Emergency Comms

This topic contains 47 replies, has 26 voices, and was last updated by  Rookieprepper 7 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #590

    Slick6
    Member

    First off let me say I do not profess to be a communications expert. However, my life experiences have given me more than ample opportunities to handle different types of communication devices (two way personal radios (FMRS/GMRS, line of sight walkie talkies, mobile radios, base stations, among others). I have scoured the internet (as I am sure many of you have) looking for the “holy” grail of survival communications and just like noses everyone has an opinion.

    Well here is my opinion. You don’t need the RXQ-2000 all in one receiver/transmitter/scanner. You don’t need the latest single whip 12 ft antenna. You don’t need a $2,000 shortwave radio. What you need is what you need. Think about it. Why buy something meeting the latest gadget specs, that some shmuck suggests (and probably does not even own). Go find what YOU and most of us NEED at a price that won’t break the bank. Evaluate your needs, do your research and make your purchase (but understand what your getting into) and that is some radios require a GOVERNMENT LICENSE! Hello Big Brother!

    One must have that I will not bend on though is a digital weather radio with SAME technology (allows you to narrow notifications to your county area). These things only cost about $40-$50 and can save you and your families life (did mine during a tornado at night). Hope this helps.

    #54996

    Carriebelle
    Member

    Slick6, I’m glad your digital wether radio with SAME technology saved your life! I got those radios for my parents, my in-laws, and my sister last year for Christmas. We had one and I wanted to help our families. I have also given 72-hr emergency kits, including one for all their cars. I don’t expect everyone to understand it and I hope they are never needed, but they’re necessary. Our son got his first car this year and for his birthday we gave him an awesome emergency kit for his car. 🙂

    #54997

    Hansel1
    Member

    Well, what do you need?
    For family short distance use get GMRS radios (yes you need a license to operate but not to buy and store and in a real emergency, do you really care about a license) get a couple of frs radios for day to day use and to make sure everyone knows how a radio works. For long distance communications, nothing beats getting a ham radio license if that is what you need.

    Now a word to the security, ANY transmission can be intercepted by others that have gear to do so. NOTHING is secure. The thousands of security settings of a FRS or GMRS radio are NON existant…they are NOT security settings although they call it that. They are nothing but a setting to make sure the other radio is only listening to your signal, it does not scramble your signal in any way. ANYBODY with a FM scanner that is able to listen to the frequency can hear what you are saying and it does NOT mater to what you set those radios. Anyone that has one of the older open radios can listen to what you are saying. He can NOT contact you and talk to you because you are only hearing a signal with the sub tone combination you have set.
    As much as anyone with those types of receivers/tranceivers can hear you as much can they angulate your position, or listen for clues in your transmission to find you.
    So it is IMPERATIVE that you make sure that if the crap hits the bowl and all hell breaks loose in this country that you have strict radio discipline no mater what frequency or type of radio you use. Unless you get your hands on some real defense type encoded radios no transmission is secure. Make sure you have good batteries and you cycle them. Remember that most batteries do not work at low temps research the pros and cons of the different type of batteries you use. In a moderate emergency situation you are probably fine with just a minimum of precaution but in a severe end of the world as we know it scenario with lawlessnes, riots and murders, criminals roaming the areas for foot and other items…you have to be extreeme careful of any type of communications.

    — never ever give your location in clear text…say the corner next to aunt marry old house or any decription ONLY the other person would know…do not say corner of 1st and 24th next to the schoolhouse lol
    — never use your name or the other persons name, use a code such as unit1,unit2 or anything you want as long as it NOT gives away who you are or where you are so having the code Collonade 1,2,…when you live on Colonnade drive or ave is a no no.
    — keep all transmissions as short as possible
    –refrain from using the radio for occasions that could be handled otherwise i.e. walk across the street or by waiting a few minutes.

    –only use them in real emergencies…think first, can this info wait until I see this person, does anyones life depend on this info to be given over the air
    –it is prudent to do train all people on the propper use and on the way to use them you do not want a mistake that could possible cost your or a loved ones life.

