From the Desk of John Rourke – September 22th, 2014

I have decided to make a few changes here on the site. Every day I will be posting “From the Desk….” with my thoughts on whatever is on my mind at the time. There are a few other changes as well. Just keep an eye out.

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Over the past few weeks I have made some strides in the area of “disaster communications”. I will be testing for my HAM licence in October and have been experimenting locally with several Baofeng UV5R handheld HAM radio’s. Learning how to get them set up and solving  just a few of the mysteries of HAM has been tedious – and rewarding. I have a lot to learn.

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Not sure how I missed it but one of my favorite YouTube buddy’s SouthernPrepper1 just released his first book. Retreat Security and Small Unit Tactics is sure to be a big hit. I have not ordered it yet but will be shortly.

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Have a great day!


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  1. Good luck on the Ham License exam. I got my Technician license about a year ago. I have two Baofeng UV82Ls as my back up radios, A Kenwood THF6A as my primary, a 2 Meter base station and a 10 Meter base station, as well as Yaesu FT7900Rs installed in my vehicles.

  2. In 2012 I made a huge push on Ham licensing using time at my sons basketball practices and ahead of games when we had to be there early. Between the Gordon West Audio CDs, and an ipad/iphone based question testing software called Amateur Radio Exam Prep (which helps focus on your weak areas/questions), I was able to pass all three exams in just over 3 months for Amateur Extra. I still have some valid ARRL books for General and Extra plus the CDs and would be willing to loan them to you if you wish (as a Thank You for this site). I recently got back General after loaning it to a friend taking test in WNC and he said it was a big help. While I had some background prior in electronics, computers, CBs, etc, I found these Gordon West items to be very helpful in mastering concepts and the ipad software great for doing well on the test. (I have no connection to these products other than successfully using them).

  3. I have been studying for my HAM as well. I have found several free resources online as well as a technicians book which expired last month. Is it still good you think? Thought about picking up a Baofeng anyway for the sake of having it.

  4. There are some good programs out there for easily setting up your Baofeng UV-5R based radios, however skip the six dollar USB cable sold on many sights as it is not a good product. There are some 20 to 30 dollar cables that will do just fine and not be as finicky. I highly recommend the BaoFeng as an entry level radio, but change out the antenna as your first upgrade for better comms.

    As a tip, I have found that many churches who have an emergency preparedness program will offer the classes either Free or Cheap, and the test is only fourteen dollars.

    • Brad M – So far I have not had any issues with the cheap cables. I just needed to make certain the correct driver is installed and is communicating with the computer – and BINGO – no problems. So far I love the Baofengs. Took awhile to learn them and still am but for the money work great.

  5. Looking forward to seeing what else is on your mind John. The ham testing is next on my communications task list. We have several Baofeng UV5R for our mobile and entry level base communications, lots more to do here. SouthernPrepper1 new book sounds like a good one from the reviews I have seen, will be added to our library.

    Stay Safe

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