Everyone sent me a dollar, for postage and gluing the sand to the certificates, it was labor intensive, that was a lot of certificates and I never ran out of people, I ran out of time!

That all I can think of now, HOPE you enjoyed my HAM RADIO flashback in time.

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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2010, 01:41:09 PM »

Just posting so this reply doesn't cycle off the first page in the coffeehouse, in case anyone missed my reply above this one, hope it is interesting and helpful Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2010, 07:43:09 PM »

Very interesting. cheer
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2010, 11:11:31 PM »

I am now studying 3 manuals for the Ham License.  1 each for each class: Technician, General, and Extra.  When I went back to my class and reported my initial practice test scores, plus they found out I have an ATA in Electronics (hardware not software) that I haven't used in 30 years, they kind of peer pressured me into writing for all three licenses in one setting.

But the more I read the manuals the more the Tech training comes back.  EME (Moon bounce) sounds interesting, but I think I'm probably going to be more into packet coding via computer much of the time.  I have Minear's disease and the tinnitis levels get really bad after listing to CW for a few minutes.  My ears start ringing so bad I can't distinguish between dahs and dits, this has always been my reason for not going for the license before, now that code is no longer a requirement for any level of license I'm going for it.

I had a neighbor, back in 1960 try to get me into ham radio and that's when I 1st encountered the tinnitis problem while trying to learn code.  I couldn't listen to it long enough to learn or recieve more than 5 characters.  Learning code is an audio input necessity and if you can't hear well you can't learn it, regardless of how much you memorize how many dits and dahs make up each character.
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« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2010, 12:31:19 PM »

Congratulations Brian!

  Get your general then you can join me on HF digital.... loads of fun! PSK & Feld-Hell are fun digital modes...

...DOUG
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2010, 06:30:43 PM »

Brian,

     The problem I had was learning at X-speed then increasing to the next level...I would have to learn all over again. It was very frustrating. Once you learn all the dots and dashes and their spacings you need to learn the code into words. It was months before it clicked into my head to hear cw as musical notes or a song. If you try to count the dots and dashes..you are using one side of your brain and then have to convert into letters on the other half. Once the music started it was a snap.....it's like increasing the speed of a song that you know...you recognize it at a higher speed. That's when the fun begins....it is most helpful if you know someone on the waves that has a good hand and I was lucky enough to find an eloquent old gentlemen that made wonderful music with his key. I have a copy of an older program called the "Mill" that was a great help and it has a story about the RO on the Titanic with all messages about that tragedy.

I have an antenna handbook by Capt. Paul H. Lee, USN N6PL, about Vertical Antennas that I will send to you if needed. Keep at it.....you will be pleased.

John N1XEN Radio Electronics Officer-Merchant Marines
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2010, 07:03:17 PM »

You need to remember too that code has"like" castes, such as: a,w,j,1 and e,i,s,h,5 and t,m,o,0 are all linked by their like sounds:
 a .-
w .--
j .---
1 .---- and its opposite:
6 -....
b -...
d -..
n -.

Code came so simple to me. The first thing you need to understand BEFORE you start really learning code. As you learn to recognize letters, numbers or punctuation, is that if I go "-.-" and you say ?That is a K" then you are already at 5 words a minute.

But as you get faster, you don't hear letters, you HEAR (literally in your head) words and as you get faster, sentences pop into your head. The dots and dashes (or as we call Dits and dahs) you will only hear individual letter as you begin, soon it turns into words you hear, actual words not "C.O.U.C.H" but couch and you won't hear any code at all, words and sentences just as you hear words when you read from a book.

