Column Archives Tim's Ebooks Building Tips Products I use and recommend Online Store Multimedia Media Info Ask Tim Carter
Ask Tim Carter

September 9, 2012

Another Reason Why You Need a Ham Radio License

Dr. Jerome Nadler was recently found alive after four days of being lost. He was severely dehydrated and bug bitten. You can read about his saga at

There's no doubt that he either was not a Boy Scout or if he was, he forgot many of the basic survival skills. What's more, he probably was not prepared.

One thing's for sure, if he was a ham radio operator and brought along a small handheld radio preprogrammed with all the local repeater frequencies, he probably could have gotten help in minutes. I love my HT, a Yaesu VX-7R.

Smithtown, NY is located in the north central part of Long Island. Long Island's pretty flat and there are a boatload of two meter repeaters on Long Island. What's more, he probably could have easily hit a repeater located on a tall building in New York City.

I say this because just two days ago I made a simplex contact with a ham radio operator that was 50 miles from me and up on a mountain near Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. He was transmitting at 5 watts, the standard power put out by a handheld ham radio.

I carry my Yaesu VX-7R with me every time I go hiking. You just don't know what may happen. And remember, handheld ham radios are far more powerful than your cell phone. The typical cell phone transmits radio signals at one-half watt. That's one tenth the power of my Yaesu VX-7R.

But it gets better. If I have my truck with me and my HT can transmit a signal to my truck, I can boom a signal out of my truck at 50 watts. How's this possible? The mobile ham radio in my truck is a Yaesu FT-8900R.

This radio has a fantastic cross band repeat function baked into it. I can have my handheld radio set to a 70cm frequency and the radio in the truck set to the same frequency. Since the 8900 is a dual-band radio, it can have a different frequency set on the other half of the radio. When you link the two bands, the smaller HT all of a sudden has the power of the 8900 because the 8900 is actually acting like a repeater.

Isn't that cool? Not all mobile radios have this cross-band repeater functionality. Believe me, it's great to have.

I use this cross band repeater functionality all the time when I'm a radio operator at a public service event.

Posted by Tim Carter at September 9, 2012 3:17 PM

Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Email Tim Carter