The Survival Podcast Forum

Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics => The HAM Radio Board => Topic started by: Cedar on November 17, 2014, 09:29:26 AM

Title: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 17, 2014, 09:29:26 AM
We went out on a call the other night for an elk hunter with a broken leg. We had a heck of a time with communications out there, and with 911 Dispatch. Usually we can use Channel 1 and it gets us to Dispatch. The rest of us can hear it too, if we are on 1.

Channel 2 is line of sight for us in the fire department. It is our Tac channel. But it is pretty much only if we can see each other.

We were in pretty rough country and basically the roads are at the bottom of creek ravines, with large 300-500 foot hills surrounding those ravines. We were traveling the ravines, which snake through the area, and each ravine branches out into multiple more ravines/roadways.

I had noticed during the ice storm when I was at home, just listening to see what was happening in the area due to the ice storm, that the radio for Dispatch was very poor. I was wondering if it was due to my battery, put a fresh one in and same issue. Then I was wondering if it was ice buildup on the tower, which is at 4,000 feet, many many miles away. Or on the millions of iced trees with 2-3" coating on them causing issues. The radios for once, was very crackly, and distorted. These are like $1,500 radios and they generally work very well.

On the team, I am the newest member, so I am low person on the totem pole. I just follow directions/orders. When we debriefed, we were talking about issues and good things we did out there, but communications were at the top of everyone's complaint list. if I am not looked to a higher authority, I would have at least suggested a BASE up on the closest hill to where we were searching, with two radios.. one set to Channel 1 and one for Channel 2, and act as a 'local repeater', but I was wondering if HAM radio would have done us any better? Even 2-meter.

I am planning on taking my Ham classes and test in February, but I am curious now to understand what we could have done differently to be able to get critical information better out there. The night was very clear and at 22F.

Would have a Ham radio, even a little Beofeng, have done us any better than the fire department issued radios?

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: endurance on November 17, 2014, 09:38:29 AM
I'm going to say that hams would have had the same problems, but setting up a person on a high point, ideally with a truck radio, would give you the opportunity to use them to relay with other members in lower places.

Better antennas might help some.  We have 14" whips on our wildland radios that tend to reach out there a little better, although the trade off in convenience makes them less than ideal for everyday use.

Of course having a ham would open up other repeaters, potentially, which would be a game changer under certain circumstances, but too often most repeaters are clustered on a handful of high points and towers.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 17, 2014, 09:58:32 AM
but too often most repeaters are clustered on a handful of high points and towers.

The same one/location that our emergency one is on.

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Carl on November 17, 2014, 10:17:40 AM
CEDAR,and others...HAM radio is no different from others (HAMs just understand a bit more of how they work.
basically UHF/VHF and even the 800 MHZ radios are line of sight and the signals go in a straight line (like light),
so passing through dirt,trees,snow ,rain,buildings will greatly degrade the radio signal ...this is why satellite TV often
is effected by weather at times...so basically ,though HAM is a great option for communications,you will not find it 'better'
for your use in the hills and gulleys.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 17, 2014, 10:18:52 AM
Thanks guys... so back to sticking a poor person up on the mountainside... which they would have had to do on foot.

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Smurf Hunter on November 17, 2014, 10:19:26 AM
Hopefully more experienced hams will weigh in, but this scenario sounds like the ideal case for a cross band mobile repeater.  The concept is to park the vehicle with the dual band radio up on some high point that's both in line of sight of the ravine and the desired destination of your TX. 

From the ravine your operations guys might be using VHF walkie talkies, that are hitting your mobile rig up on the hill.  That mobile unit immediately retransmits the signal(s) from the walkie talkies on a UHF frequency.  I suppose the opposite UHF->VHF could be true as well.

(http://www.cvarc.org/tech/crossbandswebfg1.gif)

A popular example is the Yaesu FT-8800R. 
From Yaesu:

Quote
Cross-Band Repeat Capability
For emergency work, or to extend the range of a hand-held unit, the FT-8800R includes Cross-Band Repeat capability, similar to that pioneered on our popular FT-8100R Dual Band FM Mobile!
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Carl on November 17, 2014, 10:24:55 AM

   :clap:  I could not have answered better...but it is tough to get a car up a ridge like the one illustrated...

I wouldn't put it past CEDAR getting it done though.... ;D
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 17, 2014, 10:48:03 AM
.but it is tough to get a car up a ridge like the one illustrated...
I wouldn't put it past CEDAR getting it done though.... ;D

Even as good as you guys think I am, it was IMPOSSIBLE to get anything, even a 4-wheeler up there without a lot of chainsawing with something larger than a 19" bar. The one tree which was down and I had to crawl under, was about 5 feet through. There were at least 15 trees down on that roadway to the ridge I am thinking of. Whatever I (or whomever) hauled up to that ridge would have had to be in something portable, like a backpack... which I likely would have had to take off and shove under each fallen tree or over the tree.

