Author Topic: Bug Out Radio,Radio on the run  (Read 2612 times)

Offline Carl

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Bug Out Radio,Radio on the run
« on: October 29, 2017, 08:37:56 AM »
  I have a few thoughts and thought I would put them to text. Survival radio or radio on the run requires planning and preparation for success. While you have many bands and options,it is best narrowed down for speed and success when on the move. Contract with those in your group is normally easy with a VHF or UHF radio. Most 50 watt or so radios ar good for 5 to 10 miles on flat earth,though this limits radio distance,it also allows for fewer unwanted listeners .

  The typical 20 inch tall antenna is idea as it has less problem with trees and overhanging thiings to cause damage and high gain figures mean little as far as day to day FM range (a 3 DB increase equals DOUBLE your effective power,but only a tiny range gain) Direction finding works great with VHF/UHF and this can be an advantage or a problem,depending on your needs.

  HF Ham has many bands and uses with some bands best at night (160/80 meters) and others best during daylight (64,40,20.17.15 meters ) and some that excell so infrequently as to not really be useful for day to day communications.

  160 and 80 meters and sometimes 40 meters are good at night ,though typical mobile or portable antennas are really poor and I suggest a 1/4 wavelength wire ,fed from your 3/8 X 24 thread mount that will also hold typical mobile whips when stationary as HF in motion requires more attention than worth the effort,especially in a bug out situation....save the communications for stops when location and cover can be an advantage. A simple wire will far exceeded most mobile or portable antennas in effectiveness and simplicity.

  A 3/8 X 24 antenna mount on a 5 inch magnet mount will hold most mobile whips when stationary and feed them well from radio and tuner plus a bolt allows the mag mount to attach a long wire for big power and receive advantage PLUS NVIS capability for local and more secure use. A 17 foot wire is close enough for 20 meters with 34 or so for 40 meters and 68 feet for 80 meters and the antenna matcher/tuner will adjust for radio protection and optimum output. The wires strung 10 feet or so above earth for NVIS and mobile whips used for vertical long distance with a high toss of the wire antenna allowing long distance use also.

  NVIS allows for local,over mountain/into valley HF use that can be a real benefit...also due to the scattering effect of the Near Vertical bounce from the ionosphere and station using Direction Finding will not have a definable source of the scattered signal ..Benefit is god range of local to 1000 miles or more in NVIS where vertical HF antennas require a bounce off the ionosphere farther out and skip over the 10 to 400 mile local area around your station when not using NVIS.

  I would limit my bands of use and even suggested frequencies for group members as so much available area can have members "LOST" even when time schedule is adhered to.  For simplicity ,I use 17 - 20 - 40 Meters during day schedules for NVIS and 40 -80 meters for NVIS or DX at night and note that 80 meters ,due to high angle of NVIS ,often is not absorbed by the layer it passes through and can provide good daytime local and medium range use in the daytime.

  I like a SUPER ANTENNA for the 6 to 40 meter daytime use as it can be tuned manually and used effectively without a tuner and the 7 foot tall antenna is reasonably effective. The slide coil tuning can be tuned very close and quickly just by adjusting for loudest 'static' on the chosen frequency . I also use MFJ or other Ham Sticks for single band use though they are less effective and more finicky than the super antenna.ALL just screw into the 3/8 X 24 mount and in a hurry can be 'stuck' to the side of a vehicle for quick NVIS needs and this trick alone can make for better chance of completeing a difficult contact.

  The 3/8 X 24 mount can do extra duty when the vertical antenna of choice is screwed down to hold a long wire in place and then you can use TWO BANDS without need to change antennas as some will use one band to talk and one to listen for even more CONFUSION security of messages passed.

  So a pretty complete communications kit can fit easily into a small kit in a vehicle for fast station setup and truely effective communications use. Spend more time on the radio and less time fighting hardware ,simplicity has an elegance . I also suggest a good ALL BAND antenna like the ZEPPELIN for those longer stops and base use as they are easy to deploy,frequency agile ,and very effective when used with a tuner.

Zeppelin:  http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=53436.0

Zeppelin also:  http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=59718.msg707669#msg707669

Modified 51 foot Zepp:  6 to 80 meters : http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=59870.0

Mobile Super Antenna :  http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=58701.msg691328#msg691328

Offline DonC

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Re: Bug Out Radio,Radio on the run
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2017, 10:46:56 AM »
I'm a fan of NVIS when it comes to HF in "local" contacts. It doesn't do much good to contact someone in Ireland for an emergency in North America.

