Kicking in an open door: what com's to use.

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What comm's do you use:


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Niko Caignie

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Building your rig is a combination of choices, preferences, budget, ... but whatever works for you is fine.
Now when it comes to linking your rig to the outside world, we get a whole different ball game:

I started with a HAM course, because that's what you need in order to operate a HAM radio. But one of the first things you learn in HAM class is that HAM radio and HAM frequencies are not used for chit chatting, personal comm's or emergency broadcasts (so you don't get to eat the HAM, when you get the HAM :-) ... ) (EU or Belgium regulations)
(HAM was interesting for the possibilities and especially the range and obvious the best choice)

The next option is CB, everywhere I go or talk about CB, they tell me it's dead. Some people still use it, but mostly among friends.
Less range, but easier to acquire.

Last option is PMR (GMRS of FMRS in USA I think) Short range, easy acces. But the big problem here is the difference in frequencies between different Brands and different regulations and frequencies in countries.
So you could be holding your Portable in the middle of a crowded field full of PMR users and none of them could here you because you are using the same model but are from a different country. Or just use a different brand, ...

So I guess CB is the actual choice, no?.
But the real question then is, how to get in touch?

It's not that I have a an overland friend crew and we just decide what comm's we would like to use.
It's more like that i'm on the road an trying to find some equal minded souls. And all those cluttered regulations per brand, country, technology aren't really making it easy.

Wishing for a uniform free communications platform. (and world peace :-))

What are your thoughts on this matter, what am I overlooking?
Are there other solutions to have more global comm's or get in touch on the road.
Besides building a radio station inside your rig...
 

FrankRoams

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Aliso Viejo, CA
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In the US Ham is exactly for all those things. When out with friends in a close range you just use simplex, need more range use a repeater. Ham is really the best option hands down. Not sure why it wouldn't be for chit-chatting, isn't that what everyone does on these global repeater networks? GMRS/FRS is good for around camp or short range car to car, you get more than a few vehicles and they spread out too far for them to be effective. Good camp radios.

CB is dying in the US as well. Jeep guys are loyal to it from what I see in my area, it varies by region here. Most are going to ham or race radios again for the range and versatility. Some high powered GMRS mobile radios are gaining traction too because no test and good range.
 

TerryD

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Covington, Virginia, USA
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VCeXpedition

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@Niko Caignie good questions, this is always a topic of discussion in this forum, there's lot's of info but you ask the question from a different perspective.

It looks like EU or Belgium may have a different need or use for HAM radio use, is that true? What people say above is accurate, our HAM is pretty much exactly used for chat, personal comms and especially Emergency use.

I'm not sure CB is 'dead' but it is on life support in this community for sure, people are quickly finding out that long-distance comms when off the cell phone network, HAM is the only way to go.

What frequencies are common for local comms in Belgium? We use 2Meter and 70CM typically (2M ~145.00 - 147.00 Mhz, and 70CM ~ 450.00 Mhz ranges).
Unfortunately, those are going a lot the way CB has gone, people don't respect the history and therefore the etiquette and rules associated with HAM.
They use CB phrases which really irritate the HAM people. Phrases like "10-4 good buddy", or even "you got your ears on?" are not well-liked by true HAM'ers.
Me? I try to talk like I normally would, but also avoid phrases that are not clear. Phrases like "affirmative/negative" are better than "no or yes" because they're more clear.

Anyway, good question, keep the dialogue open. Dan.
 

FrankRoams

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@Niko Caignie
Unfortunately, those are going a lot the way CB has gone, people don't respect the history and therefore the etiquette and rules associated with HAM.
They use CB phrases which really irritate the HAM people. Phrases like "10-4 good buddy", or even "you got your ears on?" are not well-liked by true HAM'ers.
Interesting point, I hadn't heard those bands losing traction. I have heard and seen a bit of a boom in new hams. Technician class seems to be growing and VE confirmed it when I took my test back in January. As you know those are the bands technicians will use the most. But I am new to ham so I defer to you, maybe us newbs play on those and the pros move up. lol. Side note, I see you're in Land Ops. A friend of mine, Matt, is also in that! Cheers.

- K6TRD
 
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Niko Caignie

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Hi @VCeXpedition,

thanks for your response.

HAM frequencies in Belgium are strictly to talk about HAM related issues. The technology, gear, weather conditions, ... HAM here is mostly operated on the "popular" 2 Meter & 70cm frequencies, but the allowed frequencies are not the same as US. And very regulated concerning the output power.

