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Evrgrnmtnman
07-11-2008, 03:42 PM
I'm wondering why so many people still want to use Ham Radio's which radio waves bounce off the atmosphere and everyone in there mother can hear the transmission.
Now you can get a GlobalCom Satellite Phone for $299 and unlimited monthly service for $39.99/mth and you can get added data services which you can never think about on Ham Radio's?
http://www.globalcomsatphone.com/globalstar/unlimited_plan.html

Just curious?

subzali
07-11-2008, 03:57 PM
My handheld was $180 with no monthly charge. Mobile was $280, no monthly charge. Plus can you talk to a whole group of people at the same time over a satellite phone? Also, 2m and 70cm bands don't travel really far like the HF "across the world" bands. Further than CB, but not more than 40-50 miles typically.

Satellite phones are great for emergencies (we use them at Cruise Moab), but our Ham rigs fit the standard day-to-day 4 wheeling a lot better.

Probably a stupid question: is there a difference between short-wave and ham? Short-wave was the thing back in the 70s, has the name just been changed a little over the years? Sorry for the hijack...but since the term "old technology" was used...

Evrgrnmtnman
07-11-2008, 04:10 PM
I know when I was using radio's(early 80's) on the C130's in the Marines. HF Radio's were long range because the radio waves bounced of the ground and atmosphere. The UHF and VHF were line of sight radio's. I still see the use of CB's in a caravan of 4wheeling, but when I want to call for a pizza, or have my internet services, video anywhere in the world I tend to go with the Sat. Phone...my own personal choice though!

Hulk
07-11-2008, 04:19 PM
From Wikipedia:
Shortwave radio operates between the frequencies of 3 MHz (3,000 kHz) and 30 MHz (30,000 kHz) and came to be referred to as such in the early days of radio because the wavelengths associated with this frequency range were shorter than the long wave lengths widely in use at that time. An alternate name is HF or high frequency radio. Short wavelengths are associated with high frequencies because there is an inverse relationship between frequency and wavelength.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shortwave

subzali
07-11-2008, 05:45 PM
I know when I was using radio's(early 80's) on the C130's in the Marines. HF Radio's were long range because the radio waves bounced of the ground and atmosphere. The UHF and VHF were line of sight radio's. I still see the use of CB's in a caravan of 4wheeling, but when I want to call for a pizza, or have my internet services, video anywhere in the world I tend to go with the Sat. Phone...my own personal choice though!

Yep, and most of what we use on the trail is VHF and UHF. For me, the need for internet doesn't come up much in the middle of nowhere...neither does a call for pizza, it's not like they could deliver out there anyway :lmao:

The ham came in handy on the Slaughterhouse run because it has a long enough range that I could call to the group about 10 minutes ahead of me to get an idea of how late I was. Also Matt Farr called in from the road to see where the group was on the trail to see if he could catch up with us. Because of the hills, though, that was about the limit of the radios, so it was just enough to benefit us greatly but not so much distance that very many other people would be able to hear, but it's not like it's a private conversation anyway.

I can see your point if you're making a connection to a phone line via ham radio and a repeater.

But you can talk to a group of people over the Ham, just like a CB.

Wow, now I'm REALLY web wheeling! ;) :D

Bighead
07-11-2008, 06:08 PM
I know when I was using radio's(early 80's) on the C130's in the Marines. HF Radio's were long range because the radio waves bounced of the ground and atmosphere. The UHF and VHF were line of sight radio's. I still see the use of CB's in a caravan of 4wheeling, but when I want to call for a pizza, or have my internet services, video anywhere in the world I tend to go with the Sat. Phone...my own personal choice though!

In the 80s (whenI was is a pup in the AF) HF was the prime method for long-haul comms. Once SATCOM came on line, and we started getting man-packable SATCOM radios, HF seemed to get pushed to the back burner. Then in the mid-90s HF made a come back because it was so hard to get a SATCOM net. In Bosnia, we were using HF as our primary means of data transmission (non-voice). When all else failed, HF always seemed to be there.

Evrgrnmtnman
07-11-2008, 06:19 PM
How much is a Ham Radio? FCC License Required? You have to use a specific frequency to talk like a CB, and if someone doesn't know that, how do they find ya? Do they make handheld Ham Radio's? A CB is $30 or $40, so I can see having one of those.

I'm just saying I'd rather put my money in new technology and have all the features that come with that technology. The only difference I see between a CB and Ham Radio is distance. Than when the CB fails, I reach down for my Satellite Phone and can call the world or get my emails. My contract with Verizon is up next month so I'm exploring Sat. Phones as my next means of communications, so that is why I'm researching this.
But this is my own opinion.

wesintl
07-11-2008, 07:10 PM
You can get a minimal set up for less than $150, Yes a license is required but it's almost trival for a tech lic. CB is no different in a ham knowing what channel we primarly use on the trail. There are a number of hand helds to choose from but usually it doesn't put out much power, ie 5w max. It's all what you want and it's another hobby. I don't want internet, emails etc. I get in my rig to get away from all that but still need to communicate with a group or reach out longer distance for help. It's also a group type deal for communication. If you go wheelin with us a few will have a cbs but I don't know who your going to talk to with your sat phone. Certainly you won't be able to call the group with it or explain you need to stop if no one else has one. If you need to call home or work (reading and replying to emails) in the backcountry then ok but like I said I want to leave that behind. I don't really care if I have to call to a land line using a repeater and have folks here me tell my wife what time I'll be home etc. I'm not using my cc to order pizza or something. Probably minimal but there are very few times that a sat phone isn't 100%. There was one in moab that couldn't get a signal.

Also the last thing I need is another contract and monthly expense. I hate service plans and monthly charges like the plague. I can see uses for sat phones but until they come down in $ equal to a regular phone all of us won't have one to com with each other. I see a ham and sat phone as 2 different tools.

A cb just doesn't have the range and power and that's why i've pulled it. Unless you can actually see the truck it's almost useless.

Evrgrnmtnman
07-11-2008, 08:01 PM
I guess I see the CB as being able to communicate with the group, at a cheaper cost and providing the same functions. Let's say there is a emergency that someone has to get a hold of you while your 4wheeling in the wilderness. All that person has to do is pick up a phone and call you! Okay, you might not want to send any data(emails, attachments,photo's), but at least you have the capability. You already have a Cell Phone, so obviously this would replace it as far as what your already paying. I just see this as having more advantages, features, and making you available even if you are in the wilderness than Ham Radio. How many people know how to pickup the microphone and make a call on a Ham Radio that hasn't been taught? There is a On/Off button if you don't won't to be bothered with the Sat. Phone. Sounds like Ham Radio's are a great hobby though, and do provide a ways to communicate to a group.

Finally, I have to ask myself given the choice of having in the field of the two. My own choice would be the Satellite Phone(seeing 39.99/mth unlimited calls), and if nothing else and having redundancy have both!

subzali
07-11-2008, 08:49 PM
CB is limited to 40 pre-set channels. 2m is from 144 MHz to 148 MHz in 5 kHz steps. 70 cm is about the same. That's a heck of a lot more frequency options than CB. Range is further, and I don't understand the comment about making a phone call on a CB, maybe I'm missing something? And to make a call onto a Ham, the Ham operator has to make the call, not the other way around. I put prices of stuff in my first post, but a lower end mobile unit is cheaper than the one I have, more like $120.

Just come on a few runs with us and you'll see the difference! Isaac did! :thumb:

BTW some people run HF rigs on their trucks to get super long distance communications...but that is more expense/knowledge etc. than a Tech license which will open up 2m and 70cm

Hulk
07-12-2008, 02:21 PM
Cell phones often don't have any reception on the trails we run. So they are worthless in the event of an emergency. CBs don't have much range, so they too are worthless.

Ham radios have great range, and with repeaters, you can get in touch with the outside world from many remote places. So it can be used as an emergency communication device.

Satellite phones also work in many remote places, so these too can be used as an emergency communication devices.

Where the Ham radio excels for our club is on the group run, especially when we have a large group or have two separate groups. If CBs had better range, we probably never would have moved to Ham.

Evrgrnmtnman
07-12-2008, 03:23 PM
I usually gauge Technology in the field by what the military is using, which these days is satellite communications. The military has always been in the forefront of technology, and these technologies filter down to the civilian use after awhile. For example GPS technology. Data is a very powerful tool to have even in the field, especially in emergency situations. From what I am reading there are more satellites that will be added to the network over the coming years making the coverage even better. Don't get me wrong, I can see why someone would want a Ham Radio. Ham Radio's have there uses, but my own personal choice is Sat. Phones if the cost is competitive with cell phones. I don't plan on trading my HDTV for a Black & White TV! If the $39.99/mth unlimited use turns out to be bogus, then Ham Radio for me would be the way to go for this application too!
On another note! I guess they don't make any more 5 Watt Portable or Fixed Auto Cellphones (Digital & Analog) anymore?

wesintl
07-12-2008, 05:56 PM
all this technology you speak of and your still driving a 22re? You should at least be watching a color tube tv...








;)

Hulk
07-12-2008, 06:17 PM
Don't get me wrong, I can see why someone would want a Ham Radio. Ham Radio's have there uses, but my own personal choice is Sat. Phones if the cost is competitive with cell phones.

All I can say is, you'll be missing out on all the conversation on the trail. That's part of the fun. Even if you're just listening, it's a good time.

Evrgrnmtnman
07-12-2008, 06:35 PM
all this technology you speak of and your still driving a 22re? You should at least be watching a color tube tv...
;)


Color Tubed is probably newer than Ham Radio's??? But don't worry having the best of both worlds like my vehicles which just don't includes Toyota's is great! Where am I? Oops I forgot my GPS!
Anyway, maybe we can do conference calls via Sat. Phones :thumb:

Evrgrnmtnman
07-12-2008, 07:06 PM
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Groucho
07-13-2008, 02:22 AM
I usually gauge Technology in the field by what the military is using, which these days is satellite communications. The military has always been in the forefront of technology, and these technologies filter down to the civilian use after awhile. For example GPS technology. Data is a very powerful tool to have even in the field, especially in emergency situations. From what I am reading there are more satellites that will be added to the network over the coming years making the coverage even better. Don't get me wrong, I can see why someone would want a Ham Radio. Ham Radio's have there uses, but my own personal choice is Sat. Phones if the cost is competitive with cell phones. I don't plan on trading my HDTV for a Black & White TV! If the $39.99/mth unlimited use turns out to be bogus, then Ham Radio for me would be the way to go for this application too!
On another note! I guess they don't make any more 5 Watt Portable or Fixed Auto Cellphones (Digital & Analog) anymore?

Don't confuse things here. The military does not have a big history of doing their own R&D. They did not decide one day that they were going to figure out how to bounce waves off of the ionosphere to extend comms range. And don't get caught up in the "I know they did this...". My grandfather, A almost life long HAM, worked for what was then called the Bureau Of Standards (now known as NIST) and was in the south pacific with many civilians helping the Military figure out how to bounce waves off of the ionosphere. The military wants to use cutting edge technology, but they don't come up with it very often on their own.

Secondly, your statement about HAM Radio as being "old" or "outdated" technology is false. I'll prove it. You say you use a cell phone? Guess what group of people largely developed that technology? And email, you say you want to access the internet and receive emails? Guess what group of people largely developed that technology? It wasn't Bill Gates. He just put it to use.

HDTV? I bet you use COMCAST. Problem? The data for HDTV is too big to be handled by the cable Comcast uses, and therefore you are paying for signals you aren't really getting(same as black and white). If you are doing HDTV, get an old fashioned on air antenna from Radio Shack and put it in your attic. You will then be receiving HDTV quality signals, for free. I have a tube type amplifier for my HAM station. It's called vintage.

HAM radio enthusiast helped pioneer the cell phone industry with the use of UHF two way communications. Email? It is what is today (not yesteryear) known as PACKET. Packet radio is a form of digital data transmission used to link computers. The most common use of PKT is in amateur radio, to construct wireless computer networks. Its name is a reference to the use of packet switching between network nodes, which allows multiple virtual circuits to coexist on a single radio channel. Packet radio networks use the AX.25 data link layer protocol, derived from the X.25 protocol suite and adapted for amateur radio use.

Basically Wireless emails.

It turns out that everything you do on the Internet involves packets. For example, every Web page that you receive comes as a series of packets, and every e-mail you send leaves as a series of packets.

CB and HAM are exactly the same technology. CB has been regulated so that every Bozo under the sun can own one and use it to transmit and receive. CB is HF. In order for it to be used as what we refer to as HF, the antenna needs to be larger than what is used on vehicles. Otherwise, the range is limited to what we see out of the CB's on our vehicles. In comparison, 10 Meters on HAM band is only slightly higher than CB (at 11 Meters) and with the right setup can work the world. Bruce Miller told us of the story where he had a converted CB rig that when used on 10 Meters he was talking to Japan from the Caribbean on 3 watts.

Satelite communications new? Not so. How do you think those phone calls on your "new" sat phone are made? Telepathy? They use RF (Radio Frequency) to transmit the signal to the satelites. Guess what? Not new to the HAM radio arena. HAM radio operators have been bouncing signals off of satelites since just 4 years after the worlds first satellite was launched (Sputnik). The first OSCAR (Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio) satellite was launched Dec 12, 1961.

Last question. Why do you think it is called Amateur Radio? It is not because the users are not skilled. We are cutting edge thinkers who do this for the love of it. We try new things all the time. I will show you the newest QST magazing. It is devoted entirely to HAM radio, and probably has something in it that you may see in the future of communications. Bluetooth? Yep, it is in there, many years ago.

