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Are you a license amateur radio operator?

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  • Are you a license amateur radio operator?

    As most will know, amateur radio operators have assisted with disaster communications for generations. They provide a valuable service, at no charge to our society, in handling traffic when things get bad. Many times conventional communication methods (landlines, cell phones, etc.) are simply unavailable during an emergency, but communicating via transceiver still can be done.

    Anyway, I am curious if we have any other amateur radio operators on board. Also, if anyone is interested in resources in becoming one, I can do a write up on just that topic. Thanks all.
    10
    Yes, I am!
    50.00%
    5
    Used to be, but not any more.
    0%
    0
    Nope.
    30.00%
    3
    No, but I am interesting in becoming licensed.
    20.00%
    2
    troutski likes this.
    "Success is survival." ~ Leonard Cohen

  • #2
    I would be incredibly interested in some more information on this topic. I know how such communications work, but I couldn't tell you anything about becoming one without looking it up through Google. How long have you been doing it?
    ASurvivor likes this.

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    • #3
      Much like troutski, I would also be very interested to learn more about the process involved in becoming a licensed amateur radio operator. I have no idea what would be involved but it is something I would have a great interest in. This type of communication is invaluable during a crisis or disaster.
      ASurvivor likes this.

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      • #4
        Thanks fellows for the notes. The following information should help answer the question concerning becoming licensed. Note, however, this only applies to amateur radio licensing in the United States. Every country has different licensing requirements. There are three licensing levels (Technician, General, and Amateur Extra), with each having a given set of operating privileges. For the sake of this information, I am going to assume someone is just starting, so will focus on the entry level Technician ticket.

        To obtain an amateur radio license, you must study for and past a test. The test covers radio theory, operating procedures, safety protocols, etc. Two changes to the regulations have made getting licensed much easier. First, the test no longer must be completed at an FCC office, and is instead administered by a local club. You can find a club offering the testing here. Secondly, there is no longer the Morse Code component to the test, which was a barrier for a lot of folks entry. The test questions pool are open and there are various sites offering practice test. eHam has one here. Once you pass, the club submits the material to the FCC, who issue your license.

        In addition to the practice exams, a good printed resource is Now You're Talking! All You Need to Get Your First Amateur Radio License, Fifth Edition, by Larry D. Wolfgang (Ed.). It covers all the major topics in getting licensed and general radio usage.

        While unlicensed radio services (e.g., CB, FRS, etc.) are easier to get into, amateur radio offers a lot more frequency privileges, operating modes, power levels. The skills and equipment become vary valuable indeed during a disaster.

        Anyway, I hope that helps some. If I can answer any questions, just let me know.
        Last edited by ASurvivor; 08-14-2014, 07:50 PM. Reason: Typographic error corrected
        "Success is survival." ~ Leonard Cohen

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        • #5
          That's really interesting, and I just might have to give that test a shot sometime soon. What exactly can you do as an amateur radio operator outside of disasters? On a barely related note (to unlicensed radio services), I always wanted a CB radio in my Jeep, but I could never justify the price or actually convince myself I needed it. It would have looked cool, though!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by troutski View Post
            That's really interesting, and I just might have to give that test a shot sometime soon. What exactly can you do as an amateur radio operator outside of disasters?
            Its a fun hobby in its own right. While, say, CB is limited to 40 channels and voice only, there is a huge frequency allocation for amateur radio and many more modes (voice, cw, rtty, packet radio, PSK, slow-scan television, etc.). There is a frequency chart here for easy reference.

            One system I really like is Winlink, that allows you to send and receive e-mail, without an Internet connection. Its utility in an emergency is obvious, but its kind of neat in its own right. I am planning on writing up a "how to" guide for that one in the near future.

            Originally posted by troutski View Post
            On a barely related note (to unlicensed radio services), I always wanted a CB radio in my Jeep, but I could never justify the price or actually convince myself I needed it. It would have looked cool, though!
            Citizen Band radios have come way down in recent years. You can get a basic model for like $30-50 and a good antenna for a little more. It is a great way to get more familiar with radio before obtaining a ham ticket.
            "Success is survival." ~ Leonard Cohen

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            • #7
              I've never heard of Winlink, but that's an incredible capability. I really might pursue this further. It sounds fun as a hobby and important during an emergency. I've liked the guides you've posted on here so far, and they're incredibly helpful. And please, ASurvivor, don't give me reasons or excuses to put a new toy into my Jeep. ;]
              ASurvivor likes this.

