here is a cross country question ... (USA)

Discussion in 'On the Road' started by KJ6FDO, May 28, 2015.

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  1. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've never used CB, but the 2m calling frequency is pretty active coast-to-coast.

    I've driven coast-to-coast on I10, I40, I80, I90...and never was out of reach of other hams on .52 on 2m. Ever.

    There are a few places where cell phones don't even work, at least last time I checked...which was 3 years ago, so it might be better now.

    I 40 doesn't quite go coast to coast, but pretty close. It ends about 100 miles inland from the Pacific. The others make it all the way.

    Be prepared in some places for 'miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles' until you're east of the Mississippi river, and then towns are closer together.

    My ex-GF from years ago contacted me to tell me about her adventure driving from L.A. to Lubbock, TX on I40. Her car broke down in Kingman, AZ...and the rest is a long story. But when you're in the middle of nowhere, be prepared.
  2. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    In the day 146.94 was a good one. Most Rock bound rigs had the 94 repeater split.

    Now Echolink works the world on a cell phone.

    That takes all of the fun out of it.
  3. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    A cell phone will give you direct access to a 911 dispatcher, quicker than relaying thru CB or 2M. Just about all of the major roads and Interstates have cell phone coverage. Try that first!

    N0TZU and N1EN like this.
  4. N7ZAL

    N7ZAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Depending on the route, there isn't always cell phone coverage, especially in the west. FYI
  5. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page


    Can not depend on credit cards working either.
  6. KK4YDR

    KK4YDR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    For fastest method of radio contact of emergency services your cell phone is the best walkie talkie. I think for best HF chances if you are ON Highway and no on backroads is going to be CB 19 but .....

    If you do use 2m simplex national calling channel make sure you are in Sideband because FM is going to get you nothing!
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
  7. AF5SX

    AF5SX Ham Member QRZ Page

    IF you had more than 2meter (ie:HF) I would recommend 14.300. As was stated above, (depending on your carrier) there are some spots with absolutely no cell service. But, 14.300 is everywhere.
  8. AC0GV

    AC0GV Ham Member QRZ Page

    As I travel around the upper Midwest I find little traffic on 2 mtrs. I have a sign on the back of my RV with my call and the freq 146.52 on it and seldom make a contact. This year I will add APRS so that I can be found if I'm in an area with that system. I do not add the -XX to my call so that people only need to enter my call and do not need the extension. finds most hams.

    I do have the REPEATER BOOK ap on my phone and find it works well if I have service. Not all repeater groups are created the same. Some welcome outsiders with open ears, others with radio silence.

    I do still run a CB in the tow vehicle for highway information and it once saved me from driving into an ice storm. CB is much different here in the upper Midwest than in the south with the 500 – 1,000 watt CB’s.

    If you need help say so on the air and people are going to answer even if they are busy, many monitor 146.52 all of the time but do not answer every general call. If you ever travel through west central Wisconsin try the 146.610 K9KGB repeater (tone 110.9).
  9. KG7TBQ

    KG7TBQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I drive I-40 (AZ & NM Section) about once a month and there is almost always someone answering calls on .520. Same goes for I-10, CA to NM. Whenever I need info for weather and traffic, I just use my smart phone. At least through Arizona and New Mexico, the cell coverage is no problem.
  10. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    As KV6O said, 911 first and foremost.

    If there is no cell service, then the best bet for 2m are usually those repeaters listed as "wide area" or "linked". As the names imply, they cover vast areas either directly or by linking, and therefore you will more likely be able to "hit" them and they will have more people listening.

    If there are particular areas you think will have no cell phone coverage, then inquire of the local hams to learn what the best options are. I regularly drive mountain highways around here with zero cell coverage and know what repeaters to have tuned in while there. Of course someone needs to be listening, which can be a problem especially late at night.

    As others said, APRS is an option but probably only as a way for people to track your route after you've gone missing. There is a voice transmission mode, but I've never had occasion to use it so I don't know how many people would have the volume up to hear it. Not many I suspect. There is an emergency beacon message option, but I think it is rarely used and mostly false alarms.

    If you are doing something like camping in remote areas, there are the satellite services which are reasonably priced like InReach and Spot, or even PLBs.

    Have a safe trip.
    N1EN and KG7TBQ like this.

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