Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Insp Gadget

A Newbie Looking For Info....

Recommended Posts

I have been doing Geocaching for some time and was talking to someone last night who had a ham radio. I live in Canada and was wondering if someone could answer some questions for me.

 

1. How can I get a ham radio?

2. Do they work for long distances in the woods?

3. Is there a portable ham radio that I could take in the woods with me?

4. How much do they cost?

 

I'm sure I will have a million questions, but this will get me started....

 

Thanks for the info!

Share this post


Link to post
1. How can I get a ham radio?

2. Do they work for long distances in the woods?

3. Is there a portable ham radio that I could take in the woods with me?

4. How much do they cost?

 

Hi,

 

here are some replies to your questions:

 

1. first of all you need a licence to operate a ham radio. More info can be found on the website of the RAC (Canada's National Amateur Radio Society)

 

2. depends on the output power + frequency used

 

3. there sure are, but see 1. first

 

4. depends on what type of rigs you want.... Popular brands are Kenwood Yaesu Icom TenTec etc. With a good search engine you can find prices for all of these.

 

Hope to meet you on the bands sometimes.

 

Joske (ON5MF = ham radio callsign from Belgium)

Share this post


Link to post

Search the archives for a thread here called "What do you use". There were about three threads ... I will list them if I can find them quickly.

 

What do you use pt 1.

 

What do you use pt 2.

 

What do you use pt 3.

 

Read them, they should give you some idea of what others are doing. As far as getting a license, perhaps oe of the Canadians on the list can tell you how to get started there.

 

Good luck and welcome.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for the info guys. Before I even start looking into my license, I have to know if a portable will work in my area for my purposes. Not much use in doing all this if the radio wont work in my area, is there?

 

OK, the area I live in is mountanous, not very high, maybe 1000 feet max, but there are plenty and many dips in between. If I had a portable radio (you figure out the power and freq, I have no idea. LOL) would this reach another radio perhaps if I was 50km away? I realize it's hard to answer this, but I'm just trying to get an idea of the usefulness of this product. I now have FRS radios and they are prety much useless over 1km.

Share this post


Link to post

Nobody here can answer your question.

 

Could be you live in an RF BLACK HOLE. OTOH, could be there is a repeater right on the ridge above you that gives excellent coverage for 100+ miles in all directions.

 

As I said earlier, perhaps a local canadian ham can help you with the rest. Sorry, but unless you live in an area, it isn't likely you will know the coverage of the area. I don't live there, so I just can't say.

Share this post


Link to post
OK, the area I live in is mountanous, not very high, maybe 1000 feet max, but there are plenty and many dips in between. If I had a portable radio (you figure out the power and freq, I have no idea. LOL) would this reach another radio perhaps if I was 50km away? I realize it's hard to answer this, but I'm just trying to get an idea of the usefulness of this product. I now have FRS radios and they are prety much useless over 1km.

What kind of radios are we talking about here? Hand-held radios usually max out at 5W (ten times more then those FRS units.) Radios mounted in your car/truck can easily reach 50W maybe 100W.

 

If one of the radios you are trying to use is at a permanent site, then you can set up an outdoor antenna that will greatly improve the range. You could even set up a repeater on top of a hill to allow two radios that normally are out of range of each other to talk.

 

If your looking for a couple of handhelds that will easily cover 50km where ever you happen to be, I'd say not likely. But you do have the other options such as more power and bigger antennas to build systems that at least are as close as the car.

Share this post


Link to post

I've only been licensed for less than a year and I understand your questions.

Here's the most practical answers I can give you.

 

1. How can I get a ham radio?

 

As mentioned above, you must get a ham radio license. In the US, that requires taking a 35 question test. There are study guides available which you can study independently or, in some areas, classes are offered. Check the site listed previously for the Canadian requirements for a ham license. This should also tell you *where* to go to get your license.

 

As for getting a ham radio, most folks buy them over the internet from places like Ham Radio Outlet and such. There may also be Canadian equivalents to these.

 

2. Do they work for long distances in the woods?

 

As mentioned above, of course, it depends. The bands you most likely would use (2 meter and 70 centimeter) operate from line-of-sight. So two radios that can *see* each other can talk, even with only 5 watts or less of power. In urban areas there are usually repeaters which would get you the 50 km or so you are seeking. I live in the Seattle area and using just two repeaters, you can get coverage from Vancouver, B.C. clear down to Portland, Oregon. There are also repeaters which link repeaters across four or five states.

 

If you live in a rural area, repeaters may not be as numerous. Also, since we are talking line-of-site, trying to operate in a canyon without a repeater won't get you very far.

 

I have found that using my hand held radio at 5 watts, I can get out about a 10 mile radius or more, depending on the terrain. So, do they work in the woods? Yes, provided there is someone or something out there within line of site who can hear you.

 

3. Is there a portable ham radio that I could take in the woods with me?

 

Yes, these are called hand helds, HT's or Handi-talkies. They can be as small as a pack of cigarettes, but have a longer antenna than you would find on your cellphone. These are usually limited to 5 watts, which is ample to hit repeaters in the urban area. Other radios, mobile and base stations, will range from 20 watts up to 1500 watts. In the urban area, most folks stick with under 100 watts for 2 meter usage unless they have a specific need for higher power.

 

4. How much do they cost?

 

A new dual band hand held will run you somewhere between $200 and $400 USD and up. Prices seem to change daily. Prices wil vary used.

 

Finally, the best advice I can give you is to search the internet and find a ham radio club in your area. If you can't find a ham radio club, then look for an Amateur Emergency Services group in your area. (In the US, these are RACES, ARES and SKYWARN, or Radio Amateurs Civil Emergency Services, Amateur Radio Emergency Services and Weather Spotting organizations.) Contact them and ask your questions. They will have the knowledge of your area and I'm sure you will find plenty of help in getting your ticket and radios. They may possibly help you get started on the cheap with your radios once you get your ticket. If you can get in contact with just one ham, chances a high that you'll be in touch with lots of hams who are willing to help you.

 

It's fun hobby. Go for it. FRS and GMRS just don't do the trick.

 

Share this post


Link to post

beg buy or borrow a scanner. that would get you in the ballpark in a number of ways. do a search for local frequencies in use, and if the scanner is picking up transmissions, you can get an idea of the amount of activity locally, and a general feel for what others in your area do with the hobby. believe it or not, it's very addictive. you'll be wanting to test asap i imagine. ebay sells a number of radio products if none are available locally. as long as you are not transmitting, it is not illegal to own a radio that can transmit on the ham freqs.

 

depending on what your local terrain looks like, you might be in a nice spot to take advantage of low power transmissions. it's a nice hobby, well worth the time and effort to get that first ticket.

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

×
×
  • Create New...