Taking that MP1 super antenna and mounting it horizontally on the fence, (about 5' off the ground and horizontal), and talking to a couple guys from TX and Oklahoma was a good experience and example that an antenna doesn't have to be high off the ground or vertical to operate efficiently!

Kudos and Karma for adding the links to the other articles!

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Bug Out Radio,Radio on the run
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2017, 12:07:25 PM »
Everyone should have a 3/8-24 magmount base handy.

You can do a variety of things as Carl mentions.

Here's two examples I tested out:

20 meter using Wolf River Coil (mini) + telescoping whip on a 3/8/-24 threaded rod:


2 meters using using same telescoping whip.  I found this worked better than my 1/4 wave dual bander when I needed to reach a distant packet station:


In neither case would I attempt to drive my car with these setup.  But my car has 30amp anderson powerpoles brought into the cabin from the battery, so it's a decent platform in a pinch.

Offline Carl

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Re: Bug Out Radio,Radio on the run
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2017, 04:13:41 PM »
  Yea,they have 3 and 4 magnet ,major size mounts for in motion....by I have always just stopped and set up for best roadside operation so as to give operating my full attention and pick a spot that gives best advantage to the antenna and bands I plan to utilize.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Bug Out Radio,Radio on the run
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2017, 09:44:31 AM »
  Yea,they have 3 and 4 magnet ,major size mounts for in motion....by I have always just stopped and set up for best roadside operation so as to give operating my full attention and pick a spot that gives best advantage to the antenna and bands I plan to utilize.

Agreed.  Especially for HF, there are too many adjustments going on, that I prefer to pull over and focus.

Somewhat related, yesterday from the supermarket parking lot I answered a SOTA activation on 146.520.  It was a freak thing, as I switched my FT-7900r to VFO mode so I could listen to the NOAA WX station, but 146.520 is the default frequency I have set.  Heard "CQ CQ", and waited for a few stations, and answered.  Operator was > 65 miles away, but 2400' above me in elevation.

Offline Carl

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Re: Bug Out Radio,Radio on the run
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2017, 01:01:59 PM »
Agreed.  Especially for HF, there are too many adjustments going on, that I prefer to pull over and focus.

Somewhat related, yesterday from the supermarket parking lot I answered a SOTA activation on 146.520.  It was a freak thing, as I switched my FT-7900r to VFO mode so I could listen to the NOAA WX station, but 146.520 is the default frequency I have set.  Heard "CQ CQ", and waited for a few stations, and answered.  Operator was > 65 miles away, but 2400' above me in elevation.

Luck has a lot to do with the success of Ham radio.

Offline idelphic

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Re: Bug Out Radio,Radio on the run
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2017, 04:13:12 PM »
Everyone should have a 3/8-24 magmount base handy.

You can do a variety of things as Carl mentions.

Here's two examples I tested out:

20 meter using Wolf River Coil (mini) + telescoping whip on a 3/8/-24 threaded rod:
<.....>
Could you do something similar to the WolfRiver Coil with the MFJ-1622 Apartment Antenna??

http://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.php?productid=mfj-1622

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: Bug Out Radio,Radio on the run
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2017, 05:00:12 PM »


not a bad $20 spent for the 'one day' box :)
Search Amazon: Vise Grip Antenna Mount with 9 Ft PL-259 Cable - For 3/8-24 thread Antennas

Offline Carl

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Re: Bug Out Radio,Radio on the run
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2017, 05:11:24 PM »
  I use a vice grip mount though some antennas don't work so good at times when the mount is used with a 7 foot whip and too near the skin of a vehicle. TEST your equipment before relying on it to perform. I keep one of these in my KIT for when a fence or dumpster is available.

Offline LodeRunner

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Re: Bug Out Radio,Radio on the run
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2017, 03:40:05 AM »
Luck has a lot to do with the success of Ham radio.

Luck probably has as much to do with it as skill and good planning  ;P

Lots of good ideas being discussed here, such as using a [roughly] 1/4 wave wire fed from a mobile mount for 'car portable' HF operation.  I would agree that pretty much all of the mobile antennas for bands below 20 meters are not worth much.  The 'ham-stiks' and similar for 40 and 80 meters are all but worthless, in my experience.
The question of operating on 160/80/40 meters from mobile and portable stations becomes rather important as we go into the bottom of the sunspot cycle.  40 meters is going to be the daytime band of choice for the next few years, and 160 meters will be the best choice for NVIS at night, so having antennas to support those requirements needs to be part of our preps.
I just put up a 190 foot Off-center fed antenna for 160 meters.  It's not very high - about 20 feet AGL, so it's good for NVIS.  It works well on 80 and 40 meters as well.  On 40 it's really to high for NVIS...but it still gets me contacts from GA to New England (I'm in Eastern NC) so I'm not complaining.

