Author Topic: SHTF...is ham the best communication option?  (Read 24366 times)

Offline tittiger

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Re: SHTF...is ham the best communication option?
« Reply #30 on: April 05, 2011, 12:42:15 PM »
Thanks I think I have the big picture.

I was hoping that it was a bit simpler than that but
it is what it is.


Offline Thoreau

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Re: SHTF...is ham the best communication option?
« Reply #31 on: April 05, 2011, 12:51:21 PM »
Don't let that discourage ya though! 

See if your local library has the ARRL ham license study guides.  Even the basic technician class guide is a WEALTH of information and it's presented in a way that's quite easy to grasp.  Or just pick up a copy of your own (I find myself referring back to the tech and general books every once in a while just for the heck of it sometimes.)

http://www.arrl.org/shop/Ham-Radio-License-Manual-Revised-2nd-Edition/

Trust me when I say that no matter how daunting it seems, it is NOT rocket science.  If it were, god knows that I would never have been able to get very far with it =)

Offline metatron

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Re: SHTF...is ham the best communication option?
« Reply #32 on: April 05, 2011, 01:22:58 PM »
Don't let that discourage ya though!  

See if your local library has the ARRL ham license study guides.  Even the basic technician class guide is a WEALTH of information and it's presented in a way that's quite easy to grasp.  Or just pick up a copy of your own (I find myself referring back to the tech and general books every once in a while just for the heck of it sometimes.)

http://www.arrl.org/shop/Ham-Radio-License-Manual-Revised-2nd-Edition/

Trust me when I say that no matter how daunting it seems, it is NOT rocket science.  If it were, god knows that I would never have been able to get very far with it =)

Yep have to agree, just reading the information will help build a basic understanding.  The only really tricky stuff is when you are building/designing antennas, putting kits together, bouncing signals of things like mylar balloons, the ionosphere, moon and satellite, things like that.

Learning tends to save you money as well, the slinky antenna is a good example of someone that has got the bug  http://www.nonstopsystems.com/radio/frank_radio_antenna.htm, you can even use a wet piece of string if push comes to shove. If the end of the world comes and you really feel the need for a radio, you could build a Spark-gap transmitter out of trash.

Offline jimbrtxva

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Re: SHTF...is ham the best communication option?
« Reply #33 on: May 01, 2011, 10:51:13 AM »
I am at the doing stage of radios and antennas.  I am learning new stuff every day that was not in a book and might be just local environment.  Try this stuff out so you really know.  If no license, then just listen.

Offline Cedar

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Re: SHTF...is ham the best communication option?
« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2011, 12:14:07 PM »
I have been kinda chicken to ask this question for awhile, but this seems like a good time to ask. My grandfather was a HAM guy since time began and since I was little I had seen his equipment in the office, a HUGE radio box and alot of other equipment which pretty much took up the entire office space...

So.. (apparently I can be rather blonde at times) when I was about 19 and on my own , I was given a SMALL radio and mic which looked very much like the CB in my truck and a large antenna which was installed on my roof. I was just told "it is a radio you can talk to other people over a long distance with". I was never told what kind of radio it was.. never really questioned, just thought I guess it was a CB for indoors. In hindsight many years later I am wondering IF it was a HAM radio. I could get many states over and listened more than I talked on it, but I did talk on it.. which I am guessing (now) that I was illegally doing. I am thinking that I was presuming a HAM radio would have taken up as much space as what my grandfather had, and not such a little radio that I had.

When I was looking into Ham radio a few months ago, I sorta discovered my blonde mistake. I asked my brother what happened to my grandfather's Ham gear and my brother said he tossed it after no one wanted it and he wanted it out of his garage after my grandfather died... (but he still has my grandfathers logs and his call number).

So I guess my real question is... was I using a Ham radio after all or is there something else which will travel that far. I was getting over many states at night and I lived on a 1,400 ft mountain with a 30 ft antenna at the time. If so, this seriously renews my interest in it.

