Author Topic: Looking for a relatively inexpensive alternative to HAM  (Read 9216 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.
Stop complaining about life and start Celebrating it .

I've reached the age where there is little left to learn the hard way.

If you had only one year,one month,or one day...Would you live your life differently?

Radios are pointless without someone trained to use them.

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.

https://www.imeshyou.com

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.


Offline LodeRunner

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Re: Looking for a relatively inexpensive alternative to HAM
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2017, 09:54:36 AM »
Oh, how I bit my tongue not go there. ::)
SCW is right: General + NVIS + 100 watts + 80m band = 90 miles, done.
At least, as much as any skywave radio solution can ever be considered done.
Thanks for puttin' it out there, SCW.


40M by day, 80M by night for solid and reliable NVIS work out to ~250 miles.  At least right now. 

As we pass through the bottom of the solar cycle everything will (most likely) "bump down a band" - that is, you may use 80M during daylight instead of 40M, and you will *definitely* want to use 160M for NVIS for most of the night. 
So, next year is a toss up, but from 2019 through 2021 for sure, we'll be relying on 80M and 160M for most NVIS communications.

Now, A Technician's license may "only get you CW privileges" on 40M and 80M - but what this young lady needs is more SIGNALING than communications...  as in, "are you ok, please answer" and "stay put/head this way".  This could be done perfectly well with CW even by neophytes, assuming they are shown how to properly operate the equipment. 
What's needed are primary and alternate watch frequencies, and for each to have a definite recognition code/phrase (not callsigns)  so they can be sure of who the other party is.  It's even more PHD (Push Here, Dummy) with something like a NUE-PSK in CW mode... sure they're "stuck in cw mode" until they get a higher class of license (or licensing ceases to matter) but at least they're on the air and gaining experience NOW.

Comms will be simple, i.e. --
K4BRO K4BRO de K4SIS K4SIS  AR
K4SIS de K4BRO R R ES GUD 2 FNLY HR U KN   <--- This is the brothers pre-arranged recognition phrase
PLS TELL ME UR OK? KN  <--- this is the sisters pre-arranged recognition phrase
C.  TRD ES HNGY BUT OK KN
R U ABLE 2 HD THS WY?  KN
YES CN LV FIRST TNG IN MORNING  KN
OK PLS DO.  WE HRING BAD THNGS KN
GOT IT.  THANKS ES C U SOON  /  K4SIS de K4BRO
SK  . .

Simple.  For this you just need a  basic "vocabulary" of 120 or so essential words, which can nearly all be abbreviations.  Over time, it can grow into full communications as they practice.  But a Tech License, and basic knowledge of the code is where you start.  "From there, you work your way into it" with practice.

I can't stress this to folks enough - especially those who are new to something (prepping, ham radio, whatever)  --
Do something, even something small, TODAY, to improve you skills, your situation, your larder. 
Over time, these small but consistent efforts will be worth more than any 'grand play' you could ever "possibly" pull off, but probably never will.


Cheers


It's natural to have antenna envy from time to time...
I have it every time I drive past VOA.

Offline Carl

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Re: Looking for a relatively inexpensive alternative to HAM
« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2017, 01:08:20 PM »
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.

Sat phones often don't work in bad WX or inside most any building or vessel.
Stop complaining about life and start Celebrating it .

I've reached the age where there is little left to learn the hard way.

If you had only one year,one month,or one day...Would you live your life differently?

Radios are pointless without someone trained to use them.