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    Since I have been back here I have noticed very little discussion on comms. I wonder why that is? And the second thing is how many ACTUALLY have a comms plan in place and use it often with family and your co-preppers and survivalist friends or even in your MAG or militia group?
    Along with your bug out plans you should have a comms plan in place. No I don't mean the FRS radios from Walmart. I mean dependable and reliable HAM radios. Getting a license aint that hard. The group that I belong to we use 2m if your licensed and FRS/GMRS and MURS if they have no license. It is a good way to learn your radio and how to use them properly and get used to them and how to communicate with them.
    Buy quality, like YAESU, ALINCO, ICOM, Motorola. I have found out that the BAOFENGS I bought will not stand up to the rigors of training. So I went back to using the YAESU FT60 and FT270 handhelds and the FT2900 and FT1900 2m radios for stationary use like a base or in a C/P. Tough and rugged.

  • #2
    We have a few com guys here. I think it's as important as you state, however, it's real technical for the average guy. Ham radios are a hobby I always wanted to get into, but since I shock myself EVERY STINKING time I mess with electronics....

    Haha

    -Buggy
    It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.
    -Arthur C. Clarke

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    • #3
      Aint a laughing matter....haha. I use HAM everyday as a hobby and as tactical comms as well. I used think like you do too. I have no electronics background or knowledge. All mechanical like welding, engine/transmissions rebuilding etc. After I spent the time and energy to buy the study materials and studying I got my TECH license and found out it wasn't as intimidating as I thought and then got my GENERAL license. You start learning after you get your license. Really learning. Now is the time to learn and know before you actually need it.

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      • #4
        My son in law is into ham radio. I am trying when we have time to learn it. I started working on that a while back but one thing after the other kept coming up and with him working such long hours it makes it hard to get together to for me to learn everything. But we do have one that knows it so I am good with that for now.

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        • #5
          bountyhunter, you've talked about some of the better equipment, but perhaps a simple guide for those to get started??? Where would we start? What would you recommend?? What should we budget for?? Mobile versus, stationary? It's an interesting topic and definitely applicable; I have to admit this is a very weak area for me.
          Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

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          • #6
            Lalakai....there are several places that you can get study materials. I bought all my study material thru Ham Radio Outlet in Atlanta Georgia. I live south of Atlanta so I made the trip to look at various radios etc.
            I settled on the ARRL $30 book TECHINICIAN Study guide and the on the GENERAL Study guide as well. I used www.eham.net to take my practice exams. Just seemed to be better study materials to me. After I got my GENERAL license I went on and got my VE Credentials. That means Volunteer Examiner. I can help administer exams only TECH though. I am working on getting my EXTRA then I can give all exams.I recommend on buying the book and study thru it instead of the computer. That way you can keep going back and reviewing material at your pace not the computers. Also you can study anywhere as well with out the tablet or computer. Just easier, don't have to worry about the thing going dead on you in the middle of an exam or study material.
            The TECH and GENERAL class license require a 35 question test that you have to make an 80% grade on to pass. Might be 70% depending on who gives the exam. The question pool is about 500 questions and they take 35 for the exam. You can take both tests at one sitting if you think you can pass both. BUT, you have to pass the TECH before they let you take the GENERAL.
            As far as the radios is concerned, I bought 3 BAOFENG UV-B5 dual band radios to use and keep my YAESU radios on a standby status and found out the BAOFENG radios are not standing up to the rigors of training. My YAESU radio are a very rugged and reliable radio. They have been dropped, gotten wet and bounced around on my 4wheeler and keeps on going. I know several folks with the BAOFENG and they are experiencing some of the same problems as I am with the, SO BUY QUALITY.
            Find you a HAM club in your area that can help you study and guide you on your choice of radio. HAMs are a good bunch of folks that are always wanting to help. Remember too that when all else fails the HAM radios are still working!
            Feel free to PM me on here if you want to get more information. Remember it is as hard as you make it out to be. Don't be like a guy I know that says I don't need know license when SHTF....then it is too late. Learn now and how to use them properly and correctly that way when it doe happen you wont be blind sided

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            • #7
              Originally posted by bountyhunter View Post
              Since I have been back here I have noticed very little discussion on comms. I wonder why that is? And the second thing is how many ACTUALLY have a comms plan in place and use it often with family and your co-preppers and survivalist friends or even in your MAG or militia group?
              Along with your bug out plans you should have a comms plan in place. No I don't mean the FRS radios from Walmart. I mean dependable and reliable HAM radios. Getting a license aint that hard. The group that I belong to we use 2m if your licensed and FRS/GMRS and MURS if they have no license. It is a good way to learn your radio and how to use them properly and get used to them and how to communicate with them.
              Buy quality, like YAESU, ALINCO, ICOM, Motorola. I have found out that the BAOFENGS I bought will not stand up to the rigors of training. So I went back to using the YAESU FT60 and FT270 handhelds and the FT2900 and FT1900 2m radios for stationary use like a base or in a C/P. Tough and rugged.
              I have been gone a while, so I will reopen this thread in the hopes of some discussion.

