emergencies comms

DRW

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Another aspect not specified, what is the message content? It's one thing to summon assistance and another to check the status of family members. @hamhanded beat me to this idea while I was typing this response.

There are no sustainability standards for GMRS or amatuer radio. Quite literally, many amatuer radio antennas are supported by string. GMRS repeater antennas are similar in durability to TV reception antennas. 5w handhelds & 4w CBs will be very limited in range, at very best a couple of miles. Don't expect the toy radios mentioned in this thread to have much range at all.

I have assumed this thread is about general public use only. I live up north, never been close to a hurricane. My understanding is cell towers are far more robust than they used to be and bonafide agency phones receive priority QOS. Not to mention a well built Public Safety trunked radio system should withstand whatever Mother Nature conjures up.

9/11/1 is the only day I have ever had a problem with comms. I did not have emergency comms that day, just wanted to comm during an emergency.

Always be prepared to provide your own assistance and perhaps self rescue.

One thing for sure that @RWT1405 and I have in common is training. Next week I'll be participating in a drill for my Nuclear gig, even as my career sunsets. Effective training is never complete.

I'm retiring in the spring, no idea how I got this old so quickly.
 

Zenster

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What about purchasing a decent ham radio but not getting licensed (and not transmitting unless dire emergency)? Why would that be a bad idea?
That would be a very bad idea. Without at least a Tech license and some experience learning how comms work, you would do more harm than good. Plus, hams take it very badly when someone gets on the air without a license and Fox Hunters like to find those people and turn them in... just for fun.
Get your Tech (it's really easy... just some basic study and memorization) and then join a local ham club. There, you will find people who are willing to help you get up and running and stay out of trouble. The problem with that is that the rest of your family, is excluded from using it, only you (unless you are physically with them).

For those reasons, and if you don't want to do the work of getting a ham license, look into a GMRS, the very next best thing to a ham Tech license.
You DO have to pay an FCC fee to get a GMRS license, but there's no test involved and just one application/fee covers your whole family. They can all use their GMRS phones on your same FCC license.
Realize what you are wanting here; emergency comms at a local level. You're not going for long distance comms (aka "DX) which, if you did want, you would have to upgrade a ham Tech license to General, and that's a bit more work.

Going with several GMRS radios for each of your family and with your encouraging your friends to do the same, you would be covered for all the SHTF you want.

With regard to ham snobbery, realize that hams do the work and spend the money to get the privileges they have. If you barge in and expect to have the same privileges without paying the dues, then yes, you're going to run into some ham snobbery.
But if you get your license and play by the rules, hams are mostly some of the most welcoming people you'll find.
 

alpg88

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What about purchasing a decent ham radio but not getting licensed (and not transmitting unless dire emergency)? Why would that be a bad idea?
I do not see why it would be a bad idea, there are no laws or even fcc rules that prevent you from doing that, whatever someone thinks should not concern you, obviously you figure out how to use the unit you bought, there are plenty of videos on youtube that teach you pretty much all the aspects of it.
If you really want to, you can get a ham license, the test is not hard at all, you can see practice tests online, it is not expensive either, and now you can do it over the zoom, no appearance necessary.
 

KITROBASKIN

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Thanks all.

Thanks for the video DRW.

One person in our community said he does not have a license because having one would allow the government to, at any time, demand to inspect his ham equipment at any time. Yeah.

Maybe Monocrom will sell me one of his County Comm or Tecsun units….
 

alpg88

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That is actually true, they can, by filing for license you agree to it, on paper they said they are allowed to inspect only the equipment, and not the house, but in real world FCC will bring local police and they will come into your house, they will not be satisfied if you just bring your equipment out, they will want to see if you have any other equipment, you basically consent to a search when you get your license. they will not need a warrant.
However there is a legal way around it, there is a way not to put your home address on license application.
watch Not a Rubicon Production channel on you tube, he goes into details about it,

 
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Monocrom

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They seem to be like that everywhere, try to take a license test, you'll be lucky if you get 1 guy who is not, they seem to think way too highly of themselves, like an exclusive elite club. sad hams,. lol. However as per FCC you do not need a license to own one, and to listen, and in case of emergency it is not against fcc rules to transmit either.
The irony is, it's not that hard at all to get a HAM license.
The attitude is there, and it just boggles the mind as to why.
 

Monocrom

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Thanks all.

Thanks for the video DRW.

One person in our community said he does not have a license because having one would allow the government to, at any time, demand to inspect his ham equipment at any time. Yeah.

Maybe Monocrom will sell me one of his County Comm or Tecsun units….
Sorry my friend, unfortunately I sold my older one (County Comm version) to a co-worker a couple of weeks back. He mentioned wanting a really good radio. Not sure for himself or to gift to someone. I let him know it was an older version. He didn't care. All I've got accessible now is the newer, Tecsun version of that design. Otherwise I'd say PM me. I'm drowning in too much gear.
 

hamhanded

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I do not see why it would be a bad idea, there are no laws or even fcc rules that prevent you from doing that, whatever someone thinks should not concern you, obviously you figure out how to use the unit you bought, there are plenty of videos on youtube that teach you pretty much all the aspects of it.

You need to transmit to practice. We're still talking about emergency comms, right? If you've got internet, forget the radio. Otherwise, a ham radio without hands-on experience is a doorstop.

Those buying ham radios for emergencies without a license are either transmitting illegally to get the requisite practice for them to be useful, or are simply wasting their money and fooling themselves.

It's not hard, and it's not elite; it's as easy as riding a bike. But you can't learn that solely by youtube videos, either.
 

alpg88

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You need to transmit to practice.
How is transmitting on ham is any different than transmitting on cb or frs?? except the frequency of course?

