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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to do a little research about radios. My family is pretty spread out and I would like a way to communicate is the grid ever goes down. I heard HAM is the way to go because it works of signals already in the air. I found these hand held radios on ebay. They claim to be HAM radios and I was wondering if they will have the same range on them. What do you guys think?
 

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That looks like a good deal. I know nothing about HAM radios right now, hopefully others will chime in. I know you have to have a licence to operate one, but I'm hoping there are channels that you can operate without a licence. If so, and others respond, I'll get one also and we'll try to connect up.
 

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I'm looking at HAM radio, too. I asked for advice on the Taurus Armed site, and this was a good repsonse:

Yaesu, Kenwood, even a 10meter RCI is fine.
Local 'clubs' will be glad to help you train/license...
and will also have a repeater [tower] available most of the time
so you can talk around the world.
If you get really interested and start gathering your equipment,
I do have some 'good extras' I will part with.
Word to the wise though, and not from a legal standpoint, don't
use your equipment before you get your license.......if you piss off
the hams in your area by doing so, you will have lost the best
friends and advocates that you could possibly have.

I'd like to get a license and a rig so that I can hear what is going on in the rest of the country and pass on what is happening in mine, should the S hit the F.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Denton: That's great advice I will have to look for some clubs. AquaHull: That's awesome. Does it work? Have you ever used HAM before?
 

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I have been a Ham since 1987 and I can tell you it is the way to go.It's not hard at all to get your ticket. You used to have to learn the Morse Code at at least 5 words per minute and as you increased your privalages you would go to 13 words per minute and then 20. You no longer need to learn the Morse Code. I haven't tested in many years but I think to get the tech ticket is only maybe 30 multiple choice questions. I think there is a charge for processing but I'm sure it is less than 20 bucks. There is so much more than just pushing the button and talking. We use computors to send text messages of sorts. My radio to your radio. We have our own satillites for relays but if a EMP or CME kills the sats that would probably be down also. I have made contacts all over the world using less than the 4 watts that a typical cb radio puts out. We send postcards over the air with a form of slow scan TV. Just do a search for ham radio and you will find test sites were you can take practice test and find a source for test manuals. Hope this helps. You might want to check out QRZ.com. I think there are links for testing there and also a great site.
 

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They claim to be HAM radios and I was wondering if they will have the same range on them. What do you guys think?
If the description is correct, this is an actual HAM radio, though a cheap knockoff. I would be most worried about it's reliability and likely a lack of features that I prefer to have. Although, at $52 it might be worth picking up and playing with. At 4watts, it's signal strength won't be too very far behind my 5watt handheld.

-kd5wmx
licensed ham operator
 

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One other thought is to find a ham readio club in your area. They can be found in your area pretty easily. For instance in my area, I'm in Butler County so our club is BCARA. Butler county amatuer radio association. Just try your counties letters followed by ARA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you guys! This has been some great advice. I am going to look into the clubs and see if I can take the test within the next month or so.
 

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I and my friends have all got cb radios. Not much range, but can talk to each other with little or no trouble. One of the group has a ham radio and license, so we can also relay through him and vise versa. One person with a ham radio, can keep the entire group enlightened as to what is going on in the world. But like us, you need some way to generate power if none is available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the advice guys. I am going to start taking a class next month at the science center to get my tech license. I was having a hard time finding clubs but this seems like a good deal. I should have my license sometime in November.
 

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I'm in the process of studying right now for my license. There are about 4 classes of licenses. The one you want to start out with is the "Technician" one. From what I'm reading, its easier than I thought it would be (A lot of the questions are FCC rules/regulations). The 5 word per minute Morse code (also refered to as CW) is not a requirement of the exam, although I'm studying "a letter per day" so I can get the Technician with the morse code credit to get a little more bands added to my list to use. I have contacted the local club in my area and to find out that the president of the club lives .2 miles from me!
 

