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  • ham radio anyone?

    our county just got a grant to put ham radio in every fire station and rescue squad building in the county, and is enouraging all fire and rescue members to get the training to operate it...

    anyone know anything about ham radio? i'm signed up for the class but wondering if anybody could give me the non-instructor lowdown on it

  • #2
    Technically anyone can do it. But in actuality you really need to have a good grasp on physics, specifically electrical theories. If you are good at memorizing things you can just download the test bank and learn it that way. Don't worry if you are not good at it people out in 'radio land' will be quick to help you! Ive had my Lic for almost 9 years, its fun and it gives you other ways to communicate besides cell phone.

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    • #3
      Hi, N1RN here.

      The test is just memorization (multiple choice) which should be hard for most people. The morse code requirement will be history in a month or so as soon as the new rules make it through the bureaucratic process. www.arrl.org is the place to start for further information.

      Comment


      • #4
        Depends on what kind of ham radio they installed. If it is just a simple 2M/440 or 6 meter rig, then you need only a technician class license. This is very easy, involves very little electrical knowledge, and does not require morse code.

        If it is HF, then it is a lot more complicated.
        Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

        Comment


        • #5
          The Amateur Radio Service is a licensed service meant for those persons interested in radio communications as a hobby. This includes experimentation and, for a few, public service.
          I have been a ham since 1995. I have always been active in the public service aspect of the hobby and currently serve as the ham radio emergency coordinator for my Parish EMA.
          That said, I believe the move to provide grants to public safety agencies and encourage staff to get ham licenses goes against the SPIRIT of the service. While this may increase the number of licensed hams it does little to advance the hobby.
          There is nothing Special or Magical about the ham radio bands. The radio waves don't act any different than those on frequencies used in nearby public safety bands. A 50watt VHF public safety radio will perform nearly identical to a 50 VHF ham radio in nearly all cases. Ham radio repeaters, owned by individuals or private clubs, don't have any secret technology which keeps them on the air during an emergency. In fact, many ham repeaters are likely on the same towers and in the same equipment buildings as the public safety radios the fire departments are using or are nearby. When the towers go down or the generators are knocked out the ham repeaters fail right alongside the public safety repeaters. When they do stay up it's not some ham radio miracle but because the ham hobbiests likely installed backup battery or other power source.
          There is little to no radio traffic that needs to be passed over ham frequencies that can't be sent over business or public safety bands. There are many local and national inter-operational frequencies set aside just for these purposes. If the local government is worried that they may need a means of backup communications that is where they need to look first. Install public safety radios on these common/shared frequencies and put the antennas on separate towers and power them from separate generators. For years, interoperability was common since nearly every agency used or had access to shared/common frequencies. Growing up I was an active scanner listener. I remember that during my teens nearly every Louisiana agency had a radio tuned to 39.5MHz, known as the Lousiana common channel. A few years ago, al of the hospitals shared a Hospital Emergency Alert Radio system on 155.34MHz. Local chemical industries had VHF and UHF mutual aid radio channels. Over the years testing and maintiance of these networks took a backseat to other problems. Since 9/11 and Katrina they have been rediscovered. The HEAR network is tested daily in Baton Rouge. Industry is reestablishing long neglected mutual aid agreements. Simply put, they are using what has always been available but forgotten about over the years.
          The argument has been made elsewhere that ham radio is often used for communications with Red Cross shelters and chapters. Locally the lack of hams active in public safety means that when shelters are opened the EMA issues spare Fire Department radios to the shelter managers. The radios, set on a common talk-group, allow the shelters to contact the EMA when needed without having to rely on ham radio operators. The Red Cross has several national licensed common/shared frequencies at it's disposal and here in Louisiana even has Talk-groups on the State Police Trunked Radio System. They have received millions (billions?) of dollars for disaster response and preparedness over the last few years. They have mobile communications units, trucks, tractor trailers and more. There's plenty of money to purchase radios programmed to their frequencies for use during deployments and in shelters. There is no valid argument for continuing to rely on ham radio volunteers using privately owned radio equipment.
          If fire departments need a means of communicating other than their public safety frequencies maybe they should meet with local business owners who use radio for daily work and work out an agreement to use THOSE frequencies during an emergency. Maybe Bobs Wrecker Service will allow you to share their repeater when you need a spare channel. I'm sure the Yellow Cab Service in your area would jump at the chance to help out. Even better, the taxi dispatcher would probably already be available at a moment's notice and knows the area as well as any 911 operator. Yeah, that's the ticket.
          The point is, ham radio is a service for playing with electronic radio communications and public safety agencies should use the numerous PUBLIC SAFETY frequencies for primary and backup communications. Failing that, install 40 channel CB radios and use those instead of ham rigs.
          Sincerely,
          Steve
          Last edited by cellblock; 01-04-2007, 12:15 AM.
          Steve
          EMT/Security Officer