              I think part of the problem with discussing comms here might be the "all or nothing" mentality that comes across (whether you mean it to be there or not). It seems to the casual observer that if one is to have comms, they must get their ham license and buy nothing but the best radios. Many people don't have thousands of dollars to invest in comms, so seeing posts like the one I quoted, they just move on.

              Comment


              • #8
                TRex, I have to agree on that all or nothing mentality. Seems like folks are like if you don't have so many thousands to get into it stay away. Or they jump into all the techno babble that quickly makes us non radio types zone out... blah blah blah...

                Comms is a definitly a place I'm woefully lacking, I'll make a guess that many here are to beyond a cell or a set of those cheap $20 Midland or Motorola hand helds that might go a mile or 2 on a good day. I've never ha luck with those things, even the more costly ones. To be honest it's a bit intimidating to someone that's never dealt with comms beyond growing up with a Dad that drove truck and had CB's or my having had an old Uniden CB in my first pickup years ago. I put that in when I was in the service and traveled a lot, it was nice to have to talk with trucks and get the bear reports.

                I've been thinking this year about getting a CB for my pickup but to be honest I don't know what's a good brand anymore or what wattage you can get. Am I better off pulling out my old Uniden or snagging one of the old man's Cobra's? Also what is now on the market and out there beyond a standard basic CB? I thought I heard where some models have options like NOAA bands and even scanners?

                Any thoughts on this are appreciated. If I do get something I'll likely have a radio shop install it to make sure everything is set up and metered calibrated, whatever it is.

                Hope people will pick this up to. love to hear any thoughts on trying to develop a kit over time. Like if I start with a CB, what kind of handheld might be best that could connect with it that I could give the Mrs or my oldest kids. And then in those handhelds what is there to grow into? Are their handhelds that will do CB and ham? Or at least be able to pick up and listen to ham?
                I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Let's give a very good and current example: I live in NE Florida you should know by we had a little trouble with a storm named IRMA.

                  My plan was layered using the social media and news sources, government agencies, etc for current information. We have three different layers for comm. Including Cell phones, CB radio and HAM. That all went out the window when Florida went dark.

                  Every system uses electrical power in some way. After we lost power; we lost internet and cell service. After 4 days batteries died. Since we were stuck for 4 days do to the storms effects (Flooding) we were out of touch with everyone outside of 5 miles away.

                  I had 3 sets of FRS/GMRS radios that were to have 36 mile range (RIGHT) lets say 5 miles and be happy. CB was useless.

                  The only news we got was a portable radio that had one station giving 24/7 coverage to the storm and local conditions. By the second day most other radio stations were off the air. But this one station kept going.
                  Last edited by RICHFL; 09-13-2017, 09:54 AM.

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                  • #10
                    We have 3 sets of walkie talkies that are about 40 mile range but to reach my daughter I only need about 10 mile. I have not tried it out to see if i can get her on them but they only need batteries. So will be checking that out before long.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CountryGuy View Post
                      ... cheap $20 Midland or Motorola hand helds that might go a mile or 2 on a good day. I've never ha luck with those things, even the more costly ones.
                      Distance you get with those little hand helds is dependent on what is physically between you and the other person, more than anything else. The advertised range is almost moot.

                      To be honest it's a bit intimidating to someone that's never dealt with comms beyond growing up with a Dad that drove truck and had CB's or my having had an old Uniden CB in my first pickup years ago. I put that in when I was in the service and traveled a lot, it was nice to have to talk with trucks and get the bear reports.

                      I've been thinking this year about getting a CB for my pickup but to be honest I don't know what's a good brand anymore or what wattage you can get. Am I better off pulling out my old Uniden or snagging one of the old man's Cobra's?
                      A lot of the answer depends on what you want to do.

                      The CB service is still about the same as it was in 1982, but the radios are a bit more modern. If you have one that is already installed, or can do a temp installment (clip on or magnetic antenna and cigarette lighter power plug) you could find out if CB will do what you want it to do. CB isn't as dependent on having a clear path to the other end as FRS (the little handy talkies) but if there is enough stuff in the way, it can be a limiting factor.