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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2010, 09:59:55 PM »

 Grats Brian,
 I just got my tech in October and love it so far.
Plan on studying for my extra when things settle down a bit at the new house.
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2010, 11:06:09 PM »

With the Tinnitus I can't enjoy music either, at least not the lyrics.  I can basically understand the insturmentation but, can't distinguish indviual insturments and the vocal is incomprehensible to me.  I cannot learn a song from listening to it, I have to have the lyrics in front of me.  This carries over into learning CW, which is why I find it impossible to learn.
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« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2010, 01:56:00 AM »

Hey cool Brian!!!  I love ham radio!  I got my technician license in 1997 as a senior highschool project as KC7WNY.  I've since upgraded to general and got a neat vanity call W7SPK (spk being my innitals Sean Patrick Kelly).  Had a VHF rig in the car, HF in the house, and a quad band handheld in my semi.  But due to little babies coming into my life, I sold all of it on eBay.  Plus my wife hated the 110 foot dipole and ladder line going across our property like a weird powerline.  The birds liked it though.

73's de W7SPK
Sean Kelly
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« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2010, 08:03:07 AM »

Sean:

Are they recycling callsigns now? yours would (as I know you know) have been a first generation General Class Call at one time (likely 40 to 50 plus years ago) ?

I like it btw, your old call was a little tricky on the tongue - I mouth out most code, occasionally tooting it on my Alto Recorder Flute. I don't know if I mentioned some of my favorite CW words:

CRANKY   -.-.  .-.  .-  -.  -.-  -.--
TENNESSEE  -  . -.  -.  . ...  ...  .  .

My first call was a CW nightmare when the bands were bad, KA2HHS  -.-  .-  ..---  ....  ....  ...  no one (even with a good ear and me with variable paddles had fun with that one, that is why I couldn't wait for N2CIW  -.  ..---  -.-.  ..  .--  which rolls so easier.

for anyone typing the code as I did with dots and dashes, the rule is 2 spaces between letters, or it all looks like on character.

I will say, I am not knowledged on the new technologies, the digital, repeater multi-banding and others. But I am very glad that ham has kept up with the times. Remember, the WW2 generation were the kings of HAM and they are nearly all gone, minus the kids they left home to carry on. Sadly, soon we will have no soldier alive with memories of Occupied Europe or the war in the Pacific, time rolls on but I don't think ANY GENERATION has better historical fotage explaining why they are/were the greatest generation!

Oh... it was mentioned the musical flow of code, indeed. Nothing says it better than a simple letter "c"  -.-. where it isn't dot dash dot dash, but more of a TR sound dah  didahdit where you take the first dash, slightly draw it out and finish with a regualar R, but linking them, you form the perfect C.

And the drawing out of "punctuation" - of which my favorite two ( an aid in remembering for those learning) the dollar sign is -..-. but done like the song "you're in the money  "dah dit   ditdahdit" and the question mark being   .. -- ..  should sound as if a question to a father  Diddit dahdah diddit  as in "did it dada did it" which sounds like a question and is the question mark.

Code is wonderful to those who take the time to learn it, it punches through all kinds of interference and crowded frequencies. With software, you can simply type on a keyboard and send it over the radio and recieve it the same way, but if you do that - take the time to listen to the melodic rhythm, it is something beautiful.

Remember Sean, there is a question at the top Smiley

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« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2010, 03:06:39 PM »

John,
I don't think they're recycling calls but if one expired more than 10 years ago you can use it as a vanity.  Mine once belonged to someone who's expired back in the 1950's.  Don't know much about the person besides a few QSL records that I found online.

I also love CW but am pretty rusty.  It's definately musical and can not be looked at as visual dots and dashes.  I didn't realize how easy my call was when I picked it out, but I love it in CW.  It's a little weird vocally though.  When calling CQ over and over, I start to slur my words and the SP start to run together.  People have also complained that they think I say B instead of P when conditions aren't good.