    John

    #54998

    buginout
    Member

    I recently got my ham ticket for just this reason. I’ve got a Hand held (HT) that will transmit on 2M and 440 but will receive on many others. My next project is to setup a basic rig that will serve as my base station but also be portable and will allow me to transmit on all bands. HF is a priority for me. at the moment I’m leaning towards the Yaesu FT 897d. Once I’ve got it setup I would like to network with other prepers around the country/world

    #54999

    kymber
    Member

    WVSanta wrote some really great articles about Emergency Communications and Ham Radio for the CPN – he’s a bit of an expert i must say!

    Part 1 : http://www.canadianpreppersnetwork.com/2009/02/emergency-communications.html” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false
    Part 2 : http://www.canadianpreppersnetwork.com/2009/03/and-without-any-further-ado.html” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false
    Part 3 : http://www.canadianpreppersnetwork.com/2009/04/emergency-communications-part-3-thank.html” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false
    Part 4 : http://www.canadianpreppersnetwork.com/2009/07/emergency-communications-part-4.html” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false

    i hope that you all enjoy!

    #55000

    Hansel1
    Member

    @buginout wrote:

    I recently got my ham ticket for just this reason. I’ve got a Hand held (HT) that will transmit on 2M and 440 but will receive on many others. My next project is to setup a basic rig that will serve as my base station but also be portable and will allow me to transmit on all bands. HF is a priority for me. at the moment I’m leaning towards the Yaesu FT 897d. Once I’ve got it setup I would like to network with other prepers around the country/world

    Welcome into the ranks of Ham Radio my friend,

    I am at it since 1970 (my first license) I am doing communications not only for a hobby but also for a living. At this moment in time I am working as the chief engineer for a 5MW TV station in one of the larger US markets. In the past I have worked for broadcast stations world wide on AM, short wave and FM bands. For a short time I even did a stint on the southern part of the American Continent for one of the mining and explorations companies as the chief communications engineer. Talk about a challenging envirioment (sp) trying to set up communications in the Amazon and the Mountain Ranges of South America. With all that, my big love was and is always ham Radio it has always keept me in communications from all over the world be it Africa,Asia,Europe or just plain from one state to the other. Ham radio is the ultimate in emergency communication although there is a use for the FRS and GMRS radios. They are good for short range communications and can not be picked up over longer distances unless you have sophisticated gear. Of course it has the drawback that if somebody picks you up and he/she has bad intentions they know if they are even the least bit smart that you have to be within a very small geographical area around them.
    Do not forget the cell phone network, cell sites are equiped with some large back up systems. large battery banks will insure hours upon hours of communications. The RF output of cell sites seldom exedes 8-10W per channel that is the equivalent of a night lite(7w). They do all the work by using high gain antennas.
    That said, unless there is an EMP or you live in an area with lots of traffic (big town, city) those towers will work especially if the emergency is developing over time.I rather use the cell phone and save my batteries in the hand helds for the time when that service is down.
    Another very important item to have is a solar battery charger. This will permit you to recharge all the (hopefully you bought recharchable batteries) batteries you need. There are many ways to take care of those batteries.one thing they do not like is to sit idle so execice them lol.