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              • #8
                I Checked out one in my country with the name HAM Radio India(reminiscent of the hindi term HAM meaning "We").I am interested in being one and getting to know all basics about Morse Code,Communication Procedure and some basic Electronics.
                I am preparing for it..
                Any tips..welcome..:P

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                • #9
                  My son, his wife and my two grandsons are all licensed HAM operators, and my son also belongs to the local Search and Rescue organization for his county.
                  I would like to learn about becoming an operator, but it is hard for me to understand all the terms associated with radio transmissions.

                  That said, I used to have a good home-base CB at the house,and mobile units in the vehicles. A good unit can often transmit for 20 miles under good conditions, and even further if you have one of the "pumped-up" ones.
                  The one i had actually had the sidebands and some of the amateur radio frequencies.
                  I think we were supposed to be licensed to use them, but as long as i stayed on the regular CB frequencies, and dion't broadcast on the restricted frequencies, there really wasn't much of a problem having it, and it had a lot more power than regular CB's had.

                  One website that i really enjoy reading is called "Urban Survival", and George Ure, who writes the column, is a licensed pilot, as well as a ham radio enthusiast. He is also into prepping and how to become as self-sufficient, (wherever you live) as you can become.
                  George is a very interesting writer, and has even more if you subscribe, so for any preppers or want-to-be radio operators , I definitely recommend you check out The Urban Survival website.
                  It is just www.urbansurvival.com .
                  Last edited by Tumbleweed; 08-13-2014, 06:40 PM.

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                  • #10
                    I used to hate one of my neighbors,because he is an amateur radio operator, and sometimes when I'm listening to music, somehow the speakers pick up on his signal. It sure is something that must come in handy in a catastrophe scenario...
                    And it actually sounds fun! I became really interested when that movie with Jodie Foster came out, where she is an amateur radio operator as a kid, and ends up being this amazing astronomer.
                    Do you talk to people all around the world?

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                    • #11
                      No, I'm not an amateur radio operator. But my father used to be! When I was younger, he would tell me stories about him and his friends setting up the antenna and the station and everything. They would then communicate with each other. I never understood the hype, but he spoke with such enthusiasm that I am sure I would love it if I tried it. I'm glad there are still people out there interested in things like that.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by fareakyman View Post
                        No, I'm not an amateur radio operator. But my father used to be! When I was younger, he would tell me stories about him and his friends setting up the antenna and the station and everything. They would then communicate with each other. I never understood the hype, but he spoke with such enthusiasm that I am sure I would love it if I tried it. I'm glad there are still people out there interested in things like that.
                        My father was a communications expert in the army when he was young, but also from what he told me and what is obvious even today, his hair started whitening at a very young age because they were forced to work around radioactive equipment of those days and so he and his friends from his unit all had white hair by the time they got out of the army at like 27 or something. But at least he knows a good deal about radio communications and wavelengths and such. I personally don't but I can ask him anything in case of a disaster.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by troutski View Post
                          I've never heard of Winlink, but that's an incredible capability. I really might pursue this further. It sounds fun as a hobby and important during an emergency. I've liked the guides you've posted on here so far, and they're incredibly helpful.
                          I need to get some good pictures taken of the hardware, but once I do, I'll create a step-by-step how-to on operating on Winlink.

                          Originally posted by troutski View Post
                          And please, ASurvivor, don't give me reasons or excuses to put a new toy into my Jeep. ;]
                          LOL! Sorry, as they say, "just trying to help."

                          In all seriousness, though, having a two-way radio such as a CB isn't a bad thing from a preparedness standpoint. Many rural police departments, for example, monitor those channels and can be called into help where a cell isn't working.
                          "Success is survival." ~ Leonard Cohen

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                          • #14
                            I'm not, but since I was a little kid I've always thought it would be really cool to be licensed in it. One day I would be lucky enough to have my own boat, and then I would definitely get licensed so I could have one on my boat!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HELLOnamesdana View Post
                              One day I would be lucky enough to have my own boat, and then I would definitely get licensed so I could have one on my boat!
                              Another option to consider for that application is Marine VHF Radio. The FCC no longer requires a license for said in US waters.
                              "Success is survival." ~ Leonard Cohen

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