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I’m going to introduce a topic for Amateur Radio,
Admin edit (Pattoneer):
My original post went into the bit bucket. So, I’ll start over.
Amateur Radio (aka Ham Radio) is considered by many to be just a hobby. It is more than a hobby. It’s real name is “The Amateur Radio Service” and it’s purpose is to train people in the use of radio operations by doing emergency communications, teaching people how to repair their own equipment (which is not an easy task today due to the ‘throw away society’ in which we live), and to have some fun doing it.
We’re discussing long range communications and the only real method available to us as civilians these days is really Amateur Radio. Citizens Band or CB can be long range but the propagation conditions must be “just right” or signals simply go through the ionosphere.
Amateur HF communications operates between 1 and 30 Megahertz on several sub bands of those frequencies. Ham radio requires a license. There are three classes, that require some basic knowledge through advanced expertise on RF theory, safety, and other subjects. The cost to obtain your license is minimal and set by the Volunteer Examiners who administer the tests in your local areas.
Three classes of licenses are Technician, the lowest, easiest to get license with the least amount of privileges.
The second class of license is the General, which allows HF privileges on certain bands, and the one I recommend for most people to shoot for after testing for the the Technician license.
The last class, with all the privs on all bands is called the “Amateur Extra Class License”. It’s the one I hold, and it was a tough one to get, even with my many years of experience in the RF field, radio communications in the military and even my extensive electronics background. It’s not for everyone but it’s also not going to give you anything you can’t really already use. (It gives operating privileges on a few pieces of various bands you can use as a General Class).
Why get a license?
I’ve had this discussion with other 3-Pers around the country, and also with a couple of other groups to which I’ve belonged. Many of them pooh pooh a “government license”. They claim the “government can find us then”. There are other, even less-than-considered-excuses too.
But, here’s my take on it. Many of us were military – so the government knows all about us. Many were LEOs. The government knows all about you. Many are First Responders of one sort or another; the government knows about you too.
In my case the government and multiple agencies, including the FBI, US Secret Service, the Defense Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency and a couple of others, have my fingerprints, DNA, know my capabilities, some have interviewed me for jobs in the past, and some I’ve worked for. I’m not hiding anything, because, frankly, I can’t hide anything.
Operating a radio in a structured service, like the Amateur Radio service requires a license – based not on the government’s NEED to do so, but more in lines of International rules and regulations to which we are signatories of such treaties. (You can look up the the International Telecommunications Union, or ITU to find out more about this).
There are also legal reasons…. if you operate a radio and interfere with someone, you can be fined. Big. 10-20k PER INSTANCE.
Licensing does nothing other than give you a legal leg to stand on when operating your radios whether for fun or not.
Amateur Radio ALSO disallows “business operations”. So you can’t discuss business, you can’t advertise, you can’t do anything that would bring you an income. There’s nothing that says you can not use it for tactical exercises.
And, when it comes RIGHT down to the main issue here, we’re discussing using two types of systems here both of which can, and probably will fall into amateur radio frequencies.
Tactical and Strategic operations. 99% of all operations for organizations like ours will be “tactical”. Up close, personal, line of sight operations.
The small Strategic operations might be to pass messages to distant “units” in order to make sure everyone is on the same page as to what is happening.
Those things do NOT necessarily have to be encrypted.
Neither do tactical comms.
And Amateur Radio disallows this.
So – at this point, our consideration for use of Amateur Radio is really to have a few people capable of being able to pass messages, local and long distance if the phone systems are down. I’ll discuss things like this later, in detail elsewhere, and limit it to people who are truly interested in reading such discussions.
To recap…. I suggest everyone take time, look into Amateur Radio, and getting a license. It won’t HURT and COULD HELP in events.
If you are interested, I will assist as much as I can in either teaching, training, or pointing you to resources etc.
IF there is sufficient interest in the future, I also will set up either a group class where we meet occasionally to train, or some sort of on-line thing we can all meet in and discuss, learn and help you to get your licenses.
Meanwhile, we will discuss other radio systems and services at some point so that we can have options in the future.
Thanks for reading this.
(PS – My communications background in the radio field is pretty extensive. If anyone would like a run down, let me know)
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