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Ham Radio MountainTopping

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Ham Radio MountainTopping

Postby kd6swa » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:58 pm

Was wondering if any Mountain Climbers were Ham radio operators. Would like to know if you've packed a rig or QRP rig and worked from any of the high peaks.

73
KD6SWA



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Re: Ham Radio MountainTopping

Postby austex » Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:52 pm

In theory it could work if the right wattage,favorable atmospheric conditions and or a repeater is within reach. I'm not a ham but have an interest.
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Re: Ham Radio MountainTopping

Postby Shawn » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:19 pm

QRZ... ;)

DE WB6JWB here. I've brought my HT along a few times into the Sierra. Mostly out of curiosity to see if any machines were within reach. Oddly, on most occasions I could get into one or more repeaters when I really had no expectation for doing so.

If I hike the local hills (San Luis Obsipo/Monterey counties) I'll bring it for safety sake.
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Re: Ham Radio MountainTopping

Postby sciaticnve » Sun Aug 04, 2013 3:43 pm

Hey,
KK6BRW here, I usually take along my Yaesu FT60, I carry it along when the wife and I are snowshoeing. I took it out on an over nighter off of leavitt meadows, no luck hitting the repeaters, I was going to take along a slim Jim antenna and some 550 cord but forgot to pack it.

Cheers!
Elliott
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Re: Ham Radio MountainTopping

Postby rlown » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:20 pm

is there a repeater map? Just wondering. What does it cost and what does it weigh to carry some of this equipment of which you speak?

An interesting topic!
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Re: Ham Radio MountainTopping

Postby Shawn » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:32 pm

There are various websites with repeater listings, some more accurate than others.

Here is one example:
http://www.repeaterbook.com/

The hand held radios can actually be very light weight and inexpensive. There's been a surge in Chinese made radios recently that can be bought for 50 bucks or less. Of course it's a "you get what you pay for situation.

The hand held I use has military specs protecting it from the weather and water and so forth, so while it costs a bit more it'll last much longer when taken out doors.

You can learn more about ham radio at www.arrl.org or of course many other websites.
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Re: Ham Radio MountainTopping

Postby ERIC » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:07 pm

This is a great thread! Ham brings back some fond memories for me. My grandfather has been gone for more than 15 years now, but I still remember his signal - KA6LGL. I used to watch him for hours on end tinkering with his radio equipment. I was fascinated by it.
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Re: Ham Radio MountainTopping

Postby kd6swa » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:38 pm

Hello Eric,
I have been at it over 20 years. Didn't know of your Dad ( guys know call signs better than names!)
but sounds like he enjoyed the Hobby.
Altitude gives you an advantage and you would be amazed at what you can do with low power if you have a good spot like the top of a mountain!

73
KD6SWA
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Re: Ham Radio MountainTopping

Postby austex » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:52 pm

I used to listen to much radio as my dad fixed avionics.Had access to aviation,ham and short wave.
I learned to install telephones in the 80's from "KI6ZJ' in SoCal listening to the chatter on "435" machine as we drove between service calls. He now has a shortened call as he has a more advanced license. From what I understand it's very easy to get a simple license now; no morse code required!
Heck a "Grandpa Archie" from the airport where my dad had his business was a MARS guy with a huge antenna in his yard. Actually had a morse code key hooked up on his desk. VERY old school.
Here in Tx there are quite a few hams. Eyes and ears of wicked weather here.
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Re: Ham Radio MountainTopping

Postby rlown » Mon Aug 12, 2013 5:58 pm

OK.. let's make this simple.

When in the Sierra, what gear do you carry and what repeaters are you trying to hit when you do? What does it weigh? thanks for the map pointers, but..
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Re: Ham Radio MountainTopping

Postby ERIC » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:38 pm

rlown wrote:OK.. let's make this simple.

When in the Sierra, what gear do you carry and what repeaters are you trying to hit when you do? What does it weigh? thanks for the map pointers, but..


OK, I'm probably not much help with this, but as a kid listening in with my grandfather I somehow recall the repeater being Bear Mountain. But I'm probably wrong on that. I'm likely confusing it with the weather radio tower or something else from my childhood. Reason being, I can't find Bear Mountain on this site, which I gather from your question is a site you might be interested in, Russ:

http://www.repeaterbook.com/repeaters/i ... tate_id=06
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Re: Ham Radio MountainTopping

Postby Shawn » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:37 pm

rlown wrote:OK.. let's make this simple.

When in the Sierra, what gear do you carry and what repeaters are you trying to hit when you do? What does it weigh? thanks for the map pointers, but..


Ah, lets see....

Here's the hand held radio I will sometimes carry -
Image
Not my photo by the way, but it gives you an idea of the typical size of the radio. The weight is 9 oz., akin to carrying a camera.

Just to clarify, a repeater is normally atop a mountain or elevated structure. It's purpose is to relay signals by receiving on one frequency and then simultaneously re-transmitting the signal on another frequency. In this way. the ham operator on the lower terrain benefits greatly by virtue of the signal being transmitted from the higher elevation to other ham radio operators.

For example there is a mountain east of Bishop named Silver Peak at about 10,850 ft ASL. Using a hand held radio as shown above, I could be standing in Lone Pine and speak to another ham standing in Mammoth by virtue of the greatly elevated repeater. Using the hand held radios without the repeater, the communication would not be possible (this is a bit of an extreme example as most repeaters are on lower mountains, but you get the idea).

To make things more interesting, many ham repeaters are "linked", connecting multiple repeaters together to extend the coverage and range.

Some hikers on the PCT carry radios knowing in advance that many repeaters are within range from certain locations (here's an example for California: http://www.qsl.net/aa6j/pct/calif.htm).

A few other examples -
- I've been up to Lake Ediza and could communicate via the repeater on Mammoth Mountain
- Communicated via the above mentioned Silver Peak repeater while on Hurd Peak
- There's a repeater that covers the Yosemite Valley and environs
- Where I live, on the central coast, the area is saturated with repeaters so nearly any local hike into the Las Padres is covered by one or more repeaters.

Hand held radios also provide point to point communication, similar to an FRS radio. The difference is that the ham rigs are usually of much better quality and have more power, affording better back country "where are you now" communication. I've heard that hang glider pilots like to get their ham license and use ham radio for these same reasons.

As you can see, I could go on and on. As fate has it, I have a couple of hilltop repeaters myself - here's birds eye view of one located on the south east corner of San Luis Obispo count at about 4000ASL.

Image
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