Sciencesciencehamradio

Fri Oct 9, 2015, 06:23 PM

Ham Radio Roll Call

Do you hold an Amatuer Radio license, or have a strong interest in related topics?
I earned my Technician class license in 1997, while attending electronics school.
I haven't been active recently, but made contacts on 6 meters and a skip contact to St. Martin Island once - on a C.B. radio!
Don't need your call sign, as this can reveal your real name, etc..
Brag about your equipment, your best dx contacts, etc.!
I know there are some extremely coil... er, cool stories out there from previous chats on Discussionist
A chance for a common interest to share our enthusiasm.
My only gear now is a Kaito ka 1103 sw reciever, and a pair of gmrs - frs talkies, and a pair of vintage Maxon 40 channel c.b. talkies. (Which I love when they work, but there is an intermittent tx problem.)
For sci - fi conspiracy buffs, in '97 I recieved a QSL card from the HAARP facility when they made a transmission for public relations purposes.
I got a postcard with a beautiful picture of the antenna array signed by "Michelle"
Calling CQ!

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Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply Ham Radio Roll Call (Original post)
wonderwarthog Oct 2015 OP
akaConcernedCanuk Oct 2015 #1
fools_gold Oct 2015 #4
wonderwarthog Oct 2015 #11
akaConcernedCanuk Oct 2015 #18
wonderwarthog Oct 2015 #25
akaConcernedCanuk Dec 2018 #32
spike61 Oct 2015 #2
AZ0 Oct 2015 #16
House of Roberts Oct 2015 #3
wonderwarthog Oct 2015 #12
AZ0 Oct 2015 #24
wonderwarthog Oct 2015 #27
AZ0 Oct 2015 #29
WritelyWrong Oct 2015 #5
fools_gold Oct 2015 #6
AZ0 Oct 2015 #9
wonderwarthog Oct 2015 #15
AZ0 Oct 2015 #30
wonderwarthog Oct 2015 #31
wonderwarthog Oct 2015 #10
MeatSandwich Oct 2015 #19
fools_gold Oct 2015 #21
la_tech Oct 2015 #7
wonderwarthog Oct 2015 #13
la_tech Oct 2015 #17
wonderwarthog Oct 2015 #26
MeatSandwich Oct 2015 #20
AZ0 Oct 2015 #8
wonderwarthog Oct 2015 #14
fools_gold Oct 2015 #22
AZ0 Oct 2015 #23
wonderwarthog Oct 2015 #28
oflguy Dec 2018 #33
wonderwarthog Dec 2018 #34

Response to wonderwarthog (Original post)

Fri Oct 9, 2015, 07:04 PM

1. I'm curious - is there a Ham Radio Guide for Dummies?

Seriously - I mean is there an easy way for me to familiarize myself with the workings of Ham Radio equipment - requirements for antenna, licensing and so on?

I think you know I live in the boonies - internet is pricey - cell phone service is spotty - gotta get up on my roof or to higher ground on my property to get even 40% reception - reception in the house goes from 20% at its peak, to its normal Zero.

Most of my phone calls I make on my computer using Skype - but people tell me that the reception at their end is not too great, sometimes it lags so long that they hang up before they ever hear me.

I remember working in a Northern camp in my youth - we had to string a wire for an antenna over 40 feet up a tree to use the 2-way radio we had - and it hadda be directional - climbing 5 trees to get the best direction wasn't much fun.

Anyhoo - got any info on costs, how to, whatever - or links that I could peruse to educate myself on this.

Sounds like something I could not only make use of, but enjoy



CC

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Response to akaConcernedCanuk (Reply #1)

Fri Oct 9, 2015, 08:16 PM

4. Try this link

Canadian laws and procedures are slightly different than ours.

http://wp.rac.ca/category/uncategorized/begin/

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Response to akaConcernedCanuk (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 12:11 AM

11. Hi CC!

Sorry it took this long to get back, and thanks for the reply!
Hopefully the link will help you some, and if-when I find info you may find helpful, I will get it to you!
I found the mental picture of you running a wire up through trees quite entertaining.

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Response to wonderwarthog (Reply #11)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 05:57 AM

18. Yeah - well - getting that wire up wasn't entertaining for me!

I was only 14, quite agile and a combination of fearless and foolhardy I guess.

The trees climbed were all pines - so I was a sticky mess by the time the chore was completed.

