Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

EMCOMM Big Picture View

Working with the pyramid on our white board, the Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Services team discussed the base layer as it applies locally: Establish Survivable Network. The upper layers are important, significant and worthy of our continued development efforts. When those topics came up they were placed in their appropriate layers, acknowledging their value without bogging down on non-foundational issues. The base currently includes GMRS, 2-meter, and CB. Emergency radio power is by batteries with solar systems and generators recharging those. Our area has a large population of radios using these modes. We also have a number of nets practicing comms utilizing GMRS and 2-meter radios. The next layer, System Flexibility, was where we placed our repeaters and NVIS (high-frequency […]

practical, tactical communications training

We have a unique opportunity coming to the Bitterroot. It is a big deal to have this particular North Carolina based trainer offering these classes here. For me, traveling there will never happen no matter how high-value the training is. The timing of next month’s classes does not suit my personal needs, but I am adjusting to fit the offering. Opportunity doesn’t always knock at the moment you are prepared to open the door. Take it on its terms and schedule … or miss it. The local sponsoring organization looks credible, possibly excellent. You can do your own research on The Order of the White Rose. The Hamilton, Montana classes may well include a number of people I will prize […]

Radio Field Day at Hamilton Airport

Amateur radio’s biggest event of the year is this weekend all 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 and practice the use of 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. The Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club (BARC) typically will share contact information with other temporary field stations in 20 or more states during the 24-hour contest period. This also happens to be the weekend of Hamilton’s annual Fly In, which this […]

Bears in the air

BEARS Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Services —————————– When normal communications systems – phone lines, cell phones, internet, 911-call-centers, broadcast TV & radio – are unavailable or overtaxed, amateur radio can provide flexible communications resources. MISSION Provide our neighborhoods and communities with a pool of trained radio operators, technicians and resources to deliver essential communications during emergencies. ———————————————————- BEARS is an organization dedicated to preparing, practicing for, and being able to provide radio communications via amateur radio whenever requested , whether for emergencies or planned events throughout and beyond the Bitterroot whenever radio is superior, or other means of communication are compromised We are eager, able and willing to work with related organizations and other emergency service providers, but retain […]

handheld radio recommendation

Tytera MD-390 Progress in two-way radios is similar to that in all other electronics. That is to say this recommendation will not be the optimum choice years from now. Nevertheless, this radio can serve you well for many years. The other caveat is there are many good choices. This is only one of them. I am making this suggestion to help the novice find a solid handheld transceiver that is well received within the amateur radio community. In a crowded field of feature-rich radios, the MD-390 has most of what you would want while being in the lower part of the $25 to $500 price range ($130). IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure you order this in the 400-480MHz UHF (ultra-high-frequency) model […]

Studio wired

I feel like it has been a long time coming. But when I really think about it, we moved into a trashed homestead 7 months ago. We have made tremendous progress on numerous fronts. Nevertheless, today’s big success is the proper lighting and wiring of my studio. I have had a solar-recharged 12-volt grid-independent electrical system for about 5 years. The primary motivation was for my short and long range 2-way radios; my HAM gear. All of these radios run on 12-volts. You either run them on automotive-compatible systems, or you buy separate power inverters to turn you electrical grid power into juice they can use. That decision was the tipping point to have some independence from power deliveries, […]

Darby Dog Derby

The Bitterroot Mushers are running their 11th annual sled dog races January 13th & 14th, 2018 at Lost Trail Pass at Gibbons Pass Road. That is mile marker ZERO. It is as close to you as whatever your nearest Highway 93 mile marker indicates. That is to say, sled dog racing has practically come to you so you don’t have to go to it. This is the fourth time I will be spearheading radio communications throughout the course for this event. We all learn from experience, and we have had several teaching moments for the comms team in gear, setup, deployment and use. We have also become a highly prized part of their race organization. Other partners include the Bitterroot […]

status report – comms and relatives

Coming soon … My main desk and radio table are set up. My 12-volt panel, batteries and terminal junction are set up. My 2-meter and GMRS (short range county-wide) radios are on the air. Yesterday I got a 3/4″ copper pipe RF ground from the shack wall behind my radios via 3 soldered elbows to the surface of the ground outside. I want to extend the pipe much further across the yard, and bury it as soon as the earth thaws. I previously installed a multi-strand heavy (I think #6, maybe #2) cable from a common post near the radios, out and onto a grounding stake. I anticipate setting up multiple grounds and trying each individually and in combinations, […]