Join Date: Aug 2008
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Hey Raven, your headaches is what I'm trying to avoid by planning it out really well. Guess that's why I haven't installed my radio yet. Not sure I'd do it the same way you did but it's an option. Still undecided. I just put new speakers in the front doors for the stereo, though.
As for ham radio, it's a little the same as CB if you want to say you have a two way radio and an antenna. It's far more sophisticated with the use of repeaters and such. Sound quality is also better over FM instead of AM. I remember talking 150 miles apart from another person when I was in San Diego using just a "walkie talkie" ham radio (otherwise known as an HT, or Handy-Talkie) through one mountaintop repeater. I used to be able to listen to the local police and sheriff here in the Austin area until they upgraded their system to 800mhz digital trunking. I can still hear the traffic reports before they get rebroadcast on the radio stations, that's nice in the afternoon. The national weather frequencies are nice to hear too. Some systems have the ability to link repeaters together, allowing me (for example) to use a local Austin repeater to talk to folks in Houston and Dallas through their repeaters. There's lots of those around the country. If you drive a lot they're fun to use. Some repeaters are connected to the internet: you can talk to other repeaters throughout the world, for example England and Australia, all with FM radio clarity.
CB's don't do that. They talk between radios and have very limited distance. Of course if you break the law and go above the 4 watt limit you can talk much further but even then it's still very limited compared to what ham radio can do. In times of emergency the local authorities call upon ham radio operators to help out, which they do in great numbers. For example: when the weather took out the Williamson County (Texas) radio system a few years back, which included fire, ems and police, they had local ham radio operators ride with them so they could keep communication open and it worked flawlessly.
Of course with ham radio you are required to be licensed by the FCC where you take a test and they issue you a call sign. You have to use that call sign at least every ten minutes of your communication time. Most folks open and close a conversation with their call, throwing it out about every ten minutes if it's longer than a ten minute conversation. There are rules to follow and you can get in legal trouble with the FCC if you choose not to follow the rules.
Some people say that cell phones have replace ham radios in vehicles and to an extent they have. But when they infrastructure goes down what do you have left? A self contained, mobile radio station. Like anything it has its limitations. I'm not going to go into great detail here, I've already said a lot.
If you'd like to know more contact anyone here and/or the ARRL.