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Learning radio comms and why you should

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Bryan Black of ITS ran an article about radio communications a few days back. We thought it might interest you. In it he talks about cell phones vs. the “venerable radio” and addresses why he think you should have a basic understanding of (and the capability for) radio communications. He addresses some history, the need for power and frequency, licensing issues and much more. For instance, the article contains a great primer on various frequencies and backgrounds of the Family Radio Service (FRS frequencies), the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), the Multi User Radio Service (MURS), Citizens Bang (CB radio), HAM and the like.

“Two key variables when discussing range are power and frequency. Power output is measured in watts and the more watts your radio has the further it can transmit. Think of wattage as one of those wind up cars that you pull back on. The harder you pull back on it, the further it goes once you release it. Watts work like this too, the higher the wattage, the further your signal will travel and the less prone it will be to interruption from resistance along the way. It's important to note that higher wattage handheld radios also wear down your batteries faster. This all depends on the quality of radio you're running too.”

If you're new to radio communications this is a well articulated and thorough place to start; in fact, there will probably be some good material in it even if you already ‘have a clue'.  It doesn't matter if you're preparing for dystopian America and the beginning of Book of Eli conditions or you're just looking for a practical way to maintain comms during temporary periods of emergency (disaster and the like) – commo is important for too many reasons to list.

You cannot always count on your cell to work - and landlines are increasingly rare.

You cannot always count on your cell to work – and landlines are increasingly rare.

The real power of Amateur Radio is the ability to communicate over great distances during an emergency and gain important intel on what's actually going on. There are a multitude of volunteers that broadcast important information via the airwaves as a public service during disasters. After 9/11 Ham Radio Operators played an important role in emergency communications. It's prohibited to use Ham for commercial purposes and the only time you can receive compensation for operating a station is if you're a teacher and you're demonstrating Amateur Radio for students.

Check out the original article over on ITS Tactical and watch for future editions of what promises to be a very educational series.

Images from Pine Suggs Ranch and NPR.




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