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The Ham Radio Thread


Well-Known Member
@turbominivan came over to my place last night and taught a fantastic HAM 101 class. Here are my notes from the class. I'm sure there are exceptions to everything, but this was great info for a noob like me. These are my notes. Any errors are mine, not turbominivan's.

Ham radio encompasses over 10 different bands. Anyone is allowed to listen (receive, or RX) to any band. However, you need the appropriate license to transmit on these bands.

Technician license lets you TX (transmit) uhf, vhf, and select parts of hf.

The most common band for car to car is 2m. The second most-common band in Utah is 70cm. Most 2 band radios cover these two bands.
Most 4 band radios cover: 70cm, 2m, 6m, 10m (10m is HF, you need a general license for this) (4 band radios are a lot more expensive)

Hf is high power and what gets you talking across the world without a repeater. HF depends a ton more on weather.

Dempsey's handheld is a Yaesu Ft-60 (~$150)

Simplex means you're talking radio to radio not using a repeater. It's just like a CB or walkabout. You have to be on the same frequency [channel] as each other.

Duplex is when you're using a repeater. The input frequency (In this case we'll call it frequency "A") is different from the output frequency (frequency B" in this example). (2 frequencies = duplex). The repeater is always listening on frequency "A". When you transmit to the repeater's input frequency (A), it picks up your message and repeats it back on a different frequency (B) with TONS more power. So even if you don't have a super crazy antenna, as long as you can transmit to a repeater, you can utilize the repeater's crazy big antenna to magnify your transmission. When you transmit to the repeater (on frequency A), it'll repeat your signal (instantaneously) out on the new (shifted) frequency "B". This caused me to wonder - how do you know what frequency to listen to? There are charts that show the exact frequencies that each repeater uses for tx (A) and rx (B). To talk duplex, you need to program in your input [tx]frequency (A) and output [listening] (B) frequencies to your radio. Your radio will then know which frequency to talk on (A) and which frequency to listen on (B). Repeaters have a standard offset, where the TX frequency (A) and RX frequency (B) are a set distance apart (for 2M, +600 kHz or -600 kHz). Some radios are able to detect the frequency shift automatically, while other radios need to have this programmed in. Also, some repeaters require a tone to start talking. Not all radios are capable of sounding this tone.

Get the Repeaterbook app. It'll show you where all the repeaters are.

Every once in a while, people link repeaters, like the interlink or sinbad system. These repeaters are all linked via the internet. So, when you talk to one repeater on the Sinbad system, that repeater repeats your message across every single repeater in the system. (it does this via the internet, not by beaming the signal from antenna to antenna). This is a great way to get some good distance. The sinbad system connects all the way down into Green River and Moab up to SLC. Since only one person can talk at a time, be courteous, as others may want to use this repeater too.

the intertie connects Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and parts of CA.

If two of you are chatting together, don't use the intertie, cuz it'll plug it for everyone; find a different repeater that you can both hit.

Etiquette, even on simplex, leave a small break between conversations for a couple seconds. This allows others with emergencies have a spot to get in there and enter the conversation.

There are two types of repeaters: open repeaters and closed repeaters. Open repeaters are free and open to be used by anyone. Closed repeaters are only for people they designate (some closed repeaters are pretty snobby).

How do you talk on a ham?
- you need to enter a frequency. Think of this kind of like the "channel" on your CB or walkabout. Everyone who wants to listen in on channel 1 has to be on channel 1 (except ham channels look more like this: 146.070).
- only one person can talk at a time (just like a CB or walkabout)
- if you want to use a repeater, you just need to know the frequency of the repeater. Program it into your radio, and start talking. On the more popular repeaters, expect to see more traffic and hear others talking.

HT- handy talkie (handheld). 4w max - same power as a cb
Car mounted (mobile) radios are often around 50-75watts.
Home radios can reach 200 watts +

Having a real nice antenna will greatly improve your reach.

Baufeng antanna gender is opposite a Yaesu

Nate has a Nagoya Na-771 antenna.
Dempsey has a homebrew antenna from a guy in AF. He calls them signal sticks

As far as listening goes, your antenna doesn't matter much. With transmitting, you want a good antenna. The rubber duckies don't TX well at all, especially indoors.

