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OK Fellow Road Warriors and Desert Rats ... communication ... I'm a little ... OK a lot ... ignorant on this topic! :stupidrb: I usually venture out on the road alone for very long distances and wander in the desert in random directions with map/compass/gps and cell phone. But if the cell phone dies or there isn't any service what do you do? :shrug:

1.When you are on the road traveling long distances from home do you use Ham or CB Radio? Or not bother?

2. I haven't had a CB radio since getting out from behind the wheel of a big rig 30 years ago.

Is CB still the way to go and if so is Cobra still the brand name to use?

3. When out in the desert alone do you use/carry/ have available an emergency radio?

3A. If so ... what do you use ... frs/gmrs, CB, Ham, VHF?

I have a VHF for use on the ocean and navigatable waters where the Coast Guard could be involved.

I Have a couple different frs/gmrs radios I use when hunting with others and we need or want to stay in touch.

Any help or suggestions? BTW ... I am not a licensed HAM so that option is probably out of the question.

Thanks,

Mike F

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OK Fellow Road Warriors and Desert Rats ... communication ... I'm a little ... OK a lot ... ignorant on this topic! :stupidrb: I usually venture out on the road alone for very long distances and wander in the desert in random directions with map/compass/gps and cell phone. But if the cell phone dies or there isn't any service what do you do? :shrug:

1.When you are on the road traveling long distances from home do you use Ham or CB Radio? Or not bother?

2. I haven't had a CB radio since getting out from behind the wheel of a big rig 30 years ago.

Is CB still the way to go and if so is Cobra still the brand name to use?

3. When out in the desert alone do you use/carry/ have available an emergency radio?

3A. If so ... what do you use ... frs/gmrs, CB, Ham, VHF?

I have a VHF for use on the ocean and navigatable waters where the Coast Guard could be involved.

I Have a couple different frs/gmrs radios I use when hunting with others and we need or want to stay in touch.

Any help or suggestions? BTW ... I am not a licensed HAM so that option is probably out of the question.

Thanks,

Mike F

I have a CB in the RV and have only had to use it once. BUT....I thank God I had it. CB's are pretty cheap and really easy to install. For about $150 you can get a good one with easy instructions. There is also a handheld one that is a bit cheaper if you dont want to mount one permanantly. If I remember thats about half the cost, but your range isnt as good either.

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Mike you should talk to El Dorado....he has a great little device that works off the

satellite system and sends emails to who ever you want to...he used it most everyday

when he was here to let his wife know where he was and that he was doing ok....

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Good question Mike. I have a cobra grms set of radios, and a pair of cobra hand held CB radios. The GRMS is smaller and lighter But what chanel do you use Ect. With the CB chanel 9 is the emergency chanel but then distance is a factor and so is size if you are carring it along. Where I beep and hunt a cell is useless. Good question.

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I know this isn't related to your original question about radios so I'll answer your third question. If your looking for something that can be used for emergencies then I'd check into a Spot Satellite Messenger. I've been using one for over a year now and I'm happy with it. Here's a link for it (this is the older one)-

Spot Messenger

There's an additional charge of ~$130 a year for the service. You set everything up online and the unit will send emails and text messages with GPS coordinates and a link to Google Earth to whoever you choose (up to 6 people I think). According to Spots website if an accident happens you can get airlifted out quickly. I can't comment on this feature because I haven't used it yet and hope I never do. I've read some of the reviews on this feature and it sounds like it works well. Here's the link to Spots website-

Spot Messenger Website

I one time got stuck in some soft sand and had to call a tow truck to pull me out. Fortunately I was in an area with cell phone coverage and I called in my GPS coordinates to the tow truck driver. He didn't have a GPS and it took him three hours to get there and I had to hike about four miles to meet him. So even if you have cell phone coverage and call in for help with GPS coordinates it can still take them hours to get there because most emergency response vehicles don't have a GPS... yet.

I look at it this way... It's a good insurance policy if your alone most of the time like I am.

Hope this helps

Del

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I 4 Wheel a lot in Colorado in the mountains. Since I cannot afford a satellite phone (which is the optimal choice), I have a Cobra CB. I bought it at a CB shop. They "tuned" it so it has a much higher transmit wattage than the stock CB. Cost me an extra $30. I used a SWF meter when I installed the antenna to optimize the system. Works great. Transmits far enough for me in an emergency or to locate friends. Less legal, but items you can obtain (talk to truck drivers or good CB shops), is a booster or modulator for a CB radio. Ever wonder how some of the truckers can transmit so far? Anyway, I just settled on what worked for me (a lot of 4 wheelers use CBs in Colorado).

