Tips for New HamSphere Users
Many new/trial users experience a few problems when getting started using HamSphere (HS). I’d like to offer some tips for a successful HamSphere launch.
1. Read the User’s Manual first. On the surface the HS seems intuitive. Yet there are important details that one should learn before making contacts on the system. The User Manual is a fairly quick read yet contains a great deal of useful information. You won’t have to ask many questions if you start by reading the User Manual.
2. Make sure your transmit audio sounds better than good. Laptop users are especially prone to sounding hollow, weak, boomy, bassy, distorted and just generally awful. There are at least 2 ways you can check the quality of your transmit audio. My blog features a detailed step-by-step tutorial for configuring your computer and the HS software so you sound GREAT! Visit http://kb4t.hamsphere.net and look for the Configuring Transmit Audio article.
At the very least make sure that when you are transmitting, the needle on the HS transceiver never goes above pointing straight up and down. When the needle bounces along the top edge of the green bar on the bottom meter scale, your level is perfect. Perfect level doesn’t mean perfect audio however. Read my tutorial if you want to sound perfect.
The type of impression you make will be directly proportional to the quality of your transmit audio. The better you sound, the more fun you will have.
3. RESIST THE URGE TO TRANSMIT FOR AT LEAST THE FIRST HOUR of your first HS use. No one will do this, of course, because nearly everyone is anxious to make that first contact. Instead of busting into ongoing conversations or calling CQ endlessly, take time to tune around and listen. Click on each band and observe the bandscope. Move the receiver to any activity you see there and listen. Try to get a feel for how things are done.
If you are an Amateur Radio Operator, be prepared to hear different procedures than those you may be used to on the ham bands. Ultimately, activity on HS is supposed to mimic the ham bands. Keep in mind that the majority of HS users are radio enthusiasts who may have never used a radio or they may be Citizens Band operators or they may be total newbies who have never used any radio or VOIP system before.
4. Go back and really read #3 again. You probably read the first sentence and said, “I don’t need to do that!” Yes! You do!! The best HS operators LISTEN. They listen intently. They pay attention to detail. They follow the HamSphere Code of Conduct and the Amateur’s Code (both can be found elsewhere in the forum.) Operators who are good listeners garner the greatest benefit from their HS operating time.
5. Review the HamSphere Bandplan. Digital modes and CW are the only modes allowed on the 30m band. No voice operation is allowed there. Digital modes are NOT allowed on any other HS band.
6. Always be courteous, friendly and pleasant. Always. If you are angry, upset, annoyed, unhappy or in a foul mood, shut down the HS software and resolve the issue. One saying sums it up, “On HamSphere, just as in all aspects of life, YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE.” Nothing else needs be said.
7. Finally, be a great conversationalist. Being a great conversationalist is not hard. The secret is to ask questions that can’t be answered with a “Yes” or “No.” Asking questions and listening intently to the answers makes for great conversation. Would you like to know the secret to winning instant friendships? Make the other party in the conversation talk about themselves. That’s it. Use their name often and ask questions that give them the opportunity to talk about themselves. Do this and you will be very popular on HS.
Follow these tips and you will enjoy your HamSphere operating time immensely. I guarantee it!
Frank N. Haas KB4T