Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Not a HAM Radio Guy, But if I was, Here's My Dream Setup

I know almost nothing about HAM Radio -- but I know a nifty system when I see it. I give you QRP: a radio broadcasting philosophy that is based on very low power operation. The result is that you can carry a complete broadcasting and receiving long distance radio station in your pockets.

See what I mean?

Amazing to consider that you can broadcast and receive messages hundreds of kilometers away using double AA batteries (or perhaps a 9 volt) and a transceiver the size of an Altoids or tuna tin.

Oh, and kit to build the transceiver is somewhere between $9 and $40.

Sure, there are limitations, like only being able to send and receive Morse Code. But still, given all the advantages, I'm really surprised these setups haven't made the leap from hacking novelty to useful emergency kit item.

I know that when we have some hiccup in the DC area, like say a mostly harmless earthquake, the cell phone networks are almost immediately swamped and can remain so for hours. Seems like the perfect time to bust out a setup like this and check in with loved ones. The setup could be small enough to be stored in the trunk of a car or at your desk, and setup when needed.

But then again, what the heck do I know? Anyone with HAM or Radio experience want to chime in here?

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