Originally posted by SIPCT at Fluwiki
http://www.fluwikie2.com/index.php?n=Fo ... munication
For information on ham radio in the US, see the American Radio Relay League. Their website can be found at
Please, do it right. You really do need a license. No licensed operator will talk to you otherwise. Also, the government has started giving prison sentences in some cases of violations of the regulations. During a pandemic, if you interfere with emergency communications, you will be found and dealt with very quickly.
Look up the ARRL. Study and get licensed. Join the Amateur Radio Emergency Service. Take the courses - Emergency Communications I, II, and III, and the FEMA ICS and NIMS courses.
Itâ€™s worth it.
more by SIPCT:
A license is required, and you will have to pass a test. However, it is a multiple guess test, 35 questions from a question pool of 350 or so. All the possible questions are public knowledge. If you study, you will not see a question on the test that you did not see before. That - without Morse code! - will get you a technician class license. The Tech license allows you to use all amateur frequencies above 30 MHZ, with a transmitter power of up to - are you ready - 1,500 Watts. (Try doing THAT on battery power!) On the 2 meter band - 144 to 148 MHZ in the US - range is typically 20 - 50 miles, depending on antenna type and height, and transmitter power.
Many Amateur Radio clubs have built and operate repeaters - automatic relay stations, on the highest points they could arrange, and most with some form of back-up power. Using a repeater, it is possible to have contacts between two operators with handheld transceivers who are hundreds of miles apart. The repeater clubs listen to their machines, always, by law. Some of them run â€œhidden transmitterâ€ hunts as contests. They will find unlicensed operators using their repeaters very quickly. In normal times, they would report such occurences to the FCC for law enforcement action. I do not know what they might do if you interfere with emergency communications during a pandemic, but I suspect it might involve something a lot more definite than a â€œnotice of apparent violation.â€ You donâ€™t want to find out. Get the license before you transmit.
You can get information on licensing, and ham radio in general, from the American Radio Relay League. Their website can be found at
To use the short wave frequencies assigned to the Amateur Radio Service, it is necessary to have a General or Extra Class license, and these do - sorry, folks - require that you pass a test in receiving Morse code, at 5 words [25 letters] per minute, as well as additional multiple guess testing. These are the frequencies that people usually connect with ham radio - from just above the AM broadcast band to 30 MHZ, and usually referred to as High Frequency or HF. A typical entry level 100 Watt output HF transceiver and a decent wire antenna strung between two trees will give you worldwide range a large part of the time, and coverage of about 1/3 of the US all the time.
In the event of a pandemic, ham radio operators - and frequencies - will be very busy with emergency communications. Ham radio supports disaster operations of the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, FEMA, state, county and town governments, the armed forces, and whoever else shows up. Ham radio is what works when all else fails. Ham radio was used to tie together all the Red Cross operating sites in NYC after 9/11. Ham radio was the ONLY communication left in parts of Mississippi immediately after Katrina.
As far as cost goes, [snip] A 2 meter mobile ham transceiver will cost about $200 - $300, and an entry level HF transceiver with accessories will cost about $1,000 or so.