Monday, December 29, 2014

8 Watts is the new Black

In the fashion world, a trendy fabric, a stylish new cut, an innovative design becomes the next big trend... it becomes the "New Black".
With handheld Ham Radios, it appears 8 watts is currently the New Black, and from all indications, it's quickly establishing a benchmark in performance that defines "the next new thing."

Within recent months a series of handheld radios have entered the market with one defining difference, greater output transmit power. Normally, .5 watts, 1 watt, or 4 watts is the standard output depending on make & manufacturer, a range that pretty much has been a given standard industry wide.
But with Chinese Manufacturer Baofang/Pofung offering hand held radios with twice as much output power, that standard is now, "old fashioned."

Here's a short list of new "Blowtorch" handhelds available...

BaoFeng BF-F8HP

Seems strange. This radio has only been out for 3 months, and it's now the "Grand Old Man" of 8-watt handhelds. Baofeng's BF-F8HP debuted mid August 2014, to rave reviews &  tremendous demand. An upgrade of the UV-5R model, it rolled out new firmware, a new antenna & a great new user manual that actually makes sense. Just recently the BF-F8HP has been upgraded with a new stock heavy duty 2000 mAh Battery.

Baofeng PoFung GT-3TP Mark-III

The earlier GT-3 model's biggest difference from the UV-5R line was it's cosemeticly redesigned two-tone case. But just in time for Christmas it got a new name and 3 new power modes: 1,4 & 8 watts.
offered by "Baofeng Radio US", Houston TX based Foscam Digital Technologies LLC.
The BF-F9 V2+HP is a stock BF-F9 model, with the ti-power upgrade. That & along with more letters & numbers to it's name. Most notable unique selling point? Offering models in Black, Blue, Red, Yellow & Green Camouflage color cases.

Doubling output power to 8 watts essentially adds 2.5 dB. in transmitted signal strength. In practical terms, it makes for a louder signal, offering greater range.  The trade off is greater demand upon the radio's battery. Naturally, more output power means quicker battery drain, so it should be noted, only the BF-F8HP is currently offered with a larger capacity battery as stock. (In time, that too will change).

Maybe someday in style again...

Will 8 watts become the new "Standard" in Handheld Ham Radios? A closet full of Neru Jackets is betting on seeing more powerful handheld radios being offered by other manufacturers in time. 8 watts of output power is fashionable for the moment. As fashion statements go, it is indeed a powerful one.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Preppers Last Minute List of Christmas Stocking Stuffers

If you've been a good little boy or girl, you might expect good things to appear in your Christmas Stocking on Christmas Day. If you were a good little boy or girl PREPPER... little handy "gadgets" in your sock means you've been VERY good!.

Here's short list of stocking stuffers that would bring a smile on any Preppers face...

MPOWERD Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern

You may have seen these on the internet, but it's not until you have one in your hand do you realize how such a game-changer this little blow-up solar powered light really is. With 10 hi-intensity LED lights, the Luci illuminates the dark as a collapsable can-shaped clear vinyl lamp, that deflates flat. You can pack a dozen Luci's in the same space of a stack of DVD's, After a couple hours out in the sun, the energy efficient Luci keeps the dark away. Available Here

Replica Ships Radio Room / Cream Wall Clock

In the golden days of Transoceanic Steamships, the Radio Room Telegraph Office was a busy place as Morse code operators sent messages from ship to shore. This replica of a Ships Radio Room Clock shows the time on the dial when operators were required to be silent to listen for distress signals. Uses 1 AA Battery Available Here

Water & Wood Multi Tool Set Adjustable Screwdriver/Wrench Jaw Pliers & Survival Emergency Gear

A pocket-sized multi-tool with a crescent wrench instead of a pair of needle nose! Not just your typical multi-tool! Available Here

A world spanning shortwave radio that fits inside your shirt pocket, and  in Fire Engine Red to boot! Don't leave home without the ability to catch news & weather reports or enjoy some tunes. AM/FM & 2 Shortwave bands. Available Here

Monday, December 8, 2014

Getting the Word Out by the Numbers

Scattered across the shortwave radio bands, often on the fringe of broadcast portions of AM shortwave, or Amateur Radio allocated frequencies, are mysterious signals... mostly repeating music tones with a spoken string of disjointed numbers... they are covert spy "Numbers" stations.  It is the surest method to send coded messages to deep cover operatives in the field, without risking compromise of both the message, and who is receiving the message.
The mysterious "John has a long mustache... the chair is against the wall" types of numbers & tones isn't just a Hollywood plot device, they're how Intelligence Agencies instruct their deep cover field agents covertly.  Despite all the technological advancements in internet, computers and smartphones, nothing offers a safer, & completely unbreakable method of communication.
You can hear these stations yourself, you just need a shortwave radio receiver to tune in the frequencies these signals are broadcast. Enthusiasts in the Shortwave listening (SWL) hobby often post frequencies & times they've encountered a "numbers" station, it's a hobby of sorts to seek out these signals. The fact of these signals being publicized doesn't diminish their effectiveness at all. Websites like The Global Frequency Database, are akin to a White Pages directory, for some of the signals you may encounter.

The importance of radio hasn't diminished one bit, despite all the advances in technology. It's proven everyday by these ghostly signals, showing they are not a relic of the past, but still a vital part of intelligence today.

How well are you Prepared?
Do you have a good portable Shortwave Radio? There's a wide selection of portable shortwave radios available today, most able to monitor police, fire, & rescue, as well as the worldwide radio broadcast bands. Some able to be powered with a hand crank or solar power and can even charge other devices. It's always a smart idea to have one handy, just in case. How knows? Maybe hearing "Mary had a little Lamb" may mean more than just a nursery rhyme.
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