Ted’s essays

welcome New Hams

The After Action Report from the Volunteer Examiner session of May 25, 2019 in Hamilton Montana:
“We had a big test session last Saturday. Looks like our team proctored 19 candidates.

The final tally:
8 new Techs
7 new Generals
1 new Extra

The last Technician license issued Thursday for Region 7: KJ7GXA
With average issues running around 10/day, the graduates’ licenses will be sequentially KJ7GX[B-Z] , or KJ7GY[A-Z].

Poring over yesterday’s list I found two ISSUED General class licenses. The information I passed on about those coming from a different call sign pool was apparently incorrect.

I was also misinformed about available dates on vanity call signs. One I had my eye on that was expected to be available June 12th was issued yesterday … a second ding in my faith with some of the precision-looking information from the sites below. Nevertheless, these are the best regarding licensing information that I have found.



antennas and cables

I do not recommend you begin connecting your radio to a remote antenna by building your own antenna OR cable. It is not as simple as it looks. Your first remote antenna and cable should be purchased from a reputable engineering firm.

Here are three choices:
Ham Radio Outlet
DX Engineering cables
DX Engineering vhf uhf antennas

Doing it like that will get you a good solid start where setting up and operating your radio gear are the primary variables. A $25 mag-mount like the one to the right just needs a metal surface to stick and ground to. You can always find a use for it regardless of where you go with amateur radio.

IF you decide to immerse yourself into antenna and/or cable building you will have a pro-built setup for comparison and example.

There are nearly unlimited resources in print and on the Internet. DuckDuckGo search for whatever you want – books, videos, components, instructions …

You may even find some of what you seek right here at this website.

We decided to get TYT MD-390 dual-band radios as our first. It has the 2-meter ham band we will be licensed for as well as the GMRS and FRS walkie-talkie bands our unlicensed friends and neighbors might use. One of these will be a good companion regardless of how many radios we get or where we go with radio as a tool or hobby.

other ham resources

ARRL – Amateur Radio Relay League
The name comes from early days when amateurs would relay information between European war zones and family at home regarding health and welfare of individuals. This organization has grown with, and been a major factor in the success of amateur radio.

With severe and increasing competition for the airwaves, we need ARRL in Washington DC defending the little bits of RF turf we do have to work with. $45 per year is a modest contribution most of us can and should make.

All of our local graduates worked from one of their many publications, the Technician Manual. Online and off, ARRL is a great resource for us.

BARC – Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club
Locally we have a club similar to many other special purpose organizations that brings together licensed ham operators along with many interested in earning their licenses. From that common point we explore and share most aspects of amateur radio. This is THE PLACE to find fellow travelers in most aspects of ham radio.

Meetings are the 3rd Monday of every month at BJ’s Hamilton restaurant. No-host dinner and unscripted conversations are from 1800 – 1900 hrs (6:00 PM to 7:00 PM) when the formal meeting starts. BARC website: http://www.w7ftx.org/

BEARS – Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Services
Is mostly a subset of BARC that focuses on emergency comms planning, training and implementation for Ravalli County. While primarily hams, BEARS also uses commercial, GMRS, and FRS radios when those alternatives make sense. Everyone willing to WORK on emergency comms are welcome to join us. Meetings are the 1st Monday of every month at BJ’s Hamilton restaurant. No-host dinner and unscripted conversations begin at 1800 hrs (6:00 PM) and typically slide into formal presentations, discussions or not, as needed.

At TedDunlap.net on the left column under
reference pages is a series of
Amateur Radio resources I maintain for you. I urge consideration all, but do want to encourage you specifically to look at the
NETS – Bitterroot and beyond.

Listen. Learn the frequencies and culture. Join in. Newcomers are welcome everywhere. Note that every one of those net control stations always call for visitors / guests at the end of their roll calls. Wait until then – until invited to call in. You may have to try more than once as you may not be the only station trying to check in there. Keep trying.

In my radio shack, “Wednesday is Net Night”. Those are the local and regional nets I make an effort to join regularly.

There is no better way to test your gear, learn protocols and make connections that could be priceless in an emergency than through regular use whether that is daily, weekly, local, or regional.