My brother (in Ohio) just passed his Technician test. We both have UV-5R equivalent radios. I have my General (in Colorado). Without physical modifications to our radios, can we have a QSO? I've been looking into things like IRLP, but that looks like I'd have to lose my speaker.
As has already been said, your radios won't be able to contact each other directly outside of extremely unusual propagation conditions. So I'm going to address how “things like IRLP” work, since I see some confusion.
The idea of IRLP, EchoLink, phone patches, and other such systems is that instead of just two radios:
there is another radio, not yours in this case, which transfers the audio signal to an Internet or telephone connection. That other radio is usually a repeater. Thus, the way things work in this case is:
You do not need any special hardware. The case where you would is if you were trying to set up a linking node of your own — something which communicates on RF and the Internet.
All you need is:
- you both to be in range of repeaters which have compatible linking system.
- your HTs and their DTMF keypads, which are used to activate the link.
Unfortunately, I can't advise you on exactly how to use the link, as I haven't used such systems myself. I would suggest that you ask the regular users of the repeater how to use it (and when it's polite to, and so on, since you would be occupying it for a while).
There's no way to contact each other directly under normal conditions, as you probably realize.
Indirectly, you can use Internet-linked repeaters, such as with Echolink or IRLP. One of you needs to find a local repeater that can link to a repeater in the other's area. You would have to ask the repeater owners how to set that up. Your two radios are each talking with local repeaters that happen to be cross-linked through the Internet.
With Echolink, you can hook up computer-to-computer, with no radios at all. Sort of audio Skype for hams. I suppose you're not looking for that!
Not really, not with those radios. The UV-5R is a VHF/UHF radio, and at those frequencies, radio propagates primarily via line of sight. With the Earth being curved as it is, there's no way you could directly communicate.
If you wanted a radio contact between Colorado and Ohio, you'll want HF. HF supports skywave propagation, and so can travel worldwide in the right conditions. Colorado two Ohio should be a piece of cake on 20m most days.
You could find some repeaters, one in Colorado, and one in Ohio, which are linked via the internet. Check out the IRLP repeater directory. If you can each hit one of these repeaters, then usually there's some DTMF incantation you send to tell the repeater to link. Talk to the club that operates the repeater to get the details.
Of course, if you wanted to make a contact over 1210 miles of data network, with radios providing the last 5 miles, you could use a couple of these, with a lot less fuss: