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2m amateur/ham radio as backup to mobile phone?

Jersey, United...
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2m amateur/ham radio as backup to mobile phone?

We will be driving long distances around Namibia at Easter, and while I have heard that the mobile phone coverage is quite good, I am wondering about the practicality/advisability of packing a 2m amateur transceiver as a backup in case of a problem where there is no phone coverage and making use of the local 2m repeater system? The Swakopmund/Sesriem trip seems particularly unlikely to have good phone coverage but is (theoretically) covered, in part at least, by the Gamsberg radio repeater. I hold a UK amateur radio licence and qualify for a reciprocal Namibian licence so the legal issue is covered.

Nigel.

Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: 2m amateur/ham radio as backup to mobile phone?

Are you going off-road? Distances are not the issue - but remoteness. Swakopmund is not what I would call remote. Neither is Sesriem in the scheme of things.

Sat phone?

Jersey, United...
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2. Re: 2m amateur/ham radio as backup to mobile phone?

Only off-road in the sense of off tarmac and on gravel with a greater possibility of (multiple) punctures; and , yes, remoteness is the issue rather than distance. I'm not in concerned when close to Swakop or Sesriem, it's the long road in between.

Nigel

Somerset West...
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3. Re: 2m amateur/ham radio as backup to mobile phone?

We use sat phone or sat tracker with text message functionality like the inReach.

London, United...
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4. Re: 2m amateur/ham radio as backup to mobile phone?

None of the areas you mention are really remote, except perhaps very few of the D roads where you can drive for hours without seeing a single other vehicle. Generally you will have a vehicle passing every couple of minutes, so in the remote case you get into any trouble and don't have mobile coverage, just remain calm, stay with the vehicle (the single biggest mistake you can do is to try to walk for help...) and wait until someone passes by. A sensible precaution is to have reserve water in the vehicle to last for two days, just in case (that is ~3 litres per person), but that is really for peace of mind. The norm is that any vehicle will stop to help if seeing someone stranded at the roadside. I once had a broken fan-belt between Keetmanshoop and Mariental, while I was fixing it every 2nd vehicle stopped and offered to help.

Mind you, I have only ever had punctures on the tarmac (from nails, botls, scrap metal), never on the gravel roads.

Edited: 8:43 pm, January 11, 2014
5. Re: 2m amateur/ham radio as backup to mobile phone?

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