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Old 02-02-2010, 02:06 PM
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Default Communication Post SHTF



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I was wondering what platforms you all were planning on using if TSHTF. I know short wave will probably be the most popular(CB's and the such), but I was wondering if there were other things you would consider using? I've seen where some people would use sat phones, but I don't think the network would still be up possibly. Just let me know and bounce some ideas around.
Old 02-02-2010, 07:29 PM
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It all depends on the severity of the event.

Short range, VHF, line of sight radios. Cell phones may still work but don't depend on it. Same for sat phones, beacon locators and radio phones. CB's would work pretty well. Even the internet might still be up.

Having lots of batteries and power will be critical in maintaining communications.
Old 02-02-2010, 10:42 PM
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HAM radio or amateur radios will probably be some of the most common equipment used. Add a solar setup to keep it charged. There is another area in the forum that talks about HAM radios. HAM operators with the right equipment can "bounce" their signal off the ionosphere to talk to people over extreme distances. Check out the other threads. Understand though you have to get a HAM license before you start talking on one or the FCC will try to take your toys. No lie.

Here is the website for the amateur radio relay league. Lots of good info here.

http://www.arrl.org/
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:42 PM
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What about FRS/FM walkie-talkies? The ranges are always exaggerated by manufacturers, but 0.3-1 mile can be expected. For shorter range (0-200 yards?) a whistle makes more sense than yelling. Used for centuries by European and sea-faring nations to organize crews.

So I think that's your 30.06/308/270/shotgun range of communications. For a mortar/artillery range, you're looking at HAM.

Smoke signals, light signals, etc. don't seem that practical.
Old 02-03-2010, 09:56 PM
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Frs/GMRS is very low power. Another option that most people dont know about is MURS. This is for all practical purposes UHF CB. Power is 2 watts output and five channels.

I use MURS handheld and base stations around my place and they work very well. Range will very according to location and terrain. I have talked with a handheld to my base at 5mls,this is hilltop to hilltop,when you get down in the valleys you will lose range but for short range SECOPS this would be a good option. For long range work I will be depending on my ham gear. Just hard to beat a good ham station for world wide comms.

For info on MURS just google it.


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Old 02-04-2010, 10:31 AM
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If you needed something to communicate in a typical suburb after a TSHTF event, such as a tornado or hurricane, would you recommend MURS radios then?

Here are the constraints:
(1) Let's say that power and cell-towers are down.
(2) HAM is not an option, for financial reasons -- and some of the people you'll be communicating with do not have the time/inclination to obtain a license.

Quote:
Originally Posted by N5TDA View Post
Frs/GMRS is very low power. Another option that most people dont know about is MURS. This is for all practical purposes UHF CB. Power is 2 watts output and five channels.

I use MURS handheld and base stations around my place and they work very well. Range will very according to location and terrain. I have talked with a handheld to my base at 5mls,this is hilltop to hilltop,when you get down in the valleys you will lose range but for short range SECOPS this would be a good option. For long range work I will be depending on my ham gear. Just hard to beat a good ham station for world wide comms.

For info on MURS just google it.


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Old 02-05-2010, 02:06 AM
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MURS Multi Use Radio Service does have advantages over FRS and GRMS. However that advantage is very small and quickly over taken. First off the use of repeaters is not allowed. With only 2 watts of power, you will find that your distances are going to become very short. One advantange though is the use of external antennas. That 2 watts is Radio Output wattage and not ERP.

In Layman terms. The transmitter can output 2 watts into an antenna that might have a 6 DB gain. Which means that your actual output would be 16 watts Effective Radiated Power ERP.

MURS is essentially the same as two meters or marine band. Just serverly limited on power. Marine band 25 watts and Amatuer two meters 50 watts output are very common.

However GRMS with licensing one can have more power and the use of repeaters(repeaters effectivly can double or triple your coverage area)

Law enforcement use radios with repeaters. The HT that they carry is only going to thier CAR. The radio in thier Car is what retransmits out with enough power to get to other repeaters or to the station transmitter. Anyways GRMS allows the use of repeaters. These radios however cost a lot more than the bubble packs that most people are purchasing. Also there is an 85 dollar licensing fee. this license however covers your Immediate family. Sorry, Uncle Tim is not covered. However Mom, Dad, Bro and Sis are.

All things being equal though, taking the Amatuer Radio Test and paying 15 dollars really is not that tough to get into a Technician Class license. The equipment for 2 meter and 70 Cm really is not that expensive and does ten times what MURS, FRS and GRMS do or can do.

MURS is 5 channels, FRS and GRMS give you 14 channels.

Amatuer Radio 2 meters is from 144 to 148 Mhz. is not channelized however if 20 Khz is used that would be 200 channels available just in the 2 meter band.

Marine band is the same as 2 meters and can have up to 25 watts power are channelized and you have effectively about 28 channels to use. There are more channels but they are regulated and closely monitored.

