Author Topic: Looking for a relatively inexpensive alternative to HAM  (Read 8151 times)

Offline Canadian Prepper

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Re: Looking for a relatively inexpensive alternative to HAM
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2017, 06:56:09 PM »
As an interim measure, I would suggest getting the Tech license and get on the air to get to know as many local hams as possible through regular nets, etc. A good proportion would probably have their General license and could probably relay a message to another General ham closer to where your brother lives who could then reach out to him via VHF or UHF. If you have a good system of linked repeaters that will probably also enable you to connect beyond 90miles, but I would caution that repeaters can go down, or have their bandwidth taken over by emergency communications that will limit air time to third parties, etc.

Then work towards the General license. Knowing local hams who already have theirs will help with finding good deals on equipment locally, people who could advise about what gear to get and perhaps even help you set up your stations and antennas, etc.

I concur with getting set up for 75 and 40m NVIS. Unless there is some unusually bad atmospheric conditions, I have found that I could consistently communicate across Southern Ontario with a long end fed antenna (that Carl taught me and others on this board about) that can be strung around a back yard. Mine was a bit higher than standard NVIS heights (it has been down for a few months and will probably go back up soon), but works reasonably well for connecting into local nets. If for some odd reason I could not hear someone or vice versa, it was not difficult for another ham to relay the message to the difficult to hear station.

Though one can spend a lot of time getting caught up with all the details of NVIS communications and ways to make it work better, it is essentially a simple solution that requires just a basic transceiver, probably antenna tuner, power supply, coax and a couple wires and insulators to set up. The simple MFJ kits could do the trick, or one can get a better used transceiver for a bit more power, additional bands. etc.

Offline Carl

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Re: Looking for a relatively inexpensive alternative to HAM
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2017, 07:40:17 PM »
  Yea,Canadian Prepper...Ham radio is about the only alternative to Ham radio that can get the job done but the original poster did not want Ham radio for some reason and also he wanted something CHEAP. So a 90 mile long string and two cans might work. There really isn't a better choice than Ham radio and some costly gear.

Also the poster has not been active in TWO YEARS ,so it might not help him ...even if there were a non Ham way to do this.
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Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Looking for a relatively inexpensive alternative to HAM
« Reply #32 on: October 09, 2017, 10:51:16 AM »
Good to keep eye on gotenna.  Their mesh tech is being adopted by the pros and neighborhood watch groups.   They have just started setting up an open mesh network.  Think of it as a potential revival of the packet network of the 80s but with greater reliability and security/privacy.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Looking for a relatively inexpensive alternative to HAM
« Reply #33 on: October 09, 2017, 11:06:26 AM »
What's interesting to me, is the higher the stakes, the more open people are about getting an amateur license. If you think life and safety may depend on communications, you tend to view it more than just more gear.

I was recently talking to some (non-radio) relief volunteers planning travel to Puerto Rico, and they wanted emergency GPS beacons.  A discussion about APRS developed, and a fire may have been lit.

Likewise blue ocean sailors might have Iridium Satellite phones, but often supplement with Marine SSB or even amateur HF capability.