MDCCLXXVI wrote:- To communicate with emergency services in a localized SHTF. Flood and bush fire are very real threats in my AO. I may be a victim in need or I may be another set of eyes and ears to coordinate a rescue effort. Last year, my town was cut off for over 72 hours by flooding. The year before, my uncles town was evacuated before it was promptly surrounded by 20 meter high wall of flames in a bush fire. (The house survived). In my estimation, it would be useful to have a scanner (or ability to listen to emergency services communication) in the event of an emergency.
Okay, now we have something to work with. In an instance like this, a 2m HT would be appropriate, assuming you have someone to talk to. A personal rescue beacon might also be a good idea. These have become a lot cheaper in the last few years.
- Frankly I don't care who is on the other end if its an emergency.
Good to know.
- No its not for hobby use or talking to Mr. Crotchety down the lane on a Sunday afternoon. It's for taking along in National Parks where there are designated frequencies, its for marine use (fishing boat), emergency use, information gathering, and BOB use.
Marine use, you could use a marine radio. No license required.
- I don't want to apprentice with HAM operators or other radio enthusiasts. I want a device to communicate with in an emergency. I can read a manual to figure out how to operate it. Why does no one make this big of a fuss over cell phones? Assuming a localized emergency (bush fire, flash flood, catastrophic hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, civil unrest are all present down here), the cell towers will likely be overwhelmed by anxious folks comforting loved ones. They are therefore no use in an emergency. I want a device to communicate with, that reaches a greater audience than my own voice alone can reach. Again, don't care who is on the other end.
- I have no desire to be an actual expert in radio operation. Sure I'll get a license if its the best thing to do, and as always common sense and proper ettiquete apply. But really, in an emergency as long as I know how to use the damn thing then I'll be better off with it than not having it at all ... Right or wrong?
Why all the fuss over a device to communicate with? IMO it just drives people away from an already dying hobby.
Believe it or not, even the simplest HAM radio is pretty difficult to operate. You can't just pick it up and make a call. You have to know how to EFFECTIVELY search for someone to talk to. You have to know how to set the squelch controls, how to set the offsets to use repeaters, how to program repeaters in once you've found them, how to adjust your power levels, etc etc etc. All of these things are necessary because, unlike cell phones, there is no guarantee that you'll have someone to talk to when you need them. Sometimes the contact you need will be just on the edge, and you need to be able to make it better. This takes finesse, and that takes practice. To use your driving analogy, you don't want to be a 16 year old new driver in the Indy 500.
"He can't drive a car he doesn't have a license!!!"
Tell that to the farmers 12 year old whose been riding around big tractors on the farm since 8 years old. You don't NEED a license to do anything. If theres punishment for not having a license then compliance is probably a good idea. The target of the "he needs a license" spear, is just competency. No one needs a license to be competent.
Thanks for the suggestions anyway.
In this case, you can't legally practice without a license. Practice is necessary. Therefore, a license is necessary.
Also, suppose you are listening in to a conversation, say about wildfires in your area. WITHOUT A LICENSE, YOU CANNOT LEGALLY ASK FOR MORE INFORMATION. If you think you won't get caught, think again. Mr/ Crotchety has nothing better to do than hunt down rogue operators and turn them into the FCC.
Also, bear in mind our rule about discussion of illegal activities.