September is National Preparedness Month

September is Emergency Preparedness month. By now, if you don’t already have your emergency kit ready, here are a few tips from the C. Crane Family that may help you out.

Make a plan

Create a plan for yourself, your family and your pets. Plan how to stay safe and how you will communicate during a major disaster.

Emergency Preparedness KitCreate your Emergency Preparedness Kit

Food and Water is a Must

Have at least one gallon of drinking water per person per day for at least 3 days. Have at least a 3 day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener (that’s a must have tool). If you have pets make sure you have food and water for them too.

Emergency Radio with extra batteries.

A reliable way to stay informed at all times during an emergency is with an all hazards weather radio. Radio communication will always stay in operation, with reliable sources like Ham Operators. Ham Operators are local and have equipment ready to help coordinate emergency efforts. The CC Radio 2E is C. Crane’s all hazards AM, FM, Weather and Weather Alert with the 2 Meter Ham Band Radio. It will keep the information flowing. The CC Solar Observer is also a fantastic emergency radio. It covers AM, FM and the Weather band, and can be powered by using the built in hand crank, by the built-in solar panel or by using regular alkaline batteries. It comes with a built in flashlight, and in an emergency, it can charge cell phones. Also make sure you have plenty of extra batteries on hand.

The perfect light to add to your Preparedness Kit

Do have the right light so you can see in a power outage? The New, advanced CC LED Spot XB Spotlight’s brightness is nearly equal to a 100 watt old style incandescent spotlight, and it’s 3 times brighter than our previous model CC LED Spotlight. Not only is the CC LED Spot XB exceptionally bright but it will run with usable light for up to 60 hours. The CC LED Spot XB is lightweight and easy to use. Also, the Unity Plus LED Flashlight is a reliable flashlight to have in your emergency kit. Its light weight, runs on 2 C batteries and will give you up to 22 hours of usable light. The Unity Plus is rugged and is the perfect combination of power, size and weight.

First Aid Kit

Keep it simple. Nothing big, but make sure you have Band-Aids, a bandage wrap, antiseptic, moist and dry towelettes and tweezers in your emergency kit.

Tool Kit

Keep a wrench and pliers in your kit to turn off utilities like gas and water. Also a fire starter that will help to start a fire to help keep you warm.

Personal Items

Keep prescription medications, clothing, blankets and hygiene items in your kit. You don’t know how long you will be put out and being without these items could be life threatening.

Show us what you’ve got

Share this post on Facebook (see share button below) with a picture of your emergency kit or comment on our C. Crane Facebook page with #emergencypreparednesskit2015 and also comment on our blog post with the number one most important item you have in your emergency kit.

You will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a NEW CC Spot XB LED Spotlight. One entry per person. Drawing will be held October 15th.

Congratulations to blog winner Awenner1! Thanks for participating in our Blog post!

Happy First Day of Autumn

Happy First Day of Autumn From the C. Crane Family

First Day of Autumn

What I will hear on the 2-Meter Amateur Radio Band

International competition on the VHF radio become a tradition for a long time. These competitions are held the first weekend in July. Typically, operators of amateur radio stations go out of town - to field, and from there carry out radio communications. On the picture are operators from Russia, at the field day 2011 year Photo taken July 2, 2011

International competition on the VHF radio become a tradition for a long time. These competitions are held the first weekend in July. Typically, operators of amateur radio stations go out of town to field, and from there carry out radio communications. Pictured are Ham Operators from Russia, at the Field Day 2011 Photo taken July 2, 2011

What is the 2-Meter Amateur Radio band anyway?

According to Wikipedia, “The 2 meter amateur radio band is a portion of the VHF (very high frequency) Spectrum, comprising of frequencies stretching from 144.000 MHz to 148.000 MHz.” These communications are generally FM or frequency modulated transmissions although some operators do operate using SSB (single sideband) or CW (Morse code). These modes of operation allow for longer distance communications without the use of repeater stations.

While listening to the 2-meter ham band you can expect to hear normal conversations or “rag chew” as the hams call it. You may also hear a ham operator on his way home from work asking his wife if she needs anything from the store. You may hear a ham operator reporting a traffic accident and requesting emergency services.

You may also hear ham radio operators providing on the scene emergency communications during times of disaster. Often you will hear a ham operator reporting on conditions long before the general public has been advised of the situation via the normal news media. Even before you hear the information listening to a police or emergency services scanner you have already heard about the situation if you are monitoring the 2-meter ham band.

Ham Operators coordinate emergency efforts. SSB (or Single Side Band AM) transmits in long distances. The 2-Meter Ham band can have similar type local broadcasts but is normally much clearer audio and is FM.

