Amateur Radio (also called ham radio)

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Amateur Radio (also called ham radio)

Post  Tusker2Zero on Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:11 am

Amateur Radio (also called ham radio):

What ham radio?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zULytRI2Kt0

I've been a ham radio operator for about 16 years now. I'm not very active anymore (but then again you don't really need to be to enjoy this hobby), but I'm still licensed. It's a fun hobby to be in if you're into talking to various folks from around the coutry and around the world. Or, like to help people out in an emergency. Many ham radio operators have assisted government and non-government agencies during times of crisis when normal communications have failed or become overloaded.

A perfect example of that would be hurricane Katrina:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvvvYdILHqM

Another good example of amateur radio operators assisting agencies is Skywarn Storm Spotters:

'SKYWARN is a national network of volunteer severe weather spotters. There are
currently over 230,000 trained SKYWARN spotters in the U.S. These dedicated
citizens come from all walks of life and help keep their local communities safe by
conveying severe weather reports to NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS).
They are trained by local NWS meteorologists on how to safely observe severe
thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail, flooding, heavy snow, and ice accumulation. Where
appropriate, training is received on other hazardous phenomena such as volcanic
ashfall, waterspouts, rip currents, mudslides, and even earthquakes. ...'

Skywarn PDF
http://www.emergency-radio.org/Skywarn.pdf

--------------------------------------------------------------

More ham radio info:
http://www.hello-radio.org/hello/whatis.html
http://emergency-radio.org/communicate.html
http://www.hello-radio.org/wedothat/

Official Web site of the ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio:
http://www.arrl.org/

_________________



Gonna get me some!


avatar
Tusker2Zero
General [Moderator]
General [Moderator]

Posts : 430
Join date : 2008-11-21
Location : Nashville, TN USA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Amateur Radio (also called ham radio)

Post  Snake on Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:17 pm

That's very interesting, not only can people communicate with others over very large distances, they can be an extremely valuable asset for the rest of the community / populations in cases of emergency (usually standard communication means aren't available on such cases).

Though I'm no ham radio operator myself, me and some friends usually mounted a local area radio "network" (kinda like a radio counterpart of a LAN - Local Area Network) during large scale MilSim (Military Simulation) operations (so we could keep contact with the rest of the team with great reception on a large area and even on bad weather scenarios).

_________________
"The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his." -- George Patton
avatar
Snake
General of the Army [Administrator]
General of the Army [Administrator]

Posts : 5707
Join date : 2008-02-11
Location : Portugal

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Amateur Radio (also called ham radio)

Post  Tusker2Zero on Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:13 pm

Snake wrote:That's very interesting, not only can people communicate with others over very large distances, they can be an extremely valuable asset for the rest of the community / populations in cases of emergency (usually standard communication means aren't available on such cases).

Yes. There are many modes of radio operation within the Amatuer Radio community to get your voice or message through to someone else around the corner, around the U.S., or around the world.

One of the most basic ways is through the use of a repeater.

(For those who are reading this and are new to communications, and don't know what a repeater is; 'A repeater is an electronic device that receives a signal and retransmits it at a higher level and/or higher power, or onto the other side of an obstruction, so that the signal can cover longer distances without degradation.' Source: Wiki)

There are literally thousands upon thousands of individual repeaters in the U.S. alone. Some repeaters are of local range (10 - 70+ miles), and some repeaters out there are linked or networked together (without an internet or phone connection) and can provide anywhere upto multi-state coverage. This can allow you to talk to someone states away with nothing more than an HT. (portable radio/handi-talkie/walkie-talkie however you'd like to say it. It's been called everything)

The latest technology is digital voice and data repeaters. Specifically VOIP. Ham radio's major digital mode is D-Star: 'D-STAR is a new ham radio system which offers digital voice and data communication. It connects repeater sites over microwave links and the Internet and forms a wide area ham radio network. The DSTAR system provides a new capability and functionality to the ham radio world and increases the efficiency of emergency communications.' Source: ICOM.
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/dstar/id1/default.aspx

Without getting too technical or specific here, the data speed in D-Star is rather limited due to the nature of radio bandwidth, and bandwidth restrictions, in certain frequency bands in the amateur radio community. Currently D-Star's data speed is 128kbps digital data in the 1200MHz band.

There are also long haul, long range, digital communications modes that run on much lower frequencies but with much much lower data rates. Not really good for large file transfers, but great for IM and simple e-mail type stuff.

(By the way snake, I'm realize I'm you probably know a lot more about comms than the average person on the street does, but I'm just toning it down here for those reading this that are less familiar with the subject.)

Snake wrote:Though I'm no ham radio operator myself, me and some friends usually mounted a local area radio "network" (kinda like a radio counterpart of a LAN - Local Area Network) during large scale MilSim (Military Simulation) operations (so we could keep contact with the rest of the team with great reception on a large area and even on bad weather scenarios).

Problem here is that by law, 'No amateur station shall transmit: Communications in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer. ... No amateur station shall transmit: Communications, on a regular basis, which could reasonably be furnished alternatively through other radio services. ...'

Basically, in general terms, Amateur radio is for personal communications only. The exceptions being that in the event of an emergency, or a disaster, amateur radio can assist local, state, and federal officials, as well as not-for-profit entities, in emergency communications. Another exception is by providing the U.S. military 'morale and quasi-official message' communications through the Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) program. Each individual service has their own MARS program. The Navy-Marine website is here:
http://www.navymars.org/

Of course having said all of that, in times of war (and perhaps even in not times of war), I'm sure the military will use whatever f***ing frequency, and resource, they can get their hands on, in order to complete the mission. FCC law be darned. forum smileys


Last edited by Tusker2Zero on Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:21 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Changed a bit of the last paragraph.)

_________________



Gonna get me some!


avatar
Tusker2Zero
General [Moderator]
General [Moderator]

Posts : 430
Join date : 2008-11-21
Location : Nashville, TN USA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Amateur Radio (also called ham radio)

Post  Snake on Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:22 pm

(By the way snake, I'm realize I'm you probably know a lot more about comms than the average person on the street does, but I'm just toning it down here for those reading this that are less familiar with the subject.)
Yup, no prob Thumbs Up!

Problem here is that by law, 'No amateur station shall transmit: Communications in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer. ... No amateur station shall transmit: Communications, on a regular basis, which could reasonably be furnished alternatively through other radio services. ...'
Yeah, they want to avoid it or people would use Ham radio to replace the standard radio stations.

This stuff is very useful though, if someone knows how to handle comms, he/she can save a lot of money (which would be wasted by using standard fixed/mobile phones).
In fact, if you ask me, I think that there should be law-written "contingency plan" which would help people on specially isolated areas (villages / remote locations) to buy a radio and teach them how to use it.

I mean, it's not news that in case of a catastrophe the phone and energy lines are usually the first ones to go, and there are many areas which are instantly isolated from the mobile phone network, that being said:
They lose the main phone lines and they are immediately isolated from the rest of the "world", on such cases, a well-established network of ham radio operators can be vital and report the status of the situation for the emergency/rescue authorities to act much more precisely and effectively.

Of course having said all of that, in times of war (and perhaps even in not times of war), I'm sure the military will use whatever f***ing frequency, and resource, they can get their hands on, in order to complete the mission. FCC law be darned.
Laughing Damn right!!! They'll usually look for a good / stable frequency which transmits both clear and is hard to detect (to avoid the enemy from tapping into the frequency, which would be a major pain). Also, I think that the military is using "new" (they've been researching it from a long time now) "special frequencies" which transmit on specially extreme frequencies (which are generally impossible to be tracked with standard gear), that is in times of improvisation though, satellite comm is the standard for a major (standard) military op, but we all know that it's much better to be prepared for anything (Satellite comms can have several particular problems which are basically solved with the good'ol traditional means 8) and even standard communication protocols).

I mean, a military unit can keep in touch with HQ using a standard radio and by using the standard Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum protocol (that way the probability of the enemy intercepting / tap into the friendly frequency is dramatically decreased). In fact, Frequency-Hopping is so effective that it can even avoid jamming.

The Germans used this technique in WW1, specially to establish permanent communication between fixed command points (usually the most important ones) to prevent eavesdropping by British forces, who did not have the technology to follow the sequence at the time.

_________________
"The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his." -- George Patton
avatar
Snake
General of the Army [Administrator]
General of the Army [Administrator]

Posts : 5707
Join date : 2008-02-11
Location : Portugal

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Amateur Radio (also called ham radio)

Post  Tusker2Zero on Sun Jan 04, 2009 2:09 am

Yes, Spread Spectrum is the way to go for very secure voice communications, but sadly not many ham radio operators (in the U.S.) use that mode. Were just now (within the last year or so) adding D-star (Icom) digital radios to our county emergency comm trailer, and to the county's EOC.

The State of Alabama (one state south of me) went wild with D-Star equipment, and with the assistance of the Alabama Department of Homeland Security they've set up a state wide D-star repeater system that covers just about every medium and large sized city in the state.

Darn lucky mothers. scuba diving news

_________________



Gonna get me some!


avatar
Tusker2Zero
General [Moderator]
General [Moderator]

Posts : 430
Join date : 2008-11-21
Location : Nashville, TN USA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Amateur Radio (also called ham radio)

Post  Snake on Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:21 pm

Shocked That's really great (for their state that is), hopefully more states will officially adopt similar programs in the future (and luckily build some sort of a "regional network", and it would be even better if, on the long term, even more states adopted similar programs to form a sort of a "National Network", it would be great, but it would surely take several years to do so, not to mention a lot of trouble by part of communication companies which would certainly "muscle in" on those particular areas).

Even so, if that was to be built, people from remote areas could easily contact the main populated areas in cases of emergency with a greater level of effectiveness.

_________________
"The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his." -- George Patton
avatar
Snake
General of the Army [Administrator]
General of the Army [Administrator]

Posts : 5707
Join date : 2008-02-11
Location : Portugal

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Amateur Radio (also called ham radio)

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum