Topics related HAM and Shortwave radio and emergency communication
I saw one online once on how to make a antenna out of a extendable fiberglass fishing pole. It would be great for a bug out. collapsed about 3ft and extened 12 to 14 ft. and can be made for about $25 Plus the price of cable which depends on how much you get.
Citizens’ band or short-distance CB radio was invented and first licensed in 1947 operating on a 27 megahertz (MHz) or 11-meter radio frequency over 40 channels. Military and other government entities originally used CBs to communicate until the 1960′s when taxis and other businesses began to use them. It’s range of use is around one to five miles.
CBs became mainstream when truckers began to use them to communicate with each other in the 1970s. Speed limits were lowered to 55 mph for safety and gas shortage reasons, often resulting in speed traps operated by law enforcement. Truckers would use CB radios to alert each other to slow down for police. CB communication also aided those in trouble. Channel 9 was designated the emergency station.
I know this isn't legal, but while scanning one night I picked up a group of "skywarn" weather watchers communicating using Marine radios. Quite a while later I was talking to someone and I noticed a white radio in his truck. He said since there is no need for the marine band here in Indiana, it was the cheapest way for them to communicate, and get reports back to the guy that relays the info via ham to the NWS. I didn't know before, but apparently the marine radios are FM vhf radios with around 50 watts mobile, or 20 watts hand held. They are able to communicate across 2 counties with these, whereas even an expensive mobile cb couldn't reach a fraction the distance. I looked, and you can buy a nice one for the price of a crappy level CB, which is half as much as a basic 2 meter ham mobile. There are hand helds used on cl for $50, and mobiles for less than that. I picked a "standard horizon" brand radio (made by yaesu, a good name in ham radio) mobile for 40$. It has the weather/emergency frequencies in it, and I was able to communicate the same distance with it, using a standard $20 vhf ham antenna as I was with a nice 2m ham radio (over 30 miles). If I was in a flat area or had high ground that'd increase up to 50%. I recently read where another prepper group had purchased a box of used marine radios for their group to contact each other in case of emergency. I was up in Alaska a couple years ago, and all of the residents in the outlying towns I passed through used them like a public phone system. They even had them mounted on their snowmobiles. It seems like the best way to go for a group that wants to communicate in an emergency, while preparing on a budget. Again, I'm sure there's some FCC reg that makes this illegal, I've just seen them work well for people. I personally wouldn't recommend depending on a CB at all, especially the hand held ones. I wanted a cb for my rack, and I went through all kinds of mobiles before I found one that would transmit and receive over 10 miles without an amplifier. And I've tried several handheld cb's and have yet to find one that can transmit or receive over 2 miles (most don't even transmit 1 mile). Pick up a $30 handheld scanner off of craigslist, a handheld cb in your bug out bag is a waste of space!
[quote="epulliam"]I know this isn't legal, but while scanning one night I picked up a group of "skywarn" weather watchers communicating using Marine radios. .........................
Typically VHF marine radios operate with 25 watts and HT's at 5 watts. Although higher wattages are available. This band would work very much like the 2 meter ham band. It's nice you brought this up because it totally slipped my mind.
Several years ago the FCC dropped license requirements for boats under 300 tons. However, one might be in the wrong using this band several miles inland. Now, having said that, unless you are within a 100 miles of a FCC field office you probably won't have a problem. Something to consider, although a SSB cb would be an asset since 300-1000 miles comms are not uncommon.
No from personal experience. The FCC sent Df vans to La and all effected areas during Katrina because of the internet rangers believing all the rules are gone when the state of emergency was declared. A whole lot of CB's, HF and Ht radios were siezed immediately when licences werent presented on demand by FCC reps. You loose it all if you cause harmfull interference. And thats decided on scene by the effected ES group. This was a direct reaction from interference by the unknowing and unlicenced using voice on freqs designated in band plans as digital mode. Funny how fast the harmfull interference rule was used to shut down the bubbas. And the same " I'll do what I want when I want if the SHTF" will get your gear siezed, and maybe everything else you have just to shut you up. Yes, maybe you will get it back, much later after a court battle, but I doubt it seriously
The radio I am issued at work is a marine band radio. Encrypted, issued by a 3 letter agency. I would highly recommend you or anyone NOT transmittiing on any marine band freq if you are not on the water
The FCC is the nicest agency knocking on your door. You, and everyone else has NO idea what you dont know about frequency allocations, wrong answer about 100 miles from a field office. And big wrong answer about using these because "nobody will know". Guarantee, there are people using these freqs closer than 100 miles to you, in all 50 states. Monitor the band a bit, those funny whistles and chirps. Guess who??
