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Old 09-09-2019, 10:39 AM
Idaho Survivalist Idaho Survivalist is offline
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Default How effective would HAM radio communication be in a SHTF, grid down, collapse



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A 2-meter rig would be pretty worthless in many mountain areas. Need a repeater for much distance. Some repeaters have battery backup but for how long will they have battery power. [I'll tell you now, that I am definitely not a HAM geek, and am no expert.] Since these radios use line-of-sight reception, if you were in mountain areas you would be limited to that pretty much. I was able to reach a town 25 miles from my base, in a mountain area, but it would be pretty hard to go much further. There are many license holders in my area but the local radio club can't find them. It seems easy to pass that first level test (technician) so a lot of people take the test and pass but most never buy a radio. And Elmers (helpers) are not always helpful, which is a complaint in some areas.

And if the grid, land phone line and cell towers were not usable, you couldn't find out who had a radio and what his call sign was. And unless you could reach a HAM who had a good HF rig, you couldn't find out what was happening in other parts of the country, and that HF rig has to have a battery back-up. Most HAMS cannot afford two systems so that one could be in use while the other was in a Faraday cage in case of EMP.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see that most HAMS could have good communication whether locally or national during SHTF scenario. Does anyone see how I am wrong in most cases?
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:06 AM
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I agree 100%. If it's a total grid down scenario all you have is a worthless pile of parts.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:15 AM
gungatim gungatim is offline
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You do know that Amateur radio (or ham as you call it) includes more than 2m right?

There are actually bands that let you talk to the other side of the world.

many, if not most experienced amateur radio operators do indeed have more than one rig.

I encourage you to check out other frequencies and see how many other people are out there beyond your local clubs 2m repeater.

you don't need to spend a lot, start with a $20 RS232 dongle and a computer and get familiar with HF.

then spend $100 and pickup an old boat anchor like a Heathkit or a Drake. I guarantee you there'll be plenty of us on the air with them if/when the time comes.
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by gungatim View Post
You do know that Amateur radio (or ham as you call it) includes more than 2m right?

There are actually bands that let you talk to the other side of the world.

many, if not most experienced amateur radio operators do indeed have more than one rig.

I encourage you to check out other frequencies and see how many other people are out there beyond your local clubs 2m repeater.

you don't need to spend a lot, start with a $20 RS232 dongle and a computer and get familiar with HF.

then spend $100 and pickup an old boat anchor like a Heathkit or a Drake. I guarantee you there'll be plenty of us on the air with them if/when the time comes.

I am currently a general. I usually check into the noontime net at 72835 on my Yaesu FT 450. I just checked in. HF is way more interesting being that there is very little activity with 2 meters in my area. Some clubs only have 2 or 3 members. But still I see little chance of being able to use my radios if everything went to hell.
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Old 09-09-2019, 02:29 PM
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Ham radio is often used during emergencies, and it works most of the time.

Long range is usually on long wave HF (40 & 80m) and propogation is affected by the Earths magnetic field. These fields are affected by solar radiation and may be scambled by a solar flare, or terrorist EMP attack.

Regional coms are mostly NVIS.

Many HF radios are 12v and many Hams power their rigs with an AGM battery, hooked to a solar panel.

I fully expect Ham HF rigs will be used as receivers to pick up info on world wide events. These radio opperators will also pass info on NVIS nets.

Its possible that a EMP attack will damage the radio or solar panels, but I expect Ham radio will be the last piece of functional communication technology. They will work long after cell phones and internet devices turn to crap.
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Old 09-09-2019, 02:49 PM
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This site is used all the time by long haul intercontinental aviation, high seas maritime, MARS and SHARES

http://https://www.voacap.com/

VOACAP Quick Guide https://www.voacap.com/overview.html

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This 'work-in-progress' guide should get you well started with the software. A more comprehensive discussion about the finer details of using the software can be found in George Lane's book Signal-to-Noise Predictions Using VOACAP. A User's Guide. The book is now available on CD-ROM.

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https://www.voacap.com/hf/
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Old 09-09-2019, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by glockrocks View Post
I agree 100%. If it's a total grid down scenario all you have is a worthless pile of parts.
My worthless pile of parts will likely be working just fine if the grid goes down.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:10 PM
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I've got a shortwave receiver, don't see the use in having a microphone.
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:47 PM
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`

Even if all the repeaters were down, they are still going to generally be better than shouting, smoke signals, or 2 tin cans with string. With a good antenna & a powerful radio that can run off a battery whether in a vehicle, home base unit, or HT you will still be able to communicate for a couple miles at least, depending on terrain & height of antennas & that should allow you to stay in contact with any neighbors or people in your group you want to communicate with. Maybe you can't talk to someone on another continent, but if the power is out all over for a long period, what are you going to talk about with someone on the other side of the world? The weather, stock prices, sports, maybe how it sucks the grid is down? I'm guessing if there was a planet wide blackout for an extended time, recreational jaw jacking time would be limited as you'd be spending a lot more time on doing activities to stay alive on a day to day basis.

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Old 09-09-2019, 04:50 PM
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Maybe its just me but I would consider a radio with only a 1 mile range invaluable to say nothing of 25. Nothing on the other side of the world that I need to talk to in SHTF....but just being able to talk to my neighbor seems a huge advantage, to say nothing of reaching town.

I don't understand why anyone would discount radios in SHTF...they are the basis of emergency response right now and would only become more valuable in SHTF.
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:59 PM
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Our off-grid BOL has a powerful base station HAM radio, 25KW hydroelectric power, + diesel fueled generator + solar. Should an EMP take any of that down. We have EMP protected replacement parts stored to resurrect them PDQ.