Rael-co is a great electronics store to go to in SLC.

Miklor- THE website for people who use the Baofeng radios. They've improved upon hte crappy instructions that come with these radios.

Chirp - free software to program your radio's presets. The Yaesu radios have 1000 preset spots. Imagine typing all those in by hand. With Chirp, you can upload an excel file to your radio so you don't have to do it one by one. to use chirp, you have to buy a programming cable for your radio.

Cb radios use am frequencies. Most hams use fm frequency

Aprs.fi - attaching geolocation data to your signal. People can see where you are. You can also send texts to other hams, even without cell service.

Nate has the
Yaesu Ftm-400xdr
$620 before the rebate

You can add aprs to a baefabg

146.76 - the 76, utah ham club.

FRS - family radio service. Walkie talkie. 1/2 watt power output

Gmrs-general mobile radio service - walkie talkie too. 22 total channels. gars .5-4w

you're supposed to have a license to use GMRS.
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Reactions: SSR


too poor to wheel... :(
Layton, Utah
There are a few things that are somewhat correct but need to be clarified but I don't have the time right now... I included the ham bands and which groups can operate on which bands... as you will see the tech can actually go to the higher (lower freq) bands but have limitations placed on them...

Tonight I will go through and clarify more on what was posted here...

- - - Updated - - -

sorry just noticed I uploaded the wrong PDF... I will fix later.



Rusty Girdle
Supporting Member
There are also MURS frequencies. These are open to business and individuals, and do not require a license. There is a power restriction, though.

MURS are the radio frequencies used by all of the big box stores for in store communication.

My company uses the MURS frequencies, and I have a radio in my work truck, so I can contact every store I deliver to, all 5,000+ of them. They are very similar to FRS and GMRS frequencies.


Active Member
Logan, Ut
Thanks for the info! I just started studying to get my license and this info clears up a few questions I had. I also have a few questions if someone would mind answering for me.

The cheap Baofeng's can communicate with the FRS and GMRS radios, right? If so, how would you get on the same channel/frequency?

I just bought 2 Baofeng's and mostly plan to have them for emergency preparedness, but would like to familiarize myself with them. Am I allowed to transmit with them at all before I get my license? They have a 1 watt, 4 watt, and 8 watt setting.

I used the CHIRP software and downloaded all the local repeaters into my HT's. Do I need anything other than the output frequency of the repeater to listen in? I think I've read that you have to set the offset and ctcs(hrtz?) before transmitting, correct?

Kevin B.

Supporting Member
I wasn't able to make the HAM night, thanks for the helpful info dump! I've done my studying, I just need to find time to take the test and then buy a radio.


Active Member
Moab, UT
BoostedRNR, yes you are correct. You will be able to listen in to the repeaters with just the output frequency. Then the offset, and tone to use the repeater.


Well-Known Member
While some of the cheap ham radios are technically able to transmit FRS and GMRS the radios haven't been certified to broadcast on those ranges and is illegal to do so.

Without a license it is not legal to transmit on those radios. You can listen but can't talk.


The I 15 intertie can be or was also able to connect into Montana. It is great to be in Las Vegas and chat with folks in Idaho Falls


Still plays with cars
Lehi, UT
I know Nate answered this one, but I just wanted to add a little more clarification:

The cheap Baofeng's can communicate with the FRS and GMRS radios, right? If so, how would you get on the same channel/frequency?
The Baofeng handheld ham radios will transmit on the FRS and GMRS frequencies. However, doing so is definitely illegal for one or two reasons. To legally transmit on GMRS frequencies, you must (a) have a proper type-certified radio and (b) have a GMRS license. To legally transmit on FRS frequencies, you simply need a proper type-certified radio (no license required). The Baofeng radios are not type-certified for use on the FRS or GMRS frequencies. It amazes me that the FCC lets those radios be sold here when they can be--and certainly are--used illegally by hundreds of people across the country each day.

For the record, my Yaesu FT-60R handheld ham radio can also monitor the FRS and GMRS frequencies (and a whole lot more). However, it will not let me transmit on them. I can only transmit on the legal 2m and 70cm ham bands.

