Which radio??

#1
Ok, building up my Expedition vehicle and I need some advice. Im not into radio but really would like to learn more. I have heard there is ways to check email thru radio? Is this true?? Not sure how that would work, but would be a great feature. What Im looking for is this:

If there was a disaster and the US was in a mess, which radio would be most helpful to you? One that the military would use that we can listen to? Prolly not. Not a nut case, just trying to get a feel of the type of radio that could handle my needs. Ill then learn more about that setup and get licensed if need be.

If Im in Mexico and would like to communicate with my wife in Colorado, which radio would be best?

Is there one communications setup that can handle all of this? If so do you have any good sites so I can start learning more about it. Thanks.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
#2
Colorado Ron said:
I have heard there is ways to check email thru radio? Is this true?? Not sure how that would work, but would be a great feature.
Yup, that's true. With packet radio you can get Internet email. That does not mean all packet nodes have a gateway to the Internet, but technically it's done quite often. Most times it's done on a VHF station, but that's not a requirement. You do need a computer and TNC that adapts it to your packet-capable radio.

If there was a disaster and the US was in a mess, which radio would be most helpful to you? One that the military would use that we can listen to? Prolly not. Not a nut case, just trying to get a feel of the type of radio that could handle my needs. Ill then learn more about that setup and get licensed if need be.
Depends on how bad it's gotten I guess. If all heck has broken out, probably the mil radio and plenty of ammo would be the way to go... If it's long distance communication with your sweetie, then HF radios are going to be your most likely candidate.

If Im in Mexico and would like to communicate with my wife in Colorado, which radio would be best?

Is there one communications setup that can handle all of this? If so do you have any good sites so I can start learning more about it. Thanks.
Sat phone is the best for what you're talking about. Of course you have to have some infrastructure in place for the call to complete. Sat phones are getting decent coverage worldwide, but not cheap (which I'm assuming is important).

HF will do it, but that's not quite as easy as just dialing the phone. HF radios (and you need a pair of radios and antennas) are also not exactly free, but the cost is upfront and the air time is essentially free. But you need to find a band that skips well to get long distance and that means both you and your wife need to practice and become familiar with ham radios.

In the U.S. & Canada, the ARRL and RAC have a messaging system, where hams pass along messages over the air. This can be good to exchange a greeting or new coordinates, but is inefficient for holding a long conversation. I don't even know that NTS (National Traffic System) messages make it into Mexico, at least beyond the border. But you should be able to get into a CA, AZ or NM HF NTS net and get your messages passed throughout the U.S. Heck, with a HF radio you could probably get into a NTS net just about anywhere in the U.S. With this she does not need a radio, a ham that is local to the area will pass the message along to her. Think of this as mail more than immediate contact, since it's gonna take a day or so for the message to make it's way through the system.
 
#3
Ham radio can do all the things you want, but it's complicated. If you are interested, get your Amateur Radio license, and start with the basic set up-2M or Dual band radio, decent mobile antenna, and get operating. Once you are familiar with how it all works, then begin the upgrades to your equiptment and license that will allow you to access these other features. The things you want to do are advanced features of Amateur Radio.

Quick cost comparison-
2m radio + good antenna = about $300 (you can spend less with a mag mount antenna)
All Band Radio + antenna system + wiring = $1200 minimum (and likely much more)

KI6CXS
 
#4
Or he could get a $600 Yaesu FT-817 that would allow him to use all bands (albeit, not optimally, but for $600 it ain't bad. :) ) with five watts, anywhere he wants, without dealing with a mess of equipment. As UncleChris says, head up to the hills, "throw a wire up," and get on HF. It doesn't *have* to be a huge investment.

I think if I was to start over completely in ham radio land I would get me a dual band mobile rig and an FT-817 as an HT/portable/emergency rig down the road.
 
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