When would you use it in an emergency?

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NewSDScanner

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I keep reading about how hams need to be careful what they break in on and also that they don't talk TOO long in case someone needs to use the frequency for an emergency. What emergencies are people talking about? On this page the author talks about someone needing to report a car accident. But, wouldn't you report that to 911? Why would you jump on your radio and call that out? Do police listen to all ham frequencies or something or is he talking about if the person had no cell phone?
 

MOGA

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No, police don't monitor amateur bands. Many places outside of town don't have many cell towers, if there is mobile reception at all. Amateurs can use their radios to relay messages to a person that does have a terrestrial telephone. Or think of what happens when power is down. Cell towers go down too. Many base stations have alt power setups so that they stay on the air in the event of power failure. Mobile stations are completely isolated from ac power interruptions. Your radio should be a part of a layered approach to being prepared for comm service interruption.

Bottom line is that amateur radio has proven itself very useful during times when traditional comm channels are unavailable.
 

n5ims

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Most folks would now use their cell phone to call 911 whenever possible. There are areas where cell phone coverage isn't available and others simply don't have a cell phone (although this is very rare among licensed ham radio operators). It's also possible that in an accident the person's cell phone went flying around the car and isn't within reach of a trapped person, but their radio mic is.

There have been many reports of emergency calls being relayed over HF since no other communication means were available. These calls may be several states away from the actual emergency, but a good calm ham and properly informed 911 operator can correctly route the call to the correct location to quickly send help to the proper location.

One example of this might be a ham in south Florida is trapped in their damaged home during a hurricane where there's no electricity, phone, internet, or cell phone service due to the hurricane. That ham is able to use their emergency HF radio to contact the folks on the hurricane net where the net control is often in Tennessee (where the damage from the hurricane isn't likely, but close enough for reliable communication). This ham operator in TN is able to call their local telephone operator (or possibly their local 911 operator) and explain the situation. That operator can route the call to the Florida ham's local 911 center (or if they're unavailable the proper alternate emergency contact) and alert them to the crisis. Since this FL ham is on emergency power and may have antenna damage, their signal may be rather weak so long pauses on the hurricane net (and brief contacts) allow a greater chance that their signal is heard during that emergency call.

No, the PD do not generally listen to ham frequencies, but if you can contact another ham, they can call 911 for you in an emergency. It is important that when you call 911 for a third party that you clearly state that fact and the location of the third party to the 911 operator so they understand where the emergency is located and can send help to that location and not your house.
 

comp2x2

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It's generally a good idea to break up longer transmissions into short segments. Emergencies are probably the most significant reason, but also so other people can get a word in too. Maybe if you're speaking with one other person, they need to add something, and if you're keyed up for several minutes that means they're stuck listening for that time. Maybe a third party has a point to add. And then there's emergencies, which can come from anyone at any time, and perhaps when you least expect it. In general, keeping your transmission short is good for everyone.

Cell phones tend to work a lot less reliably than ham radio equipment - small batteries, limited coverage, reliance on cell network availability, etc.
 

Rt169Radio

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Ham radio is mainly used for emergency communications after a disaster where AC power and cell phones towers are knocked out.They can be used to relay messages,organize communications for all sorts of useful after disaster help and they can stay on the air longer because they can run off of DC power and use temporary antennas whether base or mobile.
 
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reedeb

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Back in '98 I was taveling down a road chatting with a ham buddy of mine when I came across an Auto accident [this was before I had a cell phone]I told my buddy where I was and what I needed and he called. I had FD and PD there faster then trying to find a a phone [or using the phonepatch]

Also back in '98 during the Great Ice Storm in Maine I was at a shelter in Sanford. I left after my shift and left my radio with the guy who replaced me. 1/2 an hour after I had left they had a branch break off and take out the power AND phone lines. Ny RACES budddy was able to use the rig to let the EOC know what had happened and in about 45 minutes they had power restored. [THIS even made the papers and was a good story for the Ham radio community]
 

LtDoc

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Very basically, if using ham radio is a viable alternative, for whatever reason, then it's appropriate. If there are other means that would be more practical, then use that other means. The usual means of reporting emergencies are preferable to unusual methods, it's usually faster, which can be important. If the usual means isn't available, then use what'cha got. That's reasonable, isn't it?
- 'Doc
 

WouffHong

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Emergency calls

I keep reading about how hams need to be careful what they break in on and also that they don't talk TOO long in case someone needs to use the frequency for an emergency. What emergencies are people talking about? On this page the author talks about someone needing to report a car accident. But, wouldn't you report that to 911? Why would you jump on your radio and call that out? Do police listen to all ham frequencies or something or is he talking about if the person had no cell phone?
With spotty cell coverage like we have here in N. GA and other rural areas, the capability to use the more powerful Ham rig on the 146/450 Ham band where Autopatch capabilities on repeaters with wider coverage are accessible gives one a very good chance to get help when the cell is useless or flaky. From experiece, other hams, such as the required repeater control operator and/or 'lurkers" will usually jump in to help as well.

