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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ham Radio & Survival Communication Class, Volume 1

Hi Everybody, Frank here.

Well, Folks, I did something last night I haven't done in four years. I actually taught a class. Except this time, it was a group of adults, and this time, my clientele was not a group of teenage prisoners. They weren't high school, public school kids. You know, prisoners. This group extended from probably about 19 to, I'm going to say, 65 years of age. We had some laughs, which remember, Humor is the Essence of survival. 

Our local emergency management director spoke for a little while at the beginning. I invited him, I wanted to thank him for providing us with the materials that we used. This also provided him the opportunity to address some of the needs of the local folks where they live.


We started off by using the Romanchik, KB6NU, new Technician's manual, which is a great way to help get the Technician's license. We got into the very basics of it, the first few pages of the manual. This deals with E = I x R and P = I x E. You see folks seem to think that you have to learn a lot of formulas, but you really don't. I showed them a couple of shortcuts that actually work.

Wouxun
Wouxun & Baofeng






Then we did a little show and tell. I showed a handheld, which in the ham world called an HT, which is a handy talky, and the non-ham world is called a walky talky. 

 
I took the radio apart, which means I took the battery and the antenna off, and showed them the three basic components of the radio system. These are the basic components of any radio system, which are the battery/power supply, radio and antenna. For demonstration purposes here, I am using a Wouxun radio, which is a $120.00 radio. The Baofeng radio above is the $35.00 radio.
 
 





Then I showed them how you could eliminate the battery, with a gizmo called a battery eliminator. It plugs in where the battery would normally go, and has a coiled cord coming out the back that connects to your lighter plug/power port. Now you can connect to that big battery in the car. 

 



Then I connected a magnet mount type antenna that attaches to the roof of your car and with an adapter plug, connected it to the port where the removable antenna was. 


Wa-la! Now you have a radio that has an external antenna with a much greater distance, and a much bigger power supply that is renewable as long as you have fuel for your car. 

 





Then I connected a hand microphone to the radio, so now there is a full functioning 5 watt, dual band radio. This can be used for GMRS, MURS, ham radio, police, and fire frequencies. This is a very capable little radio. The cool part is the Baofeng radio itself costs about $35.00. The external antenna is about $20.00. The battery eliminator is about $10.00, and the antenna adapter is about $10.00. You do the math. You can have a full functioning, UHF/VHF system for under $100.00. That includes the microphone, too. If you don't need all the stuff for your automobile, for $35.00 you can have a fully capable, handheld, UHF/VHF radio. Folks, you just cannot beat a deal like that. You can also listen to the weather on it. You can even listen to the railroad frequencies on it. You can listen and communicate on the marine band frequencies, if necessary. And you can also listen to FM commercial radio. An unbelievable deal.


In an emergency, like a natural disaster, you can talk to your neighbors down the road. If you can talk to your neighbors down the road, then you can also know when the bus is coming to round people up for free rides to the FEMA camp. You know, where the government will take care of you.

These little radios will also provide you with communication while your children are outside playing. If you're interested in getting your ham radio license, which is real easy, and you're carrying one of these $35.00 radios, and you get real lost while you're out deer hunting, there are few places in this country that you cannot reach a ham radio repeater. Just food for thought.

Overall the class went well, had a real good turn out of about 25 people. Some there are not interested in getting their ham radio license, and that's great. Some folks there just wanted to improve their communication skills. Well, folks, I know most of you don't live in my neighborhood, but I encourage you all to give serious thought to improving your communication skills, because, just look around, seriously look around, there are hard times just right around the corner. We are going to need to communicate, local and long distance, but it starts local. Every community has some type of ARRL radio club. Go on their website and find a local club. Learn how to communicate using radio. $35.00 is a real inexpensive insurance policy.


We are going to meet five or six more times, and the whole purpose of this class is to eventually get people communicating, because that day is coming, maybe real soon. I'm not going to play head games with you, like there are biker zombies coming. But, for whatever reason, if we need to shut down our community, and people have even 10 minutes notice that there is something bad coming down their road, then they can at least be out of their house and away from the carnage that could be coming. This is the purpose for this class. The whole purpose for this class is to help save my life, and then my family's lives, and then there is the domino effect. It will spread. We have got to be able to communicate. Please wake up.

We'll talk more later, Frank

8 comments:

  1. Frank, and Fern,

    Now that's a great turnout 25 people!!
    It's good to see the local emergency manager attending, and speaking.......not just standing off to the side observing.

    You're very correct, communication is required, and needed to get through an emergency or when the SHTF.

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    1. Hi, Sandy. Thank you for the comment. I think we were all surprised at the number of folks that showed up, and it was a good crowd. We'll see how it goes the next few weeks, I'll keep you posted.

      Frank

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  2. I sooooo want to attend a class like you're giving. Thanks for the link to find an ARRL Radio Club. Turns out there's one that meets regularly about 4 miles from here, and they have beginner classes.

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    1. Chipmunk, I'd recommend that you make contact with the club. But remember, all groups of people have diverse personalities embedded. If the first couple you meet are to your liking, great. If by chance your first contact is a little bit sour, just keep on shaking hands and you'll probably meet someone to your liking. Now is the time. Four miles? My local radio club is 25 miles, and the local ARRL club is 60 miles. Geez, four miles. Hope you have a good time.

      Frank

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  3. Oh awesome, I was wondering what kind of turn out you would get and that is great. It is different isn't it? I taught adult classes in the insurance industry and it is amazing how they prove the old adage that 'education is wasted on the young'! It has to be very gratifying to know you are teaching something so potentially important to peoples survival!

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    1. Thank you, Kathy. Yes, it is different, but also remember, in learning that adults show their discontent with their feet. Come this Tuesday night, we'll see if the numbers are bigger or smaller. We'll wait and see.

      Frank

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  4. I'm so pleased the first class went well and didn't you have a great roll up of people. Well done Frank.

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    1. Calidore, thank you. I hope this class works out. It would be nice to bring a group of like minded people together. It might just be a fantasy or a dream. There certainly was a diverse group there that night. I would seriously anticipate that some will not come back, just not their cup of tea, per se. But, there might be a few others show up that would rather drink tea than koolaid. Time will tell. Thank you for your comment.

      Frank

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