    John

    #55001

    LE-Prepper
    Member

    It is finally nice to find like minded individuals.
    I am no expert and by far I do not know everything. I try to learn as much as possible, and have many tools in my tool box. I am an active Police Officer/SWAT & prior military. Most of the officers on my 45 man department in Indiana know how I am. ❗ 20% think I am nuts 😯 , 20% are oblivious to everything and are DRONES willing to do the Govt.’s bidding ❓ , 40% are just observers of the situation and stagnant 😕 . The remaining 20% of the officers that I work with agree with what I have been trying to educate them on and we have a preliminary plan :geek: . They agree that there is something fundamentally wrong here. I have had my eyes open for a very long time. My wife opened her eyes about 6 months ago on her own by reading a few books and paying attention to the news. (Beleive me I tried to tell her, but people unfortunately need to find out for themselves. Prior to that, I would always here comments such as, “Why did you buy that for”, Don’t you already have one of those”, or “We need to save”. Well not any more as we have teamed up to better prepare our family larder. Some days I see that she does get somewhat depressed that her eyes have been opened and can now clearly see what is coming. Ignorance is bliss. 🙄
    Most days I see motivation, confidence, and drive in her that I have given us a head start over the past ten years. I think it would have been really bad for her if we had to start from scratch. My advise to anyone reading this is to do a little each day. It can be very overwhelming. Baby Steps. But you need to do at least something every day. I work a full time job, run & own a business, attend various trade shows as a part of my business, do our taxes 👿 , and still try to PREP. Remember the fundamentals. Beans, Bullets, & Band-aids. Below is my contribution to the subject of Communication. Like I said. I am no expert on the subject, but I am doing a little each day on this subject because I believe that if you have no information, you are at a critical disadvantage.

    There is no substitute for Operational Security. OPSEC Once your information and your business has been disseminated to the masses. When TSHTF, that little memory bite of information will pop into the unprepared family, friend, or foes head, and you will be their first stop. Inform your children that they are not to talk to their friend’s at school on your prepping. It is a child’s desire to impress their parents that they remember a school mate talking about how their parents have stockpiled supplies. 💡 Then the next thing you know, they are at your door as well. It sounds cold and heartless, but you will need to turn people away. Further more, you will most likely be revisited by those that you did turn away when the bad gets worse. Safety in numbers is a very inviting proposal, but when your supplies won’t support that endeavor, it will be safety in numbers for a shorter time than you thought.
    The information below is merely my experience with this subject. A couple of cheap CB’s might be for you. But if you want to be more versatile as well as secure, then I would encourage you to add this to your list. Commo gear can get expensive, but you have to weigh the priorities out and make a list assigning each item on that list a number of 1-10. Then apply that item to a grid of situations such as; (Shelter In Place), (Bug Out On Foot), (Bug Out In a Vehicle), (Fall Back To A Retreat) If the item in question is applicable to each of these scenarios, then it would obviously grade a higher score of 1-10 overall. IMHO Commo would score high in each of these scenarios. I would obviously want to have communications kit on my person, in my vehicle, and at my primary residence, and fall back location. But without food, and a means to protect that food, the commo kit will be of no use. So, then the commo kit gets bumped down below, arms and food. This is just a little method I use. I am very analytical in my methods. To the layman it would look like a big pile of mess, but my desk makes sense to me. 😀
    To the topic at hand.

    First Priority. Go to the following link. Take the quizzes. Once the quiz downloads, you don’t have to be connected to the internet. Keep taking the quiz over and over until you can just zip right through them to gain the basic knowledge required to get up and going and to appease the FCC.
    Next search online at the ARRL website (http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/examsearch.phtml to locate an actual testing location and date in your area that it is being put on. Then at a minimum (Get your General license). Next Get Operational. Then GO FORTH and communicate! Practice, practice, practice. Get familiar with your gear. You should be able to get up in the field and on a frequency in about 15 minutes.
    Quiz Website:
    http://www.qrz.com/p/testing.pl

