The need to use your radios

Discussion in 'Communications' started by sgtusmc98, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. sgtusmc98

    sgtusmc98 Well-Known Member

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    It seems that many people want to get radios for "just in case" but have no interest in using them before any emergency event. It's been said on here many times that idea doesn't work. Had an interesting thing take place the other day, our ARES group was working a relay event and at my location, not very far from the repeater, I was using my Kenwood th d74 and had my Baofeng uv5r+ and my mobile as backup. Unfortunately the Kenwood only lasts for about 6 hours so my plan was to use it then go to the Baofeng for backup when charging the Kenwood. Upon switching radios I discovered that for some reason my Baofeng wouldn't come across the repeater audibly, it would open the repeater and I have talked at farther distances on it, but it didn't work there. If I hadn't had two other radios I would have been in trouble, that is one of the reasons you have to use your radios if you ever plan on using them in an emergency.
     
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  2. drfacefixer

    drfacefixer Well-Known Member

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    True. And I hate having to manually reprogram mine. I forget the steps on the various baofengs because I usually am using chirp to clone them.
     
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  3. bkt

    bkt Well-Known Member

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    This really is important. You need to program and test and retest your radios regularly with the people you plan to use them with, whether for simplex point-to-point or repeater connections. And it would be a good idea to have step-by-step instructions on how to program whatever radio(s) you have printed out and kept with the radios. Be sure to also print out a list of frequencies for your area, including offsets, direction, tone settings, etc.
     
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  4. sgtusmc98

    sgtusmc98 Well-Known Member

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    For part of the new ARES certifications in my state you have to be able to manually program an HT. If you can't manually program the radio it maybe useless if your location changes.
     
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  5. bkt

    bkt Well-Known Member

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    That's a reasonable requirement. I've programmed my Kenwood TH-F6A manually which is pretty straightforward. My Baofeng UV-5R (and derivatives) are a pain square in the backside to program manually. Having printed docs is handy. :)

    Obviously, if the Baofeng is your go-to radio, just practice 'til you know how to do it blindfolded. It isn't rocket science.
     
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  6. sgtusmc98

    sgtusmc98 Well-Known Member

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    I agree, it's sad how many of even our ARES group can't program anything. The Baofeng is a pain in the rear that's for sure. A lot of people are deficient in some simple tasks, I'm sure I am with a few but I don't know what they are! I do need more experience building antennas, have made a few but need to do it better.
     
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  7. bunkerbob

    bunkerbob Supporting Member

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    Practice-practice-practice

    I have always pushed for my MAG members to get their HAM tickets so they can practice their radio skills.
    Some say they see no need to get their ticket because they will most likely only use the radios in the event of an emergency.
    So I relate the process of getting your drivers license, you just don't go out and start driving without practice, so why would it be any difference with radio skills, learning the 10 codes, jargon, Q signals, phonetic alphabet and abbreviations.
     
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  8. jeager106

    jeager106 Newbie

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    Language issues.

    Do any of you fine radio in the know folks actually speak common
    english?:scratch

    Those of us new to prepping ain't got a clue what MAG members
    ARES certifications


    etc. mean.
    Is there a glossary of terms someplace?
    Remember the most important person to radio is the new person.
    How can the radio community grow without new folks?
    Just askin'.
    When I was a cop I had to learn to speak "blood" if ya know
    what I mean.
    "he be atta pawk" means Donald is visiting his drug dealer at the
    local city park.
    shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit

    The longest word in da hood with multiple meanings.
     
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  9. TheLazyL

    TheLazyL Cowboy

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    MAG. Mutual Aid Group. Made up of individuals in a specific geographic area. These individuals meet for the purpose of discussing, sharing ideas and planning for emergencies in their area.

    ARES. Amateur Radio Emergency Service. The Amateur Radio Emergency ServiceĀ® (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment, with their local ARES leadership, for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.
     
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  10. bkt

    bkt Well-Known Member

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    Going out to jaeger106 and anyone else who reads this who doesn't yet have an amateur radio license: it isn't that hard to get. Study - there are all the resources you need online - and get it. Tests are usually free. Worst case, they're cheap. There's a fair amount you need to learn but nothing a nine year old can't learn. No heavy math, no crazy formulas.