We were camped on a Lake, so a good swim and scrubbing with mud got the pine pitch off, along with a wee layer of skin in some spots.

It was an adventurous summer, I was "working" with one of my older brothers and his partner as they prospected for valuable minerals in Northern Ontario for a mining company. I was just an unpaid helper, but I loved the outdoors(still do) and my parents let me tag along with my brother and his partner for the whole summer.

The two places I remember were so remote we had to be flown in with small planes - our famous Beaver aircraft, the workhorse of bush-flyers up here, and Cessnas.

When we "decamped" we had to leave much behind because accumulated supplies were more than the aircraft could carry out, and not worth special trips to recover. Flying with a canoe strapped to one pontoon was a bit tricky - no one hadda tell me twice to keep my seat belt buckled for them trips!

This was back in the mid-60s, environmental concerns and laws now would not allow the messes we left behind back then.

I was left in camp most days while the men went into the bush - did chores like dishes, cooking, maintaining the campsite - but mostly just holidaying - spent a lot of time target shooting my .22, swimming, and boating around the small lakes in a flat-backed canoe with a 5hp motor on it - a real fun time for an independant 14 year old.

It was a fun summer pretty much



CC

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Response to akaConcernedCanuk (Reply #18)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 06:13 PM

25. thanks for sharing that

I really enjoy hearing about Canada! The director of the place I am staying at just went on a trip to Newfoundland... I got to try some moose chili!
Needless to say, I felt guilty eating Bullwinkle...
The trip you described would have been a dream come true for me at 14!

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Response to wonderwarthog (Reply #25)

Fri Dec 21, 2018, 02:25 PM

32. Ya - I know - but I hadda refresh my memory who the radio "nut" was here,

so did a search for "radio" - this is the most appropriate link so . . . oh well - bumped an old thread tho din' I?

- yeah - the radio . . . . . .



Ifn ur curious - ya can see the rest of the pix info at https://www.facebook.com/groups/rainorshinemattawa/ but you'll hafta scroll down a bit . . . .

OH - and on that "dream" summer of mine -

yeah - it was, but I didn't know it at the time . . .

anyhoo - my days were mostly my own, left in camp while my bro and his partner did the surveying - I just had a few chores like dishes, cleaning up etc, then just "whatever"

"Whatever" was usualy done "au naturel". but secretively - only going naked when the boys were gone - -

BUT - they arrived back early unbeknownst to me while I was sunbathing on a rock in the middle of the small lake . . . .

I awoke to the sound of a spinner lure landing on the rock I was lazing on, scrambled in terror as my laughing brother reeled in for another "go" at it . . . . . .

It hit the rock again as I decided to swim for shore, and it took some convincing from my brother to get back to the rock/canoe - there was no hook on the spinner . . . . . . (believe me - that don't cross ur mind when ya wake up to that situation tho . . . . )

But wow - it's one of those memories that never leaves ya . . . .



CC

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Response to wonderwarthog (Original post)

Fri Oct 9, 2015, 07:11 PM

2. Always been interested in it but never jumped in

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Response to spike61 (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 01:50 AM

16. Jump in

Getting a tech license is not hard, a few hours of study to get your license and you can transmit on UHF/VHF and the very low end of HF. The test costs about $10 and a good FT-60 costs about $150, although you can get decent chinese Baefong radios for about $35. They are UHF/VHF with just a couple of watts of power. But if you have a repeater near you, you can really reach out. The IRLP network really extends your range using repeaters hooked to the internet that can allow you to talk around the world with a hand held radio. If you have google earth on your computer, download from this link to see all the IRLP repeaters and where they are connected to... http://www.irlp.net/google.html

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Response to wonderwarthog (Original post)

Fri Oct 9, 2015, 08:07 PM

3. I got into CB radio in 1975.

I never cared to work 'skip' because it was too random. I used to go up on Monte Sano on the quiet mornings about 2am and talk to people 80-100 miles away, with a legal mobile rig. Then I met this amateur when he was in his yard tuning a two element quad for ten meters. He had a small mail order business selling these tri-band antenna kits. You supplied your own bamboo, and his kit gave instructions on how you could add strength to the bamboo with fiberglass, if you wanted. He helped me make a four element quad for 11 meters and I ran that as long as I stayed active. I still have the tube-type Lafayette Comstat 35 CB radio, though it hasn't been turned on in 30+ years. I took classes for a ham license, but had to drop out before I got good enough at receiving cw, to pass the license. They said I had the theory good enough for General Class, but I got a second shift job and met a girl, and never found time for it again.

