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Alan2

Casual use of ham while hiking - recommendations

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I had trouble pinning this info in the forum. I'm sure it's there; just can't find it. I'm not into ham but I'm curious what equipment could be used while in the woods in case of emergency and for commmunication. what equipment? Do you need a special license? What's the cost (I wouldn't be looking t spend too much) ? Can you make phone calls home using it or would you carry it in addition to a cell phone?

 

Tks

 

Alan

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan2:

I'm not into ham but I'm curious what equipment could be used while in the woods in case of emergency and for commmunication. what equipment? Do you need a special license? What's the cost (I wouldn't be looking t spend too much) ? Can you make phone calls home using it or would you carry it in addition to a cell phone?


 

Ham radio:

Yes, a license is required but it isn't that hard to study and pass it. Check out http://www.arrl.org/hamradio.html for a good intro.

 

A 2 meter HT could be used in the woods to access a local repeater to call for help. Typical cost is around $150 (lower or higher depending on features).

 

Often a repeater has an autopatch feature to make phone calls but often you must be a club member to use it. Frankly a cell phone is more private. On a repeater, all hams and scanners can hear your every word. Many repeaters do have an emergency call feature like 911 that all may use.

 

You may also consider an FRS radio. No license is required and there is another discussion about using channel 2 and 12 as national Geocaching frequency to try to hook up with geocachers in the same park or location as yourself.

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I'm not into ham but I'm curious what equipment could be used while in the woods in case of emergency and for commmunication.

 

For sure ham is the best choice, FRS does not have good range, up at 460 Mhz, they say an FRS will go two miles, that's if you're lucky, up in the mountains you might get a quarter to a half a mile. And don't go trusting FRS for saving you in an Emergency.

 

GMRS?

same thing as FRS but you might get 2 or 3 miles out of it.

 

CB?

maybe, but it's clear dowm at 27 Mhz. not to good for going through hills.

 

Ham?

huge choice of frequencies, radios, and antennas,

emergency ham operators are stationed in some mountains, APRS gps tracking, and whatever else you can think of, really!

 

last saturday I was hiking to spanish fork peak(ele.10,192) here in utah, and the whole hike

I was talking to other hams in califonia, las vegas, washington, england, africa, japan, mexico,

and lots of other places including lots of local talking. and all of that was on my VX-5R, about 3"

by 5" with a little 2" antenna.

sound fun?

now you see if I had got hurt or some other hiker

had, I could call up for search and rescue, give the directions, conditions, GPS coordinates, and whatever else.

 

Do you need a special license?

 

one, easy test, multiple choice, 35 qestions, 74%

 

 

What's the cost?

 

$100---1000$

 

 

Can you make phone calls home using it?

 

yes.

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Thanks for the info. The mileage seems pretty low. 1-2 miles maybe some more for the better and larger units doesn't seem like much advantage over a phone. I don't want to sound critical, but where's the advantage?

 

Also, how do you know that the location you are going to has repeaters at all?

 

How big are these things? Weight?

 

Tks

 

Alan

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> Thanks for the info. The mileage seems pretty

> low. 1-2 miles maybe some more for the better

> and larger units doesn't seem like much

> advantage over a phone. I don't want to sound

> critical, but where's the advantage?

The advantage comes where you are more likely to have a repater in range than a cell site in remote areas.

 

> Also, how do you know that the location you are

> going to has repeaters at all?

The ARRL publishes a repeater directory so you know which one and how to access it.

 

> How big are these things? Weight?

You can get a credit card sized radio that weigh only a few ounces, up to a full featured portable that is approx. a pound.

 

To follow me on APRS in my daily travels, go to www.hamsrc.com/aprs/track.htm and click on any of the -6 links.

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Here's an unoffical map of an open linked repeater system coverage in your area.

No doubt there are additional standalone repeaters.

 

This linked system was setup by two Hams to provide extended coverage for any licensed amateurs in the area provided they don't abuse the privelege.

-

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Thanks. How would I find repeater maps for NY State areas including lower NYS, Harriman and Bear Mountain Parks, the Catskill Mountains and the Adirondack Mountains?

 

Tks

Alan

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Just to clarify for the non hams. A repeater takes a radio signal and retransmits that same signal. They usually have a great range than the radio you are sending from. Simplex means straight from one radio to another.