    Reliable point-to-point communications that don't rely on infrastructure not under your control is a huge prepper must-have too many people ignore. Don't be one of those people.

    I'll look at pulling together some useful links and posting them here to help folks new to radio. Others are encouraged to do likewise.
     
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  11. sgtusmc98

    sgtusmc98 Well-Known Member

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    A place to practice ham radio tests, start with Technician. There is no record here so you can start or finish when you want or guess and see the correct answers after, there is a pool of 300 or so questions so they won't be the same every time.

    http://www.eham.net/exams/
     
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  12. sgtusmc98

    sgtusmc98 Well-Known Member

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    I stand corrected:
    Tech = 426
    General = 461
    Extra = 711
    This is the number of available questions but there are only 40 or so (until I stand corrected again) on the test.
     
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  13. bkt

    bkt Well-Known Member

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    Also, the questions are multiple-choice and the choices remain consistent for each question. For example, this might appear on a practice exam:

    Which of the following frequencies is in the General Class portion of the 40-meter band?
    A. 7.500 MHz
    B. 7.250 MHz
    C. 40.200 MHz
    D. 40.500 MHz

    And this might be the same question on the real exam:

    Which of the following frequencies is in the General Class portion of the 40-meter band?
    A. 40.200 MHz
    B. 7.500 MHz
    C. 40.500 MHz
    D. 7.250 MHz

    The correct and incorrect answers will always be the same but the order will change. Recalling the correct answer from memory is surprisingly helpful - you need to know the actual answer, not where it appears in the list of answers. So the answer in this case is B for the first question and D for the second.
     
  14. bkt

    bkt Well-Known Member

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  15. bkt

    bkt Well-Known Member

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    New radio recommendations

    Amateur radio has historically not been a poor man's hobby; the price of equipment - even used stuff - can be pretty high. Fortunately, there are a number of Chinese radios that have entered the market that are surprisingly good and pretty inexpensive.

    Handheld: Baofeng UV-5R - under $30

    The stock antenna that comes with the UV-5R is pretty bad and you will need a better one. I recommend the Nagoya 771 for under $20.

    You will also want a programming cable because programming it by hand is a pain. This will set you back less than $10.

    So for $60 you can have a very usable and capable rig.

    Base or Mobile: BTECH MOBILE UV-50X2 50 Watt Dual Band - $160

    You will also want the programming cable (different from the UV-5R's cable, unfortunately). This will set you back about $20.

    A good antenna is the Nagoya UT-72 for $26.

    All together, you can have a very nice mobile rig that puts out 50 watts for under $210.

    To turn the UV-50X2 into a base station you will also need a power supply. I'm in the market for one right now, so if anyone can provide suggestions I'd be grateful.

    Programming: The easiest software I've used is Chirp. It's free and works extremely well with the Baofeng radios. You can automatically load in local repeaters, NOAA and also set up your own repeaters or simplex settings easily.
     
  16. Meerkat

    Meerkat Seeking The Truth

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    I'd read that transistor radio are a good thing to have too. :dunno: We have one from Dollar Store we paid $5 for.
     
  17. bkt

    bkt Well-Known Member

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    Any radio is good to have around, Meerkat, but with most you can only listen to a limited set of frequencies. There are ways to spend a little more to get a lot more - including being able to transmit - to talk to others quite some ways away. :)
     
  18. bountyhunter26

    bountyhunter26 Well-Known Member

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    If you use your equipment on a regular basis....you will learn the shortcuts and quirks that comes with operating them. I bought 3 Baofeng radios in the past and now I have 3 Baofeng paperweights. My primary go to radio is a YAESU FT60R dual band and it works anytime I turn the radio on. What I found out about the Baofengs they couldn't stand up to the riggers of being on a ATV or training. I always recommend buy "quality".
     
  19. ssonb

    ssonb Well-Known Member

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    Guys don't feel alone I even have the same conversations with people that have the same attitude in the 11m "CB"(or rubber band as I call it) they will buy a radio antenna "kit" throw it on a storage shelf and say "It'l be there whin I need it. The CB is how I got started, It is a good primer until you see the limitations. legal and quality of electronic ,
     
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