I love ham radio, it's a blast.  I've met some really neat people across the world on 20 meters voice (my fav).  Someday I'll buy another radio when I can afford one.  I kept my sweet power supply, dipole, straight key, Heil Proset Plus mic/headset, and ladder line.  So all I will need will be a radio and antenna tuner when I'm ready.  Someday.   Cry

Brian, you'll love it!  Welcome to the brotherhood of Amateur Radio!  Be sure to join the ARRL when you get a chance, I love their magazine!  I'm also trying to get my extra license, but its a little too technical for my blood.  lol.  I had a REALLY hard time with the General class and failed it twice before I actually passed it the third time over a period of 10 years.  lol.  But I'll keep trying on that Extra ticket.  Would love the extra space on 80 meters!  Seems 75/80 meters is always busy in the extra class areas at night and I've never been able to participate.


Best of luck and keep us posted!!!

Sean Kelly
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« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2010, 11:57:37 AM »

I've got the same call I was issued with, even thought I upgraded (hopefully Extra this summer when I have time to study). Mainly operate APRS, PSK & FeldHell on 30m & 17m. A gent in the UK just wrote a PSK63 APRS app that we are playing around with on 30m, 10.1467.

...DOUG
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2010, 09:44:28 PM »

30 meters? thats straight Cw, which I plan to steer clear of until the miracle happens and I suddenly find I can learn code.

I', toying with the idea of seeing if I can get a vanity call sigh once I get my license.  Currentky they just issue the the next available call sign but sith a lot of the old timers having passed by the way side a lot of the old 1=1=2/3 call signs are available as vanity calls.  Some people have gotten their fathers or grandfathers call sign as a vanity sign for nostalgia's sake.

Next class is tomorrow night, the test is still scheduled for Mar 10, so I'll know then whether I have to settle for Tech or achieve general.  I started to study for Extra but decided that there was too much technical electronics on it, I need to bone up after 30 years out of the loop.  So I set the Extra test aside to concentrate for Tech and General.

When I sign off here I'm going over to www.qrz.com and take some practice test and maybe cruise the yard sale section for som cheap used equipment.

73 y-all
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« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2010, 04:44:48 AM »

brian:

30 meters is digital, CW, PSK, packet etc. Lot of fun on that band.

...DOUG
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« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2010, 02:00:03 PM »

brian:

30 meters is digital, CW, PSK, packet etc. Lot of fun on that band.

...DOUG
KD4MOJ

All those transmission types are continuous wave (CW), whether it is done manually (morse code), packet (PSK), RTTY (teletype), or Computer encription (digital) it is still a continuous wave transmission.  At least that's what I was taught 30 years ago in Electronics class. 
Continuous wave is either on or off, which is the basis for morse code, on you get a dit or a dah, off is no emission.  In other forms of continuous wave the data takes the form of the degree of amplitude of either off or on.

BTW, I scored in the mid 90's on my practice tests for the Technician exam and in the mid 80's for the General.  I hope that means that when it comes cruch time for taking the actual tests that I'll pass both. 

As for the Extra license I need to bone up on some of the Theory a little better before I take that exam.  It's a lot easier to pass a test if you understand the context of the questions being asked rather than attempting to memorize the answers to a data bank consisting of hundreds of questions.  Of Course some memorization is inevitable as you aren't allowed to have graph of Frequencies and band allotments in hand during the test.
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« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2010, 11:48:04 PM »

Well, I passed both the Tech and General tests so I have my CSCE tucked away awaiting my actual license and call sign.
Just for fun I googled my name in the QRZ.com FFC list data base and found 2 other Brian Brays, A Brian E. and a Brian J. and since I know of 2 others: Brian F and Brian S, that makes 5 of us.  One was in Jersey, I wonder how far he is from the Beemaster?  Also makes me wonder how may other Brian Brays there are.

I'll post my call sign when I get it.

