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Author Topic: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska  (Read 10215 times)

nkm1951

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Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« on: April 22, 2011, 09:30:51 AM »
We are taking the 5'ver on a trip to Alaska this summer and would like to know if it is worth having my 2 meter rig in the truck while we drive. Other Hams have indicated little activity on the road unless one is close to a major city. I will have my Kenwood TS-480SAT along to use as a portable rig when camping.
Thanks,

Smoky

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2011, 09:58:14 AM »
You did not mention where you are driving from.  I cannot speak for Alaska, but in the United States there are lots of minor towns that have 2 meter repeaters.  So you can have lots of interesting conversations to participate in or listen to along the way before Alaska.  Be sure to get a copy of the ARRL repeater guidebook.  They also have a compact pocket version.  You might plan your trip each day in advance by using the repeater guide to program your transceiver for upcoming repeaters.

In the old days 146.52 used to be a great simplex frequency outside of repeater coverage but I notice in recent years it is not used so often.  Still worth monitoring however or calling CQ on.  You never know what you might catch.

Smoky - W3PY
Smoky S  Ham radio - W3PY

The magic of a campfire
where the fish get bigger
the mountains get higher
the hike was uphill both ways
and new friends become old friends

2005 KSDP3910 Newmar Kountry Star
Toad - Taurus wagon w/ axle lock
On our way to the Poudre River in Colorado for the summer!

edjunior

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2011, 10:09:42 AM »
In the old days 146.52 used to be a great simplex frequency outside of repeater coverage but I notice in recent years it is not used so often.  Still worth monitoring however or calling CQ on.  You never know what you might catch.

Smoky - W3PY

Smoky..are you saying 146.52 is (or was) what Channel 19 was (or is) on a CB?  Roughly??
Ed.....KF5INW
2011 F-250 XLT, 6.7L PSD
2010 Forest River Wildcat 28RKBS
"I thought I was wrong once, but I was wrong!"

John From Detroit

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2011, 11:42:54 AM »
Let me put it this way.. When driving a lonely stretch of highway the addition of an alternative means of communication may or may not be an advantage should you break down.

But if you do not have it, then you won't have it should you need it.

Many lives have been saved because someone had a ham radio on board.   I hope you never become one of them..(That is I hope you don't need saving) but not one of the hams who have had their lives saved planned on needing it either... But they were glad they had the radio.

Heck.. I've even helped out a stranded or 3 via Ham Radio.

Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

nkm1951

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2011, 08:56:58 AM »
I should have mentioned we are leaving NW Wisconsin, travel through MN, ND, MT and then Canada and hope to be in Soldotna by Mid July. I was looking for input on communication while on the open road with other travelers between cities and towns. Most of our trip will be long stretches of road with few towns/cities. 2 meter simplex doesn't seem to be as popular as CB, so I was just wondering if I should buy a CB rather than use the 2 meter rig.

Nick/WB0PTO

JayT

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2011, 09:16:21 AM »
Why not use your TS-480 mobile then you don't have to be limited to just 2m?

Jay T - K6ruv
We have been RV'ing for 20 years and much tent camping prior to our first RV.
2008 Holiday Rambler Arista 33'
1983 CJ7 Jeep
Amateur radio operator call sign K6RUV
Home is Southern California in the Coachella Valley

Jim Godward

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2011, 10:03:36 AM »
Jay,

Don't know if you are the only driver but if not try to get a low band antenna rigged up that you can use while moblie in the RV.  Makes for a nice way to travel.  The XYL does almost all of our driving in the MH so I have a lot of time for whatever.  Few contacts on CB as that is mostly truckers.  Some on 2m and a few on 440 but few respond to travelers for some reason.  I map the repeaters along the way but still ...

Just  a thought,
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
AC7PO & KD7ZDM
Hillsboro, Oregon

John From Detroit

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2011, 11:19:10 AM »
If you are traveling with a group all licensed hams, 2mtr simplex, or even 70cm is the way to go.