Sure, it is easy to look at HAM radio and think of it being an "old technology hobby" for old geeks who sit in their tighty-whities in the basement chatting ove the air with others doing the same. That is just to the untrained eye. Don't be fooled by what you may think is "new" technology. It probably has been around for years being used for free. Someone just decided to make money selling it. I don't ever remember a HAM telling me that they had to "pay" to do PACKET. I haven't had to pay to make a transmission yet. Sure I paid for the radio, but there is an article on how to make an inexpensive AM radio for use on the HAM bands that even today would cost less than the CB.

Sat phones may be something for the future generations of everyday Bozos to laugh at. Just like we laugh at pagers today. They may work. Problem is? They work like a Phone. And the equation that you have to know the frequency that someone is on to reach them on HAM radio so therefore it is less handy than a sat phone is bull gravy. We're 30+ years away from the rotary telephone but you don't equate that finding out what frequency is the same a knowing their phone number? All the sat phones in the world are useless without knowing someones number. Just because Ø is the common known number for someone to help you doesn't mean there isn't the same using a 2M radio (146.520 MhZ anyone?)

Hopefully that helps.

Evrgrnmtnman
07-13-2008, 10:32 AM
I'm not knocking Ham Radio's. They seem to pretty be fun and practical in alot of ways. I don't think any technology is perfect. Cell Phones have their dead spots and drop calls, but we certainly have to have them. I think Sat. Phones from what I've read have long ways to go, but I do like some options they provide. Until, I get all my information on them and am able to make a inform decision about buying one. Hey, I say stick with something that is proven for now.
"Groucho", very well put together information above and very helpful. I see some of these RV's these days with Sat. TV, Internet, Phone service, so the curiousity of the reliability and cost has been worth the investigation into these devices. GPS has proven to be a wonderful tool on the road, and I think any emergency device that can lend in saving someones life is probably worth it's weight.

Groucho
07-13-2008, 11:48 AM
The only point out of that long winded post full of examples was that HAM radio has pioneered these lifesaving device's technology. Equating it to "old technology" is perhaps a mispoken term. It is historically been around for 100+ years, yes. Just remember that all the technology you speak of uses the same basic principals, all boxed up in different packages. Radio Frequency.

HAM radio (VHF/UHF) has proven to be effective as a tool for communication on the trail, far exceeding that of CB. Its purpose is for trail comms.

Now if you were to pose the question of why are we still using cell phones instead of a sat phone, then you got something that compares apples to apples...

Kiowa Kate
07-13-2008, 01:32 PM
Groucho,

Way to go!!! Your long winded response was well put as well as your second come back. Your grandfather would be proud. He did alot of work on the sat/nav and loran systems during WWII which is what has gotten us to where we are now with GPS. Keep up the good work.

Been around Ham radio all my life, just now getting to understand much of it, general license acquired. Still working on the code. Wish I would have paid more attention to my father many years ago.

DaveInDenver
07-13-2008, 04:20 PM
Nathaniel, you laid out exactly why amateurs have pushed the envelope (ham radio telephony became cell phones, ham satellites paved the way for satellite long distance, radio and DBSTV, hams tinkered with solid state as soon as they could, pushing the market for cheaper, better, more reliable gear, hams tinkering with APRS 15 years ago showed how real time GPS navigation and position reporting could work). But there's no point, people's minds are made up before they even ask the question. Just like UB's tongue in cheek posts about geeks in tighty whiteys, that's the silly imagine people get in their heads.

People don't realize that the guts of what a lot of military and commercial users get is pretty much the same stuff hams use equipment wise, not to mention that ham radio is much more than just two-way FM or a fella pounding out Code on HF. It's a wide open and interesting hobby. A guy at work picked up this neat DSP demo board (being a working EE has it's privileges, if you are geeky) and has been tinkering with software-defined radios. His laptop can listen to about half of the repeater outputs in Denver and with a little voice training can pick which frequency someone is talking on by tone matching. It'll then alert him if someone he wants to talk to is on. The only reason it can only do half of the outputs is it wasn't a very expensive board and it's got pretty limited bandwidth. No need to have your radios constantly scanning and hoping to hear a familiar call. Your voice will be recognized. He's also messing with different protocols and algorithms to bandwidth optimize. What's he's doing is very much essentially exactly the same as the JTRS (Joint Tactical Radio System) that the military uses. Just one box that can be a UHF FM mobile, HF AM CW, VHF APRS packet machine or whatever else he wants it to be. A bunch of old timers pounding Code, my butt. His ham shack is head and shoulders more universally configurable than the stuff the cops and fire fighters are using. They often can't even talk to another municipality, remember the confusion at Columbine and the WTC? Denver Police could not talk to Jeffco Sheriffs who could not communicate to West Metro Fire.

