Prepper Forum / Survivalist Forum banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I got a hair up my butt a few months back. I decided that some manner of independent, off grid two-way communications would be a good idea. Mind you, I don't really need to get into the hobby aspect of it. With the modern internet, we can reach out and communicate just fine without the USPS or HAM radio. This would be a strictly grid-down fall back.So here's what I THINK I know, and what I know I don't know. And I don't have a clue what I don't know I don't know....

1) After reading several posts. I'm reasonably sure I can pass what ever test is necessary to legally transmit with the help of some books or apps. But should I bother? Seems to me that "licensed HAM radio Operator" is a pretty big target. an invader or gov thug might even get some guns, ammo, or canned okra in the deal. Since I wouldn't be using it much until AFTER everything goes south, legalities wouldn't matter. Better to stay off the radar.

2) Operationally, I'm pretty competent. We used HF fairly regularly in Army Aviation. I understand its quirks and limitations. There's going to be parts of the world that I just can't talk too based on the skip, sun spots and terrain.

3) Hardware is where I don't know where to start. I understand the relative value of various brands, but don't have a clue about features and capabilities of civilian equipment. I don't intend to put up an aerial tower - rather I will just use a portable long wire rig. I'd like to be up and running for around $850 - make some recommendations.

4) how much meaconing should one expect? How much can you really trust the information coming out of the speaker?

5) does anyone still use packet radio? Was that UHF or VHF?

6) How much concern over DF? While in the army, with an adequate understanding of the equipment, one could push a button the HF console which would then DF the signal, interrogate an in-network HF set an appropriate distance away, and transmit triangulated coordinates to a counter battery controller equipped with something like a Q36 counter battery radar (just for the computing, not the radar) and have rounds out in 12 seconds from the first button push. That'd be a bad day for a kid with a walkie talkie.

Anyway - Thoughts, suggestions, and "pitfalls I don't know about" would be great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,212 Posts
I got a hair up my butt a few months back. I decided that some manner of independent, off grid two-way communications would be a good idea. Mind you, I don't really need to get into the hobby aspect of it. With the modern internet, we can reach out and communicate just fine without the USPS or HAM radio. This would be a strictly grid-down fall back.So here's what I THINK I know, and what I know I don't know. And I don't have a clue what I don't know I don't know....

1) After reading several posts. I'm reasonably sure I can pass what ever test is necessary to legally transmit with the help of some books or apps. But should I bother? Seems to me that "licensed HAM radio Operator" is a pretty big target. an invader or gov thug might even get some guns, ammo, or canned okra in the deal. Since I wouldn't be using it much until AFTER everything goes south, legalities wouldn't matter. Better to stay off the radar.

2) Operationally, I'm pretty competent. We used HF fairly regularly in Army Aviation. I understand its quirks and limitations. There's going to be parts of the world that I just can't talk too based on the skip, sun spots and terrain.

3) Hardware is where I don't know where to start. I understand the relative value of various brands, but don't have a clue about features and capabilities of civilian equipment. I don't intend to put up an aerial tower - rather I will just use a portable long wire rig. I'd like to be up and running for around $850 - make some recommendations.

4) how much meaconing should one expect? How much can you really trust the information coming out of the speaker?

5) does anyone still use packet radio? Was that UHF or VHF?

6) How much concern over DF? While in the army, with an adequate understanding of the equipment, one could push a button the HF console which would then DF the signal, interrogate an in-network HF set an appropriate distance away, and transmit triangulated coordinates to a counter battery controller equipped with something like a Q36 counter battery radar (just for the computing, not the radar) and have rounds out in 12 seconds from the first button push. That'd be a bad day for a kid with a walkie talkie.

Anyway - Thoughts, suggestions, and "pitfalls I don't know about" would be great.
Packet=VHF, don't know have not used it in 20 years.
DF, using an HUFDUF (df) on hf, position is located the second the X-mit button is hit.
A combination spectrum analyzer/df you have it faster than you can realize it.
For precision, the d-fing is only good for HF ground wave.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,106 Posts
I hold an Extra license and teach ham for both those wanting to get into the hobby and for prepping.
As far as the government knowing your location: Everyone knows your location already, thru your cell phone, and every utility you use. If you are referring to having your license show your location, you can use a P.O. box number. But it must be one you ceheck regularly enough to answer any notices they send you.

IMHO, only thru becoming a ham and actually using it, can you become proficient enough to understand and use it to its fullest. Besides, practice makes perfect. Only by becoming licensed can you transmit leagally. Ham operators are pretty good about notifying the Feds about an unlicensed person transmitting. Becoming a ham gives you access to other hams for advice to allow you use your radio to its fullest.

As far as detecting your signal. Yes it can be done easily by the Feds. Not quite so easily by other people. And probably not at all by most people during a SHTF incident. One of the easiest ways to avoid detection: Don't sit on the same channel for all your prepper comm. Rotate your frequencies. I've set up a schedule of four different frequencies per day at four different times of day on multiple bands. Keep your comm short, don't ratchet jaw during a SHTF incident. Keep your antenna concealed or take it down when not in use. I have my antenna on a telescoping flag pole, I can take down and set up in two minutes.

