Worth a repost and update. Note that http://www.hamradio.com has the Yaesu 2900R VHF 2 meter radio on sale for $139.95 SHIPPED until 30 September. You’ve got about 3 weeks! Don’t miss your chance!! This is a great starter radio and is built like a tank. From AmRRON’s ‘Comm 101’:
“It has multiple power settings, max 75W (75, 30, 10, 5) and built like a tank. Technician license required to transmit. Requires 13.8 VDC and 15 amps. If you don’t have power, slip it in your plate carrier. I suspect it is Level 3A protection.”
From http://www.hamradio.com product description:
“High power output with No Cooling Fan Needed, a huge, easy-to-read display, and one-touch WIRES Internet Linking Access capability are yours with the rugged new FT-2900R!
75 Watts of Solid RF Power with No Cooling Fan Needed! Four selectable power output levels are provided: 75/25/10/5 Watts. The power selection may be stored into memory, allowing you to conserve power while using strong local repeaters.
The large 6 digit backlit LCD on the FT-2900R ensure excellent visibility
The FT-2900R packs 3W BIG watts of Loud Audio with its own Internal Speaker for those noisy environments.
The FT-2900R’s receiver front end features Yaesu’s renowned Advanced Track Tuning RF input filtering, which affords outstanding protection from Intermodulation distortion.
For easy repeater access, or silent monitoring of busy channels, both CTCSS and DCS (Digital Code Squelch) Encoder/Decoder circuits are built in. CTCSS and DCS configuration data may be stored independently in each memory channel. A “Split Tone” mode also allows operation on systems where CTCSS and DCS are used separately on the repeater uplink/downlink.
The FT-2900R provides a total of 221 memory channels, including 200 “regular” memories, ten pairs of band-limit memories, and an instant-recall “Home” channel you can dedicate to a frequently-used repeater or simplex frequency. Memories can store repeater shift information, CTCSS/DCS data, power output level, scanning status (“Skip”), and Alpha-Numeric Channel Display.
Memory channels may be displayed either with the channel frequency or a personalized Alpha-Numeric label, for easy channel recognition. Up to six letters, characters, or numbers may be used for labeling channels.
The FT-2900R includes a conveniently-located “Internet” key, for quick access to Internet-linked repeater systems. Internet repeater linking allows you to use your FT-2900R to talk to other Amateurs throughout the world, with outstanding voice signal quality. The “Internet” key may be configured to send either a single DTMF digit, or a DTMF string, for operation on a WIRES™ (Wide-Coverage Internet Repeater Enhancement System) repeater, or on other Internet-linked repeaters using DTMF tone access.
WX Channels with a special 10-channel Weather Band memory bank is provided in the U.S. version, allowing quick access to NOAA weather broadcasts. When the 1050-Hz “Severe Weather” alert tone is transmitted, the FT-2900R may be configured to emit an alarm tone to get your attention quickly. With the “Weather Alert” feature enabled, the FT-2900R will scan the ten Weather memories, stopping only if the 1050-Hz tone is received.
The backlit MH-48A6J microphone allows direct keypad frequency entry, or keypad memory channel recall. On transmit, the MH-48A6J allows manual entry of DTMF tones for autopatch use, and the FT-2900R also includes a nine-memory, 16-digit DTMF Autodialer. Four user-programmable “soft” keys on the microphone may be programmed for easy control of a number of different features, and the [A]/[B]/[C]/[D] keys replicate the functions of the keys on the front panel of the transceiver, for maximum convenience while driving.
Shipping weight 8lbs.
MMB-83 Mobile mounting bracket
T9021015 DC power cable
Spare fuse, standing foot, manual
H/T to Dan Morgan for the link.
We support Amron’s position of getting a HAM license to get your communication capability up in the event of a SHTF scenario. $15 for a 10 year license is a no brainer. Studying an hour or two a day for a couple weeks gets you completely through the exam with a nicely done passing score. Cell phones are going to work for about 13 nanoseconds. Keep that in mind. You may also decide to have a few FRS/GMRS or MURS radios for short distance communication, such as between a roving NPT security team and your Neighborhood Protection Area Defensive Operations Center.
Amron also has put together a Communications SOI (Signal Operating Instructions) that will help you organize your communications efforts for a $6 donation. Another no brainer.