Curt

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Don, Del and others,

The Spot was suggested on the AZO forum when I posted the same questions there. I'm ordering one with my Cabelas points so the unit will be free ... I will of course have to pay for the service. And that is cheap enough if you consider my life vs. death to me!

Any suggestions from anyone who spends time on the road ... highway? The handheld CB sounds like a possible but I know it only reaches out a few miles under ideal conditions. CB with an 100 watt boost sounds like a better deal to really reach out and touch someone when the cell phone fails.

Mike F

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Mike if your talking about a radio in the vehicle or in the bush when the cell phone

is "out of service" that's two different types...here's what I did several years ago

when I first moved here...go to a large airport and ask where an aircraft avionics

shop is located...don't go to the commercial terminal..go to the general aviation part

of the airport where you see all the little planes parked...with a A/C hand held radio

you can get emergency service almost instantely...very few places in the USA where

there's never any A/C overhead....just dial in the frequency 121.5...that's the A/C

emergency frequency and under no circumstances use it unless you have an actual emergency...

then give the pilots that answer your coords and a short and brief description of your

problem....

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Mike if your talking about a radio in the vehicle or in the bush when the cell phone

is "out of service" that's two different types...here's what I did several years ago

when I first moved here...go to a large airport and ask where an aircraft avionics

shop is located...don't go to the commercial terminal..go to the general aviation part

of the airport where you see all the little planes parked...with a A/C hand held radio

you can get emergency service almost instantely...very few places in the USA where

there's never any A/C overhead....just dial in the frequency 121.5...that's the A/C

emergency frequency and under no circumstances use it unless you have an actual emergency...

then give the pilots that answer your coords and a short and brief description of your

problem....

Crap thats a great idea. Thanks

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Hey Gar, what brand, type of radio can I buy that transmits on the guard channel? At the airport like below? (I'm kinda thick) Are they available online? - Terry

Mike if your talking about a radio in the vehicle or in the bush when the cell phone

is "out of service" that's two different types...here's what I did several years ago

when I first moved here...go to a large airport and ask where an aircraft avionics

shop is located...don't go to the commercial terminal..go to the general aviation part

of the airport where you see all the little planes parked...with a A/C hand held radio

you can get emergency service almost instantely...very few places in the USA where

there's never any A/C overhead....just dial in the frequency 121.5...that's the A/C

emergency frequency and under no circumstances use it unless you have an actual emergency...

then give the pilots that answer your coords and a short and brief description of your

problem....

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I've been off of the flight line for some time now...just look in the phone book under

aircraft avionics...their usually on the airport or just across the street...I'm sure

the brands have changed since I was flying and I don't know if their on-line or not...

some models are just for transmit and receive voice and others like mine also navigate

just like the radios in the A/C...like everything the more features the higher the

price...for your purpose you don't need the navigation portion since it's line of sight

to the ground stations....save some money and get just the TR voice model...and once again

don't even test the transmit portion but you can listen to the pilots conservations...

ONLY transmit in an emergency...Terry get the kind that can transmit on frequencies 118.00 through 135.00...their selectable...many airlines monitor the 121.5 emergency freq...but if you couldn't raise anybody on that then just put it on scan and when it locks on a frequency then you can get help on that one...

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You know, I never would have thought of this! Thanks for the tip Gar - and what a great forum! I'm going to put one in my prospector's trucks! - :thumbsupanim Terry

...Terry get the kind that can transmit on frequencies 118.00 through 135.00...their selectable...many airlines monitor the 121.5 emergency freq...but if you couldn't raise anybody on that then just put it on scan and when it locks on a frequency then you can get help on that one...

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Hello all

My partner Jim and I use the Spot Tracker, It is the best in the field when there is no service. When not with Jim he sends me a message to let me know he arrives and when he leaves the field. And anywhere in between. I have an issue with Google the coords are never right. However when using the Spot the satellite picture is right on every time. Even giving me picture of his home on return. You can also send an automatic track every ten minutes on your trip for up to 24 hrs a day. Well worth the money in the areas we are hunting at this time. This is a fine piece.

Wayne

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I agree Wayne....the SPOT would be a better choice...it can be used everyday to relay

info anywhere in the world....very lite weight...and not necessary for an additional

GPS since it's already sending your coords.....

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Thanks again guys ... your information has been very beneficial not only to me but apparently a few others who had thoughts along this line.

