35

On voice, use "Mayday Mayday Mayday" at the beginning and end of the transmission. This is only for life-threatening emergencies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayday_(distress_signal) For other emergency situations, like reporting a wildfire that does not directly threaten you, use "Break Emergency" at the beginning of the call. This is a good guide to ...


24

Assuming that you have an amateur radio license makes this easier, but it's quite possible that the UK legal language includes provisions that may be applicable and allow transmission without a license. It depends on the specifics of the emergency in question. I would strongly recommend familiarizing yourself with the relevant definitions in the legal code ...


23

Bad etiquette and illegal. Bad etiquette because anyone else scanning the repeater will hear your useless silence, and illegal by §97.119: §97.119 Station identification. (a) Each amateur station, except a space station or telecommand station, must transmit its assigned call sign on its transmitting channel at the end of each communication, and at least ...


20

First, if you hear a distress call: STOP! Immediately end any transmission in progress. Do not touch any antenna or radio controls except as needed to turn off split operation etc. Lock the VFO to avoid inadvertantly bumping the frequency setting. Particularly, do not reorient the antenna in an attempt to get a better signal. Focus on copying what you can ...


16

The full access policy states (my emphasis): No "SWL" (listen-only) access is permitted. EchoLink is a two-way system by design, and there is no mechanism to validate listen-only stations. The last part is key. You can't use the echo link system without being a validated licensed amateur. You logistically can not listen to this system without also ...


15

Do you have to get permission? No. Few have issues with guests on a repeater (think of travelers passing through, for instance). In the U.S. they can legally prevent someone from using their repeater (see ECFR Title 47, §97.205(e)), but this is not the case in many other countries (repeaters are generally open for all to use). Should I frequently use a ...


12

If the power grid and cell phones when down while I was a few hundred miles from home what would be the best way to get a message to my family if my home and I both had access to a radio and small antennas? I'm going to make a few assumptions, here. You may want to consider them restrictions on when this answer is valid. First, I'm going to assume that "...


12

Does mixed-mode operation qualify as a QSO? I'd say absolutely, yes. You're making contact with another amateur radio station on a frequency allocated to amateur radio; in my book, that qualifies as an amateur radio contact or QSO. What is the legal status of such a cross-mode QSO? Assuming that your license allows you to transmit on the frequency and ...


12

Although this question has votes to close, it's an important one. Anxiety about how to respond in QSO stops a lot of people with licences from becoming regular operators. There are really only three places where QSO format is fixed: Contests — you want to be as short and precise as possible. ZS1AN has a good example of the very terse exchange that ...


12

As Wikipedia puts it: The name of the hobby comes from DX, telegraphic shorthand for "distance" or "distant". There is no objective definition. If it's far enough that it might be a difficult contact, then it can be DX. Of course this all varies based on conditions, equipment, and perception. Sometimes, callers will specify just what kind of DX they are ...


11

First off, amateur radio isn't very strict. With few exceptions, nobody is going to be very upset if you miss out on something during a casual contact. If you mess up too badly, you'll be asked to provide the missing piece of information, be it a signal report, location, repeat your call sign because it couldn't be copied, or whatever the issue may be. So ...


11

I'm still a beginner in this area, so take this answer with a gran of salt. I've had a chance to see a ham test repeaters few days ago, so I'll describe what he did: First and the most obvious, make sure that the transmit and receive frequencies are correctly set on the radio. Go to frequency of interest and listen for a while. If there is a conversation ...


11

The text you refer to seems to be (emphasis mine): Sometimes before transmitting it is necessary to tune (adjust) the transmitter (or antenna tuner). Tuning should in the first instance be done on a dummy load. This is not referring to the use of an antenna tuner, whether integral or external. Rather, it is referring to tuning the final output stage ("...


11

The choice of using phonetics ('alpha, bravo, charlie, …') versus plain alphabet sounds ('aye, bee, see, …') should be, and in my limited experience usually is, made based on how likely the recipient is to need them to understand. Here are two extreme cases: A contact made using a FM repeater at close range, among people who already know each other, does ...


11

Since you're simulating the situation with non-transmitting equipment, you get the play the part of actual emergency agencies. You'd start by asking the SOS caller to identify themselves (call sign, ship name, etc.) and give their location and the nature of the emergency. Of course, unless your 5 year old knows a lot more Morse than just SOS, that's where ...