And here’s their Comms – 101:
Article shared by an anonymous member-
Having basic listening and communication capability in one’s local area is a critical survivability step in anyone’s personal or community defense preparedness plans. Without information, there is no intelligence, and without intelligence, you have sub-optimal defensive capability.
If you can operate your iPhone, you can quickly become proficient in basic radio communication.
To enable a person with no specific technical knowledge to quickly acquire the ability to establish basic, local 2-way communications to aid them in personal and community preparedness and self-defense.
Get on the air FAST, with minimum cost, minimum training and maximum range.
Contents / Layout:
Here is how the rest of this document is laid out:
- Background & Introduction
- Preparatory Info
- Equipment List
- Usage Scenarios
- What to Read, Watch & Study
- How to get your license
- Your Checklist – Do This Now
If we had to list a set of overall requirements for this guide (101), it would be this:
- Tactical Communication (Stable Simplex 0-2 Miles)
- Local Communication (Stable Simplex 0-20 Miles, Repeater 0-40 Miles)
- Effective Simplex as much as possible
- 2M VHF
- Cost Effective
- Simple to Operate
- Fit scenarios of on-body carry, mobile (vehicle) or residence
- Field Ops not in scope, but may work for some situations
- Simple to Maintain
- Portable, Mobile-capable & Rugged
- Commonly used equipment
- Multiple-use, Interoperable
- Expandable or can serve as building block for future capabilities
2. Scope of this Guide:
- Band / Frequency: The world of radio communication is huge. We are going to focus efforts on only what is needed for beginners to get moving. This means 2 meter VHF with either hand-held or mobile radios, operating either on foot, in your vehicle, or in your home.
- Your own equipment: It means that your goal is to rely on direct radio to radio contact as much as possible, and rely as little on someone else’s public repeater stations as little as possible. There is no guarantee they will always be operating.
- Field Ops & HF: We will not discuss portable / solar power or field operations other than vehicle power. HF will not be discussed since it is not a beginner topic.
- Threats: We are going to assume that there is no specific threat from you using whatever transmitting power you need to make contact (ie, no enemy direction-finding threat from you blasting out a huge signal).This does not mean that you should not practice OPSEC at all times, and always use the minimum power necessary to get the job done. OPSEC is Operations Security, and it basically means “need to know basis”. You don’t ever give up any more information than is necessary if you are operating in a self-defense mode. How you train is how you will behave in a stress situation. Check Sam Culper’s post on OPSEC.
3. Background & Introduction:
Although we have IT and military backgrounds, we were new to amateur radio. Our goal was to define some local communication requirements, and then self-experiment, trying to view the process as a non-technical person would experience it. Our plan was to start with the most basic, inexpensive equipment and keep adding, upgrading and tinkering until we had solid communications. We wanted to create a plan that required as little training, cost and maintenance as possible, resulting in a recipe that anyone could use to easily implement a basic information / communication ability.
What was supposed to be a one month article turned into a many month live experiment. We found that things won’t usually work as expected “out of the box”, and we were learning about equipment capability and options as we progressed. You will need to do some reading, experiment, and lean on other hams for advice. Use this guide as your road map and be persistent. This stuff is important, but it also isn’t too hard. You can be listening in a couple days, and transmitting with a license in as little as 30 days if testing is available.
Communication in general, and in particular Amateur Radio (same as Ham Radio), has dozens, if not hundreds, of knowledge areas and technologies. It is easy to get lost and feel overwhelmed with the choices available. When you are feeling like you are buried in the weeds, pick your head up and focus on the Objective. Refer back to this guide or one of the excellent websites and resources out there (will discuss later), and only do things that support your near term objective – local, reliable comms on 2M VHF.
As we went down this path, we recently found an absolutely excellent article that was right in line with some of what we wanted to write and recommend. The author is Popeye, an AmRRON Operator (we will explain AmRRON later).
We borrowed heavily from Popeye’s article on AmRRON and blended it into how we wanted to present this block of instruction.
4. Preparatory Info:
These are somewhat random bits of information and advice that should help you build a fundamental knowledge base.
