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20060209 2006 February 9

Posted by kc2ped in Uncategorized.
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Tonight is the start of my class. I am heading downtown shortly to stop off at the only place I know of in the City that sells ham equipment to see what they have and how much a rig is going to set me back.

Then I will probably go to several of the Wi-Fi hotspots in the financial district and see which ones, if any, I can hit with the laptop. Dinner then down to the Battery for class.

I am way behind on my reading. It doesn’t look like I have any chance of making it thorough the book given my reading speed and the fact that tomorrow is the only day I have left to do it. I am still not to worried about it. Last night I took the practice exam online and scored 100%. This morning I took another one and passed with only one correct answer to spare.

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I spent the afternoon at Barry Electronics talking with the owner and a ham operator who happened to be there. Based on my stated goal of operating packet radio in the VHF/UHF bands the recommendation was for the Kenwood TH-D7A(G), which is the only radio with a built-in TNC. It is $400, which is more than I wanted to spend, but then I don’t have to buy a TNC for $100-$150. I asked about the radio at class and was told that the instructor knows several people who have it and are happy with it, but that it is not practical to do packet on the radio’s phone-style little keypad. You need to hook it up to a computer, but the TNC uses the KSS protocol so you need to get special software for the computer to do that. This is going to be another some-assembly-required hobby, but I already knew that and was prepared for it. He also pointed out that I would be putting all of my eggs in one basket. If the 2-meter section or the 70-cm section or the TNC goes out it all has to go to the shop and I am off the air for a month. That would also be the case if I just bought a dual band radio and a separate TNC and anything in the radio failed. Just getting into this I can see an advantage to buying the basket. I won’t have to grade a lot of eggs to see which ones go together. It should be faster getting into operation.

I also learned that I should not need an external antenna to hit a repeater on either band in either the Bronx or Manhattan.

The class was fairly lightweight. Either the book is mostly fluff or we aren’t being told enough.

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