I became a tower jockey for a while too. I probably put up 20 or so towers for other CB folk during the same time I was unemployed and taking the ham classes. The amateur that helped me build the quad taught me a lot about antennas, including how to build the gin pole you use to raise the tower pieces and then the antenna up to the top to install it. Now I get vertigo watching people on TV up high. Go figure.

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Response to House of Roberts (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 12:20 AM

12. Still love C.B.

Despite all it's detractors, for a grid down emergency or natural disaster, it is hard to beat.
The sets are cheap and require no license, in an emergency you can run one off of any 12 volt source, and as you mentioned, as elevation increases so does range.
There is almost always someone you can talk to on CB, the proliferation is a plus in a shtf situation.
And I will confess to meeting the (lost) love of my life on CB. So it holds a special place in my heart.
My baby was a Cobra 148F, with frquency display and SSB, extensively modified.

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Response to House of Roberts (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 04:27 PM

24. I too had a CB radio

in the late '70's. Mostly due to Smokey and the Bandit...

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Response to AZ0 (Reply #24)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 06:33 PM

27. mine was more due to...



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Response to wonderwarthog (Reply #27)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 07:07 PM

29. Hard to argue with that.

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Response to wonderwarthog (Original post)

Fri Oct 9, 2015, 08:21 PM

5. Getting a license in US is easier than ever

 

No more Morse code requirements. Hundreds of books and computer courses available to help you through the technical and rules you need to know. Been licensed for 20+ years, but not very radio active lately.I am mainly using VHF (50MHz & Above) but do dable in QRP operations, QRP being transmitting signals at 5 watts of less on the HF bands (25MHz and lower.)


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Response to wonderwarthog (Original post)

Fri Oct 9, 2015, 09:05 PM

6. I guess I qualify as an old timer

Hog, you already know this from our previous discussions, but for the edification of the others that may be interested:

I was first licensed as a Novice at age 12 in 1961. Upgraded to Technician a year later. My ham radio interest was partly responsible for me going into engineering and getting a degree in EE in 1970. I went into the Army Signal Corps as a 2LT for what I thought was two years. Somehow I stayed for 40 years. (How the hell did that happen?) Spent my time in the Army doing electronics stuff; startegic commo, satellites, intel, telemetry, EW, ECM and ECCM, SIGINT, ELINT and some other INTs. As usual, toward the end of my 40 years I got more and more sucked into management and consulting, but still insisted on always having a technical project to work on. The last one was developing fuel cells for tactical use.

I upgraded to Advanced Class in 1977, and Amateur Extra Class in 1993. My son, who was 13 at the time, also passed his Amateur Extra Class written test in 1993, but failed the 20 word per minute code test, so he ended up with an Advanced Class license until just recently when he upgraded to Extra Class to obtain my late father's old call sign. So he now has his granddad's (my dad's) call. We are both pretty proud of that.

I've drifted in and out of the hobby over the decades. Back in the late 80's early 90's I was heavily into it. I've done the HF and VHF/UHF thing, did contests, DX (I have talked to over 200 different countries) and played with the early amateur satellites and the first packet radio modes. Once I run up the learning curve I get bored again and lay off for awhile until something new comes along. Now I am retired and back interested again. There are a lot of new computer controlled digital modes to play with, and there is a great current interest in emergency communications, especially portable operations in field conditions in a "grid down" scenario. In fact, I will be participating in a grid down COMMEX tomorrow morning. I tell my wife that it at least keeps me out of the bars at night.

Probably more than anyone really wanted to know, but blame it on that wonder warthog. He asked!

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Response to fools_gold (Reply #6)

Fri Oct 9, 2015, 10:59 PM

9. Very interesting.

I didn't get bit by the HAM radio bug until recently although I did grow up building Heath Kit remote control projects with my dad when I was a kid. My dad was in the Army as well with the ASA which he played with com alot, but never amateur radio. When I was in the Marines I hated our com equipment. Ancient stuff (RT-246 RT-524 PRC-77) that worked only when they wanted to.

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Response to AZ0 (Reply #9)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 12:40 AM

15. saw this patch

A friend in the 90's wore his Dads fatigue shirt from Vietnam to work one day...

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Response to wonderwarthog (Reply #15)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 07:23 PM

30. Yep.

Looks familiar. Just need the spook pin.

