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Communication: Getting Started

Axles and Antennas seeks to help the outdoor adventure traveler in determining the differences of the commercially available radio communication equipment and then making the correct choice for their needs. Radio communication is a simple subject in theory but becomes bewildering very quickly in practice. Although the main goal of any radio set up is to simply “talk”, often times there is the issue where the equipment is completely incompatible, much like a French speaker attempting to converse with a speaker of Mandarin (unless a translator is used).

Unlike our two speakers attempting to talk, radio does not really have a translator to help out. Sure, a CB user can talk to another CB user who also has a FRS radio who then repeats the message to the recipient who also has a FRS radio and then replies, thus going backwards in the communication process. But as you can see, this is a bit of a hassle.

How can one vehicle talk to another and streamline the process? Axles and Antennas is going to help you address this. One thing that needs to be understood is that we are not really looking at the hobby side of radio communication. Sure, there are thousands of eager CBers and Ham Radio operators who would love to share all aspects of their respective mode of communication. The problem is the tendency to become blinded by the trees when we simply want to see the forest.

At its core, a two way radio is a tool. Although it is important to know and understand how a tool works, it’s not so important to know how a tool is made (not always at least). For radio hobbyists, understanding all aspects of how a radio operates from the time you talk to the time you receive a response is equally important. Quite frankly, it gets very daunting for those users just starting out.

Many of us want to install a radio (or perhaps just turn on a walkie-talkie) and start communicating with ease. Fair enough and this is the goal of Axles and Antennas. We are going to concentrate primarily on what each type of radio is best useful for and why it is better or worse than the alternate. In the end, whether you are looking for radio equipment for your entire club, or something for the lone traveler, you will have the insight you need to make an informed decision.

Additionally, reviews will be posted discussing various brands and models of these radios. We are going to go over everything from the cheapest “bubble pack” GMRS/FRS handhelds to the couple of hundred dollar ham radio mobile type. But wait, there’s more! Axles and Antennas will give you advice on antennas and mounting options, coax selection, wiring, SWR, rules, and other content. All information will be presented in a manner that assumes you are new to radio but intelligent enough to go at it alone. Axles and Antennas is not going to try and impress you with heaps of information. Simple and concise.

Now, let’s figure this out together!