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#1 SSB

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 12:16 AM

I was wondering whet type of radios you all carry out in the field. I know most carry FRS/GMRS, but some of you are HAM licensed. What type of portable radio do you carry.Thanks, Steve

#2 Jason

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 08:51 AM

I carry a Tri-Band Kenwood HT (Hand Talkie). I'm a Ham and find the power coupled with the repeaters means that in most places I can get out if I had to in an emergency. I can hit the repeaters from most areas that I hunt in. I also have a 2 meter mobile in my truck that runs up to 50 Watts. I can't use the cellphone in the areas I hunt so this is a nice backup. To get a Ham Tech license is pretty easy these days. There is no morse code requirement anymore for any of the licenses. With all the repeaters out there you can get some pretty good coverage and some of them are on echolink or some other linking system which allows you to talk all over the world on the VHF and UHF Ham Bands.The main problem with most HTs is that the antennas act like leaky dummy loads. With a five watt HT and the right antenna you can really cover a lot of ground. I know a guy that built a set up for emergency preparedness where he runs a mobile all frequency rig out of a backpack with batteries. It's lightweight and he can pretty much talk to anyone he wants. One thing I like about being a Ham is you learn about radios, antennas, and electronics so you can take off the shelf stuff and adapt it to different needs or make radio stuff.

#3 SSB

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 11:17 AM

Thanks for the reply Jason, I have always had an interest in HAM, but never followed up on it. I wonder though, with cell phone tech advancing so well, do you see ham operators around in the next 15 / 20 years?

#4 Braz

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 11:28 AM

Oh yea. I do. I am not a HAM, but see them being around. When a major catastrophe happens, the cell phones often times go out. But the HAM is still available. It was a major issue in Katrina.
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#5 Jason

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 12:20 PM

Not just Katrina, there are some articles on line about the storms in the pacific northwest. No land lines, no cell phones for weeks. The only communication was being done by Hams. One man was seriously hurt and help form emergency services was able to be summoned via Ham radio in an article I read. I read another article that during the ice storms recently back east the only communication working was radio. The cell towers don't have backup power to function even if they live through the catastrophy. During 9-11 nothing worked in NY except the Hams. What happens in an emergency is that the remaining cell towers that do function are almost always overwhelmed so very few communications get through if at all. I've seen this at the World Ag Expo in Tulare for many years. I often cannot make a call out of there because of all the guys trying to make calls on the limited tower availability. I was recently listening to some recordings of Ham radio operators that came with my General Class license book. The recordings were of Hams during the Katrina fiasco. Hams knew hours before the government and media that the levees had broken and the flooding what was going on.Hams are always keen on incorporating new technology with radio technology. The current hot thing is to set up a repeater with your computer so you can be out and about and talk with someone all over the world. Yea, you could sit at your computer and do that already but now you can be out in the woods walking and talking to someone driving down the highway in another country. I listened to one guy driving here in California who was talking to a guy hiking in the country in the U.K. Now in a dissaster the internet will most likely not work but the regular radio parts function fine. Most VHF and UHF repeaters have solar backup which means they work off the grid. The repeater I use mostly for talking is entirely batteries and solar. It's up on a hill away from the grid. The entire U.S. could go without power and I'm still able to communicate. I live in a rural area and it is a nice feeling knowing that I have this backup. They got programs where you can talk with astronauts even on the shuttles and space station.Cell phones are great, I use them all the time but it's nice knowing I don't have to rely on someone else to communicate and that location isn't as big an issue. I leave the cell phone in the truck when I go hunting because it doesn't get signal where I go. That's not entirely true, I will take it if I forgot the camera to use the camera function on. As soon as I get my General Class passed next month I'll be able to go High Frequency which means world wide communcation without repeaters or internet which will be cool.I think in 15-20 years there will still be Hams out there although the technology they have added onto their radios may be different. Hams were making telephone calls via their radios back in the 70s long before folks could do that on cell phones. They were sending text messages and images to eachother when most people had never heard of email. Hams are quick to adopt the technology and use it. On some bands you can run 1500 Watts of PEP which you cannot do on CB or with your cell phone. You can cover a lot of area with that much power and an antenna. Heck, we might be talking to people on the moon someday or further. The advantage with Ham radio is the number of bands and frequencies, the power output, antenna options, and ways to communicate. The old days of grand dad sitting behind a huge box of vacuum tubes are an image of Ham Radio's past. The dropping of the Morse Code testing requirement is changing things. I know a lot of guys that never went past technician who are working on getting there high frequency privileges now.

#6 SSB

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 12:38 PM

Hey Jason, You are a wealth of information my friend. I have been considering taking the Tech exam. With work slowing down a bit, this winter is the opportunity. Thanks for your insight!

#7 nevjohn

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 01:24 PM

SSB - you have the perfect forum name.....Single Side Band....Jason - Good luck in your up and coming General Exam. I took mine way back in 1957!! Still have my original callsign from when I was even a Novice. What is your location, or general area??Myself, I dont take anything into the field with me, except my cell in the "off" mode. Just for emergency use if needed. I do have an old Icom IC-2AT 2m ht boat anchor this is available, other wise, most of my gear has been parted with.John
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#8 Jason

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 02:02 PM

Thanks NevJohn, I've been taking the General Practice Exams online and am just about ready. I had the same thought about SSB's name. I wonder if he is USB or LSB? LOL!Here's a picture of an antenna some friends and I made. Posted ImageI call it my redneck rig because I attach it to a shovel and use that as the antenna boom. It works on 2M and 70CM. The long element in the picture actually is two segments that come apart for storage and easy moving. A couple of the other guys use their inside their house at less than five watts and get really good signal off of them. I can cover the central valley of California easy with this antenna and a couple watts on the HT. I don't even have to put it up high. I want to make a roll up J Pole or Di Pole next to stick in my hunting bag to mess around with out in the woods.

#9 nevjohn

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 07:31 PM

Oh yeah, the "double J-pole" antenna. They even make that thing commercially. I have built several 300 ohm twinlead J-poles for emergency work. Actually, I house them inside a piece of PVC pipe for rigidity and to mount to a mast, just offset a PVC "T" cut in half length ways and use hose clamps to attach to the mast. Great for emerg work, and infact, I do that also on my RV ladder rack.Here at the house, only rig I have on 24/7 is my APRS weather station and the NWS uses my temp report for their hourly NOAA broadcast for temps in Tulare, from the Hanford WFO. Think the URL is at the bottom of the page.You never did say where you are located at... if a secret, then no problem...
John in Tulare, Ca

#10 Jason

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 08:32 AM

I'm in the Lemoore Area so I'm pretty close to Tulare. I don't want to get too specific on these open forums. Cool deal with the APRS weather station. My elmers were talking about those last month in our informal get together. I listen to the weather bands all the time on my rigs so now when I hear the temp for Tulare I'll know exactly where it came from.73




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