I'm leaving for an Alaska cruise this Saturday.
A friend has suggested that I take an HT with me.
I've not been on 2 meters since my AM days 37 years ago.
He recommended the Kenwood TH-F6A as a great tri-band HT with wide-band receiver, including AM and SSB reception.
I know next to nothing about repeater operations. I did find several listings for Alaskan repeaters.
It's not too late for me to have one of these units overnighted to me.
It's a vacation with my wife, and of course we're going to be having a lot of fun together, but I'm an early to bed, early to rise guy. I'll be waking at 4-5 or so each morning, even earlier considering the time difference. I started thinking about being up so early, no rig, no computer, no garage, etc, etc....so what the heck am I going to do until the rest of the ship starts waking up??
I hate to get the HT and not find any activity, and though I do have a brain, I won't be in contact with anyone if I need help setting the unit up for whatever repeaters I may be able to access.
I guess I'm wondering if it is worth it?
Any replies will be appreciated.
I say go for it, although you may not find a lot of folk to talk to. Most just seem to "lurk". I did the same thing during a trip to MN with some results - maybe 6 QSOs, but did meet a few locals. But I kind of wanted an HT anyway, for when there's bad weather or the phone or power goes out.
Strongly recommend you also get the Repeater Mapbood Directory from ArtSci publishing (The WorldRadio guys). It includes PL tones and most of the repeaters. Not as complete or accurate as the ARRL Directory, but it has maps showing repeater locations, which is useful if you're unfamiliar with the local geography and will probably be good enough for your purposes.
[EDIT] Also take the manual or a cheat sheet with you so you'll have a clue how to operate the darned thing. These critters ain't gooney boxes, and operation is not intuitive!
Ham radio is something you DO and LEARN. NOT something you BUY!
One of the biggest difficulties is to operate legally.
Our FCC rules requires us to get permission form "the master of the ship" to transmit from a ship. It doesn't matter if the ship is in international waters, we are still required by the regulations of our license to get that permission.
Most people find it difficult or impossible to get that permission. I tried on two cruises and got "NO". One reply said my 70 cm transmission COULD interfer with their navigation equipment.
However, I was able to have fun when I left the ship and used it on land. But that is yet another big hassle. If you go ashore on non-US countries, then to be legal you need whatever kind of permission (license, temperory permit, etc.) they require. That takes a lot of time to line up. However, we have a nice agreement with Canada and you don't need any pre-approval. Check the ARRL web site on the simple operating instructions you need to follow in Canada.
Any US possession, territory or state will not require any pre-approval.
I had a lot of fun on a carribean crusie. When landing on US soil (Virgian Islands, etc.) I could reach repeaters on other near-by islands that were not on US soil. Perfectly legal when operating on US soil.
Good luck and hope this works out for you.
Thanks for the replies guys...quite helpful.
I knew that I would need permission to operate on the ship, and had thought I'd just ask when we first boarded, but I hadn't thought about it likely being a "no" answer! And sure, I could use it when we go ashore, but frankly the wife and I will be doing other things and I won't be playing ham radio then. Was mostly thinking about late night and early morning, which will be aboard the ship.
The unit I'm considering is not cheap, especially shipping for next day, and if it's likely that I couldn't get permission for shipboard operation, then it's not worth it for me.
But then again I could SWL or tune in some FM station....might be better than nothing!
Ah well, need to think about it a little more. Thanks again guys!
You'll probably find a lot more people up and about in the early hours than you suppose.
We took a HT to Hawaii, and the range from the top of the Haliakala volcano (10,000+ ft.) was astounding. Several of the locals thought I was putting them on, until I mailed out QSLs. Sad to say, quite a few of the repeater OPs seemed VHF illiterate -- and this was 15 years ago!
"Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty."
John Basil Barnhill
"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."
I recently went on a cruise to Alaska and was contemplating bringing either an FT817 or a TH-F6A. I chickened out and decided to bring neither- the security line at the airport and on the ship are becoming more and more draconian. Would hate to have them confiscated or otherwise missing.
Enjoy the cruise. It will be fantastic.
Your cruise is easier than many. First of all, to operate (i.e., transmit legally) while aboard, you MUST obtain permission from the "Master of the Ship," which is often considered the Captain, or whomever He delegates; it's not YOUR choice to just ask some ship's officer for permission.
Land operations are simple: Canada and the U.S. have a recipricol agreement; all you need is your license (laminate the "wallet size" original and carry it with you,) your passport (necessary now for all travel) and it would be very prudent to take along a "proof of purchase" or "proof of ownership" copy (sales receipt, etc.) or some document showing the serial number of your radio so there's no question when Customs asks about bringing anything into or out of either country. In Alaska, you would operate normally, as you do anywhere else in the U.S. in Canada, you will have to ID properly. (Check the ARRL web site for the proper way to ID; you may also have to give an approximate geographic location as well as station ID as foreign ops must do in the U.S., but you have to follow Canadian rules. With a normal, U.S. H-T (unmodified) you shouldn't have to worry about power limits or different frequency allocations.)
Fortunately, it's a lot easier today, at least for Europe and the Americas.
Originally Posted by [b
US citizen amateurs with a US license can operate in CEPT countries without any special license, just their home license and a copy of the CEPT agreement (printed from the internet).
Similarly, US citizen amateurs can operate in several countries in the Americas with an IARP - easy to obtain, and it's from ARRL, not the FCC.
Since you asked for opinions, here's mine: Just ask yourself one question.
Am I going on a cruise to play radio or just to enjoy the actual cruise?
If playing radio was your main intent, then a cruise to KL7 seems a bit weird, especially if a VHF/UHF radio would be your only equipment. If you wanted to operate /KL7 on HF, well that might be a different story...
Then, there's the other folks to consider. You don't mention whether anyone is going along with you. If you are accompanied by a friend or significant other, then thats where your attention should be, not on trying to get into repeaters along the way.
I had a friend mention this just last night. Seems that his "significant other" has rented a romantic getaway cabin on the ocean for the week end. He was wondering if he should put an HF rig in the car because propagation was so good at the beach.
Somehow, I don't think that's why his girlfriend rented the cottage...
I'm just saying!
At any rate, do what makes you feel good, and have a great time. I'm planning to do that Alaskan cruise thing myself next season.
With the XYL.
And no radio!
As noted earlier, I am well aware of this requirement. When I stated "ask when I first board", I was just generalizing. I would actually ask that a request be forwarded to the captain for permission to operate.
Originally Posted by [b
Thanks for you reply.