    Second Priority. Search the world of NVIS & HF. NVIS (Near Vertical Incident Skywave) is a proven military tactical non line of sight communication method. Once you are familiar with the method of commo that will suit your needs or your group’s needs, then go out and and get the equipment. I agree with the above post. The FT897D is a nice rig. Our group has two of them. Anytime we take trips for personal or business, we are sure to set up a commo test. NVIS is a very effective non line of sight highly undetectable form of communication. It is very difficult to DF (direction Find) when the correct DF equipment is utilized. Now imagine a grid down situation where there is lawlessness and roving bands of A-holes looking for you. The chances that one of those groups actually has an unethical HAM operator in their ranks will be slim to none. But the chances of a quasi government organization or foreign A-hole that has the DF equipment in their arsenal will be higher. Don’t give them an inch. ” You know, The Spartans”
    Your primary reason for communications will be to find out information for your group to help moral, logistics, and security. You can do that by just setting up and listening on HF from all around the world or in your area of operation (AO). Problem solved right? Not really. You will eventually need to communicate 5-600 miles away to others in your group that have either ventured out for supplies or reconnaissance, or other like minded groups that are reaching out to form an alliance. Be weary of this one. OPSEC. Don’t let yourself get suckered into an ambush from these publicly well intentioned groups that are trying to reach out to you. It could be a trap. Come up with a tactical security plan to meet away from your retreat and do so carefully. Then memorize, rehearse, and have plan b, c , d, and f.
    The benefit of the FT-897D is that it is 20W on the two (not included) internal batteries, and can be up to 100W on an external car battery or an AC to DC 20A power supply. The radio can be purchased as a stand alone item, and then accessorized with the internal batteries, charger, solar panels, and the such. NVIS commo can be conducted on 80m at as little as 10W up to 60 miles away. Antennas are the easy part. Two 72 foot lengths of wire, 10ft of coax, and a 1:1 Balun can get you up on NVIS. An NVIS folded Dipole antenna that you can make for about $25.00 can get you on the air on 80m. Contact me if you need help on this antenna design and resources. Learning how to tune the radio to be resonant on that antenna can be difficult. What this means is that when the radio transmits the frequency out though the antenna, if the antenna is not matched (resonant) to the frequency that you are transmitting on, the frequency can be reflected back into the radio which will damage the radio. In an end of the world as we know it situation, you are screwed with a burnt up radio. The FT-897D is a nice radio to put into a back pack, and go out on an extended Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol. It is also a nice base station rig, as well as a mobile rig. It gives you the best of all worlds. Noooo, I don’t work for Yaesu. 😀 I did work for Motorola prior to my LE career though. Another piece of kit or two I would recommend is the Yaesu VX-8 HT. It as well is very versatile when it comes to the frequencies and accessories. It is waterproof/submersible which is a very BIG plus. It can be run off of AA batteries in the battery pack, or on a lithium ion rechargeable pack or two that can be maintained by a solar charger.

    Think of the antenna being resonant/matched as your tire on your car having a little two much rubber on one side of the tire than on the other when they made it at the factory. When you put that tire onto the rim, and then onto the car, and just drive down the road, lets say at about 25mph, you won’t feel much but the bumps in the road because you are going too slow. As you increase the speed to lets say about 49mph the tire will start to bounce up and down causing the front of the car to vibrate pretty bad. Then you increase the speed while still feeling the vibration until you reach 54mph. The vibration starts to go away. You then increase to 60mph and you feel no vibration. The tire is now resonant to the speed at which you are traveling. When you slow down and observe that the vibration returns between the speed of 54mph-49mph, the tire is no longer resonant to the speed that you are traveling thus forcing that vibration back into the structure of the car. This is why they balance the tire to the rim with the little lead weights. This balances the tire to be resonant no matter how fast you are going. This would be the equivalent to a radio auto tuner. The auto tuner referenced below can pretty much tune a wet noodle. Your antenna no matter how you make it is resonant on at least a minimum of one frequency. The trick is to find the frequencies that you plan on operating on, and build the antenna to match the high end (54mph and low end 49mph) of those frequencies. This will ensure that you can just throw up the antenna, and start talking or listening to the frequency range that you want to listen to as long as you stay within those frequency ranges.

    I would also recommend getting an auto tuner such as the LDG-AT-897 to bolt right onto the radio to make this process a little easier. However, if this goody fails, you will need to revert back to the basic knowledge of manually tuning or paring/matching the antenna to the frequency, or vice versa. There are simple mathematical equations to figure this out. You can print this out, and laminate it. The subject of antennas and HF radios is very confusing and again I am by no means an expert, but as my buddy says to me all the time, I apparently have the magic smoke when making an NVIS antenna. I hope this helps those in need of layman guidance on the subject of Commo. I have not met a HAM radio operator yet that will not drop anything they are doing to help you break into their hobby. I have however met a couple of narcissistic individuals that talk above you to make themselves feel better, but for the most part they are all honest and eager to help.