Old technology. Hardly. Like you mentioned, in December of 1961, the OSCAR guys had a ham satellite in orbit just barely 4 years after the USSR launched Sputnik in October 1957 and less then 4 years after NASA launched Explorer in 1958. A bunch of volunteer hams trailed whole government backed space programs by only a couple of years. In fact, OSCAR beat large corporate sponsored SYNCOM satellites into orbit and were for all practical purposes the first true non-military (in that NASA was really formed as part of the Cold War space race, even if they were technically non-military) satellites into space. AT&T didn't even start tinkering with satellite communications until 1960 and COMSAT launched the first commercial satellites (EARLY BIRD) in 1965, 4 years after the hams had 2 satellites already in orbit and 2 more on the pad. In fact, at the end of 1965 OSCAR had 4 successful launches to the commercial world's one. Commercial satellite numbers didn't really overtake OSCAR until the early 1970s, which is why AMSAT was formed in 1969, to protect the amateur users from being pushed out by the market they'd shown was viable.

In total OSCAR and AMSAT have about 100 amateur built satellites or payloads on birds in orbit. Their success rate is every bit as good as Boeing, Loral, NASA, DoD and AFRL and for probably 1/1000th (or less) the cost per payload. A very recent and sophisticated AMSAT satellite (OSCAR 13) had just 235 pages of documentation and drawings total. We'll do that much paperwork for a single ASIC.

OSCAR and AMSAT:
http://www.amsat.org

APRS added GPS functionality in 1992, but was well established before that:
http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/aprs.html

Early cell phones, ham radiotelephony in the 1950s:
http://www.mercurians.org/april_2003/hams_wheels.html

Groucho
07-13-2008, 09:20 PM
but rather more informative and enlightening.

Uncle Ben
07-24-2008, 07:22 PM
Just thought I would stir the pot a bit...

Here in the land down under I have yet to see 2m being used in a 4wd "bushy". The norm here is combo radios which are CB AND UHF. Same remote faces like out ham rigs but 40 channels CB and then of course UHF. That seem like a great choice for our applications! Flame on....

Groucho
07-25-2008, 07:16 AM
Just thought I would stir the pot a bit...

Here in the land down under I have yet to see 2m being used in a 4wd "bushy". The norm here is combo radios which are CB AND UHF. Same remote faces like out ham rigs but 40 channels CB and then of course UHF. That seem like a great choice for our applications! Flame on....

Different regs on differet types of equipment in different countries. My rig (Yaesu FT-857D) can do all that using the same radio, but the FCC says our radios aren't supposed to come from the factory to do so. Without modding my radio, I can listen to all you goofs on CB, just can't transmit. Same with cell phones, 'cept I can't even listen. That portion of the UHF band is blocked. If I bought the same radio in Japan, I would have much more freedom to do those things, right from the factory.

We were going to try and use UHF on the GTR, because it would be more effective in the canyons and such for shorter distances. UHF gets around more things than VHF or HF for line of sight. Didn't get the chance because no two people had UHF antennas.

UB, you didn't mention seeing all of the HF antenns on the 4WD "bushy's". I remember you saying that you were not interested in that, but yet since we as a group idolize the auzzies for their stuff, I thought the sight of big HF antennas on BullBars might help change your mind...

DaveInDenver
07-25-2008, 08:21 AM
I think most of those big HF antennas you see down there are for RFDS, which uses a network of HF stations throughout the Outback and other remote parts of Australia. You get a license from the ACA specifically for that and this is not an amateur, general purpose license. It's rather a special use license and call sign to use only with the RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service) to call in help in the bush of Oz. They also can be contacted via satellite phone, so you got that going for you.

Australia's CB service spans two bands, 27MHz using AM (essentially just like here) and 477MHz FM. When you see Australian 4WD Monthly or otherwise mention UHF, it's often the 477MHz CB that they are talking about, not ham. Their 'UHF' is most similar to our GMRS service, but without provision for repeaters AFAIK.

They have hams down under, but I get the feeling that their CB service is better organized than the CB we are used to, so it's less offensive to off-bitumen travelers. Personally I think GMRS here in the USA would have made more sense to augment CB, but we don't have the RFDS and so our network of hams sorta serves the purpose of backcountry help.

Uncle Ben
07-27-2008, 06:45 PM
My post didn't make it I see. Nat. So far I've only seen two rigs here with HF monster antennas. There is a lot of houses with big antennas around but not vehicles. Hopefully the Patrol is still in the parking garage below us and I'll snap a pic of it this mornin'. More later....gotta go......