Yes it has it's risks, but I don't plan on going on the air until things settle down and all the riff-raff evacuate or secumb to their environment.

Like I said, my humble opinion.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,602 Posts
I got a hair up my butt a few months back. I decided that some manner of independent, off grid two-way communications would be a good idea. Mind you, I don't really need to get into the hobby aspect of it. With the modern internet, we can reach out and communicate just fine without the USPS or HAM radio. This would be a strictly grid-down fall back.So here's what I THINK I know, and what I know I don't know. And I don't have a clue what I don't know I don't know....

1) After reading several posts. I'm reasonably sure I can pass what ever test is necessary to legally transmit with the help of some books or apps. But should I bother? Seems to me that "licensed HAM radio Operator" is a pretty big target. an invader or gov thug might even get some guns, ammo, or canned okra in the deal. Since I wouldn't be using it much until AFTER everything goes south, legalities wouldn't matter. Better to stay off the radar.

2) Operationally, I'm pretty competent. We used HF fairly regularly in Army Aviation. I understand its quirks and limitations. There's going to be parts of the world that I just can't talk too based on the skip, sun spots and terrain.

3) Hardware is where I don't know where to start. I understand the relative value of various brands, but don't have a clue about features and capabilities of civilian equipment. I don't intend to put up an aerial tower - rather I will just use a portable long wire rig. I'd like to be up and running for around $850 - make some recommendations.

4) how much meaconing should one expect? How much can you really trust the information coming out of the speaker?

5) does anyone still use packet radio? Was that UHF or VHF?

6) How much concern over DF? While in the army, with an adequate understanding of the equipment, one could push a button the HF console which would then DF the signal, interrogate an in-network HF set an appropriate distance away, and transmit triangulated coordinates to a counter battery controller equipped with something like a Q36 counter battery radar (just for the computing, not the radar) and have rounds out in 12 seconds from the first button push. That'd be a bad day for a kid with a walkie talkie.

Anyway - Thoughts, suggestions, and "pitfalls I don't know about" would be great.
I got into ham mostly for emergency communications. The govt's ability to track someone right now is down right scary. So my plan is to mostly listen. Right now I really just need to rework my shack and get on some. I'm not a hardcore hobbyist just EC. I do have a vertical antenna but I also have an NVIS for multi-band if/when the SHTF. I'm told these are good for 400 miles or so. Because of the design, they are called cloud burners for a reason.

I got my Extra Class but for a different reason, to help a friend. I'm a VE also. I also have very loose ties to our local county emergency communications team. This is for the storms we get and for SHTF stuff if necessary. That's UHF/VHF. The EOC is pretty impressive with the ham side.

Hardware is funny, it's like a car or a gun. It's whatever works best for you. I ended up with mostly Kenwood gear because I like the way it works. Stick with brand name stuff and you can't go wrong. Find a local ham club and some may show you the gear they have. YouTube is full of operational video's for each radio. I'd stay away from the Chinese junk. Yeah it's inexpensive but I want something I can count on. If things go that badly Amazon won't be around to send you another cheap piece of shit. Both of my HF rigs were bought used.

Packet has changed. You can now run worldwide digitally with just UHF/VHF. They also have digital for HF. Not doing this on a regular basis I suck at it. I do have a friend who is an expert at it. Most of the local ham clubs have him speak on it from time to time. Someday I may get him over to teach this to me.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
15,252 Posts
My wife is HAM. Just a Technician license so far. Her equipment is very basic.
She got hooked up with a local area HAM club that taught her a lot.

During and after Hurricane Irene, when most communications were out of commission, including cell phones, she could reach out and get up to the minute weather conditions from others who were still on air. Instead of being limited to the jabbering radio announcers on regular AM and FM radio.

I have no idea what her equipment is, or even how to use it. She has a hand held, and one in her truck the size of a CB radio.
She's the commo, I'm the rifleman. Everyone has their job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
I think DAK made CB gear. I use ICOM gear here, the 7300 is a great HF rig. Still have a bunch of Tentec gear as I can repair that gear myself. Buy good HAM gear, made much better than CB gear and will last much longer. Like buying HP or Tecktronix gear instead of Radio Shack test equipment. de KA5SIW
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
562 Posts
Get your General so you can practice on the HF bands. Stick with Kenwood, ICOM or Yeasu. You can get new rigs for around $1000, Used for maybe 1/2 that price. Even though the radios are pretty easy to use, there are issues regarding, power and antennas that unless you do them, you may not have a good reliable setup. Practice it now, and when the SHTF, you will be ready to go.

Look into the digital modes, These will give you more secure comms ( at least to casual listener) and greater range at lower power levels.

Find a local ARES or RACES group, and participate in ECOMMS events. This is excellent practice for actual SHTF situations.

GL and 73
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
I'm an Extra with VE also. Good advice on this page. I went from no equipment to enough to talk locally or around the world for under $2,000, including two deep cycle batteries. Yaesu, ICOM, Kenwood, are all good brands. Yes, you can be found by someone who really wants to locate you, so you might as well be well equipped and useful to your neighbors.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top