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RallyX Weenie
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Discussion Starter #1
I don't know much about HAM (I borrowed one of the ARRL books from the library and got through ~1/4 of it), so I have to ask y'all-

* Is there anything wrong (or, against accepted etiquette) with listening to the rally net as a non-ham worker, service crew, etc?

* Are there listen-only devices? Or, since I'm planning on getting my license sooner rather than later, should I just pick up a mobile setup and be extra careful not to transmit? (disconnect the mic?)
 

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Open AWD Extraordinaire!
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Nothing wrong with listening at all! It's actually encouraged - it's a good way to stay informed.

If you want a listen-only device, you can get a scanner. But it's just cheaper to get a decent 50W mobile radio (like a Yaesu FT2900R or similar) and just don't plug in the handheld microphone. If you're getting your license, you're in a good place!
 

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Plus, you can legally transmit in an emergency without a license.
 

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Radioshack and eBay has fairly cheap scanners, which are receiving only devices. I highly recommend listening in to rallys to learn the lingo, defiantly fun to be able to listen on what's going on.

It is nice to have a scanner in addition to having a dedicated ham radio to be able to listen in to other frequencies at the same time, and scanners usually scan through channels faster than ham radios, or at least my yaesu unit. Also scanners usually have a wider range of frequencies that it can receive so you can pick up other radio communications.
 

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pressing on tirelessly
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Doh.

Can you switch it for an 8800 or something? The east-coasties use 2m pretty exclusively, but out here on the west coast there's a lot that happens on 70cm too.
 

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RallyX Weenie
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Discussion Starter #7
Doh.

Can you switch it for an 8800 or something? The east-coasties use 2m pretty exclusively, but out here on the west coast there's a lot that happens on 70cm too.
derp.

while I think I _could_ switch it (as far as I know it hasn't shipped yet), the 2900, antenna, and base were about the limit of my budget for this stuff right now... The 2M rig will get the ball rolling for me, get my license, and then I can always upgrade later - and it looks like I'll be at an ATC/Stop control @ Idaho, so I won't even need it there.

Are there events out west that do 70cm exclusively?
 

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NASA Rally Sport grassroots!!!
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I thought that 80% of the use of 70cm out there was solely for the separate scoring network (with the other 20% being a stage frequency) and all the actual net controls being 2m.

Anders
 

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pressing on tirelessly
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derp.

while I think I _could_ switch it (as far as I know it hasn't shipped yet), the 2900, antenna, and base were about the limit of my budget for this stuff right now... The 2M rig will get the ball rolling for me, get my license, and then I can always upgrade later - and it looks like I'll be at an ATC/Stop control @ Idaho, so I won't even need it there.

Are there events out west that do 70cm exclusively?
No. Generally events prefer 2m and use 70cm as a backup. Scoring in the SW and for Idaho and Mt. Hood is almost exclusively 70cm though, and events like Gorman and NNR use 2m<->70cm crossbanders as fill-in repeaters. I haven't seen this year's Idaho frequency list, but I know we used 70cm a bit there last year.
 

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LSPR speccie/worker & YBJ fan
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I had a handheld scanner while working a spectator point on Sat at S*D, it was AWESOME hearing all the chatter, really added to the experience. The speccies loved it, would hear a broadcast and yell out for others to hear: "Zero car on stage, get ready, cars are coming!!"

I do have my tech license, but haven't bought a radio yet. Have started to research again, leaning towards the FT-2900R. Maybe with the tax refund, although we already have a list of things to purchase depending on how much we get back...
 

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Until someone throws a few hundred my way, no ham for me but I'd sure like to. That said, I've had at least one scanner with me at STPR for a long time.

Too many times I have found that our radio folks are busy with one thing when another sneaks up. The scanners solved that problem Yes, spectators like to hear what's going on but we need to hear it even more. The ones I have cost under $100 each and have been used for years so no big deal even for my wallet.

Nice to be able to hear the net, the local LEO's (law enforcement officers), and the local fire/EMT people (not to mention NWS weather updates). Comes in very, very handy.
 

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A speaker that can be located externally of the car is also handy for radio ops...both for letting spectators or other crew members hear what's going on, and for hearing radio calls while you're over behind a tree taking a leak. ;)

I have one of these $10 PA horns for that purpose:
http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/PHS-20/20W-8-OHM-HORN-SPEAKER/1.html
It's highly efficient; a few watts of audio from the speaker jack of a mobile rig will drive it to "annoyingly loud" levels if you're in the direction it's pointed. If you buy one surplus, make sure it's a 4 or 8 ohm unit and not a high-impedance one meant to be used with a 70-volt paging system.
 

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Just a thought but there are some situations where you do not want to have spectators hear what's going out over the net. Speakers broadcasting the net need to be well thought out. It's usually not a problem but if something goes way wrong you want to be careful about starting rumors with info that isn't good. "Any publicity is good publicity" does not work for this sport.

Using a PA can be a good deal for everyone since it not only keeps folks updated but also lets people know why things don't always run on time. That can be a big help for folks who might get bored. Keeping the stage clear of specatators or others who could think everything is over and done when it's only a delay is a lifesaver.

Plus it can be a fun job for the right person.
 

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which left?
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Anything that goes over the net is public information by the very definition of amateur radio. Ops are supposed to be circumspect with what they report over the air e.g. "Car off stage 6 at 3.75 miles, instruction 12, medical required." Not that it always has been remembered in the heat of the moment, but that's human nature.
 

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Zero Cents!
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Ironically, I was having this discussion yesterday with a fellow competitor. We both have Tech tickets, and a good bit of experience around and about the rally world. However, his background is mainly competitor, whereas I spent 5ish years volunteering before having the opportunity to climb into the silly seat. As such, we had a good bit of differing views on what we "thought" would go on in a "Red Cross" situation on stage, should we be the first radio on scene.

Our conclusion is that a brief reminder in the drivers (competitors) meeting on proper practice; Stage, Mileage, Other Descriptor of locale, Help Requested, SEQUENCE Number, would be a good idea. It would only take a minute to note, and would hopefully keep transmission of non-critical/personal info to a minimum.
 

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X Mon™;411839 said:
Our conclusion is that a brief reminder in the drivers (competitors) meeting on proper practice; Stage, Mileage, Other Descriptor of locale, Help Requested, SEQUENCE Number, would be a good idea. It would only take a minute to note, and would hopefully keep transmission of non-critical/personal info to a minimum.
Good point; now that more drivers have radios informing them about proper procedures is becoming more important. This would be good stuff to put inside the route book cover, maybe?
 
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