Recently I was caught out when a trivial piece of kit – one of those $15-20 items that are supposed to never fail – went south leaving my station inoperable for two days while I found another part.
I could have reconfigured around the component, but my point is “I didn’t have Radio Redundancy” in hardware.
In the past I always had at least two of everything – many times exact duplicates – with one setup in full use and the other reserved for “go-kit” and backup use.
So if my Transceiver needed a new relay, I could swap in my spare and sent in the main unit without going down.
But as the station has become more capable (and costly) exact duplicates have given way to “functional replacement” units that can fill the role of the broken piece, though often manually rather than automatic, or with a reduced feature set.
I think of the station in “modules” – power, transceiver, tuner, rf power (amp), antenna switching, antennas and so on.
In each case I thought I had a workable backup. Not so on the small hardware card that failed, and similarly when I wanted to play Satellite and found I was lacking the connector adaptors (loaned it) needed to hook everything up.
The card has been replaced and a spare stored. Tomorrow I have an appointment with a radio shop to pick up 5 each of the adaptors I am missing and found I should have on audit.
Take inventory of your communications gear, and ask yourself:
– Do you have Station redundancy to keep your shack live if one small piece breaks?
– Can you duplicate your station (I had a full set of pictures & notes of settings and wiring – but found I hadn’t kept it updated, so it is being done again)?
– Are your go-kit radios ready to run? Spent an hour this weekend updating settings there too.
– Can you field a QRP setup (mostly because QRP usually means you need very much less power)?
– Do you have enough station notes that a qualified visitor could fire up & operate without you’re being there?
– Do you have “Hollow-Ware” (Tube) backups with the manuals & spares to keep them going?
– Do you have a “Hand-Over Setup” to turn in if Uncle ever comes knocking?
– Do you have an off-site spare set-up for the same reason?
– Do you have spare documentation – both electronic and hardcopy – to maintain your gear?
– Do you have frequency charts & plans both electronic and in hardcopy?
Do you have “Radio Redundancy?“
Note from John Jacob: This concept can be applied across the spectrum of your preparedness plan. It’s hard to do. It can get expensive. That’s what Craigslist, yard sales, and ebay is for! Do you have spare gloves, backup flashlights, mantles for your coleman lantern, spare tire (and jack), spare sleeping back, and so on. Can you still function if it breaks? Do you have another one? In a ‘down’ situation, when there is no resupply and no backup, and there’s not store to “run down to,” 2 = one; 1 = none.