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The following is

 

Ham Radio

 

I have been a Ham Radio Operator (WB2-ANR) since 1967, and my first rig was an RBM-4 Navy Shipboard Receiver and an ARC-3 Transmitter modified for the 2 Meter (144 to 148Mhz) band. This combination weighed about 100 pounds with the home-brew multi-voltage power supply, and took up the majority of space on a good-sized workbench. The  transmitter, with 40 Watts of output power into an 8-element beam antenna, would light fluorescent street lamps across the street when the transmitter was keyed. Since that time I have had my share of portable (and not-so-portable) and mobile Ham Radio rigs. My first 2-Meter handheld had a few miniature vacuum tubes (6CW4 Nuvistors), and weighed about 3 pounds. Later on (about 1980), I had a 75-Watt 2-Meter Yaesu rig in my Mazda Navajo. Technology has come a long way since those days.

 

For those readers who are not familiar with Amateur (aka 'Ham') Radio, Ham Radio differs from the common Citizen's Band (CB) radios that you can get at Radio Shack, and at a number of electronics retailers in several major ways:

 

First of all, Ham Radio requires you to be a LICENSED HAM RADIO OPERATOR – UNLICENSED OPERATION IS A FEDERAL OFFENSE. If you are an unlicensed operator, you will soon be found out by other operators, since the call sign you use can be easily looked-up, and you will find yourself locked out of the local repeaters, and no one will talk to you because it is illegal to talk to unlicensed operators. You may also be physically located by triangulation of your signal by other operators if you become a nuisance, and find yourself under arrest by Federal authorities, and / or slapped with a substantial fine. (see: Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934)

 

Secondly, Ham Radio allows the operator to transmit on a much wider range of frequencies with a much higher (legal) power limitation (200 Watts on HF, and up to 1,500 Watts on VHF / UHF), and some of the combinations of frequency, power, and antenna configurations extend the range of the communication world-wide.

 

Thirdly, Ham Radio frequencies are usually not crowded, and transmissions follow a strict operating protocol which ensures that operators are courteous to each other, and conversations are not "stepped on" by other operators. Some repeaters can only be operated by members; others are open to the public. Repeaters can enable a 4-watt walkie-talkie to communicate clearly across several hundred miles.

 

The 2-Meter and 70 centimeter band radios covered on this Web site – even the hand-held 'walkie-talkies – have incredible ranges because they primarily operate with repeater stations that receive their low-power transmissions on one frequency, then re-broadcast the transmission at a much higher power, and from a geographically advantageous point (such as a tall building, tower, or mountain-top) on a slightly different frequency.

 

And lastly, Ham Radio Operators are always involved in establishing communications in disaster areas, and are often the only means of communication when all else has failed.

 

This section of the Web site – although it does not specifically deal with Jeeps per se, covers a topic that many Jeep owners may be interested in. Although you may not be a Ham Radio Operator, this section can be applied to Citizen's Band (CB) radio as well.

 

If you want to become a Ham Radio Operator, contact the American Radio Relay League. There are license classes in your local area, and you will get to meet local Hams who will be happy to teach you everything you need to know. DO NOT attempt to operate on Ham Radio frequencies unless you have an FCC license – you may be able to get away with it for a while, but other Hams are notoriously intolerant of unlicensed operators. You will be reported, and you WILL be caught.
 

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