Monthly Archive July 2, 2022

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What to do

So you are wondering, what else is their besides just having a general conversion with
someone? This is a great hobby, not only for those general conversations, but their is so much
more that can be done – even things that could save lives can be done right here in the radio.
You might just be casually scanning the band and find yourself helping give directions to an out
of the area ham, or something more serious that you need to call 911.
Many areas have weekly, or daily nets they operate, these are used for anyone just to check in,
some may have training, some question and answer – but the underlying purpose of doing the
nets is to make sure equipment is operating correctly so you can be ready to go during an
emergency.
Many areas of the country have area specific disaster training – here on the pacific coast, our
training may be more geared towards earthquakes and tsunamis and not much on tornadoes,
whereas in the central US it could be something totally different. Of course, the reason for this
training is to both understand your limitations as an operator and preparing for a real event
when it happens.
We most likely won’t be called to help at the start of a disaster, but as they have red cross
shelters open, the communication needs are going to be more that the responding agencies can
handle, thats when we are call us, to take that load off of everyone, their the experts at
managing the disaster, we could be the experts at communicating during the disaster.
Remember one of the greatest assets to ham radio is that we don’t have to have any
infrastructure to operate – most agencies when their repeaters go down they can’t talk – we can.
We may be asked to man a shelter someplace, or to be a shadow of someone, bring their ears
during a situation. Maybe you’re just want to stay home during a disaster, that fine to – can be a
net control, or even just bring their listening – everyone can have a part.
Another thing that we do a lot of it public service events like roke races, boat races, the walks
that different groups do to raise money, parade comms. Just about anything that needs
communications may very well be manned with ham operators. This is a no cost way for these
types of agencies to to look to us, but we also provide security and safety to a certain extend –
like during a parade, we may choose a street, we are not trained in traffic control – but that’s
what we might be doing in a parade – with you yellow vest on, Talking on a radio people are
going to tend to listen to you. These different organizations like to use ham operators, because
it won’t cost them anything, we can charge for the use of our radios, and most groups wouldn’t
charge anyways – but that just takes the wondering away, and most organizations use us year
after year, this is also a great time to check out your portable station, and meme sure that it is
good to go for any real life situations.
Really, when you think about it any type of enemy’s we do, weather it be for a disaster or public
service event is going to show us an area that needs to be improved with our station, wether we
need to work on our antenna system, our power supply set – up, or even or own operating skills
at operating our own radio, especially during high stress situations.
I know that by being a new operator, you may just not feel comfortable with running a station by
yourself, that’s just to much to twiteal with on right from the start, many times if you really want
to help, be their as second person, help set-up, listen to how things are done, their is a specific
back and forth way of doing things that you will need to get figured out, just sitting their and
listening for a while and your whole street to pick up on how things are done, maybe be the
scribe, sitting there with net control, writing things down, not a high stress position, since their
are at least two of you – but still an important one.
Another often overlooked but fun activity is getting involved with radio direction finding, finding a
station that is transmitting, with on accident or in an effort to disrupt communications, a few
people with radios and skill can pinpoint to exact source of the interference and deal with it
(called fox hunting) – using the same techniques that we have used for years to locate airplanes
with their emergency beacon on – although we do very little of that theses data since they have
changed frequencies and it’s done all by satellites now.
Their are plenty of other things different groups do around the world, but there’s sure to be
something to get into with ham radio then you first thought.
And these days, getting into ham radio doesn’t even have to cost you a lot of money , with
companies sick as Wouxun, you get involved in all the activities on 2-meters, very often the
radios you get from wouxun will provide you with more features than any of the big brands, you
will definately want to check them out.

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Space

Amature radio and space
Now you may be thinking that amateur radio doesn’t have much to do with space, after
all the international space station is 248 miles high, there is no way ypu can talk that far
on earth, why would it be any different in space?
Their is an lot more than talking to the ISS up their, and surprisingly, a lot higher than
the international space station, their are satellites specifically dedicated to ham radio,
and granted theses are harder to use than any ground based repeater, the results are a
lot more memorable, and a goal for most ham operators.
All the satellites and the ISS use 2-Meters for their radios, nothing different than what
we use here on land – the fact that there are no hills, mountains are for the most part
even any air to contend with, it really is not too hard to use the satellites, although a lot
more calculating, planning, and preparing has to be done to make this journey happen.
You have to find out when the satellite is even going to be overhead, you need to figure
out precisely where to point your antenna and hope you can hear is, is going to be a
crowded mess – but if you manage to get through it will be a part of your ham radio
experiences to not forget. You don’t have to use a lot of power to make it happen, my
first satellite contact was on a wouxun handheld with the rubber antenna, but came with
that where many, many nights that one piece wasn’t perfect, and I heard nothing, but
then, it happened, if only for a few seconds – it still happened and contact was made.
One great radio to do this with would be the wouxun KG-UV8D, with its dual band
capabilities, and low cost, and just the right set of features.
Some ham operators actually bounce their signals off the moon! It’s going to take a
large financial step, but it is definately possible to bounce signals off the moon, and talk
worldwide, pretty crazy though but definately possible.
Although, technically may not be space, we will look at the upper layers of our
atmosphere as space for this. Although VHF radio is not affected by the atmosphere
generally, when you get into the HF range, the different layers of the atmosphere greatly
affect your signal.
In the HF bands the time of day has a vast affect your signals, you signal goes up into
the ionosphere and they it will be absorbed and noisy can hear you, or it can be
bounced back to earth, hundreds if not tosh of miles from you – you never know just
where your signal goes, things like the sunspots on the sun to the weather all have an
effect on your signal, it’s that always changing, never exactly the same stuff with our
signals that are a element of surprise to our segment you from someone you dinette
where not expecting pops out of radio speaker.

 

By Scott Thayer