This post has been contributed by Edward Beck. Thank you very much!
I’ve been asked to do an article about Zello, or internet radio. Network Radios have taken off in UK in a big way, with many thousands of more specialised phones being sold for this new market. Most of us don’t need a specific phone for this hobby, a smartphone, tablet or computer will do. Therefore, you can join up free today!
Radio hams seem to be on two specific internet groups, and the most popular is using the Zello app, available on Android or Apple. If you’re going to use a computer, go to www.zello.com and download it, and join.
We set it up last week, it’s working well, but needs more people. I’m going to make everyone an administrator, do we can all learn, or block any undesirables if we let non members in at some point.
I have a WiFi radio (it looks like a CB radio, and lives in the truck, and can listen to all sorts of radio, music and scanners, and it has a fist mike on a cable, for simplex conversation) which uses either WiFi, or mobile data (mobile WiFi), and it also has Bluetooth. Essentially, it’s an Android mobile phone that looks like a conventional CB/UHF/VHF radio. It’s got two SIM card slots, for data SIM cards. One card from EE is under £20 year. A radio like this is £125 to sorta £200+
I can use my mobile phone as an internet hotspot, if I don’t want to but a data card, or take it in the house to use on house WiFi.
Well, internet radio? Lots of arguments, but it’s cheap and works really well. It’s possible to link otherwise quiet repeaters to more active internet groups. For example, you can link DG repeater to where someone lived previously, such as Brisbane in Australia. Next day, next hour, whatever you feel like, you could have a group from Red Deer, Canada, coming through DG repeater.
For me, it works when I’m driving, as I can’t continually change repeaters. No licence required, I can use it at sea, on a plane, or when I’m abroad. No aerial required, so no problems with planning or rented accommodation.
Great for beginners, or enthusiasts without a licence. I’m making everyone an administrator, so you can learn more, but you can block or mute group undesirables.
I’m using a mobile internet data card, one is about £20 year from EE, the other is about £3 month from ID mobile.
My brother Irving, has a more specialised phone for “radio” use. It’s got a proper PTT button, much louder speaker, much bigger battery, and Milspec waterproof and drop-proof (he’s a farmer and firechief).
It also doesn’t drop radio calls, in preference to a phone call. Some of these Zello phones can have better aerials fitted, aftermarket, for better phone signals. These phones are sorta £120+, but he reckons they can be £30 on the internet.
I’m also using a Bluetooth fist mike, it’s a speaker/mike, and it was £35, and makes my Android phone more like a Walkie talkie.
Best bet to contact me is to call on the Wigtownshire Amateur Radio Club group on Zello, I’ll sort it out from there, as I’m tending to monitor it until there’s enough of us to let others sort it out. It’s my default channel, currently.
There’s a lot of potential possibilities linking this with radio, and a bit of imagination required.
I’ve got two Kenwood 2m/70cm mobiles that can be used with Echolink (radio hams only) if required.
Radio snobbery or not, we need to learn about this, as it’s very useful for some folks. It’s cheap, no specialist equipment required, and the radio ham groups are working really well.
It’s simpler than using a Hotspot!
Whatever, it’s bringing out new people interested in radio, and persuading many to do their Foundation course. It’s also bringing old members out, as it’s busy and easy to use.
And yes, it’s radio, there’s no cable on the device you’ll be using, or talking to!