Author Topic: Smartphones as a toolbox for ham radio  (Read 3392 times)

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Smartphones as a toolbox for ham radio
« on: February 29, 2012, 11:17:32 AM »
Disclaimer :this post was typed up on my phone so there is bound to be some typos, please excuse them. Thanks.

With smartphones becoming a standard in the cell phone market we are seeing some fine applications being developed with amateur radio in mind. This is a great way to keep some of those needed tools in one place and usually always on you. Now I'm an advocate for keeping a ape copy of everything but in a pinch these apps can be a God send.  I'm gonna just give you a run through of what I have on my android phone to give you an idea of what's out there for you to take advantage of...

Amateur Radio Exam
what's the first thing you need to get into the hobby of amateur radio?  A license!  This is a free app offered in the android Market. I gained all the knowledge I needed to obtain my Tech ticket from this free application. It's a practice test software that you can run through fairly quickly. With test options like all questions, all incorrect answered, random test,  this is what prepared me in the short time I had before the exam date. Once you've passed the tech you can use this app for tech and exam but you will have to purchase the upgrade for a couple bucks but I see it as a couple buck worth having practice tests at the snap of your fingers when you're not able to use a computer.

after you have your callsign in the fcc database you're gonna want to get on the air, right?  Well with this app you can utilize the echolink program to get you on repeaters world wide. This app will set you back a couple bucks, but I was able to make contact to a repeater in my old hometown in Illinois within minutes of downloading. There is a validation process to prove you are licensed so that helps keep those pesky people who only want to hinder our fun off the air. This is, I think, a decent way to get a younger generation involved. For under $20 they can take their test and be on the air using echolink. Maybe they don't have money to get a radio but find the hobby interesting, we'll this is a new way to reach younger recruits.

Amateur Radio Call Log
this was another free nifty tool that lets me keep track of some of the callsigns I make contact with. Even if it's on a repeater I can take note of their name, qth, and which repeater so that I can later recall names to calls. This app also give you access to the callsign database, through I believe qrz.

myUTC clock
I have a hard time keeping track of different time zones and this little guy is pretty cool. This app let's you put little clocks on your screen as a widget. I currently have a couple clocks on my phone so I can keep track of UTC, Zulu, AZ, central, and for my military buddies, to time in Afghanistan.

These are a few of the apps in currently running but there is alot more out there. Some of the ones in looking at are Ham Sat Droid, give you the ability to tract ham radio satellites. Call sign database, morseDecoder, DroidPsk, which lets you encode as well as decode psk31, aprsDroid, which you can track Other aprs users and send/receive messages through the aprs system, QSL Ham Radio Mobile, this is a $5 app but the tools you get seem worth it. You get repeater directories, grid squares, fcc callsign look up and a couple other tools for your trade.

With these phones becoming more and more like computers we have the ability to make life a little easier. Now I am going to say it again, nothing beats knowing things the hard way. If you're on these forums I bet you have the mindset that one day something may go wrong, so let's prepare ourself to not rely on these apps but we might as well use them while it's around.

If you use any apps in your ham radio toolbox let's hear about them and your reviews

KF7SZX, Eric


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Re: Smartphones as a toolbox for ham radio
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2012, 12:05:54 PM »
Nice, very nice

Ill have to add to this with iPhone apps when I research it


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Re: Smartphones as a toolbox for ham radio
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 01:09:02 PM »
This is some good info. I use my droid for everything. Now Im going to have to go find all of this stuff. Thanks for the heads up.

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Re: Smartphones as a toolbox for ham radio
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2012, 07:51:34 PM »
I have no idea what a app. is ,haven't turned on my cell in almost 2 months.


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Re: Smartphones as a toolbox for ham radio
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2012, 06:24:56 AM »
I have no idea what a app. is ,haven't turned on my cell in almost 2 months.

I'm still trying to put a rotary dial on my cellphone.