Two-Way Radios and Scanners For Dummies - H. Ward Silver - ebook

Two-Way Radios and Scanners For Dummies ebook

H. Ward Silver

89,99 zł


Discover a fun new hobby with helpful possibilities Get directions, talk to folks overseas, or find out whether the fish are biting Want to check out the morning news in London, help out in emergencies, or tune in to the big race? Two-way radios open up a world of possibilities - literally. This handy guide tells you about the equipment you need, fills you in on radio etiquette, shows you how to stay legal, and gives you lots of cool ideas for family-friendly radio activities. Discover how to * Use the right radio lingo * Choose and operate different types of radios * Get a license if you need one * Communicate in emergencies * Program a scanner * Tune in to sporting events

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Two-Way Radios and Scanners For Dummies

by H. Ward Silver

Two-Way Radios and Scanners For Dummies®

Published byWiley Publishing, Inc.111 River St.Hoboken, NJ

Copyright © 2005 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana

Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana

Published simultaneously in Canada

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 750-8400, fax (978) 646-8600. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the Legal Department, Wiley Publishing, Inc., 10475 Crosspoint Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46256, (317) 572-3447, fax (317) 572-4355, or online at

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Library of Congress Control Number: 2005924591

ISBN-13: 978-0-7645-9582-0

ISBN-10: 0-7645-9582-2

Manufactured in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


About the Author

H. Ward Silver has experienced a 20-year career as an electrical engineer developing instrumentation and medical electronics. He also spent 8 years in broadcasting, both programming and engineering. In 2000, he turned to teaching and writing as a second career, producing Ham Radios For Dummies in2004. He supports Seattle University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in laboratory instruction. He is an avid Amateur Radio operator, Extra Class, first licensed in 1972. Each month, his columns and articles can be found in the national ham radio magazine, QST, published by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). He is the author of the ARRL’s online courses in Antenna Design and Construction, Analog Electronics, and Digital Electronics. When not in front of a computer screen, you will find him working on his mandolin technique and compositions.


This book is dedicated to my mom, who enabled her mad scientist son to conduct his basement activities in radio and science. Also to our family cat, Mirage, who carefully supervised the author throughout the creation of this book.

Author’s Acknowledgments

I would like to gratefully acknowledge the Uniden America Corporation for providing equipment, a number of excellent graphics, and for their technical reviews of several chapters. Paul Opitz, Uniden Marketing Manager, was particularly generous with his time and assistance. I must also recognize the professional contributions of my editor, Nicole Haims, who patiently trimmed and guided each chapter to the polished form you enjoy. My technical editor, Kirk Kleinschmidt, also provided invaluable review and commentary. Thanks also to Melody Layne at Wiley for enabling me to write this second title.

Much gratitude also goes to the members of the Vashon-Maury Island Radio Club and of the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition, who were the guinea pigs for many of my planning and training experiments.

Thank you!

Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our online registration form located at

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and Media Development

Project Editor: Nicole Haims

Acquisitions Editor: Melody Layne

Technical Editor: Kirk Kleinschmidt

Editorial Manager: Carol Sheehan

Permissions Editor: Laura Moss

Media Development Manager: Laura VanWinkle

Media Development Supervisor: Richard Graves

Editorial Assistant: Amanda Foxworth

Cartoons: Rich Tennant (

Composition Services

Project Coordinator: Maridee Ennis

Layout and Graphics: Carl Byers, Andrea Dahl, Kelly Emkow, Joyce Haughey, Mary Gillot Virgin, Lynsey Osborn

Proofreaders: Leeann Harney, Jessica Kramer, Joe Niesen, TECHBOOKS Production Services

Indexer: TECHBOOKS Production Services

Publishing and Editorial for Technology Dummies

Richard Swadley, Vice President and Executive Group Publisher

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher

Mary Bednarek, Executive Acquisitions Director

Mary C. Corder, Editorial Director

Publishing for Consumer Dummies

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Composition Services

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Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services




