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Ham Radio On The Trail

Who can use a ham radio?

The simple answer is licensed amateur radio operators.

A few years back I rode in the AZT300. It is a self-supported bike race in southern remote bits of Arizona. After 8 days on the Arizona Trail, I came home with questions about emergency communications. What would happen if my spot GPS and I became separated? At the time I was not an amateur radio operator and sat there wondering what all the antennas in the distance were for.
Some were for radio and tv, but some are for the department of transportation, amateur radio, and GMRS repeaters.

How could people on the trail use these in an emergency situation?
Can you reach them with a HAM radio? Who can use a ham radio?

The real answer to the question, “Who can use a ham radio?” comes from the FCC test bank for the technician level ham radio license.

Derrick Perrin's bike on Mr Lemmon
Derrick Perrin’s Mountain Bike on Mt Lemmon, Arizona


FCC Question T2C09 – 12. Are amateur station control operators ever permitted to operate outside the frequency privileges of their license class?

  • A. Yes, but only when part of a RACES emergency plan
  • B. Yes, but only if necessary in situations involving the immediate safety of human life or protection of property
  • C. Yes, but only when part of a FEMA emergency plan
  • D. No

So if you are studying for your technician license you do not have a license at all. So this question is for everyone. The answer is “B”.

The key to the answer is that if all other communications have been tried then you ‘yes you, as in anyone without a license’ can use a radio to make emergence communication calls. Any radio, any frequency, any way how.
§ 97.403 Safety of life and protection of property. No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station of any means of radiocommunication at its disposal to provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when normal communication systems are not available.

We cant stress how important it is to have your license . Its really easy to study and test for your tech. Just do a search for the local amateur club in your area and there will be an old man there who would love to help you get setup.

How does this help on the trail?

Mountain Bike and a Ham Radio
Ham radio on a mountain bike

A good cheep radio like the BTECH UV-5X3 has 128 programmable channels that can be setup for everything from ham radio repeaters to Motorola Blister-pack family radio channels to a mix of other municipal frequencies.

2 way radio repeaters and how they work

Family – FRS & General Mobile Radio Service GMRS Bands

Just like the ham radio bands there are repeaters for the blister-pack radios. You can Google search you area for local GMRS repeater networks. Here is a video showing how to program these bands into your hand held radio.

Programming your HT for FRS and GMRS radio bands.

Do Your Homework – Read and find out what might save your ass on the trail.

So the main concept here is getting your hands on a radio and prepare by learning how it works and how you program it. I use chirp to program my handheld 2-way walkie talkies. The frequencies you put into the radio will be important. You can also program channels for scanning only. If you want to listen to the national weather service, you can do that.

Radio Frequencies I would use for the Arizona Trail.

The NOAA weather radio channels for the area

Santa Cruz County 155.71500 – County Emergency Services – EMS Dispatch 155.02500 – SCRUZ-ROADS – Public Works 155.23500 – Santa Cruz Valley USD – Schools

Nogales

154.40000 – Fire Department – F1 – Dispatch 154.43000 – Suburban Nogales FD F2 – Dispatch

Patagonia

154.41500 – Fire Department – Dispatch

Sonoita Pima County

155.22000 Sheriff- Search & Rescue volunteers 154.17500 – Fire Department – Dispatch

Mt Lemmon

146.96000 – K7UAZ Ham Repeater 224.06000 – KA7LFX Ham Repeater 151.04750 – Air Evac Medical Helicopters 155.32500 – Air Eval Tuscon All FRS and GMRS including the popular repeater pairs. Any Municipal fire or EMS that operates on FM.

This is a short list of the frequencies you should be looking for. The little handheld radios are not that powerful. The best way to operate at long range is to have a clear line of site. Make sure nothing is between you and the receiver you are trying to hit.

There are ways to upgrade the radio by installing a better antenna, or a larger battery pack. As a bikepacker, or hiker you will have to weigh in on what is important to you.

