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+ - Amateur radio in the backcountry? 1

Submitted by bartle
bartle (447377) writes "I currently spend a lot of time hiking in the Colorado Rockies. Cell phone reception is very unreliable and I'm curious if carrying a small amateur radio would make any sense at all. I don't want to add too much weight to my pack so I'm uninterested in carrying a radio that weighs much more than a pound; from what I gather this would give me at best 5 to 10 watts of transmitting power. I have no idea if this is enough to be effective in a mountainous region, I'm hoping some experienced Slashdot hams could give me a clue.

I'm only interested in acquiring a radio and license if it is a lot more effective and reliable than the cell phone I already carry. Otherwise I'm probably better off just waiting for Globalstar to bring back their duplex service and buy a next generation SPOT messaging device. I know some Slashdotters will want to suggest a modern SPOT or Personal Locator Beacon; these are suitable for the worst kinds of emergency but I'll point out that reliable communication can help prevent small crises from becoming big ones.

I don't expect anyone to be able to answer this question spot on but I bet there are a few Slashdotters out there with experiences they can share. Are small, amateur radios effective in the field or are vehicle rigs really the only way to go? Or am I just best off waiting for satellite?"
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Amateur radio in the backcountry?

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  • ...no.

    There's no amateur radio transceiver that weighs in at less than a pound that would give you the kind of power or reliability you're looking for. Also, unless you're willing to put in the effort to obtain at least a general class amateur radio license, you'd pretty much be limited to the VHF/UHF segments of the amateur bands, which are not good in mountainous terrain unless you are certain you'd be in range of one or more repeaters during your trips. If you were willing to learn Morse code, you would

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