Episode-928- Amateur Radio and Scanners with Tim Glance

Tim’s Store with on of his Mil Surp Vehicles Parked in Front

Tim Glance is the owner of Old Grouch Military surplus and a veteran of the US Army where he served for 18 years as a Construction Equipment Mechanic, Wheeled Vehicle mechanic, and now as a Warrant Officer Engineer Equipment Repair Technician still serving in the Army Reserve.

Tim is also a Ham Radio operator with 10+ years with experience in emergency communications.  He joins us today to discuss How and why to listen to local public safety with a scanner, how and why to listen to shortwave along with how and why to get started in ham radio and all the things you can do with it.


Join Us Today As We Discuss…

  • Why is a scanner or receiver the most important part of prep communications
  • What to look for in a scanner
  • Scanner compatibility with your local systems
  • Are older scanners good
  • What scanner Tim feels is the best available today
  • What is ham radio
  • What makes ham radio so versatile and reliable
  • What kinds of communications are possible with HAM
  • The folly of just buying  a radio and storing it
  • How do you get started with HAM radio
  • Levels of license- who needs what and privacy
  • Is encryption available or legal
  • What kind of radio to start with, what to avoid
  • Where to find more resources for getting starte

Additional Resources for Today’s Show

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

29 Responses to Episode-928- Amateur Radio and Scanners with Tim Glance

  1. Jack they say the memory is the first to go? Can’t remember.

    Great show
    Love Old Grouch he has great service. Have placed several orders from him. Of course dang I see another project on the horizon. Hubby is all pumped up about this one. Thanks Tim

  2. susan morris

    i listen every day and have used your pod cast to really change and upgraded my storage and safty abilities and have a formed a group in this small area for backup emergency people to help each other. these people i can trust and they feel the same way i do about being prepared.

  3. Actually this is pretty good timing- because tomorrow is the start of the annual Field Day, where hams worldwide will be going out and setting up stations away from their normal places and running for 24 hours, most on emergency power only (generator, solar, battery) to see how many other stations they can contact in a combination emergency drill, contest, and general good time.

    The contest is actually geared to reward the groups who demonstrate the most emergency capability- point multipliers for running outdoors, only from generators, even more for all solar/battery.

    So look around, in pretty much every town there is going to be a field day station running. Drop in and say hello, they will be happy to show you around!

  4. @ Tim where would we look to find a field day station? Is there a web site? I’m in clark county washington 20min east of portland oregon. This would be a good thing to do tomorrow.

  5. There is a locator page here along with a lot of other info, it has about 1500 of the sites listed, there will be a lot more than that going however!


  6. Just wanted to thank both of you for doing a great job on this one! This is something I’ve been interested in for a long time but always put it on the bottom of the list because I didn’t know where to start. Seems much less intimidating than I originally expected. Just took a couple portions of the practice text and had no idea how much of this would be a refresher more than new knowledge.


  7. Sweet, I’ve been listening to the local PD’s scanner on the internet for a while and just bought a scanner last week that I haven’t gotten around to figuring out yet. Looking forward to listening to this one…

  8. My father was a ham and I was interested in it as a teenager but too dyslexic to pass the CW test. Maybe I’ll look into it again. Question, my father has passed away, is there a way I can inherit his call sign?

    • Steven, yes you can as long as the call has not already been assigned to somebody else. You will have to get licensed and get a callsign issued, then apply to change it. In fact there are special provisions for a close relative of a deceased callsign holder to apply for the callsign.

  9. As a ham of some 22 yrs., I’d have to say this interview was very informative. Might have wished a comment about acquiring equipment at Hamfests, but then again it’s always easy to throw rocks. All-in-all, great job Tim and Jack both!

  10. Radiomacgyver

    Tim & Jack,

    Great job on the podcast. You spoke very well on several important aspects of the hobby.

    Also, I’d like to recommend checking out GUERRILLAGEEK, Goathiker, and K7AGE on Youtube for some very interesting videos.

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  12. Jack,

    It’s your turn bro! No excuses left for you not to have your ticket 🙂
    It’s really as easy as Tim laid it out. try HamtestOnline.com for a $20 deal (study guide with money back guarantee!)
    Thumbs Up for the Shout Out to the AR15.com Ham Forum too!
    Great Show guys!


    • Modern Survival

      @SCW, I don’t have an excuse, I have a REASON I don’t care, I don’t have any interest right now in being a HAM, buying the gear, taking the test, talking gossip with the HAMs on the Little Rock repeater, etc, etc, etc.

      I understand HAM and its place, I also understand no one can do everything. I cover many topics to serve the interest of the audience. While I get why it is cool and see the need for some people to do it, NOTHING in my life interests me less then investing my resources in getting a piece of paper that says I can use a certain radio right now.

      If I sound short I am not trying to and I apologize for being blunt, I am just about 100% frankly worn the hell out from the evangelical zeal of you guys. Some people just ain’t interested, I happen to be one of them.

