Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

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Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by PoorImpulseControl » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:03 am

If you have a CB, turn it on. If you have a general coverage receiver, tune on over to 11 meters and tell me what you hear. For the less fortunate of us who do not have said equipment, let me tell you: A lot of people talking at other people. You do not know who they are and most of the time you have no idea what they're saying, but they're making a lot of noise on the band and their linear amps are allowing them to consume quite a lot of bandwidth. On occasion you will hear people actually trying to help each other out, but for the most part the band is filled with people quoting bits and pieces of their manifesto or rantings.

Now, listen to 20, 40, or 80 meters and tell me what you hear? Nice, efficient transmissions of people communicating. They've practiced and rehearsed their protocols through nets, NTS traffic, and operating in real emergency situations.

The moral of the story: if you really want to communicate with people in emergency situations you should get your ham license. It's cheap, relatively easy, and fun. The knowledge you will gain as a ham will certainly help yourself and probably many others when SHTF. If you get your ticket, join ARES or RACES and learn how to effectively communicate in emergency situations while helping out and serving the public. Total win-win.

This nonsense of "I want to freeband a radio just to have it." and "I break FCC laws all the time!" is just that: nonsense.

**edited to change the title based off of a kind suggestion.
Last edited by PoorImpulseControl on Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, laws are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by LowKey » Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:02 pm

So, what you should have title this thread is-Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC regulations are irrelevant" is wrong.

'Cause otherwise you have to explain why, for example, laws regulating income tax would be relevant.
Or why Susie can't drive the old pickup truck because she was to young to get a drivers license before the SHTF.
Or why you can't do any number of things you need to do that used to require certification or licensing prior to the Apocalypse.
You'd also need to explain why laws would be relevant without any system to enforce them.

The example you cited to justify for position would most likely be itself irrelevant for a number of reasons:
1- The large population that provided the small percentage of oxygen thieves who tie up the CB bands would be drastically reduced in size, with a proportionate reduction in oxygen thieves.
2- Power. Folks will either try to conserve their power (batteries, generator fuel, ect) and therefore not be on the air as much, or they will chatter inanely away for hours on end and use up their power...which will get them off the air.

I don't have a ham license, so according to those very same FCC regs it would be illegal for me to get on the air if I somehow obtained a radio in the PAW. Frankly...that's gonna be irrelevant, and I'll use it if I decide I need to do so. I think my old foggy memories of military radio procedure will work well enough, and I'll be able to deal with the scared kid on the net who has no idea what a call sign is.

What I have noticed when I'm around hams is their love of forming up into groups to pick fights with each other. "You aren't a real ham...you don't know code". Give it a break. It's a freakin radio. You (usually) talk and listen on it, talk...then listen. Lots of techy stuff you can learn to improve your range, signal quality and such, but it's a communication device.

What would be relevant is self discipline, and the same type of courtesy you use when having a conversation on the phone.
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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, laws are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by rpc » Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:14 pm

Yes, one thing I've noticed is that there seem to be quite a few people who believe that the requirement for a license is the thing that stands in their way of being able to carry out the communications that they want to do, and when TSHTF and they are relieved of this burden, they will then be able to communicate.

Unfortunately, the license requirement generally isn't limiting their capabilities. In general, these people just haven't really thought through what their needs are, because if they did that, there is usually a perfectly legal way to do what they want to do.

Even with things that don't require a license, such as CB, FRS, MURS, there's a lot you can do. However, you need to give some thought to your particular problem and figure out a solution. In some cases, getting an amateur license is a good way to solve other communications problems, but it's often unnecessary.

The problem with believing that the license is the limiting factor is that, in most cases, you need to become familiar with your equipment and what it's limitations are. If you want to communicate from point A to point B in the post-SHTF world, then it's a very good idea to make sure that your equipment really can communicate from point A to point B. In many cases, there will be some small unanticipated issue that will prevent you from doing so, and you need to work out the bugs prior to TSHTF.

And if you need a license to work out the bugs, then it's a good idea to get the license. Even if the FCC won't be in business after TSHTF, they are now, and now is when you need to work out the bugs.

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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, laws are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by velojym » Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:15 pm

...and don't get caught spittin' on the sidewalk or hidin' runaway slaves, either!
8)
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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by Bunsen » Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:03 pm

There's also the fact that apocalypses don't come around very often, but mundane disasters do. Everyday, run of the mill radio communication may suddenly become important without things getting so desperate that you've got a free pass to screw around on the public safety bands or some shit. Preparing for some incredibly unlikely PAW to the exclusion of preparing for ordinary SNAFU events is positively stupid.

Also, as has been stated, practice is arguably more important than hardware. An illegal freebanded transceiver isn't going to do you crap for good if you haven't developed habits for effectively moving information around in a sub-optimal situation, and practicing illegal communications in the pre-apocalyptic world is pretty retarded. If you're serious about maintaining communication capability when SHTF, get a ham license and get active.

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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by LowKey » Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:21 pm

Folks, I don't think anyone here has stated that getting the license and practicing is a bad idea.
However I do feel that the OP's blanket statement 'Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong' is still a bit flawed.
I'm fairly sure there are FCC regs limiting you from using some of the bands, as well as maximum power levels. Regs that you will not feel constrained by once/if we are in the PAW. If there isn't a military, it's kind of pointless to avoid using that frequency just out of nolstalgia. We have traffic laws for similar reasons, yet I doubt you are going to worry about using your turn signal or care a great deal about your license having expired.
Or is this a case of just over compensating for the idiots who don't follow the regs now when the regs still have a purpose?
Perhaps it might be better to say that with or without regulations the established protocols for ham operation will make any PAW radio communications more likely to work reliably and efficiently, and the best (and only legal way) to practice those skills and protocols before hand requires you to get a license.


*edited because PIC is an honorable man*
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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by rpc » Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:34 pm

Or is this a case of just over compensating for the idiots who don't follow the regs now when the regs still have a purpose?
I think that is a big part of it. There seems to be a large overlap between the two groups.

Speaking for myself, shortly after the post-apoclyptic dust settles, I'm going to be running a broadcast station on 1610 on your AM dial, with fine information and entertainment for your listening pleasure.

In theory, I'll have a nice signal on the air. But in practice, I really don't know how well it will work out, because I won't have a chance to check it out before TSHTF.

Therefore, my surivial plans do not require me to get my AM station on the air. For those things that are required, I want to be reasonably certain they work, which means checking them out.

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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by LowKey » Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:44 pm

rpc wrote:
Or is this a case of just over compensating for the idiots who don't follow the regs now when the regs still have a purpose?
I think that is a big part of it. There seems to be a large overlap between the two groups.

Speaking for myself, shortly after the post-apoclyptic dust settles, I'm going to be running a broadcast station on 1610 on your AM dial, with fine information and entertainment for your listening pleasure.

In theory, I'll have a nice signal on the air. But in practice, I really don't know how well it will work out, because I won't have a chance to check it out before TSHTF.

Therefore, my surivial plans do not require me to get my AM station on the air. For those things that are required, I want to be reasonably certain they work, which means checking them out.
I hear you.
I literally don't have the time to do anything about a license right now, and the country I'm working in frowns upon hams anyway. I'm likely to pick up a set anyway and keep it (with spares) in storage along with "Radios for Dummies: How not to fry yourself while rigging an antenna array".
If things go pear shaped before I have the opportunity to get the licence....well, the PAW might not be the optimal time or place for learning anything, but better to learn then than never. I doubt anyone is going to come by and issue a citation for me having a funny sounding call sign while TEOTWAWKI rages around us :)
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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by rpc » Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:19 pm

Well, that's just the thing. You probably don't need a license. What exactly do you want to do? In most cases, people can accomplish the things they want to quite easily without resorting to equipment that requires a license.

Since that covers about 99% of the needs I've ever seen discussed, then it's best to think about what those needs are and how you can accomplish them. It's possible that the only way to accomplish them is by means of some licensed service. But that's generally not the case.

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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by Bonky » Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:52 am

rpc wrote: Speaking for myself, shortly after the post-apoclyptic dust settles, I'm going to be running a broadcast station on 1610 on your AM dial, with fine information and entertainment for your listening pleasure.
Sounds like a great idea. I'd throw that puppy up for a few seconds just to see if it works. Hell, it took the feds about a decade and 5000 warnings before they pulled Jack Gerritson off the air. A minute or two now and then of testing ain't going hurt anybody.

As they taught us in law school: without enforcement, there's no such thing as law. Which is why "international law" is so goofy.. because there's no higher body to enforce the regs.. just voluntary agreements by independent sovereign countries.

So, if there's no FCC after armageddon, there are no FCC laws after armageddon. If there are no police or other law-enforcing folks after armageddon, there are no laws period, but that's another matter. Some people might think it wise to continue practices that up to then were enforced by law, but that don't make 'em "laws" per se.

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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by Bonky » Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:59 am

This just came to me: imagine there actually were an armageddon, and 90% of the people died off, and there was little law and order and certainly no federal agencies left. But there was still enough power to run Ham radios.

How many hams would still be using their call signs?

I bet a lot! LOL


Here's another thought:

Imagine the above scenario, and two unlicensed people are talking on some handheld GMRS radios that still work about how to best scavenge some old rusted metal to build a shelter. What are the odds that some ham comes on the air and says, "Um, FYI, you can't broadcast on these frequencies without a license."

I bet pretty high! LOL

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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by PoorImpulseControl » Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:23 am

Sounds like a great idea. I'd throw that puppy up for a few seconds just to see if it works. Hell, it took the feds about a decade and 5000 warnings before they pulled Jack Gerritson off the air. A minute or two now and then of testing ain't going hurt anybody.
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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by rpc » Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:40 am

Very few hams spend any time listening to GMRS, and it's not readily apparent whether or not people are licensed.

In fact, one of the great advantages of getting some practice is that you will know what sticks out like a sore thumb, and what will go unnoticed.

I wonder what people would think if I bought a car for use after TEOTWAWKI. Then, I mentioned that I had never driven before, and I didn't even have a driver's license, but I needed something for "TRANSPO" after TSHTF. Then, if anyone suggested that this wasn't the wisest course of action, I would point out that driver's licenses wouldn't be required after TSHTF, and anyone who thought I should have one was just an old fuddy duddy.

But the post-SHTF license is just a minor issue. The real issue is that if I think I need to drive a car in the post-SHTF world, then I probably ought to at least learn the basics of how to drive the thing now. And that requires practice, and in this state, that requires having a license.

Oh, and it might be a good idea to give some thought as to why I will need the car in the first place, rather than just assuming that because all of the other ZS members have "TRANSPO", then I must need it as well.

That seems very odd, but it seems to be a very prevalent attitude with respect to radio. Everyone else has "comms", so everyone wants to run out and buy some "comms", without really giving much thought to what they want to use it for, much less whether or not it will actually work for any need that presents itself.

They correctly point out that licensing will probably be unimportant if the earth is overrun with zombies, but that really misses the point.

Incidentally, I'm not going to go to the trouble of putting my AM station on the air, and the reason is not because I think I'll get caught if I transmit for 10 seconds. The real reason is because I don't want to go to the rather minimal effort of building an antenna for that frequency. I could do a pretty good job of it in about an hour, but since the FCC still appears to be in business, that would be a wasted hour. It's quite likely that if I did do the test, then I would discover some other issue that would take another hour to fix. But, as pessimistic as this might sound, it's possible that there won't even be a nuclear war, and I'll never be able to put my station on the air. So that's one of the things that I'll worry about when the time comes.

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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by tilt » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:22 pm

For what it's worth, I distinctly recall this being a test quiestion on both my Tech and General test.

I think it was worded something like:

Q. In an emergency where life or property is at risk, a radio operator may:

A. Use the frequencies allowed under his license type
B. Use a cell phone
C. Run around with his/her hair on fire
D. Use any and all radio frequencies for communication to prevent the loss of life or property (not sure about the property part though).

