From the Desk of John Rourke – October 28th, 2014

The “lone wolf” attacks that ISIS is calling for – and it appears to be getting – is another solid reason to carry a firearm at all times. Exercise your 2nd Amendment Rights if local laws allow. If local laws do not allow – well then, you have a decision to make.

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Work on my homemade HAM radio repeater is progressing.  Once I have started testing I will write up a series of articles on my efforts with HAM radio and communications in general.

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  1. Sorry for being so uninformed but I have what is probably a really dumb question. I have been considering purchasing several of the inexpensive Chinese portable ham radios for communication among my localized family members rather than using the typical Cobra or Motorola hand held two-way radios. I’m assuming this would give us better reception and perhaps not be monitored as closely by others listening in. My question is, what is required for local usage from a licensing standpoint?


  2. TXM 1836,

    I hold a General class ham license and would recommend getting at least a Technician class license because in the process of getting one you should learn the answers to your own questions and beliefs. yes 4-5 watts will go further than .5W (FRS/GPRS combo radios) or 1w (GPRS needs GPRS license)they are still “line of site” radio frequencies. Hills, trees, bad weather, buildings, and Etc. will all effect the range at which you will have good coms. The chinese radios are over legal power levels on the FRS channels, so really the only legal use is Ham licensed or business licensed. As for monitoring hams tend to run scanners beyond there broadcast ranges and most likely you will be heard, but if your not violating any rules (out of band operation, too much power for the band, etc.) you’ll be left alone. the cheap (baofeng, pofung, what ever else they are calling them selves have better recepting than the blister pack FRS/GPRS Radios but that is a matter of transmit power. I personally spent more and got some of the Wouxun radios and they are better than the $35 Baofengs but still not close to the big three (kenwood, Icom, Yaesu).


    • vandal67 – No – as a backup to my local repeater and/or to extend the range of my handheld units for local communication. I am close to the testing phase but running into a few issues. I am curious what kind of range I can get depending upon the height I can get it once complete.

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