    I am in Central Indiana. Be vigilant and try to inform at least one new person a day.
    LE-Prepper

    #55002

    idahobob
    Member

    As we all know, comms are of prime importance. Like the saying goes, “If you don’t have comm, you don’t have jack”!

    Communications within a MAG, community and/or state, when TSHTF/TEOTWAWKI does happen, will be of prime importance.

    With that in mind, my DW and I are studying to test out for our Tech and General Amateur Radio Licenses. In anticipation of completing that minimum requirement, we have purchased 2 Yaesu VX 7R handi’s for local contacts. After getting our “tickets”, I have a purchase plan for more commo equipment.
    As we live in a very rural part of our state, I encourage everyone that I know to get licenced, NOW!!

    Another item that may be of interest to others here, since I am a volunteer fireman in my local community, I have a handy-dandy handheld that is a scanner/Xmtr, that covers all of the police, fire, EMS and all of the other goobermental agencies in our area. Something to keep in mind.

    Bob
    III

    #55003

    Hansel1
    Member

    @idahobob wrote:

    As we all know, comms are of prime importance. Like the saying goes, “If you don’t have comm, you don’t have jack”!

    Communications within a MAG, community and/or state, when TSHTF/TEOTWAWKI does happen, will be of prime importance.

    With that in mind, my DW and I are studying to test out for our Tech and General Amateur Radio Licenses. In anticipation of completing that minimum requirement, we have purchased 2 Yaesu VX 7R handi’s for local contacts. After getting our “tickets”, I have a purchase plan for more commo equipment.
    As we live in a very rural part of our state, I encourage everyone that I know to get licenced, NOW!!

    Another item that may be of interest to others here, since I am a volunteer fireman in my local community, I have a handy-dandy handheld that is a scanner/Xmtr, that covers all of the police, fire, EMS and all of the other goobermental agencies in our area. Something to keep in mind.

    Bob
    III

    Always remember, all the license does is to give you the right to use the airwaves in “”peace”” times there is a good chance that post TEOTWAWKI or other similar happenings the license and the privilege to use ham radio equipment will be suspended. Moreover, having a license just put you on the radar of Federal and Local government. If past wars and world events are any indication, there will be a chance that any ham Radio operator will get a visit that will result in his/her equipent being either confiscated or destroyed.

    In todays world, NOBODY needs a license to buy ham radio equipment, it is NOT illegal to own it. It is however illegal to operate it. After TEOTWAWKI or a similar event most people will not care if they have a license and use the equipment.
    If you buy radios, even as a licensed Ham and you want them to be secure from .gov agents buy them with cash, at the local swap meet or from a fellow ham, do NOT sent in the warranty card…you do not want any paper trail connecting you to that piece of equipment. People always underestimate the resolve and the resources that the government has….and for one thing do NOT underestimate the people that will be willingly or unwillingly colaborate with the government or thugs and gangs.

    John

    #55004

    kymber
    Member

    John…thanks for putting into words what my gut has been telling me for a long time! i have been thinking about getting my ham license for a while. but i have an unsettling feeling in my gut about the whole idea…and couldn’t really figure out what it was. but what you just said now makes total sense to me!

    as an ex-Communications Researcher in the CF, our trades training consisted of being able to copy and send 25wpm Morse Code – we practiced daily until we received appropriate security clearances in order to actually learn the more complex signals. and most of us in my trade could copy/send 35+ wpm by the time we graduated. and even though i eventually specialized in linguistics…i always kept up my morse practice as, it being the basis of our trade, keeping up your copy/send speed was like a badge of honour.

    anyway – all of this to say that i have always kept it in the back of my head – that in the event of SHTF – i am pretty confident that i can be of some help in the comms area. and i do have misgivings about getting licensed only because i think that you are dead right when you say that licensed civilian ops would be first on the list for confiscation of equipment. and if someone’s family is being threatened by thugs – i wouldn’t be too surprised if they named every person that they knew from any of the licensed civilian sites.

    also – you are dead right when you say that it is NOT illegal to own radio comms equipment. and have no paper trail following you to that equipment!

    so thanks for putting my niggling thoughts into words. i have to say that i agree with you.

