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Amateur Radio? Answered

 I am going to be taking an amateur radio course early next year (foundation level). I have been doing a little research into the subject and I am baffled by the terminology / acronyms. 
I'm sure I'll learn all that when the time comes.  At the moment I am interested in cheap kits / second-hand gear and instructions on how to make a small, portable aerial for 2m (144MHz) operation for www.sota.org.uk.

Any other information is gladly accepted.
What is CQ, SSB, CW, QSL? etc.

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M0HIZ (author)2012-02-07

With regards to kits, there are many available. They ae on eBay on you can find them at radio rallies.
For a 2m sota aerial, a 3 element Yagi would probably be best as it issmall and directional and provides some gain over a dipole (type 3 ele 2m Yagi into Google for more information).
CQ is the initial call put out by a ham. SSB, which stands for Single SideBand, is a very common mode of communication which can be used for long distance contacts. CW stands for Continuos Wave and is aother name for Morse code. Finally, a QSL card is a ham postcard that is sent to confirm that a contact has taken place. Details such as the time , date and frequency of the contact are put on the card.

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Marsh (author)2009-12-23

CQ - that term used to call for a two way communication with someone over the air. i.e. CQ, CQ, CQ, this is K6HZT calling CQ.
SSB - Single Side Band, This is where you take an AM radio signal and peel off one edge of it (the sideband) and just broadcast that. The receiver re-creats the rest of the signal.
CW - Continuous Wave. This is the most rudimentary for of radio. It is nothing more than a carrier with no modulation that turns on and off. CW is the type of radio used to transmit Morse Code.
QSL - This is a written confirmation of a two way communication. Usually in the form of a post card, trading QSL cards is a basic tennet of Ham Radio.

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