HAM radio/amateur radio FAQ

Pathfinder

Adventurer
Will do, and I will drop by 4x4ham.com as well

I did pass my Tech exam, and now I am known as KC9VMD :)
 
Last edited:

Finlay

Triarius
I just passed my technician class. I'm taking General and Extra next week (a degree in EE helps a lot! - but I gotta learn the section 97 stuffs).

Thanks for posting this, it's been very helpful. Now, you need to post a FAQ on how to get the spousal unit to agree to the extra expenditures....
 

bajarat

Explorer
Question to gauge usefulness in my situation

- Not interested in Ham as a hobby
- Interested in 2m and 70 cm
- No interest in advancing beyond Tech license
- Travel will be with wife on mid level difficulty 4x4 touring roads in the western states, Canada, Yukon, Alaska, and Mexico/Central America
- Don't anticipate traveling with groups on rugged Jeep trails and needing trail conditions ahead of us. More interested in over landing the areas above
- Over landing will eventually take us to Europe / North Africa after we cut our teeth in North America/Central America
- For N Africa / Sahara travel with others. Is 2m widely used in this application?

Why am I interested?

Communication with others in remote areas where cell coverage is non existent
Will this only be achieved if there is a repeater network available?
Usefulness in under developed part of countries that totally lack cell coverage

Will this be an aid for our travels?

Many thanks for replying!
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

Mashurst

Adventurer
Short answer is for US and Canada yes.
There are very few areas so remote as to be out of range of some repeater network. That's not to say there aren't any but you will be adding a good deal of capability to a cell only setup. Adding 6m would help out here in the west too. having been licensed for only a few years I now feel quite vulnerable traveling without it. It has saved my bacon already once.
That said, not being interested as a hobby is fine, but it's no cell phone. If you expect it to work for you when you need it you will need to put an ongoing effort to using it. If it's going to just sit in your truck off till the day you need it, I wouldn't think you would find it useful on the day a situation called for it. You need to be proficient in its use and you will need to do a little bit of research before and during the trip to maintain awareness of the surrounding repeaters.
Also in Mexico and South America I think it is not a very workable solution. There are a number of thread on this subject so I wont go into it but for the most part it's not legal down there with a US license.
 

Tennmogger

Explorer
Good advise on keeping in practice on use of any ham radio, the band, and especially repeaters. If you don't know the CTCSS codes for access, for example, you can hear the repeater but it won't listen to you.

Be aware that any location that slightly resembles "remote" probably won't have a 2m or 70cm repeater you can hit, especially if that area is lower terrain. For your travel outside of populated areas, satellite phone, SPOT, or other sat based service may be your only option.

On your item: "- For N Africa / Sahara travel with others. Is 2m widely used in this application?", the answer is absolutely not...unless you mean to simply talk to each other. In that case it's not a USA license you will need.

For long distance emergency communications you could go all the way to General Class to gain access to High Freq bands, but people who "don't want ham radio as a hobby" will seldom achieve that.

Bob WB4ETT
 

cnynrat

Expedition Leader
Be aware that any location that slightly resembles "remote" probably won't have a 2m or 70cm repeater you can hit, especially if that area is lower terrain.
Not sure the situation is as bad as implied above, but the advice to have a back up mode of comms is spot on. You also should check ahead of time to determine what repeaters are in your planned travel area that you might be able to use.

Southern UT is arguably the most remote location in the lower 48, and it's got pretty good repeater coverage. Here's a link to a coverage map of a linked set of repeaters operated by the Sinbad Desert Radio Club. You certainly can encounter local issues based on the geography, but I've been able to hit these repeaters from deep in the Maze in Canyonlands.
 

bajarat

Explorer
Appreciate the replies !

And to respond to one poster, I will become proficient in the use of my particular transceiver and availability of repeater networks in my travels. I meant to say this will not likely become ANOTHER hobby of mine that will manifest itself with a Ham Shack and 70 foot antenna arrays in my backyard.
 

1911

Expedition Leader
I meant to say this will not likely become ANOTHER hobby of mine that will manifest itself with a Ham Shack and 70 foot antenna arrays in my backyard.
LOL, I thought the same thing when I started, only a 2M radio for the truck! What you may find is that it really is a fun hobby. You can get a lot of exposure to other folks/other countries/other cultures all over the world, all without leaving your shack or truck. Not a replacement for overland travel by any means, but it is pretty fun by itself.
 

hrt4me

Adventurer
this thread will give me something to delve into and read when we're iced in tomorrow in north Texas...
 

Rexrome

Observer
Newbie question... When you have two hand talkies and want to use them as two way radios what must be done and things to consider?
 

Mashurst

Adventurer
Newbie question... When you have two hand talkies and want to use them as two way radios what must be done and things to consider?
The simplest answer is that they need to be on the same frequency, and I may add a frequency for which both parties have legal right to operate... Beyond that it can get a bit more involved. A bit of context would be helpful in more fully answering your question. What radios? What band? What is the use case?.. Vehicle to vehicle, repeater, etc. What is it your would like to do.
 

Rexrome

Observer
The simplest answer is that they need to be on the same frequency, and I may add a frequency for which both parties have legal right to operate... Beyond that it can get a bit more involved. A bit of context would be helpful in more fully answering your question. What radios? What band? What is the use case?.. Vehicle to vehicle, repeater, etc. What is it your would like to do.
Mashurst - I guess my scenario would be when traveling and communicating vehicle to vehicle. I am using a hand held Yaesu VX-DR Quad Band and a Yaesu dual band mobile. There has been sometimes when in remote areas and not being able to communicating from vehicle to vehicle. What we have encountered has been hand talkies not having the power to reach the repeater and bridging coms with the mobile unit within the group. To me it would seem simple that when not being able to use the repeater, for what ever reason, then have available radios/handhelds communicate like a cb or two-way radios. Any feedback would be great...
 
Last edited:

1911

Expedition Leader
Mashurst - I guess my scenario would be when traveling and communicating vehicle to vehicle. I am using a hand held Yaesu VX-DR Quad Band and a Yaesu dual band mobile. There has been sometimes when in remote areas and not being able to communicating from vehicle to vehicle. What we have encountered has been hand talkies not having the power to reach the repeater and bridging coms with the mobile unit within the group. To me it would seem simple that when not being able to use the repeater, for what ever reason, then have available radios/handhelds communicate like a cb or two-way radios. Any feedback would be great...
Just tune the VFO on all of them to the same frequency, and you will talking to each other with no repeater involved; this is called "simplex" operation.
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

Mashurst

Adventurer
communicating vehicle to vehicle
A pair of HTs can work ok for Vehicle to Vehicle though you are going to need to be fairly close. A lot of the limited power of your HT is never going to leave the cage of your vehicle. All that said, all you really have to do is get on the same frequency. The question then becomes what frequency.

Certain areas of the band are designated for FM Simplex. They vary a bit region to region but generally you are safe in the 2M band between 146.400 and 146.595 or between 147.405 and 147.585. Frequency spacing of 0.015 is customary giving you 12 or so "channels" in each sub band. For 440 I am less familiar as we don't use it much up here in due to Pave Paws, but the calling freq is 446.00. 440 may work better at getting out of the vehicles for you.
 

Rexrome

Observer
1911 and Mashurst, thanks for the feedback.

Thanks on the frequency ranges', was not aware of the the specifics. Great advice.
 
Top