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aruna
01-10-2006, 11:31 PM
The scenario is this:
a woman far away from civilisation; no telephone or electricity. She lives with her uncle, a doctor. He communicates with his hospital etc through radio, ie there's a radio in the house instead of telephone.
My lady wants to comunicate with the American Embassy in the main city. She has a friend who works there; she wants to speak to him.
My question: how do they connect up? I assume he will have given her some number, wavelength of something? (I'm a COMPLETE IDIOT on this...)
This is in the late 1970's.
All I know is that after each statement you have to say "over" and at the end "over and out"! Can anybody help with a short, imaginary ocnversation, from the time she tries to connect up to her "over and out"?
Thanks for any help!

TheIT
01-10-2006, 11:41 PM
If there's no electricity, I assume the radio is run on batteries? I don't know much about radios but it sounds like you need information about ham radio operators. The movie Frequency might give you some ideas. It's about a father and son who manage to communicate through time on the radio set via a freak weather disturbance. From what I gleaned, each ham radio operator is given a call sign (like a radio station) for identification. I'm not sure if they are assigned specific frequencies as well, but I expect they operate within a certain range.

In the US in the 70's, CB (citizen's band) radios were also popular. I think the truckers got annoyed because everyone and their brother had one in their car and were invading the airwaves.

Inspired
01-10-2006, 11:56 PM
My DH is a ham radio operator. I'd send you to him, if I thought he had time to respond. Do a search online for AARL. It's the official publication for ham radio guys (and gals.) They probably have a contact in your area, who you could interview.

DaveKuzminski
01-11-2006, 12:38 AM
Over means it's the other party's turn to talk.

Out means the conversation is over and no reply is expected.

Those should not be used together since they are obviously in conflict with each other by meaning.

alleycat
01-11-2006, 12:55 AM
I used to use radios in my work (civil engineering) and as a pilot (using what the US government labeled a "Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's Permit"). Two-way radio would probably be sometime a doctor would use rather than a ham radio type of setup, but that probably wouldn't work as well in your story since you want the doctor to be able to call the embassy.

I had a good friend who was into ham radio. With ham radio you have a call sign (the first letter depends on the country) and you can dial up various frequencies. You give your call sign and then the station you wish to talk to: "WTTK4 to WXOT1" -- the person you are sending to has to be tuned to the right frequency in order to hear your call so sometime the caller will have to try various frequencies. People who are ham radio buffs are usually helpful about forwarding messages if need be. Also, they know Morse Code if that's of any interest to you. I'm not an expect on ham radio, just sharing what little I do know about it.

By the way, it's generally considered good form to keep your conversation as succinct as possible on most frequencies; think of a pilot calling in to the tower...not a lot of chit-chat or wasted words.

ac

aruna
01-11-2006, 10:53 AM
Thanks to everyone for your tips!

Mac H.
01-11-2006, 12:25 PM
Even though the words 'Over' and 'Out' SHOULD be used, in reality people get used to the rhythm of conversation and just talk normally. And despite the pedants who insist that the phrase 'over and out' is wrong - you still hear it.

You can see plenty of transcripts of radio conversations. For example, the FAA publishes radio transcripts in their reports whenever there is an 'incident' on an aircraft.

A simple google gives just one example radio transcript from the late 1970s:

http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/AboutJonestown/Tapes/Tapes/TapeTranscripts/Q016.html

Good luck,

Mac

aruna
01-11-2006, 01:27 PM
http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/AboutJonestown/Tapes/Tapes/TapeTranscripts/Q016.html

Good luck,

Mac

By the weirdest of coincidences, it's about Jonestown this lady is reporting! Can you read minds???????? I have been reading some of those tape transcripts, though not that particular one.

Kathie Freeman
01-29-2006, 03:47 AM
A ham operator can only speak directly with another ham operator, and if this person is a friend, they would probably have the frequency agreed on in advance, otherwise, they have to keep dialing across the band and calling until the desired party answers, My dad had a ham radio in the '50's and talked to to operators as far as 6,00 miles away with no special equipment. A lot depends on the weather, and reception is better at night, but most radios have a range of at least 1,00 miles under any conditions.

Ham operators also have their own lingo, such as YO (young lady) for girlfriend, and XYO (ex-young lady) for wife.

aruna
01-29-2006, 11:14 AM
A lot depends on the weather, and reception is better at night, but most radios have a range of at least 1,00 miles under any conditions.

Ham operators also have their own lingo, such as YO (young lady) for girlfriend, and XYO (ex-young lady) for wife.

ooops, that's bad. The distance is much futher. Guess I have to figure that one out...

Saanen
01-29-2006, 06:00 PM
ooops, that's bad. The distance is much futher. Guess I have to figure that one out...

With the right antenna you can contact people on the other side of the world, assuming conditions are good and you have a good transceiver. You might consider picking up a copy of Passport to World Band Radio, which is partly a sort of TV Guide for shortwave radio, but which also has information about ham radio (which is what it sounds like your characters would be using), pirate radio (ham radio operators aren't supposed to do anything but talk, and talk on set bandwidths; pirate radio operators have actual programs and will broadcast wherever they damn well please, thanks very much), and equipment, which might help.

If your characters are contacting the embassy and no one else, perhaps they have a prearranged contact time and wavelength. Also, their antenna and equipment would probably be set to get the best signal to and from the embassy.