Amateur Radio

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Getting Licensed[edit]

Dan Romanchik KB6NU makes his No-Nonsense Technician-Class and General-Class study guides available at no cost; his Extra-Class guide is available for $8.

The ARRL also publishes very good Technician-, General-, and Extra-Class study guides. The question pool for each exam is updated every 4 years; Technician was last updated in July 2014, General in July 2011, and Extra in July 2012.

Use [AA9PW's radio site] to generate practice exams from the real question pool, no registration required.


Your initial callsign will be issued sequentially from a pool that's divided up by license type and geographic region. For a few dollars, you can switch to an available vanity callsign.

Use AE7Q's site to look up the licensing information of anyone on amateur radio. For instance, here's KK6MRI. This site is also a resource for 'Silent Key callsign harvesting', a technique.

Handheld Radios[edit]

BaoFeng UV-5R[edit]

BaoFeng, Other Models[edit]

Other Chinese Radios[edit]

Radios Featured by MD-ARC[edit]

Mobile Radio Antennas[edit]

DIY Radio Hardware[edit]

Directional Power Meters[edit]

Radio Software[edit]

Chirp Open-Source Radio Programmer[edit]

Using Chirp in Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install python-serial python-libxml2 sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-hams-updates/ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install chirp

chirp could not open port - permission denied

sudo chirpw

now it works!

Yaesu Proprietary Radio Programmer[edit]


Manually Programming the Baofeng UV-5R[edit]

  • vfo mode
  • set transmit frequency
  • menu_13 t-ctcs (tone [PL?])
  • menu_25 sft-d (offset direction)
  • menu_26 offet (offset frequency)
  • menu_27 mem-ch (memory channel)
  • hit star
  • menu x3
  • vfo
  • offset? hit scan to reverse transmit/receive ('R' appears)

East Bay Radio Resources[edit]

Repeater offset guide:

Local Repeaters[edit]

kg6djo at maintains an excellent list of Bay Area repeaters.

Make sure you select the correct offset for the band you're using!:

"On the 2 meter band, this separation between transmit and receive frequency is usually 600kHz either positive or negative in relation to the transmit frequency. On the 440 (70cm) band it is usually 5mHz positive or negative in relation to the transmit frequency."

How can you tell if the repeater is functioning?

"After you stop transmitting, the repeater sends an unmodulated carrier for a couple of seconds to let you know it is working."[1]

Repeaters that I use:

UC Berkeley Amateur Radio Club (W6BB)[edit]

"Michael Lustig, KK6MRI, an assistant professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department, has started teaching his students about Amateur Radio. Lustig says there’s plenty that a 21st century electrical engineer can learn from tinkering with 20th century ham radio technology. All 60 students in his digital signal processing class plan to take their license exams."

"The net takes place each FIRST WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH (AT NOON) immediately after the siren tests on the UC Berkeley campus. There will be two or three net check-ins:

  1. On repeater N6BRK: 440.9+ Mhz, PL 131.8 Hz
  2. On repeater WA6HAM: 145.490- MHz, PL 107.2 Hz
  3. On the Cal Bears 2m calling frequency: 146.430 Mhz simplex"

Yosemite National Park Radio Resources[edit]

  • repeater (147.00 PL100) on Turtleback Dome
  • repeater (444.925 PL94.8) on Sentinel Dome
  • repeater (440.300 PL94.8) on Buck Rock

"TARC has two repeaters in Yosemite National Park. Both repeaters are normally linked to the rest of the system via the 420 hub, but if necessary can be unlinked at anytime. Both repeaters have excellent coverage in and around the park.

"TARC has a UHF repeater in Sequoia National Forest on Buck Rock near Kings Canyon National Park. The repeater is normally linked to the rest of the system via the 420 link but can be unlinked at any time.

Buck Rock: 440.30 MHz + (94.8Hz)"

What about the Mt. Hoffman repeater?