When conditions are right, we talk/listen via that HAM radio all over the world.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:31 PM
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I have a cheap beofang and with the supplied antenna I can reach 15 miles to a repeater. Plus I can listen to the police, fire, and emt radios to about 15+ miles away. That to me is the cheapest communion insurance to have. I have a spare plus extra batteries put away. Neighbors have the same set up.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hick Industries View Post
Ham radio is often used during emergencies, and it works most of the time.

Long range is usually on long wave HF (40 & 80m) and propogation is affected by the Earths magnetic field. These fields are affected by solar radiation and may be scambled by a solar flare, or terrorist EMP attack.

Regional coms are mostly NVIS.

Many HF radios are 12v and many Hams power their rigs with an AGM battery, hooked to a solar panel.

I fully expect Ham HF rigs will be used as receivers to pick up info on world wide events. These radio opperators will also pass info on NVIS nets.

Its possible that a EMP attack will damage the radio or solar panels, but I expect Ham radio will be the last piece of functional communication technology. They will work long after cell phones and internet devices turn to crap.
Exactly. Both my High Frequency and VHF base stations are on deep cycle batteries and are powered by solar. Quite a few hams are preppers also. The two go together really well.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:32 PM
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Participation in ham varies across the country. I live in a rural county in Arkansas. But between only three of the zip codes in the county, there are 240 hams. There are a lot of people to talk with when the going gets tough.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idaho Survivalist View Post
A 2-meter rig would be pretty worthless in many mountain areas.
That depends on whether there's someone standing on top of the mountain with another 2-meter rig, doesn't it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Idaho Survivalist View Post
And if the grid, land phone line and cell towers were not usable, you couldn't find out who had a radio and what his call sign was.
You could if you found out in advance! That's the whole idea, you know: to be prepared for the unexpected!
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Originally Posted by Idaho Survivalist View Post
Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see that most HAMS could have good communication whether locally or national during SHTF scenario. Does anyone see how I am wrong in most cases?
Yes, you're missing something: you're assuming that you have to do everything by and for yourself, and that's not what radios are for. Amateur radio and CB and smoke signals are all useless unless you have someone to communicate with!

Now, let's talk about the real reason for ham radio, or CB radio, or semaphores or ESP: to get a message from one person to another. In an emergency, the best way to use any means of communication is to help the people who can improve the situation to do their jobs.

There are a lot of ways that hams, CB'ers, or messengers-on-horseback can help during an emergency: they can replace the ordinary means of communication with alternatives that
  1. Don't depend on shared resources (like the telephone and cellular networks)
  2. Won't fail because some bean-counter ordered only enough batteries for six hours instead of six days
  3. Will be flexible and robust enough to help experienced and capable emergency managers, first responders, and medical teams line up locations, supplies, and relief before they are needed.

In other words, prepared hams are like prepared CB'ers or prepared medical teams: they must train, equip, and practice using what they have available, in advance of a catastrophe, so that they're a part of the solution.

FWIW. YMMV.

William Warren
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:52 PM
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Ham radios will work just fine during a SHTF. Some of us old and cold to the old hobby will find it hard to figure out which tones, etc. to use. I doubt many repeaters stay up maybe 25%. Once we make one-on-one contact word will spread and networks will grow.
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:16 AM
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As noted, amateur radio may not be a perfect solution. But in a total (or even partial) collapse situation, what are your alternatives?
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:52 AM
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As noted, amateur radio may not be a perfect solution. But in a total (or even partial) collapse situation, what are your alternatives?
Ham radio depends on the knowledge and ingenuity of individuals. So it will pop back after a SHTF but many are dying off so how much how quickly is anyone's guess.

Cell phones killed 2m. 2m was the quick intro to what real ham radio is about. I never got there.
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Old 09-10-2019, 12:56 PM
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Ham radio depends on the knowledge and ingenuity of individuals. So it will pop back after a SHTF but many are dying off so how much how quickly is anyone's guess.
.
If there was a true extended shtf I would imagine existing ham radios would be put to use and I would also guess that people would start build spark gap transmitters and extremely simple am receivers. Obviously if too many people were using spark gaps it would become worthless but over time I would assume a set of rules would naturally develop around them that would allow them to be semi useful.

I could also imagine some sort of bush radio developing in places other than Alaska. Where there are only a few scattered transmitters but nearly every home has a receiver and messages are broadcast to everyone that are really intended for a single person, family or community.
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Old 09-10-2019, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hick Industries View Post
Ham radio is often used during emergencies, and it works most of the time.

Long range is usually on long wave HF (40 & 80m) and propogation is affected by the Earths magnetic field. These fields are affected by solar radiation and may be scambled by a solar flare, or terrorist EMP attack.

Regional coms are mostly NVIS.

Many HF radios are 12v and many Hams power their rigs with an AGM battery, hooked to a solar panel.

I fully expect Ham HF rigs will be used as receivers to pick up info on world wide events. These radio opperators will also pass info on NVIS nets.

Its possible that a EMP attack will damage the radio or solar panels, but I expect Ham radio will be the last piece of functional communication technology. They will work long after cell phones and internet devices turn to crap.



Lots of traffic today on 72835, Noontime Net, but I can usually check in. Net Control, today was in Longview, Washington. Very clear signal but relaying for most stations out there. Longview is about 250 air miles from my station.
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