Question: Should all of us Hams form a Y2K-aware-Hams callsign list?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
(Since I noticed the forum handler permitted basic formatting, I fired up the old editor and went at it.)
Okay, I've seen (and made) posts concerning the possibilities of using Amateur Radio as a means to keep the lines of communications open should the need arise. I've noticed posts (Brian E. Smith's post for one) and maybe now's the time to ask.
Should the collective "we" of this forum create a Ham equivalent of a phone-number list? Should we gather up a list of callsigns and primary monitoring frequencies of Hams that are Y2K aware and willing to play relay-the-info if critical systems go belly-up? If so, post 'em! If not, don't. Also, if anyone is interested in getting a license I can help with info on how to do it, as I just got mine this week and it's not a big deal as long as you have a rudimentary understanding of electronics and a willignness to learn and play by the (FCC) rules.
OddOne, who's ready to go on-the-air...
-- OddOne (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 15, 1999
Sounds like a good idea. I might learn to use a ham radio; what would it cost to buy one now? In the event of a disaster, it could be invaluable..
-- Leo (email@example.com), January 15, 1999.
Well, a popular source is Ramsey Electronics. They sell kits for several bands and all sorts of goodies. You'll need to select something you can use based on the license you get, though, so you might want to check into the license part first and then decide on equipment accordingly.
Also, there are a few Ham magazines you might find on the shelves that will hold reviews, prices, etc.
-- OddOne (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 15, 1999.
Odd, what local office do we call in our area to get forms or whatever's needed to start license process ?
-- vronsky (email@example.com), January 16, 1999.
You can start your ham radio research at www.arrl.org.
Locally, your best bet is to find a ham, and ask for help in learning about the world of ham radio, and what you have to do to get your license. One good way to do that is to ask your local Radio Shack store employees. Many keep track of ham radio activity, and can steer you in the right direction.
For equipment, there are several vendors (some on line, some not) that sell new equipment for virtually every ham radio activity, from long-range (HF) to packet, to TV. Again, hams can help you here.
The ham radio web sites number in the thousands. There are also ham radio newsgroups you can use to help you find local hams.
There is much more to say about it, but I trust this offering will get you started.
Good luck, and welcome to the world of ham radio.
-- seasoned (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 16, 1999.
There are already organized amateur radio groups that are built around disaster preparedness and long-distance message handling. Additionally, there exists a standardized method of forwarding messages developed for use by the NTS, or National Traffic System on amateur radio. The infrastructure is already in existence, on-the-air traing is available, and there are literally thousands of groups across the country who would welcome the assistance of a duly licensed individual, providing that they are willing to become proficient in the standard methods and protocols used daily in this type of work. Visit the American Radio Relay League website at: ARRL They can direct you to groups in your area, as well as explain the licensing procedure.
One course you do NOT want to follow is to buy the radios, fail to get licensed, and then get on the air if and when disaster threatens... you will not have developed any proficiency in the types of communications being passed, you will almost certainly be ignored, and if you interfere with legitimate civil defense/emergency management activities, you may be located and arrested.
Get you license NOW if you are interested - time is running out.
-- Why2K (email@example.com), January 16, 1999.
One other thing is that it might be advantageous to extend the reach of amateur radio by working with Citizen's Band radio operators in local situations for those who can't afford Ham equipment or who can't handle the licensing process.
-- John D. McClure (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 16, 1999.
I know zero about ham. Nada. Zippo. I think I can follow my nose around Net to do some research about mastering it, but what would you guys recommend to buy in the $400-750 range if I got that far? Keep in mind I'm boxed in to a valley in the mountains, though it ain't terrible (we get Dish, for instance). Would like to get at least 100-200 miles range if not the whole world. Help!
-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 16, 1999.
Look into the HF stuff, which you can legally access from 30 mhz (10 meter) up as a no code Tech. If there are repeaters in the area, 2 meter (140-149 mhz), 70 cm (better know as 440 because, well, it runs from 440-449 mhz) and on up. The 6m or 10m will give the greatest legal range, but the 2m/440 will give the best local and most satisfaction. The legal novice/no code tech section of 10m is very narrow and you would end up needing to be code proficient for any real work there
Note I refer to legal range. Seriously consider making sure you stay in the proper ballparks. The FCC is very happy to assist us in policing our own, and has no problem sending out $10,000.00 invoices to miscreants. And coming in and relieving them of the temptation to continue.
As to licensing in the US, it's a snap. pick up (I think) "Now You're Talking" and read the book, and look at the test questions on th eback of the book. Guaranteed the questions on the test come from the pool in the book. My wife received her book on Monday, took the test on the following Saturday and had her ticket the next following Friday, about 3 months before my radio came back and I could give her hers. (She got it tied to the book, and I took it away as mine was in the shop. Suprised me on teh quick turn around for the ticket.)
Chuck, who is working on putting together both 6m and 10m, and has once again demonstrated why he don't pound brass!
-- Chuck, night driver (email@example.com), January 16, 1999.
I am looking into shortwave receivers. If I don't go for a license but want to follow what hams in the area are doing (to the extent possible) - which bands on a shortwave receiver do I listen to?
As I understand it, this is Single Side Band, which your typical $200 portable does has, but the BayGen does not. Are there any other considerations or limitations?
-- Debbie Spence (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 16, 1999.
Here's a little ham info.
We were into it before getting married. Old call was WA2CIA. I had no idea of any significance to those letters in those days of the late fifties & early sixties. I learned later. :-)
Anyway. We operated on 80m 40m and as a C.D. volunteer, on 6m and 2m. Freq allocations have been rearranged a lot since then but here's a general overview. I operated a power of 75 watts and had a long wire radiating w.s.w. and e.n.e. Transmitter distance and direction are related to these two factors; along with atmospheric conditions which, btw, will be peaking the 11 year sunspot cycle on y2k, as they were back in 56.
80 meters (3.5) is above the commercial AM band (.5 to 1.6 meg) and is similar to commercial radio with somewhat better coverage. Daytime its several hundred miles and at night 1-2 thousand.
40 meters (7 megs) is longer range with an area of 3-4 thousand miles at night. All of these are *my* experience operating under my conditions. We also were using c.w. (code). Keying the transmitter carrier frequency itself, with no voice or other modulation is very effective for obtaining longer distances and cutting through interference.
20 meters (28 meg) offers about the ultimate for worldwide coverage. Didn't work it very much except when visiting a friends shack but it was really awsome talking to Aukland when you're used to maxing out at the west coast or occasionally Alaska or Hawaii. (We're in Buffalo). This is the area that would offer the best short wave listening (swl) for those with receivers only; or if you were in the market for one.
6 meter (50 meg), distance starts to get spotty. Under certain atmospheric conditions you can reach thousands of miles. This is when areas of the atmosphere become reflective, allowing the signal to reflect (skip) back and forth between the earth and the sky, thus rounding the curve of the earth. Otherwise it is good for a few hundred miles.
2 meters (144 meg) is pretty much line of sight. Today there are repeaters; ground and sattelite, for extending that range but I wouldn't rely on them post y2k. The two meter stuff is pretty small and portable. In general, the higher the frequency range, the smaller the components.
Many things have improved. Single side band (ssb) is an advancement. Sort of a reversal on cw. With code or cw (continuous wave), the carrier is keyed and no power is wasted modulating the signal. With ssb, the modulation gets all the power and there is little or no carrier. That gives ssb voice transmissions nearly the same range as cw but it does require a ssb receiver. One that is capable of replacing the missing carrier, for proper reception. You *can* receive ssb with a standard receiver but it is distorted if not tuned extremely close to what's called zero-beat. A multi-band (incl. 20 meters) receiver for any available news and a local receiver/transmitter for c.b. or 2 meters or higher, would seem to be a good combination.
There are 400 meg headset/mouthpiece transceivers at Kmart for $35.00. Has anyone had any experience with these??
-- Floyd Baker (email@example.com), January 17, 1999.
Ooop. Minor error. 20 meters is 14 meg not 28. 10 meters is 28.
-- Floyd Baker (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 17, 1999.
If you remember a WA2TQY then you know an uncle of mine.
-- Chuck, night driver (email@example.com), January 18, 1999.
Chuck and others,
Thanks for ongoing info. Still wondering what you would recommend for purchase specifically in the 4-700$ area assuming I am determined to get my license and would like 3-4K mile coverage? Which product(s)?
-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 18, 1999.
I purchased a used Kenwood 440S with the automatic antenna tuner (very important addition!) for around $700. It can run off of 12V DC so a couple of deep cycle batteries and some way to charge them would be enough. I will have a long wire antenna and an all-band verticle on a tower (unless the windmill gets dibs on the tower :-). (The antenna will run you another ~$100). E-mail me (you know the address) and I can give you some more details if you wish.
The Kenwood 440 is awesome because it has a general coverage shortwave receiver that covers the entire shortwave band. I will probably be listening only for the first few months of 2000; transmission will come only if it appears safe. The whole shebang was rather expensive but my wife and I agreed that if Y2K turned into really serious a link to the outside world could be a lifesaver.
I got my Advanced ham license while in junior high school (so it's not that tough, folks). Haven't done much operating since then but boy, am I glad I kept it renewed.
-- Franklin Journier (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 18, 1999.
if you want to be a ham or already are one, you should consider joining ham groups interested in emergency services. join ARES, RACES, or both. hams who are military or ex-military can join MARS. you can get more info from ARRL or get a newsstand copy of QST magazine.
for those interested in CB radio, consider joining REACT. all of these groups have websites.
-- jocelyne slough (email@example.com), January 18, 1999.
jocelyne Be careful referencing REACT. In many places they are using Class A citizens Band, a VERY DIFFERENT thing from the CB that most know (eg: Repeaters are permitted, and it's inthe 450 mhz range, also called GMRS. Plain garden variety CB is HIGHLY LIMITTED in range and what you can do to the signal, legally. No repeaters and it's in the 28-30 mhz range)
-- Chuck, night driver (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 18, 1999.