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  • HAM radio

    Anyone into HAM radios? Does anyone have one in their squad?

    I have ZERO experience with HAM radios but I'm considering getting into it as a hobby. Only really looking into getting the technician or general license for HAM. Can anyone give any benefits or negatives? I don't currently own one and will probably start out with a cheap hand held.

    Any positives to having one in your squad?

  • #2
    It's a great hobby, but I can't think of any benefits to having a ham rig in a department vehicle, except maybe in a mobile command post. The chief/sheriff might see it as a "distraction," and cast disapproving looks upon you.

    Then again, if you had that two-meter handheld available some day during a search for a missing person when some hams volunteered to help, or maybe during some massive telephone outage, it could come in handy until the command post got operational. (2M is the most commonly used VHF FM mode, with lots of repeater stations and many users in most areas. Some ham repeaters have emergency power.)

    I've worked a bunch of public service events since getting licensed ('83, I think it was), both emergencies and scheduled events like marathons. Sometimes it was just hams manning checkpoints along a route, other times working with the local PD on traffic control. The non-emergency stuff is good practice for the SHTF days with no power, no phones, no nuthin' except some people doing the adapt-and-improvise thing that hams have been doing for decades.
    --
    Capital Punishment means never having to say "you again?"

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    • #3
      A couple friends had ham radios in their squads about 15 yrs ago. They used them for car to car comms etc . All of them are now administrators so they don't patrol anymore. The Sheriff approved ---------I think there were 5 or 6 deputies that used them.

      The ARES group in that county is very active and works several special events each year so it was good for those events too.

      I don't know of anyone now that does..................but I often carry a hand held with a mixture of frequences on board
      Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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      • #4
        Ham Radio

        Originally posted by nightrider43 View Post
        Anyone into HAM radios? Does anyone have one in their squad?.....Can anyone give any benefits or negatives? I don't currently own one and will probably start out with a cheap hand held.....Any positives to having one in your squad?
        I am not very active with amateur radio currently, but I have been licensed for a number of years. I have had both handhelds and mobile in marked and unmarked vehicles. The last car I had was a completely unmarked Chevrolet Impala. The Captain that handled the fleet wanted no noticeable antennas. By that time we had switched from analog conventional VHF to digital trunked 800 mHz, thus the two way radio antenna a patch on the inside of the rear glass and the air card antenna was a patch near the read view mirror inside. Anyway, that pushed me to go from a dual band mobile Yaesu FT8800 to a pair of Motorola GP2000. One VHF and one UHF.

        When we were still analog conventional, I used mine essentially as a scanner much of the time. My sheriff's office mobile was 128 channels. It could scan up to 32 channels in one of four zones at a time. Even with all of that, there were still times the ham rig was handy for monitoring other stuff. For example, one of the city PDs in my area used the Public Works channel for car-to-car. It was UHF. When I traveled through that city, I often parked on that channel so I could increase my situational awareness when I was in that area.

        Coordinating when working with volunteers is a huge benefit. Say you have a marathon in your area. Many of the volunteers might be amateur radio operators. Being able to inter-op with them is quite helpful.

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        • #5
          I've thought about getting into the hobby, but never considered carrying one in the cruiser. How does a guy get started? Equipment advice, licensing, etc?
          MAC

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          • #6
            Ham Radio

            http://www.arrl.org/getting-licensed

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            • #7
              Cool, thanks for the replies guys. I live in a pretty rural area with lots of small towns in my county and surrounding counties. I know that our EMA operates a lot on amateur radio for storm spotting and other SHTF drills.

              I'm also thinking it would be a benefit being able to scan other agencies in the area.

              Can anyone recommend a good starter handheld?

              I've found a testing date in early December about 30 minutes from me. Time to study!

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              • #8
                I got my Ham license earlier this year. I picked up a Boafeng (just changed their name to Pofung) BF-F8 on Amazon for about $35. For cheap, but good, starter handheld, I'd definintely recommend any of the Baofeng UV-5R line of radios. There are a ton of guides on how to use and program them if you search Google.

                For a great study guide, check out http://www.kb6nu.com/study-guides/. There's a great, no-nonsense guide for the Technician class license that I used and I had no trouble passing the exam. There's also a number of iOS and Android apps that'll help you prepare with practice tests.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Triumph627 View Post
                  I got my Ham license earlier this year. I picked up a Boafeng (just changed their name to Pofung) BF-F8 on Amazon for about $35. For cheap, but good, starter handheld, I'd definintely recommend any of the Baofeng UV-5R line of radios. There are a ton of guides on how to use and program them if you search Google.

                  For a great study guide, check out http://www.kb6nu.com/study-guides/. There's a great, no-nonsense guide for the Technician class license that I used and I had no trouble passing the exam. There's also a number of iOS and Android apps that'll help you prepare with practice tests.

                  Great thanks Triumph627! That's super cheap....almost worth it to get one for the car and one for home.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mac266 View Post
                    I've thought about getting into the hobby, but never considered carrying one in the cruiser. How does a guy get started? Equipment advice, licensing, etc?
                    Originally posted by Jim1648 View Post
                    Mac ----------------the study book can be ordered from ARRL or picked up at Barnes and Noble. Read through it and then you can study the test questions on line................

                    My wife, my then 16 yr old son and I all took the exam in Aug of 2001 after using the book as a "Summer activity" for the severely ADHD son.....................I have since upgraded to General ---although I have no HF equipment.

                    I have seen 8 yr olds pass the Technician test--------------so you know it's not difficult
                    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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                    • #11
                      I am researching into my ham license.
                      It looks like a fun hobby but I am mainly wanting a radio for 4x4/roadtrip comms.

                      there should be a local ham radio group in your area who can help with more info. Also there are a lot of ham practice tests online with study guides, flash cards, etc.
                      Chris

                      XBOX Live: Citizen GaKar


                      http://i36.tinypic.com/1zoxgtc.gif

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                      • #12
                        In NC back in the late 70s. We had a CB radio in the station. Truckers will call over channel 19 accidents and other incidents requiring LE. Of course everyone has cell phones now.

                        With HAM you will likely want to stick to VHF for local stuff. No reason to be calling Japan on a HF setup. HAM is also a great hobby but I prefer reloading.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Che View Post
                          In NC back in the late 70s. We had a CB radio in the station. Truckers will call over channel 19 accidents and other incidents requiring LE. Of course everyone has cell phones now.

                          With HAM you will likely want to stick to VHF for local stuff. No reason to be calling Japan on a HF setup. HAM is also a great hobby but I prefer reloading.
                          Up until this last squad car rotation all of our squads had CB's, a couple of the deupties kept their CB's this rotation and a couple removed them-----------and back when I was a deputy in the 80's I had one in my car too.

                          I don't know of anyone who has HF in a squad, so yes a 2 meter radio would be sufficient.
                          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            CB's in the cars are great for getting truckers attention or roadblocks. you give them directions when they are five miles away and they don';t have to come up to you. HAM radio is great as well, RACES and ARES are fine. However don't use ham freq you are not entitled to use. BTW no code now . You can go all the way to extra class without any code!

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                            • #15
                              P1270003.jpg

                              I am into the hobby a little
                              T.K.
                              http://tonykoester.blogspot.com/

                              "Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence" (Mr. Justice Stewart, Elkins v. United States 364 U.S. 206 (1960)

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