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Radio Shack also sells repeater directories. I like them because you don't have to sift thru all the locations near you to try to find a repeater. Radio Shack prints a map of each state, with the approximate location of each repeater shown on the map. Much easier on the fly, in my opinion.

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quote:
Originally posted by Wyzyrd:

Radio Shack also sells repeater directories.


 

Does it tell you which ones are linked to the IRLP system, I wonder?

 

For those who don't know, IRLP is the "Internet Repeater Linking Project" and allows repeaters, and even 'nodes' on Simplex frequencies, to be linked together. For example, a node in the US can be linked to my local 70cm repeater (GB3EE) in Chesterfield by entering the DTMF code 5120. A guy in Australia called through this morning to test his newly set up IRLP node.

 

--... ...--

Morseman

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quote:
You may also consider an FRS radio. No license is required and there is another discussion about using channel 2 and 12 as national Geocaching frequency to try to hook up with geocachers in the same park or location as yourself.
icon_wink.gif

I use talkabout 250 when out in the pine barrens while caching with others we split up and do caches seperate this way you have the fun of finding alone. But it is a good way to keep in contact in case of an Emergency

icon_confused.gif

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I've used a little Radio Shack 2 Meter Handi-Talkie, with an external J-pole antenna, for several years while hiking in West Virginia.

From a hill top...I can cover the entire state with some linked repeaters.

 

You can attach a palm top computer and send "packet" all over the world also. icon_eek.gif

 

Works great!

 

N8ZYA

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Does it tell you which ones are linked to the IRLP system, I wonder?

 

A guy in Australia called through this morning to test his newly set up IRLP node.

 

--... ...--

Morseman

 

"My gps say's it RIGHT HERE".

http://www.w6hy.org

KF6VFH

TOYOTA To Often Yuppies Overprice This Auto

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quote:
Originally posted by Steak N Eggs:


 

Didn't ask him!

 

However, I've been trying to contact Geocachers and Geidashers using the IRLP node numbers mentioned on these pages.

 

I had a 'near miss' when someone called through whilst I was on a Geodash, but I was too far away to make contact. HI!

 

--... ...--

Morseman

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I have used CB in my four wheel drive for keeping connected to a group running trails. I still keep it for that reason.

 

The FRS, I used with my family since no one else is interested in Amateur.

 

GMRS, is a costly version of FRS with slightly more range and possibly less crowded. I believe a license in the US is $75. (I hope I am wrong about this.) Check the licensing requirement before purchasing.

 

With Amateur radio, there are many more options.

 

It seams that the way to communicate is variable depending on what the goal is.

 

It is possible to get out a canyons and such by using a satellite also. There is at least one handheld dual band satellite antenna that I will check out some day.

 

73s,

N7FMH

 

Best Regards,

Fred

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I have done a lot of hiking with ham radio (I am very new to Geocaching) and have been licensed a number of years.

 

Our scout troop (I am assistant scoutmaster) uses Yeasu VX-5R radios on the trail. We have several adults and scouts who are hams--from time to time 8 or 9 year old kids pass the test.

 

We use simplex, like regular walkie talkies, FRS, GMRS, Etc., to keep in touch with others on the trail and our chase vehicles. Practical range is up to about 10 miles between these units, and up to about 25 or so to a mobile rig with a decent antenna.

 

We also will use repeaters to check in with someone at home peridically. My wife is also a ham and can work repeaters in all the local mountain ranges in southern California. We have repeaters on just about every mountain, hill, and some tall buildings.

 

I wouldn't go hiking without a ham radio. I have been a number of places where cell phones were useless, but a small ham radio can keep you in touch with no problem.

 

Obviously, there are places where nothing will keep you in touch, but ham radio has better coverage than enything else, in my experience.

 

Of course to get in touch with a non-ham you would need a repeater with a phone-patch system. These are fairly common, but usually require membership in the club or group that sponsors the repeater. This means annual dues to pay the phone bill, electricity, maybe site rent, etc.

 

Ham radio has a lot to offer, but isn't universal and isn't for everyone. You might want to check out a ham radio club in your area (there are dozens). If you need help finding one, email me.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Dave_W6DPS

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