pa2a.org


Share Thread:  
Communications
#1
So, I suppose this could go here or Odds and Ends or even Gear under Prepping.

Any prepping plans should include communications. Any thread on communications would probably lead to licensed Amatuer Radio Operators. Personally I'm not as active as I'd like, but did upgrade to my General ticket in the last year.

Just thought I'd throw the subject out there. Maybe it goes nowhere.
Reply
#2
I've never done anything with Amateur Radio, but I'd like to. 2-meter at least. What's a good starting point, as far as licensing and study.

I haven't played around with communications electronics since 1979. Undecided
.
“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”

William Pitt
Reply
#3
This is one of the most under-rated & under-discussed topics for the preppers, emergency responders, et al. There's -way- to much for a single thread on this topic, much less a post, so this is a very broad overview.

Basically you have two major choices: wireline or wireless. Each has sub-categories, pros & cons. Pick & choose what works for you.

Wireline is the most reliable, best signal quality and uses the least amount of power. It's also very secure. It also requires a dedicated wire run from point to point, and doesn't work well if mobility is a requirement. The most common form this appears is field telephones, or "camp phones". One in a while we'll dust off the EE-8 field phones to run from the house down to the end of the back yard, or campsite to shooting range. This is best suited for distances under 5-10 miles between two static locations.

Wireless comes in more flavors than chewing gum. In a nutshell, it boils down to licensed & unlicensed. For last minute acquisition, you're pretty much limited to non-licensed, and the major flavors are Family Radio Service (FRS), Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) and Citizen's Band (CB). Of the two, CB allows about 4 watts output on plain AM and 12 on sideband. CB also permits separate external antennas, which lends itself well to mobile operations. FRS is more compact and has a private line function (SAT or "privacy" code") which provides low level security. FRS is best suited for short range mobile operations.

Note that I'm omitting anything cellular. This is because anything cellular requires a pre-existing operational infrastructure, which will likely be offline in a serious emergency.

Licensed operation will (by far) give the best performance and different modes of operation, there are even video & TTY terminal options in licensed operation. It also requires acquiring the license ahead of time, which means there's some learning & test prep coming. Also expect to pay more up front for equipment, but you can get on par with *.gov agencies as far as propagation & signal quality.

(09-19-2012, 05:58 PM)Curmudgeon Wrote: I've never done anything with Amateur Radio, but I'd like to. 2-meter at least. What's a good starting point, as far as licensing and study.

A few resources:
http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radi...am-session
http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.h...id=amateur
Subject matter expert on questions no one's asking.
Reply
#4
(09-19-2012, 05:58 PM)Curmudgeon Wrote: I've never done anything with Amateur Radio, but I'd like to. 2-meter at least. What's a good starting point, as far as licensing and study.

I haven't played around with communications electronics since 1979. Undecided
.


It's changed a lot, these days you can get a submersible handheld that does 2m, 440, 220, and 6m for under $500. Halfway decent 2m/440 radios are available for under $100 if you are willing to buy a Chinese made transceiver.

Back when I started on 2 meter it was a No Code Tech license. I understand it is now just a Technician license.

Good place to start is ARRL.

http://www.arrl.org/getting-licensed

With 2 meter it really depends on Terrain of availability of repeaters for range. VHF/UHF communications are what is referred to as Line of Sight. A repeater on top of a mountain can greatly increase that.

I am far from an expert, like I said not as involved as I'd like to be, just thought I would throw the discussion point out as communications both VHF/UHF - like 2 meter or 440 and HF would certainly be a good thing to have for Prepping and Survival.

Hopefully some more active Hams will chime in.
Reply
#5
In regards to communications here, I'm more of a listener than a talker. I don't have my HAM license, and really don't intend on getting it. In an emergency, I can break out the CB, I have FRS radios for family communications if need be, and a couple of scanners programmed with everything possible to listen to, that includes all the FRS/GMRS frequencies, all the local HAM repeaters and the full array of BizBands. Also included in that is all the local, state and federal frequencies that are available.