Yosemite Village  YNP
	Park Rangers direct		1	172.650		167.9
	Park Rangers			2	171.650		172.650		167.9
	Mount Hoffman										131.8
	Park Rangers Crane Flat		3 	172.025		172.650		167.9
	Crane Flat										110.9
	Park Rangers			4	172.025		172.650		167.9
	Wawona Point										123.0
	Valley District local		5	166.300		none
	Valley District			6	164.425		166.300		none
	Turtleback Dome										110.9
 	Valley District			7	164.425		166.300		none
	Sentinel Dome										123.0
	Valley District tactical	8	168.350       none
	USFS Air-ground			9	170.000       none
	Park Fire direct		10	172.775       none
	Park Fire			11	171.800		172.775		none
	North Mountain										110.9
	Park Fire			12	171.800		172.775		none
	Signal Peak										123.0
	Park Fire			13	171.800		172.775		none
	Mount Hoffman										131.8

"Don’t know where all the bum scoop comes from… 147.00 has been operational for 30 years from Turtle Dome… It is a RARE occasion for some reason that it has ever been down… The repeater was moved into park service building with new Commercial grade 100 watt Australian Repeater down graded to 50 Watts July of 2013… Also installed was a 4 bay Telewave Antenna… Remember it’s a PLUS offset with 100 hz Pl… It is linked full time with the W6BXN network of repeaters on Mt. Bullion and Buck Rock, In Kings Canyon… Coverage is from Lodi nearly to Bakersfield including Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Parks… We are coordinating with NPS for the pending installation of a UHF repeater on Sentinel Dome 444.925 Pl 94.8 hopefully in the next month or so… Also at that time the K6IXA-2 APRS WX station will go back into service… Vhf coverage into back country is fair depending on location… VHF coverage is reported to include Wawona with the new system… I have yet to verify myself… With the new UHF on Sentinel we are expecting rather good coverage into the back country east, north and west of the valley floor… Coverage to the south is blocked by Sentinel Dome itself… I am willing to answer any question regarding system coverage and or performance… Go to click on repeater tab for complete system layout… Other systems may sporadically get into the higher elevations of Yosemite, however the W6BXN system is the ONLY one that covers the Valley Floor with any degree of reliability… tnx de Grady K6IXA Trustee W6BXN Repeater System",73130,73130

"If by "walkie-talkie" you mean "2m/70cm HAM HT" (and if you are all licensed amateur radio operators), then in theory you could follow the Wilderness Protocol on 146.520 or 446.000, but in reality it's doubtful anyone is monitoring these. From some areas you can reach various amateur repeaters, but I wouldn't rely on this."

"The tower on Hoffman is for high band - for YOSAR and park ranger use only. If you are caught using their channels - that's a big if, I have a high band SAR radio that would need reprogramming to do it - you'd get in huge trouble."

Not useful:

"172.775 Fire Net 172.650 Park Net 166.300 Valley Net

The Park and Valley Nets are used by all functions, those being protection rangers (law enforcement), resource mangement (some Park Rangers, wildlife biologists, foresters, forestry techs and aids, hazard tree crews, archeaologists, etc.), interpretation (Park Rangers and techs involved in visitor centers, nature walks, campfire programs, auditorium presentations, etc.), and maintenance (roads, sewers, water systems, plumbing, electrical, buildings, etc.). Trail crews work for the backcountry unit which is part of protection I believe. The fire net is used by the fire management folks only. It also may be used for medicals in the backcountry when fire's helicopter is used for evacuation. The other two nets are very busy and this may relieve traffic on them. Mick's post seems to imply this.

The latest I heard is that the protection rangers had a international phonetic callsign by Ranger District and a number assigned. Bravo was backcounty, Tango was Tuolumne, Bravo was Big Oak Flat, Whiskey was Wawona, Victor was Valley, and Echo was El Portal. Sierra was assigned to Park headquarters protection personnel. I heard that some changes in boundaries and possible consolidation of Ranger Districts was going to occur, but I haven't heard the latest.

I belive the Park's project net and air to ground have changed from what I had in early 2005. There have also been rumors, one from a Park Ranger I spoke with in the backcountry in 2002 that the Park would be getting its own law enforcement net. The access to this infomation is now restricted and the annual listing for 2006, something I had access to every year since I retired, is no longer available to me.

I did not get over to the Park last year at all, the first time in a very long time. I don't have recent validation of much of the data I have.

I had a better reply to this thread but lost it and don't have time to rewrite it. I had channels and repeater tones for the Park, the Sierra and Stanislaus National Forests, as well as for the concessionaire. I may not have time to put that info together a second time."

Emergency Preparedness[edit]

Software-Defined Radio[edit]