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Thread: "ham radio" walkie talkies in the woods ?

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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    "ham radio" walkie talkies in the woods ?

    online I saw these http://www.nomorerack.com/daily_deal...ie_transceiver

    cheap enough. I thought they might be a good idea for me and my boys in the woods.

    Would these actually qualify as Ham Radios where we'd need a license (not a problem), does anyone know ?
    Any idea what I might expect radio to radio range to be ?
    Is cell phone coverage so good that these are probably pointless ? Thanks.
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    Senior Member sardog1's Avatar
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    It will require an amateur license, which is significantly easier now that the Morse code requirement was dropped several years ago. It will be line-of-sight communication unless you can somehow get access to a repeater, which means it's unlikely you'll reach anyone behind a ridge.

    The transmitter power (and likely range) is no greater than the common GMRS/FRS radios you see sold at outdoor stores and big box stores. I suppose its real advantage is that the frequencies would be less cluttered than on the latter.

    The price is more than a little scary (low), but I have no personal experience with this brand.

    Here's a good short discussion on range: 2-Way Radio Range: How Far Can Two-Way Radios Communicate?
    sardog1

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    men kom her up og kjenn eit annat Liv!
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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sardog1 View Post
    The transmitter power (and likely range) is no greater than the common GMRS/FRS radios you see sold at outdoor stores and big box stores.
    I suppose its real advantage is that the frequencies would be less cluttered than on the latter.

    The price is more than a little scary (low), but I have no personal experience with this brand.
    Thanks. What you say makes sense. I'll skip them. They had that "cool" factor that appeals to my inner child.
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    Senior Member Scubahhh's Avatar
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    They sell them on Amazon for about the same price,and you can read user reviews there. You might want to buy through Amazon; that way if they suck you,can return them.
    Add life to your years!

  5. #5
    Senior Member RoySwkr's Avatar
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    Hams I know used to use them in pre-cell days, they probably still do to talk to other hams

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    Senior Member SAR-EMT40's Avatar
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    I have bought one several months ago. At the price I paid I considered it a throw away, meaning that I have no concerns if I loss or otherwise destroy it while camping/hiking. The only thing I will warn you about is it is a PITA to try to program. I mean it is like they went out of their way to make it difficult. You will absolutely need a cheat sheet and KEEP IT WITH THE RADIO if you are going from area to area and need to program new freqs. Other than that, the times I have used it, it works. It's not a Yaesu or Kenwood but it will transmit and receive if you are able to program it correctly. For me it has only been used a few times to verify it works so I can give no information on its durability.

    Keith
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    Senior Member J.Dub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sardog1 View Post
    It will require an amateur license, which is significantly easier now that the Morse code requirement was dropped several years ago.
    Having worked hard to be able to copy CW at 20wpm to earn my Extra Class ticket back in the day, I was bummed when I learned the FCC had eliminated the Morse Code requirement.
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    Junior Member Dr. Joe's Avatar
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    It would appear from the web-site description that these are not "walky-talkies) but transceivers that are limited to amateur bands which require a license to operate. If you are just looking for communication between hikers you might investigate Citizen Band units that do not require a license; however, keep in mind that these units are typically line of sight and in many instances useless - I've found during the last few years of hiking that cell phone service has improved considerably and I always carry one for emergency communication. I've operated ham radio gear on the mountains (backpacking portable) both HF and VHF but batteries, antennas and ancillary equipment necessary for successful communication are many times heavy and not suitable for hiker to hiker communication. Hope this helps.

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    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.Dub View Post
    Having worked hard to be able to copy CW at 20wpm to earn my Extra Class ticket back in the day, I was bummed when I learned the FCC had eliminated the Morse Code requirement.
    After working to learn it myself, I was bummed when the Boy Scouts eliminated Morse Code as a requirement to make First Class Scout rank.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

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    Senior Member sardog1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.Dub View Post
    Having worked hard to be able to copy CW at 20wpm to earn my Extra Class ticket back in the day, I was bummed when I learned the FCC had eliminated the Morse Code requirement.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nessmuk View Post
    After working to learn it myself, I was bummed when the Boy Scouts eliminated Morse Code as a requirement to make First Class Scout rank.
    Just further evidence of the decline of civilization. I'm pretty sure it all started with Elvis's first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show ...
    sardog1

    "Å! kjære Bymann gakk ei stjur og stiv,
    men kom her up og kjenn eit annat Liv!
    kom hit, kom hit, og ver ei daud og lat!
    kom kjenn, hot d'er, som heiter Svevn og Mat,
    og Drykk og Tørste og det heile, som
    er Liv og Helse i ein Hovedsum."

