| Jun. 26, 2017

Recently a man asked me if ham radios were still being used or if they were a thing of the past.

Ham radio communication is still a vital part of emergency networking as well as having a very large hobby following. For many folks particularly in the more remote mountainous regions of the country, including interstate highways in those areas, ham radio may be the only reliable method of connecting with family, friends and emergency personnel. Cell phone coverage has large dark spots, satellite phone is expensive, and internet phone service impossible in these areas.

Overview of a portbale HAM radioMany people think of ham radio communication as being connected to large antenna towers and a room full of electronic equipment. This could be true but technology has given us a small hand held portable ham radio. These radios are the size of a two way radio or what older people remember as a walkie talkie. The major difference is the frequency and power range that they operate on. Department store or box store radios have fixed frequencies that may give a range of signal up to a half mile in an ideal setting. Portable ham radios, on the other hand, transmit and receive at a far greater distance, especially when utilizing a repeater tower.

A hand held ham radio with The Survival Antenna in place has been proven successful at sending and receiving signal at a distance of 50 miles here in the rockies. These small but versatile radios can be programmed for simplex use, which is person to person direct; as well as to utilize your local repeaters. They also have power settings that allow you to conserve battery power. There are many of these devices in the market place. The price range depends on the power output and variety of radio functions; which brings the decision down to your needs, and your budget. Even the least expensive are impressive with their capabilities. Some have the ability to be tracked by another radio operator or search and rescue even if an injured or lost party isn’t on their radio, or perhaps unable use it. This is great for hunters, hikers, bicyclists, and backpackers and many, many other situations.

The most important aspect of basic ham radio operation is licensing. It is required by law and ethical when considering fellow ham operators. This may seem overwhelming to some but in reality, it’s not. It is readily available, inexpensive and not difficult to pass the technician class test. I will cover the details in next weeks blog.

If you are a serious prepper and not yet utilizing portable ham radios you should consider what you have read today. I will be posting ongoing blogs with all the information you will need to be successful and adequately prepared in the area of survival communications.

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