Another point that blocks HAM a little is that a Belgian (Novice) HAM licence is for example not valid in other European Countries
Go for the technician license, i hear you thing. Well...
The Novice license is enough for me because I'm only using prebuild official gear straight out of the box.
The Novice license can be aquired after a couple of months.

The Technician License is there for guys who want to build their own comm's. And requires a year of schooling. I don't need that & I don't have time for that. It's a simple as that. And this licence is valid worlwide.

Anyway, seems like we're just stuck with that.
And In Europe, all those technologies are really on their last legs.
Repeaters are disapearing ....

Born in the wrong country or on the wrong side of the ocean.
 

VCeXpedition

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Anyway, seems like we're just stuck with that.
And In Europe, all those technologies are really on their last legs.
Repeaters are disapearing ....

Born in the wrong country or on the wrong side of the ocean.

That really is too bad, sounds like they have a very different vision of how HAM can be useful in the public's hands.

I don't have any specific data, but it seems to me that HAM repeaters are actually on the increase (?) I'll bet I'm right.
My theory is that it has something to do somehow with 2nd Amendment and individuals / groups desiring to be self-sufficient. It's just a theory.

And, @Niko Caignie , I think we're still letting in Belgians... :smirk:


Dan.
 

uss

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The two 4x4 clubs I was in California were transitioning to VHF/UHF race radios.
These are like Ham radios, in that they have longer range.
Since moving to Texas, not many folks are making the transition to Ham or VHF/UHF yet.
My VHF/UHF radio will reach down into the 2 meter frequency range and the 70 cm range.

Technically, the VHF/UHF radios don't require a license, but the frequency you plan to use is licensed to a business.
There is a license required for the VHF/UHF, it is just not issued to the individual.

Some of the local clubs are starting to buy and license a set of frequencies to comply with the law.

I am not expert on the license or use of the VHF/UHF radios yet, but keep researching it to better understand the requirements.

All of the Baja and many other off-road race teams are using VHF/UHF radios for their longer range abilities.

Todd
 
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Road

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That really is too bad, sounds like they have a very different vision of how HAM can be useful in the public's hands.

I don't have any specific data, but it seems to me that HAM repeaters are actually on the increase (?) I'll bet I'm right.
My theory is that it has something to do somehow with 2nd Amendment and individuals / groups desiring to be self-sufficient. It's just a theory.

And, @Niko Caignie , I think we're still letting in Belgians... :smirk:


Dan.
That would be interesting to find out, Dan, if HAM repeaters are actually on the increase in part due to an increased interest in self-sufficiency/off-grid life/individual rights. I wouldn't doubt that HAM use and licensing is on the increase, especially in California and the American southwest, in part due to the increase in numbers of 'overland' and other rigs being outfitted as more and more people flock to the outdoors. The social media increase. A lot of talk out there about HAM and what radios are good that I didn't use to see.

If HAM use and number of repeaters is increasing, the number of users who are actually getting licensed and learning how to use HAM is probably not increasing at the same rate.

There's an article in there somewhere about the trend, increase or not in repeaters, and how it compares or not to users getting licensed.
 

uss

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Prior to leaving California, I talked to a group that has been installing repeaters on either side of the Central Valley. This area runs from South down near Bakersfield to above Sacramento.
On one side, they install on the Sierra Mountains, and I am not sure what the range is on the West side of the valley is called, but they are being installed there.
They told me that anywhere in the valley now, you can reach a repeater on your ham radio.

This is a very good thing.

Todd
 
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Anak

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That is a bummer about Belgium.

Chit-chat, personal comms and emergency is what ham is all about here. Nothing commercial or profane and no music. Other than that you can talk about pretty much anything.

I suspect a big part of the growth of ham has to do with the readily available cheap Chinese radios. Those have substantially dropped the entry cost. And folks are finding out they don't have to learn Morse code either. The radios are cheap, the test is easy. What is to keep someone from becoming a licensed ham? It is just a matter of carving out a couple of hours to go take a test on a Saturday morning.
 
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Niko Caignie

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Yeah, you're preaching to the choir here :-)
But that's Belgium for you. They can find a problem for every solution.

Tests are done here every month, limited license is quiet easy.
The Full License requires to take a course for one year one day per week.
And is ridiculously difficult.

Anyway, time will tell ;-)