Full disclosure: I have absolutely no idea what the exact wording of the question was, and I completely fabricated choices B and C. The gist of A and D are pretty close though.

I do know that the answer is D.

One could argue that a full scale collapse of the world as we know it would constitute an emergency threatening life or property.

I won't argue that buying a radio system with no license and no idea of how to operate it is a bad idea. It's actually probably the biggest waste of resources I can think of. However, the rules specifially allow for unlicensed users to use any band, anytime life or property is threatened, whether the FCC is around to issue a citation or not.

It's like buying a real nice armory full of guns, but never going to the range. It makes all the other gun guys pissed that you have nice gear but won't learn how to use it... but it ain't illegal.
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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by Hatch » Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:05 pm

Just to play devil's advocate here, there is one aspect to this issue that seems to have been overlooked in the discussion so far: "communication" requires two or more parties. One could say, "well, I don't see the point of having a license, I'll just use my comms equipment after the SHTF and figure it out." But who are you planning to communicate with?

If the SHTF, there will be two general groups of people using radio communications:

1. People who have equipment, the knowledge to use it to maximum effect, and the infrastructure to support communications under emergency conditions.

2. Everyone else.

The first group will be heavily populated by current amateur radio operators. If the SHTF, they will continue to use the same bands and methodologies they are using now, because they know how they work. These are people who can operate when the lights are out, some indefinitely. They already have EMCOM networks in place. They have the capability to relay messages across the country and the world without any formal infrastructure. You're probably going to want to be able to talk to these people, but in order to do that, you'll need to know how. Getting a license means being able to learn how.

The second group of people will be figuring things out as they go, mainly through trial and error. Their rate of success will naturally be lower than that of the first group. Having a radio and an antenna is worthless if you don't know what frequencies and modes the people you want to talk to are operating on. And the sky is a big place. The second group of people will spend a lot of time stepping through the bands and calling into the dark with no reply. And how many times will two desperate survivors pass each other on a band without ever realizing how close they came to making contact?

Given the choice now, which group would you rather be in? Especially when the barrier to entry into the former group is so low? Just my $0.02 on the matter.

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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by nateted4 » Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:09 am

Hatch wrote:
Given the choice now, which group would you rather be in? Especially when the barrier to entry into the former group is so low? Just my $0.02 on the matter.

--Hatch
+1

The tech license is 35 questions designed to make sure you don't blatantly violate FCC rules in your first 5 minutes on air, can work Ohm's law, and can spell your name properly. My liberal arts educated wife did it in less than a week and a half of studying (and she really didn't put much effort into it).

It's never gonna be Fallout 3 on Main Street USA in most of our lifetimes. Tillamook will flood this spring, I can almost guarantee it. ARES will be useful in both.

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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by LowKey » Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:57 am

rpc,
There is a flaw in your analogy. If you have no idea how to drive a car and just get in and go you have a high risk of killing yourself or others*. It's unlikely that an inexperienced radio user will kill himself with his radio, and bloody well impossible to kill someone else. Not to mention that a driver's license isn't a guarantee of skill......lots of people who don't know how to drive properly have licenses. Some of them have been driving badly/dangerously for decades.

*If you've never driven a car before and start after the PAW there is some risk, but going slow and practicing in a small area go a long way towards getting the hang of it. It isn't rocket surgery. Apparently neither is HAM radio operation if you can get a license in 1 1/2 weeks.....what cereal box does the application come on? :wink: :lol:


Hatch,
I think your about spot on, but if you lack the time (for example, I'm working 15-16 hours a day 6 days a week) putting a transceiver or 2 away along with the proper reference works and manuals which you read before trying to use the gear in the PAW isn't necessarily a bad idea.

--------

Having a ham license in the PAW is a moot point. That piece of paper is worthless in and of itself. It's the training/skills you had to aquire to get it, and were able to practice after receiving it that are valuable. If you only spend the 1 1/2 weeks to pass the test and then don't get on the air and practice you'll only be 1 1/2 weeks ahead of the noob reading the manuals and opening the box his transceiver is in, kinda like the guy who goes to a Concealed Carry course and then never goes to the range again.
So lets look at the idea of keeping equipment that you don't already have skills to use.

Items/equipment you might store without knowing how to use falls into 2 categories:
1- Stuff that you can't hurt/kill yourself and others with if you completely f/u
2- Stuff that can.

Then think of the likelihood of needing or strongly wanting that equipment in a PAW.
(To answer the question of "what will you do/want to do with commo in a PAW?".....I don't know yet. Give me the scenario. Maybe ask for medical advice from a doctor 200 miles away. Maybe speak to survivors one county over about getting together to help harvest corn. Maybe I'm relaying the locations of the alien invasion force base camps to the world wide resistance. But I do know I wont be talking to anybody farther than a few hundred feet from me without a radio. That being the case, I'll try to pick up a transceiver based on what the hams recommend on their boards. Eventually. When I get around to it.)

Go through the list of equipment you have, or want to acquire, and there are probably going to be a few items you don't already know how to use, and probably wont have time to practice with until after the PAW. Maybe it's a metal lathe or milling machine you picked up at a farm auction cheap. Who knows. But sure as hell, if you don't get it now you wont have it later. You now have the potential to machine metal (hope you picked up some of that as well) when you need to make a part. Be careful and you wont loose a finger learning how to use it on your own.

I'm fairly sure most folks here have some medical supplies on hand that they don't have the skills to use properly, but have the reference works on hand just in case. They probably wont use that stuff unless there's no other choice, but they keep it to have the option available if things get bad enough.
How many folks have NBC gear that haven't had the training to go with it? How often did/do you practice those skills? Depending on circumstances you may only have 9-10 seconds to put that stuff to use. Or would anybody say it's a bad idea to keep a protective mask and filters around if you don't have the training yet?



Sorry if this comes across as grumpy, mulish, and otherwisely obstinate. I'm just tired of hearing "you shouldn't have/own that unless you've had "x" amount of training and have an "x" license/permit/certification/club membership card/secret decoder ring. To be fair, I'm also pretty tired of hearing "I have 2 gazillion dollars of gear and supplies that I ordered online and buried in the back yard without opening the box....I'M SET DUDE!!!!!"
IMHO, both of those extremes look like symptoms of cranial rectosis. Think of what skills and gear you may need, feel free to go wild and think of oddball stuff....Omega Man-last man alive "If I don't got it it doesn't exist anymore" stuff.
Then prioritize based on likelihood of need. Start at the top and work your way down, but don't pass up a deal on an item further down on the list. If you aren't 100% sure you have the skills to use the equipment, get the books at the same time and store them together. Wire tie the equipment case closed with a note to yourself that reads,"Okay dumb ass....before you go rushing off and wreck this stuff or end up cutting off something important...read the book. Twice. Slowly. Then practice....slowly. Twice. Don't fuck this up like you did your kids bike last Christmas...READ THE FREAKIN INSTRUCTIONS FIRST."

Some where along the line somebody did all of this stuff for the first time, with a high failure rate until they figured it out. I'm all for learning from their mistakes, but don't discount OJT if it needs to be done. Just be aware that it may very well bite you on the ass.


BTW...whats the worst that could happen if/when I go to use my shiny new fresh out of the bubble wrap transceiver for the first time (assuming I don't break it)? I assume Transceivers both transmit and receive, hence the name. So, I can use it to just listen, maybe learning something if I find a signal, and/or I spend weeks spinning dials (while trying to figure out the poorly translated instruction manual). I either contact someone who is as clueless as I am, or I get the attention of a ham. Hopefully in the second case I can receive him (rather than just pissing him off by walking on his signal) and he can explain to me in small words of how to communicate properly. You know....teach. This isn't the preferred method, but it's a lot better than sitting on top of a mountain somewhere wondering if there is anybody else out there. :wink: Shitty commo is better than no commo if you discover you need it.

So I'd say feel free to get a transceiver but don't get on the air without the proper license, and don't count on it working for you in the PAW without training. If you go that way it should be in the "nice to have but I can live without it category".
Rant off, and sorry for the thread derail. :oops:
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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by Hatch » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:03 am

LowKey -

I wouldn't argue that having some comm equipment now, even if you don't have a license, is necessarily a bad thing. And I'm not pushing you or anyone to get a license just to have the piece of paper. I'm only saying that you might not realize the full value and potential of that equipment you bought, or even see any use at all from it, should the time come that you need it. The goal of getting a license is just so that you can use that equipment you've got now, when you still have time and opportunity to figure things out and work through issues.

From my personal experience, I got into amateur radio just a couple years ago. I got my license and then after a considerable amount of research, I bought my first radio. Since then, it's been an evolutionary process of developing my shack based on the new things I want to do with it, and the issues I come across when using it. I've been through numerous antenna designs, for one. I've completely rebuilt and relocated my gear twice. I've redone my grounding system a few times. I've added a battery backup system, which then triggered a whole new evolutionary process as I worked through numerous issues (operating time, meters, battery booster, etc.).

Each time I ran across an issue, it almost always involved multiple hours of research to develop a course of action. Without access to the Internet, 80% of that information wouldn't have been available to me when I needed it. At this point, I'd estimate that my current setup is about 1500% more useful and effective than the original setup I started with, mostly because it's been thoroughly fielded and debugged. And I've only been able to do that because I had a license.

If I were to make an analogy, it would be to camping. You can buy a lot of camping gear, leave it in the boxes, and just have it if the SHTF. And when that time comes, you'll probably be able to figure it out. But you also might find yourself in a position where you're saying, "for what I'm doing, I should have gotten X instead of Y," or "if I had only gotten X in a bigger size, I could do Y with it, which would sure be nice right now."

It's basically like taking an untested weapon into battle, which is something that most of the folks on this forum would not recommend to anyone.

--Hatch
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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by LowKey » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:30 am

Hatch wrote:LowKey -

I wouldn't argue that having some comm equipment now, even if you don't have a license, is necessarily a bad thing. And I'm not pushing you or anyone to get a license just to have the piece of paper. I'm only saying that you might not realize the full value and potential of that equipment you bought, or even see any use at all from it, should the time come that you need it. The goal of getting a license is just so that you can use that equipment you've got now, when you still have time and opportunity to figure things out and work through issues.

From my personal experience, I got into amateur radio just a couple years ago. I got my license and then after a considerable amount of research, I bought my first radio. Since then, it's been an evolutionary process of developing my shack based on the new things I want to do with it, and the issues I come across when using it. I've been through numerous antenna designs, for one. I've completely rebuilt and relocated my gear twice. I've redone my grounding system a few times. I've added a battery backup system, which then triggered a whole new evolutionary process as I worked through numerous issues (operating time, meters, battery booster, etc.).

Each time I ran across an issue, it almost always involved multiple hours of research to develop a course of action. Without access to the Internet, 80% of that information wouldn't have been available to me when I needed it. At this point, I'd estimate that my current setup is about 1500% more useful and effective than the original setup I started with, mostly because it's been thoroughly fielded and debugged. And I've only been able to do that because I had a license.

If I were to make an analogy, it would be to camping. You can buy a lot of camping gear, leave it in the boxes, and just have it if the SHTF. And when that time comes, you'll probably be able to figure it out. But you also might find yourself in a position where you're saying, "for what I'm doing, I should have gotten X instead of Y," or "if I had only gotten X in a bigger size, I could do Y with it, which would sure be nice right now."

It's basically like taking an untested weapon into battle, which is something that most of the folks on this forum would not recommend to anyone.

--Hatch
That's why I said your previous post was about spot on (target). :D
I'd still say that in priority commo equipment (and practice with it) falls behind your food supplies (and practicing growing your food), your first aid/medical equipment (and education), your defensive/hunting weapons (and practicing with same), and your land nav skills.
Talking to people far away, even if "far away" is just 50 miles, is nice but not essential in a PAW.
Let me put it another way. If someone puts off buying the transceiver until after they get their license and the PAW comes before that, they will have ZERO chance of having commo. If they buy one when they have the spare cash on hand but not the time to take the test to obtain the license, they may later discover their equipment may not do everything they'd like, and they might be unaware of how to get the best performance out of it.....but if they can talk at all to someone with their radio they have achieved a limited success.
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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by Hatch » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:09 am

LowKey wrote:That's why I said your previous post was about spot on (target). :D
I'd still say that in priority commo equipment (and practice with it) falls behind your food supplies (and practicing growing your food), your first aid/medical equipment (and education), your defensive/hunting weapons (and practicing with same), and your land nav skills.
Talking to people far away, even if "far away" is just 50 miles, is nice but not essential in a PAW.
Let me put it another way. If someone puts off buying the transceiver until after they get their license and the PAW comes before that, they will have ZERO chance of having commo. If they buy one when they have the spare cash on hand but not the time to take the test to obtain the license, they may later discover their equipment may not do everything they'd like, and they might be unaware of how to get the best performance out of it.....but if they can talk at all to someone with their radio they have achieved a limited success.
I don't disagree with any of that.

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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by rpc » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:00 am

Apparently neither is HAM radio operation if you can get a license in 1 1/2 weeks.....
As other people have mentioned, whether or not you have a license is a non-issue. Whether or not you have some idea of what the radio's capabilities are is the issue. And to get some idea of that, you really do need to get some practice.

For example, you gave some examples of what you might need to use the radio for. Frankly, that's a lot better than most people, so I applaud you for at least giving the matter some thought. There are problems with all of your examples, that would be quite obvious if you spent some time on the air, at least just listening:
Maybe ask for medical advice from a doctor 200 miles away.
It is unrealistic to think that you would be able to use the radio for this purpose. Most doctors don't have a radio, and it's unlikely that they will be spending time on the air. Probably, you mean that you would contact someone else who would relay information to the doctor, and/or bring the doctor to the microphone. Who are the people who will do that? How will you call them? What time and frequency will you call them on? What kind of antenna will work the best for that range? What exactly will you say to make the call?

Without knowing these things, the radio won't really do you much good.

I should note that even though this is an unrealistic option for most people, I actually do have plans to speak to a doctor on the radio in the event of a disaster. But the doctor and I have times and frequencies pre-arranged so that we'll be able to contact one another. Without that information, the chances of being able to randomly contact him or any other doctor are practically zero.


Maybe speak to survivors one county over about getting together to help harvest corn.
As a ham, having spent a lot of time on the air, I actually have a good idea of what frequency I would use to call random hams one county over, with a pretty good likelihood of being able to contact someone. It's still not a guarantee that I would be able to contact some random survivor. But without having some idea of what frequency the hams one county over use normally, the chances would be zero.

Maybe I'm relaying the locations of the alien invasion force base camps to the world wide resistance.
Again, what frequency would you use to look for the world wide resistance? As a ham, I have some ideas of logical places to start.

In all of these examples, there needs to be someone at the other end to talk to. If the doctor, or the survivors in the other county, or the world wide resistance, aren't on the frequency you are using, then you're out of luck.

Again, the license does nothing to solve all of these problems, and I'm not particularly concerned about whether or not some survivor has a license. But as a practical matter, I'm never going to hear any of these non-licensed people, because if they are transmitting, they're not likely to be transmitting on any frequency that I'm listening to.

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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by Bonky » Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:40 pm

another thing I think many people are forgetting is that any means of communications left are going to be taken over by armed gangs. If you're putting out a substantial number of watts, whether you're licensed or not, you better be well-armed and have a lot of well-armed friends.

And if you're well-armed enough, YOU will be the FCC in the PAW.

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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by LowKey » Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:19 pm

*sigh* I thought we had pretty much put this one to bed.
rpc wrote:
Apparently neither is HAM radio operation if you can get a license in 1 1/2 weeks.....
As other people have mentioned, whether or not you have a license is a non-issue. Whether or not you have some idea of what the radio's capabilities are is the issue. And to get some idea of that, you really do need to get some practice.

