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purchase and use of BaoFeng two-way radios

BaoFeng UV-82HP$62.89UHF / VHF128 ChannelsOutput: 7 Watts I have helped well over a dozen people earn their amateur radio licenses. But I recognize the effort to study for, and pass the FCC exam is not for everybody. Much more accessible is The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) licensed radio service. A $70 FCC GMRS license has no testing requirements and covers your entire family’s use for 5 years. BAOFENG makes good, affordable radios that can listen to several other bands and legally enable you to transmit, that is communicate, via GMRS channels. Significantly, unlike the inexpensive blister-pack big-box-store radios, these transmit at much higher powers, and are capable of utilizing repeaters for long-distance communications. My favorite of their current offerings […]

mapping your neighborhood

Having the right resources in the right places is the essence of surviving and thriving. Disasters challenge that pleasant place. Proper planning includes mapping resources and features that may be useful to your community in emergencies. Also valuable is placing on that map any threats you know of, along with potential avenues for likely threats. Obviously, so you can plan to minimize their negative impacts on your community. This is a big topic that deserves thought, planning, organization from a handful of proactive, foresightful neighbors. While I can’t help you with that, I can point you to a couple of hugely valuable resources. Samuel Culper publishing in Forward Observer offers A Primer on Tactical Intelligence Collection that is a prize […]

more local dam news

Painted Rocks dam – with no overflow systemIn honor of California’s dam problems, the local Ravalli Republic newspaper just published an article on The Painted Rocks dam. Probably more thanks to the agitation of Dallas Erickson than the threatening disaster of Oroville. If you have been watching the unfolding drama as the crumbling dam gets pushed to, and perhaps beyond its limit, you know that the main spillway damage first observed 4 years ago has now rendered that spillway hazardous to use. The emergency overflow was deemed inadequate and unusable 12 years ago. Surprise, surprise, surprise, turns out that it is indeed unusable without catastrophic erosion. Several years ago, California politicians pushed through a “water bond” to fix aging and […]

dam threatens Bitterroot

I have published 6 articles in the last 3 years about the risk posed downstream from the Painted Rocks dam reservoir. A couple of them were from when I was attempting to work with the Ravalli County Office of Emergency Services. Bitterroot Bugle previous articles on Painted Rocks I cannot forget how my meeting with the head and his assistant went. The assistant, by the way, is now the agency chief. “ According to your data, a Painted Rocks Dam failure would put a 20-40 foot wall of water through The West Fork, Conner and Darby, and 20 feet through Hamilton. Do you believe that assesment? Well, we aren’t engineers, but yes, we believe their analysis. That would mean perhaps […]

Darby ham radio classes

Earn Your FCC Amateur Radio License HAM radios can communicate across the yard and around the world. They reach places, and in times when no other form of communication available to us can. Yes, there is a test. Everyone in my study groups has passed those tests. Amateur radio license categories are Technician, General, and Amateur Extra, with the knowledge and testing requirements going up as the licensed uses expand. This course will focus on achieving passing grades on the Technician exam, with appropriate understanding of the knowledge expected of Tech-licensed radio operators. Our textbook will be the ARRL Technician Class License Manual. It includes all the information you need to correctly answer every test question, along with text of […]

Darby Dog Derby … after action report

The Bitterroot Mushers put on another fun and interesting dog sledding and skijorning event last weekend (Jan 14-15, 2017). Brandi and Nicki do an impressive job of pulling this event together and making it run smoothly and efficiently. I was happily able to provide radio communications to and from workers spread out over 30 miles of mountain trails. My hero on the comms side is Rick who both days hitched a ride on a snowmobile to the COLD mountain top where he set up the radio repeater that enabled signals from hand-held radios reach to and from the entire course. I spent most of the two days in The Beast where I could monitor all the radios. I deployed […]

sled dog racing

The 10th Annual Darby Dog Derby will take place January 14th & 15th, 2017 at Lost Trail Pass at Gibbons Pass Road. The Bitterroot Mushers club created this exciting, fun event. Go to their website for more information. Pay particular attention to the spectator information. The energy of nearly 100 high-performance, high-strung dogs is impressive. Be there for the start of the first races, on through the last. It is a sight, and moreso, a sound you won’t forget. This is my fourth time leading a team of radio operators to provide communications up and down the mountains. This is a perfect example of amateur radio serving where nothing else will do. We are pleased to add a measure of […]

up your comms

I have spent the last half-dozen years improving my ability to support community communications. Well, more accurately, I spent a tiny fraction of my time and brain power learning 2-way radio … As I do with nearly everything else in my life: Jack of all trades; master of none. This morning I was guided to an excellent overview article with links covering what SOMEONE in every community needs to know before we can consider comms covered. Crumb! I have a long ways to go, yet I want it all NOW. That leaves me three choices: 1) Get cracking; focus on my radio studies and applications 2) Recruit, encourage and support a real radio operator in our area 3) Lower my […]