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WHAT DO I DO WITH THIS WIRELESS LICENSE?
Numerous projects are available for the individual just getting introduced to the amateur radio world, as well as those that are looking at different venues. As you will quickly notice, many of these have more to do with activities than just jawing on the airways. Several encourage much broader interaction with other amateurs and with other technology. This list was provided by several hams. I appreciate their assistance and commitment to promoting amateur.
Find a club in your area that shares a common interest. Pete is in the Tulsa area and reports the following groups.
1. Attend a weather spotters school. These are free, interesting, and valuable.
2. How about GeoCaching (Geo-Cashing to some)? Go online to one of the web sites and get the Lat/Long of a site near by. Take a GPS and go find it. Take an item. Leave an item. SIGN THE LOG BOOK. Get back on line and log in that you found it. Use amateur talkies or a pair of FMRS to increase the fun!
3. Take a VHF/UHF talkie and simplex to a repeater site by meter readings. Take a GPS along and give the Lat/Long of the repeater. Is it on a tower/building or ??? What is the color of tower/building? If it is a tower does it have lights?
4. Join a fox hunt. This is tracking a signal to find a hidden transmitter. TRO has fox hunts in the spring and summer!
5. Join a qrp (low power) distance competition (or even 802.11b distance competitions in Las Vegas).
6. Listen to some of the nets. Who was net control and her/his call sign? What was total number of stations that check in? Was any NTS (formal written traffic passed)? Local area nets are *** 147.345 (tone removed during nets)(88.5 normal operation) MHz Sunday 9 PM; 146.910 MHz Monday 8 PM; ***146.880 or 146.940 MHz Tuesday 9 PM (ARES/RACES); 145.110/443.850 MHz Thursday 8 P.M. & ***Friday 9 P.M.
7. Listen to a weather net. Plot on a map the places and direction of the storms. Go on line to the APRS web site and see if the spotter has his position on the screen.
8. Listen for the International Space Station when it goes over. Were they on voice or data? If at night did you see its passage?
9. Help out at some of the events around town or county. These include hamfest, foxhunts, weather monitoring, family outings. Check local club web pages for activities.
10. Use an AM radio and find a cable TV coax leak! Have it verified by another person and then report it to Cox Cable co. Give address where it was found and name of person who verified it.
11. Build an antenna. How does the signal compare between two or more antennas? A J-pole is a simple, effective alternative to a handi-talkie rubber ducky antenna.
12. Create a echolink connection on your computer to access ham radio around the world. One of my students made the following observation.
"After struggling for a while I finally got EchoLink software installed in my computer. It is now up and running perfectly and I am able to talk to other fellows all over the world. So far I have talked to JA0DCQ from Japan and I have joined a conference in Portugal with NIYZM-L, CT1AEU, KB2LHQ, CS3MAD and CU7CRA. Although I didnít have a microphone with me we held these communications by typing the answers at my side but listening to them on my speakers. I really enjoyed the sessions." - Antonio L.
LOCAL AREA NETS
Nets are the proverbial rag chewing, ratchet-jawing, talking networks. Just like people, each of these have different interests. There are several in the local area. Listen in.
If it is an open net, the net controller will invite traffic. If there is a topic that interests you, join the conversation. New licensees are particularly welcome and encouraged to participate. Just let them know that you are new. One other thing, we all like to share the hobby. If you are showing someone ham radio, when you call in identify yourself as a demo. This will move you to the top of the list, since new people can get impatient until they learn the nuances. Nets
This is just a small sampling of activities and ideas. There are many others in your area.