For example, you gave some examples of what you might need to use the radio for. Frankly, that's a lot better than most people, so I applaud you for at least giving the matter some thought. There are problems with all of your examples, that would be quite obvious if you spent some time on the air, at least just listening:
Maybe ask for medical advice from a doctor 200 miles away.
It is unrealistic to think that you would be able to use the radio for this purpose. Most doctors don't have a radio, and it's unlikely that they will be spending time on the air. Probably, you mean that you would contact someone else who would relay information to the doctor, and/or bring the doctor to the microphone. Who are the people who will do that? How will you call them? What time and frequency will you call them on? What kind of antenna will work the best for that range? What exactly will you say to make the call?


Without knowing these things, the radio won't really do you much good.

I should note that even though this is an unrealistic option for most people, I actually do have plans to speak to a doctor on the radio in the event of a disaster. But the doctor and I have times and frequencies pre-arranged so that we'll be able to contact one another. Without that information, the chances of being able to randomly contact him or any other doctor are practically zero.


Maybe speak to survivors one county over about getting together to help harvest corn.
As a ham, having spent a lot of time on the air, I actually have a good idea of what frequency I would use to call random hams one county over, with a pretty good likelihood of being able to contact someone. It's still not a guarantee that I would be able to contact some random survivor. But without having some idea of what frequency the hams one county over use normally, the chances would be zero.

Maybe I'm relaying the locations of the alien invasion force base camps to the world wide resistance.
Again, what frequency would you use to look for the world wide resistance? As a ham, I have some ideas of logical places to start.

In all of these examples, there needs to be someone at the other end to talk to. If the doctor, or the survivors in the other county, or the world wide resistance, aren't on the frequency you are using, then you're out of luck.

Again, the license does nothing to solve all of these problems, and I'm not particularly concerned about whether or not some survivor has a license. But as a practical matter, I'm never going to hear any of these non-licensed people, because if they are transmitting, they're not likely to be transmitting on any frequency that I'm listening to.
rpc, apparently you think anyone who isnt a ham is incapable of figuring these things out.

I'm not a ham, but I'm fairly sure that by reading the owners manual for a transceiver I purchase I can get it operational. To find out frequencies I'd spend time surfing the individual frequencies and the bands Time consuming, but I probably wouldn't be breaking out the radio until after I'd gotten things reasonably settled in my immediate area and had some time on my hands. Oddly enough, if you are talking on the air, people can probably find your frequency with some patience.

As far as the issues you are trying to raise about relaying communications and setting up times to contact each other....are you kidding me?
Do you really think most of us couldn't work that out? Once you have contact with the other operator you deal with it the same way we relayed messages to people back in the days before cell phones. They talk to him (either in person...walk over.....walk back, "call back" , or they "hang up" on you "call" him then "call" you back.

Regretfully, many of the hams I've had contact with come across as arrogant and elitist, and seem to assume that without joining the club a transceiver will be about as useful as a brick. Most of the issues you brought up that you seem to believe will be almost insurmountable without practice before hand aren't that bloody difficult to solve with some time and patience. Not to mention that reading the manuals you've (wisely) purchased along with the transceiver should go a long way towards cluing somebody in.
:?
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Re: Why "Well in the PAW, FCC Regs are irrelevant" is wrong.

Post by PoorImpulseControl » Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:12 pm

I'm not a ham, but I'm fairly sure that by reading the owners manual for a transceiver I purchase I can get it operational.
And to sum up the discussion in a few short words:

We have no doubt that anyone of average intelligence could get a radio to transmit. We do have doubts that you'd be able to get a hold of anyone for any length of time.

Where the doubts start to manifest are the finer points of operating: Band plans, DX windows, SWR, Lightning Protection, Battling QRN (and QRM), Antenna Selection, Grounding, and mode selection...to name a few.
another thing I think many people are forgetting is that any means of communications left are going to be taken over by armed gangs. If you're putting out a substantial number of watts, whether you're licensed or not, you better be well-armed and have a lot of well-armed friends.
Interestingly enough, the people with RDF capabilities are probably people you want to be friends with.
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