BTW, just for nastalgia sake I want to try and compile my rat shack with old Heath Kit Ham equipment.  I already have some, I've located my code oscillator and my Osciliscope, and have a few other kits somewhere in all the boxes in the barn.  Found a couple of old home made power supplies that I designed and built myself about 30 years ago, but they still work so I'll add those to the odds and ends for my ham shack.  I also have all the old text books from college but they are a bit out of date as I obtained them prior to the advent of the 286 computer chip that revolutionized the computer industry and really made PC's possible.  The old TTL and Cmos was a little bit on the awkward side when trying to design a "small" computer IC board.
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« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2010, 11:02:14 PM »

Finally, my call sign was finally listed on QRZ.com today:  KF7IMY  Now all I need is a radio.

I have ordered a Yaseu Quad band portable to get me started, but it ain't here yet.

Still leaning towards building my ham shack with old HeathKit equipment, which will take some time to obtain.  In the mean time I'm in need a some base equipment.  Dual Base/mobile will work too.  If you know of anyone who has, or you have, some unused gear laying around let me know via PM with particulars.
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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2010, 02:08:08 AM »

Ham radio, like bees will be a lifelong hobby.  My old hw101 is still able to make contacts and I actually made a 10 meter contact from Florida to Japan with a mag mount cb antenna stuck on my outside air conditioner !
73 !
Mike
KD4EMI.
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« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2010, 07:30:50 AM »

Congrads on the call Brian.


...DOUG
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« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2010, 03:39:58 PM »

Great job Brian - my only issue with QRZ is they list your name and address and have portals to other information including license plates, SS#s and more. I don't have person knowledge beyond the address listing, but have heard Hams for years complain about the cross-referencing of other info. Where else do you have your name and address publically placed as at Qr Zed?

I think we may need to try a Beemaster's Ham Gathering someday, we have enough members.
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« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2010, 08:28:08 AM »

True John... but you have to know the callsign or name to be able to look it up. Pretty much a ham would be looking that stuff up, then again, you can go to the FCC site and get the same info.

Then again... folks can look me up via the county property database search and look up my home info and taxes paid.

  I'm afraid these days we can't get away from our info on the net. Oh yeah... you can also see where I am at a given moment! Me and my Suburban...

  Hows that for providing too much information??  grin

...DOUG
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« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2010, 02:34:12 AM »

I've been bidding on some shack rigs on ebay but I keep getting out bid.  I have work to do and can't set at the computer for 2 or 3 days, or even the last few hours of an auction, and keeping my bid going.

I did buy a Yaesu 2m/440 handheld with external (mobile) antenna and clip mic/speaker so I can clip it to my collar and comply with out new hands free while driving law that goes into affect June 1.  Now all I have to do is find another ham to help me program in the local repeaters and tones and I'm all set.  I recieved it today and have it charging. I also bought the emergency alkaline battery pack cause you just never know.

I hope to be on the air soon.
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« Reply #29 on: March 27, 2010, 12:05:58 AM »

Hello Brian:

     I recently bought what I thought was a  CB scanner at a garage sale for a buck, and when I got it home and started researching it found it was a "ham radio" scanner.  A nice looking Uniden Bearcat BC 560xlt missing book,brackets and everything else except for the 110/12V adapter. 

     Forget about the buck I paid for it, if you want it and reimburse the shipping cost from 4733, I will send it to you.

     Have no way of knowing if it works, but it lights up and will static a little on some settings.

ayyon 2157
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« Reply #30 on: March 27, 2010, 01:34:51 AM »

Hello Brian:

     I recently bought what I thought was a  CB scanner at a garage sale for a buck, and when I got it home and started researching it found it was a "ham radio" scanner.  a nice looking Uniden Bearcat BC 560xlt missing book,brackets and everything else except for the 110/12V adapter.  

     Forget about the buck I paid for it, if you want it and reimburse the shipping cost from 4733, I will send it to you.

     Have no way of knowing if it works, but it lights up and will static a little on some settings.

ayyon 2157

Consider it sold, but what confuses me is the 4 digit zip code.  I'll mail you a check for the shipping.


I spent another hour bidding on Heathkit ham gear on Ebay.  I would like to set up my entire ham shack with Heathkit euipment.
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