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Smurf Hunter on November 17, 2014, 11:52:24 AM
Even as good as you guys think I am, it was IMPOSSIBLE to get anything, even a 4-wheeler up there without a lot of chainsawing with something larger than a 19" bar. The one tree which was down and I had to crawl under, was about 5 feet through. There were at least 15 trees down on that roadway to the ridge I am thinking of. Whatever I (or whomever) hauled up to that ridge would have had to be in something portable, like a backpack... which I likely would have had to take off and shove under each fallen tree or over the tree.

Cedar

Assuming a short duration that only requires a small battery, a mobile transceiver is generally "man portable".   You could fashion up one of those ladderline J-pole antennas that store coiled up, but can be hung up from a tree limb.

Depending on the design, the antennas can be very small:
(http://galleryplus.ebayimg.com/ws/web/190898779511_1_0_1/1000x1000.jpg)

This is similar to Carl's now famous "Big Stick" design:
(http://n2lno.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/pole.jpg)

It's the same basic "ladder" line, but housed inside a length of PVC pipe.

Though we really need a "dual band" antenna for this situation.  Building and tuning a single antenna for different bands is above my pay grade at the moment.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: endurance on November 17, 2014, 12:13:19 PM
I know the Forest Service uses backpack portable repeaters for wildland fires on occasion.  I also know a local sheriff's office that every patrol car acts as a repeater for their handhelds, but I also know they've never worked out all the kinks and while they have better coverage than they used to, they still have a lot of coverage issues.  There's only so much you can do in really hilly terrain and when you cover everything in ice, it's time to find a straw...
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Carl on November 17, 2014, 12:15:28 PM
 :)  Except that my BIG STICK is dual band...2 meter and 440-450 MHZ

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5ZIZLZV4AwIVVVPNGJiODFjM0U&authuser=0   This is PDF

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5ZIZLZV4AwIbzY3MjZiSkg0S0U&authuser=0   This is DOC


Download free from my GOOGLE DRIVE
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Carl on November 17, 2014, 12:17:53 PM
I know the Forest Service uses backpack portable repeaters for wildland fires on occasion.  I also know a local sheriff's office that every patrol car acts as a repeater for their handhelds, but I also know they've never worked out all the kinks and while they have better coverage than they used to, they still have a lot of coverage issues.  There's only so much you can do in really hilly terrain and when you cover everything in ice, it's time to find a straw...


YEP...to really be an advantage...a repeater should be in a higher location (though higher power helps just a little...POWER alone is not the answer.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Beechnut on November 18, 2014, 09:37:42 AM
If you were to go with a man portable repeater system, the buddipole guys have a sweet lithium battery pack that is just a shade over 3lbs and has 10ah of juice @ 13.8 Volts.

4S4P A123 Battery Pack http://www.buddipole.com/4sa1bapa2.html (http://www.buddipole.com/4sa1bapa2.html)

(http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/buddipole_2268_14967380)
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: r_w on November 18, 2014, 10:34:00 AM
This is where drone would actually be a good thing for local ems to have.  Fly a drone as a repeater.  But it would have to be a pretty big one to carry that much payload.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 18, 2014, 11:23:08 AM
This is where drone would actually be a good thing for local ems to have.  Fly a drone as a repeater.  But it would have to be a pretty big one to carry that much payload.

Not to mention handle wind, tree branches and trees falling. Lots of forest. If I had known in hindsight, I would have climbed up on a ridge and relayed on our Tac channel for everyone.

(http://icons.wunderground.com/data/wximagenew/r/Rutabagas/125.jpg)
This is the kind of landscape we were in.. we were walking on the two-track forestry roads at the bottom of the ravines. (now you can see why I was whining about hiking 3+ miles in here in full fire department turnout gear and fire boots, you still have to go up and over ridges -- would have rather had my SAR gear and hiking boots).

Trees like this, with some clear cuts. Heavy 1-3" ice on the trees. ALOT of trees down.
(http://photos.mongabay.com/j/Ancient_Forest_Photo_by_TJ_Watt-12.568.jpg)

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: endurance on November 18, 2014, 11:30:16 AM
Ugh, how miserable.  We stopped doing SAR in bunkers a few years ago.  Now it's wildland pants, wildland boots and either dept. T-shirt or hoodie over whatever else you're wearing.  Bunker boots suck for cross country travel, as you well know.