      • Radiomacgyver

        I understand and can agree with some of what you stated. The local gab on the repeaters can get annoying. Try listening to the SKYWARN net during bad weather.

        It took me 10 years to make up my own mind after hearing from others who tried to convince me to get licensed.

        Sorry if the zeal gets a little annoying.

  13. No Harm, No Foul….I was left with a different impression after listening.

    It ain’t for everyone…


  14. Small correction..

    Even with a Tech only ticket you do have some access to the HF bands.

  15. We use Amateur Radio around here for CERT, SAR, ARES, and RACES. We also support many local events. We have various nets for sharing information and emergency prepardness. We have folks with a license ranging from age 12- to their 90s and still active.

  16. This might be kind of a silly/vague question, but what kinds of things normally happen on HAM radio? What kind of chatter/discussion would you expect to hear if you had a receiver?

    • Not Silly, Not Vague….

      all sorts of communications happen over the air. Traffic/Weather/Health/Restaurant/Family, etc…

      Imagine sitting in a restaurant and being able to hear all the “between friends” conversations around you…that is prolly the best way I can describe our local repeater conversations. Not all at one time, but it varies so; it’s hard to determine what’s next.

      On HF (shortwave, world band) the chatter can go from coon dogs to politics, to religion, weather, family, the list could go on forever (saa). It can too be as simple as someone calling to make a Long Distance (DX) contact just to see how far they can talk.

      go here: http://www.radioreference.com and chose your local area in Iowa, there may or may not be some local Ham Repeaters listed that re-transmit their repeater traffic. That’d give you a real listen to what is happening locally. If nothing found, sniff around a little there’s bound to be something to listen to.

      (disclaimer) While a Great Resource (as mentioned by Tim in the show) RR only works when the Net is up. And I’ll echo Tim again, that on RR there are many local forums that are filled with nice peeps who could help you along as well.

      Past that, a shortwave receiver enabled with SSB (Single Side Band) reception would allow you to enjoy Broadcast SWL as well as the many Ham operators that transmit on the bands you will be able to receive.

      Scanner Masters: http://www.scannermaster.com/ is a great place to look around too!

      If you think you may be interested in local comms (or worldwide) try out your local Ham Radio Club. http://www.arrl.org/find-a-club

      Good Luck, hope some of this helps!


  17. CHopp.the.Root

    After taking a few minutes to take some practice quizes on hamradiolicenseexam.com I have come to the conclusion that getting a general license is going to be pretty easy. Finding a working set-up without paying out the nose is the trick…

    • It is Easy and you can do it on a beer budget! I have! It depends on your goals, but is Very easy to get on the air for less than $800; Local (VHF/UHF) and HF (shortwave/world band). Much less if you just want to talk around your local AO.

      My current shack consist of a Full Power HF radio, Full Power VHF radio, HF antenna tuner and 12v Power Supply (all reside in a Weather Proof Box for ease of mobile/portable use) and I only spent $705, including the box!

      Looks like Jack offers a Ham Radio Forum…go there, I’m sure someone would be willing to help you!


  18. I have been a ham for over 40 years and really enjoyed the show. Lots of good information to help people get started as a ham. One extra resource to look in to are local ham clubs, as they can provide lots of advice and help for someone wanting to be a ham, and they are the ones who usually run the test sessions.

  19. tsplistener


    Great show, thanks for covering a long requested topic in the area of prepping. I understand the argument that ham isn’t for everyone especially when the intended use will be casual or intermittent. Ham really does become somewhat of a lifestyle rather than a casual hobby. That said, I’m glad that scanners were covered as well in this podcast since they allow for the widening of one’s awareness of what’s going on in the world without the privacy or licensing hoops to jump through. The Uniden HomePatrol sounds like a great investment if one has the funds available, but I wanted to throw out a cheaper alternative for those with more time than money. Some of the USB dongles (the low end price for one is around $20) that are used to receive TV signals on a person’s computer can be reprogrammed to receive other bands as well (between 64 MHz to 1700 MHz) with some software and a good antenna. A tutorial for those interested can be found here: http://www.thepowerbase.com/2012/06/getting-started-with-rtl-sdr/

    Thanks again,

  20. Backwoods Engineer

    As a Ham Radio operator for over 31 years, I have to say, this is one of the BEST discussions of ham radio intended for the public I have ever heard. Well done, Tim. The way you described the characteristics of our various bands and modes was great.

    And “ARRL is the NRA for ham radio” is destined to become a CLASSIC!

  21. Both Uniden and Radio Shack scanners offer the feature of auto turning into people transmitting near you. Uniden’s feature is called closecall, Radio Shack has Signal Stalker. Even if you switch frequencies people near you can still hear it for not much money.

  22. Just thought I’d post two of my scanners

  23. Great episode guys. I failed my technician’s license test back in December after the “one day crash course” that Tim mentioned. Still need to get back into the ring and pass it!

    Thanks for the good info.

    Jack I love that you get so worked up about it man 🙂 It kind of reminds me of when your mom would keep pushing you to take music lessons or something haha You’re a good sport brotha.

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