Hiking with Ham Radio

Last Updated on

One of the most important challenges with amateur radio, or ham radio, is communication over mountainous areas to remote regions. Natural obstacles, lack of different near repeaters, and logistic limitations make backpacking or hiking when handling the Ham Radio difficult. 

Anyone new on the Ham Radio, this technical challenge may be daunting. There is a lot of information about ways to overcome radio specification, a frequency of repetition, and natural barriers to the Internet. 

However, most of the resources are spread out, a new ham radio operator needs to spend dozens of hours in research before deciding whether or not to have hiking Radio on a backpacking trip.  

This article will discuss various ways that you can overcome many challenges that hiking on Ham Radio. First of all, I'm going to cover the most important step to handle Ham-Radio-Licensing.  

You must be licensed to send any frequency that is restricted by the FCC to use the amateur radio. Though some may realize this demand to be daunting, there are several resources obtainable for brand new hams, like the communicating queries themselves. 

There are 3 different types of amateur radio licenses: technicians, general, and additional. For most hikers, a technician license to successfully be able to communicate within the backcountry. VHF repetitions are very common, and VHF receptions are adequate in several remote areas. 

Being told, a general license will give you the choice of tools, and the most flexibility with the available frequency. An additional license will overkill in many cases, but if you're a high-achievers, choose it!  Once you get your radio license, it will take time to talk to the radio.  

With ham radio equipment, the size and weight of radio are proportional to the number of power it'sTo keep it simple, you should use smaller backpacking and that's will be better for you carrying, however, you’re getting to leave features and reception. The simplest compromise for backcountry communication will be a hand-held radio.  

Portable radios area the bulkiest and heaviest (8 lbs is typical), whereas a handheld radio is less than a pound. Most portable radios can permit you to speak over HF frequencies (allowing you to overcome natural barriers, in several cases), although in some areas handheld radios may be vulnerable (for example, narrow canyons). 

Most hand-held radios can solely transmit VHF/UHF, your goal with these radios can reach to repeat (which is often located in Mountain Bait or Long Hills) in order that your weak signal will be retransmitted to different ham users within the space. 

Coverage with a VHF radio usually maxes out at around 50 miles, and an HF radio will communicate for hundreds or thousands of miles. The other important element of any radio you choose - a good antenna. 

If you’ve good antenna and your handheld radio still can’t contact a local repeater, means it doesn’t make much sense to take your radio with you, does it? Before you get pissed off with ham radio, there are still some options left. First, you can buy or make a good Yagi, a directional antenna. 

This is able to permit you to mirror the energy from your radio off of mountains, wherever they'd then strike your native repeater (using knife-edge diffraction), or t can be an accustomed purpose within the direction of your native repeater if obstacles don't seem to be a tangle. 

Let’s say that you’ve tried all of those antenna tricks although, and you continue to don't have any reception in the wilderness- what then?  

At now, you’re running out of choices. You’re attending to ought to pay some cash either method and whereas nobody desires to pay cash if they don’t need to, the next two solutions will work in most situations. You will need to buy another radio, antenna and possibly an extra battery. 

The most variations between these 2 solutions are the complexness of the setup, overall weight in your back, and also the convenience of VHF repeaters within the space you wish to hike in. 

One last technology that's helpful whereas carry is APRS, or Automatic Packet reportage System. APRS has been designed so that you can send a short message about your location, status, or perhaps with reference to however your day was or even your daily email service to your favorite person. 

EMAIL-2 accepts the message you send and releases it with the specific destination you specify - that can be the email address of most cellphone carriers. To use APRs for you, your radio must support it (you can purchase a TNC module for your radio, if it does not formally support APRS), and you must have a great reception of an APRS digipeater. 

Hiking with a ham radio requires special tools and solution, skills, and sometimes luck. With a reliable setup to test the area before your backpacking trip, you will be surprised how easy everything is together, and how easy it is to contact the outside world.

It's been said, you have to check your equipment many times before moving towards the desert. Ham Radio can sometimes be final, and you want to work with your setup before hitting all "bugs" on your layout.  

>