That looks like ideal terrain for a relay on a hilltop.  Lessons learned for next time.  ...because there's always a next time (with just enough wrinkles to make things interesting).
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 18, 2014, 11:35:59 AM
Ugh, how miserable.  We stopped doing SAR in bunkers a few years ago.  Now it's wildland pants, wildland boots and either dept. T-shirt or hoodie over whatever else you're wearing.  Bunker boots suck for cross country travel, as you well know.

Yep. The problem was dispatch told us that the man with the broken leg was AT THE FORESTRY GATE.. not 3 miles BEHIND the LOCKED forestry gate. The lock was not the issue, we have keys for every single forestry gate. The problem was the hunter parked his full sized pickup in FRONT of the locked forestry gate.

I rarely wear my full bunkers out. Pants and hiking boots normally (alot of our calls, I want to be able to move better), unless it was those car fires obviously. But I wanted high visibility and easy warmth that night, so I went in full turnouts. And I ALMOST tossed my hikers into the truck as well, as decided "nah.. I will not need them. "

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: endurance on November 18, 2014, 11:44:23 AM
We have a local open space with a total of four trails in it that make intersecting loops with one parking lot/trailhead at the bottom, 2,000'/3-4 miles below and one at the top.  Regardless of the call, given years of collective experience with the department, one ambulance goes to the bottom, one goes to the top, each with two teams of two.  People are never where they say they are.  You would think cell phone GPS would help, and there's no doubt that in some cases it does, but in many cases the communication with the reporting party breaks down and if we go to the reporting party's location, it turns out it's a parking lot where they called it in from; they left the patient an hour ago, but failed to mention that do dispatch.

I suspect you're learning from this that soon your SAR pack will be going with you again on even the most basic of calls. ;)
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Beetle on November 18, 2014, 11:59:13 AM
How come you didn't tow the truck? Your SAR radios for line of sight would work just like a ham radio since 155.805 is best for foliage. Not sure what the fire radio frequency's are but if they are 400 or 800mhz they are not as good as VHF for that terrain. We have the same situation with terrain and we either use relays or if it gets to bad then the SAT phone. There are times when none of the above work even the SAT phones and those are long days. Ham might be a good backup for you as there are repeaters all over the place, the only thing about it is the local hams might get mad if your on their airwaves. Good luck Cedar.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 18, 2014, 12:16:48 PM
How come you didn't tow the truck?

Ice. And where to tow it to? Over the edge of the ravine? A wrecker tow truck takes at LEAST an hour to get out there. At least. Generally 3.

Several hours later, when the family members showed up with keys to the truck, we were able to get 4 rigs in there, but there are no turn arounds, people had to walk behind trucks for miles so the truck could back. No pull offs. Straight up one side, Straight down the other.

Ham might be a good backup for you as there are repeaters all over the place, the only thing about it is the local hams might get mad if your on their airwaves.

Even during an emergency? Our community is pretty good, so I would think the ham guys would be too.. unless they are just complete jerks. We finally just knocked on some doors about 5 miles down the road to get a logger with a huge bar, to start cutting trees, just to be able to walk through with the Stokes.

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Smurf Hunter on November 18, 2014, 12:19:27 PM
How come you didn't tow the truck? Your SAR radios for line of sight would work just like a ham radio since 155.805 is best for foliage. Not sure what the fire radio frequency's are but if they are 400 or 800mhz they are not as good as VHF for that terrain. We have the same situation with terrain and we either use relays or if it gets to bad then the SAT phone. There are times when none of the above work even the SAT phones and those are long days. Ham might be a good backup for you as there are repeaters all over the place, the only thing about it is the local hams might get mad if your on their airwaves. Good luck Cedar.

Heck, the $30 BaoFeng's go from 144mhz all the way to 520mhz.  The rubber duck antennas kind of suck, but that's easy to improve.
There are some legalities involved, but for down and dirty SAR work, where primary comms fail, I wouldn't sweat TX on a non-ham band if it helped facilitate rescue of an injured person. 

I'm a newer ham, but from what I've come to understand, there's not a functional difference from 144mhz (2 meter) and 155mhz (first responder).  Exception being you may have a lot more wattage and antenna system options on the ham bands.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 18, 2014, 12:27:05 PM
I so gotta take my class in February. I think I have 2 other TSPers talked into going with me, and one of the fire team

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Carl on November 18, 2014, 12:35:58 PM
I so gotta take my class in February. I think I have 2 other TSPers talked into going with me, and one of the fire team

Cedar

The UV5R and UV85 (better radio in my opinion) will work on MURS 150 mhz Non- licensed channels and FRS 450 MHZ channels and the UV82 has a Part 90 accepted version, if you are required to you it legally ( don't tear off that matress tag)...it is a toothless law and I have only seen part 90 compliance used against IMPORTERS of large numbers of radios.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Smurf Hunter on November 18, 2014, 12:53:20 PM
If Cedar gets her ham ticket, she'll be an unstoppable force of self-sufficient might.

Just promise to use your powers for good :)
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: endurance on November 18, 2014, 01:20:46 PM
If Cedar gets her ham ticket, she'll be an unstoppable force of self-sufficient might.

Just promise to use your powers for good :)
I'd like to see her use her powers to take over Monsanto and dismantle them piece by piece. ;D
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Beetle on November 18, 2014, 01:59:02 PM
What County are you in Cedar? You would think the ham guys would be cool, but it only takes one complainer to wreck the party we have had it happen. That's why the SAR radios and relays. The only thing ham would improve is if you were able to hit a ham repeater. Usually both radios are 5 watts so no big advantage with ham over a SAR radio. Also your department might want to invest in a portable repeater they could deploy. Was this a fire call or a SAR callout?
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Chemsoldier on November 18, 2014, 02:07:40 PM
Could an operator use a more efficient mode? I only own an FM radio but I understand that VHF SSB is more efficient than FM.

A fixed wing drone might be the ticket. It likely has the loiter time, altitude and payload. When its transmitter batteries start running down launch another drone. Maybe even dual use, use a drone with FLIR to pinpoint the victim and retrans on the drone to walk the team in.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Chemsoldier on November 18, 2014, 02:12:08 PM
Instead of putting the repeater on the hill, could you just move the antenna higher?  Our weather squadron guys have helium tanks that are packable and small weather balloons that can carry small instrument packages.  Tether it to the valley floor but send it high enough to be a portable hilltop?
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 18, 2014, 02:20:49 PM
What County are you in Cedar?

I admit I am in Western Oregon.

You would think the ham guys would be cool, but it only takes one complainer to wreck the party we have had it happen. That's why the SAR radios and relays. The only thing ham would improve is if you were able to hit a ham repeater. Usually both radios are 5 watts so no big advantage with ham over a SAR radio. Also your department might want to invest in a portable repeater they could deploy. Was this a fire call or a SAR callout?

It was a fire call. I did SAR for 15 years as a dog handler, but just started with a volunteer fire department. We are a small department with about 5-6 people who tend to make most of the callouts. Apparently we don't usually get these types of SAR calls in the FD. SAR was called, but they didn't get called for about 3 hours into this call. In most areas, I can test my Baofeng and I can hit our HAM repeater with it. I didn't try where we were (it was at home), but I live in an area much like the one shown. But we were having a difficult time even hearing dispatch. I should take one of the guys who I think would be game to hike back up in there one of these days, and see if a person on top of one of the hillocks, and one person down in a ravine is easier to get communication.

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Beetle on November 18, 2014, 02:21:54 PM
Maybe in the future... haven't heard of anyone using drones yet. SAT phones work pretty good most of the time. If your really having Comm.'s problems at least in Oregon here is a great resource to use. http://www.mwave.org/
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 18, 2014, 02:22:27 PM
Just promise to use your powers for good :)

I will. I tried to take it in 2010 and had signed up, had a scholarship, but I couldn't get a babysitter for 3 days.

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 18, 2014, 02:23:49 PM
Maybe in the future... haven't heard of anyone using drones yet. SAT phones work pretty good most of the time. If your really having Comm.'s problems at least in Oregon here is a great resource to use. http://www.mwave.org/

Thank you. I don't think we had that when I was in SAR in Oregon/Washington back in the day. I just passed this onto someone in our FD.. thanks.

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Beetle on November 18, 2014, 02:26:01 PM
I admit I am in Western Oregon.

It was a fire call. I did SAR for 15 years as a dog handler, but just started with a volunteer fire department. We are a small department with about 5-6 people who tend to make most of the callouts. Apparently we don't usually get these types of SAR calls in the FD. SAR was called, but they didn't get called for about 3 hours into this call. In most areas, I can test my Baofeng and I can hit our HAM repeater with it. I didn't try where we were (it was at home), but I live in an area much like the one shown. But we were having a difficult time even hearing dispatch. I should take one of the guys who I think would be game to hike back up in there one of these days, and see if a person on top of one of the hillocks, and one person down in a ravine is easier to get communication.