If you are talking about casual pairings, then both a dual band (2mtr 70cm) ham rig and a CB is the way to go,, You may pair up on one, the other or both.

There is also a web page you must visit, no argument here you must visit it.

http://www.rodtempleton.net/ve7rjt/irlpnet.htm

There are several cities in the US which have IRLP repeaters,, You go to the web page, download and print out the "phone book" of such repeaters.

Now, if you are in range you can type in 4 (or more) digits and you connect either to a repeater near home to chat with your friends, or perhaps a reflector (Think one big party line) the Las Vegas Reflector is a good one.

Single repeaters, Like the DART (Detroit Area Repeater Team) which is in Troy Michigan, can connect to one other place at a time.. Be it another node, (if not busy) or a reflector.

Reflectors can be connected to by several nodes at one time, So you could have 20 repeaters linked through one reflector.. Kind of neat.

Been there, (Las Vegas) Done that (Linked to said reflector from the DART)

Just do not forget to 73 the connection (the phone book explains that, 73 is the hang up code for most of IRLP.)
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

JayT

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2011, 11:31:47 AM »
John......

I don't understand the reference to the url "http://www.rodtempleton.net/ve7rjt/irlpnet.htm". It goes to a promotional idea website.


73's
Jay T
We have been RV'ing for 20 years and much tent camping prior to our first RV.
2008 Holiday Rambler Arista 33'
1983 CJ7 Jeep
Amateur radio operator call sign K6RUV
Home is Southern California in the Coachella Valley

John From Detroit

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2011, 05:35:11 PM »
I do not understand that either

Should have been   http://www.irlp.net/

If that helps.

I don't know where the other URl came from  but i coupied it from my bookmerks file..
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Tony_Alberta

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2011, 07:06:15 PM »
Just a hint.  Give a long "CQ" when on repeaters or .52 outside the big city.   For example. "This is <call sign> on the xyz repeater.  Anyone around for a chat?"  This gives folks who scan a number of frequencies, including local emergency, a chance to scan through to your repeater.   Also, in this area, this used to give a local white caner a chance to get up from his living room chair to the radio and to tune to the right memory channel in his radio.   (He has since moved to the lodge so now just uses Echolink.)

When in cities with multiple repeaters I look for the <insert name of city> Amateur Radio Club.   Or something similar or a geographical name.  This is usually the cities largest club and thus has most of the folks monitoring the repeater.    As I'm sure you're aware, and it never, ever happens in your area, the other repeaters are frequently the result of a few amateurs getting a bit unreasonable and ticked off at the larger club and splintering off into their own playground.

I've had a few good chats with folks on .52 once on an area of the Yellowhead highway in the Jasper National Park where we were a good 2 hours away from the closest repeater.

That said you won't necessarily get a lot of activity during the business week due to folks who are working.

Finally consider APRS.  While there are lots of holes there are remote places with surprisingly good coverage.


Jim Godward

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2011, 09:50:31 PM »
Tony,

Good advice.  I will also add that in MT and other places that have mountains, be sure to check for PL tones as the repeaters are usually on or near mountain tops and you can get into an area with 2 or more repeaters covering part of an area.  One of our local repeaters can be heard over 100 miles away in another state.  Another repeter in still another state can be heard on the same frequency but has a dfferent PL tone.  Unfortunately many times, read that as most of the time, the PL tones are off.

The advice to state what repeater you are on is very necessary as is the long call.
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
AC7PO & KD7ZDM
Hillsboro, Oregon

summerwinds48

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2011, 09:17:32 PM »
Communicated on 20meters SSB a few years ago, with a buddy and his family who drove their Class C to Anchorage, Alaska.  Once over the great divide, had poor propagation and heard little out of him until reaching Anchorage.  He had a ham stick on the back roof while camped and an Icom 706 (100w), and I had a 3 element HF beam up about 30 ft with 600watts in South Florida.  I would certainly be prepared for trying all bands, including VHF.  You never know if locals may be listening on 2 meters.  W4ANR, Deen
« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 09:30:39 PM by summerwinds48 »

John From Detroit

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2011, 12:08:11 PM »
I will support that "All bands" Conditions vary.. I once sat in Detroit, at my Police Radio Desk, and chatted with a construction company counterpart in Anchorage Alaska on 42MHZ.  he and his could hear me clearly as could I and mine.

