AC6V’s FM101x: A Book for the New Tech

Back in the old days, the first license most amateurs received was the Novice license. When new hams got their Novice licenses, they put up an 80m or 40m dipole, fired up the transmitter, connected their key, and started pounding out CQ. There were plenty of books that not only showed them how to do that, but also how to make CW contacts.

Nowadays, of course, the first license most hams get is the Technician license, and their first rig is an HT that they’ll use to talk over the local repeater. Most of these radios already have an antenna, so getting on the air isn’t a problem. What to do when you get on the air can be, though.

That’s why Rod Dinkins, AC6V (of www.ac6v.com fame) wrote AC6V’s FM101x: A Guide to Your First VHF/UHF Radio and Using FM Repeaters. In this book, Rod, who was a technical writer for Hewlett Packard for more than 20 years, clearly explains not only how to choose and use a radio, but also what to do with it once you have it.

The book includes chapters on:

Your First FM Radio. This chapter will help you purchase your first FM radio. Discusses advantages of Handi-Talkies vs Mobiles, antennas, batteries, features to consider. All mode radios and multi-banders are discussed. Mobile installation, Mobile Antennas, DC power supplies, Noise Abatement, Mobile Power considerations, Coax Considerations, and VSWR checks.

Operating Simplex. This chapter discusses simplex operation, or operation without a repeater. It describes the range you can expect, antennas, cross polarization, and protocol. Includes a complete list of simplex frequencies from 2 meters thru 1.2 GHz including the recommended National Calling frequencies.

How Repeaters Work. This chapter tells you everything you need to know about how a repeater works, and includes a simplified pictorial of a repeater. This chapter covers simplex, half duplex, and full duplex operation. It explains offsets, splits, input and output frequencies and lists the standard offsets for USA repeaters – 10 meters thru 2.4 GHz. Thoroughly covered are CTCSS, PL, subaudible tones, tone squelch, DCS, CTCS, tone burst, DTMF, and other repeater beeps and bebops.

Programming a Rig. This chapter walks you through the process of programming your radio. It shows you how to make a cheat sheet and use programming cables.

Antennas, Power Sources, VSWR, and DeciBels. This chapter explains why the rubber duck antenna is a mediocre antenna at best and describes more effective antennas. such as the quarter-wave, half-wave, ¾- wave, and 5/8-wave antennas. It also cover Yagis, and J-Poles and gives numerous tips for building your own antennas. The concepts of VSWR, and dB are covered in an accessible, non-technical way. The power sources section discusses the different types of batteries, including sealed lead acid (SLA), Lithium, NiCad, and NiMH batteries.

Using Repeaters. This chapter tells you how to find repeaters, including how to use repeater guides on the internet. Then, once you’ve found a repeater, it gives you a complete rundown on repeater protocol, soliciting a conversation, asking for information, jargon heard, radio checks and signal reports, what to say, breaking in, multiple conversations – rotations, nets, roll calls and demos, autopatching. Also listed is a complete listing of 2 Meter repeater pairs, packet simplex, and voice simplex frequencies.

Phonetics, Q-Signals, and Callsigns. Confused by Q-signals? This chapter not only explains the Q-signals used on repeaters, but also the phonetics you’ll hear.

Funny Repeater Sounds. Repeaters produce a myriad of strange noises, and helps you determine what these sounds mean, including path noise, distortions, alternator whine, ignition noise, capturing, Morse characters, hum, over and under deviation, kerchunk, desense, CB talk, i.e. ten codes.

Cops and Jammers. This chapter will help you determine when and when not to play repeater cop and how to deal with jammers and interlopers.

Inside A Repeater. This chapter includes detailed block diagrams of the elements of a repeater and discusses in plain language how duplexers, limiters, discriminators, deviation, bandwidth, channel spacing, modulation index, and FM modulation work.

Interconnecting Repeaters. This is one of the most exciting new ways to use a repeater. Discusses how amateurs are using IRLP, ILINK, and crossband repeating to extend the range of their systems.

Glossary and Jargon. This chapter includes 16 pages of terms, slang, and repeater speak.

While not for the experienced operator, this book is quite comprehensive and is sure to help the most intimidated get on the air successfully. It really is a great book for the Technician who’s wondering, “Now, what do I do?”

You can buy this book on QTB.Com. Just click here.

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