What I wish I’d known when I received my technician’s license

The temptation to buy loads of expensive gear is pretty strong when you get your Tech ticket. Here’s what I would have done differently.

Find a local club, pay the dues, and join it.

Go to the meetings, and ask the old guys (and young) questions, like “what sort of radio do I need/what are the repeaters in the area/what nets are active, etc. Most of them are more than happy to line you out with lots of useful info.

Get a dual band handheld radio, and program every repeater and simplex frequency your area of operation into it.

In my area, there are several repeater and simplex frequencies. Put all your local frequencies into your new radio. This gives you practice doing it (if you don’t know how to USE your radio, it’s an novelty  item) and familiarizes you with the menus in the radio. There are literally dozens of YouTube videos for programming my Yaesu FT-60R. The radio you choose will likely have lots of videos for programming it-keep that in mind when buying a radio.  It also makes you able to access the frequencies the club members are using. That way you get to practice talking to the folks in your area as well.

Buy a dual band (2m/70cm) radio FIRST.

If you have a tech license, you’ll get on the air immediately, whereas on HF, you’re limited to some of 6m and 10m, and some CW on 15m, 40m, and 80m bands. Having a dual band hand held will get you on the air, right now.

Buy a GOOD QUALITY dual band radio.

Don’t buy cheap, even if a club member encourages you to. I have a bit of experience with the Bao Feng line, and I’d encourage you to avoid them. Instead, budget $150- $200 for a name brand radio (Yaesu, Icom, Kenwood) from a local dealer, if you have one. You’ll be glad you did. Don’t listen to the naysayers tell you the “if you drop it in the water, it’s ruined” stories. You’re perfectly able to keep a nice piece of equipment from being ruined, and quality equipment is always better. If all you can afford is a $30 radio, save your money and wait till you can afford a good one. Once again, you’ll be glad you did.

DON’T rush out and buy an HF radio

In addition to the radio, you’ll need a tuner, antenna, coax cable or ladder line, and space to install it. All these items take money, planning, and space to put them in. HF radio can be an interesting part of the hobby, and can also be frustrating to do well. Remember those old guys I spoke about? Most of them are more than happy to let you come over while they operate their equipment-and I prefer to learn by doing. Ask them questions, listen and write down their answers.

When you’re ready to upgrade your license, use the online test websites to help you.

Some are free, some a charge a small fee. I used hamtestonline.com for my general test: I studied for ten days, and passed. It was $30, fast, and pretty easy. I’m not affiliated with them, just a satisfied customer. But there are plenty more, and some are free. Let your fingers do the (internet) walking.

These suggestions won’t guarantee that you won’t be frustrated, but they just might help.

As they say in ham radio,



A nice, old piece of gear lands at the Wyowanderer compound

It’s a Hickock 600 tube tester. It was received from a fellow ham who had more than one, and took pity on me.

Hickock 600 tube tester

Little better view of the control panel:

Hickok 600 tube tester

It’s in pretty good condition, and while it’s not the most accurate tester ever made, it’ll help me to identify good tubes from bad ones, and that’s most of what I’m looking for.

Now to do my fellow ham a good turn or two.


Great post from Outlander Systems

That said, just remember, by showing up to the polls in November, and yanking the crank that says, “Donald J. Trump,” you, and millions like you, will have effectively sent the biggest, meanest, most hateful bird-finger in the direction of the Deep(Dark) State possible; you’ll have utterly embarrassed them. You will have, if nothing else, given the most thorough, “FUCK YOU,” of your life to the disgusting scum that have floated to the top, while simultaneously illustrating that the biggest propaganda machine this side of Goebbels was utterly incapable of stopping you.

Read the rest here. Caution, hurty words ahead…

BTW- if you’re not following his blog, you’re missing out.

Don’t ever talk to law enforcement

First, watch this:

Then this:

And remember-officer friendly will use every word you speak against you, if he can.

When he asks you a question, it’s best to respond: “can the information you seek be used against me in a court of law to incriminate me?”

He has to tell you yes or no, and the answer is nearly always yes.

Don’t talk, and get an attorney.

It’s pretty bad, but not all bad

From the Rutherford Institute:

The final countdown has begun to the 2016 presidential election, and you can expect to be treated to an earful of carefully crafted sound bites and political spin.

Despite the dire state of our nation, however, you can rest assured that none of the problems that continue to undermine our freedoms will be addressed in any credible, helpful way by any of the so-called viable presidential candidates. Certainly not if doing so might jeopardize their standing with the unions, corporations or the moneyed elite bankrolling their campaigns.

It’s well worth the read, here.

h/t Mojave Desert Patriot

Kit Perez hits it out of the park

I don’t know about you; I cannot speak for you. But this is what I know:

  1. I do not need or want a king—“liberty minded” or otherwise, and I will not be part of a group of people that wants one.
  2. I do not need a leader to tell me how to live according to principles and self-discipline.
  3. I will not be party to violations of those principles, whether on a macro or micro basis; I will not affiliate with those who violate them.
  4. I will make a difference in my own neighborhood, my own community. I do not need a label or group affiliation to do so.
  5. I will continue to think for myself, to collect facts and make decisions based on those facts instead of my emotions

Read the rest here.

Within the post linked above, you’ll find links to Sparks31’s comments. It would pay to read them all.

h/t to Western Rifle Shooters. If his blog isn’t on your daily read list, you’re missing out.