Like many of you preparing for bad times ahead “communications” are an essential part of my preps. I am reaching out to see if any of you might be willing to share you knowledge of HAM radio operations.
Basically I am looking for information on communications in a grid-down, no cell phone situation. From my own research – HAM radio’s are the logical choice for the longest range.
Specifically – I am interested in setting up two systems:
- Base system which to communicate to other base systems as well as mobile hand held units.
- Mobile to mobile via hand held units.
Any suggestions and sharing of experience would be helpful.
Additionally – if anyone is willing to share there own communication system we would love to hear it. Regardless of it consists of CB’s, FRS/GMRS, or two tin cans connected by a string – please share!
Also interested to know what kind of “survival radios” anybody might use–think transistor radio or similar radios that can get weather, news, etc. (sometimes beefed up with solar chargers, dynamo cranks and more).
Rourke, I hope you get many good responses. I have tried to get inf . from our county group of Ham radio folks-no luck.
I will keep searching and will look forward to reading whatever responses you share with us .Arlene
Servantheart. I read your inf re shelving for cans. I will check out Walmart. WE have a system that I sent for from Thrive. It holds many cans and is a free standing shelf where the cans roll. It was expensive-even on sale. The plastic shifts on it and I am always trying to re-configure the spaces so the cans roll well-putting them in and taking them out.
I wouldn’t recommend this model. I would prefer to have wooden shelves that are slanted .I would like to hear from others re: these products. Arlene
I personally use the the Garmin 530HCX in my setup. Aside from the excellent GPS, it also has FRS and GMRS with the capability of going through repeaters just like the Ham radios for extended range. It transmits at a full 5 watts or less selectable. Along with that you can scramble your transmissions, and send and receive geographic positions. It’s waterproof to 3′ and uses a rechargeable battery pack or a alkaline AA battery pack.
As with the ham outfit though, for proper use you would need a license to operate legit.
I am so glad you asked this question, also. I hope you get lots of responses because I need to know as well.
Anyone else have a problem with most of the HAM books and online courses? I don’t really want a list of all the possible exam questions and the right answers to memorize. I do software, not RF engineering, so I start out clueless, and want to learn something new and useful – I want to find out how and why the dang thing works, not just get the “magic answers” to regurgitate.
One of my personal heroes, Albert Einstein, took even longer than I did to remember his own phone number (he never did, took me over a year). His explanation was “Never bother to remember something that is easy to look up”.
Knowing what and where to look it up is what you need to learn about.
Domestic Propaganda Ban Quietly Repealed
by National Defense Authorization Act
Though not touched by mainstream media outlets for obvious reasons, a decades old domestic anti-propaganda law protecting the public from direct manipulation is now in the dust bin of history. On July 2nd, the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, that for decades has prevented government-made new stories intended for foreign audiences from being broadcast within the U.S., came to an end via an amendment tacked onto the National Defense Authorization Act. Now, news stories meant for nations abroad can be broadcast (or used as source material for original programming) to American audiences. While it is common for government and a complicit media to lie to the Ame rican public, deception and misinformation has now been codified into law.
According to a document from the Office of the Federal Register:
The new rule “functions to relieve the prohibition that prevented the Agency from responding to requests for program materials from the US public, US media entities or other US organizations.”
“This rule benefits the public, media, and other organizations by allowing them to request and access BBG [Broadcasting Board of Governors] program materials, which previously could not be disseminated within the US.”
The new rule is said to only apply to news stories published by the State Department, though we find it difficult to fathom that such a powerful capability will not be utilized by other arms of the government via alternate legislation, information sharing, etc…
AlertsUSA Threat Journal STRONGLY advises readers to think long and hard about this development. Where you get your news, particularly concerning threats to your safety and security, is now cortically important.
from: http://www.threatjournal.com email report
Wonderful questions Rourke! I recently received the AARL Manual, as I was interested in becoming a HAM. I have to say, I glazed over when I got to chapter 2 about the frequencies, had to put it away and havent picked it up since! I have *heard* that local clubs are the way to go, so I am rather disappointed to hear that you had such a negative experience, Wyzyrd. I havent had enough time lately to explore our 3 area clubs . IDK just how far I will be pursuing this. But I will be getting involved w/Local Red Cross for disaster response, maybe that will give me a little more exposure to the communications end of things.
