Ok, so I told you all about Amateur Radio, how to get on the air, how to setup a cheap scanner to hear what’s out there, but how far can you talk on one of those inexpensive BaoFeng radios I mentioned? How about across the state of Florida! That’s right, back when I first started in Amateur Radio a UHF/VHF radio at best was good for communicating about 25 miles or so. There were repeaters that were very high up with could extend that to a 50 mile or so radius, but that was really about all you could do. In order to talk much further than that, you would need to get an expensive “HF” radio and you needed to learn morse code. Thankfully that has all changed! While I respect those that can do that, it’s not my situation. So how can you extend your range on a small hand held amateur radio? Florida SARnet!
It sounds like something horribly complicated, but it stands for Florida State Wide Amateur Radio Network. SARnet is essentially a group of networked repeaters throughout the state that allow you to talk on a local repeater, but rebroadcast pretty much across the state of Florida! That means if I’m hiking in Deland and would like to chat with someone in Tallahassee, it can be easily done! Florida SARnet makes the ultimate travel companion! If I’m lost in the woods I can seek help state-wide! This is incredibly useful in Ocala. There is no cell signal for much of a truck through the middle of the state, so Florida SARnet is perfect! Not only is SARnet available freely across the state, it is ever-expanding, meaning more and more coverage all the time. Continue reading