I will say I have tried to find the new version of SPOT which is 30% lighter, has more message capacity, is waterproof and floats ... floating not important in the desert but when in the ocean with my kayak it could be a real life saver ... seems all my sources are out of stock and into a backorder. The units are apparently finally catching on. I'm going to keep trying to find one before I leave for AZ on the 30th. There has to be one out there somewhere.

Good hunting to all and may the keeper of the gold allow a little to fall under your coil,

Mike F

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I've read a lot of mixed reviews about the Spot Satellite Messenger. By far the biggest complaint I've read is how bad the transmitter can be. Apparently if your in thick foliage or a deep canyon it has trouble sending a signal out sometimes. On the Spot website they clearly state you need a clear view of the sky to get a good signal. This is pretty much the case with any GPS device and doesn't bother me at all because the southwest deserts are wide open. I've never had a problem sending a signal out with mine even with a cloud cover.

Spot just came out with a new messenger (Spot 2) and apparently is has been recalled because it didn't meet battery and messaging specifications. You can see the notice here-

Spot Recall

Personally if I had to buy a Spot 2 I'd probably wait a month or two untill the problems get worked out.

I just had to renew my membership with Spot and it looks like there's been some new features added. The biggest improvements were made in the online accounts because I remember it being rather primitive when I first activated mine. This year I paid an extra $49.99 for the tracker service that I will probably never use (next year I won't do this). They also have a roadside assist but the fine print says they will not go off any paved roads (useless for us). There is also a Spot assist maritime which Mike might be able to use. I guess theres some "Spot Adventures" thing where you can upload you're tracks to some website for other people to view. I can't imagine ANY prospector or meteorite hunter doing this since we all like to keep our mouths shut about locations. It also looks like you can save your locations as GPX, CSV, and KML files. I know I can import GPX files into my Garmin mapping software so I could probably find a use for this.

Overall I feel Spot has a few kinks to work out but I'm confident they will get it right in time. There's other GPS messengers you can get but they're pretty expensive so for the price you can't go wrong with one.

Del

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Del ... I wasn't aware of the recall ... maybe that is why no one has any. Well if I can't get one of the Spot2 units before I leave I will gaione of the older versions. I just like to have all my electronics up to close to the newest stuff if it isn't already.

Thanks for the heads up ... you just never know what kind of good information you are going to get from this forum.

Mike F

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Del ... I wasn't aware of the recall ... maybe that is why no one has any. Well if I can't get one of the Spot2 units before I leave I will gaione of the older versions. I just like to have all my electronics up to close to the newest stuff if it isn't already.

Thanks for the heads up ... you just never know what kind of good information you are going to get from this forum.

Mike F

Mike I think Spot may have just come out with the Spot 2 so this might be why your having trouble finding it. I honestly don't see a huge difference between the two units other than size and weight and another button. The only thing that would get me to upgrade would be if there was a better transmitter and receiver and Spot doesn't mention upgrading these on their website. The bottom line on these is having the ability to send out a signal for a rescue should the need arise and the Spot 1 will do this just fine.

Del

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Del ... you are right and that brings me back to earth! I tend to go for all the new tech stuff and sometimes forget the basic function is really what I am looking for! I know no one else thinks like that! :rolleyes:

Mike F

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Mike,

It dosen't make any difference where you are if you have a good hand held ham radio it will do everything mentioned in these posts and more including making phone calls.

I have found very few places in the USA or mexico that I cound not contact a repeter or another ham , the bottom of narrow , deep slot canyons are the worst.

I use a Yaesu FM Transceiver FT-60, its shirt pocket sized and will do all the things the equiptment previously mentioned will and much more.

You can study for a ham lisence on line here, no code required:http://www.eham.net/exams/.

You can see a lot of the availabe equiptment here:http://www.hamradio.com/.

It is easy to learn and do the practice exams online and then contact your local examiners to take the actual exam.

After you get your lisence you will undoubtly get an invitation from your local ham club to join them since thay all get notices of new lisences.

Join one and that gives you acess to repeter stations nation wide, there is no place I can not get on my radio and you can receive and transmit on AC freqs and a lot of others, in the long run its the cheapest way to go if you want comms any where, be carefull, it addictive, more so than the internet! most big rig drivers that are serious have switched from CB to ham because they can shoot the bull with others or their OL any where, any time, no additional charges and with out all the other CB crap.

I mostly hangout on the 2 meter bands, you can find out all about them here: http://www.hamuniver...om/2meters.html

Max

KD7YXL

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