About This Book

What You’re Not to Read

Foolish Assumptions

How This Book Is Organized

Conventions Used in This Book

Where to Go From Here

Part I : Making Radio a Habit, a Hobby, or a Helper

Chapter 1: Introducing Radios and the Wireless World

Understanding How Radios Fit into a Wireless World

Introducing Radio’s Unique (And Magical) Forms

What You Can Do with a Radio

Knowing Radio Rules and Regulations

Getting Training (If You Need To)

You, Too, Can Build and Fix Your Own Radio

Chapter 2: Discovering the Art and Science of Radio

Doing the Wave: How Radio Waves Work

Getting From Here to There: Propagation

What You Hear Is What You Get: Modulation

Terms of Endearment: Using the Language of Radio

Chapter 3: Making Radio Fit Your Life

Seeing What Makes Radio Services and Allocations Different

Comparing Two-Way Radio Services

Choosing Between the Services

Buying Equipment to Fit Your Budget

Getting a License When You Need To

Coloring Inside the Lines: Basic Rules

Where to Find All the Rules and Regulations

Part II : Two-Way Radios at Home, Work, and Play

Chapter 4: A Radio in Your Pocket: FRS/GMRS Radios

Introducing the FRS and GMRS Services

Getting a GMRS License

Understanding Basic Radio Features

Basic Operating Skills

Using Your Radio at Public Events and Places

Using Your Radio in the Great Outdoors

Maximizing Your Range

Repeating Yourself

Choosing a Radio

Adding Antennas and Accessories

Chapter 5: Breaker, Breaker: Using Citizens Band

CB Basics

Finding Uses for Your CB Radio

Getting To Know Your Radio

Operating Your CB

Going Out and About with Your CB

Using Your CB for Emergency Communications

Shopping on the CB Channel

Operating on the Right Side of the Law

Chapter 6: Communicating in Emergencies

Matching Radios and Emergencies

Being Ready

Making and Responding to Calls for Help

Disaster Response

Practice Makes Perfect

Chapter 7: Workaday Wireless: Business Radio Services

Choosing the Right Business Radio Service

Using a Professional Radio Service Provider

Operating Your Business Radio

Chapter 8: Ladies and Gentlemen, Ships at Sea: Marine Radio

Introducing VHF Harbor and Waterway Radio

Introducing Marine Radio’s Advanced Features

Saltwater Communications: HF Marine Radio

Basic Marine Radio Do’s and Don’ts

Performing Basic Radio Tasks in the Water

Satellite Radio and Marine E-mail

Getting That License

Chapter 9: Citizen Wireless: Amateur Radio

Tuning In Ham Radio Today

Finding the Ham Bands

Getting a Ticket: The Ham Kind

Part III : Listening In: Scanning and Shortwave Listening

Chapter 10: One Adam 12: Scanner Basics

Listening: Oh, the Signals You’ll Hear

Introducing the Radio Population

Learning How to Use A Scanner

Knowing the Rules of Scanning

Trunking Systems

Programming Your Scanner

Choosing Scanners and Antennas

Chapter 11: Scanning Public Service and Safety Radio Transmissions

Tracking Down Your Local Government

Scanning Trunked Systems

Setting Up a Trunked System on Your Scanner

Cracking Codes and Learning Lingo

Helping, Not Hindering

Chapter 12: Radio Aloft: Aviation Radio Transmissions

Activity on the Aviation Bands

Finding Frequencies

Ground Control to Major Tom: Airport Operations

Listening to Air Traffic Between Airports

Strangling Your Parrot: Aviation Jargon

Chapter 13: Radios in Uniform: Government Radio Transmissions

Scanning the Military

Accessing Civilian Agencies

Step Away from the Radio: Following the Rules of Sensible Scanning

Chapter 14: Radio in Action: Recreational Radio Transmissions

Taking a Scanner to the Races

Winging It at Air Shows and Fly-Ins

Taking Your Radio on the Run and into the Crowd

Getting the Right Accessories

Want to Get Involved?