                      Also what is now on the market and out there beyond a standard basic CB? I thought I heard where some models have options like NOAA bands and even scanners? ...
                      In my younger days I never liked combining multiple radio systems in one package, but today I have to admit there is something to be said for doing that. Especially CB and Weather.
                      (I don't believe I have ever seen a scanner and CB combo.)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Trex.
                        I'm up in central PA so right here CB range isn't bad in the valley, you can get a few miles. now getting over the mountain ridge, forget it. I know when Dad drove for the one company besides their regular CB's each truck also had a "company radio". they were a white colored Motorola unit that looked a lot like a a CB but only had a fw channels as I recall. I remember him telling me they somehow worked off repeater towers. But often they could be a 100+ miles away and still reach the office. Probably the predecessor to cell and push to talk technology as this was 70's up thru early 90's.

                        I'm thinking maybe one of Dad's older radios might be the way to go as I believe somewhere in the late 80's they forced the radio manufacturers to cut their output wattages. Though I might know where there is 1 or 2 old school linears but I know they take a load of juice and can fry things if your not careful but will definitely push your signal out. Guess I need to get serious and do some research.

                        AJ

                        Try your little walkie talkie now. being where u are and it's flat you might get lucky but you are also in an area with a lot of comms traffic (both civilian and military) so not sure if that might interfere with you trying to reach out as well as receive. Best to try them now with ur daughter. You might find u or she or both of u have to get some elevation off say a second floor or a nearby hill.

                        Rich,
                        As to no power after 4 days, don't know what to say other than look into building a back up battery bank and using an inverter powered off your car/ truck/ van or a generator to charge it up along with your phones and rechargeable batteries and can also use it to cycle your fridge and freezer to keep things nice and cold.
                        I did want to ask, what part of your preps or plan failed that u went dark after only 4 days? How long did you think you should have been good for?

                        I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          FRS is OK for a couple of miles. More if you are on an open prairie or something. CB can usually double the range of the little FRS radios.

                          Yes, companies use repeaters, even today, for their company radios. They put a station up on a hilltop, and as long as both users can communicate with that hilltop, they can communicate with each other. Traditional repeaters are expensive, but there is a thing called a simplex repeater, that is worth looking into.

                          Most survival minded radio networks work out a comm plan in advance (and practice it). One of the facets in a good survival minded comm plan is to have scheduled radio checks at scheduled time, and turn the radios off in between. This saves on batteries and allows the users to to other things (like go get some food water and sleep) in between radio checks.

                          There is a Comm Plan mentioned in one of the sticky threads for this forum, but I haven't read it yet.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            When you get around to doing something permanent with CB, I highly recommend you get one that has Single Side Band (SSB) capability. For three reasons. First, it reaches out somewhat further, second, it allows you to avoid some of the traffic on the normal channels and third, it allows you to communicate with others who only operate on SSB.

                            But, as long as you can run CB rigs that you get from others, for free or nearly free, there is no reason to upgrade until you decide that CB is the way you want to go. (Rather than Amateur, GMRS, MURS, or even Marine band, for instance.)

                            Until you decide which way you want to go with comms, one thing I have to emphasize is practice. I used to work job where listening to the radio was a part of the job, and people would come visit me from time to time. When calls would come in, and I would respond to them, I often got questions from the visitors about how could I understand what they were saying. People who are used to face to face often have a hard time adapting to the slightly distorted sounds from radios and no body language to assist in understanding. But with time, it is a skill worth gaining.
                            Last edited by TRex2; 09-14-2017, 01:10 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Let me clear the air here.....I did not mean that you HAD to get your HAM license. But, HAM will talk further than CB, GMRS or FRS. The GMRS and FRS and the bubble packaged radios like you find in Walmart are not designed to go very far. I have never seen FRS go beyond a few hundred yards.
                              CBs are great if you have and use an amp to boost power (illegal) but still folks use them. SSB configured radios are very good. A truck driver friend of mine swears by that and he is also a HAM. But, what I was referring to was to get licensed and start learning comms now legally on HAM and learn your radio/radios and equipment NOW before you NEED them. That is all I was saying. If YOU thought I was saying you have to get licensed YOU were Wrong. And, BTW GMRS is a licensed radio as well.
                              I have one radio (hand held) that I can talk on GMRS, FRS and MURS as well as HAM freqs. But, power and antennas are the key to getting out and talking.
                              Just my .02 worth..........

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