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Posted: 5/12/2002 2:06:19 AM EDT
I've considered getting into HAM radio. Never have though. With all the posts on SHTF scenarios and such here, it seems HAM radio would be a good hobby to go hand in hand with other hobbies involved with survival themes and such.

I know if there ever is a SHTF scenario, or anything similar that causes major power outages, etc. cell phones will be worthless. I experienced that first hand here when we had the quake. Communications is a major player in group survival. I dunno, maybe the majority of people are only worried about themselves. I just think a group of people pulling together would be much better off than every man for himself out in the woods ;)

Anyone here into HAM and wanna make any suggestions on someone thinking about getting started in it? I know there is info out there on the web, but if I do get into it, I think it would be cool to communicate with fellow ar15'ers.

I'm not talking about organizing a militia or anything. In fact, HAM radio operators can probably help the government out a lot if something big really does happen. Shelter locations, supply locations, etc can be passed on by people in the know.

I know HAM can probably get pretty expensive, but having even a small portable and knowing how to use it to communicate with people more advanced would probably be a good thing.

Thanks for any input :)

Link Posted: 5/12/2002 6:03:53 AM EDT
  Same here I just bought a Yaeshu FT 817, Ihave been wanting to do it for years. My nephew has bugged me to start. It is ok since I I tempting him with the evil black rifle.
  Biggest reason is that when 911 hit all the phones to DC went down. We were out of touch for two days.
  GW also was at a ham fest, like a BRC but not enough guns, and thanked Hams for their help and asked that there be more operators.
   Communications is so dependent on technology now it is so easy for it to collapse. The independence of a Ham set will still be operating when the internet goes down.
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 6:41:31 AM EDT
I have been a HAM for 40 years.  Fun hobby.  Sometimes I am active, sometimes not but try to keep current.  Throughout history HAMs have provided communications for many disasters both foreign and domestic.  The knowledge required will serve you well no matter how you end up using it.  Invaluable for SHTF.
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 6:43:36 AM EDT
Try to get at least a General Class license so you can operate HF.  HF band communication gives you worldwide range.  If you get the typical beginning Technician license then you'll be confined to VHF and above, and your range will be limited typically to a few hundred miles at best, and often much less.  There are many 2 meter repeaters out there, but I wouldn't depend upon them to be there in a SHTF scenario.

The downside is that currently a General requires you to learn morse code.
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 7:44:50 AM EDT
I'm just getting back into it.
Got my License about 9 years ago.
Talked around the world on HF.
Met lots of friends on local VHF/UHF repeaters
Sold everything and bought more guns During the Clinton Crime Bill.
Now I'm buying stuff again and enjoying it.

Ham radio is very helpfull during Emergencies like Tornados. floods, Hurricanes, Etc..

Link Posted: 5/12/2002 7:47:52 AM EDT

I'm in the same boat.  Sold all my gear to buy more guns.  Thinking this time around something nice n easy like an IC-746.

Link Posted: 5/12/2002 8:55:41 AM EDT
I've got my Temp. General (haven't passed the code yet).

I still don't have a rig yet.  I'm looking at both the
and the  [URL=http://www.kenwood.net/products/index.cfm?AMA=open&ama_bstat=open&radio=TS-2000&selection=Amateur&ID=83]TS-2000[/URL]
for mobile coms and the  [URL=http://www.yaesu.com/amateur/vx5r.html]VX-5R[/URL]

and the IC-T81A [img]http://www.icomamerica.com/amateur/images/t81a.jpg[/img]
for HT comms.

[b][red][i]Libertas an Mortis!![/b][/red][/i]
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 9:15:11 AM EDT
Those new Kenwood rigs are UGLY! [shock]
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 10:19:16 AM EDT
Been licensed since 1968 and just purchased the Yaesu FT-100D, this little jem runs the entire spectrum from broadcast to 900 mhz.

If you are looking for some radio gear remember that one of the largest hamfests will be this weekend in Dayton, Ohio.
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 5:28:35 PM EDT
Anyone know of any good boards for ham like we are fortunate enough to have for the ar?

I too need to get into this, just too lazy to learn the morse.


Link Posted: 5/12/2002 6:08:26 PM EDT
Here ya go:

[URL=http://www.frugalsquirrels.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=13&DaysPrune=1000]Frugal's Survival Com. Board[/URL]

[b][red][i]Libertas an Mortis!![/b][/red][/i]
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 6:16:34 PM EDT
BTW No Morse needed for the tech. and only 5WPM for General & Extra.  Plus you have 12 months to use your General & Extra privileges once you pass the theory exams, all with out taking the Morse. Theoretically, you can pass your general, use those privileges for 12 months, pass your Extra theory, and then have 12 months of Extra privileges all without passing the code.  Of course after passing the General & Extra Theories you are probably going to want to pass the code.  If you don't pass the code or next higher theory with in 12 months you have to retake the previous theory.  This only applies to HF (General & Extra). Once you pass the Tech., you are good to go for 10 years.

[b][red][i]Libertas an Mortis!![/b][/red][/i]
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 6:53:01 PM EDT
I too am a ham radio operator (Extra license for 30+ years).  I do love the hobby, and find a surprisingly large number of them are gun enthusiasts.  However, I don't know how much good it would do in a true SHTF scenario.

Under those conditions, local communication is probably the most important (keeping in touch with your crew).  This is mostly line-of-site stuff.  Frankly, the inexpensive FRS radios that sell for $50 to $100 a pair work pretty darned well.  The higher priced GMS versions that share some of the same frequencies work even better.

Ham radio's best contribution in a SHTF scenario would be to assist isolated regions to communicate with the outside world.  In a more reasonable and logical world, the ham radio operators provide invaluable services in assisting to restore order in disaster situations.
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 7:19:04 PM EDT
[b]Frankly, the inexpensive FRS radios that sell for $50 to $100 a pair work pretty darned well. The higher priced GMS versions that share some of the same frequencies work even better.[/b]

Or maybe not — During an emergency, with just FRS 14 channels, you're going to have a lot of fun trying to find an unoccupied channel! Compare that with the VHF and UHF ham bands, where you and your buddies have literally thousands of "channels" to choose from. I wouldn't count on the GMRS channels being much less crowded, either.

Also, the ham bands could be a valuable source of reliable information during a disaster. On the FMRS bands, you won't find any emergency networks operating — and probably not even anyone who you'd be willing to trust for news, medical advice, etc.

I would strongly recommend getting at least an inexpensive talkie, even if you don't have the license yet. In peaceful times, it'll give you some motivation to get the license. In a major disaster, having the license probably won't be a major concern when using it.
Link Posted: 5/13/2002 11:42:57 PM EDT
Ok, I am going on the 22nd to take my Technician Class test. I picked up a book today, so that gives me a week to read up. I took some online sample test and got around a 54% with knowing absolutely nothing about amateur radio, so I don't think I'll have any problem on the 22nd. I will start with Technician and upgrade soon to General.

Anyone know of any good computer morse code learning proggies?

I'm thinking of the IC-T81A or a VX-5R for my first radio. Any big differences that should sway me one way or the other? I would like to look into the PC cloning features for one thing.

I know I'm being lazy in asking questions that I could just read up on, but I figure some of you won't mind sharing your knowledge :)

edited to add: BTW, thanks for the feedback so far. I probably could have left the SHTF abbreviation out of this post. I just mean when conventional communication breaks down, no matter what cause, I'm thinking HAM is the way to at least hear from the outside world and provide/get aid if necessary.
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