Personally, I will never encourage anybody to use any radio in an illegal manner.
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too poor to wheel... :(
Layton, Utah
Ok I found the correct ham band map... it shows that Technicians can actual go on alot of the HF bands but are limited to certain types of transmissions (ie. morse code, ssb, etc) Tech can operate on the 10M band as well.

Handhelds are not limited to 5 watts. most are set at 5 watts just due to the battery will not last long if the output is more. I once had a Kenwood handheld that had a 15 watt output on 2M but if I wanted to talk for any length of time I need to have it plugged into a power source.

FRS/GMRS has 22 channels but you can add tones that will break those up into even more sections of each channel. The walkie talkies that you buy at most stores (cabelas, Walmart) use these channels and you do not need a license for them. But if you are going to use the baofeng uv-5r radios to operate on these frequencies then you need a license due to they are using more wattage then is allowed by the FCC.

A good antenna matched with a high quality SWR meter will out produce a high quality antenna that has not been tuned by an swr meter. THis is the case on both transmit and receive. YOU SHOULD NEVER TRANSMIT ON AN ANTENNA THAT HAS NOT BEEN TUNED TO THAT RADIO!!!

There are several repeaters that are open repeaters that are run by clubs or individuals that people can use for free but it would be a great idea to find that club/individual and send them some money to help with the operating costs of that repeater... The closed ones belong to clubs that for a monthly donation to their club will give you the codes to access that repeater.
Most newer radios will have the offsets already programmed into them for the tx/rx splits so you don't need to go in and try to find out if its a + or - offset. Also most all radios have the ability to transmit the ctcss code that will unlock the repeater for use and also provide additional usage for that repeater like some have the capability to make phone calls from your radio.

There is two kinds of tones that are produced in a radio CTCSS and DTMF.
DTMF is also used by your phones when you press a key.
CTCSS is a sub audio tone that you can not hear but the radios do.

Repeaters are a wonderful thing!!!

for those that have a video hankering there is ATV (amateur tv) where you can actual become a tv station.
then there are the guys that have tons of cash and built special antennas that bounce a 2m signal off the moon to others on the other side of the planet! There are guys that build small radio transceivers that operate on only half a watt that work (contact) other stations around the world in contests.

You can use ham radio for all kinds of fun stuff and everyday there are more and more things being built into the hobby. So do some research, get a digital subscription to ARRL's magazine "73" or other magazines and try to keep up!

I got my technician license back in 1991 and have kept it ever since. I have used old tube style radios for shortwave listening, I have modified a few CB radios and built antenna for them that allowed me to talk to Australia when the skip was just right. I have installed many antenna around the valley with the most notable being for Taylorsville city hall. They monitor the skate park in redwood and 4200s and their memorial wall on 4100 and 700 w via radios on the wooden poles that transmit video back to city hall so the police dispatcher can watch what is going on there. There is also a radio transmitter on 5400 s and redwood on a pole on the SE corner that was put there but the camera never hooked up.

My current radio is one I have had for 10-15 yrs its an Yaesu FT-2200. it is mounted in my LJ and I have a cheap baofeng uv-5r for when I get out of the rig.
My call sign is N7SHZ but I don't get on the radio that much. I use to work for Central electric who is owned by Pete Robbins that has a call of WZ7ZZ.

I might have misspelled a few things in this cause I was just going off the top of my head so correct me if I was wrong.



Still plays with cars
Lehi, UT
John included lots of great information in his post (thanks!). However, there is one erroneous bit which I will correct.

FRS/GMRS has 22 channels but you can add tones that will break those up into even more sections of each channel. The walkie talkies that you buy at most stores (cabelas, Walmart) use these channels and you do not need a license for them. But if you are going to use the baofeng uv-5r radios to operate on these frequencies then you need a license due to they are using more wattage then is allowed by the FCC.
This is partially incorrect, and I will explain why.

FRS never requires a license. If you buy these so-called "bubble pack" radios at Wal-Mart or wherever, anybody in America can use the FRS portion of them without a license. The only FRS restrictions are that (a) your maximum output power is 1/2 watt and (b) you must use a type-certified radio which (among other requirements) must have a fixed antenna. FRS has 14 frequencies.