    #55005

    KS-shoe
    Member

    Well, you all know a heck of a lot more about this stuff than i do. I have a lot of kids and i’m not going to be that mobile. I’m trying to get a preppers’s type house and i’m looking for like mined people i can stay in touch with. But i’m on a budget here. What is the range of a hand held device that is reasonabley priced. If i can at least communicate with someone who does have long range coms. i’m better off than those without. Any suggestions?

    #55006

    Hansel1
    Member

    buy the best gmrs radio (1-2 miles reliable comms in a suburban or hilly enviroment) you can get for local communications unless you have the money to buy a hamradio handheld (range 1-50miles depending what antenna you are using sometimes more depending on your location). A good gmrs unit will be good for a couple of miles…don’t believe for one moment the claims they make on those boxes..the only way to get those distances are if you up on a hill and have line of sight to the other station but you will not get the distances in an urban or suburban enviroment. Moreover, it is not a given that any of those will work as it is very easy for the .gov or military to jam whole frequency bands to prohibit the common people from using those radios. But still buy the one that tells you that it goes farthest this way you know it works short range. The only way to be able to communicate with certainty is to be frequency agile and able to transmit in bands that are not jammed. This solution is very costly from the transmitter to the antenna. Most systems on the market do not lend themself to do this with. Most antennas are not broad band enough to do this with.
    So, although there are many forms of public comms available such as Ham radio, CB including the illegal “freeband” radios , FRS/GMRS radios and marine or business band radios there is really no certainty that anyone will be able to use them. 1 or 2 airplains are enough to jam all civilian communications. one reason to convert all military, LEO and .gov communications to digital is that they can be syncronized with the jamming signal and as such they are not hampered by it.
    The prudent person will make sure he has an alternate plan to get in contact with others.

    And just to address the nay-sayers that will content that there will not be enough of an authority after a earth shattering event think about this..it will all be about controll and damage prevention. The .gov has drilled and is holding drills nearly every day to address this potential problem. They have lots of brilliant minds that are paid to come up with more what ifs then you will ever be able to phantom. It will not only be the general public that they are afraid of but the domestic terrorists, sleeper cells and other groups that will want to use the turmoil to either inflict more damage or take over the nation. It is all about the fact that if you can’t communicate you can’t plan and execute ..the .gov knows that as much as we do. And they have all time in the world and a lot more money, a lot better equipent and a lot more trained personel that we ever can lay a claim to. Moreover, they have millions upon millions of collaborators and informers. This was true in the past and will be true in the future.
    So, whatever you do,whatever your plans for communication be careful who knows about them.

    John

    #55007

    KS-shoe
    Member

    Thnaks! Do you have any name brands in mind for distance coms. I’m looking to buy a house on 30-40 acres and its kansas so hills not really an issue.

    #55008

    Jinnig1
    Member

    I’m studying to be a HAM. (and I don’t mean what comes naturally ;o) ) I’m listening to tapes of code…Ugh. It’s starting to sound familiar but I can only listen for about 20 min and my brain hurts!

    #55009

    Hansel1
    Member

    @jinnig1 wrote:

    I’m studying to be a HAM. (and I don’t mean what comes naturally ;o) ) I’m listening to tapes of code…Ugh. It’s starting to sound familiar but I can only listen for about 20 min and my brain hurts!

    You don’t need to “”study” for your code. Code is not required for the license anymore (unless you life in a country where it is still required). Save your brain and do it the natural way, get your license and then get on the air and in your spare time listen to code in the code portions of the band. listen for what you know and the rest will fall into place. Morse code is an art of communication that requires patience and time to learn, do not force it,doing so just results in a block..get your license if you so inclined and tackle the code afterwards.

    John

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