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Happy New Year!

posted Dec 31, 2010, 4:42 PM by Charles Boling   [ updated Dec 31, 2010, 4:55 PM ]
I received the following today from the CARS mailing list (c-a-r-s@yahoogroups.com) and thought it worth sharing here.

As you start out the New Year I also would like to challenge you to see what you can do to build your Amateur Radio Skills and make yourself a more versatile Emergency Communication Specialist.

Here are a few ideas you may consider(not in any special order):
  1. Upgrade your License-- Now is the perfect time for Technicians and Generals to upgrade their licenses. The new General Question Pool goes into effect July 1st, 2011. I glanced at the upcoming General Question Pool today, and think it may be to your advantage to upgrade to General before the current set expires. You can find sample General and Extra Tests at www.QRZ.com/xtest2.html and www.HamExam.org . Going from Technician to General will greatly increase your HF Privileges. Going from General to Extra will either teach you a lot of important RF & Electrical Theory or it will make your Head Explode. Going from General to Extra isn't so much about added privileges; it's about really learning the How and the Why part of the Hobby.
  2. Upgrade your Equipment-- If you just have a HT, maybe it's time to get a Dual Band Mobile Radio with an antenna and power supply to use as your Home Base Station. If you have a good VHF/UHF Home Base Station, maybe it's time to get a HF radio and antenna. A nice antenna and Mobile VHF/UHF Radio will greatly increase the distance that you can communicate locally. Getting on HF will open the World to you. 
  3. Build a Copper J-Pole Antenna(collapsible or soldered). You will be impressed by this antenna. It's fun to build too.
  4. Add Backup Power to your system. 
  5. Review your Ward and Stake EmComm Plans. Are they simple and clear? Do you know what your job is and what frequencies to use? Questions--- Talk to your Stake ECS.
  6. Start a Stake or Ward Net. This gives you a chance to see what kind of coverage you have with other radio operators. It may reveal a weakness in your setup. Is a better antenna needed or more power? A Net is a great way to build your radio skills and test your equipment. Heck, while you are at it, why not check in to the the CARS Sunday Evening Net each Sunday night at 9pm on the 146.700 Repeater(PL 100Hz, - Offset). The Wednesday night YL Net on the same repeater is a great way to get started on Nets. It's a very small Net.
  7. Invite, Coerce, Dare, or Beg a Family member to get their Technician Class License. Do it like I did-- I asked my wife if she wanted to take a trip overnight to the Coast? Of course she said Yes. I then said that all she had to do for it was to attend a Technician Exam Prep class at the Clatsop Community College that Dave & Roxann Holwege were putting on in Seaside. Naively, she agreed. We got there for class Friday night at 6pm and had class until 9pm or so. Then Saturday we went to class all morning and she took the Technician Exam Saturday afternoon. If I remember right, she was done with everything by 3:30 or so. That left enough time for a quick drive down the Beach and Dinner before we had to return home. Definitely a Win/Win. I got a spouse with her Technician License and She got 20 minutes on the beach and a dinner! What a Weekend at the Beach!(Note- While this worked ok with my very understanding Spouse, your results may vary).
  8. Try some Digital Modes. If you are just starting at it I'd recommend that you get a Tigertronics Signal Link USB. This is a USB connected Sound Card to interface your radio and computer together. It's right about $100. It's easier than trying to build your own Sound Card Interface and it's cheaper than a TNC. This and some free software will get you up and operating on your choice of the dozens of various Digital Modes out there. When you get the Signal Link you'll need to know which radio you intend to hook it up to, so you can order the right cables.
  9. Be an Elmer for a new Ham. Use your knowledge to help a new Ham get his/her station up and running. If you have extra cables, antennas, or other things just laying around-- share them. You'll make new friends and build up your Ward/Stake EmComm capabilities. Be an Ambassador of Amateur Radio to new Hams and Prospective Hams. If they have an Elmer to ask questions of, it makes things a lot easier. Some of you have been an Elmer for me. I appreciate it.
  10. Learn something in Amateur Radio that is new to you. Find something you are interested in and go for it. I'm interested in the High Speed Multi-Media(HSMM) stuff coming out of Texas. They are modifying regular, old WiFi Routers and using them for high speed data links and even beaming Internet access to locations 20 miles away. That is what I'm going to spend some time and effort looking into during 2011. What are you going to do?
These are just some ideas of things you may decide to look into this coming year. Whatever you do, I hope that you will enjoy it. There is nothing wrong with enjoying something while magnifying your calling. Being an ECS for your Ward or Stake puts a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. Learn new things. Make new contacts and friends. And especially have fun. The responsibility will still be there; but you then might just look at it as an opportunity.

Have a great 2011!!!

Amen, Brother! :-)


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