Icom ID-51A-Plus2

The recent Ridgecrest Earthquake woke me up regarding earthquake preparedness. We have had an “eerily silent” 30 years since Loma Prieta, so we are ridiculously long overdue for a big one in the SF Bay Area.

One of the best ID-51A features is the ability to upload a repeater database from a Micro SD card (which includes traditional FM and DV repeaters) and then, using the internal GPS receiver, push a button where the HT knows which repeaters are near you. I uploaded  world wide database of repeaters so – no matter where I go – I have the full (April 2019) database of repeaters available to me.

Terminal Mode

Another feature is one that I did not buy the HT for – but could be fun when I am bored (which is never) is the ability to use the internet via my Android phone to chat with locals around the world. To me it seems like using Echolink or something like that directly from your Android is just as useful, but maybe I am missing something here . . .

Voice Mode

I guess you can use the HT in a terminal or voice mode – and again – neither of these are functions I am very interested in.

I’ve been reading that some say “D Star is Dead”, and DMR is the new thing. For me, repeaters have been dead since the late 1970’s – when I used to have daily chats on the WR2AHV repeater (remember when repeaters were new and the calls started with WR?). When I got back into ham radio in 2001 I wondered “what happened?”. There was no one on any repeater it seemed and today – that seems even more true – even though there are a ton of new Technician Class hams.

The only reason I am getting back into even owning an HT is our local CERT Team. They are very well organized and they have been doing this for years. The local Emmcomm nets do have a very good turnout – so this is when having an HT makes sense. I feel kind of bad that I haven’t helped them at all – even though I have had a fully capable HF station. I ride my bike through the Orinda Village every day and know the Lamorinda area like the back of my hand. I have been certified Red Cross First Aid and CPR in the past – and was a NERT Block Captain with the SF NERT program back in the 90’s. SO, Ridgecrest really did wake me back up. I already feel better cleaning and filling those water jugs, making sure we have propane for the grill, and making sure we always have gas in the tank, bikes that can go where cars will not be able to go, shut off tools for our gas and water into the house, etc, etc.

The Ham Radio part of all of this is just one aspect – and in the scheme of things – probably minor. But last Fall – with the smoke from wildfires, I realize that all hell can break out – and its way better to have some confidence that you are prepared than to freak out when the inevitable “big one” does happen – and it will.

I am sooooo glad I no longer work in San Francisco – and that I am only 3 BART stops from Oakland. Our building is a modern building – and I do expect that it will do fine in an earthquake – and the Hayward Fault is very close to downtown Oakland. My son lives close by – and there are those Ford eBikes – so – in an emergency – if BART is stopped – I can ride one of those buggers up over the hill to home. If I have an HT and the cell phones are out – that will at least give me some options communication wise.

We just received an email where the local water and electricity companies are running coordinated exercises just this month to prepare for the dry heat and winds that will strike this Fall – and where PG&E will shut off all electricity in the event of another dangerous “Diablo Wind” where one spark from a downed electrical wire could start a Paradise like fire. We had the same conditions last Fall as Paradise – and so we were just lucky. Now add in earthquakes and Ridgecrest – and there is no time or excuse not to get prepared.

They will be setting up generators at water pumping stations – so when the electricity is turned off on a no doubt hot and windy day – (maybe) there will still be water.

Best not take a chance – best be prepared . . .

 

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