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Anyone use Ham radio, GMRS or another type of "alternate" communication?

jmcd

Professional
Founding Member
With recent word events in mind, what would you do if cell service went down? Could you communicate out? Would you want to? Could you reach family members, etc.? Landline phones are falling by the wayside and some of these other methods could have serious line of sight obstacles. Curious if anyone else has thoughts about a this type of scenario?
 
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Licensed Amateur (ham) operator here also. Have battery backup at home, a 50 watt tri-band 2m, 6m, 70cm in car, and carry a couple spare batteries for my 2m/70cm handheld which can also be plugged in to the car's cigarette lighter socket. As far as contacting family etc., they must also pass the FCC exam but if you're licensed, you can contact emergency services (ARES or RACES) through many thousands of repeaters nationwide or through other licensed operators. For the unlicensed, there is CB (Citizens Band) or FMRS (Family Mobile Radio Service) but power and distance are limited on those and there are no repeaters on those bands. With a little studying, most people can easily pass the FCC Amateur Technician class exam but the General and Extra class for HF worldwide frequencies access are more difficult and require a lot more study. For more info on Amateur Radio, search Amateur Radio Relay League on the web.
 

jmcd

Professional
Founding Member
Licensed Amateur (ham) operator here also. Have battery backup at home, a 50 watt tri-band 2m, 6m, 70cm in car, and carry a couple spare batteries for my 2m/70cm handheld which can also be plugged in to the car's cigarette lighter socket. As far as contacting family etc., they must also pass the FCC exam but if you're licensed, you can contact emergency services (ARES or RACES) through many thousands of repeaters nationwide or through other licensed operators. For the unlicensed, there is CB (Citizens Band) or FMRS (Family Mobile Radio Service) but power and distance are limited on those and there are no repeaters on those bands. With a little studying, most people can easily pass the FCC Amateur Technician class exam but the General and Extra class for HF worldwide frequencies access are more difficult and require a lot more study. For more info on Amateur Radio, search Amateur Radio Relay League on the web.
Good info. Thanks @Lock n' Load
 

BobT

Elite
I have CB and GMRS in both vehicle mounted and hand held. Thinking about HAM but to lazy to study.
Come on, Dave. We know your better than that. I gave my 70 year old wife the question pool for the license to carry test on a Sunday and she took her test the next day and passed. She did the same thing for her driver's license a few months earlier than that and English is not her first language. She is studying for her US citizenship test right now and is considering the ham test after that. (y)😎:D
You can do the same to get your Tech license. It is not that hard and you will discover a whole new world out there. Go to this link listed below and find a training class and/or a test session near you:

 
Following this thread I’ve been contemplating for awhile getting a communication device “Ham or CB”
For traveling, after a couple weeks of research my head is spinning on options.
Definitely want hand held.
Leaning in the direction of Ham Radio.
I don’t see an issue studying and getting a license for limited use. Sooooooo

All you experienced users what am I looking for????
 

BobT

Elite
Following this thread I’ve been contemplating for awhile getting a communication device “Ham or CB”
For traveling, after a couple weeks of research my head is spinning on options.
Definitely want hand held.
Leaning in the direction of Ham Radio.
I don’t see an issue studying and getting a license for limited use. Sooooooo

All you experienced users what am I looking for????
Happy to help.
First, decide what you would like to use the radio for. Do you want to mainly use the radio for local communication, ham club activities, technical knowledge, public service activities, world wide communication or just meeting new and interesting people (aka "Rag Chewing").
Second, set a budget. Like with any hobby, you can spend as much or as little as you want.
Third, join the American Radio Relay League (ARRL.org). They have tons of resources to get you started.
Forth, via the ARRL website, find your nearest local club and find yourself a mentor (aka an "Elmer") Your Elmer will introduce you to what resources are available in your area, help you get tested and introduce you to many facets of the hobby at no cost to you. Here are some links to clubs in your area:
https://arts-club.org/
http://arkham.louiebiz.com/
http://www.kyham.net/links.html (Site links to all KY ham clubs)

Now for my opinion:
The big dogs in radios are Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood but a lot of others are in the space at all price points. All are very capable radios. When looking at VHF/UHF digital radios, keep in mind that Yaesu and Icom-Kenwood each have their own proprietary encoding formats. DMR is a non-proprietary format but the various formats do not talk to one another. Find out what your local repeaters support before buying.

For a 2 meter / 70 centimeter hand held, the AnyTone AT-D878UVII PLUS $315 is hard to beat right now. It has both analog and Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) modulation schemes. You will need a Windows computer to program it.

For 2m/1.25m/70cm mobile the AnyTone AT-D878UVIII PLUS is another winner with analog and DMR capability.

For High Frequency (HF) any of the big 3 are available in both home and mobile configurations. You will want to get at least a 100 watt output. I am partial to Icom but they are all well regarded.

That should get you started. Let me know if I can be of additional help.

Bob
 
Happy to help.
First, decide what you would like to use the radio for. Do you want to mainly use the radio for local communication, ham club activities, technical knowledge, public service activities, world wide communication or just meeting new and interesting people (aka "Rag Chewing").
Second, set a budget. Like with any hobby, you can spend as much or as little as you want.
Third, join the American Radio Relay League (ARRL.org). They have tons of resources to get you started.
Forth, via the ARRL website, find your nearest local club and find yourself a mentor (aka an "Elmer") Your Elmer will introduce you to what resources are available in your area, help you get tested and introduce you to many facets of the hobby at no cost to you. Here are some links to clubs in your area:
https://arts-club.org/
http://arkham.louiebiz.com/
http://www.kyham.net/links.html (Site links to all KY ham clubs)

Now for my opinion:
The big dogs in radios are Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood but a lot of others are in the space at all price points. All are very capable radios. When looking at VHF/UHF digital radios, keep in mind that Yaesu and Icom-Kenwood each have their own proprietary encoding formats. DMR is a non-proprietary format but the various formats do not talk to one another. Find out what your local repeaters support before buying.

For a 2 meter / 70 centimeter hand held, the AnyTone AT-D878UVII PLUS $315 is hard to beat right now. It has both analog and Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) modulation schemes. You will need a Windows computer to program it.

For 2m/1.25m/70cm mobile the AnyTone AT-D878UVIII PLUS is another winner with analog and DMR capability.

For High Frequency (HF) any of the big 3 are available in both home and mobile configurations. You will want to get at least a 100 watt output. I am partial to Icom but they are all well regarded.

That should get you started. Let me know if I can be of additional help.

Bob
Thank you very much, I’m glad I asked before buying, I’ll contact ARRL.
Much appreciated.
 
Thank you very much, I’m glad I asked before buying, I’ll contact ARRL.
Much appreciate
If studying for the exam, I highly recommend the Gordon West W5YI Technician Study Manual for the entrance exam (Technician Class). I studied it for 2 days before the exam and passed with a perfect score. It really simplified the information for me. All my gear is Kenwood but you can't go wrong with Icom, Yaesu, or Alinco products. For antennas, Diamond Antennas are my choice. You get the quality you pay for when it comes to radios and gear. 73 Keystone! (Ham speak for good luck, take care, etc. but it's initial meaning, "I will you my Winchester Model 73" linked Ham Radio to firearms forever! Hiram Percy Maxim founded the ARRL as well as designing and selling the first firearm silencer.) You'll hear this frequently on QSO's (conversations) when the operators are finished and signing off.

Edit for spelling and punctuation.
 
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Annihilator

Emissary
Founding Member
I use two styrofoam cups and a string...LOL
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