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Episode 27 -- August 15th, 2016 -- Betsy Cawn and Alan, WA6JBK. Fire Radios, The Clayton Fire, The discovery of Antimatter, 12 volt power systems, How to buy a Ham Radio.
Listen to the episode 111.7 MB MP3
Alan, WA6JBK guest stars
What is ham radio?
In the 1930s when radios were being invented, it was discovered that certain (HF) radio waves can be heard all the way around the world so the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) got together in 1934 to set some rules of the road so that people in different countries didn't interfere with one another. The US FCC was a member and set up licensing procedures so that you had to have a little knowledge before you could use radios so that everybody understood enough not to accidentally be a cause of problems for somebody else. People who study radio electronics and radio waves for their hobbie can pass an exam to become a ham radio operator and use radios to talk with one another.
You can either use 100 ft long bits of wire and big power sources like a car battery or your home outlet to talk all the way around the world, or you can have a tiny radio on your belt or in your car with a 6in antenna and talk all around the county (VHF or UHF).
Alan used to install commercial VHF radios for Police, Fire, EMS, Business, etc.
In 2008 during the fire, hams helped out a lot
Bicycle races need help from hams at checkpoints because there are lots of places without cell coverage.
In Mendocino county and Lake county we're doing weekly exercises to learn where we have access and where we don't.
One oversized automotive battery is good enough to run an entire ham shack, depending on how often you transmit.
Amateur Radio eventually lead Alan to work at Laurence Berkeley Laboratory's Bevetron. The Bevetron created the very first artificial Cosmic Rays. An Ion Detector is used to determine if cosmic rays are present. An Ion is a charged atom, either having too many electrons (-) or not enough (+).
The Bevetron is a type of Cyclotron and uses the largest Radio Frequency Amplifier, about 2.5 Million watts around 1.5 to 2.7 MHz to excellarating electrons.
The Bevetron was originally built in 1951 to discover anti-matter and it worked.
When anti-matter exists, it bumps into regular matter and anniolates itself. We have no way of knowing how much of it exists in comparison to regular matter because of this.
Quantum Physics behaves weirdly because you're watching it. In fact, it is provably not possible to watch a quantum physics experiement without having an effect on its result.
There was a fun experiemtn at the Bevetron. The team from Hawaii was trying to figure out if spin resonance was correlative with polarity or not. Each group was able to conclusively prove that they were correct and the other was wrong.
Where can you talk with a ham radio? I have a handi-talkie and I can talk either directly up to 5 or 6 miles or through repeaters around the county.
How much does it cost to get into VHF Ham Radio for emergency communication?
Japanese Radios $300-$500 are the best but cost a lot more
Chinese Radios $30 - $80 don't work as well as the Japanese and are usually harder to program. They can be easily overcome by strong transmitters nearby.
Antennas can be purchased for these from several USA distributors
You'll also need a 12 volt DC power supply or car battery with a trickle charger if you use a Mobile Radio in your home.
If you can't reach the local repeater with a handitalkie such as those mentioned previously, you'll need to buy a mobile radio and a feedline (coax cable with connectors) and an Antenna mounted on some kind of mast as high as you can get it above your roof, although it might be the case that it works just attached to a metal vent pipe.
Brad wants to know about how to make a county wide fire alarm system. That's kind of exactly what Nixle was designed to do.
You don't have to use a trickle charger to keep a 12v battery, instead you could use a solar charge controller and one or more solar panels. Since this isn't a lot of power, it won't cost very much. For example, if you just use your mobile ham radio in the house less than an hour per day, including occasional transmitting and if you need a 50 watt Japanese radio to reach the repeater, the cost breakdown looks like this:
$140 for a good 2 meter band radio such as this one.
Alan builds J-Pole Solid Copper Pipe antennas for VHF for those who need them. They cost about $30 in parts to build.
email addresses are case-insensative. LION@MAC.com is the same as email@example.com or Lion@Mac.Com
While Macintosh computers are far superior in my not very humble opinion, all ham radio software in the world is written for microsoft windows based computers. Windows 7 will work just fine.
Web addresses have multiple parts. First, it might or might not begin with "www." followed by a name followed by a suffix, such as .com, .org, .net, .gov, .mil or .edu or one of the country codes. There are a long list of them, one for each country in addition to the these 5. after that is a single forward slash "/" and everything after that might or might not be case-senseative. But before the "/", everything is case-insensative.
When you use a VHF or UHF handitalkie or mobile radio, you can either talk directly to somebody or through a repeater. What is a repeater?
IRLP, echoLink and WinSystem are internet connected repeaters wich work differently but allow you to talk to somebody 24 hours a day in other states and countries.
When you use HF radios which require a wire antenna at least 33 feet long (140 ft is better) or bigger more fancy antennas and a radio and other equipment you can talk directly around the world, no internet required.
The simplest HF transmitter is just an oscillator you can turn on and off with a staight key and an antenna.
An Inverter use a 12v DC battery to power 120v AC appliances. A Power Supply converts 120v AC from your wall outlet to power 12v DC devices. You cannot substitute one for the other. Of course, not all Inverters convert to 120 V AC, some convert to 240 VAC. Just as not all Power Supplies convert to 12 VDC are big enough to power your radio.
Time Banking is available for Fire abaitment in Lake County.
It wouldn't be a bad idea if every neighborhood had a designated set of people to take turns at checkpoints during fires to verify who belongs there and who doesn't.
Tee Watts's partner wanted to leave a message for him.
Fire Releif Fund is collecting donations, but we don't yet understand how they make decisions about where that money goes or even who gets to be on the comittee to decide. For example, they appear to have kicked Terri Larsen off the comittee based on false information. Give to local organizations.
Tonight, there'll be two fire breifings. At Kelseville Highschool at 6pm and at 7:30pm at the Twin Pines Casino. These are being presented by Supervisor Rob Brown, State Senator Mike McGuire.
Fire Departments usually use 5 or 6 VHF radio channels, organized by function.
During a big fire such as this, they might be using as many as a dozen channels.
The aircraft helping with fires us standard AM radios for aircraft operations and the FM radios to communicate with Cal Fire.
Mediacom internet service has been restored to the Riviera. 14:43
North Coast Internet is a local Terestrial Microwave Internet provider who hasn't had any difficulties
Sea Kay Internet in Mendocino County also offers Terestrial Microwave based high speed internet service.
This kind of emergency communications is precisely the sort of thing at which Ham Radio Operators excel. So if you want to know what's going on, ask the Ham in your neighborhood.
Digital Radios have been shown to be unable to handle the requirements of Fire Departments and some people died before that department switched back to normal analog FM VHF radios.
The organization of Search and Rescue and Fire and Disaster Preparedness varies from state to state, for whatever reason.
When you're working in a fire, use a mask or a bandana to keep the smoke out of your lungs as much as is possible.
If I've made any mistakes, please Call me or email Kila or you can call us directly at (707) 413-6435. Here is my main website.