The 2-Meter Amateur band frequencies are reserved for the exclusive use of those licensed in the United States by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as Amateur Radio Operators or “Ham Radio Operators”. Ham radio operators use the 2-meter band for general conversations as well as for emergency communications. Ham radio operators are often the first called upon to assist in major disasters with communications between the public and emergency services such a law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services. The American Red Cross has recognized that the 2-Meter Amateur band is a very effective way of providing communications during times of emergency and Ham radio operators provide 90% of the coordination efforts during a major emergency. During an emergency a 2-Meter band receiver could save your life or that of a loved one.

How does the 2-Meter Amateur Radio Band work?

In most communities, the local Ham radio operators own and maintain repeaters on the 2-meter band, which assists their communications by increasing the distance that they can communicate with each other while still maintaining the quality of an FM transmission. These repeater stations are located in high locations such as mountaintops or tall buildings in the big cities and consist of a powerful transmitter and a high-gain antenna allowing Ham operators to extend their coverage areas, often as much as 200 miles or more. These stations often have alternative forms of power such as generators, solar power and batteries, which keep them in operation when the commercial power supply has been discontinued due to weather or other disasters. Individual ham operators have also found alternative power sources for their equipment so that they can operate even when there is no commercial power available.

Ham radio operators are very inventive in their approach to communications and can often find a way to communicate when normal communications such as cell phones have been interrupted. As an example, Ham radio operators have been able to make phone calls using the 2-meter band for many years before the invention of the cellular telephone.

More information about the 2-Meter Amateur Radio Band.

Because it is local and reliable, and because the licensing requirements to transmit on the 2-meter band are easy to meet in the United States and many other countries, this band is the most popular Amateur Radio band in the United States. The 2-meter band is often the band on which Ham radio operators make their first contacts. Obtaining a Ham operator’s license consists of taking a simple test containing 35 questions covering such topics as operating procedures, rules and regulations and some minor electronics theory. There is no requirement to pass a Morse code test to be licensed to operate on the 2-meter amateur radio band. 2-meter radio equipment is also very affordable and can be as simple as a small hand held transceiver or a powerful base or mobile transceiver. This popularity also means that it is the most often used band for emergency communications such as providing emergency communications between Red Cross shelters and local authorities. Many neighborhood disaster relief organizations use the 2-Meter Amateur Radio band for their official communications during times of emergency.

To learn more about 2-Meter Ham radio and what is required to obtain a license contact the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) at http://www.arrl.org or call (860) 594-0300. They can provide you with local contacts for training classes in your area and test dates and locations. Your local Amateur Radio Club members will assist you in all aspects of obtaining your license including what type of equipment you need to get started. Also a gentleman named Gordon West would love to help you get started in ham radio. He has a school you can attend in Southern California (Gordon West Radio School) or you can order study materials from the W5YI Group at www.w5yi.org. Bob Crane recommends Gordon West’s course materials as they are extremely well written, while making it enjoyable to learn. Mr. West will even take a phone call if you have a question. Also take a look at our C. Crane blog post The Importance of HAM Amateur Radio by Tim Carter, Ask the Builder . He has a great story about Ham Operators and how important they are in aiding in emergency efforts. You will discover that Ham radio operators are a great bunch of people. They provide this irreplaceable public service for free.

Resources:
W5YI : Your Resource for Amateur Radio and Commercial Radio
Technician Class: 2006-10 FCC Element 2 Amateur Radio License Preparation – By Gordon West WB6NOA.

Happy Labor Day

Labor DayLabor Day weekend is upon us, it’s the symbolic end of summer and the last three-day weekend for a while. We predict about a million barbeque grills will be lit this weekend with tunes blaring and friends gathering in celebration that fall will be here soon and summer is coming to an end.

While Labor Day Weekend might mean the unfortunate end of summer, it also means it’s almost time for football to come back! The beginning of the NFL and College football seasons means Sunday football, NFL Ticket, Fantasy Leagues and national radio coverage! How will you be tuning in?

Not only can you receive coverage from your local broadcaster but there are several radio broadcasters and podcasters interviewing various former players and current coaches on the field. Here are a few of our top picks:

 

The CC Radio 2E has exceptional voice clarity for talk radio and the speaker sounds as if the broadcasters are in the same room.

Internet Radio also offers a flurry of NFL highlights and updates. The CC WiFi 2 receives TuneIn and offers a plethora of free stations to pick up NFL info. Here are just a few:
http://tunein.com/radio/NFL-c1736013/
http://tunein.com/radio/Football-g312/

Worried you’ll miss out listening to your favorite broadcaster while at the big game? Fear not, the CC Pocket Radio makes for a compact travel companion! It receives great reception and is so small it will fit in any pocket or carry pouch. Tune in to your favorite broadcaster while sitting live at the big game!

Whatever you decide to do this Labor Day Weekend, you absolutely deserve a day off to recognize your effort and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Before getting back to the grindstone on Tuesday, enjoy that last big barbecue, tunes from the music box and the last final weekend of your summer. Happy Labor Day from the C. Crane Family!