• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Using the Ham Radio as a lifeline

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
4
Location
Boston, MA
#1
I've read that these radios can be used as a lifeline in times of need. How are they used as lifelines and will anybody tell me about how they used a ham radio at some point for insight at a time when in need of some sort of guidance, encouragement or referral? I am new to the ham radio lifestyle so I'm still becoming familiar with all of these concepts.
 

KD8DVR

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 11, 2004
Messages
1,118
Location
Columbus, Ohio
#2
You need to study for and get your license.

AntiSquid Disclaimer: All comments are personal opinion only and may not indicate a claim of actual fact.
 

jaspence

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
1,673
Location
Michigan
#4
Use a cell phone, but when you have no coverage, a ham radio is a good choice. A local ham here in the Midwest actually alerted the Coast Guard on the east coast to a ship emergency call heard on ham radio. Check the ARRL web site for information and study material for your license.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
10,217
Location
Point Nemo.
#6
I've read that these radios can be used as a lifeline in times of need. How are they used as lifelines and will anybody tell me about how they used a ham radio at some point for insight at a time when in need of some sort of guidance, encouragement or referral? I am new to the ham radio lifestyle so I'm still becoming familiar with all of these concepts.
If you need a life line, as in a life or death emergency, then you need a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon). They are like an EPRIB used on a ship or aircraft and will signal a rescue coordination center and let them know you need immediate help. The PLB will send your GPS derived position and someone will come looking for you.
Other option would be the "Spot" brand units, which are similar subscription based device.
Or, satellite phone. Useful to call any other phone from just about any place you were on the planet.

As for amateur radio....
There's no requirement that any frequencies be monitored 24x7, so it's pretty much hit-n-miss that someone will answer. When they do, you may very well get someone helpful who answers. You might also get someone not so helpful that answers. It's a hobby. The other guys on the radio are hobbyists.
I've tried at least twice in my lifetime to get emergency help via amateur radio. Both times failed miserably.

Amateur radio is a hobby. It's great for learning about radio. It's great for experimenting. It's great for talking with family and friends. It's not an emergency radio service. If you go into it with the understanding that it's a hobby and there are no requirement for anyone to answer you in a time of need, you'll do OK.
 

robertmac

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
2,105
#7
Ham radio has been a life line for some people on HF and 2m, 70 cms. Should it be relied on? Depends on where you live. I know where I am, on certain repeaters you could probably get a hold of someone in an emergency 20 out of 24 hours [only 4 hours around 0200-0600 hours]. Is cell phone and internet reliable 24/7? Probably not when cable gets cut, or flooded, or burned etc.. Whether I am at work, at home, etc., I do try to monitor a local repeater. Having more than one system to use in an emergency is better than putting all your eggs in one basket. They have been used as lifeline on the seas [generally HF], in remote areas where cell coverage is very limited [can do search], and I know in my area was used when floods wiped out some peoples cell and internet services [not once but 3 times], and when available cell phone got over loaded.
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2016
Messages
58
Location
franklin new jersey
#8
years ago i had a cb radio in my car i come upon a motorcycle accident early am, tried to call for help two people chatting did not believe me .i got help by calling by phone,not everyone is helpful
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2013
Messages
341
Location
1158 W. Valley Circle, Ash Fork, AZ 86320-482
#9
years ago i had a cb radio in my car i come upon a motorcycle accident early am, tried to call for help two people chatting did not believe me .i got help by calling by phone,not everyone is helpful
But it can work in the other direction. Yesterday morning I was listening to a discussion on one of the 2 meter repeaters. At one point a ham broke into the discussion. He had locked his keys in the car, along with his cell phone, and was asking if there was anyone near by with a coat hanger. Within about 20 minutes he had 6 hams, with coat hangers, helping him. I would have gone to help, but I was 50 miles from his location.

I didn't hear the outcome of the gathering, but with 6 hams, he probably got the car opened, rotated the tires, and had a oil change.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
8,884
Location
PA
#11
When available, using a cell phone to call 911 is going to be much more effective than using a radio to summon emergency police/fire/medical assistance. But in a situation where cell service is not available, or your cell phone is damaged or broken, having a radio can be helpful.

You may be able to reach someone who can summon help on your behalf, and if you are lost or in need of rescue in a remote area, having a radio can extend the range rescue personnel can contact you, if rescuers know you monitor specific frequencies on some sort of schedule.
 

phask

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
3,020
Location
KZZV - SE Ohio
#12
Or he had 6 OM's watching and commenting on the antenna installation :)

As to the original post - it seems like a mental health issue/lifeline.


But it can work in the other direction. Yesterday morning I was listening to a discussion on one of the 2 meter repeaters. At one point a ham broke into the discussion. He had locked his keys in the car, along with his cell phone, and was asking if there was anyone near by with a coat hanger. Within about 20 minutes he had 6 hams, with coat hangers, helping him. I would have gone to help, but I was 50 miles from his location.

I didn't hear the outcome of the gathering, but with 6 hams, he probably got the car opened, rotated the tires, and had a oil change.
 