What I am lacking is a shortwave.
Reply
#6
(09-19-2012, 06:28 PM)streaker69 Wrote: In regards to communications here, I'm more of a listener than a talker. I don't have my HAM license, and really don't intend on getting it. In an emergency, I can break out the CB, I have FRS radios for family communications if need be, and a couple of scanners programmed with everything possible to listen to, that includes all the FRS/GMRS frequencies, all the local HAM repeaters and the full array of BizBands. Also included in that is all the local, state and federal frequencies that are available.

What I am lacking is a shortwave.


While I would never discourage someone from having FRS and CB; you just can't compare with the options that become available with an Amateur Radio license for distance and modes of communication. Of course you don't have to have those skills yourself, if you have others around that might.

That said there are definite downsides. You cannot in any legal way use codes or encryption on Amateur Radio frequencies. I'm pretty sure those rules also apply to CB/FRS in some manner, but they are not monitored or regulated in the same fashion.

For shortware, the radios can be inexpensive and small, your real limiter is the antenna. This is however basically a universal truth when it comes to all RF communications.

As PA Rilfeman said above I think this is an often overlooked aspect of prepping/survial. At the minimum being able to obtain information from outside your zone is valuable. Being able to communicate with others 2, 5, 10, 100, 1000+ miles away has the potential to be priceless under a real disaster, whether it be calling for help, sharing information, or just getting a feel for what lies beyond your ability to regularly travel.
Reply
#7
Aren't some of the HAM bands going to be useless if the repeaters go down though? I'd think 10M with a legal amplifier would be good because at least with that you can shoot the skip and get world wide communications.

It's been awhile since I've looked into it, but is that really possible on 2M or 70CM?
Reply
#8
I'm a CB - SSB 'BIG TALKER,' as far as that goes. OPSEC will be a problem with ANY electronic form of communications, once the flag goes up. John and his long moustache, will need to be in the chair against the wall... [Image: chin.gif]
The War Wagon, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012. Anim_banana

[Image: won-rev-big-2.jpg]
Reply
#9
(09-19-2012, 06:49 PM)streaker69 Wrote: Aren't some of the HAM bands going to be useless if the repeaters go down though? I'd think 10M with a legal amplifier would be good because at least with that you can shoot the skip and get world wide communications.

It's been awhile since I've looked into it, but is that really possible on 2M or 70CM?


You are right that 2m/70cm doesn't normally get a "skip". Repeaters can be run off battery/solar though. So expanding 2m to 20+ miles becomes possible with a decent battery/solar and maybe battery replenishment plan.

CB is essentially 11M, you can get "skip" with it as well. As you can't do certain modes like CW and power output is limited that "skip" is largely mitigated. Again though antenna, antenna, antenna is really the key.

Now as to the "skip", it is largely dependent on Solar/Atmospheric variables. The range of the "skip" varies by frequency as well. Antenna also comes back into play here. To reliably communicate using propagation to various distances you need to be able to communicate on multiple frequencies and/or have the right antenna setup.
Reply
#10
(09-19-2012, 07:09 PM)mikeb0 Wrote:
(09-19-2012, 06:49 PM)streaker69 Wrote: Aren't some of the HAM bands going to be useless if the repeaters go down though? I'd think 10M with a legal amplifier would be good because at least with that you can shoot the skip and get world wide communications.

It's been awhile since I've looked into it, but is that really possible on 2M or 70CM?


You are right that 2m/70cm doesn't normally get a "skip". Repeaters can be run off battery/solar though. So expanding 2m to 20+ miles becomes possible with a decent battery/solar and maybe battery replenishment plan.

CB is essentially 11M, you can get "skip" with it as well. As you can't do certain modes like CW and power output is limited that "skip" is largely mitigated. Again though antenna, antenna, antenna is really the key.

Now as to the "skip", it is largely dependent on Solar/Atmospheric variables. The range of the "skip" varies by frequency as well. Antenna also comes back into play here. To reliably communicate using propagation to various distances you need to be able to communicate on multiple frequencies and/or have the right antenna setup.


Years ago I was talking to Australia and Andorra on 11M SSB skip with a 16' Antron whip. Wink
Reply






Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Bucks County emergency communications plan bac0nfat 11 1,545 02-13-2013, 10:41 AM
Last Post: bac0nfat



Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Software by MyBB, © 2002-2015 MyBB Group.
Template by Modogodo Design.