Radio use in public locations

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pb_lonny

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Of late I have been undertaking more and more portable dxing sessions in public locations; this will continue to increase in the future.

To this point I have not had any issues with the public however I would like to be prepared for this and have an understanding on what experiences other people have had and any advice on handling this. I am also keen to hear of any good / bad experiences people have had from portable operation in public locations.

Regards
Paul
Ultralight DXing
 
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Don't be like the loudmouth on a cell phone, and nobody will care. If you are setting up in a public park or other public use area, just extend the courtesy you would expect of others, and you'll probably still be un-noticed, or get interested inquiries in what you are doing.
 

SCPD

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Do not set up in or near a school, park, federal building, state building, zoo, refinery, horse stable, chemical plant, ship, boat, dock, jet ski, bridge, highway, driveway, bypass, overpass, underpass, police station, fire station, animal shelter, city hall, courthouse, jailhouse, penitentiary, state capital, skyscraper, military installation, airport, regulated area, restricted area, sensitive area, public road, private road, runway, helipad, open water, church, mosque, teepee, fire pit, or any other location where such activities are prohibited by local, state, and federal regulations and you should be fine.
 

N8IAA

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Of late I have been undertaking more and more portable dxing sessions in public locations; this will continue to increase in the future.

To this point I have not had any issues with the public however I would like to be prepared for this and have an understanding on what experiences other people have had and any advice on handling this. I am also keen to hear of any good / bad experiences people have had from portable operation in public locations.

Regards
Paul
Ultralight DXing
Paul, considering that you are using an AM/FM/SW to DX with, most likely headphones so as not to miss the signal, I don't think that anyone will bother you.
Most people will figure that you're listening to a FM station:)
You just never know, you may convert someone!
Larry
 

pb_lonny

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Paul, considering that you are using an AM/FM/SW to DX with, most likely headphones so as not to miss the signal, I don't think that anyone will bother you.
Most people will figure that you're listening to a FM station:)
You just never know, you may convert someone!
Larry
Thanks for the reply, I suspect you are right. At this stage I am using a Tecsun PL-380 with a 7.5" loopstick aerial so it does stand out a bit.
 

com501

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I usually ignore people with radios unless they are loud and obnoxious. Then, when they begin to annoy me, I make them eat them while I point my .45 in their general direction. Hams get special attention sometimes, because they should KNOW better. Any orifice that the radio will fit in, usually works.

Seriously, just don't be annoying and no one will bother you.
 

rapidcharger

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Are you talking about HF rigs or portable FM radios?
I've attended a few club gatherings in a busy park where it was a pretty obvious setup (tents, tables, generator, wire antennas strung all over the place) for HF. Some people who were interested came over and got to get a sample of what ham radio has to offer in terms of HF. I am not aware of anyone complaining as it shouldn't have caused a disturbance to anyone.

As for portable FM radios.... I frequently go into public with one of these for use on the ham band and sometimes get some looks but nobody has every said anything to me about it as long as I'm on foot. In fact, lately I've been jibber jabbering by portable while doing grocery shopping. I usually leave the radio under my shirt or jacket and use a speaker mic but not always. Volume is always at a reasonable (I can barely hear it myself) level



Do not set up in or near a school, park, federal building, state building, zoo, refinery, horse stable, chemical plant, ship, boat, dock, jet ski, bridge, highway, driveway, bypass, overpass, underpass, police station, fire station, animal shelter, city hall, courthouse, jailhouse, penitentiary, state capital, skyscraper, military installation, airport, regulated area, restricted area, sensitive area, public road, private road, runway, helipad, open water, church, mosque, teepee, fire pit, or any other location where such activities are prohibited by local, state, and federal regulations and you should be fine.
:lol: Funny! But true.
 

phask

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Do not set up in or near a school, park, federal building, state building, zoo, refinery, horse stable, chemical plant, ship, boat, dock, jet ski, bridge, highway, driveway, bypass, overpass, underpass, police station, fire station, animal shelter, city hall, courthouse, jailhouse, penitentiary, state capital, skyscraper, military installation, airport, regulated area, restricted area, sensitive area, public road, private road, runway, helipad, open water, church, mosque, teepee, fire pit, or any other location where such activities are prohibited by local, state, and federal regulations and you should be fine.
But I dx /mobile/marine/jetski :)
 

WN6WJN

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Hi Paul

This is my first post in this forum.

To me I read your query as how to act in public while with a radio.