10

The practices vary greatly between areas and countries. In many countries "closed repeaters" don't exist, or are forbidden. In some countries private repeater systems are common, but public ones still exist. Those private repeaters are still likely to happily accept visitors (travellers, for example). It's probably best to ask the guys on the repeater - ...


10

"Break" is commonly used among amateur radio operators to mean "I am not done speaking yet", such as when talking through a repeater that requires transmission breaks every minute or so. "Over" has a specific meaning in military communications, "I expect a response from you". Amateur operators seem to more-or-less use it in this context also. "Out" has a ...


10

First, some background on general amateur radio procedure: Field Day "is not a contest", but acts a lot like one. In any contest contact, the "exchange" is whatever information is communicated, beyond the call signs of the participants and the procedure of making and confirming the contact. In many contests, but not Field Day, the exchange is a signal ...


9

Wikipedia writes to say By the regulation, the FCC DoC certification mark is mandatory for devices classified under part 15 (IT equipment like computers, switched-mode power supplies, monitors etc., television receivers, cable system devices, low-power transmitters, un-licensed personal communication devices) and part 18 (industrial, scientific, and ...


9

The first thing to realize is that you can't make anyone move. So you can contact him and tell him (politely) the frequency was in use and he's interfering with you. At that point he may apologize and QSY. Yes, that does work, I have seen it happen. Or he'll tell you to pound sand or just plain ignore you. If that happens, there is really nothing to be ...


8

Since we are talking about the United States, the "phone" portions of each band are actually described as phone, CW & image. So it's not only legal, but it's perfectly acceptable to operate CW in that portion of the band. Contest rules generally confine contesters to the CW-only portion of the band making the rest of the band a viable option during CW ...


8

There are two standard phonetic alphabets, the NATO/ICAO alphabet, and the Western Union alphabet. A table can be found here of them. The one that should be used is the NATO/ICAO alphabet, it's what is desired for emergency communications, traffic passing, etc, but occasionally the Western Union can be good to give your call sign if desired. The military ...


8

… Why don’t these unencrypted FM emergency services seem to use any call signs … ? They aren't required to and don't find it useful in their procedures. Also, they don't have call signs in the sense amateurs do — they may have names for different groups in a transmission ("Car #3" or whatever) which are call signs in the sense that they play the same role ...


7

I am pretty sure this isn't covered explicitly in Part 97 and probably falls under the "don't cause intentional interference" clause. The practice I was taught is this: Tune off the pileup you found several KHz to a 'clear' spot reduce power to the either the lowest the rig will go or the least that will facilitate the tuning process Switch to CW mode ...


7

A relevant rule your license requires is: Each station licensee and each control operator must cooperate in selecting transmitting channels and in making the most effective use of the amateur service frequencies. (FCC Part 97.101(b)) While spamming multiple channels with the same transmission will save you time, it clearly isn't the most effective use of ...


7

If this is something you are interested in on an ongoing basis as a volunteer, then you should look into joining RACES and/or ARES in the US, and RAYNET in the UK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Amateur_Civil_Emergency_Service http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_Radio_Emergency_Service http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Amateurs_Emergency_Network ...


7

A "CQ Contest" is simply a limited CQ, just like someone can call CQ some-specific-area or CQ any-member-of-a-particular-club. I don't think I've heard this variant on SSB, but I imagine in some contests it may be beneficial to actually specify the contest in question. During a contest, there is usually a specific set of information to exchange. The exact ...


7

This became clear to me after a bit of time to think, but it wasn't at all clear on initially jumping in. It helps to know the formal definitions of the codes used: CQ is “Calling any station”. The station is asking for (new) contacts from anyone. QRZ? is “Who is calling me”. The station is asking for a calling station to repeat their callsign. Only a ...


7

Didn't you need to study basic contact procedure for your license? In any case, my advice for situations such as these is simple: Listen! Since you have a transceiver, just listen and try to find QSOs where you can hear both sides of the conversation, listen to them, copy down all information they send and try to analyze it. This will help you ...


7

Stating your call in the brief pause between transmissions is accepted procedure. It seems brief and rude by normal social convention, but it's necessary on the radio since anything longer might not be heard by the other stations involved in the conversation. One of the other stations should acknowledge you and give you an opportunity to speak. It's at that ...


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