The license-free portable radio from Cignus provides higher power and better clarity than other SRRS competitors in the market, all at a lower price and better value

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Credit: N2RAC/4I1RAC

I get a lot of inquiries about whether a certain radio or frequency can be used here in the Philippines without a license. For example, the Baofeng UV-5R, WLN KD-C1 and Baofeng BF-888 are very popular here — they are being sold very cheap on e-commerce sites like Shopee and Lazada.

Being cheap and small, most people think these radios can be used without licenses. Some also mistake the 0.5 Watt FRS radios or GMRS radios imported from the US as being legal for use without licenses here.

For others, the mere “NTC Type Approved” sticker from brands like Cignus is mistaken for authorization by the local regulator for use without other documentation. …


Data, calls, and SMS do not expire. Great for students, backup SIM, or longer-term set-and-forget SIM while on-the-go

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Image: N2RAC

Mobile data has become an essential part of our lives, that we now allocate a certain amount of our budget and expenses to mobile data. I’m a practical person, and I have not signed up for any postpaid plans for more than a decade now. I mostly use prepaid, and with a combination of “combos” and “promos” I maximize my data, calls, and SMS with monthly roll-overs.

However, sometimes I forget to renew my promos, and all of my rolled-over minutes, SMS and data expire just like that.

I remember around 10 years ago, Globe had the “immortal text” and “immortal calls” promo. The concept was that you converted some credits into minutes or SMS that do not expire. …


It’s better to be ready when SHTF

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Photo by ActionVance on Unsplash

Note: I originally wrote this as a post in a Filipino prepper group. More events have transpired after, including the onslaught of typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco), which flooded many parts of Metro Manila and Cagayan Valley and again struck the Bicol region only a couple of weeks after Rolly. This has been edited for clarity.

This is in response to a call for the establishment of an off-grid or emergency communications capability, in light of typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni) and its devastating effect, particularly on the Bicol region.

True enough, power and communication lines were down, and among the first to get connected to other regions were radio operators. …


A practical response to questions about radio communications

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Photo by Everyday basics on Unsplash

I am writing this guide as an FAQ and response to some of the questions on the Pinoy Preppers Facebook Group.

In the recent weeks, we have encountered several disasters, particularly typhoons and severe floods, not to mention the ongoing pandemic.

I will do my best to respond in practical terms. Kindly provide your own inputs if there are corrections.

Here is the question posted. I will try to translate as necessary, for an international audience.

Hello po sa inyo mga ka preppers! Kung sino man po may knowledge about radio and communication pls answer this. So first of all marami po ako question kaya pls bare with me po😁 so hindi pa po ako nag oowned any kind of radio and looking forward palang to buy or purchase para sa emergency kit po. And also im not licesed. I want to learn or have knoledge about Like what is frequency? What is uhf vhf? Mga ganyan about sa communications.and also Because un na nga para sa emergency for my emergency kit. Para during disaster my communications ako with my family to the emergency broadcast and incase kailangan ko ng tulong during an Bad scenario. …


A pair of lightweight portable radios with good selectivity receivers

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When anyone asks me for my recommendations on portable radio use, I would usually suggest radios with good receivers as one of the primary considerations.

Many inexpensive radios today use direct conversion receivers and poor front-end filtering — such as the Baofeng UV5R and most other similar designs. These are prone to desense and intermod. Sure, if you’re using it in rural areas or in the mountain trails, you would not have any problem with hearing distant or weak stations. However, in the city, your receive performance will suffer significantly, especially in locations with high RF congestion. …


The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, and radio amateurs have quickly adjusted to the situation

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Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

The global pandemic has accelerated digital transformation for many industries and activities. With amateur radio enthusiasts being innovators in many fields, we are also taking advantage of digital technologies to improve safety by reducing physical encounters.

When I took the amateur radio exam in 2015, I was in the presence of three Volunteer Examiners (VEs), who administered the test. It was the same when I upgraded in 2016. The test was fairly quick. The VE team checked my exam results right there and then, and they submitted the documents to the VEC shortly thereafter.

I got my license and callsign in around two weeks after taking the exam. …


The Nokia 3310 and other “dumb” phones are back with a vengeance, and it’s all about security and digital detox

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Image Credit: Unsplash

The rise of smartphones almost made basic burner phones a thing of the past. As iPhones became status symbols and Android made smartphones more affordable, the obsolescence of basic phones appeared inevitable. The extinction point failed to materialize, though. Burner phones continued to be in use and are returning big time.

Back in the front burner

Around a year ago, Supreme slapped its name on a burner phone manufactured by BLU. It was an unexpected move that garnered quite a reaction. Some thought it was a good idea while others floated conspiracy theories.

Regardless of the reasons, what is clear is that burner phones are unlikely heading to the extinction route anytime soon. The Supreme-branded burner basic mobile was sold for $60, a price that can already get a decent-specced pre-owned or imported smartphone on Amazon. …


No one expected COVID-19 to happen, but we should have prepared for it

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Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

The health crisis faced around the world has thrown a lot of things into question, including education. Many of us worry that school closures could deprive children of quality education. Forcing the reopening of schools could also run the risk of viral transmission. To allow classes to continue without risking students’ lives, online learning became an alternative. Students have to learn from home through Zoom classes or module-based curriculum.

This learning method shouldn’t have been something new, considering how we rely on the Internet for almost everything. …


Consumers are eagerly awaiting the commercial availability of 5G. What are its benefits and applications?

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Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

Superfast connection — that is the promise of 5G or fifth-generation mobile internet connection. The big question among ordinary users is whether it will really make a big difference in our lives. Experts predict that 5G will be close to 100 times faster than its predecessor. It means that you can download a two-hour movie in about ten seconds.

Often, promises are very different from reality.

Many consumers are getting impressed and excited about the promise of faster speeds for downloading and uploading data. Video quality will be higher, mobile videos will stream smoothly, and almost no latency for gamers.

What is 5G?

According to the technical definition, 5G means “next-generation wireless network technology,” which follows the 4G LTE network. The system is expected to change the way we work and live. 5G technology promises to be faster. More devices can connect to a mobile internet without any problem. …


I think it’s high time educators look into alternative modalities given the pandemic situation

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Image Credit: Jeremiah Torres

I saw this short documentary being shared online by my radio friends and contacts. It’s about how a school (or school district) in a rural area uses two-way radios to facilitate module-based learning.

As a licensed radio operator, the first thing I thought about was the licensing and legal implications.

As a parent and educator, however, I am amazed at how some people can be very resourceful amid the pandemic situation.

Check it out here:

I know a few individuals and school districts that have opted for module-based learning since they do not have computers or mobile devices to get online. Subscribing to mobile internet connection also comes with costs. …

About

J. Angelo Racoma

Venture builder for startups & enterprise, media strategist, community manager, licensed radio amateur, upcoming children's book author - https://N2RAC.com

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