Cedar


Offline mike77

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Re: SHTF...is ham the best communication option?
« Reply #35 on: May 01, 2011, 04:50:06 PM »
Cedar,
It does sound like it might have been a ham radio, but it's hard to say. If you were the highest point at 1400' and everyone else was lower, a CB might have gone that far. Can you remember what the channel/frequency selection was like? Did it list channels (i.e. 1, 2, 3, etc.) or did it list frequency (i.e. 28.000mHz or kHz)? If it was channels, I would say it was CB. If it was frequency, it was probably ham.

Offline Cedar

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Re: SHTF...is ham the best communication option?
« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2011, 06:36:04 PM »
Thanks for responding Mike .. I'm thinking that it was more like the 28.000mHz or kHz than a channel number like on a CB. I am like 89% sure of that, but it was so long ago. I do remember I could scan on it and it would keep going through numbers until I could find something. I don't remember the state for sure that I talked to one night, but it was like 4-5 states away.

I do know that occasionally when the conditions are right, those little 2 mile radios can travel a very long way. 60 miles one time (and I know this as 2 little boys were listening to their radios and picked up a distress call from Mt. Hood for 2 guys who were lost and they informed their fathers who called the authorities.)

Thanks again,
Cedar

Offline Hootie

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Re: SHTF...is ham the best communication option?
« Reply #37 on: December 31, 2011, 02:50:13 PM »
Hi Cedar,
28mHz sounds like the 10meter band (for ham radios).
most (if not all) cb radios just have the standard 1-40 channel numbers.
-Hootie

Offline hisone

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Re: SHTF...is ham the best communication option?
« Reply #38 on: January 01, 2012, 02:51:11 AM »
The beautiful thing about a "HAM" radio is that you decide whether or not you are going to transmit or not. In WWI, People were prohibited from owning a transmitter or receiver. Even commercial broadcast entities were taken over or shutdown by the government. It was considered treason to go against the order. Many chose to listen quietly at night. An HF radio with a frequency range of about 1 to 30 MHz is a very versatile listening tool if . AM and Shortwave could come in handy if you wanted to listen to propaganda or news. With basic software many digital modes could be intercepted and translated - Morse Code included. HF offers the most distance of any of the other modes. 2m and up is considered an "around town" frequency although it can be made to go several hundred miles with ideal conditions, high-gain directional antennas, and some power. CB is ok but expect it to be jammed in an emergency as a lot of people have access to a CB. HF and Amateur Radio can provide phone patches, Weather Faxes, Long Distance and Local Communications when they are needed.

Offline Carl

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Re: SHTF...is ham the best communication option?
« Reply #39 on: August 22, 2014, 07:14:47 AM »
This thread started out with the question as to what the best SHTF radio might be and it seems to have not answered that question very well as of yet so I ask it again.  Is HAM suitable for a SHTF situation?   

To fit that bill  in my situation it would have to consistently and reliably be able to communicate at the very least 20 mile distances and hopefully 150 mile distances.  From my brief research 2 meter is line of sight only and 11 meter is not reliable over the horizon unless there is sun spot activity.

Is this true?

If so what other bands does HAM encompass  and are any of them rock solid reliable over the horizon? 
If not perhaps other methods of communication should be explored.  The founders used relay riders set up in advance
at Lexington and it worked amazingly well.

Thanks in advance for your input.

I am a slow reader so my answer is a bit late...HF ,in particular the 40 , 60 and 80 meter band are capable of NVIS (Near Verticle Incidence or in simple terms the radio signals will bounce at a high angle and return to earth closer in to the sender than 'normal' propagation and while Ground wave is good to 10 miles or so...NVIS is good for the doughnut of 50 miles out to 300 miles or so...and after that 'normal' propagation will work from 300 to 1000's of miles.

  Your 20 mile distance falls into a no-mans land that is difficult to cover...BUT 2 meter Single Side Band will do as will SSB CB radio though CB may not be quite as reliable as 2 meter ...Single Side Band is a more efficient mode and gains some 4 to 6 "S" units above AM(CB) and FM (2 meter,440 HAM,MURS,FRS) To cover 20 miles with FM...at least one of the antennas must be about 150 feet above average terrain and while it can be done,it does take planning in advance...You do have a plan...don't you? Have a written plan that friends/family have access to who and how to call with what means are available...write it down so it is easy to follow during stressful times.