Listening, Talking & Training:
Listen First. Listening and gathering intelligence about your area is significantly more important than transmitting. For general preparedness, you should listen much more than you talk. There are many fine articles already written on monitoring, so we won’t cover it here. It is often called SIGINT, or Signal Intelligence. You can listen without a license, which means you can buy the appropriate radio today, get familiar with how it works, and work on your license at the same time.
Talk. You will not know protocols, frequencies and whom to contact when it matters most unless you practice. Establish a regular communication plan (weekly practice) with your friends and participate in weekly net check-ins with local ham groups. Make your friends today. Meet them face to face while you still can.
Training Tip #1. Download the app called Zello. It is a simulated walkie-talkie for your cell phone. It is useful for simulating and reinforcing radio conversation (proper procedure, phonetics, etc) as well as a quick way to troubleshoot during live radio when you can’t reach the other station. It can run 1-1 or as a group channel for rapid group coordination, and will capture missed messages for later playback. Please note it is not secure.
Training Tip #2. Read & Join AmMRON. It is free.
Become a Corps member for $40, even if all you do is listen to the AmRRON Corps Zello channel. If you are serious about Patriot comms, it is the best $40 you’ll ever spend. Yesterday I heard one Patriot walk two others through a step by step on how to migrate Thunderbird email and encryption keys from one laptop to a new laptop. You can’t buy that kind of help desk or radio support anywhere for $40. Ham Radio Operators in general have a helpful attitude. A Patriot Operator is a potent combination for the forces of Liberty.
Training Tip #3. Buy the Communications S.O.I. ‘Quick Reference for the Communicator’ by John Jacob Schmidt for your communications binders (SOI=Signals Operating Instructions). It is $6, a ready-made communication plan and reference, and well worth it. Plus, it helps AmRRON expand their training and outreach. It would take you months to figure out a workable format on your own if you were just starting. With the AmRRON SOI you will have the same guide in your hand that hundreds of other Radio Patriots are using. Standards.
Tactical and Local:
We view Communications at 3 levels, as does Popeye: Tactical, Local and Multi-State. Tactical and Local Comms are more immediately important that what is happening in another state. Popeye’s original article includes Multi-State, but we did not include it in this write-up. Multi-State involves additional licensing, knowledge and equipment, so we felt it would be best to leave it out of the 101 article.
Master Your Equipment:
Master your equipment now. You will not magically push the right buttons when goblins are running down your street. Read the manuals, twist the dials and explore the menus.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to check into a net only to find my tone settings somehow changed and I could not activate the repeater, which means I could hear everyone else but they could not hear me. That’s annoying in normal times when I have to dig out the manual try to troubleshoot something I didn’t take the time to learn, but may be life-threatening when you’re trying to call for backup or warn your family.
Just like groups may standardize on rifle styles and ammo calibers, you should standardize on the communication equipment for you or your group. The controls and operation will be familiar, which is especially helpful in a stressful situation. We also chose some of the most common radios as recommendations so that if you need to use someone else’s, there is a higher likelihood of being a model you are familiar with. Also, within a manufacturer, different models will have similar operation, so there is some transfer there as well.
Don’t Rely On Someone Else’s Infrastructure:
Communications are either simplex or repeater. Repeaters are someone else’s public radios (infrastructure). They receive your message, and repeat it over a larger area. You can communicate over much longer distances using repeaters, but you are now dependent on someone else’s infrastructure working. Simplex is when 2 radios talk directly to each other. There are pro’s and con’s to both.
Whenever possible, you want to be able to communicate simplex, because if the grid goes down or there is general mayhem, there may not be any operational repeaters for you to use. It also helps with OPSEC since it is likely that less people are listening on a Simplex channel than a Repeater channel. The downside to simplex is that your range is greatly decreased. You will see that we lay out the conditions for each scenario. Tactical or Local and Simplex or Repeater operation.
License or Not:
It is possible to do Tactical communications without needing a license if you use FRS or MURS radios (much lower power / range), or if you choose to just operate without a license. We are going to focus on ham radios which need a license. They are cheap (same as FRS) and fit every scenario. Amateur radios give you much greater power, range and frequency spectrum to use, and you can upgrade antennas (can’t do that for FRS, FCC illegal).
We will include a section at the end on how to get your license fast. There is an ongoing debate about getting a license and being on the FCC’s list, or just operating illegally.
Here is our position: Get a license if you are operating amateur radio.
Read the rest, here.