8. Radio Range Events and Fine-Tuning

The previous article discussed choosing a channel to be the local channel for any particular area.  One person can do that for a county: any person willing to try.  Mistakes can easily be corrected, once radio operators try out their channels and report back.

Let’s assume that all interested parties have learned their local channel frequency, probably via bulletin boards or newspaper notices, as well as by notices via the calling channel.  The one additional activity needed is the radio range event.  It needs as many participants as possible to be on the air at the same time – so those times need to be published too.  Typically, an event would take perhaps half an hour at most, and choosing different times of day and days of the week should give everyone a chance to participate in at least one.

At the appointed time, people start to call on their local channel.  Just transmit your call sign 2 or 3 times, and end with the word “monitoring”.  That is a signal that you are available to talk.  Then, while you are listening, write down any call signs you hear.  At first, if there are several participants, they may interfere with each other.  Keep trying.  Soon people will come on at different times, and you will clearly hear their call signs.

After about 5 minutes of calling out yourself, change tactics.  Transmit one of the call signs you heard, 2 or 3 times, and then finish with your own call sign.  You are simply trying to confirm that he/she can hear you.  As soon as you are sure you can contact one, then try the same process with another.  And if you hear someone calling your own call sign, answer her/him.  Within half an hour or so, you should have a list of several operators with your HT’s range.  These are the ones in your personal safety radio neighborhood.

Once that event is calming down, you could try doing the same thing on the channels of areas next to yours.  This is also important, because that is how message relay would work – you want to be able to contact operators in other areas who can pass the message down the line.

Do this on several different occasions, just to catch those who could not be available the first time.

There are no other necessary organizational steps.  You now have a personal safety radio net.

True, the channel assignments may benefit from some changes, to allow for geographical and population factors.  If the person who assigned the channels to be used for these events is informed of any under-served areas, or even over-served areas, channels could be redistributed by combining some grid squares and changing other combinations.  But once operators become accustomed to listening to the HT, word will soon get out about any needed changes.  Because the areas are local, the participants themselves can look after it and negotiate any changes.  No big government or regulatory apparatus is needed to keep it going.  It is truly an independent way to contribute to your own safety.


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