I'm starting to have a feeling we are talking about different things, are we talking about transmitting in morse code, or just simple radio operation like a walkie talkie? cuz even kids can do walkie talkie after you tell them once how to do it, ok maybe twice,
 
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scout24

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Alpg88- If you take a GMRS or CB radio out of the box and power it up, you've got a pre-set number of channels to choose from, with choices maybe for "privacy codes" on GMRS. And a few repeater frequencies with GMRS. Unbox a Ham radio, and the entire frequency range that's allowed is open with no preset channels. For VHF, you've got 144-148Mhz available, also with potential "privacy codes". You also theoretically have repeaters in your area that have input and output frequencies. They're not pre-assigned, like GMRS. Do you know how many there are? How to program them? Do you know the "simplex" frequencies used locally? (Similar to GMRS channels.) You're talking thousands of potential frequencies. 144.100, 144.110, 144.117, etc etc etc...It's akin to taking a cell phone out of the box, turning it on, and not knowing the phone number you want to call. Every radio is different to program, all take practice to do competently. Every area uses different frequencies to talk on, not many or all are published. Knowledge is power, and that equipment is all but useless without that knowledge and some familiarity.
 
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alpg88

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Alpg88- If you take a GMRS or CB radio out of the box and power it up, you've got a pre-set number of channels to choose from, with choices maybe for "privacy codes" on GMRS. And a few repeater frequencies with GMRS. Unbox a Ham radio, and the entire frequency range that's allowed is open with no preset channels. For VHF, you've got 144-148Mhz available, also with potential "privacy codes". You also theoretically have repeaters in your area that have input and output frequencies. They're not pre-assigned, like GMRS. Do you know how many there are? How to program them? Do you know the "simplex" frequencies used locally? (Similar to GMRS channels.) You're talking thousands of potential frequencies. 144.100, 144.110, 144.117, etc etc etc...It's akin to taking a cell phone out of the box, turning it on, and not knowing the phone number you want to call. Every radio is different to program, all take practice to do competently. Every area uses different frequencies to talk on, not many or all are published. Knowledge is power, and that equipment is all but useless without that knowledge and some familiarity.
Wow, seriously? Obviously a person will figure that out. plenty of info on the web how to do it, you do not need a license for that.
When a friend gave me uv5r, i had no clue how to operate it, after watching a 30 min video, i knew what exactly each of its 28 function did and how to program it, what website to go to get frequencies, (radioreference.com). and how to connect to repeaters and how to find repeaters in the area that you can connect to,.......etc that is not complicated at all. LIke I said there is a channel on yt, that teaches you all of that, way more than you need to for just emergency communication,. Btw passing a license exam does not mean you will know those things,
 

scout24

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If you have time in an emergency to do that, and internet and a working cell phone, it's not an emergency. Half a dozen members have tried to politely offer advice and answer your questions. You've chosen to **** on that. Responses like yours are why I choose not to post a lot of the time. Good day, and good luck.
 

alpg88

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If you have time in an emergency to do that, and internet and a working cell phone, it's not an emergency. Half a dozen members have tried to politely offer advice and answer your questions. You've chosen to **** on that. Responses like yours are why I choose not to post a lot of the time. Good day, and good luck.
Obviously you familiarize yourself with your unit and how to get proper frequencies, before shtf, same way you buy fire extinguisher and learn how to use it before the fire.
You offer your advice and I offer mine, then a person who asked the question will pick one he feels is right, you do not have to reply to mine, telling how wrong I am, or try to school me. Maybe the problem is not people's responses but how you take them.
 

scout24

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I did not try to school you, or tell you that you were wrong. I answered the questions you asked, politely. There was very little ambiguity in your response to that.
"Wow, seriously? Obviously." And you've mastered the UV-5R after watching a 30 minute video. Lol. Don't touch it for a month and program a repeater from memory... 🤣 Good luck.
 
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alpg88

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I still do not see your point.
Here is a practice ham test, I do not see how it will address any point you made, such as how to operate a particular unit, where to get local services frequencies, local repeaters codes, how long the info will stay in your head...etc.
Everything you mention has to be learned outside of the ham exam scope, I never said you do not have to learn your unit, and how to use it, that is actually exact opposite of what I said, I actually provided a channel that will teach you all of that, as well as the site where you can learn what frequencies used locally. As you see from practice test NONE of the things you use for your arguments are addressed in the test. But thanks for proving my point, and showing why people do not want to deal with ham community.
 

M@elstrom

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I do not see why it would be a bad idea, there are no laws or even fcc rules that prevent you from doing that, whatever someone thinks should not concern you, obviously you figure out how to use the unit you bought, there are plenty of videos on youtube that teach you pretty much all the aspects of it.

I would have to agree, there is no shortage of individuals who purchase an amateur radio and simply use it as a glorified shortwave receiver, earlier valve/tube type radios had a significantly steeper learning curve to operate than modern Communications gear, especially when you consider the level of sophistication in high end Communications Recievers. 👍
 
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alpg88

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Back in the days all you had was a manual that came with a radio, and if you are lucky to know someone with a knowledge to explain that, and how to connect to repeaters...... ect, under those conditions, I would agree being a member of a community would be beneficial.
None of those things are relevant today, everything is available from dozens if not hundreds of sources immediately. Got a new radio, and have no clue how to use it, no problem, several guys on the internet with in depth knowledge of your particular unit will explain under an hour, and show you everything there is to know about it. Do not know what to do in case of emergency, no problem, other few guys that do know will explain step by step what to do.
It is basically same story as with everything new replacing the old, "you can not learn that from the internet" yes you can, and much more than that.
 
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