Joined
Dec 18, 2005
Messages
448
#13
I was out portable , in a dealer loaner power wheelchair it had started to rain,I left the store and started down the sidewalk only to find no curb cut in that direction ,it was a slim sidewalk and in turning around my drive tires began to spin in the grass, my cell had no service so I used my local repeater, I called the control Op who called the auto parts store I was stuck at, and ask them to have someone come out and assist me, the store thought it to be a crank call , and ignored it until the OP called them back and said the guy is stuck and it's pouring cats and dogs now go out and help the guy, this time they poked there heads out and there I sat drenched , finally giving me a push and frèeing my chair allowing me to take refuge until the rain passed.

This is a kind of one horse town only has 3 repeaters , so the guy who made the call for me is the owner of the machine , who like me has sleep disorders so we can be found frequently chewing the rag in the middle of the night, many guys were surprised the first time we did it because it's normaly dead quiet at 3 AM , we now run a semi regular "insomniac net" and frequently have check ins , if we can't sleep all we have to do is blow our call and if anyone else is up we rag chew,those of us on that machine ( about 10 hams) all know each other by voice and only blow our call to comply with the regs , most of us are retired or medically disabled so we are good friends who if you see one us at a ham fest the others are not far behind. These results may not be typical in your area, the repeater owner and I also are chronic pain patients so we never run out of things to rag chew about because sleep disorders are not the only sleep problems , pain Also keeps you up, if you are looking for mental or emotional support you can sometimes find it in fellow club members , but you won't know until you make some friends, sometimes it can be found and other times not, so you should always have a back up plan where you know you can talk about what you need
I was brain injured a few years ago and my friends both ham and non ham know that sometimes I am grumbly and need to talk and they are wonderfull about it.
As a point of refrence I have been chewed out here by a moderator for what they considered thread hijacking , pre brain injury I was a real quiet guy and now if its on my mind I say it, never leave things to chance, if you need mental or emotional resources drop me a PM and I can give you some places on the net.

Sent from my SM-T810 using Tapatalk
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
6,685
Location
Fortunately, GA
#14
I've read that these radios can be used as a lifeline in times of need. How are they used as lifelines and will anybody tell me about how they used a ham radio at some point for insight at a time when in need of some sort of guidance, encouragement or referral? I am new to the ham radio lifestyle so I'm still becoming familiar with all of these concepts.
Since you haven't stated what the lifeline is you are posting about, and if you are an actual ham, the other posts are inconsequential. More info is needed to correctly give proper guidance.
Larry
 

Rred

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Messages
829
#16
A ham radio is like a rope: It only becomes a lifeline in the hands of a trained and prepared operator.

A lifeline and a noose are both pieces of rope. How the rope is used, makes the difference.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
20
Location
Idaho
#17
Ive attempted to use HAM up in the local mountains near me for help when my truck got stuck in some deep mushy snow last year.. I had no luck hitting any repeaters, and no luck on the 2m or 70cm national calling freqs either.. There were literally no comms out of the mountain. Luckily I was packing, in addition to my cell (no service for miles) and my radio, I also had a spot GPS. I pushed the helping hands button and after hiking up to the road, the sheriffs department soon came to my location and asked what help I needed. They were able to get a call out to a friend of mine, who quickly dropped everything and came to help me get my truck unstuck..

Sometimes HAM is great, it really is. If I were able to get a QSO out on the air, Im sure that if someone heard me they would have been more than happy to get the word out to my friend on my behalf, but because I was at least a 5 hour hike to the nearest operable phone, the SPOT was what saved my bacon.
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2014
Messages
1,275
#18
years ago i had a cb radio in my car i come upon a motorcycle accident early am, tried to call for help two people chatting did not believe me .i got help by calling by phone,not everyone is helpful
One afternoon my 4X4 got stuck in the middle of nowhere. My cell phone was out of range of any tower, and my vhf/uhf mobile couldn't hit any repeater. The only thing that saved me was a trucker about 10 miles away, who at 2 AM in the morning, heard my call for help on CB channel 19.
 

Rred

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Messages
829
#19
Cell phones rely on a complex infrastructure. My friend lives an hour outside of a major city, and their last 25 minutes drive through mountain valleys where there are farms--not many customers, so no incentive for cell phone towers or service. I also know a 20-minute stretch on a highway a couple of hours from me (no alternate route) that is a dead zone. Again, not much demand, so no towers.

Radios, whether they are ham or cb or whatnot, do not rely on infrastructure. They rely on a herd of cats. So, if you can reach someone, that's all you need. Or, can't get.

About a decade ago a family driving from Montreal (?) back into NYS was coming down the Northway in a heavy snowstorm, went off the road and set off a year of public debate because they were unable to get help on their cellphone, they thought the 11th Commandment certainly directed "Thou Shall Build Cell Phone towers in the Wilderness." Well...

Anyone who wants that is welcome to pay for it. And satellite services like SPOT are great too--but a little research will turn up numerous failures on the private satellite systems (and subscription bills) as compared to the government distress systems. Which aren't cheap or tiny either.

Sometimes, you've got to learn to simply be prepared to survive on your own. Or, just not leave town.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
24
Location
Laguna Niguel, CA
#20
Nothing is infallible for emergency communications, but ham radio is certainly an important part of my program. I was stranded near Sherman Peak with no cell coverage. I was able to hit the Bird Springs Pass repeater and made contact with someone who kindly took my AAA info and made arrangements for a tow. He was kind enough to check in with me every half hour for the next 5 hours while I waited for the tow. Otherwise it could have been a long walk. Although I have my Spot device for when the SHTF, my ham radio is indispensable.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top