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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why I think Ham Radio & Preppers is a perfect fit...

While it is amazing that recent events in Iran are showing how the internet can aid in getting information to the outside world, it should be noted that the rest of the world is not under any form of turmoil that is effecting communication at the moment.

But if you consider a situation effecting a global crisis, the use of twitter, cellphones, youtube, and the lot would be severely impacted or eliminated.

All the current popular modes of communication are three-legged stools. Pull one leg out, and it can't support itself. Phone systems are at the mercy of power grids and the phone company, the internet is literally a network of outside supported and controlled databases which can be turned off in a instant, the same with cellphone, broadcast, satellite, and cable TV...all controlled and monitored by outside influences.

But Radio is different. A power source is it's only requirement, it is a independent entity.

And as a preferable mode of radio, the clearest front runner would be Ham Radio, it offers the most versatile, effective, long reaching, and accessable mode around.

Just consider all the Modes of Communication Ham Radio offers...

(The following is from WikiPedia)

* Amplitude Modulation (AM)
* Double Sideband Suppressed Carrier (DSB-SC)
* Independent Sideband (ISB)
* Single Sideband (SSB)
* Amplitude Modulation Equivalent (AME)

* Frequency Modulation (FM)
* Phase Modulation (PM)

* Continuous Wave (CW)

Image Modes

* Amateur Television, also known as Fast Scan television (ATV)
* Slow Scan Television (SSTV)
* Facsimile


Most amateur digital modes are transmitted by inserting audio into the microphone input of a radio and using an analog scheme, such as amplitude modulation (AM), frequency modulation (FM), or single-sideband modulation (SSB).

* ALE Automatic Link Establishment
* AMateur Teleprinting Over Radio (AMTOR)
* D-Star
* Echolink
* Hellschreiber, also referred to as either Feld-Hell, or Hell
* Discrete multi-tone modulation modes such as Multi Tone 63 (MT63)
* Multiple Frequency-Shift Keying (MFSK) modes such as
o FSK441, JT6M, JT65, and
o Olivia MFSK
* Packet Radio (AX25)

* Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS)

* Phase Shift Keying (31 baud) (PSK31)
* Spread spectrum
* Simplex Teletype Over Radio (SITOR)
* Radio Teletype (RTTY)
* 8FSK Frequency Shift Keying

Modes by Activity

The following 'modes' use no one specific modulation scheme but rather are classified by the activity of the communication.

* Earth-Moon-Earth (EME)
* Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP)
* Low Transmitter Power (QRP)
* Satellite (OSCAR)

I'm going to be getting my "shack" ready to move it to the local Field Day site for this weekend, but I'll be up on 7.245 at 9PM EST ready to join the APN.

I'll see you on the radio.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

CQ CQ.....


I'm all for helping get a APN ham radio net started up, but I would suggest that if anyone subscribes to the philosophy APN was created around, anyone would seriously consider learning more about ham radio. The hobby embodies so much of the essence of the Preppers movement...self-reliance, preparedness, and Independence.

There's a singular reason Ham Radio Operators were able to provide reliable communications immediately in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's onslaught of the Gulf Coast of America, a Ham Radio operator can function in a disaster as an independent communications entity, commonly without need of normal external support.
The simplistic nature of Ham Radio allows it to work without an infrastructure most other communication "modes" require.

Due to the nature of radio wave propagation in the range of frequencies that include Amateur Radio, a radio operator, often working with minimum power on batteries, can effectively communicate with other stations, hundreds of miles away, far removed from a effected disaster area.

That's exactly what happened when a Ham, using a battery-powered HF Mobile Radio in New Orleans, was able to contact a fellow Ham in Oklahoma, who, by phone, was able to get a Coast Guard unit to rescue people stranded and trapped by flooding. The two Ham Operators were instantly capable of maintaining a link to the outside world.

It's a fact that when everything else fails, Amateur Radio works.

But to participate, you must be licenced, and to be licenced, you take a test.
Why a licence? Consider it's to establish the necessary level of responsibility, integrity, and foreknowledge of the science behind the ability.

A civics teacher would tell you there's responsibility that goes hand in hand with freedom of speech... it's what makes it wrong to yell FIRE in a crowded room when there is no fire. To a extent, it's the same with Ham Radio, to use the ability wrongly can greatly effect safety and security of others.

There are several sources of information online that can get the ball rolling toward anyone getting their Ham Radio Licence, first and foremost is the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) at www.arrl.org .

To practice for the ham radio license tests online, there's no better place than QRZ.com, start taking the online practice tests and in short order you'll be able to pass the test for real.

Ultimately, the best place to learn is to talk to someone at your local Ham Radio Club. Trust me, clubs are everywhere, and probably meeting in a public location nearby. Your local city or county government would know if and where is a local club. Just give them a call. There's a tradition in Ham Radio of experienced hams helping new operators or those interested in becoming Hams, called "Elmering", that is a vital part of the hobby, and it shares learned experiences, passed down personally, which greatly enriches the craft.

Naturally, you can just do a web search for "Ham Radio,+ "your town", I'll bet you get some hits.

Finally, next weekend, June 27-28 is "Ham Radio Field Day". It's a annual event held by Hams everywhere to practice the ability to establish communication under "Field" conditions...a kinda simulated emergency condition. Look for where a local ham club may be holding their field day. The general public is usually always invited to come and experience Ham Radio first-hand.

Field day is the pure embodiment of personal preparedness, a central keystone of American Preppers. Find one, go to it, and experience it first-hand.

Now, as for establishing a "Preppers Net" I'd like to suggest all Ham Radio operators aquire a free copy of "NetLogger" a simple, free, windows-based logging application, offers a live remote web server database that tracks radio nets live, in realtime. It makes tracking and conducting net operations a breeze. Easy to set up, easy to use, easy to conduct net operations, it also offers real-time chat, file transfer, and standard logging formats. Those who have used it, often swear by it, and seldom swear AT it.

With Netlogger it'd be easy to establish a scheduled net, once a net gets underway, anyone can in a instant see who is on the net, where they are located, and other pertinent info. The net's control operator can update the database in realtime and everyone involved can see the updates when they occur.

For practical reasons, the first American Preppers Net was accomplished last Thursday night, June 18th. at 8PM EST, when myself, KI4HEE and Dave W4DMH (aka SantaClaus) established communications on 7.245 Mhz. (40 Meters) we roundtable discussed with two other stations: KA4KID|FL (alex) & N4RSS NC(Rodger) Despite poor conditions it was no problem to convey traffic to stations that had coverage in excess of 400 miles.

There is not a scheduled time yet for a formal net format, however we can continue to make tentative steps to establish one. I suggest that I'll be keeping a ear out on Thursday Nights after 9PM out on 40 meters, right around 7.245 Mhz. Anyone want to stop by and "chew the rag" is welcome.

73' KI4HEE / QRT

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South Carolina Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. South Carolina Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.