          Comment


          • #6
            we are doin the 2M technician level stuff


            and the reason our county is trying to be able to use this as an alternative radio source in the instance of a disaster is because the ham radio system has alot more repeaters than our public service system does.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by nmfire View Post
              If it is HF, then it is a lot more complicated.
              It's not much more complicated. As I said, the code test is history as of next month. Anybody who can master fireground hydraulics can understand the rest (I jokingly commented to the other radio guy in my hydraulics course that this is just like electricity).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by cellblock View Post
                The point is, ham radio is a service for playing with electronic radio communications and public safety agencies should use the numerous PUBLIC SAFETY frequencies for primary and backup communications. Failing that, install 40 channel CB radios and use those instead of ham rigs.
                Sincerely,
                Steve
                The idea of the getting ham radios into the public safety departments is not to replace the PUBLIC SAFETY frequencies but to provide liaison to a cadre of volunteers in the case of a large scale communications disaster. Most day to day use has been entirely supplanted by the almighty cell phone. I can't tell you the last time I turned on my VHF/UHF ham rig. Still got the HF standing by.

                Comment


                • #9
                  n1rn does that stand for number 1 regestered nurse. or doers it stand for anything at all.

                  also tell me does the call N1ND mean anything to you.

                  ham radio is a lot of fun now if i can get my lazy rear end in gear and get my call
                  2197 10-8<br />stay safe have fun stay healthy<br />
                  nc firefighter/emt-d
                  RFB-FTM

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mtnfyre21 View Post
                    n1rn does that stand for number 1 regestered nurse. or doers it stand for anything at all.

                    also tell me does the call N1ND mean anything to you.

                    ham radio is a lot of fun now if i can get my lazy rear end in gear and get my call
                    You serious?
                    Remember KQJ943

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DualReverse View Post
                      You serious?
                      Are you?

                      Could be a fun vanity call if he was an RN.
                      Originally posted by ThNozzleMan
                      Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

                      I A C O J
                      FTM-PTB


                      Honorary Disclaimer: While I am a manufacturer representative, I am not here to sell my product. Any advice or knowledge shared is for informational purposes only. I do not use Firehouse.Com for promotional purposes.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FlyingRon View Post
                        It's not much more complicated. As I said, the code test is history as of next month. Anybody who can master fireground hydraulics can understand the rest (I jokingly commented to the other radio guy in my hydraulics course that this is just like electricity).
                        It is simpler than it used to be, but still requires work.

                        The code testing might be a thing of the past. However that doesn't change two important things:

                        1- The bands that were morse code (CW) only are still CW only. Everything that used to be CW is not changed to voice so in order to use those bands, you still need to learn CW. You just have to learn it on your own and there is no test.

                        2- You still need to take the tests to have operating privileges in HF. The tests are no different, they have just eliminated the morse requirements. So it is still more work that most people are not going to do.

                        For those that are currently a tech without morse, you now have the same band privlidges that a tech+ had. However, the only extra band you'll be able to use in reality is 10m voice because all the other Tech+ bands are CW.
                        Last edited by nmfire; 01-06-2007, 01:14 PM.
                        Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          CW is dead anyway. There is very little activity on the CW bands anymore. The tests are really simple to pass up to and including General. Extra takes a little bit more time and energy to pass. Go to www.qrz.com and start taking the practice tests for tech. When you can consistantly get an 80% on the practice tests, go get your ticket. Now if you really want to learn the info buy some books and study.
                          Buck
                          Assistant Chief/EMT-B

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            N1RN is not for R.N. its for R. N. as in his initials. The N1nd is a guy from CT who loves the fighting irish. The numbers stand for where you were issued your lic. Mine is KC2 meaning I was given my lic in NY. 1 is the New England states and they go up to from there as you head west.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hey Bomber,
                              I would say go check out www.qrz.com and take the practice test over and over. That is how I passed my tech and general calls test. Probably the best radio to get for the fire house would be a 2 meter/ 440 combo rig. A good one would be an Alinco. The are easy to modify(so you can transmit on fire or police radios in the 150 and 450 range. I have been a Ham since 1999 my call sign is N4DOG. If there is anything I can help you with please feel free to contact me.
                              Marshall Griffiss EMT/FF
                              Chaires Capitola Fire Rescue
                              Tallahassee, Fl.
                              www.stitchingbydesign.net
                              Washington Lodge #2 F&AM
                              Past Master
                              Ham Radio: N4DOG General Class
                              IACOJ

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