Amature radio

Canoe Shelburne

Curious about Wooden Canoes
I was wondering how many people out there carry ham radios with them??
I never go out without one. In 2008 while preparing for a 6 to 7 day canoe trip down the Shelburne River in Nova Scotia. This is a trip through the remotest part of the province. I had the though "What if we get into trouble on day 1 or 2. It would be a week before anyone would think to look for us" So I began to consider my options. I looked at the spot but I did not appeal to me. I did not like the idea of a annnual subscription. I new that cell was not a viable option. Then I friend suggested getting my Amature radio licence. It was free to get you have it for life. You just need to pass a written test. I was able to get a Yaesu VX-150 hand held radio for $100 second hand. Now while on trips I plan to check in every evening with someone to let them know that all is well and if a emergency situation happens I can call for help. In all the trips thatI have been on since I have never had any trouble making contact with some one no matter where I was and to date I have not been in an emergency situation.

For more info about my travels check my website
I don't regularly carry a radio in my canoe but the back cover of the 1925 Old Town Canoe Company catalog attached below indicates that this might have been more popular in the past.



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A hand-held 2-meter unit is line-of-sight communication and very limited by power output, small antenna, and terrain interference. If the party you're planning on checking in with is more than a few miles away you probably won't reach them unless you're able to hit a repeater from your location. If you really want back-country communication you'll need HF which means a larger mobile unit, battery pack, and antenna(s). They're a little smaller than the one on the back of the catalog Benson posted ;) but still more space and weight than I would want to drag around. The annual subscription for a Spot is cheap insurance when you're miles from nowhere in an emergency situation.

Regarding a scheduled nightly check-in, make sure the person you're planning on checking in with knows the limitations of 2-meter comms in remote areas or you may end up getting a bill for the SAR mission they launch!
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