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Response to AZ0 (Reply #30)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 08:31 PM

31. my gear box

In electronics school was a large tackle box spray painted tiger stripe camo.
The logo I sprayed on top was similar to this. .

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Response to fools_gold (Reply #6)

Fri Oct 9, 2015, 11:58 PM

10. thanks for a great post!

Sorry took so long getting back, had to make a meeting!
That certainly is as illustrious career in radio or anything else as I've heard.
The grid down scenario interests me as well.
Something I hope to delve into more deeply!

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Response to fools_gold (Reply #6)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 09:00 AM

19. I earned my Extra Class license in 1993. Having entered as a Novice in 1984.

I am 80% CW and the rest Phone. Right or wrong, I really think there should still be a CW requirement for the higher licenses (General and Extra).

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Response to MeatSandwich (Reply #19)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 09:13 AM

21. I never really got comfortable with CW

Last edited Sat Oct 10, 2015, 03:46 PM - Edit history (1)

I did it as a novice back in the 60's, of course, and passed the 20 wpm test in '93, but never really got into it. Unlike my dad, who could do a QSO at 35 wpm, carry on a conversation and watch a ball game all at the same time.

My son passed the 13 wpm code test back in '93 but not the 20 wpm test. He just recently upgraded to Extra, and he is starting to practice code again because he likes the idea of his granddad's old call being active on CW again.

I discovered the JT65-HF mode last spring and have been having fun with it. I just finished WAS in digital modes and over half way to DXCC. It is a really weak signal mode (developed for moon bounce) and can pull in DX when you can't hear a thing otherwise.

Are you very active nowadays?

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Response to wonderwarthog (Original post)

Fri Oct 9, 2015, 10:16 PM

7. I have spent far too much money at times ....

<---- radio "enthusiast". extra class. Wife is a technician and mom is a general. Repeater trustee for local club, have worked on tube type amps, tried to kill myself once with 2400v (never ever EVER work on something like that when you dont have room to work on it. I knew better and I stupidly did it anyways) and probably could assemble one from scratch given enough time, spare room, and money. First amp was a sb 200 followed by a 1000 followed by a 220 I rebuilt from scratch, and now have an an AL82. I went from a ft857 to an icom proIII with heil microphone. Hardly use the amp, just those times I just cant seem to get someone on the other side of the planet or I am leading the regional HF net in 3.965 will I turn it from standby to active.

My antennas for 80 / 40 HF I have found nothing that is as broadbanded as horse fence and looking at the construction of horse fence I can see why. Much more surface area as opposed to a single 12ga piece of copper. Also have a hex beam that covers from 20M to 6M.

I got my first CB when I was a teenager in 1996 and the first thing I did was tear it apart to see how it ticked. I grew up on electronics kits and tearing apart electronics when I was less than 10. Someone passed me a no code tech book in 96 and I studied it but never took the test until 2006. All I had to learn was the bandplans by then, I knew the RF theory and basic electronics.

General class test was ease, again just learned the band plans and the rest fell into place.

The only test I really studied for was the Extra. and even then once you memorize about 4 or 5 formulas that test also falls into place once you have learned the band plans.

Sorry, rambling.

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Response to la_tech (Reply #7)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 12:27 AM

13. great post

In electronics school, my lab partner was a "natural", much like you!
You could tell the guy what you wanted built, give him the specs, in a few days he would have it done and it would far exceed your expectations.
Thanks for sharing!

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Response to wonderwarthog (Reply #13)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 02:19 AM

17. There is a lot to learn

but it can be discouraging at times. You will occasionally meet the asshat on the air who thinks because you didn't have to take the morse code exam that you are something an order or magnitude lower than they are. Local meetings can be hit or miss .... I have found some knowledgeable people who could build an antenna out of scrap into some pretty complicated designs, and then I find general class people who cant for the life of them solder a PL or N connector onto a piece of coax, then there is that class of hams that all they carry is a 2M radio with 10000 antennas on their vehicle who in their mind know everything there is to know, yet cant solder, build, troubleshoot, tune a tube style amp, and cannot operate their radio, but want to run everyone elses rigs.

I know and have done a lot in my radio "career" and some of which carried over to my job with programming / installing / maintaining our commercial UHF radio system. But ultimately the "politics" forced me out of the local clubs. Much like this message board once people get divided its hard to get everyone back in harmony and things just fall apart. The last straw for me was Field Day 2012, as I was the technical glue that held that event together, 2 members got in a pissing / shouting / ugly contest over a bag of sugar that belonged to the club that one member used because it was getting hard and bought a bag to replace it at the next meeting and the other member saw that as theft. I havent been to a meeting since.

