# All Questions

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3k views

### What is a “random wire antenna”?

Some antenna tuners claim to match any “random wire” to any HF frequency. Can one really use a random wire as a practical antenna system? From everything I have heard, the resonance of the antenna (...
346 views

### How do emergency nets work?

In movies that depict amateur radio in emergencies, the hams' worldwide communication network invariably is able to pass messages between individuals. As an amateur that has been primarily interested ...
2k views

5k views

### 50 Ohm coaxial cable vs 450 Ohm or 600 Ohm ladder or window line?

What are the relative advantages and disadvantages of using 50 Ohm coaxial cable as opposed to 450 Ohm or 600 Ohm ladder or window line?
4k views

### Why are vacuum tubes still used in amateur radios?

I wonder, even in this modern generation why the outdated vacuum tubes are used. In other electronic circuits they have been replaced by more efficient (and small) transistors years ago. Why they are ...
2k views

### WWV, WWVH, and WWVL may be shut down. Are there any alternatives?

The US government is proposing to shut down the NIST standard time and frequency stations WWV, WWVH, and WWVB in Colorado and Hawaii. If that actually happens, are there any free or inexpensive ...
16k views

### What's the pinout for “Kenwood” 2.5mm TRS/3.5 mm TRS connector?

I've seen many Chinese HTs (Baofeng, Puxing, Wouxun, QuanSheng etc.) using the so-called "Kenwood connector", which has a 2.5 mm TRS connector and a 3.5 mm TRS connector. It looks something like this: ...
8k views

### What does Ham mean?

Amateur radio operators are always referred to as Hams, it's basically the most common term for the hobby, at least around here. Where does the term come from? I heard that it's an acronym for ...
1k views

### Where can one find recordings of Morse code, generated by humans and not machines?

I need some recordings of CW / Morse code for use in a project. Most of what I find is either nonsense (it just exists for the 'sound of CW', but doesn't contain a message) or is generated by a ...
2k views

### How can RF exposure hurt you?

In studying for the exam, one question came up about RF Exposure. G0A 07 What effect does transmitter duty cycle have when evaluating RF exposure? My ...
613 views

### Why do concurrent FM signals not mix together?

Generally when I hear two conflicting signals they do not mix together, but rather one dominates then the other. This phenomenon can be observed on FM broadcast station when driving out of range from ...
16k views

### How can I safely transmit without an antenna tuner or SWR meter?

Just what the title says. An Antenna Tuner, henceforth AT, is almost a de facto piece of equipment in a shack; working the bands without one is tantamount to leaping off the diving board into a ...
2k views

### What is a linear RF amplifier?

Most of the RF amplifiers advertised, and most of the questions about amplifiers, are "linear" amplifiers. What is a linear amplifier, and what other common amplifier type(s) exist that requires ...
3k views

### If I install a G5RV in my attic how could I be certain there are not harmful levels of RF in the shack, or my kids bedroom?

I assume that anyone who has a G5RV or G5RV junior in their attic has done so with ceramic spacers, and has zigzag or dog-leg installations, or otherwise has contorted the antenna to fit up there. My ...
2k views

### What should I consider when choosing a coaxial cable?

Given a middling-power rig (up to 100 W) requiring a 50 Ω antenna, a few options for the coaxial cable with a 50 Ω impedance are RG-174 RG-58A/U RG-8 RG-213 Apart from cost, what factors are ...
7k views

### What is the purpose of a balun and a unun in a feed line?

I have never understood how a balun or a unun works and under which situation I need to use either of them in an antenna feed line.
7k views

### How do I change my registered address with the FCC?

I just moved, and I want to change my registered address with my call-sign. Is there a form or something somewhere that I can fill out? Do I have to mail it, or can I turn it in to the FCC or ...
6k views

### What does the addition of a shield to a small loop accomplish?

A small shielded loop is an antenna with a loop of wire, smaller than 1/10th of a wavelength in diameter, also surrounded by a shield. Often, they are constructed from coax. There is a gap in the ...
628 views

### Are amateur radio call signs unique among all radio call signs?

Idle curiosity: Are the call signs of amateur radio operators distinct from call signs in all other radio services, such that there can be no ambiguity even if the relevant license and band(s) of ...
11k views

### Where are the baluns for VHF and higher? How can one be made?

In another question, commenters recommended that I look into adding a 1:1 balun to a dual-band dipole to eliminate the feedline as a radiator. As I understand it, a 1:1 balun also functions as a choke,...
3k views

### OK to use any repeater?

There are a number of repeaters in my area, each belonging to a particular amateur radio club. These guys are all friendly and willing to chat but I was wondering if it was bad form to make use of a ...
3k views

### Why does the audio on my FM transceiver cut out every 5.5 seconds?

Specifically, my Icom ID-4100a. What's interesting, is that this happens in MR and VFO modes... but NOT when using the built-in WX stations. For example listening to WX-01 (162.550 MHz), no problem. ...
2k views

### Is is possible to operate D-Star from a software-defined radio?

What is preventing a software-defined radio from transmitting the D-Star protocol?
25k views

### What do “QRM” and “QSB” refer to?

An answer on Basic QSO format? mentions things like "QRM" and "QSB". What do those terms mean?
3k views

### Why are Wullenweber CDAAs obsolete?

Wullenweber circularly-disposed antenna arrays (CDAAs) are large HF direction-finding antennas, sometimes colloquially referred to as "elephant cages", that were popular in the Cold War. They allowed ...
2k views

### When may a ham operate beyond the privileges of their licence class?

As far as I know, all radio amateurs are assigned privileges on Power Output Mode of operation Operating bands as a function of the class of licence they hold. These privileges differ from one ...
997 views

### Calling a friend on simplex

Can someone please help clarify. I have tried searching all over, but almost all of the examples you find online and in books are for calling CQ on HF. I am new to ham radio, and recently got a few of ...
7k views

### How do I prevent radio signals from tripping a GFCI?

My wife woke up several nights by a metallic "thunk". It happened to be while I was talking on 10 meters and turned out to be the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) on her hair dryer cord. ...
2k views

### How would a time-difference-of-arrival receiver with two antennas know which side the signal is from?

An easy TDOA design by Byonics was published with the following schematic: It appears that the antennas are switched at a rate of 640Hz, which allows a 640Hz tone to be heard in the radio when the ...