You are a grownup, do what you like. But dont be surprised.....
I just scored a sideband base station CB radio, AND scored a Midland 77-285 that can be easily modded for freeband freqs and a bit more power output. I did get a better CB antenna into the air, although it's still an omni-directional vertical whip, but it matches 1:1 all the way to the radio, so it'll do better than the previous one. And finally, I did get my GENERAL ticket, and am able to use the 10M FM mode on my Yaesu 8900. I have tracked down a couple 10M FM repeaters in my neck of the woods, and will be testing soon to see if I can hit them.
Making ready for that next communications test whenever we can coordinate for one.
Viking Heritage, Patriot Always!
Comms Test: Hi Jerry. Yea, I have been thinking about another one soon and wanted to do one over the winter months but skip conditions have not been good until recently. And the weather here has been cooler for longer periods and then we get a wet snow, the wind picks up and makes it difficult to do much outside to the antennas, etc.
When conditions have been good here we get signals out of the SW especially TX and AZ and some out of CO. When it swings from the south its mostly FL. I too only have the A99 up and using AM radio with 100 HP help. Haven't decided on the SSB brand yet but looks like the Alinco SR8T, modifable 100 watts and I can use the 10m SSB band, now, with the change for "no-code" techs.
Lets keep the comms test interest going.
Let us know how you do on 10m Jerry. Especially with the 8900. the band has been very friendly to long range comms lately, I was on with portugal from Az last week, 100 watts and it was coming in great. That was SSB and the 8900 is a full width so Im very curious what you can do with it
I'll be interested to see if I can talk to anyone.... 10M FM isn't a popular mode from what I read and hear, but it's all I have (technically). I scored that Midland 77-285, and reading about mods to it makes me think that I will be able to do (sshhhhhh....) 10M AM at about 30 watts. Not exactly a good option for HF, but again, it's all I've got for now. Still searching for that screaming deal on an HF/VHF/UHF all mode rig.... and then I can work seriously on a tuner / antenna combination. Mike & Key Swapmeet coming up in a week or so......
Viking Heritage, Patriot Always!
Don't forget to check 10m linked repeaters and there are some linked to 2m repeaters. When I lived in Florida there were several linked systems down there.
Thought I'd turn the CB on to see what DZ is doing, setting on channel 28 and finally heard some skip from the WA/OR border. A bit unusual for me to get DX from there. A lot of fading so I didn't get any handle or call signs.
I drive truck for a living , ch 9 is the standard emergency channel and ch 19 is a the common trucks channel. Most states, police are suppost to monitor ch 9. But not always.
Here in Central Oklahoma, the Prepper's Group designated CB channel 19 as a communication channel if/when the SHTF.
Just want to mention, back in the 1970's I had a midland mobile unit that I converted into a base station. Just had 4 watt output and used a 1/4 wave clip antenna mounted outside the second story window. I was able to broadcast at distances of up to 12 miles, depending on weather conditions. I also installed an omni-directional 1/2 wave antenna with an addition of 2 masts to boost its height. This 1/2 wave antenna was mounted on my chimnea. My SWR on the 1/2 wave was almost 1:1. I was able to broadcast at distances of 30 miles using that antenna. The point is, you don't need a big antenna to reach out, you just need the height.
Its true that CB channels could get clogged in emergencies. Depending on the SHTF situation and normal communications are down, CB's may or may not be used. If the electric goes down, then people would be using mobile units. Question is, how many people still have mobile CB radios??? Truckers and avid CB'rs would, but many people don't. More people are using cell phones and internet and those would be down. Sportsmen/Sportswomen and avid outdoors people would more likely be using hand held portable units that don't have broadcasting range. I could see a few people using SSB and splashing a lot of the CB channels. IMO, Since CB is of older technology, it may not be that congested and noisy. My advice is to get a network of people within your Prep Group and communicate using your designated CB channel. If people are able to communicate with other groups, using CB, then information about the outside could get passed along. Also, ham radios would be used to reach out and communicate information with other parts of the country and world. This information could then be re-broadcasted on CB and daisy chained to most of the CB'rs.
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