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Chapter 6

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Chapter 6

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  1. Chapter 6 Communicating With Other Hams

  2. Chapter 6 Amateur Radio Equipment • Today’s agenda • Common parts of ham contacts • Where contacts are made • How to start & conduct a contact • How to make contacts on a repeater • How nets operate • How to find nets Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  3. Chapter 6 Amateur Radio Equipment • Today’s agenda (Continued) • Emergency operating rules • Amateur emergency organizations • Special operating techniques and modes Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  4. Chapter 6 Contact Basics ALERT! This is not a drill! This Chapter will be fun and interesting Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  5. Chapter 6 Contact Basics Your first “official” contact via amateur radio may most likely be made through a repeater. Making contacts via a repeater or via the Internet requires a different protocol than other contacts. The differences are subtle. You will either initiate a contact or respond to an attempt to initiate a contact. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  6. Chapter 6 Contact Basics • Before we talk you through making a contact, we need to discuss some things like “radio manners” and good amateur practices. • Our call sign is our identity. The rules require us to identify ourselves when talking regardless of mode. So say your call sign. • Hams know each other primarily by their first name and their call sign. Rarely to you hear someone say their last name. Maybe that’s why we’re such a friendly group! Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  7. Chapter 6 Contact Basics Use phonetics to ensure your “radio name” (your call sign) is understood. Use the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) phonetic alphabet. You might hear some substitutions for the ITU phonetics such as: “Norway” instead of “November”; “Santiago” or “Sugar” in lieu of “Sierra”; “Denmark” for “Delta”; etc. Avoid cute words: N3USP = “November three uniform sugar papa” versus “Norma’s three united pickle suckers” Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  8. Chapter 6 Contact Basics Only one of you can talk at a time so make it clear when you’re done transmitting and turning the conversation back to the other station. “Over”. A CW operator sends “K” to indicate it’s the other station’s turn to “talk”. When we end a contact and are leaving the frequency or going off the air, we can say “This is W3VPR, clear.” This is very common on repeaters. CW ops send “SK” Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  9. Chapter 6 Contact Basics Many of our abbreviated words and phrases are referred to as “procedural signals” or “prosigns” and have been part of our communications lexicon since the days of the telegraph. Speak slow and clear, especially when talking with stations outside the USA. It’s a courtesy that should be extended to everyone regardless of their location. The same applies to CW – send as slow as the other station sends. Conversely, only send as fast as you can copy. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  10. Chapter 6 Contact Basics Choosing a frequency is easy but you must be careful. The first thing to do is listen. The second thing to do is listen. The third thing to do is listen. The key the mike and ask “Is this frequency in use? This is W3VPR”. Pause for 5-10 seconds and if nobody answers, ask again. If no one answers after the second time, you can reasonably expect that the frequency is not in use and you can use it. CW ops send “QRL?” (Is the frequency busy?) Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  11. Chapter 6 Contact Basics • When using a repeater all you have to do select the output frequency of a repeater and listen. If you don’t hear someone talking after 10 seconds, say your call sign: “This is W3VPR, mobile” of “This is W3VPR, listening”. • When we make a contact with someone, especially a stranger, what do we say? • It depends on whether your on HF, VHF/UHF SSB, CW or using a repeater. We’ll have some examples later on. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  12. Chapter 6 Contact Basics You’ll exchange call signs just like you would exchange names in a face-to-face meeting. You’ll also share your first names. You’ll exchange signal reports except on a repeater although you might comment on the quality of the signals when using a repeater. More on that later. You might also share your power output, location, type of radio or “rig”, and type of antenna and its height above ground. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  13. Chapter 6 Contact Basics • Signal reports are a combination of 2 or 3 numbers depending on whether you’re using voice (2 numbers) or CW/Digital (3 numbers) • First numeral indicates readability or how well you can understand the other station. 5 = perfect readability and 1 = the signal is unreadable. • Second numeral indicates the signal strength. • 9 = Extremely strong signals and 1 = faint or barely perceptible. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  14. Chapter 6 Contact Basics • Third numeral indicates the Tone quality and is used only with CW and Digital communications. 9 = Perfect tone, no trace of ripple or modulation of any kind. • 1 = Sixty-cycle ac or less, very rough and broad • Obviously some aspects of the signal report are subjective. One man’s readability of 5 is another man’s readability of 4. • Experience will guide you. • You can use a “S-meter” to determine the signal strength but many hams will tell you they’ve heard a signal that was very strong but only registered a 4 or 5 on the S-meter. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  15. Chapter 6 Contact Basics • We also typically share information about our power output: • I’m running “barefoot” (Operating without an amplifier and by default usually 100W unless otherwise indicated) • I’m running 3 watts. (Anything less than 10 watts output is usually considered to be QRP or low power operations. Many hams consider low power to be 5 watts or less.) • I using full power. (Usually this means 1500 watts.) Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  16. Chapter 6 Contact Basics • We give our station location. • In most cases, when on HF, your city or city and state will suffice. • On some occasions you might be asked for your county as well. • When operating VHF/UHF SSB you might give the above info plus a grid square indicator based on the “Maidenhead Locator System”. Chasing grid squares is a popular and challenging activity on VHF/UHF. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  17. Chapter 6 Contact Basics The “Maidenhead Locator System” divides the Earth’s surface into a system of rectangles based on latitude and longitude. Each rectangle is identified with a four or six character code consisting of letters and numbers. For example W3VPR is located in grid square FM18. For greater precision, an additional two letters are added: FM18qw. The maps that follow will help you understand the grid system. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  18. Chapter 6 Contact Basics Grid Square EM covers all or part of 19 states Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  19. Chapter 6 Contact Basics Maryland stations are located in Grid Squares FM09, FM18, FM19, FM28, and FM29 Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  20. Chapter 6 Contact Basics • Good manners and good sense guide our public, face-to-face conversations and so it is with amateur radio. • Indecent and obscene language is always prohibited. • Racial and ethnic references are avoided. • Provocative subjects including politics, religion and sexual topics are also avoided. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  21. Chapter 6 Contact Basics • We normally end our conversations with a friendly farewell that might include one or more of the following: • I’ll be clear on your final • I’ll see you down the log • 73 - “Best regards” or “Best wishes” • 88 - “Love and kisses” or “hugs and kisses” • - “Love sealed with friendship” between Yls • Clear – Used on repeaters a lot. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  22. Chapter 6 Contact Basics • Q-Signals are three letter shorthand that can be used as a statement of fact or as a question. • QRS – Send slower • QRS? – Shall I send slower? • QSL – I acknowledge receipt • QSL? – Do you acknowledge receipt? • QRV – I am ready • QRV? – Are you ready? Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  23. Chapter 6 Contact Basics • I’m getting some QRM. Do you want to QSY to 20 meters? • There’s a lot of QRN on this repeater, let’s QSY to the 805 machine. • QRM – Man-made interference (other hams, etc.) • QRN – Natural interference (lightning crashes, etc). • QSY – Change frequency. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  24. Chapter 6 Contact Basics A longstanding tradition of our hobby is that of mutual assistance. As new members of this special group, you’ll find your fellow hams to be valuable sources of knowledge, expertise who possess an unwavering willingness to help new members get started. All you have to do is ask. Sometimes you’ll get assistance even though you didn’t ask. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  25. Chapter 6 Contact Basics Unsolicited assistance will commonly occur when you make a mistake on-the-air. Usually these kinds of mistakes involve your technique – transmitting too soon or too late, speaking too fast, using the wrong procedure, reversing call signs, etc. With some experience and with the assistance of your fellow hams, you’ll soon sound like you’ve been doing this for years. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  26. Chapter 6 Contact Basics Before you know it, you’ll be the one giving assistance to a new ham. When that happens you’ll want to be patient and helpful. Take your time and if you can offer a solution, do so. A helpful, friendly voice when you’re having trouble is greatly appreciated in any endeavor. Hams just seem to be better at it than others. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  27. Chapter 6 Contact Basics What do you do if you think your equipment might not be working properly? A commonly used method is the on-the-air “radio check”. You can arrange with a friend to meet you on-the-air or you can make a general call. When a station responds to your call, identify your station and ask for a radio check. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  28. Chapter 6 Contact Basics • You might be asked to give a “Five” or “Ten Count” so the other station can listen to your signal to determine what if anything might be a problem. • Simply count forward to 5 and then backwards to 1 and don’t forget to give your call sign. • On CW you would send a series of “Vs” several times. • The responding station will then provide you with some feedback regarding your signal. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  29. Chapter 6 Contact Basics • If he/she notices a problem it will normally be described and maybe a solution will be provided as well. • Distortion of voice signals could result from microphone or RF feedback. • Excessive noise or crackling could indicate a loose connection. • And a hum on any signal could indicate a problem with a power supply or battery. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  30. Chapter 6 Contact Basics Amateur Radio is largely a self-policing communications service. This has been a trademark of our hobby for years. When we observe a fellow ham violating the rules, we normally contact them and politely inform them of their infraction. However, do not break the rules yourself to do so. Send an e-mail or a letter or call the ham on the phone and let him/her know. Be polite and respectful in such situations. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  31. Chapter 6 Contact Basics The ARRL has established the “Official Observer” (OO) program that relies on technically skilled hams to keep an ear on the bands, often finding and fixing problems before they a real problem for other hams. The OOs will send you a notice whenever they observe your operation is not in compliance with the FCC rules. This is an informal notification process and you do not have to respond. However, if the FCC sends you a note, you had better respond. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  32. Chapter 6 Contact Basics So how do we keep track of our various contacts? Legally, you don’t have to keep a record of your contacts. However, you could memorize all of them but more likely you’ll want to use a logging software program. These programs run from the mundane (bare bones) to the extravagant (technically sophisticated). Some are available as “Shareware” whereas others cost $$$ Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  33. Chapter 6 Contact Basics • So why bother to keep track if you don’t have to? • Identify good times to operate • Help identify sources of interference • Keep track of your station information • Keep track of your periods of activity • Keep track of contacts for awards Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  34. Chapter 6 Contact Basics • The final courtesy of a contact is the exchange of “QSL cards” as a means of confirming the contact. • Not used for repeater contacts • Post card-sized – Proof of contact for awards • Information about the contact • Your call sign and information • The call sign of the station contacted • Date, time, frequency, and mode of contact • Signal report Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  35. Chapter 6 Contact Basics Contact info on front Contact info on back Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  36. Chapter 6 Contact Basics A “Dxpedition” Card contact info on back Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  37. Chapter 6 Contact Basics Make your own QSL cards and personalize them for an event or season Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  38. Chapter 6 Band Plans • What’s a “Band Plan”? • It’s a plan designed by hams for the voluntary use of a particular radio frequency band. • Each band plan describes the activities and modes to be conducted within a defined segments of the frequency band. • Activities can include DX, Contesting, Beacons, Calling Frequencies, Simplex Frequencies, Satellite up- and downlink Frequencies, etc. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  39. FCC 20 meter allocation for CW, RTTY and Data (Packet, PSK31 and MFSK16) Emissions Chapter 6 Band Plans Extra ONLY Extra, Advanced and General 14.000 14.025      14.070                       14.095     14.0995 14.100                  14.1005                          14.112                                14.150 ------ Packet ---- ----------- Packet ----------- --------- PSK31 --------                               Beacons                            --------- RTTY --------- CW Current 20 meter Band Plan Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  40. Chapter 6 Band Plans Calling frequencies are specific frequencies within a band for specific modes where stations can make contact. Once contact is made the stations move off of the calling frequency to continue their QSO (e.g., “conversation”). The use of band plans can help bring order out of chaos. Remember, band plans are voluntary plans for the use of the amateur radio frequency spectrum. Band plans are nothing more than a “gentleman’s agreement” developed by hams. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  41. Chapter 6 Band Plans Band plans are considered “good practice” by the FCC. Another method of reducing interference is the Regional Frequency Coordinator. These are elected volunteers who recommend repeater frequencies to be used by repeaters operating on or near the same frequency in the same geographical area in order to eliminate or reduce interference between repeaters. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  42. Chapter 6 Making Contacts • Each contact has three components: • The call-up or response • The “conversation” • The closing • Before you initiate a call-up or respond to a call, make sure you are authorized to use the frequency. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  43. Chapter 6 Making Contacts The protocol for making contacts on a repeater is a little different than those for making contacts on SSB or CW/Digital. Repeaters are often like “social clubs” with regular members who might share a common interest or purpose for getting on the repeater. There are some “rules” or “good manners” for using any repeater. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  44. Chapter 6 Making Contacts • Listen to see if the repeater is in use. • Keep transmissions short • Identify your station legally. • While not required, it’s a good idea to give your call at the beginning of the contact. • Pause briefly so that other stations may join the conversation or to try to contact another station. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  45. Chapter 6 Making Contacts • When you are using a repeater, YOU are responsible to ensure that your transmissions do not violate FCC rules. • When you want to let someone know that you are available to chat, simply key the mike and say your call sign: • “W3VPR” • “W3VPR, listening” • “W3VPR, mobile” Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  46. Chapter 6 Making Contacts • If you hear a station announce their presence on a repeater and want to respond to that station or if you want to try to call a station whose call sign you know, say the call sign of the station followed by “this is” and then your call sign. • W3VPR, mobile • W3VPR this is WN4FUI • WN4FUI this is W3VPR. Thanks for coming back to my call. My name is Frank and I’m on I-97 north on the way to the airport. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  47. Chapter 6 Making Contacts • If you hear a station announce their presence on a repeater and want to respond to that station or if you want to try to call a station whose call sign you know, say the call sign of the station followed by “this is” and then your call sign. • WN4FUI this is W3VPR mobile • This is WN4FUI. Go ahead Frank. • Hi Mark. I just left the house and should be at your place in about 15 minutes. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  48. Chapter 6 Making Contacts • Giving signal reports is part of repeater etiquette. But we don’t use the RST system. Instead we use a verbal system. • Full Quieting – Strong signal, no receiver noise is heard • Scratchy – Some noise on the receiver signal • Flutter or “picket fencing” – Rapid fading • Dropping out – Mostly audible but frequently no signal • Broken or breaking up – short periods of audible signals but mostly unreadable. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  49. Chapter 6 Making Contacts Repeaters often add a short “courtesy beep” or “courtesy tone” to the retransmitted signal to indicate when the transmitting station’s signal disappears. This is the equivalent of “over” so you know it’s your turn to talk. If the repeater is in use and you accidently interrupt the conversation, simply say, “Sorry, W3VPR clear”. If you want to join an on-going conversation, wait until there is a break in the conversation and say your call sign. One of the stations will recognize you and tell you to go ahead. Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14

  50. Chapter 6 Making Contacts • If you ever receive a report that your audio signal is strong but distorted there are several reasons why this might be true. • You could be slightly off frequency • Check to make sure you’re on the right frequency • You might be speaking too loudly into the microphone • Lower your voice or move the microphone • Your batteries might be weak or low • Replace the batteries Technician - Chapter 6 - 1 Jul 10-30 Jun 14