Quantcast

HAM class

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

ColumbiaNX01

Red blooded white American male
Joined
Oct 30, 2009
Messages
1,755
Reaction score
20
Location
Somewhere
I am currently taking a HAM class it started Thursday Jan 12 continued to Jan 19 then finishes tonight Jan 26. The test is Sat Jan 28. I just want to say it is way cool. I thought it was gonna be boring but no its pretty cool. Learning a lot of new things that I never knew. It will allow me to get RF and GPS trackers that require a HAM license. I will be testing to get my technicians license.
 

BEC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
3,451
Reaction score
451
Location
Auburn, WA
Good luck. I took the Technician test so I could use my Altus Metrum teleMini....and now I try some of that other stuff, too. Who knows, maybe I'll even talk on the radio from time to time (so far I haven't).
 

GrouchoDuke

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2016
Messages
1,032
Reaction score
431
Make sure you download & study the question bank too. It's definitely worth learning the material, but don't skip on reading through the questions a couple times.
 

ColumbiaNX01

Red blooded white American male
Joined
Oct 30, 2009
Messages
1,755
Reaction score
20
Location
Somewhere
Make sure you download & study the question bank too. It's definitely worth learning the material, but don't skip on reading through the questions a couple times.
There are some good tests online. I have been taking the tests non stop. I think there are over 400 possible questions. The more practice tests I take the better chance a test question will look familiar.
 

ColumbiaNX01

Red blooded white American male
Joined
Oct 30, 2009
Messages
1,755
Reaction score
20
Location
Somewhere
Good luck. I took the Technician test so I could use my Altus Metrum teleMini....and now I try some of that other stuff, too. Who knows, maybe I'll even talk on the radio from time to time (so far I haven't).

Thats why I want to get it so I can use Altus Metrum products and others.
 

GrouchoDuke

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2016
Messages
1,032
Reaction score
431
There are some good tests online. I have been taking the tests non stop. I think there are over 400 possible questions. The more practice tests I take the better chance a test question will look familiar.
You can download the entire question bank. Just print them out, highlight the correct answers and read through them a few times. Here's the question bank: https://www.arrl.org/tech-question-pool

Learn the material too, of course. ;)
 

Bluegillbronco2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2016
Messages
51
Reaction score
1
Good luck on getting your ticket! I got mine 3 years ago before I got into rocketry. It is definitely a rewarding hobby.
 

warnerr

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
360
Reaction score
44
great going- you wont regret it! before you take the technicians exam be sure to review the general exam a couple of times- i wish i had known you can try for general after passing tech at no extra cost when your testing- almost made it but i had no idea about it and had not studied general at all!
 

ColumbiaNX01

Red blooded white American male
Joined
Oct 30, 2009
Messages
1,755
Reaction score
20
Location
Somewhere
What I have learned is that you can talk to the ISS with just a technicians license. That is so cool. My instructor said there are lots of people talk to the ISS just like rockets are our hobby.
 

Random Flying Object

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2013
Messages
455
Reaction score
10
Good move, I did the same thing. Took my tech exam to use 70cm for GPS. I ended up with a trailer full of tracking, comm equipment and 30' antenna mast. Most of the high altitude folks in our club now have a HAM License. We all help each other track and have also reserved a 2m frequency for voice comms as we all have dual band radios. If your flying a TeleMega the APRS enabled Yaesu or Kenwood will end up being your best friend.
 

ColumbiaNX01

Red blooded white American male
Joined
Oct 30, 2009
Messages
1,755
Reaction score
20
Location
Somewhere
Good move, I did the same thing. Took my tech exam to use 70cm for GPS. I ended up with a trailer full of tracking, comm equipment and 30' antenna mast. Most of the high altitude folks in our club now have a HAM License. We all help each other track and have also reserved a 2m frequency for voice comms as we all have dual band radios. If your flying a TeleMega the APRS enabled Yaesu or Kenwood will end up being your best friend.
I will be using the telemega with the yagi antenna with the blooth tele tooth module
 

Angie

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
2,108
Reaction score
562
Wishing you much success with Ham radio. And my family seems to have better luck when antennas are put up on cold misty days. Just a tip. :)
 

ksaves2

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 25, 2009
Messages
6,049
Reaction score
336
Good. You can dig through the stuff on antennas, matching, attenuators, APRS, RDF and Fox-hunting. The theory there will put you in an excellent position to understand how to track with Rf. Kurt
 

Angie

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
2,108
Reaction score
562
An old piece of equipment that is very good for antenna matching is a Johnson's Kilowatt Matchbox. They made a quarter kilowatt for lower usage, too.
 

