Ted’s essays

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 communicating options

Handy in many situations, radio communications can be life saving when phones and Internet are down or out of reach. This 2-hour overview covers walkie-talkies across the yard to ham radios around the world. What radios should you have for emergencies? What do they cost? What do they do? How can you be sure they will be available when you really need them? Regular, non-technical people become Ham radio operators all the time. Should you? If so, how? I am offering one of the classes on the calendar for the Darby Adult Education Spring 2016 session. Darby School District Adult Education The class currently has 5 people signed up. It will be canceled if there are not 7 or more. […]

community comms

In any surviving, thriving community there is a wide range of specialists who make The Whole strong. An important gap I am striving to fill locally is communications. Both within our neighborhood and beyond. Step one was to learn a little bit and pass the FCC tests to earn a license. The first level, “Technician”, covers local communication well and with modest equipment investment. But it is the second, “General” level that shares information with adjacent regions, all states and the world. The gear costs go up significantly at this level. This is where I am licensed, but with a champagne appetite on a beer budget. Meanwhile, what I do have is moderately functional. It starts with twin 40-watt […]

emergency radio cards

Assuming that phones and Internet will work unfailingly forever is extraordinarily popular. This is despite the fact everyone knows they don’t, can’t and won’t. Worse, they will fail when everyone most wants information on what is going on and wants to share information on their needs and situations. I recognize this better than most. While to me the need for a radio-based communication network seems obvious, it obviously isn’t. Planning and preparing for the uninterested is challenging, but I’m up to the challenge. Here you have the best tool I’ve heard of. I made up this graphic intended to be printed two-sided on cardstock, cut into fourths and shared with people who might store it near or with their radio. […]

on the radio this evening

daily @ 1830 hrs 3.910 KHz Montana Traffic Net Wed @ 1900 hrs 146.720 KHz BEARS Wed @ 1930 hrs 146.900 KHz LDS Missoula Wed @ 1930 hrs 14.342 KHz national AmRRON net … 3rd Wednesday Wed @ 2000 hrs 146.580 KHz LDS Stevensville Wed @ 2015 hrs 146.720 KHz BARC Wed after BARC emds 28.350 KHz BARC Thu @ 1800 hrs 14.342 KHz regional AmRRON net … 3rd Thursday These are amateur radio networks that I often participate in. They are on the 2-meter, 10-meter and 80-meter HAM bands. I am not, nor have I ever been an electronic geek, yet I have helped over a dozen people with even less electronic background earn their amateur radio licenses. They […]

Ham Jam and String Fest

The Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club (BARC) and its members operate several radio repeaters in the Bitterroot. These enable people with walkie-talkies, mobile and home radios to accomplish two-way communication over a wide area from Darby to Missoula and beyond. While the club members have the ability and willingness to expand the repeater network, they are expensive to set up, costing significantly over $1,000 each for reliable off-grid mountain-top units that can do the job. This Ham Jam and String Fest is an attempt to attract donations that might extend the network of repeaters through Conner, up the West Fork and up to Lost Trail Pass. If successful enough, this network could reach Salmon and from there much of Idaho. […]

become a Ham radio operator

UPCOMING FREE CLASSES Want to obtain your technician license? A tech class will be held October 7th.Classes will be every Tues from 7-9PM at the Stevi Library for 10 sessions. At the end of the ten week session a FCC Volunteer administered exam will be administered to qualify you for your FCC Amateur Radio License. Technician, general and extra class books are available through the club or at class for$29.95. Study online is also available. If you know of anyone who is interested in becoming a ham please give them this information. Lawrence can be reached at 777-0238 for more info. Less in-depth, but focused specifically on passing the tests are study sessions coming up in the Darby Library nearly […]

my radio shack is grounded

Coming out of the radio shack is a piece of 3/4″ copper pipe bent into an S for a radio-frequency (RF) ground. Also coming out is a chunk of #6 multi-strand serving as chassis and 120v ground. The ground wire itself is mostly #6 multi-stranded copper wire running a continuous 160-foot loop. At every turn, there are scraps of 3/4″ or 1/2″ copper pipe pounded two feet or so deep until stopped by rocks. electrical and RF grounds out of shackground loop heads north and east ground at south east cornerwest side of ground […]