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Hello,
I'm new to TTORA and haven't been on any runs yet but if I may ask for some advice?

This Saturday I'm taking my HAM Technician license test. I have been studying hard and have taken many practice tests. I think I'll do okay.
My immediate plan for getting my feet wet is to make contacts on 10 meters. I have a Yeticom Optima MkIII installed in my truck. Maybe talking to Australia could be fun.

Later when funds permit I would like to get a mobile UHF/VHF dual band radio. I understand 2 meter simplex is superior to CB or FRS radios. I am leaning towards the ICOM IC2730 or the ID5100.

The question I have is there a fairly reliable way the send short "welfare reports" to non HAM persons? I do a fair amount of solo offroading in the Central and So Cal mountains and desserts. I like to be able to give the wife updates once or twice a day. It seems common that cell phone service is available and that is the preferred method of contact. My last trip on the Mojave Road had cell service most of the way.
But if there is no cell service can the 2 meter or HF radio use some method for contact? Is D-STAR an option? I read about phone patches but I guess out of area code numbers of the repeater are not allowed.

Any ideas or suggestions are welcome. I'd also like to hear other novel ways the use HAM gear in an OHV use.

Thanks.
 

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Good luck with the test tomorrow.

Not HAM, but I've been using the SPOT Tracker for years. It's satellite based, so it works anywhere. In the tracking mode, my location is updated on a Google Map every five minutes. I can send my wife an email or text telling her everything is OK (and where I am), or I can hit other buttons to let people know I'm in trouble. A great peace of mind when I'm in a remote part of the world.

South of Todos Santos, BCS during the Baja Sur 500:

 

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Thanks...received a 100% on the test. Was pretty easy after many practice tests on QRZ.com

I was looking at these satellite text messengers.
http://www.inreachdelorme.com/

They look interesting but has a yearly subscription fee of $40 for 40 text messages. Not that that's too much money but I rarely need such a thing.

I quickly looked at the SPOT tracker...looks pretty cool. Does it have a yearly service contract? Does it have voice capability?
 

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Welcome btu44. Check out the So Cal section. Flyte74 started a Ham Radio thread that might be able to answer some of the questions regarding radios and other misc questions.

I am fairly new to the ham radio also. The So Cal group has had good experience with the Dual band or just 2m radios. With the repeaters in SoCal you can almost get by with just an HT. I have a Yeasu FT-60 and Yeasu 8800R both good radios.

Thread http://www.ttora.com/forum/showthread.php?t=219913
 

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Thanks Tacoeng. I'll check into that thread when I finally get my call sign.

I've looked at the FT-60 as my first radio. If I can find a good deal on eBay I'll go for it. Also looking at the BaoFeng BF-F8HP. It gets a lot of good reviews but I always seem to regret going cheap.
 

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Ten Meters on the current Solar Cycle is generally not going to propagate across the pacific. It could happen, strange things do. Last time the cycle was favorable, I worked Japan without issue but now, nothing. Look here: http://www.hamqsl.com/solar3.html Along the left side, look for when 10 meters is "good."

As far as sending messages, one can use APRS, mostly on 2 meter (but one can use it on other bands in the right place) and then you are line of sight for the most part, hiker to hiker, truck to truck. If there are digipeters that can be extended. If you are up very high, then you can get out very far. If that gets to an iGate, at least people can follow you. My experience is that it is not all that useful compared to a SPOT for letting folks back home know what is up. It is kind of cool on the trail to be able to “see” each other.

Details on APRS are here: http://aprs.org/

A kind of cool thread on doing APRS on the cheap is here: http://forums.oausa.net/viewtopic.php?f=124&t=3707

There is also WinLink. https://www.winlink.org/ that will let you send e-mail. It basically uses a digital mode on HF. However most if not all of the frequencies it uses are outside of the Technician Privileges. I do not believe there are any 10 meter frequencies in use. You can look here: http://www2.winlink.org:8081/listings/RmsPactorListing.aspx

Spot does have a yearly fee, around 150.00 I think . . . and insurance and such. It does not have voice though they do offer a sat phone version. They have promotional offers and such to make it affordable. I like mine, but know there are places, canyons and such, where is cannot get out either. More info: http://www.findmespot.com/

Mike is correct that in So. Cal. There are many repeaters and a few great ones (Keller, Big Bear and others) that are up high and have great coverage. I have been atop Telescope Peak in Death Valley with a handheld (HT) and gotten on the Big Bear Repeater and talked to my wife on an HT in Orange County! However, once you get in much of the back country, repeaters are gone.

BaoFengs are quirky radios and often do not last. But, I have a bunch of them! They work fine for a start. You take that with a Tram 1185 and you have a semi-reliable mobile rig that will let you talk to your group. Eventually though you’ll want the added power of a real mobile rig and the reliability of an HT from one of the usual manufacturers.
 
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