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Emergency communication-how to choose the right walkie-talkie?

Date:Jan 08, 2021

The walkie-talkie is the symbol of HAM, and it is also the main advantage of HAM in communication. In a disaster environment, the walkie-talkie can play a special role. First of all, HAM can use the walkie-talkie to report safety to each other through the usual amateur frequency, and understand the general situation of the local area, so that it is convenient for nearby HAMs to help each other.


At the same time, we can convene the HAM with spare capacity through the walkie-talkie to provide temporary emergency communication services. As the saying goes, "Many people are powerful", and the same is true for amateur radio emergency communications. Together, HAM can develop personal self-help communications into emergency communications for public services. It is based on handheld radios and cooperates with medium and long-distance vehicle radios and relays. Stations and shortwave stations expand the communication distance and level to establish communication with the outside world, and provide communication support for some private spontaneous disaster relief activities and teams. Secondly, when HAM is in distress, if the mobile phone cannot be used, but there is no satellite phone on hand, then the walkie-talkie is your good communication tool for help. Walkie-talkies are not restricted by base stations, and some walkie-talkies used by rescue teams and governments may be on adjacent channels.


The number of walkie-talkies used as emergency communications is not in large numbers, but in "precision". Generally, one or two high-performance walkie-talkies can be prepared. Excessive numbers increase the carrying weight and volume on the one hand, and on the other hand, they are not very useful for personal communication. The same weight load is not as good as a few more batteries. The requirements for emergency communication walkie-talkies are ruggedness, wide frequency range, manual and continuously adjustable frequency, power-saving work, and long standby time. If there is a matching handheld microphone, it is best to have one.


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Due to the harsh environment after the disaster, it is also easy to encounter severe weather such as rain and snow, so the walkie-talkie used in this case should be sturdy and durable, plus waterproof and large-volume models, so that you can try to avoid falling or water. . When the fully waterproof model is in use, if it accidentally falls into a pond or is drenched by heavy rain, it can still work normally. The walkie-talkie with wide working frequency is convenient to use with walkie-talkies of other departments, and can even quickly set the frequency used by professional rescue teams, and provide them as material support to rescue teams.


Domestic conventional civil voice communications are generally concentrated in 150MHz and 400MHz, so the dual-band walkie-talkies of amateur radio stations just cover these frequency bands. If you are trapped in distress, an amateur walkie-talkie with a wide working frequency can cooperate with the frequency scanning function to search for the signals of the walkie-talkies in use nearby, and then insert a call for help urgently. At this time, the manual frequency setting and frequency scanning function of the walkie-talkie are very important. This is also the strengths of amateur radios and the shortcomings of professional walkie-talkies. It is hard to imagine that when HAM is in distress, there is still a chance to turn on the computer to set the frequency for the professional walkie-talkie.


There have been such lessons in foreign countries. After the emergency, some government relay stations were damaged and unusable. The local police's walkie-talkies switched to the preset standby direct-frequency communication state for communication. However, due to the support of the police and relevant departments Each uses professional phones of different frequencies. In the temporary rescue team, the walkie-talkies of the units cannot communicate with each other, nor can they find a common channel, which has become a real "eye blind". Later, the federal government required manufacturers to add a special function when purchasing walkie-talkies, that is, the panel programming function (called FPP function on some professional walkie-talkies). The regulations require that in an emergency, the walkie-talkie can change the frequency and parameter settings of the walkie-talkie without going through the computer and other auxiliary equipment, and can be used for rapid networking. After the disaster, we usually encounter the problem of power shortage, which means that the walkie-talkie cannot be easily charged anytime and anywhere, so the walkie-talkie itself is required to have low power consumption, large battery capacity, and long standby time.


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It is better for the walkie-talkie to have the function of multi-level adjustable transmission power, so that we can use low power transmission to reduce power consumption and win more talk and standby time under the premise of ensuring communication. If the area where you live is not very cold, the author recommends that you use lithium battery boards. Although ordinary lithium batteries are not very good at low temperature, they have the advantages of low self-discharge rate, light weight, and high capacity, which are suitable for long-term standby status. In cold areas, you can consider nickel-cadmium batteries. Its low temperature characteristics are relatively good. At the same time, you can prepare some warmers. In emergency, you can warm up and heat up the machine, killing two birds with one stone.


Some walkie-talkies provide an optional AA battery box, which is very useful in emergency use. It is relatively easy to get replenishment with disposable AA batteries. In summary, HAM can choose IP68 waterproof walkie-talkies when choosing emergency walkie-talkies. They are not only waterproof, but most of them have reached a certain level of US military standard design. They are no less than some professional walkie-talkies in terms of impact and dust resistance. The most important thing is that they have a wide frequency working range and frequency sweep function.


Relatively speaking, although the big-name professional walkie-talkies admired by fans of some brands are sturdy and durable, and some of them have added the FPP panel frequency setting function, they are far from comparable to amateur radio models in terms of working frequency range and flexibility. It has the function of continuous frequency scanning (only the channels that have been programmed can be scanned), and many old models have general waterproof and airtightness. This type of walkie-talkie may be good for use as a highly independent national professional rescue team and fire brigade, but it is not suitable for emergency use where individuals and HAM pursue high compatibility.


In addition, if you do not have a fully waterproof walkie-talkie, you can prepare a waterproof plastic bag or plastic wrap for the walkie-talkie. Wrap them around the machine as a practical way to prevent rain. The plastic bag is very light and easy to be placed in the gap. This small thing is widely used in emergency situations. We might as well prepare more when configuring equipment.