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Old 07-07-2007, 09:40 AM   #1
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John T mentioned some of the benefits of amateur (ham) radio in a recent post.

http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/index.php...post&p=9264

John T mentioned Winlink.

Visit My Website

I am a complete newbie to cruising, and I was amazed to discover the sophistication of the radio communication options available.

"Winlink 2000 ... provides a full-featured radio digital message transfer system, worldwide.
  • Email transfer with attachments,
  • position reporting,
  • graphic or text-based weather bulletins, and
  • emergency communications
are now available separately to the Amateur radio ... communities by linking radio to the Internet."

Winlink 2000 is available to any properly licensed Amateur radio or MARS operator.

(See American Radio Relay League in the USA or equivalent in other countries)

One of the things that blew my mind was a global google map showing the last reported position of every user (eg yachts) with the latest message about what they were doing, course, weather, that all was well, etc.

http://www.winlink.org/positions/PosReports.aspx

Isn't it fantastic that people (who I presume are volunteers) put these ingenious things together?

Can anyone provide feedback about:
  • how hard it is to get an amateur radio operators licence? (eg cost, hours of study, exploding brain cells)
  • whether many cruising yachts use it?
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:36 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duckie View Post
Isn't it fantastic that people (who I presume are volunteers) put these ingenious things together?

Can anyone provide feedback about:
  • how hard it is to get an amateur radio operators licence? (eg cost, hours of study, exploding brain cells)
  • whether many cruising yachts use it?
Duckie,

MARS - Military Affiliated Radio Stations, are all volunteer, mostly civilian or off duty military, ametuer radio (HAM) operators. They provide the radio connection, (patch) between two land line conventional telephones, allowing service members to call home for free or at a reduced expense.

How do you get your amatuer license? http://www.arrl.org/

Click on Learning About Amatuer License near the top left, or Getting Started on the top right, under Quick Links.

Cost? Depends how you go about it. Maybe around $150. for membership, an online course, books, and the exam fee. If you get serious about it, likely you will be buying additional books on radio related topics.

Hours of study? Depends what you already know about math, radio, electricity, and electronics. It is possible to get it done in a few weeks if you are dedicated to it.

The test pool questions, with answers, as I recall are about 450 questions, of which your exam will have 35 questions from the pool.

Many cruising yachts, are licensed Ham Operators, well many others are not.

Cheers,

Jeff
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Old 07-07-2007, 12:42 PM   #3
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Hi Duckie,

Further to Jeff's advice, the people in this part of the world who deal in the licensing of HAM are here http://www.wia.org.au/ . Sadly, I think satellite phones are having an impact on the numbers of HAM operators out there these days. I think, in an effort to modernise and to claw back some of the market, HAM has dropped the requirement for morse code.

The best bit about HAM is that the 'air' is free.

I don't have a HAM license.

David
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Old 07-07-2007, 05:11 PM   #4
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Duckie,

Here is the link for the online courses:

http://www.arrl.org/cce/

On the right pannel, near the top, you can take a sample lesson, for free.

The begining course is the link on the right:

Licensing

Ham Radio License Course (EC-010)

http://www.arrl.org/cce/Tech.html

Quote:
The course prepares students to earn their first Amateur (or "ham") Radio license. There are no prerequisites. This course has 7 learning units, and takes 20 to 25 hours to complete over an 8-week period. Students learn all the information required to pass their ham radio license examination ("Technician" class license). ......more
$69.00 book included.

Earlier I stated about $150. USD. I had forgotten what I had exactly paid. I ordered several books, and pre-paid my AARL membership for two years, which includes their magazine QST.

You can also go to the website that David provided, and click on the link ear the top center (the box with the young man talking on a handheld) which takes you to here:

http://www.wia.org.au/foundation/foundatio...ormation-v1.pdf

David is correct, passing the Morse Code Key Test is no longer a requirement, for your Technician Class License.
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:32 PM   #5
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Actually I believe Morse code is no longer a requirement for ANY HAM license. I think the requirement was completely dropped as of Feb this year.
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:45 PM   #6
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Charlie,

You are correct; I stand corrected. The Morse Code requirement has been dropped for all Amateur Radio Licenese Classes.

Rules are going to change in Feb 2007:

http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2006/12/15/104/?nc=1

Todays requirements:

http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/license-requirements.html

Jeff

EDITED: Correct the Facts - Provide References
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