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Old 03-12-2012, 08:01 PM
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I just helped a long time buddy and a TEOTWAWKI survival partner move across the country from East Tennessee to Colorado. We would like to set up a mutual assurance group with each other so that if something happens and I need to go there with my family or he needs to come here with his family, it will be possible. Hopefully, we'll be able to get in contact before the grid goes down and if it does. Even if it does, we might still plan on going there or vice versa. However, communication would be extremely helpful for after the grid goes down. Point of the story: I know pretty much nothing about HAM radio, same with him. Is it possible to use it at this range or is that way too far? Is there any practical way to keep in touch off the grid at this distance without spending thousands and thousands of dollars? Homing pigeons?

(Most threads on this communications forum are strictly about HAM. Is this better suited to General?)
Also, this may have already been covered. I searched for "Long distance communication" and didn't find much. I didn't really know what to search for since I don't even exactly know what I'm looking for. Links to previous threads are always appreciated.
Old 03-12-2012, 08:25 PM
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I'd say your best bet is ham, and the General (or Extra) license. That distance is easily traversed with a basic HF rig and modest antenna aimed the right way. I suspect you could work it with a used HF rig in the ~$400-500 range and a G5RV wire antenna for under $100.

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Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
I just helped a long time buddy and a TEOTWAWKI survival partner move across the country from East Tennessee to Colorado. We would like to set up a mutual assurance group with each other so that if something happens and I need to go there with my family or he needs to come here with his family, it will be possible. Hopefully, we'll be able to get in contact before the grid goes down and if it does. Even if it does, we might still plan on going there or vice versa. However, communication would be extremely helpful for after the grid goes down. Point of the story: I know pretty much nothing about HAM radio, same with him. Is it possible to use it at this range or is that way too far? Is there any practical way to keep in touch off the grid at this distance without spending thousands and thousands of dollars? Homing pigeons?

(Most threads on this communications forum are strictly about HAM. Is this better suited to General?)
Also, this may have already been covered. I searched for "Long distance communication" and didn't find much. I didn't really know what to search for since I don't even exactly know what I'm looking for. Links to previous threads are always appreciated.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
I know pretty much nothing about HAM radio, same with him. Is it possible to use it at this range or is that way too far? Is there any practical way to keep in touch off the grid at this distance without spending thousands and thousands of dollars? Homing pigeons?

(Most threads on this communications forum are strictly about HAM. Is this better suited to General?)
Also, this may have already been covered. I searched for "Long distance communication" and didn't find much. I didn't really know what to search for since I don't even exactly know what I'm looking for. Links to previous threads are always appreciated.
The good news: An off-grid communications haul from Tennessee to Colorado is easily within the capabilities of ham radio.

The bad news: It requires above-average technical expertise at both ends, including an FCC license. It's not particularly inexpensive. Ham radio is not like dialing a phone: Communications will not be possible all the time or on-demand.

Even if all your communications needs were local in nature, you would need ham radio anyway. It's that big of a deal. If you do not want to get into it yourself, then find a skilled, experienced operator and include him/her in your group. Do what you must; amateur radio in some form is an absolutely positively must have.

Tevin's Law: "Ham radio is so essential to prepping that, without it, one cannot really say they are prepped. It is second only to water and equal to guns."
Old 03-12-2012, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tevin View Post
The good news: An off-grid communications haul from Tennessee to Colorado is easily within the capabilities of ham radio.

The bad news: It requires above-average technical expertise at both ends, including an FCC license. It's not particularly inexpensive. Ham radio is not like dialing a phone: Communications will not be possible all the time or on-demand.

Even if all your communications needs were local in nature, you would need ham radio anyway. It's that big of a deal. If you do not want to get into it yourself, then find a skilled, experienced operator and include him/her in your group. Do what you must; amateur radio in some form is an absolutely positively must have.

Tevin's Law: "Ham radio is so essential to prepping that, without it, one cannot really say they are prepped. It is second only to water and equal to guns."
I understand that it is very helpful to find out what is going on and find bit of news after a collapse, but could you explain why you think that it is behind only water?
Old 03-12-2012, 10:25 PM
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I agree with that poster's commentary for a number of reasons. You won't be getting much, if any, corporate news. Little or nothing you can trust, no news from friends/family, etc. But if you already have a network of many hams that you trust, people you have already worked, you'll be able to get a reasonably reliable ground report in many directions. At this point, I'm far more inclined to trust Joe Sixpacks than a corporate outlet if my other communications are all dead.

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I understand that it is very helpful to find out what is going on and find bit of news after a collapse, but could you explain why you think that it is behind only water?
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:06 AM
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20 40 60 and 80 meter bands should take care of it
Old 03-13-2012, 12:46 PM
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Aramchek and Tevin are correct. What you want lies in the field of HF radio and it requires a General ticket to transmit. I looked on Google earth and it's about 1000 miles distance from Co. to Tn. This is a tuff distance to work, but I am starting to experiment with this range now.