GMRS always requires a license in the US. If you buy these so-called "bubble pack" radios at Wal-Mart or wherever, you must have a license to use the GMRS portion of them. To get a license, you must be at least 18 years old and not be a representative of a foreign government. Once you have a license, your privileges are shared with your immediate family members; they may also use GMRS radios to communicate with you. GMRS has 15 frequencies; seven of these are shared with FRS (making 22 in total for the combo radios) and the remaining eight are exclusive to GMRS. Using a combo radio to transmit on an FRS frequency does not require a license provided you are using a radio that meets the FRS rules (such as having a fixed antenna, among other requirements) and you do not transmit more than 1/2 watt output. Transmitting on any GMRS-only frequency at any power level always requires a license.

Baofeng handheld radios will transmit on FRS and GMRS frequencies. However, they are illegal to use on FRS because they do not meet the government's requirements for FRS operation, for two reasons: their antenna is not fixed, and their output level exceeds 1/2 watt even on the lowest setting. As for GMRS frequencies, the Baofeng radios are not type-accepted for that, either, but at least the radio's general configuration follows the basic guidelines. Nevertheless, transmitting on GMRS frequencies always requires a license. If you have a GMRS license and use a Baofeng, I don't know that the FCC would come after you... but I wouldn't advise it.


I know, I know, this isn't exactly ham radio related. Nevertheless, these are the rules as laid out by the FCC. As always, I encourage everybody to play by the rules.
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Still plays with cars
Lehi, UT
John had a good idea in attaching the ham band chart. Here is a picture of it:

As John said, Technicians do have some privileges on a few HF bands. Note that on 80m, 40m and 15m they are limited to CW only... which is Morse code. So if you're a Technician who doesn't know Morse and you just want to talk to somebody via HF, your only option is a small slice of the 10m band.

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too poor to wheel... :(
Layton, Utah
so just for the fun of it I took the practice test for general class license and got a 62% (need 75% to pass). I wasn't even concentration cause I was watching a Castle rerun with Stana Katic in some very sexy clothing..

Guess I need to study and go take the test. anyone have the General class manual?


Still plays with cars
Lehi, UT
Hey Dempsey, do you have a link to the printouts you brought to our learning night? Specifically the intertie repeaters and the sinbad system?
Here is my summary of info on those two systems.

Sinbad linked repeater system

The poster right above me linked to the SDARC main page. I have bookmarked a subpage on that site, which lists all 13 of the linked repeaters that constitute the Sinbad system. If you're only looking for the club's official information, that page is all you'll need. At the top, it does have a link to a coverage map, but that is not what I printed out.

Are you looking for a simple but extremely useful list of the Sinbad machines? A crib sheet for programming your radio, perhaps? In that case, here is a small pdf page which lists everything you need with no fluff added.

And finally, how about a map? I got mine from the 76ers page (the same source for the pdf page I just mentioned). This is a one-page pdf file which still gives you all the info you need for programming your radio while also making it easy to see exactly where each repeater is located. Slick. (NOTE: I strongly recommend downloading this file. If you only ever pull it up in your browser, it typically takes an extended amount of time for all the pins to draw themselves on the map. If it's on your hard drive, everything pops right up instantly.)

Intermountain Intertie linked repeater system

The Intermountain Intertie is a much larger linked system than the Sinbad system above. It spans multiple states, more or less patterned on I-15. The Utah portion (and some of the machines just over state lines) is mostly maintained by the Utah VHF Society. Here is their all-inclusive but somewhat outdated page discussing the system in detail.

As expected, the 76ers have a crib sheet for the Intertie system, also. You can see it here. Be advised: this sheet only lists the Intertie machines that are in Utah, so it is not a complete list of the entire system.

The official Intertie web page does have a color map locating the Utah machines (as well as a few just outside the state). If you like it, use it. I prefer the simple pdf map like the one I listed for the Sinbad system, and if you feel the same then you're in luck--the 76ers have made a similar map for the Intertie system. If you're really feeling saucy, they even made a combo map listing the Utah machines from both systems. (As with the Sinbad map above, I suggest you download these files for the same reason.)