ColumbiaNX01

Red blooded white American male
Joined
Oct 30, 2009
Messages
1,755
Reaction score
20
Location
Somewhere
Hey guys I passed my Ham technicians license this morning Jan 28th. Super excited!!!!! Now I can start delving into GPS and RF trackers that require a license!!! Whoop!!!
 

Buckeye

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Sep 6, 2009
Messages
2,624
Reaction score
475
Good. You can dig through the stuff on antennas, matching, attenuators, APRS, RDF and Fox-hunting. The theory there will put you in an excellent position to understand how to track with Rf. Kurt
I must be missing something, because I never got this out of the study guide nor exam questions. I found very little info in the HAM process that was applicable to putting a tracker in a model rocket and then finding it. This forum is a better source of information, frankly. Much of the HAM study guide was around rules and regulations mumbo jumbo which quickly bored me. So, I gave up and went the license-free 900 MHz route, instead. The 900 MHz BRB or Eggfinder GPS tracking is very simple and intuitive to me.

HAM didn't work for me, but may work for you. Congrats on getting your ticket, Columbia.
 

ksaves2

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 25, 2009
Messages
6,049
Reaction score
336
Great! I went ahead and took two tests and got to the General license as I wanted to futz around in the Hf bands too. When propagation is good (not so much now) was able to contact Tahiti with a 100 foot wire inverted L antenna with an electronic matching device for the antenna and a little square radio that put out 100 watts on the 12 meter band. I was amazed but when the propagation gods are happy world wide communication can be easy on the airwaves with simple equipment. I think they are related to the rocket gods too.

Tech license is all one needs for the ham band rocket tracking stuff so one doesn't need to do what I did. The ability is there on the ham bands to do real time tracking on a map with the APRS programs some of which can be hacked to decode the NMEA
strings from EggFinders and Missileworks GPS trackers.

On the extreme end, the Next Thing Pocket CHIP (Linux based https://getchip.com/pages/pocketchip ) will run Xastir with portable maps and work with APRS (with an H/T and B/T TNC) or the NMEA trackers with their B/T capable receivers .
I can't wait to fly it and compare to the Windows programs I've been using. Kurt
 

ColumbiaNX01

Red blooded white American male
Joined
Oct 30, 2009
Messages
1,755
Reaction score
20
Location
Somewhere
I must be missing something, because I never got this out of the study guide nor exam questions. I found very little info in the HAM process that was applicable to putting a tracker in a model rocket and then finding it. This forum is a better source of information, frankly. Much of the HAM study guide was around rules and regulations mumbo jumbo which quickly bored me. So, I gave up and went the license-free 900 MHz route, instead. The 900 MHz BRB or Eggfinder GPS tracking is very simple and intuitive to me.

HAM didn't work for me, but may work for you. Congrats on getting your ticket, Columbia.
I dont know if it is true or not but what I am thinking the GPS trackers that require a HAM they are more accurate then the license free GPS?? Also, what I know is the GPS that require a Ham have a smaller footprint in the rocket. I like my BRB900 but wanted something more civilized. I then went to the MW RTX and love it. So the other reason I wanted a HAM was because I can have a GPS that is real tiny like the teleGPS. The RTX is just to big for some applications.
 

Steve Shannon

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2011
Messages
6,608
Reaction score
3,427
Location
Butte, Montana
I dont know if it is true or not but what I am thinking the GPS trackers that require a HAM they are more accurate then the license free GPS?? Also, what I know is the GPS that require a Ham have a smaller footprint in the rocket. I like my BRB900 but wanted something more civilized. I then went to the MW RTX and love it. So the other reason I wanted a HAM was because I can have a GPS that is real tiny like the teleGPS. The RTX is just to big for some applications.
There's no technical reason for either to collect more or less accurate GPS data. The licensing only affects the radios used to transmit the data.
 

Steve Shannon

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2011
Messages
6,608
Reaction score
3,427
Location
Butte, Montana
That is interesting. There's no technical reason for it. I suspect it just has to do with design choices made be whoever designed each.
 

