Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

Darby ham radio classes

Earn Your FCC Amateur Radio License HAM radios can communicate across the yard and around the world. They reach places, and in times when no other form of communication available to us can. Yes, there is a test. Everyone in my study groups has passed those tests. Amateur radio license categories are Technician, General, and Amateur Extra, with the knowledge and testing requirements going up as the licensed uses expand. This course will focus on achieving passing grades on the Technician exam, with appropriate understanding of the knowledge expected of Tech-licensed radio operators. Our textbook will be the ARRL Technician Class License Manual. It includes all the information you need to correctly answer every test question, along with text of […]

Darby Dog Derby … after action report

The Bitterroot Mushers put on another fun and interesting dog sledding and skijorning event last weekend (Jan 14-15, 2017). Brandi and Nicki do an impressive job of pulling this event together and making it run smoothly and efficiently. I was happily able to provide radio communications to and from workers spread out over 30 miles of mountain trails. My hero on the comms side is Rick who both days hitched a ride on a snowmobile to the COLD mountain top where he set up the radio repeater that enabled signals from hand-held radios reach to and from the entire course. I spent most of the two days in The Beast where I could monitor all the radios. I deployed […]

sled dog racing

The 10th Annual Darby Dog Derby will take place January 14th & 15th, 2017 at Lost Trail Pass at Gibbons Pass Road. The Bitterroot Mushers club created this exciting, fun event. Go to their website for more information. Pay particular attention to the spectator information. The energy of nearly 100 high-performance, high-strung dogs is impressive. Be there for the start of the first races, on through the last. It is a sight, and moreso, a sound you won’t forget. This is my fourth time leading a team of radio operators to provide communications up and down the mountains. This is a perfect example of amateur radio serving where nothing else will do. We are pleased to add a measure of […]

up your comms

I have spent the last half-dozen years improving my ability to support community communications. Well, more accurately, I spent a tiny fraction of my time and brain power learning 2-way radio … As I do with nearly everything else in my life: Jack of all trades; master of none. This morning I was guided to an excellent overview article with links covering what SOMEONE in every community needs to know before we can consider comms covered. Crumb! I have a long ways to go, yet I want it all NOW. That leaves me three choices: 1) Get cracking; focus on my radio studies and applications 2) Recruit, encourage and support a real radio operator in our area 3) Lower my […]

Darby Adult Education

I am again offering to teach two-way radio communications to my neighbors in the Darby area. I have formatted the classes differently, and added significantly to the offerings. There is a sequence to these classes, from easiest to acquire to more challenging. The first class is strictly about GMRS radios. This license has no training, knowledge or testing requirement. You send 70 bucks to the FCC and get their permission for your whole family to use the frequencies for the next 5 years. The class I am offering for these only takes 2 hours out of a Saturday mid-morning. I encourage the whole family to sign up and come get started. GMRS radios can be powerful tools for Bitterrooters. Next […]

Radio Communicating Options

Darby Adult Education has a couple of classes in their fall program that interest me. One in particular is near and dear to my heart. The main reason is that I am a major proponent of having two-way radios for communicating where phones are unavailable and yelling is ineffective. I am so much in favor of using two-way radios that I created and teach the class. Sign-ups are open officially through next Monday, September 26th. As you can see in the course listing below that this 3-hour overview session only costs $6 regular and $3 for seniors. Click the headline below to see the entire set of course listings for the fall semester. Radio Communicating Options Handy in many situations, […]

radio field day in Hamilton

Annual Field Day is this weekend across the USofA. The main event is to encourage individuals, groups, clubs and teams to deploy their radios into “field locations” – that is, to set up mobile, temporary radio communication centers. Part of the game is to contest and see how many contacts each unit can make across the nation. That particular aspect of the program runs from noon Saturday to noon Sunday. Members of the Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club (BARC) and the Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Services (BEARS) are setting up for Field Day at the Hamilton Grange on Highway 93 – across from Murdoch’s south of Hamilton. More important to me than the contesting are the aspects of setting up comms […]