Scanning Tips

Chapter 15: Surfing the Air World: Shortwave Listening

Finding Shortwave Broadcasters

Choosing and Using SW Radios and Antennas

Shortwave Signal Propagation

Introducing World Time

Using a Program Guide

Confirming Your Reception

SWL Web References

Part IV : Getting Technical with Your Radio

Chapter 16: Building Your Radio Toolbox

Acquiring the Right Tools

Stocking Stuff

The Mechanics of Stocking Spare Parts over Time

Finding Education and Training

Chapter 17: A Spark of Electronic Know-How

Understanding the Relationship between Amps, Volts, Watts, and Ohms

Wires, Cables, and Connecters

Dealing with Safety Issues

Chapter 18: Installing Radios Right

Installing Your Radio at Home

Getting Your Mobile Installation Rolling

Choosing and Installing Connectors

Chapter 19: Getting a Charge Out of Batteries

Getting Battery Basics

Ah . . . Introducing Amp Hours and Characteristic Voltage

Disposable Batteries versus Rechargeable Batteries

Exploring the World of Battery Packs

Following Basic Battery Tips

Adhering to the Rules of Battery Safety

Chapter 20: Putting Your Computer to Work

Making Sure Your PC and Radio Are Compatible

Choosing a Signal Interface

Making the Connection

Troubleshooting Your Computer and Your Radio

Chapter 21: Troubleshooting Your Radio

Hunting the Wily Mr. Murphy

Prosecuting Power Problems

Solving Operating Problems

Banishing Noise

Dealing with Interference

Visiting the Radio Doctor

Part V : The Part of Tens

Chapter 22: Ten Radio Secrets

Listening Rules

Talking Louder Doesn’t Do You Any Good

It’s All in the Antenna

The FCC Does, Too, Care

Setting Up Your Radio Correctly the First Time

Finding the Hot Spot

Planning for the Worst

Getting What You Pay For

Following the Ten Count

Discovering the Best Way to Relax

Chapter 23: Ten Emergency Tips

Using Your Radio Regularly

Getting Yourself under Control

Supplying Just the Facts

Being Smart with Resources

Knowing Where to Tune

Taking Advantage of Geography

Writing Everything Down and Keeping It Short

Following the Plan

Using the Buddy System

Practice, Practice, Practice

Chapter 24: Ten Radio First-Aid Techniques

Resetting the Radio

Replacing Lost Antennas

Putting the Wrong Batteries to the Right Use

Fixing a Faulty Pushbutton

Working around a Broken Speaker

Splicing Together Torn Wires

Working through Wind and Noise

Rescuing an Immersed Radio

Building an Emergency Charger

Making Do with the Tools around You

Chapter 25: Ten New Ways to Have Fun with Your Radio

Direction Finding


Conducting Coverage Tests: Can You Hear Me Now?

Going on a Radio Scavenger Hunt

Riding at a Radio Rodeo

Creating Radio Scoreboards

Going to a Hamfest

Weather Watching

Wildlife Tracking

Joining a Club

Appendix: Glossary


T o all my readers, welcome to the amazing world of radio that awaits you just behind the front panel power switch. There’s a lot more radio out there than you might think! This book helps introduce you to it.

If you’ve just become interested in radio, Two-Way Radios & Scanners For Dummies contains plenty of information to explain what radio is all about. You’ll have more fun and success by mastering the basics, and so will the friends, family, and associates with whom you’re trying to communicate. This book answers a lot of questions about the jargon being thrown around by manuals and by other radio aficionados. It’s the perfect companion for people who want to maximize their radio experience and utility. Whether you’re using your radio for work or for recreation, whether you already own a radio or are still browsing for the right system, this book gives you all you need to know in one convenient package.

About This Book

This book is designed with two reading audiences in mind:

New users: New to radio? Welcome! This book helps you become a confident, knowledgeable radio user. All the new activities, particularly the technical ones, can be intimidating to newcomers. If you’re still shopping for a radio, I give you some tips on what to look for in a good radio. If you just bought a radio, this book gives you a tour of the main features. By keeping Two-Way Radios & Scanners For Dummies handy, you will have an easier time getting your radio or scanner connected and working right. I cover the basics of properly putting together a station and give you the fundamentals of on-the-air behavior. Use this book as your personal radio buddy and soon you’ll be sounding (and listening) like a pro!