Cedar

Did you ever work with Marty at search one? Maybe I know you. SAR is a real small community as you know.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 18, 2014, 02:29:17 PM
I know Marty. I know Harry. I know SilverStar.. I know alot of them that have retired.

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: endurance on November 18, 2014, 03:01:35 PM
Oh, and there's also that ugly reality of a limited budget for a volunteer fire department. I know homeland security kicked in toward our new handhelds, but we still spent $27k last year. Flying repeaters with flir are decades into the future for even the big budget departments. Hell, we still have to use cell phones and text messages on some calls and we're a tiny district by comparison.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Carl on November 18, 2014, 03:02:42 PM
I know Marty. I know Harry. I know SilverStar.. I know alot of them that have retired.

Cedar

You shamed them into  submission.   ::)

And though the drones and repeaters are a way off...the skill to set a relay person on a high point will maintain communications well.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Russkie on November 18, 2014, 03:47:30 PM
Quick side question - Do HAM radios operate at the same frequencies as typical emergency service radios? I recently was given a little Baofeng, and my department has a shortage of radios. Could I send and recieve emergency service radio traffic on this radio?
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Smurf Hunter on November 18, 2014, 04:26:12 PM
Oh, and there's also that ugly reality of a limited budget for a volunteer fire department. I know homeland security kicked in toward our new handhelds, but we still spent $27k last year. Flying repeaters with flir are decades into the future for even the big budget departments. Hell, we still have to use cell phones and text messages on some calls and we're a tiny district by comparison.

While it might not be up to gubbermint standards, I'd like to think my local ham club could rig up a cross band repeater hosted on a drone platform for under $27,000

In fact, if anyone has $27k and wants to find out, PM me.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Beetle on November 18, 2014, 07:16:23 PM
Quick side question - Do HAM radios operate at the same frequencies as typical emergency service radios? I recently was given a little Baofeng, and my department has a shortage of radios. Could I send and recieve emergency service radio traffic on this radio?

 Not suppose to but some of them have been "modified" by the owners to go out of band. Technically it is illegal. What is it with everyone and Baofengs?
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: endurance on November 18, 2014, 08:10:10 PM
While it might not be up to gubbermint standards, I'd like to think my local ham club could rig up a cross band repeater hosted on a drone platform for under $27,000

In fact, if anyone has $27k and wants to find out, PM me.
Cool.  Now will it work for six hours in an ice storm and be so idiot proof even a firefighter can use it?   ;) 
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: endurance on November 18, 2014, 09:36:27 PM
Apologies for my cynicism.  It's innate to the fire service to believe every piece of technology will fail you when you need it most.  That's why when we're told to go onto the roof and ventilate, we bring a chainsaw AND an axe.  When we go into a smoke-filled home, we bring a thermal imager AND sound the floor with the nozzle, Haligan and/or axe AND we maintain contact with the hose or rope to maintain orientation.  When it comes to vehicle extrications, we have hydraulic tools AND we learn to do things with saws, axes, Haligans, air chisels, and socket wrenches.  It is in our nature to believe failure is always an option. ;)
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 18, 2014, 09:44:05 PM
Oh, and there's also that ugly reality of a limited budget for a volunteer fire department.

This is the crux of the situation really.

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Smurf Hunter on November 18, 2014, 10:28:01 PM
Apologies for my cynicism.  It's innate to the fire service to believe every piece of technology will fail you when you need it most.  That's why when we're told to go onto the roof and ventilate, we bring a chainsaw AND an axe.  When we go into a smoke-filled home, we bring a thermal imager AND sound the floor with the nozzle, Haligan and/or axe AND we maintain contact with the hose or rope to maintain orientation.  When it comes to vehicle extrications, we have hydraulic tools AND we learn to do things with saws, axes, Haligans, air chisels, and socket wrenches.  It is in our nature to believe failure is always an option. ;)

I get that.  If a piece of gear cost $100k. Worked 99% of the time and helped save lives go for it.

My problem is buying "premium" gear that's  only 10% better for 10x the cost.

Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Carl on November 18, 2014, 11:08:39 PM
Quick side question - Do HAM radios operate at the same frequencies as typical emergency service radios? I recently was given a little Baofeng, and my department has a shortage of radios. Could I send and recieve emergency service radio traffic on this radio?


Yes it will work in the frequency you want...it just needs to be properly programmed with your needed frequency and squelch codes...
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: endurance on November 19, 2014, 07:22:08 AM
I get that.  If a piece of gear cost $100k. Worked 99% of the time and helped save lives go for it.

