Ted’s essays

two-way radios

can be indispensable in emergencies and other times normal communications tools are not working. For my current amateur radio Technician Class students, I just bought 7 of the make/model I feel gives the best cost/benefit for ham radio operators. The TYT MD-UV390 operates on both the ultra-high-frequencies (UHF) of the FCC’s family radio service (FRS) and general mobile radio service (GMRS), it also transmits and receives on the very high frequencies (VHF) commonly used by hams, public and private agencies for regional communications. Their MD-UV380 is the lower cost version of the same radio without the water-proofing. TYT, also known as Tyterra builds well-reviewed radios in relatively affordable price ranges. The transmitters, receivers, speakers, microphones, displays, controls and antennas all […]

coronavirus advice

Straight out of the box, The Woodpile Report hits a homerun out of the state. This is excellent advice for the possibility of the threatened pandemic. Throughout his post he touches on the latest rage in mass fear mongering several times. Each one is worth a good look. It really does not make a lot of difference whether the flu is as awful as some reports have it or that reports are overblown as others claim. The second and third order effects will be a big deal. We are already into quarantines exceeding half-a-billion people, states, countries, ports… global shipping is plummeting; all forms of production are shutting down before our eyes… the world-wide supply chain is about to hiccup […]

final day of registration for ham class is Friday

This a repeat of my previous announcement. There is one more day of online registration for Darby Adult Ed classes. We stand ONE STUDENT SHORT of having enough to make it happen. I am bringing another amateur radio operator licensing class to Darby, Montana via the Darby Adult Education program in its Spring 2020 schedule. I have not keept track, but think I have personally assisted 40 or 50 people to earning their FCC licenses through my study groups in the Darby library. The snide saying goes, “Those who CAN, DO. Those who cannot, TEACH”. I’m okay wearing that. Good instructors are as rare as good anything else. I did not choose this calling, blessing or curse. It chose me. […]

Bitterroot threat analysis

With a little help from my friends, we developed a current list of threats we could imagine to the world as we know it – specifically, our little corner of the world. The process, and threats are applicable to much of our country. Developing a useful list is a four step process. It is best to have several minds involved. I doubt the results change significantly from four participants to fourteen or more, but there is a minimum number to have the synergy of ideas from one triggering thoughts from another. 1) Brainstorm a list Hewlett Packard taught this for working in groups. It had to be fast, fun and friendly. Ideas came out and were scribed onto the board […]

emergency communication

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, once again I address the subject of what do you do when your phones and Internet stop working? Wonder and Nothing useful Are the two answers most people will default to. I know I am unusual in planning and preparing for such a scenario. I not only think of ME and mine, but want others to have value in their radios as well. So I produce an attractive, sturdy laminated card that they just might keep with their two-way radio enabling them to find value in it when no other means of mid-range communication is available. I hereby introduce GEN III of my cards. I will distribute as widely as […]

emergency comms plan

BEARS, that is the Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Services, works towards having viable communication resources in place when our neighborhood most needs it. A radio and operator are useless without another radio and operator at the other end. Two-way radio is by definition a sending and receiving operation. The more operators on the network, the better our information is and the wider we can spread it. Likely more than 99% USofA adults ASSUME their phones and wi-fi devices will never fail them. In real-life emergencies, they are nearly always shocked and hopeless because those systems do fail. I print, laminate and distribute 4″ x 5″ cards with information enabling unused radios in the hands of unpracticed operators to receive and […]

Bitterroot Emergency Radio Plan

BEARS, that is the Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Services, works towards having viable communication resources in place when our neighborhood most needs it. A radio and operator are useless without another radio and operator at the other end. Two-way radio is by definition a sending and receiving operation. The more operators on the network, the better our information is and the wider we can spread it. Likely more than 99% USofA adults ASSUME their phones and wi-fi devices will never fail them. In real-life emergencies, they are nearly always shocked and hopeless because those systems do fail. I print, laminate and distribute 4″ x 5″ cards with information enabling unused radios in the hands of unpracticed operators to receive and […]

Bitterroot Ham class starts Saturday

I am reposting this to catch any stragglers. Response has been good enough to assure the class will take place. I will know in a few days how many new FCC license holders will be testing mid-May. One thing that holds many potential licensed hams back is their lack of electronics, radio, electrical or related background. I absolutely promise that electro-mechanical incompetents can and do pass this test. Another question I get is the expense. Paperback Technician Manuals are $30. Spiral-bound are $33. The testing session costs $17. Passing your first test earns you the FCC Technician license with no further costs between now and renewal ten years from now. Radios can be purchased for $25. It goes up…up…up from […]

travel kits

How many examples have you heard or read about where people slid off the road in the winter and had so survive (or not) days before being rescued? … or walking out to rescue? How many of these tales before you actually prepare to land on the side of “survived” rather than “perished”? I finally had enough. Today I began reviewing what I had set up and was using, or not using. Completely inadequate was the early conclusion. I had lots of pieces kinda-sorta geared up, but I wasn’t even using the bits I had. My get home bag was always home, even when I was not. My winter slide-off, survive a below freezing winter night bag also stayed home […]

shot placement

I have spent significant time with shooters and instructors thereof. There is much to know and always more to learn. Then of course there is practice, practice, practice. Having the right equipment is agreed by all to be a critical foundation. But there is a major factor they all leave out that is far more important than everything they teach. Communication. The world’s best shooting team is useless in the wrong place. A gaggle of tolerable shooters, acceptably equipped, in the right place is far more valuable. Surprisingly, almost none of the tacti-cool shooters and trainers I have met are radio guys. They strive and drive to get themselves and their shooters to put bullets on target in a wide […]

GMRS radio hardware

Tytera MD-390 $160I recommend GMRS radios as a backbone community communications system. I published a recommendation for handheld radios back in April this year… see http://www.bitterrootbugle.com/2018/04/08/handheld-radio-recommendation/. I will not repeat all of that detail or links here. I have not changed my suggestion, but am documenting more hardware in this post to make for a complete home and mobile set for the family. Your first move into GMRS radio is, according to me, getting a TYT MD-390 for $160. Everything built in. One tidy package. One modest price. For $25 and up you can get various BAOFENG models that can do two-way GMRS communications. Those are quite different in operation and have a learning curve that frustrates many new owners […]

bells – bronze age relics are still valuable

In researching for this article I ran across a site diffen.com. I was looking to to clarify the difference between brass and bronze. What a cool tool they provide… there vs their … flu vs cold … ethnicity vs race … mold vs mildew … and so much more. Check them out. I bookmarked the site in my search/research tab. Among their differences are that bronze came from around 3500 BC, the beginning of “The Bronze Age”, or when this batch of humans figured out how to make things from metal. That was a pretty big deal. Around 3,000 years later came brass. I have dabbled with brass trombones for 60 years. I love the sound of ringing brass […]