Just passed Ham radio exam. Anyone running one while adventuring?

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwet - Where it's green. And wet.' started by tunus, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. PNWRR

    PNWRR not fragile

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  2. sprocket3

    sprocket3 Been here awhile

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    Not pissed. I just don't see "almost anywhere" as an accurate statement based on my experience. On the east side it was more like almost nowhere.
    #42
  3. Zagando

    Zagando BMW uber alles!

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    Guys, there's a lot more to amateur radio than 2M FM repeaters and handhelds. Sure, they're handy when you're in range and know the offset and access tones---but when you're really out in the boonies or down in a canyon you need to switch to HF to reach others in an emergency. There are plenty of HF rigs small enough to carry or install on a bike if need be and a wire dipole thrown up into the trees or telescoping vertical with a few radials could enable you to make distant contacts---lots of fun when you're not just trying to report an emergency or accident, too.

    Btw, I bet that cellphone is also useless once you're really out there in the boondocks.

    The beauty of amateur radio is that there are so many bands that there is always propagation to somewhere on at least one or two. There is usually a good number of hams (practically worldwide) monitoring the Pacific Maritime Net on 14.300MHz around the clock for mariners in distress which is also a good "go-to frequency" in any emergency, too.

    73, NH7RO
    #43
  4. nk14zp

    nk14zp Been here awhile

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    14.300 is also good to monitor after you get your 20m rig set up. If you can't hear anyone then maybe it's time to move the ant or check all connections. I want to put an APRS rig on my bike but I don't have a handheld data rig, just mobile ones. I still might just put it in the tank bag. My mobile APRS is setup for slipseat operation from back when I could work.
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  5. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer

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    I've been an extra for 38 years. There is FAR more to the hobby than 2m and bike to bike comms...

    Amateur radio is NO substitute for a SPOT and (more importantly) a PLB.
    #45
  6. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    While none are perfect, the best dirt bike to dirt bike communication tool I've found is an inexpensive BaoFeng radio (my group uses the UV-82HP), extended antenna and a helmet mic and speaker kit (from Rugged Radio or the like). Picked up this idea from a bunch of SoCal guys while in Baja. This isn't for chatting or communicating with or through a repeater but simply bike to bike. As someone else mentioned already, one of the limiting factors with this setup is helmet noise; at higher speeds the wind noise makes the speakers almost useless. You can tell that someone is talking but almost impossible to decipher what they are saying. I use the earbuds from Rugged that include hearing aid quality speakers. This reduces wind/motor noise while providing clear radio transmissions. It has a push to talk button that attaches to your handlebars (or your body).

    If I was starting from scratch in terms of communication/gps equipment I'd look hard at the Garmin Rino. It has a high powered radio built in and everyone in the group (that has a Rino) can track each other's location on their gps units.

    For the road bike (or big adventure bike) I use the Cardo PalkTalk. It is still limited by road/wind noise but I simply disconnect the speakers and run a set of inexpensive noise cancelling earbuds (Mee). A little finicky but cuts almost all the external noise while delivering low volume audio from my riding partners while listening to music in the background.
    #46
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  7. sprocket3

    sprocket3 Been here awhile

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    Yeah.. This is exactly what I'm talking about and why I'm down on HAM. Who wants to pack all that around on your bike. I love the "could enable" in that last sentence.

    This is why it stays home now.
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  8. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer

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    Carry a SPOT and a PLB. Forget HF.
    #48
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  9. Zagando

    Zagando BMW uber alles!

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    If that's the way you think, fine. If I was going out in the boonies I'd be happy to pack a small HF rig along because of it's much better potential for calling for help. Rigs have gotten smaller and smaller in recent years so it is not unreasonable as far as I can see---but to each his own.

    By the way, "ham" is not an acronym---it's an abbreviation for an old telegrapher's term for "ham-fisted" novices that didn't know how to send code well. Amateur radio operators became known as hams from there on.
    #49
  10. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer

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    Amateur radio is a hobby. It is not a safety of life service.

    Apples and oranges. There is no point being "down" on amateur radio.

    If you want to chat to other amateur radio operators, fine. Just don't depend on it in an emergency.
    #50
  11. portablevcb

    portablevcb Long timer

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    Wife's grand father and father were both hams. They both built their radios. Started with Heathkits. Her grandfather designed and built his own 20m power amp. Her grandfather used his 20m rig to communicate with his buddies across the US (when long distance calls still cost extra). He did other stuff with his 160m rig, usually trying to reach distant places. Her father built his first color TV with a Heathkit and used to 'talk' to his dad when he was stationed overseas (he was in the Navy). Her father also would help out at the MARS stations every now and then.

    I used to save the copes of 73 magazine cause I was building my own computer. They had a lot of stuff on the 'new' digital circuits.

    Back in those days it was the challenge of trying to communicate over long distances. Yep, these days you use facebook or twitter.

    So, yeah, seems HAM has changed.
    #51
  12. sprocket3

    sprocket3 Been here awhile

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    I think that's great you enjoy mixing the two hobbies together. I like to pack a nice digital camera still myself. So I'm packing Cell phone, InReach, Garmin Montana, and a Camera already. There just isn't a spot in my tank bag for something that in my personal experience* becomes almost useless outside of the metro areas.

    I think adventure riders should know the realistic side of HAM as you've pointed out. If people are looking at it as a means to call help or communicate with other riders I suspect they'll be very disappointed.

    * Note: I have never messed with anything beyond 2M or deployed additional antenna in trees.
    #52
  13. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

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    I use to camp all the time in the White mountains and Adirondacks. One of my favorite things to do was to talk back to CT or other stations on 40 meters with less than 5 watts. I use to backpack with a Yaesu FT817 and small battery and wire antenna. No handheld but easy enough to transport on backpacking trips and get messages back to family.

    KR
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  14. tunus

    tunus Been here awhile

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    I've been eyeing these FT817 for a long time. So many features packed in a small package. You don't happen to be selling yours?
    #54
  15. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

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    Nope. I have one of originals. I had to do a mod to get 60 meters. The new ones include 60 meters out of the box. It has been a great QRP radio. While I haven't used it much lately, I am pretty sure I am going to be doing more with retirement coming up. I also have a FT857 for a little more power at home. I use to also be into APRS which was very cool in the day. My boys when they were smaller used to go online and I made a url called "wheres dad" and they could see on a map where the truck was. This was around '99. They thought that was pretty cool. They are a great rig though. Been very happy with mine.

    Oh, and anything on HF QRP. Without question. If it absolutely, positively, must get through. Look at PSK31 or some of the newer similar modes. Very, very cool stuff. Loved working on that mode even better than voice. Don't even need a computer anymore to run those modes. Your smartphone will work as the interface to the radio.

    KR
    #55
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  16. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer

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    I've used an 817. Good little radio.
    #56
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  17. thirsty 1

    thirsty 1 Rider

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