My problem is buying "premium" gear that's  only 10% better for 10x the cost.
part of the problem is some really cool innovations that seem well designed aren't ready for primetime. Our newest ambulance, for example, has a kneeling capability to lower the back end so it's easier to load the patient. Great feature!  Until it fails to fill just one side. Then you're driving down the road with the box at a 15 degree angle with oneside taking every bump in the road and the other the normal cushy self. "Repaired" three times, now disabled.

When your total annual budget is in the low six figures and you have a 60 year old building with a bad roof and you had to replace your 1972 OshKosh tender with one that could go up hill loaded on the highway faster than 25mph, so half your budget goes to loan repayment, you have to dream within reason.  Year before last it was a new color display TIC.  This year it was new handhelds that don't need duct tape to hold the batteries on.  Next year its some EMS goodies like a full-body vacu-splint with handles and a pulse-ox meter that also measures CO.  Just finding the money to maintain the repeater system we have can be tricky some years... if we would stop using the lowest bidder, that moght help...
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: TexasGirl on November 19, 2014, 07:56:01 AM
A backpack repeater is generally low power, which is sufficient for use in the vicinity.  A unit could be designed to operate on truck power, and truck mounted antennas, but with a quick disconnect for grab-and-go field use.  Many times the truck gets close enough to the scene in mountainous areas to cover the "shadow" that prevents the normal repeater from operating.

And yes, ice build up on antennas and trees will mess with propagation big time.  Especially if your department has the crappy APCO 25, 800 MHz system DHS gives grants for.  Great in a flatland city, bad for rural rough terrain areas.  Great for federal government remote monitoring and override.  YMMV

~TG
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Beetle on November 19, 2014, 09:10:53 PM

Yes it will work in the frequency you want...it just needs to be properly programmed with your needed frequency and squelch codes...

  I'm stuck on the Baofeng thing for a second. So are they legal(FCC) to use on both ham and the fire frequency? Cause the little bit of research I did was even more confusing.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Carl on November 20, 2014, 06:14:05 AM
  I'm stuck on the Baofeng thing for a second. So are they legal(FCC) to use on both ham and the fire frequency? Cause the little bit of research I did was even more confusing.

Legal and acceptable are two different things.Part 90 is acceptance for use on GMRS/FRS and or MURS ,as a radio for those frequencies has limitations for antenna/power out/and must be used on channels that are set rather than adjustable by the user.

For FIRE or other type organizations , my understanding is, if the radio works correctly and you are under the group licence...it is accepted.

To expand a bit ,under current laws,the UV5, and similar radio ,is good to go on MURS (VHF) channels as it is within the set criteria for that system,and SOON the FRS (UHF) will go the same way as for now power on FRS is limited to 1/2 watt and antenna must be permanently attached.

These laws are primarily for dealer/importers to control the market they are sold to...thus they are sold /imported as HAM radios ...because HAMs can have (within their bands of operation) variable (no channelized) frequencies and antennas only limited by local air traffic height restriction (don't want a plane to hit it) and power is limited to 1500 watts .


I have NEVER heard of a non part 90 radio EVER causing legal problems at the user level except for a couple cases of INTENTIONAL INTERFERENCE with fire/EMS/Police type services. If you are allow to talk ,and mind your  manners...Who can discern what radio you are useing?

The above is not legal advise,just my understanding of current acceptable standards.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Beetle on November 20, 2014, 10:49:55 AM
I know that the Bendix Kings are a great radio for fire use. If you loaded the ham and eggs program they worked on ham also. Gonna have to check into one of these little Baofengs for the price. How is the radio overall?
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Carl on November 20, 2014, 11:02:41 AM
I know that the Bendix Kings are a great radio for fire use. If you loaded the ham and eggs program they worked on ham also. Gonna have to check into one of these little Baofengs for the price. How is the radio overall?

Bendix King is built to a higher standard and is a bit more rugged (you can hammer nails with BK radios!!!)....but my local group has more than EIGHTY BaoFeng ans Pofung (new name...same company) UV5 and UV82 radios in daily personal and weekly exercise (Rapid Response ) for about 1 1/2 years now with only belt clip and antenna failures...the UV82 is a different shape/form factor that uses a different battery and charger..but program cable and antenna and Microphone all interchange (though the  factory UV82 antenna is a bit longer and seems more effective)...PLUS the speaker and loudness of received audio is much better on the UV82 as it is rated at one watt audio and is a larger speaker.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 20, 2014, 11:03:30 AM
Gonna have to check into one of these little Baofengs for the price. How is the radio overall?

I like mine. I can hear (and transmit  :-[ ) from where I am, to the middle of Eastern Oregon and I was hearing two guys up in Portland the other day, who could not hear each other, but I could hear both of them.

If you can read directions, it is probably OK to 'dial in'. My problem is I cannot read directions on the back of a Kraft Mac & Cheese box, so I am pretty pathetic at figuring out how to 'dial in' my Baofeng. It is light. It is inexpensive. It fits in a pocket/pack easily.

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Smurf Hunter on November 20, 2014, 12:23:05 PM
I like mine. I can hear (and transmit  :-[ ) from where I am, to the middle of Eastern Oregon and I was hearing two guys up in Portland the other day, who could not hear each other, but I could hear both of them.

If you can read directions, it is probably OK to 'dial in'. My problem is I cannot read directions on the back of a Kraft Mac & Cheese box, so I am pretty pathetic at figuring out how to 'dial in' my Baofeng. It is light. It is inexpensive. It fits in a pocket/pack easily.

Cedar

The UV5R are the dollar store flashlights of the ham radio world - cheap enough to keep one in each glove box and backpack.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Carl on November 20, 2014, 01:20:43 PM
The UV5R are the dollar store flashlights of the ham radio world - cheap enough to keep one in each glove box and backpack.

I bought my first one because it was HALF the price of the replacement battery for my Yaesu VX7...
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: endurance on November 20, 2014, 01:33:06 PM
I know that the Bendix Kings are a great radio for fire use. If you loaded the ham and eggs program they worked on ham also. Gonna have to check into one of these little Baofengs for the price. How is the radio overall?
We got new BK KNG-P150CMD radios this spring for the entire department plus new truck radios.  They were not as idiot proof as the old Kenwoods we replaced and therefore, there was a good deal of cursing since it's incredibly easy to stop scanning the frequency you're transmitting on.  So, you could call in service, not hear the reply, call in service again, not hear the reply, call in service again and start enroute to the station, then arrive at the station and discover everyone, including dispatch could hear you while in the meantime, hear no one else go in service and request mutual aid.  It took several months to get kinks like that worked out.  Now most of us like them.  The battery life is excellent, the durability is solid, they have more channel banks than we need (20 banks of 20, I think) but they're not very user friendly to work with, so most of us avoid surfing around them to figure out other features.  We aren't digital, so we can't take advantage of some of the features, like emergency tones and priority transmitting.  They're also quite thick and heavy.  With the microphones and belt clip on them, they barely fit in the radio pocket on our bunker gear, where their bulk is very noticeable compared to our old radios.  They won't fit into our old "boston strap" holders, which is disappointing.

Overall, good radios, but for the price, I guess I'd expect it to polish the rigs when they're not being used as radios. ;)
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Smurf Hunter on November 20, 2014, 02:54:06 PM
We got new BK KNG-P150CMD radios this spring for the entire department plus new truck radios.  They were not as idiot proof as the old Kenwoods we replaced and therefore, there was a good deal of cursing since it's incredibly easy to stop scanning the frequency you're transmitting on.  So, you could call in service, not hear the reply, call in service again, not hear the reply, call in service again and start enroute to the station, then arrive at the station and discover everyone, including dispatch could hear you while in the meantime, hear no one else go in service and request mutual aid.  It took several months to get kinks like that worked out.  Now most of us like them.  The battery life is excellent, the durability is solid, they have more channel banks than we need (20 banks of 20, I think) but they're not very user friendly to work with, so most of us avoid surfing around them to figure out other features.  We aren't digital, so we can't take advantage of some of the features, like emergency tones and priority transmitting.  They're also quite thick and heavy.  With the microphones and belt clip on them, they barely fit in the radio pocket on our bunker gear, where their bulk is very noticeable compared to our old radios.  They won't fit into our old "boston strap" holders, which is disappointing.

Overall, good radios, but for the price, I guess I'd expect it to polish the rigs when they're not being used as radios. ;)


Maybe fire fighters need a competition with the US marines to figure out who can do the dumbest stuff to gear the fastest.   ;D

Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Beetle on November 20, 2014, 06:24:27 PM
I bought my first one because it was HALF the price of the replacement battery for my Yaesu VX7...
  Might have to buy one. Which one do you recommend. I do like Yaesu, I have three handhelds (2m) that I use on the quads when out playing and haven't had any issues. They were fairly cheap I think it was about $130 a radio.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: TexasGirl on November 20, 2014, 07:11:43 PM
I know that the Bendix Kings are a great radio for fire use. If you loaded the ham and eggs program they worked on ham also. Gonna have to check into one of these little Baofengs for the price. How is the radio overall?


I would love to find the software / firmware to open up the old BK LPH and LMH radios for use on ham frequencies.