Code Green Prep has some good info. Look at Communications under the Social tab.
We have commercial strength shelving units and use the hard cardboard can organizers that we purchased from Thrive. We love ours…simple rotation without much trouble. We write the dates on the top of the can when we put them in the top, and when we pull a can out from the bottom, we have a “shopping” book that is held onto our frig w/magnets and we write down what we too, and add one more for good re-stock. Looking forward to seeing them available at WM…if they make it.
I am a very new HAM, and my husband and i found a study/test in one day. There is a great program out there called Ham Nation. That can get ya started. We picked up a couple of Bafongs off of Amazon. They can be programed as scanners, Ham and radio to radio.
I am now looking to take my general class test next year.
Recently I was at a ham radio outlet and they were a vast wealth of knowledge and help. They might be able to point you to a local ham group to assist you.
Tx for the info ABurr, can u provide links plz? For all, I am also interested in info on finding quality equipment at lower cost
OK, so there are two basic types of Ham radio, there is local. that’s VHF and UHF that you can use to talk to other licensed people in your area, much like police or fire radios, and there are repeaters to extend that range and make hand held portable radios work over a larger area. look at http://www.artscipub.com/repeaters/ for an idea of the repeaters in your area. A Technician license will allow one to use the vast majority of these frequencies. The second type of ham radio is long distance, with the lower VHF high,medium and low frequencies you can talk around the state, country or world. This of course varies with conditions. Bridging the two is internet linked repeaters, that you talk in to from your radio and they go on the internet to a distant place. From my home I have talk to people in Germany, Japan, and England all from a little 3 mile type walkie talkie. see http://echolink.org/ for information on those systems. for grid down, post SHTF communication you are looking at local or long distance simplex. That means you to them and back in range of your radio without the repeaters or other help. so if your little radio is VHF 144 megahertz range and 3 watts power you will only get 3 miles line of sight. This is a gross simplification, but handy for thinking quickly. With a tall tower and 1000 watts power on a lower frequency like 30 MHz, you could talk around the world. ARRL spongers the ARES/ Races public safety type communication back ups in nearly every county in the US. see http://www.arrl.org/public-service for more info. also ARRL has some of the best training out there, the emergency online courses are here http://www.arrl.org/online-course-catalog
Yes the best training for getting your license is memorizing the questions but then you can get out there and play radio to learn it, I got my license through http://www.hamradiolicenseexam.com/ it is cool because it teaches the theory as it helps you memorize the exam questions. there are so many ways to use ham radio you almost have to get in there and see what you like. Inexpensive radios from mainland china are a good entry, much harder to program than dedicated ham radios, but the free software and a 15 dollar cable lets you use your computer to program them
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Version-Baofeng-UV-5R-A-Dual-Band-136-174-4-00-480-MHz-FM-Ham-Two-way-Radio/330976837574?rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222002%26algo%3DSIC.FIT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D163%26meid%3D520388365760657905%26pid%3D100005%26prg%3D1088%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D110888717201%26 is just an example. I would be glad to answer any follow up questions here, and perhaps the site could use an occasional ham or communications post.
I will be in contact!
Thanks and take care – Rourke
Amazon sell these radios for $32. See the following URL:
It is not difficult to become a licensed HAM. If you are not licensed, you will not be welcome through the local HAM community, and could be sanctioned by the FCC. The ARRL has excellent info on all HAM radio subjects. Also, check the following URL for more info:
I used this to practice and pass my technician test: http://copaseticflows.appspot.com/hamtest
I found out the test was in two days, so I crammed and honestly admit I memorized the answers, but I read that even memorizing the answers will get you the license so you can start using the radio and therefore learn more about it. I passed it in 5 minutes. I did have to go to the local HAM club as I couldn’t figure out how to program the radio that I bought on Amazon for around $50. I was told to make sure the radio I buy is 5 watts and 2 meter(I bought a handheld). I was later told by a master HAM person that this was a good radio http://www.amazon.com/Baofeng-UV5RA-136-174-Dual-Band-Transceiver/dp/B009MAKWC0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374623511&sr=8-1&keywords=baeofeng+uv5ra