I have tried lowering my G5RV to get NVIS on 40M, but while that worked, it ruined my daytime coverage on 20 & 17 meters - and I'm not inclined to run out to adjust the antenna height every time I change bands ;P 

I think 630 meters is going to give us some interesting options as we go into the bottom of the solar cycle, so I've been putting a good bit of effort into getting an effective antenna and station set up for that band.  2200 Meters, while interesting for experimentation, is too challenging for most folks to get on the air with - but on 630M it's very possible to max out at the specified 5 watts EIRP with between 35 and 70 watts of transmitter output, which is easy enough to achieve with simple home-brew amplifiers.  And with modes like CW, JT9, Olivia, and Hellschriber, it's entirely possible to make contacts all over the country even with "compromise" antennas, such as loading your existing G5RV as a Marconi T antenna against a bunch of ground radials.

Putting 'DX' aside, the restriction to Fixed operations on 630M is for the transmitting station only.  But its very easy to receive MF signals while mobile or portable, even with very small antennas - amplified E-Probes are excellent for LF/MF reception, and are the size of an HT.  And there's no restrictions on cross-band or cross-mode operation, so within a local area the 'base' could transmit on 630M, while the mobile/portable stations acknowledge on 40/80 meters, or even on VHF/UHF.  This proposition gets particularly interesting when you look at using software/modes like this - https://sourceforge.net/projects/narrowband-datatrans/?source=directory  - to 'multicast' information to stations around your community. 

Food for thought...



Offline Carl

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Re: Bug Out Radio,Radio on the run
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2017, 04:01:11 AM »
LODERUNNER Welcome to TSP forum. This is a place to share info of preparedness between individuals. From your beginning posts,I think you can be a real asset to the community. Welcome.

Offline LodeRunner

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Re: Bug Out Radio,Radio on the run
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2017, 01:21:14 PM »
LODERUNNER Welcome to TSP forum. This is a place to share info of preparedness between individuals. From your beginning posts,I think you can be a real asset to the community. Welcome.

Thanks Carl!
I've been licensed since 1990, Extra [and a VE] since 1999.  I've always been a serious hardware hacker, have designed and built lots of antennas [including some rather novel/unique ones], as well as RF amplifiers and other various station components from scratch. 

I'm also a big fan of Kit Radios for QRP/portable operating, which I used to do a lot of.
Over the years I've built NORCAL Sierras (3 of them), Webber Dual-Banders (also three), IRF-510 amplifiers [ARRL handbook of ~20 years ago using the FAR Circuits boards] (5 or 6 of them in various forms), QRPLabs Ultimate 3S (first one just recently) and just ordered two BitX-40 kits to play with.

Why kits?  And why do I buy multiple of the same one?  Because they give me a platform for experimentation, and because I may take one base kit design and modify it in various ways that are often incompatible with each other, such as what I did with my Sierras - one became an optimized backpacker/SOTA rig - I rebuilt the final to get a full 5 watts [original kit was 1.5~3.0 watts], and built-in a keyer, VSWR detector, and EFHW tuner for 20/40 meters, so it's a lightweight all-in-one; while another became a 'Home Station' rig tailored to 1) being super-stable, with a compartmented and thermally regulated VFO section, 2) using a variable-gain receive preamp and separate receive antenna, 3) driving a homebrew tube amplifier that takes 1~2 watts in and gives 75~125 watts out [single 715-B tube]. 

Right now I'm focused on building gear for 630M and [to a lesser extent] 2200M.  I'll be on 630M soon (hopefully next weekend) and once I get that squared away, I have nearly all the parts to build a kickin 2200M final amplifier (500 watts output: two 250 watt modules + hybrid combiner).  I'll be using the QRPLabs U3S as my exciter for both bands, initially, but will build other exciter(s) once I'm on the air and get the kinks worked out of the antenna/loading coil/etc.  Since the U3S is limited to CW/QRSS and WSPR, One thing I'll definitely try is using that as the 'carrier oscillator' [lots of extra filtering needed because the U3S output is a Class-E stage] to inject into a balanced-mixer type modulator for the other digital modes generated via soundcard.I also bought one of the BitX-40 kits to experiment with down-mixing to 630M/2200M, so that one will not have the [normal] finals installed.  Kits make excellent building blocks for such experimentation, and they're time expedient, which is good because none of us has as much time to devote to a hobby as we might want.

So, with all that said, I'm very happy I came across this forum, and looking forward to getting to know folks here.

Cheers!