Again ,sorry for my late reply and I hope this helps you and anyone else with communications problems. Questions?

I have been a HAM well over 20 years and was in radio for some 45 years ,including CB with a HOME BUILT radio as a REACT organizer at age 14 in Washington DC (CB was serious communications back then)

Offline Carl

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Re: SHTF...is ham the best communication option?
« Reply #40 on: August 22, 2014, 07:20:21 AM »
Thanks but maybe I did not make myself clear. Distance over flat ground me no good. Besides the horizon I have to
deal with rolling hills of about 500' elevation.

From my post:

To fit that bill  in my situation it would have to consistently and reliably be able to communicate at the very least 20 mile distances and hopefully 150 mile distances.  From my brief research 2 meter is line of sight only and 11 meter is not reliable over the horizon unless there is sun spot activity. Is this true? If so what other bands does HAM encompass  and are any of them rock solid reliable over the horizon? 

Could you please give me more of your experience with NVIS and what it is?  What are the costs involved?  Is it possible to use on a hand held?

Thanks


Get up on a hill and communicate with 2 meter HAM, get in a hole and use NVIS HF ...but you really don't get useful NVIS signals without larger than normal HF antennas( as in not your typical mobile antenna) ...as in park and stretch wire for reliable communications.

Offline armymars

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Re: SHTF...is ham the best communication option?
« Reply #41 on: August 22, 2014, 09:19:23 AM »
  I ran a portable NVIS net for MARS for 5 years or so. My set up time was 15 min. +/-. My tear down was about 12 min. In the 5 years I was was never totaly skunked. Some times the band would be bad, but we got our traffic through after many tries.
  During thoughs years I would have some mobles check in with good signals. Everyone of them would be using a screw driver antenna.  I have used ham sticks while in motion, but to get a good signal I needed to run a pair in series with one base grounded the other conected the the center conductor of the co-ax.  This raises the impedance of the antenna and cuts losses on 80 meters.
  You could just use a long wire 107' long and a 17 foot counter poise on the ground under it. A good tuner would make this a 160- 10 meter antenna. Just keep it about 10 feet off the ground for NVIS on 160 through 40 meters. 80 and 60 are best for day light.
  Last go to DIDbase .com to keep an eye on FoF2. 73 

Offline Carl

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Re: SHTF...is ham the best communication option?
« Reply #42 on: August 22, 2014, 09:34:37 AM »
  I ran a portable NVIS net for MARS for 5 years or so. My set up time was 15 min. +/-. My tear down was about 12 min. In the 5 years I was was never totaly skunked. Some times the band would be bad, but we got our traffic through after many tries.
  During thoughs years I would have some mobles check in with good signals. Everyone of them would be using a screw driver antenna.  I have used ham sticks while in motion, but to get a good signal I needed to run a pair in series with one base grounded the other conected the the center conductor of the co-ax.  This raises the impedance of the antenna and cuts losses on 80 meters.
  You could just use a long wire 107' long and a 17 foot counter poise on the ground under it. A good tuner would make this a 160- 10 meter antenna. Just keep it about 10 feet off the ground for NVIS on 160 through 40 meters. 80 and 60 are best for day light.
  Last go to DIDbase .com to keep an eye on FoF2. 73

My best ,in motion antenna, was a front mounted 20 foot squid pole bent toward the back bumper to limit its heigth to 10 or so feet..wire antenna was taped to the pole. Smaller verticle antennas did not have good enough take off angles for stable NVIS use though they did marginally work.Your counterpoise is a great add on for efficiency as the vehicle is NOT a GROUND ...it is a capacitor linked to earth ground...and so a counterpoise really enhances ground match...I have found 17 feet 4 to 6 inches makes a great counterpoise on 80 through 15 meters.