In HF, 0-400 miles is a piece of cake. working 2500 miles is done with little difficulty, but in between requires trial and error and a little brain exercise and may require a little extra power (wattage) to accomplish. These are the things you need to iron out now, prior to SHTF conditions.

try going to http://www.preparedham.com/forums/in...o7;wwwRedirect
This site is set up for preppers who want to learn about HAM commo
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Old 03-13-2012, 01:34 PM
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100 watt Amateur radio General licensed HF rigs with HF log periodic antennas on 55'+ towers on each end will do it about as consistantly as can be expected, using the appropriate HF Amateur band for the time of day and other conditions on a scheduled timeframe.

Ocassional, sporadic contact isn't that difficult or expensive. Reliable, consistant communications at those distances won't be cheap, even if building the antenna and tower yourself.

Just my opinion.
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Old 03-13-2012, 02:06 PM
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It's all about band conditions and antenna configuration
Old 03-13-2012, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky1950 View Post
In HF, 0-400 miles is a piece of cake. working 2500 miles is done with little difficulty, but in between requires trial and error and a little brain exercise and may require a little extra power (wattage) to accomplish. These are the things you need to iron out now, prior to SHTF conditions.
This is good advice. On an ARRL field day several years ago, I made an antenna from two Slinkies and just laid it out on the ground, stretched out a little bit. While I couldn't transmit very far, I was easily able to hear operators in Hawaii over 2700 miles away. With decent antennas, you shouldn't have much problem conversing over the distance from Colorado to Tennessee. But get it worked out ahead of time.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:58 PM
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Piece of cake!
Old 03-13-2012, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazooka Joe View Post
This is good advice. On an ARRL field day several years ago, I made an antenna from two Slinkies and just laid it out on the ground, stretched out a little bit. While I couldn't transmit very far, I was easily able to hear operators in Hawaii over 2700 miles away. With decent antennas, you shouldn't have much problem conversing over the distance from Colorado to Tennessee. But get it worked out ahead of time.
Hell my Elmer turned an old style folding aluminum lawn chair into a resonate Moxon antenna at a field day and he was about four fingers into a quart of whiskey when he did it!
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
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Hell my Elmer turned an old style folding aluminum lawn chair into a resonate Moxon antenna at a field day and he was about four fingers into a quart of whiskey when he did it!
The best antennas happen during bad weather, on a budget and after the introduction of a lubricating agent such as whiskey!

As far as reliable communications are concerned over that distance, time of day and solar weather conditions will be your determining factors. Some days the band opens and you can communicate world wide, other days, you're lucky to get across the Mississippi. I agree, the 20, 40, 60 and 80 meter bands are probably going to be your best bet. 10, 12, 15 and 17 may work during times of high solar activity but I wouldn't count on it to be reliable.

Another option would be to find a linked repeater system that can be connected in both areas. This of course would depend on a working grid and landline communications being online to establish the link, but it could be used to get a message through during a time of ramping up to the initial SHTF.
Old 03-13-2012, 10:25 PM
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The 75 meter ham band is ideal for night commuications, but you would need a 500 watt Amp and antenna tuner a hf band radio a wire cut for 3.800 Mhz dipole wire. A costly plan about 3000.oo to 4000.oo investment for both partys not counting the FCC cost and testing.
Old 03-13-2012, 10:34 PM
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No, it could be alot cheaper than that -- but you'll need a lot of physical space. I know a guy who worked out a deal with about 6 suburban neighbors to run a wire through trees in their yards. If you had some rural property, it would be a better option.
Old 03-14-2012, 07:16 AM
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I'm only a tech but i have talked to TN east coast guam argentina an in between on a good day with 10m, on a good day which havnt been a lo lately i have a simple buddipole setup and a good icom ic 7000 about 1500 for that setup does all hf bands plus 6m 2m and 70cm its costly to some but you get out of it what you pay for it its only 100 watts but it gets the job done. I see guys on here talking about ham is to much money but they own 20 guns for two people got to know what you need vs what you want and if you need good comms you really. Need to invest just my opinion
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:30 AM
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Ham radios are like guns, you get what you pay for. I run an old
Kenwood HF rig on a long wire antenna. There have been no
Complaints about signal. You can get into Ham pretty cheap but,
Like guns, can get expensive pretty quick. Tn to Co is not
Too much of a problem, just get your license and have fun.
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:04 AM
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All right HAM folks....So reading the above posts "Why not a Mobile for the Mobility as Distance decreases?. Just curious..Considering getting a License myself for communications...and cool hobby. Thanks
Old 03-14-2012, 04:36 PM
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Green

My rig is a yaesu 857D ans is both a moble unit as well as my base for the QTH(home). Its small than a cigar box but covers every band with upto 100 watts.

Whpith that radio and a small end fed wire antenna 33 feet long i have talk half way around the world.

I can run it at home with a power supply, in my truck off of the 12 v systems there or carry one of the small 12v 7.5 amp hr that weighs 12 lbs and pack in somewhere.
Old 03-14-2012, 04:49 PM
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Do some more research on ham, there's alot to know but I do think for the distances you're talking about HAM is your best bet.
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