Amateur radio operators have access to frequencies that work over long distances, bringing ham enthusiasts together and helping out during emergencies. Whether it is a natural disaster or electrical outage, amateur radio operators enable communities to stay in touch when other methods can't. TWiT also has a show called "Ham Nation" that features hosts/guests discussing the importance of ham radio and providing tips for particular situations/hardware. Check it out to learn more about amateur radio.
Lou is from the Bahamas and he's looking for a way to stay connected after a natural disaster. Leo says Satellite Phones are a good option. They aren't cheap, but if he can rent them, he can stay connected when he needs it. But a more affordable thing to do is to become a ham radio operator. He can get a handheld device and become a part of the emergency action network. Then when he needs to make a call, have a ham route the radio through to a phone. That's both affordable and valuable when there's an emergency.
James is a HAM and he wants to build a Raspberry Pi for using D-Star to run his HAM online. Leo says James will need a few extra pieces to work, but it's the ideal device for that purpose. Check out RaspberryPi.org for more information on how to use a Raspberry Pi for a host of uses. You can even use it as a computer running Linux and Windows 10.
Bob Heil is a legend in the broadcast and music recording industry. He's also an amateur radio enthusiast. He is the creator of the Heil PR40 mic, which Leo uses on the radio show. Bob is currently doing an interesting project called the Pineboard Project, which teaches people how to solder electronics. The idea is to build electronics on a pineboard to design your gear. To date, he's had over 100 people involved.
Allen is a HAM radio operator and came across a website called HamSphere. Leo says it's a software-based app for the smartphone or a Windows device so he could listen to HAM Radio using the Internet. Leo says it's a simulation, but it would allow him to talk to HAMs all over the world. It's called software-defined radio and he can even have a special call sign. It's worth a try.
Allen should check out HamNation here on TWiT. Maybe Bob Heil will talk about it.
Alan wants to get back into Ham radio and has heard about SDR, or software defined radio. Leo says that most modern radios are software defined and he can get back into it by just installing the software on his computer. Alan should check out EchoLink. He should also listen to Ham Nation on TWiT. He'll still need a license, but it's a good way to get back into it.
Marty is a Ham who uses his computer to run his Ham radio sessions. But the other day it stopped working. So now it's time to upgrade. He wants to find something inexpensive. Leo recommends the Intel NUC. It comes with everything he'll need and it doesn't take up much room. Since Marty already has the keyboard, mouse and monitor, a NUC is an ideal way to create a dedicated Ham radio computer. He may need to add a hard drive, but it's a great solution. Another option is the Raspberry Pi 3.
Joe is a HAM radio operator and he's been playing with a software defined radio. How can he recondition an old Ham Radio? Leo recommends watching HamNation on the TWiT Netcasting network. It'll give great tips and tricks from the guys who know.
Henry says that HAM Radios are becoming a lost art. Leo says that one way people can get the next generation into HAM Radio is through the Internet, where they can connect to more powerful antenna arrays and data networks. That's appealing to the younger set. HAM will die out if it doesn't evolve.