I get this all the time:
«IRN, Zello, Teamspeak is fun, but I wanna see what you will do when the cell tower is down!»
This is bullshit! I get 99,99999% of cell signal no matter where I am. I wonder if you can reach a VHF or UHF repeater for 10% of the time of your travelling with a typical 4 Watt handheld with its rubber duck antenna. And if GSM is not available, I could use a global wifi hotspot.
Disclaimer: You may be excommunicated by the hamradio community for using satellite wifi hotspots.
Hamradio is a hobby. We don’t have to be like the ultimate emergency communications service providers. Leave it to the pros. Of course we can help with our HF and VHF/UHF as an additional resource. But on a daily basis, for the sake of talking to other hams, about technology and discussing ham topics, IRN, Echolink, Allstar, and others will do just fine.
Did you know that you need to hold a hamradio license to use IRN too, if you want to use the available hamradio RF Live channels?
«Ok, but Zello, IRN and Echolink is not hamradio!»
Yeah sure, it is written in the holy book of hamradio. “They” tell you that such systems are not hamradio, so stay away from such little systems of the devil! 🙂
This reminds me those hams that are very proud of the results of their station. As if they were the ones who built their Yaesus or Kenwoods, or Icoms and Diamond antennas. Is there any merit on that? Probably, some of them don’t even know how to calculate a dipole or never have soldered a N-Type plug properly. But that is hamradio – using a “typical” hamradio station using “off-the-shelf” gear. If you use an Icom, or a Yaesu, Kenwood, etc, and you talk to another station via radio, that is hamradio. If you use an IRN device, via the 3G or 4G network (wireless! RF, ok?) then it is not hamradio. Why? because “they” say so. And if “they” say so, it’s probably true and unquestionable.
If you want to stick to the old-school speech, that’s fine, but you will need a better excuse. Have fun and keep enjoying your “5 and 9” 10-second QSOs!
Note #1: The author of this article is 42 years old, holding a ham license since he was 16. He tried all the various modes: satellite, HF, Packet, APRS, VHF, UHF, SHF, AM/FM/SSB/CW, SSTV, ATV, EME, Echolink, IRN, and probably all the new future coming modes. – Probably, he does not have a clue about hamradio!
Note #2: This article might contain some irony. Ok. Lot’s of irony.
During the weekend, I went hiking with my wife to the Passadiços do Paiva located in the north of Portugal. Of course I wanted to take my new Radio-Tone RT4 with me. I thought the signal would be weak and impossible to connect, but I was surprised that I got 4G for most of the time. Some spots had 3G coverage only. Halfway, I got a GPRS signal only but I was still able to stay connected to the IRN.
As I explained in previous posts, to use the IRN, or Zello, a GPRS connection will do just fine. Many hams, that are still reluctant to try the IRN, always have the same old-school speech: “In case of a crisis, where cell networks are down, the IRN radios will be useless”. Well my friends, it is true. The network radios will be useless. No one is saying that IRN is here to replace conventional hamradio. It is an add-on. And now tell me. During the course of your entire life, how many times did you experience a network shortage due to a natural disaster? I know, as hams, we always have the spirit to be the last resource in providing emergency communications. Well, keep the spirit, but let yourself enjoy the IRN for the 99,9999% of the time that cell towers are at service. Take a backup VHF handheld with if you think it’s going to save your ass. Live more the present because technology is giving us hams a whole new playground that we never had access to before.
This video below shows the unboxing of a Radio-Tone RT4. In my opinion, the best handheld network radio I ever tried.
Using Zello is exciting! With a network radio like the TM-7 or the T298s is even more exciting. But if you add real world trunking end-of-transmission sounds, it will give you a sense of true radio operation.
End of any transmission (mine and 3rd party):
Start of my transmission:
Beginning of 3rd party transmission: