Member Since: April 7, 2011

Country: United States

  • Question: Does this unit come with the internal shield or no?

  • "Getting an ARRL license"? Surely we expect better of Sparkfun. http://www.arrl.org/getting-licensed

    The link provided is to the ARRL, for getting an FCC Amateur radio license! "Getting an FCC Amateur Radio Licence" would be a better link title.

    Getting an Amateur Radio License or "Ham License" is easy. 35 questions, 75% correct to pass.

    Sites like https://hamexam.org/ will help you with practice questions taken from the actual exam.

    To use all the capability of this radio you'll need an Extra class license, but even that is not so hard.

    The ham community welcomes newcomers, but we do expect them to follow the rules and not be a "Lid". (Google it. :)

    While it is legal to buy this or most any other transmitter without a license, as others have stated using it illegally will cause interference to others, and can have legal consequences.

  • Depending on the test administrators, you may or may not be able to take all three in a given session.

    According to the FCC, you can take a test, fail, and immediately retest as much as you like, and you can take any and all tests in one session, but your local VEC examiners may not allow it due to time or other issues.

  • As this gets more ugly, expect to see in addition to the dollars lost, delays in customs, 'reinspections', and in general slow walking anything that can be stretched out.

  • :) When I originally was licensed, I had to get the 5WPM code, and wait for my Novice license to come in snail mail. The day it arrived, I went to one of the MANY weekend exam sessions in LA and upgraded to Tech. I stayed at Tech for a long time, but the day they dropped the code, I went in and took my General, Advanced, and Extra exams. Walked in a tech, walked out as an extra. But I have kept my novice call, as it took me a long time to get it, and I figured I'd just keep it.

  • Indeed. It's an entrance exam, not a final. :) You're allowed to pass at 70% correct. We want you IN the hobby!

  • I've never heard that term in 30 years on the air, and I've spent significant time in Canada.

  • KC6ETE here! The hardest question I ever get asked about this hobby is "what is ham radio?". :)

    There are so many things going on! It's not just a bunch of old guys yacking at each other endlessly on HF, but if that's what you're into, it's certainly there.

    Morse code might be what the general public most associates with Ham Radio, and it's still very much a thing, it's just no longer required for getting your license. Opinions vary on that, but I personally think the removal of this requirement has been a big plus.

    I got my license so that I could experiment with VHF and UHF radio. Since then, I've been an active member of The Seismic Precursor Network in LA, fire and emergency service in Dutch Flat CA, where I also got my start in packet radio (digital comms over VHF and HF radio). Later I ran the Skywarn program in Delaware county indiana, using APRS and Slow Scan TV to greatly enhance our ability to manage spotter resources in the field and to assist the National Weather Service and we saved lives.

    My Father held several different callsigns, but K1FZY was his original call when he co-founded the Maritime Mobile Net which is still in operation today: http://www.mmsn.org/album/sk/k1fzy.html

    Hams in the Boulder Colorado area are doing amazing things.

    Just a few things that pop into my head that people might find interesting: Direction finding and foxhunting Moonbounce, Weak signal work in general, and if you think we can't compete with the big boys: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/28/radio_hams_curiosity_signals/

    Slow Scan TV allows you to send pictures over a voice channel (think color FAX) Fast Scan TV uses NTSC video like broadcast TV used to be. And we've gone digital as well. https://www.tvtechnology.com/broadcast-engineering/ham-tv-operators-go-high-definition

    When I'm out hiking I take my radio with me: https://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=111&encProdID=03484E782FF9B7DFA27AEE086A68F530 Cell signals frequently don't make it up into the backcountry, but I can ALWAYS get out with my radio. We even have dedicated satellites and if you're into that, you can actually help build them! (amsat)

    We aren't allowed to broadcast or play music, or to send "adult content" or encrypted data (unless we publish the key) or to send messages in exchange for compensation.


    My experience with Ham Radio has served me well professionally, in the development of products involving radio. Antenna design at 2.4 and 5 GHz is very hot right now, and I've done a lot of that for various companies. Right now, I'm designing radios near the ham 630 meter band.

    A recent acquaintance: http://async.org.uk/Hans-Schantz.html Hans is doing some very interesting things at a very deep level.

    I'll leave you with what may be the most interesting unsolved mystery in ham radio: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/ezpg8p/radio-ghosts-have-haunted-the-airwaves-for-nearly-a-century

  • Create a capacitor with copper on the inner layers, interdigitated fingers. Use an I/O pin to charge this capacitor through a resistor, sensing the cap charge with another I/O pin. When you hit a high, then discharge till you get a low. Repeat. Count the cycles over a given amount of time, and you get a number. Done right, this will sense a single drop of water on a 4 inch square sensing area, and you can watch the drop evaporate. Moist vs dry soil has a different dielectric constant, so the value of your capacitor changes as the moisture changes. I implemented this on an AVR very easily.

  • It's not hard to do a moisture sensor using a four layer board, with the sensor copper on layers 2 and 3, such that the sensor never actually contacts the dirt, which eliminates the corrosion issues.

No public wish lists :(