Emergency communication

Ham it up!
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sallen
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 8:39 am

Emergency communication

Post by sallen » Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:58 am

During the Cascadia Rising emergency drill in the Pacific Northwest I realized I needed to get my Ham license for emergency communication needs. I maintain 6 transmitter sites in my area and one is an EAS primary. During a walk through on scenarios, it quickly became obvious that I should have a basic ham license for emergency communications. I plan to get my license in the next month. Test are given weekly in the Seattle/Tacoma area. Know I have the abilities to pass the test, that’s not an issue. Lots of resources to help with that.

What is a good handheld radio. I need to get one. I would like a 12 volt base unit to use at home with my 12 volt solar power system. And a good handheld unit for the car/out in the field use. I also need to get a base unit for one of the transmitter sites. What would be a good base unit either 12 volt or 120 for the transmitter site. How do the Boafeng units stand up against Yaesu. AAny rig suggestions?

Maybe take one of the surplus Continental 317C out here and turn it into a ham rig! (just kidding).

Thinking from the emergency communication aspect a ham license is almost a must if you maintain sites that have to work in all situations and you need to communicate with other engineers.

jammerdave
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 9:03 pm
Location: West Sacramento, CA

Re: Emergency communication

Post by jammerdave » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:02 am

Congrats on working towards the ham ticket!

I've experimented with a number of those cheapo chinese handhelds and mobiles. I am not impressed, and actually disappointed in the performance. Some have spurs/harmonics, etc... I would avoid them, just not worth it.

That being said, I would stick to the big name brands in the ham radio world. Icom, Kenwood Yaesu, Alinco....

I personally use a Kenwood TM-281 for a mobile. 65 watt 2 meter VHF radio with a front firing speaker. I love it, and it was only $137 from Gigaparts.
For a 2 meter handheld, I use an Icom IC-V80. Rugged, performs well. About $110 or so.

I got spoiled on commercial grade gear when I was young by my Motorola tech mentors/elmers, so I still have a bunch of that that I use on the ham bands as well. The ability to front panel program a radio on the fly is really handy though.

I still have two of the chinese handhelds, but they don't get used much.... One of those is for the 220 band.

73,

Dave NA6DF


sallen wrote:During the Cascadia Rising emergency drill in the Pacific Northwest I realized I needed to get my Ham license for emergency communication needs. I maintain 6 transmitter sites in my area and one is an EAS primary. During a walk through on scenarios, it quickly became obvious that I should have a basic ham license for emergency communications. I plan to get my license in the next month. Test are given weekly in the Seattle/Tacoma area. Know I have the abilities to pass the test, that’s not an issue. Lots of resources to help with that.

What is a good handheld radio. I need to get one. I would like a 12 volt base unit to use at home with my 12 volt solar power system. And a good handheld unit for the car/out in the field use. I also need to get a base unit for one of the transmitter sites. What would be a good base unit either 12 volt or 120 for the transmitter site. How do the Boafeng units stand up against Yaesu. AAny rig suggestions?

Maybe take one of the surplus Continental 317C out here and turn it into a ham rig! (just kidding).

Thinking from the emergency communication aspect a ham license is almost a must if you maintain sites that have to work in all situations and you need to communicate with other engineers.

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Chris Arnesen
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Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:18 pm
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon, USA
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Re: Emergency communication

Post by Chris Arnesen » Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:17 pm

The first handheld I got was a Yaesu FT-60R in 2005. It is a workhorse and other than replacing the battery pack when it stops holding a charge, I still recommend it for newcomers as it will last and isn't difficult to program. I also have an Icom IC-91AD for digital (D-STAR) use and just bought a Tytera MD-380 for digital (DMR) use.

For mobile/base VHF/UHF use, I have an Icom IC-208H and Icom IC-880H for digital (D-STAR) use. They're both fine radios and fairly inexpensive on the used market.

With whatever you go with, I would definitely recommend that you get a dual-band (144 & 440 MHz bands) radio. Handhelds will pretty much all be 5 watts, mobile/base units will typically be about 50 watts.

You'll be disappointed with the Baofeng radios as they are really built to a cost. Working in high RF environments, the Baofeng radios will be pretty much unusable.

Good luck with the test!

--Chris, KU7PDX
Sincerely,
Chris Arnesen, CBNT, CRO

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Shane
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Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:08 am
Location: Omaha
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Re: Emergency communication

Post by Shane » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:18 pm

I'll second Dave on the IC-V80, except I wish it was dual band.

Careful what settings you monkey with. I thought I spoke rather loudly (so the wife tells me) so I turned the 4-step mic gain down to 2, then I couldn't figure out why people couldn't hear me!

FINALLY, somebody said, instead of "your signal is weak here," "your audio is really low." Aha! So I put that puppy back on 4 and all is fine now. So I'm guessing the only reason to fool with that is if you use an external mic that might need some padding.

I also found I needed to have a print out (or a file on my phone) of some of the programming instructions as they are somewhat arcane. (Plus I am somewhat arcane!) For example, how you set the squelch isn't intuitive at all but works ok once you get the hang of it. The squelch setting is "simplex" for lack of a better word. It doesn't go into the memories.

I have an old Radio Shack dualbander that saves the squelch setting for each memory slot so that spoiled me some.

W7MSL
Mike Shane, CBRE
---Omaha---

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