Tom
 
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N4DES

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One example of this might be a ham in south Florida is trapped in their damaged home during a hurricane where there's no electricity, phone, internet, or cell phone service due to the hurricane. That ham is able to use their emergency HF radio to contact the folks on the hurricane net where the net control is often in Tennessee (where the damage from the hurricane isn't likely, but close enough for reliable communication).
Like an HF antenna is going to survive while the rest of the house is damaged to an extent to where someone is trapped inside? I highly doubt it. The antenna will be the first thing to go before anything else and the HF radio will be inoperable well before their home phone.
 

WouffHong

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make-do works - ya GOTTA improvise to survive!

Like an HF antenna is going to survive while the rest of the house is damaged to an extent to where someone is trapped inside? I highly doubt it. The antenna will be the first thing to go before anything else and the HF radio will be inoperable well before their home phone.
Hasty generalization - Any creative ham with an Antenna tuner can load up a random hunk of bell wire or any conductive object and get out - poorly, perhaps, but surprisingly workable under duress.

I lived in a condo in Fl and and got out to the 14300, 7268 and 14325 nets after a storm loading up a hunk of wire thrown out the window and in another case an aluminum drainpipe. Some have loaded up the house-side downed and disconnected Power feed (NOT recommended!). Desparation makes for strange bed-fellows as the saying goes.:D

Even CW (remember that?) played a major role in hundreds of emergency situations back when CW was a requirement and not an stupid option. :twisted:

Sure, much traffic had to be relayed by closer stations, but that's how the ARRL got it's name. ;-)

There's a true mind-set in the serious ham ranks called: "CAN DO.." :cool:

73 (no "s") es BCNU OM ;) ... -.-

Wouff

wouffhong.org
 

n5ims

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Like an HF antenna is going to survive while the rest of the house is damaged to an extent to where someone is trapped inside? I highly doubt it. The antenna will be the first thing to go before anything else and the HF radio will be inoperable well before their home phone.
Yes, the nice beam on the tower is probably trashed out, but when the tower fell it most likely left some nice guy wires this poor ham could use as an emergency antenna for his call for help. It's quite common for a ham in hurricane country to keep, as part of their emergency pack, an emergency HF antenna to be used in just this situation.
 

kb2crk

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Like an HF antenna is going to survive while the rest of the house is damaged to an extent to where someone is trapped inside? I highly doubt it. The antenna will be the first thing to go before anything else and the HF radio will be inoperable well before their home phone.
I could restring the wire antenna in a matter of a few minutes. i have a battery back up for my HF rig (yes it can run on 12 volts). I also have mobile antennas and can put the hf rig in the car. I have a 100w vhf and a 110 w uhf mobile in the car that can be used, in an absolute emergency, on the local public safety bands. Cell coverage is terrible in this area. I have used ham radio to report situations and i have used a cell phone. the good thing about ham radio is that you dont have to dial anything. just call for help. I also have a cb and some sheriffs' dept still monitor channel 9.
 

N4DES

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The original post was clear that he was trapped inside, so take stringing wires and using guy wires outside out of the equation.

As someone who experienced the 04 and 05 storms, the landline phones stayed in service for over 2days after landfall and then were restored a day or so after that. The phone company's have very robust systems as they are held to a much higher level of service than the cellular carriers, who balked to the courts when the FCC tried to require all of them to put generators at all their sites.

As to hams being inovative, of course they are as I'm one too and have everything in my home on deep cycle batteries and some of my antennas are in my attic. But the scenario that I quoted on gave no option to go outside and string anything up or being able to connect anything to a vehicle battery. So read before you flame.
 
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I wouldnt stake my family's wellbeing on Ham Radio

In this part of the country, the saying "If All Else Fails - Amateur Radio" has been modified to "If All Else Fails - You're **cked".