ksaves2

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 25, 2009
Messages
6,049
Reaction score
336
There's no technical reason for either to collect more or less accurate GPS data. The licensing only affects the radios used to transmit the data.
The issue is the reliable reception and decoding of the positioning information. GPS is GPS and some chipsets are better than others when flying in rockets. If one wants an accurate record of position for plotting on a map, buy a tracker with onboard
memory for later download as they will not receive every single position over the Rf link. I don't care what one uses, licensed or unlicensed trackers doesn't matter. There are a host of factors in receiving and decoding the digital information from
a rocket tracker in flight. Suffice it to say I've missed positions from both systems. APRS trackers that beacon once every 5 seconds I don't hear from for 20 second after apogee and EggFinders that really don't settle down sending consistent positions
until the main chute is out. Once in a slower descent, the positions are more reliable and the number that are decoded successfully increases. That is what is important to find the rocket and is the reason I blow mains at 800' or higher if space allows. Gives one time to develop a drift trend as I like to see on a map so I know the direction the rocket was drifting before it touched down. Sure people input the last known position into a handheld GPS and generally have good luck finding the rocket, but if flying on the
extreme with a low powered unlicensed GPS tracker, a drift line seen on a live map tells one with a great degree of certainty which direction to proceed to get into the ground footprint of the tracker.

With sport flying, manual data transfer is perfectly fine because the rocket likely isn't going extreme distances but one has to accurately manually transfer the position, minding the proper units for this to be successful.

As far as Ham radio. Ham radio is a very broad field. It is not expected that a licensee know every little detail about every available mode. Especially at the entry level. The information about Fox-hunting or RDF can be searched for and perused.
It's not necessarily covered in detail just to pass an entry level exam. That is directly applicable to rocket tracking.

One tidbit I'll pass on now. Don't use a Yagi for 900Mhz tracking flights. If one needs some gain, get a patch antenna. Yagi's are fine for Ham band trackers.
A 900 Mhz Yagi is O.K. once the rocket is down and it will increase the ground footprint of the tracker. The beamwidth of a Yagi on 33cm/900Mhz is narrow and conceivably could be hard to keep pointed in the presumed rocket direction.
Once the rocket is on the ground, as long as it's not being blown around, it's easier to point a Yagi towards the last known position.

With totally out of sight flights, I'm able to keep a receiving patch antenna pointed in the direction of the rocket by watching the live map on my tablet. The positions get plotted live and I can keep the antenna pointed in the general direction.
As it's coming down, I'll sneak a glance to see if I can get a visual. A patch antenna on a 10' pole really increases the range of reliable tracking with the lower powered EggFinders. Kurt



Screen saves from various programs:
Screenshot (21).jpgScreenshot (37).jpgPeoria.jpgboth1.jpgtestcrossband.jpeg

Patch antenna on a pole
 

Attachments

OverTheTop

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
4,864
Reaction score
2,117
Location
Melbourne Australia
I must be missing something, because I never got this out of the study guide nor exam questions.
Ham operators have many and varied applications for their ticket. There are many sub-groups, and some fantastic developments in the communications world have come from radio amateurs.

"Fox hunting" has many followers in the Ham community (probably less these days than there used to be though), with many people developing sophisticated equipment and taking things really seriously. Have a look at that topic as it is a good way to find rockets with simple equipment (GPS is far easier though :wink:). Search for "DF loop antenna" for something that may be useful. Can't remember the advantages over yagi (size maybe?), but they were used extensively in fox hunting.

The Ham community is huge and a great resource to be able to tap into. Welcome aboard!

Stewart
VK3TRK
 

ColumbiaNX01

Red blooded white American male
Joined
Oct 30, 2009
Messages
1,755
Reaction score
20
Location
Somewhere
Ham operators have many and varied applications for their ticket. There are many sub-groups, and some fantastic developments in the communications world have come from radio amateurs.

"Fox hunting" has many followers in the Ham community (probably less these days than there used to be though), with many people developing sophisticated equipment and taking things really seriously. Have a look at that topic as it is a good way to find rockets with simple equipment (GPS is far easier though :wink:). Search for "DF loop antenna" for something that may be useful. Can't remember the advantages over yagi (size maybe?), but they were used extensively in fox hunting.

The Ham community is huge and a great resource to be able to tap into. Welcome aboard!

Stewart
VK3TRK

thankyou
 

OverTheTop

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
4,864
Reaction score
2,117
Location
Melbourne Australia
Forgot to mention in my earlier post. The Ham license is only proof to the authorities that:
1) You know the basics (so you can start asking meaningful questions!)
2) You are far less likely to injure or kill yourself or other people compared to the average Joe (no offense meant to anyone of that name!)
3) You know the rules to follow in the amateur community that help everyone around the world communicate

Now the real learning begins :)
 

rms

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Messages
353
Reaction score
0
I guess I'm an oddity, had a ham license before I become active in rocketry. I then found out that it could be used for rocketry tracking a number of years back. Congrats on your ham ticket, welcome to amateur radio!
Not really that active on HF but hope to have a QSO one day.
73
 
Top