#1 Edited by Obinice (275 posts) -
My 1/2 Wave Antenna

Hey guys and girls! Remember a while back, Vinny talking about getting his Amateur Radio Licence? I was especially interested, as I've been interested in the world of radio for a while now!

I've yet to take my primary exam, although it's really easy (seriously, young kids can get the Foundation licence). Basically if it's not in this book, you don't need to know it for the Foundation. At least, if you're in the UK!

Anyway, I've just been having some fun with a 1/2 wave silver rod barely poking above my roof, and a 30 year old Transcom GBX4000 (with an Amstrad 901 board) that my uncle gave to me when I was a little kid years ago (always loved electronics!). But now I want to do more than just talk/listen to the handful of locals on CB. I want to reach the world!

Anytone AT5555 with silly Instagram filter

To that end, I decided to grab myself an Anytone AT-5555, and program it so I can listen in on all the freebanding (and some amateur) frequencies for now. The advantage is that while freebanders often aren't licenced in their respective countries, they are able to take advantage of skip, and work with a common code/language (as opposed to the slang and constant swearing of CB), that allows them to make and communicate well with distant contacts, begin to learn that there's more to radio than what CB has to offer, and really enjoy what radio is all about without the pressure of assessments and exams.

It's also an excellent stepping stone towards the licenced Amateur bands, where the users are more knowledgeable than simply turning a channel dial, and have good rules of etiquette (while there's nothing wrong with swearing in every day life, remember that anybody, including children could be listening!).

Anyway, I guess I'm getting a bit off topic, maybe? My point is, radio is awesome, and I was wondering if anybody else here at Giant Bomb is into it too? :D While it's great to talk to the radio community folks that have a wealth of knowledge and experience in radio, I'm finding it hard to find any people anywhere remotely near my own age who are into it (I'm 24), and none of my friends could care less :P

#2 Posted by TooWalrus (13198 posts) -

So I'm glad you're having fun with this, but I can't be the only one who finds this whole thing silly.

#3 Posted by Obinice (275 posts) -

@TooWalrus I can totally see where you're coming from. Maybe it would help you understand why people enjoy it, if I say that I get a similar sense of wonder and excitement out of bending physics to my will using electronics, and flinging my voice across countless miles directly without any outside aid (unless you count the electricity supply), as I do when I look up at space and think of the probes and rovers we have traveling to other worlds. It's exciting! We're exploring other worlds, and the world of radio is right around us, and easy to get to :D

And who cares if somebody's already explored it? I know I haven't, it's an adventure! The first time I turned on that new radio, I heard a guy talking from Tennessee! That's over four thousand miles away from me! And I'm not using an established and maintained communications network, or a station that somebody else set up. Sure I didn't build the radio from scratch (though at higher licence levels you can, and I totally look forward to that!), but I set everything up, and got it all working, and I'm learning. That's all pretty awesome :D

#4 Posted by Jams (2961 posts) -

@Obinice said:

@TooWalrus I can totally see where you're coming from. Maybe it would help you understand why people enjoy it, if I say that I get a similar sense of wonder and excitement out of bending physics to my will using electronics, and flinging my voice across countless miles directly without any outside aid (unless you count the electricity supply), as I do when I look up at space and think of the probes and rovers we have traveling to other worlds. It's exciting! We're exploring other worlds, and the world of radio is right around us, and easy to get to :D

And who cares if somebody's already explored it? I know I haven't, it's an adventure! The first time I turned on that new radio, I heard a guy talking from Tennessee! That's over four thousand miles away from me! And I'm not using an established and maintained communications network, or a station that somebody else set up. Sure I didn't build the radio from scratch (though at higher licence levels you can, and I totally look forward to that!), but I set everything up, and got it all working, and I'm learning. That's all pretty awesome :D

I've gotten a bit into shortwave radio myself. I love picking up random stations. I got an analog one too so you pick up everything in between the stations that work. Very fun. When I drive around my neighborhood I see a bunch of ham antennas around. I was a little shocked as a matter of fact.

http://www.w6wgz.org/

Maybe you can pick someone up from here!

#5 Posted by Obinice (275 posts) -

@Jams: Yeah, it's surprising when you first actually start looking, and you see antennas all over the place! And California? I do hope to be able to pick up someone from there at some point! Hmm, I should get a world map, and some pins :P

Hope the neighbours weren't looking at mine today, lowered the mast to do some work, always looks like it could go either way :P. It's only 40 feet from base to tip, but damn when you're lowering it it seems huge :P Speaking of analogue radios, one of the handy things about this Anytone rig is you can program your own channels in, so I've got it set so I can flick through channels, and then use the clarifier to get to all the frequencies in between. It covers 25.615 - 29.205 MHz, FM/AM/USB/LSB/CW. Been wanting it for a year now, so pleased :D

My ultimate goal is to contact Mr Vincent Caravella MUHAHAHAHAHAHAAAaaaa