Seriously, you will be lucky to raise anyone on our local repeater in an emergency. I know of two individuals who may answer you if they arent' doped up on prescription meds or sending questionable photos back and forth on slow-scan simplex.

Ham radio Emergency services is so pathetic around here, that the local agencies use CERT instead; they are better trained, and, even more importantly, available.

No County Emergency Manager will be very impressed by 3 80 year old men showing up in motorized scooters, with HT's a-crackling and reflective vests a-blinging who cant' tell you what NIMS stands for, unless it had something to do with that prostate surgery,,,
 
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N2MWE

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In this part of the country, the saying "If All Else Fails - Amateur Radio" has been modified to "If All Else Fails - You're **cked".

Seriously, you will be lucky to raise anyone on our local repeater in an emergency. I know of two individuals who may answer you if they arent' doped up on prescription meds.

Ham radio Emergency services is so pathetic around here, that the local agencies use CERT instead; they are better trained, and available.

No County Emergency Manager will be very impressed by 3 80 year old men showing up in motorized scooters, with HT's a-crackling and reflective vests a-blinging.
Hence why I own a Yaesu FT817 and an Alinco DX70...VHF fails, there is always HF to the "outside world."
 

Citywide173

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The thing that gets me is that everyone, including the original poster, is looking at this from an evolved position.

When was this rule put into Part 90? I don't know the exact date, but I do know that at the time, a car phone was MTS or IMTS (or didn't exist at all)...and VERY expensive. Coverage was consistent with the bands, and people weren't nearly as mobile as they are today. The country wasn't as populated, and more rural areas existed (less pay phones). There would have been many more situations where there was no other method of communication available, and that which constituted an emergency met a different standard than today (people call 9-1-1 because of itchy casts and stubbed toes). It was relevant in the past, and, in the event of a huge infrastructure failure, is relevant today, just not in the way all of you are lookung at it.
 

MTS2000des

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In this part of the country, the saying "If All Else Fails - Amateur Radio" has been modified to "If All Else Fails - You're **cked".

Seriously, you will be lucky to raise anyone on our local repeater in an emergency. I know of two individuals who may answer you if they arent' doped up on prescription meds or sending questionable photos back and forth on slow-scan simplex.

Ham radio Emergency services is so pathetic around here, that the local agencies use CERT instead; they are better trained, and, even more importantly, available.

No County Emergency Manager will be very impressed by 3 80 year old men showing up in motorized scooters, with HT's a-crackling and reflective vests a-blinging who cant' tell you what NIMS stands for, unless it had something to do with that prostate surgery,,,
Ham radio as a resource are only as valuable and useful as the operators. Equipment alone is just that: equipment.

One who has the skills to ADAPT and OVERCOME will. One who is just merely an "appliance operator" will get only as much use as the "appliance" will provide out of the box.

The value we as amateur radio operators have is in our skill and abilities provide for, and an attitude to serve. The problem is many fall short, and a few don't understand their boundaries and what role they are supposed to play.

I would encourage anyone who desires to add amateur radio as a skill or tool to do so, but understand their own limitations as well. No it will not always work "when all else fails", nor will PD and FD come running for your help when their P25 simulcast TRS goes into failsoft, but you can be a valuable resource in other ways if you have skills and abilities and a willingness to serve where and when needed.
 

NewSDScanner

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Ham radio is mainly used for emergency communications after a disaster where AC power and cell phones towers are knocked out.They can be used to relay messages,organize communications for all sorts of useful after disaster help and they can stay on the air longer because they can run off of DC power and use temporary antennas whether base or mobile.
Yeah but if the power is knocked out, aren't the repeaters also knocked out? We had a recent huge power outage here and it was a mess. My scanner is programmed to ALL local public safety and nearly all of their repeaters were down. I'm not joking you when I say that I heard dispatch literally unable to locate fire engines and police officers. I even heard police going out of commission because their ELECTRICAL fuel pumps weren't working and their vehicles were running out of gas. It wasn't a fun thing to hear, and this was less than a 24 hour period. And yes, I know about generators. But generators are only temporary - if that outage lasted like 3 days, all of the generators would have used the fuel up and because the gas stations have no generators, nobody could get fuel.

So my question is, could I use a VHF/UHF radio in the above situation to at least communicate with other hams and get news/info or will they be pretty much as useless as the public safety radios during this time? I mean, even the radios require power too and I can't think of any way to power one aside from my car... Which can run out of gas...
 
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