In light of our next face-to-face meetup, Ham Radio 101, this article from HackADay gives a great overview of the current state of amateur radio and how it might be used by truckers and other mobile users.
There’s a good discussion of amateur radio basics like line of sight requirements, antennas, repeaters and a variety of newer technology available.
Check out the article and then join us for Ham Radio 101 with Lynn and Jennifer Oliver O’Connell on August 31 at 7pm.
Local and Long Haul with Repeaters
Enter amateur radio. Ham radio in the long-haul trucker’s cab is a much better technical challenge. On the whole, it wouldn’t be a lot different than operating mobile like hams do every day. But most hams don’t find themselves 600 miles down the road at the end of a working day, and therein lies the challenge.
Most of the time, hams that operate on the go do so either on the 2-meter VHF band from 144 to 148 MHz, or on the 70-cm UHF band from 420 to 450 MHz. FM is generally the mode of choice in these bands, although there are plenty of other modes available to hams, including the increasingly popular digital modes like D-Star or System Fusion. But VHF and UHF signals have even worse propagation characteristics than CB — in general, the higher the frequency, the harder it is to achieve truly long-range communications via ionospheric skip. Even with the higher legal power limit enjoyed by hams on these bands, it’s really hard to reach out and touch someone directly past 10 miles or so.