~TG
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Smurf Hunter on November 20, 2014, 08:27:14 PM
  Might have to buy one. Which one do you recommend. I do like Yaesu, I have three handhelds (2m) that I use on the quads when out playing and haven't had any issues. They were fairly cheap I think it was about $130 a radio.

Heck the tiny uv5r are barely $30 on amazon.  If you already  are squared away with quality  VHF HT get either the cheapest or most feature rich. 
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: iam4liberty on November 20, 2014, 08:40:25 PM
Could an operator use a more efficient mode? I only own an FM radio but I understand that VHF SSB is more efficient than FM.

On a similar concept, these are the types of conditions where digital modes can really outperform analog ones.  Where analog voice gradually degrades with conditions, digital voice maintains quality until it drops off completely. And digital text modes are far better because the units can be programmed for automatic acknowledgements.  That is, they will keep sending messages until an ack is returned verifying receipt.  With digipeating you can set up interim units to relay as you go along.  Search and rescue teams are currently using these in caves where there is little LOS.  There are a lot of other advantages to digital use in S&R, like automatic GPS tracking of team member locations and the ability to send images.   As prices are dramatically dropping digital is displacing analog for new installations.  And since most units are both digital and analog compatible,  transitioning can be done in steps.  I got to play with yaesu's new system recently and it is mighty impressive, especially the integrated image capability.  Very, very cool.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Beetle on November 20, 2014, 09:13:59 PM

I would love to find the software / firmware to open up the old BK LPH and LMH radios for use on ham frequencies.

~TG

Look up eggs and ham( Name of program). If I find a link I'll try and post it. I think it's in the BK radio yahoo groups.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Beetle on November 20, 2014, 09:18:52 PM
Not sure about LPH or LMH. I think I had EPH's?
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 20, 2014, 10:23:26 PM
Got an email from one of my fellow volunteer firefighters who was also on that call. He and another two people went in there today in the daylight to see what the deal with communications was that night. He said, "Also we figured out why radio communication was not the best--there were ridges on all sides that blocked transmissions and noises. That is some of the most convoluted country I have seen around here. These were the worst conditions I have seen in 12 years.  I hope it is that long before we see conditions that bad again. "

Cedar
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: TexasGirl on November 24, 2014, 07:18:32 AM
Not sure about LPH or LMH. I think I had EPH's?

Thanx!

It just may be possible.

 http://www.radioinfoboard.com/viewtopic.php?t=3391
 (http://www.radioinfoboard.com/viewtopic.php?t=3391)

With a few simple mods, a pair of LMH 5141's will make a front panel programmable frequency agile self tuning mobile or stationary repeater. 

~TG
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Carl on November 24, 2014, 07:25:20 AM
Thanx!

It just may be possible.

 http://www.radioinfoboard.com/viewtopic.php?t=3391
 (http://www.radioinfoboard.com/viewtopic.php?t=3391)

With a few simple mods, a pair of LMH 5141's will make a front panel programmable frequency agile self tuning mobile or stationary repeater. 

~TG
\

My VHF repeater used a single radio and a Hallmark Christmas card...recorded audio...then re-transmitted by Voice Operated Relay (VOX feature on radio)  Build 23 years ago and still in use daily.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: iam4liberty on November 24, 2014, 07:45:22 AM
\

My VHF repeater used a single radio and a Hallmark Christmas card...recorded audio...then re-transmitted by Voice Operated Relay (VOX feature on radio)  Build 23 years ago and still in use daily.

Dedicated simplex repeaters like this are relatively inexpensive.  The modern generation ones even store the messages for on demand retrieval.   some even have mail boxes accessed by DTMF codes.  Simplex repeater like these are well under $100.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Carl on November 24, 2014, 08:24:04 AM
Dedicated simplex repeaters like this are relatively inexpensive.  The modern generation ones even store the messages for on demand retrieval.   some even have mail boxes accessed by DTMF codes.  Simplex repeater like these are well under $100.

But it is a SIMPLE/BUDGET answer to a tough question...a couple or single unit,places in a high location ,will cast 'radio light' in the shadows...We used this method to aide Search and Recovery efforts when the SHUTTLE CRASHED and also during Katrina Confusion.
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: cidyl on November 26, 2014, 07:10:51 AM
Since portable and crossband repeaters were mentioned, an article I saw this morning.  http://modernsurvivalonline.com/bucket-repeater
Title: Re: Question -- From what we had to deal with the other night
Post by: Cedar on November 26, 2014, 07:22:04 AM
Since portable and crossband repeaters were mentioned, an article I saw this morning.  http://modernsurvivalonline.com/bucket-repeater

Thank you cidyl.

Cedar