When a fire strikes, time is of an essence for the firefighters and those trapped. Being able to have effective fireground radio communications during these situations is vital, but can be proven difficult. Firefighters are engulfed in a hostile environment filled with smoke, water and falling objects, all while in a cloud of ash-filled darkness. They have safety equipment to help combat these conditions, however during these stress-full situations everything needs to work perfectly, even their radios.
Earlier on this blog, I wrote about Emergency Communications — Amateur Radio’s Role. In that post I touched on the things that I feel make amateur radio ideal for emergency communications:
- Communication Options — Amateur radio offers frequencies from HF to VHF to UHF as well as communication modes from CW to D-STAR. That range of options allows local, regional, or national communications in times of need.
- Volunteers — The number of licensed amateur radio operators has never been greater. They are eager to get involved to help out in any situation.
- Training — There are plenty of training options available from introductory courses to management courses. That includes ARRL courses as well as FEMA Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Incident Command System (ICS), and National Incident Management System (NIMS) training.
- Experience — ARRL Field Day is a great way to test your club’s ability to get a station on the air, make contacts, and get everyone involved. Hopefully, you also have other events that you’re supporting in addition to your routine repeater and equipment maintenance.
I also pointed out in that blog post that there can often be a big gap between technical skills and the human skills that we bring to any emergency. It’s all well and good that we have the radios, training, and experience but if we can’t mesh with the existing first responder organization, we’re not really helping. And, in fact, we may be hindering their effectiveness.
Over the years, I’m sure you have seen one thing about me that is very, very consistent — I feel strongly about getting youth involved in amateur radio. That is a big reason why we support amateur radio activities for Carol Perry’s Dayton Hamvention® Youth Forum and the Boy Scouts of America.
In doing so we provide radio stations through the Scouting Loan Stations for Scout Councils, support Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA) and sponsor the National Scout Jamboree as the exclusive amateur radio transceiver supplier. Plus, for clubs with a need for Amateur radios for a special event or for support of a radio merit badge outing, check out the Radio Merit Badge radio loan program.
They say that change is inevitable, but I was beginning to have my doubts about Hamvention®. I should not have.
The Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) started the event in 1952 with 600 in attendance, and moved to HARA Arena in 1964, where attendance climbed to near 30 thousand.
Now they have moved to the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, Ohio. What a fantastic venue and what a great job by DARA in getting this huge event up and running.
Hams to Japan – #H2JA
We’re really excited to hold the Hams to Japan Sweepstakes and wanted to incorporate it into the mix at the Hamvention® booth this year. A kiosk was placed at the from of our booth, allowing visitors to sign up while at Hamvention®. We have had great participation so far and only expect more until our final drawing. The grand prize drawing, a trip for two to 2017 Tokyo Hamfair or an IC-7300, will announce the second week of July.
Government, public safety and public service agencies relay on digital two-way communication solutions. With such an important purchase, the most current technological and operational features should be available. Many public agencies use P25 products and Icom’s 3rd generation of P25 advances this product line to the next level!
What is P25?
P25 is a set of standards for digital radio communications. It is used by federal, state/province and local public safety organizations within North America, allowing interoperable two-way communications between agencies. With a standard in place, government agencies can choose from multiple products when selecting their communications equipment, ultimately saving money and gaining the freedom to select from the widest range of features.
EMCOMM-1 and its state-of-the-art equipment, large antenna and flashing lights made an appearance this year at IWCE in Las Vegas. Owner Mike Lee and his assistant Phil McElrath traveled over 2,300 miles and across eight states, from Florida to Nevada. It took Lee and McElrath two weeks and nearly 12-15 hours of driving time a day to make the journey. Traveling through heaving winds and rains, and the occasional traffic jam, EMCOMM-1 finally made it to Las Vegas.
The show was a great success, as EMCOMM-1 was definitely a highlight. People all around could not help but stare and inquire about this impressive communications vehicle. Excitement was all around, and it followed Lee and McElrath even as they left Las Vegas.
It has been a while since my blog post titled “D-STAR — It’s not just for the kids.” I was thinking about that this past weekend during D-STAR Live. It isn’t just for the kids, but it is easy enough for anyone to get engaged. Plus, there are so many different aspects to explore and they were all on display during this four-hour information packed session.
View the Recording
I’ll provide a quick summary here. But, you can find the recording at the bottom of this blog. It’s divided into four segments to cover the full four hours.
For either the advance or novice radio user, properly maintaining your communications equipment is essential. But what is the best way to do this?
The service department at Icom America’s headquarters has a total 131 years of combined experience fixing and servicing Icom radios. They train and support the Icom services centers throughout the county. So they know a thing or two about radios.
“We love the fact that we have a great product and that we can take care of our customers,” technician David Stoppel said.
As you may have noticed, our IC-7200 HF/50 MHz Transceiver is back! Usually when a rig is discontinued it is because the parts are no longer available. However the demand was so high for this rig, that when you asked, we were able to make it happen. I’m delighted that we can get more of these fantastic transceivers into the field.
Built for the Outdoors
A small and compact radio, the optional MB-116 front handles protect the front buttons and knobs. It also has a rear bumper that protects all the connectors on the back of the radio, helping to keep the elements out. In fact, it was the perfect transceiver for the Scouting loan stations that we put together some for local Boy Scout Councils.
Behind every Ham is a callsign. It is how you are known in the amateur radio community. Creating your own callsign (vanity callsign) helps to personalize your radio identity.
Throughout the years, as I have upgraded my ham license, I have also changed my callsign. I received my first callsign (KB5KCL) while living in Starkville, MS. After moving to the Pacific Northwest I felt changing my callsign (KC7JPA) to my new region would simplify things. I was happy with that callsign, until the introduction of the IC-7800. Once exposed to the world of DX and contesters, I quickly learned the need for a 1×2 callsign. After upgrading once again, I snagged my current sign, N9JA.