    -- Aasmund O. Vinje, "Til Fjells!"

  11. #11
    Senior Member erugs's Avatar
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    For those interested in ham radios in the mountains, the following is an excellent place for information. A friend of mine (I think he follows this site) is an avid member and I'm sure would help anyone who is interested in getting into this hobby. Anyway, Summits On The Air, or SOTA. While it says UK in the line below, it is world-wide and there are a number of people working to gain points by making radio contact from mountain peaks. It isn't as easy as one might hope, from what I've seen, to get the required "contacts" one needs.

    http://www.sota.org.uk/
    Ellen

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    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erugs View Post
    For those interested in ham radios in the mountains, the following is an excellent place for information. A friend of mine (I think he follows this site) is an avid member and I'm sure would help anyone who is interested in getting into this hobby. Anyway, Summits On The Air, or SOTA. While it says UK in the line below, it is world-wide and there are a number of people working to gain points by making radio contact from mountain peaks. It isn't as easy as one might hope, from what I've seen, to get the required "contacts" one needs.

    http://www.sota.org.uk/
    This activity is also known as Mountain Topping.

    I've done it from Big Squaw Mtn (ME) during a VHF contest and someone used to do it occasionally from the summit of Moosilauke. (I contacted him from my base station in MA on 2m SSB a number of years ago.)

    Hams often setup stations on high points during contests, eg Mt Greylock, Mt Mansfield, and Mt Washington. They tend to like peaks that they can drive to--saves lugging a lot of heavy gear up a mountain.

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 03-05-2014 at 01:25 PM.

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    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    A couple of friends have a cabin on the edge of the WMNF, are both hams, and regularly use their 2m HTs* to stay in touch. I brought mine along and joined in. Reception was better than line of sight, but nonexistent in deep valleys or behind big hills.

    * Hams call them HTs (Handy Talkies rather than Walkie Talkies). 2m=2 meters=144-148 MHz

    Doug

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    The "Baofeng" is an incredibly robust "HT" for the money. Numerous of my fellow Ham Operators have purchased these radios and I have made contact with them while they were using this rig with good reception. Although these fellow operators have all been non hikers and operating in what I would call good atmospheric conditions. The expensive radios are actually submersible and are engineered to be used in harsh conditions. I don't think this is the case with the Baofeng which would probably make it a bit more delicate for all around hiking weather conditions. Although properly packaged and handled you may be able to get away with it. Depending upon what your goal is for two way radio communication you may only need a GMRS Radio which does require licensing but no testing to receive the license. Ham Radio licensing requires testing. GMRS will work well for short line of sight communication usually one to two miles depending on terrain. If all your looking to do is stay in touch with the members of your party over short distances GMRS is a reasonable solution or even FRS which requires no license at all but uses very low power therefore even further reducing range. 2 meter and 70 cm Ham Radios (which is what the Baofang is) is way more robust than GMRS. If you are going to "MountainTOP" and want to make longer line of sight communications this is a much better way to go. As already mentioned deep valleys will be a problem making contact. Although with proper education, training, and practice a 2 meter/70cm rig will cover a lot of territory in the White Mountains and other regions of the country especially once you learn to use repeaters. This will also enable you to make contacts outside your own party. The repeater system in The White Mountain region and Lakes region is reasonably decent. With proper training and experience the range of use for that general area is quite good. On another note the Baofeng is programable via a PC and a USB connection which makes for a much easier time than trying to manually program. I was a hiker before I was an Amateur Radio Operator. Once I became an Amateur Radio Operator it added a whole new "Fun Factor" to my hiking trips.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General..._Radio_Service
    Last edited by skiguy; 03-05-2014 at 11:09 PM.
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