Now that's  what we call a band opening :)

All bands is good.. NOTE: short verticals tend to not work all that well on low bands though there is an interesting 75meter design in the current QST (Which I just got out of my mail box)  Looks easy to build.   My preferred antenna is  wire, 100' long, on one end I have a nylon line tied on, the other end of the line has an eye bolt embedded in 2 pounds of concrete (Take a kool aid, crystle lite or Wylers sugar free drink mix cylinder and fill it with concrete, shove bolt through cap, nd shove it into wet cement, apply cap, let harden, I put a nut on the bolt to help it stick in the slop)

The other end has a nylon line attached at about six feet out, the end hooks to a KAT-1 (Kenwood Auto/Antenna tuner) which is fed by my TS-2000  The nylon line goes to an open eye bolt (hook) near the roof line of the MH originally put ther for something else, then ties off to anything handy at eye level (Bike rack normally)

David & Golith style toss the weight over tree limbs

NOTE: this will nto work in Alaska (no trees)

Optionally. 12 or 18 foot painter's pole, and guy lines for the far end (This will work in Alaska)
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

thorn

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2011, 05:29:55 PM »

The Alaska IRLP reflector has a bunch of nodes (mostly on 2m) that cover a large area:

http://status.irlp.net/index.php?PSTART=11&nodeid=9070

Also:
http://www.alaskareflector.org/

Molaker

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2011, 06:51:30 PM »
Not a ham anymore, but this discussion made me curious.  Are there any licensing considerations between US ham licenses and Canadian ham licenses?  e.g. - If one holds a US ham license can you legally transmit from within Canada or visa versa?
Tom & Joyce and Ditto the "don't tell her she's a dog" Westie
U.S. Navy (Ret)
2014 Winnebago ERA 70X 24' class B Sprinter chassis

Jim Godward

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2011, 06:53:53 PM »
Not an issue anymore as cooperative agreements have been made.  Check ARRL for details, www.arrl.org

Spend the $15 or so dollars and get a new license, then you can buy all that new equipment and spur the economy!!
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
AC7PO & KD7ZDM
Hillsboro, Oregon

Molaker

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  • We don't camp. We tour.
    • Pumpkin and Us
Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2011, 06:56:55 PM »
Spend the $15 or so dollars and get a new license, then you can buy all that new equipment and spur the economy!!
Sometimes I'm tempted, but between gas prices, tires and fixin' busted stuff on my MH, I think I'm contributing to the economy about as much as I can afford. :(
Tom & Joyce and Ditto the "don't tell her she's a dog" Westie
U.S. Navy (Ret)
2014 Winnebago ERA 70X 24' class B Sprinter chassis

Jim Godward

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2011, 09:09:32 PM »
OK, just to add fuel to the fire, the Chinese have invaded the market and have introduced a dual band, 2M/440Mhz radio for just over $100 or about $200 with ALL accessories.   :)
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
AC7PO & KD7ZDM
Hillsboro, Oregon

mohamer

  • Posts: 3
Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2013, 07:22:39 PM »
Howdy,
I used to go to Alaska all the time, working.  There is a very good network of 2 metre repeaters all along the Alcan.  I would not travel the road without 2 metres in the vehicle.  8)

Just check out the frequencies ahead of time and program the radio for the trip.

73
Mohamer aka kb0ou

VA6LM

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Re: Ham Radio and drive to Alaska
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2014, 10:34:48 PM »
At night time be sure you can get on 80 meters, us Canadian hams hang out around 3.7 mhz. There are lots of lonely stretches of highway with no repeaters. When in Canada the Aurora net is on 7.050 mhz ssb.
Les M
2007 Winnebago Journey 34H
Edmonton Alberta Canada
Ham Radio VA6LM

 

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