HAM Radio License Levels

Jun 4, 2018
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San Angelo, TX
I'm not sure if this is the correct place for this question, so if it needs to be moved then by all means.

So while thinking ahead a bit, I've been toying with the idea of entering into the ham radio world. Mostly for mobile storm spotting, but perhaps for fun on the side as well. While digging around the interwebs I found out there are actually 3 different levels of ham license. My question is, in yall's experience, which license is the minimum needed to effectively be used for storm spotting/ reporting.
 
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GWYoung

Enthusiast
Jun 9, 2018
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Bradenton, FL
Agreed. Technician level is adequate.

A decent cheap radio is the BAOFENG's, out of China. They are available on Amazon and don't cost all that much. Might want to upgrade the antenna. You'll also want to download CHIRP, which is a program used to program your radio.

You can study online for the test here:
https://hamstudy.org/
 
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May 18, 2013
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While I agree the Tech is all you need for storm spotting, you should take the General test too. It costs nothing extra to take more than one test in the same sitting and about half of the folks who take both the Tech and General in one sitting end up passing the General, especially if they have read thru the General question pool at least once after they think they are ready for the Tech. The General is very simular to the Tech but has more questions about band privileges. If you pass the General you can try the Extra at no cost, but it is a much harder test and requires a lot of study.
 
While having the ability to program your Baofeng HT is advisable, one must consider where you are going on a chase and have a 'Repeater Directory'. The newest copy can be purchased online or at your local Ham Radio supply store; cost is about $20. This will help you locate the repeaters in the chase area that may be of interest.

Some radios are easier to program on-the-fly/manually than others. While the Baofeng is a decent choice for the money spent, there are other HT radios that are much easier to manually program. Either the entry level Icom or Yaesu may prove to be easier to use but will cost a bit more.

In addition, your Baofeng will require a programming cable, which is not included in the box, so you will have to purchase that separately. I have/use the Baofeng. It is OK for repeater use; but for simplex use (eg - the 2m/146.520mhz national call freq) it is less than desirable since the receive has little to no adjacent freq rejection. IOW, you will most likely hear traffic light relays, bleed from any/all of the NWS warning channels (some 20mhz away from your center freq), and a plethora of other noise and signals. But when in repeater mode, this will not be an issue. The Yaesu or Icom will not have that issue in simplex mode. Baofengs are cheap; but not always the best choice for the above reasons.

Most definitely agree that an external mag mount 2m-70cm antenna will be needed, regardless of what radio you choose - anywhere from $45 to $80; the $45 antenna will be more than sufficient. You will also need an adapter between the HT and the antenna coax connector - about ~$10.
Just an FYI . . .
 
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John Craze

Enthusiast
May 11, 2019
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Flintstone, GA
Agreed. Technician level is adequate.

A decent cheap radio is the BAOFENG's, out of China. They are available on Amazon and don't cost all that much. Might want to upgrade the antenna. You'll also want to download CHIRP, which is a program used to program your radio.

You can study online for the test here:
HamStudy.org: Cutting edge amateur radio study tools
This is perfect information. Thanks. I came looking for this