Radio users who want more information: Those of you already using a radio can find new ways of putting that radio to work and get a better understanding of how the radio does what it does. You can find out about other types of radios and services, as well. I give you lots of resources to help you get more out of the radios you have and make good choices about antennas, accessories, and new radios. There is a little something for every level of operator!

What You’re Not to Read

If you just got a radio, I’ll bet you’re wondering, “What do I do now?” New radio users need a helping hand to find out how to use it properly. Two-Way Radios & Scanners For Dummies will be there to look over your shoulder until you are confidently making good use of your equipment. I make the basics of radio available in the first parts of the book so you won’t have to be a radio whiz to assemble and use your equipment. If you already know these basics, you can skip Part I and move on to the chapters that cover specific radio services and functions.

As you make your way through Two-Way Radios & Scanners For Dummies, feel free to skip around to whatever areas your interests take you. Within a chapter, you can ignore the sidebars, if you like, which contain extra-technical details or slightly off-the-beaten-path information. The book is written so that you can open it anywhere at any time.

Foolish Assumptions

The first thing I assume is that you either have a radio or will soon be purchasing one. Maybe you have fiddled around with a radio that belongs to a friend and want to know a bit more about what types of radios and scanners are available before you take the plunge. This book helps you select a radio based on your needs; to get the most out of the book, you’ll need to borrow or buy your own radio so that you can tinker around.

If you’re just getting started, the amount of information available about radios, radio technology, electronics, and more can be overwhelming! You can start relaxing right now. I assume that you don’t know a single thing about radio technology, so you can enjoy Two-Way Radios & Scanners For Dummies. Every chapter offers supporting explanations of radio jargon and conventions in plain English.

I assume that you know how to use a computer and that you have Internet access to use the online resources I provide. Internet access is also useful for finding expanded explanations of more complex topics related to radio technology.

If you need to obtain a license to use your type of radio, Two-Way Radios & Scanners For Dummies assumes that you need information about and guidance through the licensing process.

How This Book Is Organized

Two-Way Radios & Scanners For Dummies is divided into parts to meet the needs of beginners, dabblers, and radio enthusiasts.

Part I: Making Radio a Hobby, a Habit, or a Helper

If you don’t have much information about radios but you know enough that you’re interested in using them, or if you’ve just obtained a radio, this is where you start reading. Part I gives you the big picture of how radio technology works. Find out the differences between the various radios and radio communications. Because some of the radios require a license to use, this part also covers what you need to do to get the required paperwork in place.

Part II: Two-Way Radios at Home, Work, and Play

Radios that connect people are more popular than ever and there are so many types! Just about every activity you can think of has its own specialized radio service and Part II gives you information about the most popular services around. It starts with a discussion about the handy palm-sized units for short-range person-to-person chatting and moves on to investigate Citizens Band radio, emergency communications, and using radios for your business. You can also find out about radios used for boating. The part concludes with a chapter on the most powerful personal radio service of all, amateur radio. If you already have a radio, this part shows you how to use it. If you’re trying to choose a radio to fill a specific need, this is where you get the information needed to decide.

Part III: Listening In: Scanning and Shortwave Listening

If you’re into radios (which you are); then you’ll enjoy finding out about high-performance receivers that pull in signals from across town (scanners) and around the world (shortwave receivers). Part III discusses what distinguishes the various types of listen-only radios from each other and helps you choose the right technology. It offers several popular ways of using these special radios.

Part IV: Getting Technical with Your Radio

After Parts II and III, your appetite will be whetted to get busy putting together a complete radio station. While you could just rush out and lash it all together, you’ll have much better results if you set everything up the right way first! Part IV shows you how to do a proper installation, whether at home or on the road. It offers helpful information to guide you in choosing the right accessories and batteries. Many radios can interact with computers, so I cover setting up an interface between your PC and your radio, too. Finally, the reality is that occasionally you’ll have to do some troubleshooting. This bothersome, but inevitable task is much easier if you master the fundamentals.

