Category: Communications

Heads Up!!! Are You Trying to Program that Baofeng of Yours???

Have you heard of CHIRP?  It is an open-source software which is designed to be used for amateur radio.  I have used it to program my Baofeng UV-5R, and in doing so, I had saved a lot of time and effort.   (Programming directly with the radio is possible, but in my opinion, it’s a bit of a chore.)  Besides Baofeng radios, CHIRP can be used to program many makes and models of other ham radios out there. (Go here for the website and the complete list of supported radios.)

I can say firsthand that CHIRP is very useful in programming your radio, especially if you have a large number of desired repeater listings as I have.  I have to say, though, the software does take a little to get used to in using it.

Thankfully, the ARRL is hosting a FREE webinar on CHIRP.  The webinar will discuss accessing, using, and troubleshooting the software.   It will be held on Wednesday, October 19th at 8:00 pm EDT (Thursday, October 20th, 00:00 UTC.) For more information and to register, click here to access the website directly.


Emergency Communications Plan Worksheets

(If you wish to scroll down directly to the worksheets, feel free to do so.)

Do you have an emergency communications plan in place?

If not, I highly suggest you make it a priority to create one.

If you already have one, I applaud you.  However, it is always wise to give your plans a second look…just to be sure they are adequate for any emergency.

In any case, there are several things that any emergency communications plan should account for: Continue reading “Emergency Communications Plan Worksheets”

The ITU Alphabet

In amateur radio, one of the many things you will need to be familiar with is the ITU Alphabet.  The ITU Alphabet is the ham radio standard for using words to phonetically spell out things over the air…especially one’s call sign.  This has been standardized by the International Telecommunication Union, which is the UN body which presides over international radio, information, and communication technologies.  This alphabet, as you may know, is not just for use in ham radio. Continue reading “The ITU Alphabet”

Ham Radio: Autopatch

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If you have any knowledge of ham radio, you may be aware of the ability to use autopatch.  For those who are unfamiliar with what autopatch is and what it does, it is a function of amateur radio where one can use a ham radio to access the local phone lines and place an ordinary phone call.

In this day and age, when just about everyone has a cell phone, you may wonder why anyone would need to do such a thing.

However, just like many other facets of preparedness, it all comes down to having options available to you if you were to ever have the need.

The usefulness of auto patch still exists.

First of all, what is autopatch? Continue reading “Ham Radio: Autopatch”

Are You Too Dependent on Your Cell Phone?

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During the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, two bombs crafted from pressure cookers exploded killing 3 and injuring 264.1,2  There were many accounts of confusion and fear in the crowds as a reaction to the malicious terrorist attack.  Understandably, many tried to use their cell phones to find people, to call for help, to contact loved ones, etc.  In today’s age of social media, many were also trying to send posts about what was occurring as well.  However, they discovered first-hand the mistake of depending solely on cell phones in an emergency.  The fact is…you can’t.

Continue reading “Are You Too Dependent on Your Cell Phone?”