From experience I will tell you that if you are in public and 1) you are allowed to be where you are, AND 2) You are doing something that is lawful AND 3) You are not affecting others, then you have nothing to worry about. These conditions must all be applied to keep out of trouble.

I will carry my FCC paperwork, possibly to show at any encounter with law enforcement official. They do have the right to check up on you, and if you are nice and courteous, and have all the documentation to satisfy their curiously, you have nothing to worry about, specially when you mention that its your hobby you are participating in, and that you just found out that this particular public place is a radio sweet spot.

As to the public, I say go for it, it might just be a good way to garner some new members for your local radio club.

Charge up your batteries and go for it, and enjoy all these QSOs.

I am not an attorney, I don't even play one on TV.

73

Wassim
 

N8IAA

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Paul is using an AM/FM/SW radio for his DX'ing. The antenna he uses is bigger than the radio:D Check out his website for the details.
By lightweight, he means small to tiny. No scanners involved.
Larry
 

majoco

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I'm not quite understanding why you posted this in the Amateur Radio General Discussion forum.

Back when I was an active Ham our club would cover the communications requirements for local events, usually involving some distances such as running marathons and bike races. We would all have caps and bright vests with the club name and work with a headset/boom mic so we stuck out well. Only once was a club member accosted by an 'undesirable' character, otherwise we were treated with respect by Joe Public, Police and Ambulance people. We attracted worthwhile attention, but if you want to remain discreet just sit quietly in the corner!
 

pb_lonny

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I'm not quite understanding why you posted this in the Amateur Radio General Discussion forum.
Because it covers a wide range of areas of the radio hobby and amateurs are the most likely to undertake portable operations so I thought by posting in here it would give me the widest possible range of responses.

Back when I was an active Ham our club would cover the communications requirements for local events, usually involving some distances such as running marathons and bike races. We would all have caps and bright vests with the club name and work with a headset/boom mic so we stuck out well. Only once was a club member accosted by an 'undesirable' character, otherwise we were treated with respect by Joe Public, Police and Ambulance people. We attracted worthwhile attention, but if you want to remain discreet just sit quietly in the corner!
Thanks for the advice, the comment about a member being accosted is the sort of thing I am keen to hear about, what happened and how was it dealt with?
 

KC0KM

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Operating in public can be very advantageous, and is often a great way to demonstrate what Amateur Radio can do. Think about how many Field Day operations are done in public. Even if you are just by yourself, you can show others, if they ask, what Amateur Radio can do, and even allow them to make a QSO (as long as you are the control operator). Many of the guys in my club often do operations in public parks. Only once, where they really "questioned", but the guy who did it, was later "overruled" by his superior (who though what they where doing was not big deal). As long as you are not causing any hazards, disruptions, or being overly obnoxious, go for it. It might be a good idea to have information about Amateur Radio with you, in case someone asks.
 

majoco

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One of the tasks in the event was for the radio operator to note down the time and vest number of the first person through, then the subsequent numbers as they went past although this was difficult if they came through in a bunch. Then all you could do was note the first one plus say 6 others. At the end was a 'tail end charlie' in a vehicle. You told him how many had passed through which he compared with his list. Then you got on the radio and called the control station and read out the list of runners and time of first and last. Everybody further down the road copied the list too, so that when their first runners started arriving you could spot if someone was missing by the wayside. That was the theory which usually worked pretty well. On shorter course events it was possible to have a spotter and a writer together, but there just weren't enough volunteers if the course was reasonably long. Some of the circular cycle routes were over 60miles on bush tracks.

On this particular occasion it was a road cycling event which was one of the hardest to copy as the riders went past so quickly - fortunately their numbers were painted large on their legs. It wasn't my station that had the problem, but apparently this large guy and a youngster stepped through the rope and stood in front of the radio man and start yelling just as the riders appeared. The operator asked the guy to keep over his side of the rope but to no avail, so our operator went over the other side of the road and started talking on the radio to control telling them that he had missed a lot of the riders passing through. The big guy saw our man on the radio and assumed he was calling for assistance or something, yelling that he would sort them all out or whatever. Fortunately the 'tail end charlie' wagon arrived and our man hopped on board, hopefully averting a "situation". Our radio man said that the big guy didn't sound like he was the brightest lamp in the box and was certainly quite aggressive when asked to keep on the off-course side of the rope. At the debrief meeting it was decided that the radio club would provide an operator/writer if the organising club could provide a spotter which made things a lot safer.
 
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