CB or Citizens Band is 40 channels with Channel 9 being reserved for emergencies only and is limited to 4 watts.
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Old 02-06-2010, 02:54 PM
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Default Ham is the way to go.

For communicating around the block or farm Frs and gmrs is ok. But for real comms ham is the only way to go.

The entry level test is mostly rules and regs without a lot of tech. You can buy books that will help you study for the test or there are computer programs that will do even better.

The hard part is getting your wife girlfriend or family to do the same. With a ham ticket you can only talk to other hams legally.
Old 02-06-2010, 04:33 PM
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I work in RF. My plan to communicate with my family members, should the PSTN and Cell systems go down, is via 450MHz digital communications. Specifically, low speed Ethernet and terminal emulation such as Hyperterminal.

The RF units are capable of 128 bit encryption, so a large degree of security is capable.

This isn't something a lot of folks can get into however, because I have multiple Radio sites with which to implement.

Using this method of communications, normal ASCII communications (typeing sessions) can be accomplished while maintaining a high degree of security. No reliance on PSTN, Cell, or Internet is required, and because I generate power at my sites independent of the grid power system, it is totally autonomous. The idividual RF units can run off of any DC source of 10 to 30 volts DC.

The particular RF units can be set up to run on the FRS or GMRS channels, but a licensed situation affording more output power is desirable.

A laptop or UPS powered Desktop computer is required, however. So each communicator needs a power source and computer.
Old 02-06-2010, 07:04 PM
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We have CB's handheld and one in the jeep as well as 2 way radios, the thing about a cb is if someone picks you up they get get a good idea how close you are as well as a general direction. I had a friend that every time we talked he would keep checking with me and next thing I no he is bumpin the rear bumper in his truck. It amazed me how fast he could find my location in a big city. There are many logging companies selling there old radios and they are set to 1 to 5 frequencys I am guessing they would be a better bet. they are also cheap.
Old 02-08-2010, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrepperCon View Post
I work in RF. My plan to communicate with my family members, should the PSTN and Cell systems go down, is via 450MHz digital communications. Specifically, low speed Ethernet and terminal emulation such as Hyperterminal.

The RF units are capable of 128 bit encryption, so a large degree of security is capable.

This isn't something a lot of folks can get into however, because I have multiple Radio sites with which to implement.

Using this method of communications, normal ASCII communications (typeing sessions) can be accomplished while maintaining a high degree of security. No reliance on PSTN, Cell, or Internet is required, and because I generate power at my sites independent of the grid power system, it is totally autonomous. The idividual RF units can run off of any DC source of 10 to 30 volts DC.

The particular RF units can be set up to run on the FRS or GMRS channels, but a licensed situation affording more output power is desirable.

A laptop or UPS powered Desktop computer is required, however. So each communicator needs a power source and computer.
So don't laugh, I'm really trying to learn. Be it fiber optic or copper, I'm still reading physical cable needed. It sounds like this is based on there being a hard wire configuration. Meaning there better be some type of lines available for the signal to work. Is that right? If so, in a bad situation, all the wire will be gone. We're all going to strip the poles because we need that as a resource. I said don't laugh> maybe I totally misunderstood.
Old 02-10-2010, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio Chief View Post
So don't laugh, I'm really trying to learn. Be it fiber optic or copper, I'm still reading physical cable needed. It sounds like this is based on there being a hard wire configuration. Meaning there better be some type of lines available for the signal to work. Is that right? If so, in a bad situation, all the wire will be gone. We're all going to strip the poles because we need that as a resource. I said don't laugh> maybe I totally misunderstood.
The only wire required is the ethernet cable between your NIC and the Radio.
Old 02-13-2010, 09:46 AM
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I met with a General class ham who's part of an emergency response network (ARES). He showed me his portable rig. 50 watt base unit, modest antenna, and 12-volt portable battery. He can use battery power, run it off a car, or a generator. Says he can get about a 50 mile range in flat country, and much further if the repeaters are up. He also said they have a contest each year in park spaces in which they setup off-grid communications and see who is quickest, gets the best range, etc. Apparently there's at least one guy who uses a slingshot to accurately shoot wire into trees, as radio antennas, and can achieve some excellent range.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:48 PM
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Post SHTF licenses will no have little use. Ask anyone that has been in a hell in a hand basket scenario and they will tell you that adherance to laws is not a top priority for anyone. For example, look how people drive during and after a major snowstorm. It is like all common sense and traffic laws are thrown out and chaos reigns.

Now before SHTF, I can fully agree on becoming licensed and finding the gear that is right for you.
Old 02-15-2010, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tusken Raider View Post
Post SHTF licenses will no have little use. Ask anyone that has been in a hell in a hand basket scenario and they will tell you that adherance to laws is not a top priority for anyone. For example, look how people drive during and after a major snowstorm. It is like all common sense and traffic laws are thrown out and chaos reigns.

