Archives for posts with tag: HAM

There’s an interesting discussion about people’s navigation and communication preferences taking place on Reddit’s r/overlanding subreddit: CB vs HAM, HAM vs GMRS, what kind of mapping solutions like, that kind of thing.

Have a look and weigh in, if you like.

Nav/Commo setups from overlanding

My own two cents is that HAM and GMRS are actually compatible. You can tune them to the same frequency. Just look in your GMRS manual to find what frequency the channels correspond to and you’ll be able to do it. Also make sure that the privacy filter on the GMRS (sometimes called “Interference Eliminator Code”) is set to 0.


On a recent trip it became clear to me just how limited GMRS radios are in the back country. As soon as we were out of visual range of our friend Greg’s truck, and around a bend or two, we couldn’t communicate. I haven’t bothered with CB because, from what I’ve experienced, it’s just as bad.

For serious off-road communication, HAM is the way to go. Even if you’re out of radio-to-radio range (known as simplex communication), odds are you’ll still be able to communicate through a local repeater. To find a repeater near you, check this map. Radios can be handheld or truck-mounted. And high-end units can even offer GPS functionality.

To get started you’ll need a HAM radio license, something I still need to do. If you’re like me though, and want to get started, check out this excellent beginners guide to HAM radio that Chazz Layne, from Overland Journal, posted on Expedition Portal.


Photo: Flickr user, OpalMirror. Used under Creative Commons license.

There’s a Northern California HAM radio class on offer next month in the Sacramento Valley area. The class, sponsored by the Rubicon Trail Foundation, will take place on January 21st from 9:00am to 5:00pm and the test will be given on February 4th from 9:00am to about 2:00pm.

The cost of the class is $15 plus the cost of the book (ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, 2nd edition. published July 1 2010), which you’ll need to buy on your own after you register. The course instructors are adamant that you get this exact edition and publication date, as being able to follow along in the class depends on it.

Class participants will be offered group-rate prices on two radios, a Yaesu FT-60 portable and/or Yaesu FT-8800 mobile radio (the latter is pictured above).

Hat tip to Anthony for the info!

Here’s a link with info on how to register.