I hope this helps stir up some ideas and other ways to stay safe on your next outdoor adventure.

Can’t share or like someone to good health

Quit kidding yourself folks. Quit doing something to make yourself feel good when you can do something that matters. There is no way in hell you can share or like someone to good health. It doesn’t matter if a post gets a million likes…. nothing happens. Share it on every country. .. still nothing. You want to do something positive get down on your knees and pray. Don’t pray? Medatate or what’s the sissy thing folks say, “positive thought” Yea do that and you will be miles ahead of social crap.
These post are the 1980s version of a chain letter or the 1990s chain email. You forwarded that one email to 10 people and we’re did that get you? It got you on a shit list.

Please, please, please if you see someone in need please stop and take a second to pray.

I’m working down my list of thank you cards for folks who took time to pray of me and my family during my battle with cancer. Thank you and sorry for your soar knees.

Rant complete,
Derrick

New day, New doctor.

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Today was great. I will elaborate more later but just wanted to let everyone know we are talking with doctors this week and coming up with cancer action plans.
I didn’t hear what I wanted to hear today, but I did hear what I needed to hear today.
I’m going to get some real world work done and should have a video for you on Thursday.

Take care now
Derrick

Still Running Drugs

I’m sitting here getting a new bag and trying to figure out some research on my chemotherapy protocol.
It all seems to be uncharted territory. The protocol has only been used for 7 years so we don’t have a lot of information about long term issues that typically pop up with other chemotherapy drugs.

Take care,
Derrick

MDA Giftshop

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They sale a lot of great things in the gift shop, but this cool sticker is not one of them. To get one of these you have to go in for a few days of iv fun.

2 clots can’t keep me down.

Sorry for not updating you sooner. I’m ok and lived to enjoy my family another day. We did, and still do, have a major concern regarding my right arm. I have an IV line that was set to stay in me till the end of all my chemotherapy rounds. We have been carefully flushing and caring for it since we left MD Anderson.  Two days ago a few spots in my arm got soar. I grew up trying to be tough but life with cancer doesn’t afford me the opportunity to take one for the team and keep trucking. Any little issue is a big issue in my life. So I checked my pride at the door and went to the minor emergency center to be examined. They had concerns and bounced me for a sonogram. The sonogram tech can’t say anything but the way the scan went I could tell something was not right. They bounced me back to the urgent care clinic and they to the ER. The ER folks differed to MDA and after a while I got a blood thinning shot in the gut and a prescription to have 2 per day till I get my line checked at MD Anderson. 

So my blood is working at anticoagulation. We hope this reduces the clots and won’t lead to the clot moving to another location. I shoot up morning and night to make all this happen. I had to get over the fear associated with jabbing a sharp needle into my tummy fat and pushing a drug. Once you realize it is tummy shot or more blood clots you stick it and forget it.

So it’s somewhat normal now in Perrin Land. We were not planning on a trip to Houston till chemotherapy time, but it looks like we will be there on Monday. Plans are for me to get the pic line pulled and then catch up with Kendra and the kids at the Houston Zoo. We might make it to the Big Thicket on Tuesday if things go well. If we plan anything than being in Houston often our plans get tossed out the window and we are needed back in Houston.

Hope this fills you in. If cancer was only about taking your medication and eating right this would be easy. You have medication for you medications and a big road of unknown hurdles you have to jump. You don’t know when or if you will start to have side effects. Just a lot to learn and there is no manuals for me.

I’m on the red Kool aid

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I think it’s strawberries and cream. Feeling great today. Today is my 3rd day of good walking. No limp issues today.

This is one of 2 meds in my drip right now. Still feeling really great.

Checked in and ready for chemotherapy

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#vscocam

Sharing the view from my 15th floor penthouse suite here at MD Anderson.. This will be home the next 5 days.

Go hug your kids,
Derrick

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