Now before SHTF, I can fully agree on becoming licensed and finding the gear that is right for you.
The more I see this opinion the more amused I am. If you really think using uhf/vhf/hf is as easy as opening a box and you have comms, then I want to sell you some property with a bridge on it as well. Its a cop out for people who are playing at prepping, buying wally world radios and stroking each others egos at the gun shop.

Ignorance is bliss I suppose.

Knowlege base is what will keep you alive, not a stack of gear you have no clue how to use. The reason the FCC has licence requirements is not so you stay legal, its to make sure you have enough brain cells not to kill yourself using the gear. HAM radio is a great hobby, but its a fast track to electrocution for the stupid and ignorant. Ask the last idiot who doubted me and picked up a capacitor off my bench, it can bite, and leave marks. I can take a beam antena and a frequency counter and find YOU, no matter what freq you are on. With 2 of us it takes half the time, but you key a mike and you are found. It wont take a knowlegeble operator long to find one who is an ignorant yahoo, and even less time to arrainge the end of transmission.

HAMs will be the only comms working after everything ****s the bed, and they will be working with whatever is left of ES. The older HAMs especially have a dim view of people mucking up " Thier" freqs and are very capable people. Dont believe for one minute during Katrina people with the attitude of " I dont need that FCC crap" werent grabbed up quick. You are right, it might not come as fast, but it will catch up. The people who enforce those laws give a damn about trafic laws, looters and evrything else people are so fond of quoting to justify not getting set up. Its ok, they will find you, very quietly and very effieciently arrainge for your last transmission. And judges uphold the arrests. Disasters are not justification to do whatever you want. Teams were sent in specifically for this reason, because the idiots who believed they were " special" and didnt need a licence were keeping radios. Its bad enough with all the traffic on the air legally to conduct operations, with the yahoo's its worse.

Good idea, end up in jail when your family needs you the most. Dont be the one with the target on his house waiting for a bored Fed to justify his budget. I understand you arent advocating not having a licence. But I also know of 3 who thought they would just" play with it for awhile". And found out the hard way.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:40 AM
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I don't envision a last man on Earth senerio, where I'm huddled in a dark room listening through the static for the voice of some guy in Europe, telling me I'm not alone. Or some guy in the next state telling me he has clean water, if I can just get there somehow.

I just want to be able to locate my family, should something serious happen and 'normal' communications go down ( cell service, internet, etc ). We each have a FRS/FM walkie talkie in our cars with spare batteries. We know advertised range is a joke. But figure if we can get about a mile from each other, we'll be able to use these to find each other. We have pre-determined locations to head for ( if #1 can't be accessed, go to #2 and so on ).

But even if you all make it to an agreed location, just being on the other side of a building can make hooking up difficult. That's what these walkies talkies are for. To preserve battery power, we have set multiple times during every hour to try & make the contact. I didn't think CB was a good idea simply because of the limited number of channels, which I though would be jammed.

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Old 02-22-2010, 11:01 PM
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Who do you want to talk to?

Short range: CB, FRS.

Long-range: HAM.

CB and FRS are cheap, and that makes them easy to store in farraday cages for EMP protection. HAMs are expensive. No test results have been released on EMP tests on radios, but CBs and HAMs attached to long antennas are likely to be fried. Yet another reason to stow backup units. If the phones fail, HAMs are going to be the only means of long-distance comm, until govt orders the airwaves silent, under martial law. Also in my farraday cage is a satellite phone with backup laptop, DVDs, solar power and needed cables, to get Internet via international connections, should domestic ISPs be shut down for official or other reasons.
Old 02-23-2010, 08:20 AM
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I am ignorant on the topic of radio comms. However, I can say I have an interest in both private and public communication. Obviously private is only so private but encryption would be key. From what I understand HAM does not allow encrypted communication? Is that correct? Any recommendations on a platform that does and would work within a 10 mile radius?

I see info on land mobile platforms which support encrypted communications but don't really know anything about that. Is it available to civilians, do I need a license, and would it be sufficient for the 10 mile range? Is there any product that would work in that frequency range and also work in more public ranges (aka without the encryption) or do I need two different radios?
Old 03-16-2010, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killdeer View Post
Law enforcement use radios with repeaters. The HT that they carry is only going to thier CAR. The radio in thier Car is what retransmits out with enough power to get to other repeaters or to the station transmitter.
Actually, the majority of law enforcement, fire, and ambulances do not use this type setup any longer. The handhelds do in fact talk directly to repeaters. The old cross band setups were used by some state troopers because they go very far from their bases.
Old 03-17-2010, 01:19 AM
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Does anyone have any ideas for non-electrical communications if we get an EMP that knocks out electricity?

Signal mirrors and smoke signals? I think I'm going to have to buy some boy scout books.

Something that could work for covert communication are UV pens/markers and a UV flashlight, but then you're either looking at a limited battery time or the UV light just doesn't work if the EMP is strong enough.
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