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, […]

frequency allocations

The .pdf below has a map of various radio frequency uses as standardized in the USofA. Below that are pictures of each page in that .pdf.

The phrases high frequency (HF), short wave, very high frequency (VHF), ultra high frequency (UHF), and microwave are relative terms from when people first began utilizing those particular areas of the radio waves.

Frequency Allocations .pdf

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area-wide comms

There are a lot of factors here, but the most exciting part for me is that I got a community comms network up.

The BEARS (Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Services) is a small local working group of mostly radio guys. Technologically I hang on by my fingernails in this company, but am an organizer, a real one. So I run the monthly meetings without title… this is a rather organic group. I am a good cat herder. I like driving the bus from the middle row.

I have worked with the radio geeks on my white-board at meetings […]

GMRS radio hardware

Tytera MD-390 $160

I 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 […]

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 […]

Faraday comms case

Long on my ToDo list,

today this one got TA-DONE!

🙂 … HOORAY!!!

PROBLEM: More often than not heading out without key components of my communications plan. RELATED PROBLEM: Want some protection from an EMP for my comms gear. I have tried less expensive solutions, but they always fail to satisfy form, function, utility and aesthetics. I finally recognized that I had to spend a little more to achieve satisfaction.

The $140 T.Z Molded Aluminum Attache Case is an excellent choice. Real Aluminum – not plastic with a spray-on aluminum-colored coating. I looked above and below that price […]

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 […]

become an amateur radio operator

Thursdays 4:30-6:30pm Darby Library meeting room July 13th – September 7th Handy in many situations, radio communications can be life saving when phones and Internet are down or out of reach

Ham radios start where walkie-talkies leave off, with licensed radio operators communicating around the corner and around the world.

ARRL License Manual costs $29.95 includes chapters on every aspect of the licensing exam and numerous practice tests

Darby Thursday study sessions are FREE YOU can be an amateur radio operator No electronics background required

Click this link for a .pdf poster advertising the class:Ham-radio-class-poster-7-2017

Below […]

Darby Dog Derby … after action report

The Bitterroot Mushers put on another fun and interesting dog sledding and skijorning event last weekend (Jan 14-15, 2017).

Brandi and Nicki do an impressive job of pulling this event together and making it run smoothly and efficiently.

I was happily able to provide radio communications to and from workers spread out over 30 miles of mountain trails.

My hero on the comms side is Rick who both days hitched a ride on a snowmobile to the COLD mountain top where he set up the radio repeater that enabled signals from hand-held radios reach to and […]

radio communicating options

Handy in many situations, radio communications can be life saving when phones and Internet are down or out of reach.

This 2-hour overview covers walkie-talkies across the yard to ham radios around the world. What radios should you have for emergencies? What do they cost? What do they do? How can you be sure they will be available when you really need them?

Regular, non-technical people become Ham radio operators all the time. Should you? If so, how?

I am offering one of the classes on the calendar for the Darby Adult Education Spring 2016 session. Darby […]

emergency radio cards

Assuming that phones and Internet will work unfailingly forever is extraordinarily popular. This is despite the fact everyone knows they don’t, can’t and won’t.

Worse, they will fail when everyone most wants information on what is going on and wants to share information on their needs and situations.

I recognize this better than most. While to me the need for a radio-based communication network seems obvious, it obviously isn’t.

Planning and preparing for the uninterested is challenging, but I’m up to the challenge.

Here you have the best tool I’ve heard of. I made up this graphic intended to […]

Ham Jam and String Fest

The Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club (BARC) and its members operate several radio repeaters in the Bitterroot. These enable people with walkie-talkies, mobile and home radios to accomplish two-way communication over a wide area from Darby to Missoula and beyond.

While the club members have the ability and willingness to expand the repeater network, they are expensive to set up, costing significantly over $1,000 each for reliable off-grid mountain-top units that can do the job.

This Ham Jam and String Fest is an attempt to attract donations that might extend the network of repeaters through Conner, up the West […]