That is the bad part of the hobby, but the good part is you will learn a lot, and if your interested enough you will be amazed where you can talk with a simple strange looking antenna and a watt of power, especially on digital modes. My first DX contact was panama on 10M as a technician on the CW portion of the band on PSK31. That is also my favorite operating mode come field day.

Alas I loaned my pro3 to my mother after her kenwood would not stay on frequency (older unit notorious for frequency drift) and 3 weeks later it died a spectacular death in a lightning storm before she could get it unplugged from the antenna. No replacement parts and her insurance paid for it. I took that money and paid off what was left on my car. I havent had an HF radio in a couple of years now, all I have is a dual band in my car. I miss it but like any other hobby good equipment is expensive and right now I dont have it, and I refuse to go in half baked and wish I had waited until I could afford what I want.

Yes rambling again.

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Response to la_tech (Reply #17)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 06:19 PM

26. saw the same thing

When I went to the ham meetings at the Red Cross and the local club.
I don't have anything like your level of tech expertise, but I didn't need it to see the petty stuff going on there. So no Elmer for me.

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Response to la_tech (Reply #7)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 09:02 AM

20. I actually found the Advanced exam to be harder than the Extra.

And back then there was still the 20 wpm CW test for Extra.

The only test I really studied for was the Extra. and even then once you memorize about 4 or 5 formulas that test also falls into place once you have learned the band plans.

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Response to wonderwarthog (Original post)

Fri Oct 9, 2015, 10:44 PM

8. I've had my general class license

for about 5 years. I have a Yaesu 857D all band radio (MARS/CAP modified) in my truck with simple ham stick antennas 10m to 80m. I have a portable antenna setup for fixed locations using a G5RV wire antenna, camo net fiberglass poles that puts it up 24' in the air which can be set up in about 30 minutes and is all packed in single bag. I also have a couple of Yaesu FT-60's 2m/70cm. Got into it for work, my company participates in emergency preparedness and response with governmental agencies. I've actually enjoyed jaw jacking with people around the world while driving in my truck. I've made HF DX contacts (17m, 20m, 40m) to the Falklands, Japan, the middle east, and most European countries. It is a fun hobby that has great value in an emergency when phone and cell goes down on a regional basis during a disaster.

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Response to AZ0 (Reply #8)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 12:31 AM

14. thanks for sharing

A great post!
Made my heart pound faster hearing about a real mobile shtf setup!
Hope to get something together myself in the near future!

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Response to AZ0 (Reply #8)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 09:19 AM

22. I had a Kenwood TS-140S in my pickup truck

for 25 years or so. With it and a Hustler ball mount and mobile whips I worked 40 something DXCC countries, mostly sitting in grocery store parking lots waiting for my wife. Back in the '89-'91 sunspot peak when I had a 3 hour commute each day I worked a LOT of DX on 10m. I haven't seen such propagation since.

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Response to fools_gold (Reply #22)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 02:42 PM

23. The HF propagation

seems to be declining the past few years. I had an Elmer help me get my truck rig set up and tune my antennas and he did mention that in '90 you could transmit around the world with 5 watts and a wet noodle for an antenna.

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Response to fools_gold (Reply #22)

Sat Oct 10, 2015, 06:40 PM

28. I was working in defense aerospace

And had the little Cobra 148F in an 82 AMC Eagle.
Was on 3rd shift, on the way home at sunrise on the freeband I heard a black guy with a British acent. We exchanged pleasantries, he was in St Martins Island!

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Response to wonderwarthog (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2018, 09:28 PM

33. After Katrina, I volunteered to work at a Red Cross shelter

The only communication we had was with volunteer ham radio operators. Cell phones were not working and needless to say, telephones were useless.

They set up communications between shelters and the home office with generators for power. We had no electricity either, of course.

The Red cross has its own HF frequency, but upper management foolishly did not cultivate it with radios and training. I remember the conversation well I had with the Southwest Louisiana director, who insisted cell phones would be perfectly fine in the aftermath of a hurricane.

Well, she was wrong.

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Response to oflguy (Reply #33)

Sat Dec 22, 2018, 02:31 PM

34. Thanks!


My understanding is there was a similar situation in NYC on 911.

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