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Cell Phones and Ham Radio -
How to save money for ham radio
 using cell phones!

We are always interested in items of interest that we can share with our ham radio friends or anyone else for that matter who may be reading this page....especially when it comes to saving them tons money they can put back into ham radio equipment or their pocket.....so don't skim over this article, read it carefully and you may be glad you did!

You can consider this as an advertisement, a personal recommendation, 
and a review all rolled into one article


If your looking for much cheaper cell phone service, we found 2 ways to save tons of money on excellent low cost cell phone service! Here is how it happened.

One day my wife and I were talking about getting a cell phone for emergency use only when she or I were out in the car away from home...yes, I know...ham radio always comes thru, but she is not a ham and I can not persuade her to become one!
She is always out and about in the car shopping, running errands, etc and if she was away from a public pay phone and had an emergency of any kind, she would be stranded in a world of perfect strangers!

I opened my mouth, (gets me in trouble with her sometimes), and said I would do some research on what was "out there" in the way of ultra cheap cell phone service since we did not need cell phone service with all those bells and whistles.
All we needed for a cell phone was a very simple way to call home, 911, relatives, police, etc for her...and myself... if you want the truth, and it must be very very cheap but yet reliable. We had no need at all for a cell phone and the terrible expense that comes with a wireless service that can do the dishes for you, clean the house, wash the car, surf the internet, take your picture, and all of that other "stuff" that many very high tech and high priced cell phones and plans offer.

So I got on my internet friend Google and started searching for "cheap cell phones" "cheap cell phone service", etc.

What I discovered both amazed me and enlightened me as to what you can get in a cell phone and the service required that meets all of our requirements at a price that I found hard to believe compared to a couple of cell phone services we have used in the past.
So again, I got on Google and did some searching for reviews, specs, and any or all info I could find about what I had discovered.

So what did I discover?.....TracFone at Wal-Mart!

TracFone, is a relatively new cell phone service provider based out of Miami, Fl. They are not a cell phone company such as Verizon, ATT, etc. They contract and buy "air time" in huge quantities from all of the major "cell" companies. Where there is a cell phone tower, there is TracFone...simple as that. They have teamed up with the world largest retailer Wal-Mart! 
I know you have heard of Wal-Mart and their "low prices" that has made them famous. They can squeeze blood out of a turnip with their worldwide buying power.

I fount that they offer several different styles of TracFone cell phones made by major cell phone manufactures like Motorola, Samsung, etc that you buy outright plus "air time" minutes to go with them that you buy ahead of time. Then you get the phone activated, (which is a very simple process), and your all set with a high quality cell phone and the "air time" minutes in case you need it in an emergency or for any use. So long story short, there are no contracts, nothing to sign, the phone works great and the most important thing,


The way I understand it is that all you are required to do to keep the TracFone service is buy more minutes before the "service days left" ends to keep the phone service activated! When you buy more minutes, this extends the service cut off date, plus adds minutes to your air time. Each time you buy 60 minutes, your "service end date" is extended 90 days. The TracFone even tells you how many service days are left and the number of minutes remaining.
I don't believe other companies do that! So what is happening here is that you are really buying the peace of mind that you have a cell phone service that works great when you need it....the minutes are thrown into the deal for you to use as you choose.

As of this writing we have 148 days left of service time plus 65 minutes of "air time". We used 5 already. Thankfully, they were not for emergencies!
We started with 150 days of service plus 70 minutes, (10 minutes comes with the phone) when I bought the phone and had it activated. Each time the phone is used "on the air" the minutes start counting down. I can even call anywhere in the U.S. and most countries for the same cost as local calls. All one flat rate per minute!

So how "cheap" was all of this?

The TracFone phone I bought was a Motorola W260G TracFone package with home charger, Walmart price, $14.88 (got it on a "Roll Back" special) the day I was there..lucky I guess!
I added 60 minutes for us to use by buying the 60 minute card...cost $19.88...all plus tax of course.

No activation fees, no contract, no extra charges of any kind and the Wal-Mart Associate even activated it for me at checkout....nothing to sign, and nothing else to buy except for air time minutes later when I run low. I don't even need to buy them unless the "end of service days is about to expire and I don't want to loose the service.

Total cost for the phone and 70 minutes to use for 150 days = $37.72 including tax!

That's about 25 cents per day including the initial cost of the phone for the first 150 days.

Now forget the cost of the phone for a moment, that was a one time cost.

The TracFone air time minutes cost, including tax, equals out to about 35 cents per minute initially including tax...now wait...that sounds high BUT, remember, you can stop the service at any time at no charge to you because you don't have a contract to pay to get out of and you will not get a "final" bill from TracFone or any other bill for that matter. Don't stop reading here...there's more.....

So let's put some math to work here and find out what it actually cost us over a years time.

If 60 minutes gets you 90 days of service for $19.88 plus tax, then that's about 4 times per year you have to spend $19.88 which equals to about $80.00 PER YEAR for cell phone service! That's about 22 cents per day to have cell phone service! No...it's not unlimited this and unlimited that, but........

How many people do you know who's cell phone cost per month is around $6.69 PER MONTH? Most are around $50.00 to $80.00 per month.... That's hundreds of dollars we just saved per year with TracFone for ham radio equipment!!!

Now using the simple math above, you can see that, depending on your present service, you could save HUNDREDS of dollars per year with TracFone, (that's more radio equipment you could buy) using TracFone, or said in another way, you could spend hundreds of dollars MORE for the cell phone service with that contract.... all the frills you have now and have little money if any left for ham radio! Even if you want to stop your service with that other provider, chances are your on a contract and it will cost you some serious dollars to get out of that contract! So you spend lots more money to try to save money by getting out of that contract.

To say it even in another way, you spend about $80.00 PER YEAR for an inexpensive, highly reliable TracFone and have the use of a cell phone that will work anywhere the major cell phone carriers have coverage. No there's no roaming charge.

TracFone does not own or maintain cell towers. They lease air time from most ALL of the major cell phone companies including Verizon, ATT and most of the other giants so your chances of being out of cell phone range is small. 

How do you get TracFone....simple...if you have a nearby Wal-Mart, go to the Electronics department, you will find them there! If by some chance there is not a Wal-Mart store near you, or you don't want to fight the crowds, then you can get one from the Wal-Mart website online by using the Wal-Mart search banner below...just type or copy and paste in TracFone in the search bar and click "FIND" for their latest pricing and deals.


How would I rate TracFone?
We now have one and love it for the money it saves us!
Now I am using the savings for more ham radio equipment...hope you will to!



TracFone, Straight Talk and Net10 are registered trade marks of the respective companies.


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