the sister nets - World
Radio Network and World Friendship Net
by the Western Reflector and IRLP
THERE IS A
GREAT VARIETY OF INFORMATION ON OUR NETS
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Ham Radio is
not free. How much does it cost?
are 2 basic areas of ham radio to be concerned about.
HF bands are operated very differently from VHF/UHF.
You probably know the cost of getting into HF. And you can talk all
over the world direct ham to ham.
discussion will be limited to the VHF/UHF world due to the many new
hams joining the hobby as techs.
you can get on the radio essentially for free by using your computer,
tablet or smart phone.
And you can buy a radio for under $50 to talk to other hams.
VHF/UHF radios do not transmit over long distances.
Therefore for you to be able to talk to other hams in other areas,
you need to use a repeater or the Internet or programs like Echolink.
how much does what cost? There are a number of costs involved in providing
VHF/UHF amateur radio to the general ham world.
consider a repeater that allows you to talk over longer distances.
Repeaters are commercial radios that someone bought. Maybe an old
commercial discard & maybe a new state of the art one but someone
paid for it. Then there are antennas, connectors and coax. All things
we are all familiar with but frequently better quality for a repeater
and therefore more costly. Then there are ancillary costs associated.
The location may have a cost. The electricity has to be provided.
If there is an Internet connection, that too has a price. Sometimes
just making a trip to the site is costly.
consider the methods for connecting multiple systems together. Many
repeaters are connected via IRLP or Allstar or other means to the
rest of the world. One example is connecting a repeater to Echolink.
Echolink charges $40/year for each connection. In the case of the
Western Reflector, there are 40 such connections. Look at WWW.NARRI.ORG
to see the extent of the system.
there are other systems out there. Some are just a system of connected
repeaters like the Win system. Check their info at www.winsystems.org.
of these systems use Echolink, some do not. But most connected systems
use the Internet today and that is not cheap.
at the many conferences on Echolink like Handihams, Michigan, Alaska
Morning Net (on WL7LP-R).
Every one of these has someone or a group paying the way.
is my hobby free? Not really. Without these generous hams all over
providing the equipment and services we use, we would basically just
have walky talkies. Next time you key up your radio and converse with
someone, stop and thank the folks behind the connections.
way to thank them is by donating to the system. Some of the systems
ask for membership. NARRI and WIN both offer an annual membership