Amateur Radio In the Backcountry?
bartle writes “I 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; from what I gather, a radio weighing a pound would give me at most 5 to 10 watts of transmitting power. I have no idea if this is enough to be effective in a mountainous region, and 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’ll just wait 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 emergencies, but I’ll point out that reliable communication can help prevent small crises from becoming big ones.) Are small amateur radios effective in the field, or are vehicle rigs really the only way to go? Or am I better off just waiting for satellite?”