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I taught myself morse some years ago (forgot most of it now though). I don't know what learning methods they teach, but I devised my own system by regarding dots as 'd', and dashes as 'a' to turn each letter into a 'word' to make it easier to memorise.
For example with my system the letter A when turned into a word is 'Ada', C is 'Cadad', K is 'Kada', P is 'Pdaad', Z is 'Zaadd' etc.
As for memorising numbers, i never did get round to trying that..:)

 

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I just ordered a (Japan) Yaesu FT-60R dual band (VHF/UHF) HT transceiver. Opperates in the 2m/144Mhz and 70cm/440Mhz ranges. When it comes in, I'll only be allowed to listen to it until I take my test (Which I'm ready for) here in about 3 weeks. From my research and at the time of this writing, this is one of the most popular HAM radios that people are using and are very happy with. Others will disagree of course. There is a cheaper one which a lot of hams call "throw aways", which is made by Baofeng (China). I'll probably get a few of those to throw in my vehicles, but for now, I wanted to go with a known "in the field" product.

yaesuft-60r.gif
 

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Yeah, those Beofeng's are good to go. Their about the cheapest ham handheld out there, and they have features you'll appreciate. Another good brand, been around a little longer, are the Wouxuns. The Yaesu FT-60R survival has is one of the more reliable and popular ham handhelds, preferred by those suspicious of the unproven newcomers out of China. There are Yahoogroups for each of these where you'll find plenty of support--and you'll probably want that.

With handhelds like these you will be able to communicate widely with the use of repeaters and even repeater networks. Your puny signal coming from a low-power handheld and inferior antenna is picked up by the very sensitive repeater antenna, then re-broadcast at high power by that high-gain antenna so other people with handheld radios with inferior antennas can hear you. You will need to find the frequencies of the repeaters in your area, and know the "offsets" (the transmit frequency paired with the receive frequency) to use them.

Ham radio operators are often very interested in emergency communications ("emcomms"), so repeaters tend to have battery backup and generator backup capability, with hams showing up and watching over the backup power during actual emergencies. In addition, there are "nets" of hams interested in emcomms, where they practice checking in with one another and passing messages ("traffic").

Ham handheld radios can also talk directly to one another ("simplex") rather than going through a repeater ("duplex"); in that mode, the reliable communication range is just a few miles (though certainly farther than GMRS). However, with these radios one can take off the rubber-duckie antenna and hook up better ones (Google "slim jim antenna" or "j-pole antenna" to learn about some relatively portable ones) that can be hung from a tree or the eaves of your house for better range. In simplex mode they'd work great for a team working in the same building, complex, or neighborhood.

Mobile radios (designed to be installed in a vehicle but often used in a base station or made portable with a battery power source) work these same bands and typically operate with more power and better antennas, so again--more range.

The initial Technician Class license also opens the 10-meter band, similar to CB frequencies, and further licenses let you communicate on frequencies that will let you contact people anywhere on earth. Also, you can start right away experimenting with digital voice comms, television, remote control frequencies, text modes such as RTTY, and even interfacing your radio with the Internet and e-mail!

Here's an article I wrote comparing FRS/GMRS, CB radio, and amateur radio.
 

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I just ordered a (Japan) Yaesu FT-60R dual band (VHF/UHF) HT transceiver. Opperates in the 2m/144Mhz and 70cm/440Mhz ranges. When it comes in, I'll only be allowed to listen to it until I take my test (Which I'm ready for) here in about 3 weeks. From my research and at the time of this writing, this is one of the most popular HAM radios that people are using and are very happy with. Others will disagree of course. There is a cheaper one which a lot of hams call "throw aways", which is made by Baofeng (China). I'll probably get a few of those to throw in my vehicles, but for now, I wanted to go with a known "in the field" product.

View attachment 275
I have the exact same radio. I have unlocked it so I can use it on all frequencies and transmit out of band in case shtf. :smile:
The modification for this radio is not hard to do.
I know my mind is twisted! :twisted:
Thats the fun part about working with electronics for over 25 years. Buy them then break into them to see what we can do with them to make them work better for us. :twisted:
I do have a license that covers me for all channels except ham which I am working on getting. :wink:
 
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