Part V: The Part of Tens

A familiar facet to all the books in the For Dummies books is the Part of Tens, which consists of several condensed lists that provide some really helpful and hopefully memorable ideas. The chapters in Part V reinforce and support the extended discussions of the earlier chapters to guide you in your use of a radio. This part offers tips, secrets, radio first-aid goodies, and ideas for enjoyable radio operation.


The appendix contains a glossary that is chock-full of terms and definitions for easy accessibility and use. Look here to find an abbreviation or check out a technical fine point.

Conventions Used in This Book

To make the reading experience as clear and uncluttered as possible, a consistent presentation style is used.

Italics are used to note a new or important term, such as ham radio.

I use italics and lowercase when I recommend search terms for further investigation online, like this: “Try entering citizens band club [your hometown] in an Internet search engine to find like-minded individuals near you.”

Web site URLs (addresses) are designed by using a monospace font. Hyperlinks are underlined.

You see the following icons used as markers for special types of information:

The Tip icon alerts you to a hint that will help you understand a technical or operating topic. Sometimes radio mavens refer to tips as hints and kinks.

This icon signals a useful, but geekily technical radio fact. You might not need to know the information contained here, but if you’re a closet (or not so closet) radio dork, you will find the information both interesting and handy.

Whenever a common problem or potential “oops” arises, this icon is nearby. Before you become experienced, it’s easy to get hung up on some of the little things, so this icon helps you out if you get stuck.

This icon lets you know that there are serious legal, safety, or performance issues associated with the topic of discussion. Watch for this icon to avoid damaging your radio, getting harmed by electricity, or getting yourself into some other serious hot water along the way.

This icon indicates information that you need to know — if not now, soon. Store this information away for that moment (it will come) when you need to know it and you’ll have more fun on the air.

Where to Go From Here

If you are just beginning to find out about using two-way radios or scanners, I recommend that you read through Part I before proceeding. For those of you who are more experienced with radio and are looking for in-depth information, you’ll probably make the best use of this book by jumping around from chapter to chapter as your interests carry you. You can find the right chapter by browsing through the table of contents, index, or just skimming the headings along the way.

All readers will benefit from cruising through the Appendix for helpful definitions of common radio terms.

Will radio go the way of the rotary phone, bypassed by high-speed digital technologies? I don’t believe so. Its personal utility and innate ability to be used directly without requiring the support of communications networks virtually guarantee it a place in the communications pantheon. Invented more than 100 years ago, radio continues to serve us faithfully and will for the foreseeable future.

Part I

Making Radio a Habit, a Hobby, or a Helper

In This Part . . .

Welcome to the world of two-way radios! Whether you plan on talking on a radio or just listening, radio technology is a fascinating medium that has long captured the imagination of folks just like you. The more you know about the technology of radios, the more you’ll understand what’s happening on the airwaves.

This part contains chapters that introduce you to two-way radios and explain some of the technology that makes them work. I begin with a general overview of the modern radio. I also cover some technological basics. Armed with that knowledge, you can discover in Part I the different ways you can put radio to work in your daily life. Because some radios require a license, I introduce you to the Federal Communications Commission. You must follow the FCC’s guidelines, and you may need to use its licensing system, depending on what kind of radio service you use. You’ll be a budding radio maven by the time you finish reading these chapters.

Chapter 1

Introducing Radios and the Wireless World

In This Chapter

Seeing where radios fit in the wireless world

Introducing different kinds of radio signals

Understanding what you can do with a radio

Finding out a bit about the rules and regulations

Getting extra help

Building and fixing your own radio

I f you go to the local electronics emporium, I bet you will see a display labeled Two-Way Radios. There you’ll find the radios about which this book is written — handheld radios that use the unlicensed Family Radio Service (FRS) and their big brothers in the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS). You may see some ham radios or maybe radios that use the dot frequencies. By talking as well as listening, these two-way radios connect people together when they talk business, participate in recreational activities, or need to communicate in emergencies.

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!