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Author Topic: Portable vs Mobile  (Read 4099 times)
KU8K
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« on: October 31, 2012, 11:22:55 AM »

I need a little help with portable and mobile operations.  1st question if you are running a rig while driving, are you still mobile if you park the car? 

Also I hear operators often sign with their call sign followed by /portable 8 or /portable 6.  I am assuming the numbers reflect the zone they are transmitting from.  Would this be accurate and is it required? 

Thanks in advance.

73,

Bill KD8PZO
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KCJ9091
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2012, 12:42:15 PM »

Mobile operation is the operation from a station CAPABLE of being operated while in motion be it in a land vehicle, watercraft, aircraft, or pedestrian.  Portable operation is operation away from your licensed location.
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WB6BYU
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2012, 01:26:13 PM »

The FCC used to require us to identify as "portable 7" or the like when we were
operating away from our designated station location (even if in the same callsign
district.)   It is no longer required, but is often done either out of force of habit,
or as a way to give people a better idea of where you are located.  (It isn't
uncommon for someone to hear my callsign and aim their beam at California,
even though I'm no longer located there.)  For contests where scoring is
based on the number of states or other locations worked, this makes it more
clear how to score a contact with me.


There is nothing in the current Amateur radio rules that requires the use of the
terms "mobile" or "portable", or even defines what constitutes one or the other.
You're no longer required to use them, but some hams do.  In certain
situations, such as a contest, there may be rules that apply for that event
(such as the "mobile" category on Field Day.)

I would generally use "mobile" to describe operation from a vehicle where it
is possible to operate while in motion.  I might use "pedestrian mobile" to
describe walking down the trail talking on the radio, and "portable" for a
temporary station, whether carried in the car or a backpack.  But such
designators mean whatever the person using them wants them to mean,
because there is no "legal" definition.
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AC4RD
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2012, 03:14:52 PM »

Just me, but I usually identify as "/mobile" if I'm in my car, though if I'm parked and we chat, I'll mention that I'm in the car but not moving.  I'll identify as "/portable" (/P on CW) if I'm operating from my lawn chair or riding mower. 

 ( http://people.duke.edu/~kuzen001/lawnmower.htm )

 ( http://people.duke.edu/~kuzen001/ac4rdmobile.htm )


If I'm mobile but work a DX station where we trade signal reports very fast, I won't even bother adding "/mobile" when I work him--not relevant, though my log will show I was mobile later.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2012, 07:19:26 PM »

Zero requirement in the U.S. to identify as mobile or portable, or marine mobile.  No reason to do this at all, unless you want to.

When I operate mobile, I never tell anyone I'm mobile.  Just a way to waste time.

If I'm "maritime mobile" (in international waters, outside the U.S.) I do identify that way.
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M6GOM
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2012, 07:43:35 PM »

When I operate mobile, I never tell anyone I'm mobile.  Just a way to waste time.


Not really. There are plenty of DX stations who will tell people to QRX so they can work a /mobile if they hear that being called.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2012, 02:44:55 PM »

When I operate mobile, I never tell anyone I'm mobile.  Just a way to waste time.


Not really. There are plenty of DX stations who will tell people to QRX so they can work a /mobile if they hear that being called.

That's true, I hear that too.  I also hear DX stations asking "Who's the QRP station?  QRP only please."  Which would imply someone calling said "QRP" as part of his callsign.

Which I think is also a waste of time. Wink

I don't need DX to know if I'm mobile or QRP.  If they hear me, great.  If they don't, I'm not going to take extra time to tell them. Smiley
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KU8K
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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2012, 10:52:42 AM »

Thank you everyone.  Great information and you certainly answered my question. 

73,

Bill
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N4NYY
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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2012, 11:30:47 AM »

I would consider mobile anything in you car, driving or parked. I would consider portable something outside the shack, like a park, cabin, or any place where you bring or carry equipment with you.
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KC7YE
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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2012, 12:36:13 PM »

Nearly all my operations are either /M or /7 as home is a condo. / M is , even when parked you could drive with out stowing wire antenna, disconnecting 120 VAC etc. Only sign /7 (or what ever) if I am not in my home county. If on County Hunter freqs I don't sign /P as just confuses things for others. When /p in contest may or may not sign /P depends on contest. Worked CW SS from cabin in Skagit county WA. Didn't use /, if QSL I note on card. Back in the day had to use/ 7 etc. Also when operating out of your home QTH for more then few days had to notify FCC district engineer in that area. Was royal pain as I traveled on job.
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WB6BYU
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2012, 01:18:34 PM »

Quote from: KC7YE
...Also when operating out of your home QTH for more then few days had to notify FCC district engineer in that area...

Over half my contacts were made "portable" in the first 5 years I had my license.
I can still rattle off the Engineer-in-Charge's address from memory, though it's been
over 30 years since I sent such a notice.

This included the actual location where you were going to be operating, which wasn't
easy in some areas.  One Boy Scout camp was located by estimated latitude and longitude,
and when I was working as a surveyor in a logging camp I gave a bearing and distance
from the flagpole at the Post Office. 

Fortunately, as far as I can tell, the FCC never needed to locate my station.
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