Survivalist Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
N/A
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, so I'd like to get some feedback from some of you who are more knowledgeable than I am on handheld radios as backup comms. I've been trying to decide which ones to buy as a backup when cell phone communications fail... which they most certainly will almost immediately following a major event like 9/11.

Several brands advertise a decent range ("up to 35 miles", etc. but I'm not too sure how accurate those claims are) I'm most concerned with range. I live in a fairly densely populated area but I'm at sea level therefore I don't have the mountains to get in the way of transmissions. My goal is to be able to communicate with other family members in the event of an emergency even if only for a short period of time until I can rendezvous with them at a bug out location. Again, if you've had a good experience with a particular brand (i.e., range is good, durability is good, holds a charge for a substantial period of time, etc.) please let me know. I want to make sure that I spend the money wisely. Appreciate any assistance. I plan on making these a part of my survival kits that are kept in both of the family vehicles.

Cal
 

·
Survivalist & proud of it
Joined
·
219 Posts
Handheld? Good luck with 35 miles. VHF more or less follows the curvature of earth and generally like firing your rifle plows into the earth at some point. Handhelds are generally about 4 to 5 watt. I use for patrol communications only. UHF might go through buildings/obstacles better to a minimal extent.

With brother and I both with 40 ft towers with beams on 2 meters (voice) could make the trip (about 100 - 120 miles) on 60+ watts. Data comms, same thing on 20 watts. Just about all we could do in other words. NVIS someone will likely bring up is HF (high frequency) and actually a range of HF. Not to minimize those operators who actually use NVIS with regularity, but more will talk about it than have successfully repeatedly employed.
Try building a backpack rig with a mobile 60 watt or so radio and battery pack if you are serious about the distance. Put in something like a Pelican on a military pack frame. Yahoo has a group for this stuff. Look up the NVIS, which will give you something to work toward.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
I can talk from my office to my home roughly 30 miles away using a 2 meter handheld but that is only because the club I am in has several linked repeaters.

What Bulldog 6 said is accurate and if you get you ham ticket and then join a club allot of other options open up to you.

And another option would be to get a pair of sat phones Globalstar has voice plans for $20.00 a month now.
 

·
N/A
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Many thanks for the responses. I'll be certain to look into the info provided. Thanks again guys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Forget 35 miles with the typical frs/gmrs radios sold all over the place. The advertised range is under ideal conditions (IMO false altogether). You will be lucky to get a few miles if you are in a relatively open area. If you are in a city with tall buildings expect less a mile or two. This is for handheld to handheld. If you set up a base (legal with gmrs) you will be able to get greater distances provided you can put an antenna up high.

Ham handhelds will suffer the same problem unless you can access a repeater. (A repeater, if you are not aware, is basically a relay station. It picks up your transmission and retransmits it at a higher power. They are usually installed as high as possible and put out much higher power than a handheld. Repeaters are also legal with gmrs, though gmrs does require an inexpensive license.)

For the vehicles I would keep a decent CB with a good antenna in each. A good antenna is just as, if not more important, than the radio. If you buy the radio shack 14.99 antenna, do not expect great performance. You will get better performance with the CB than with a handheld without repeaters.

Then you can toss a gmrs in your bag to keep in the car. They're not terrible, you just need to keep their limitations in mind. Get a pair and drive around to get an idea of the coverage you can expect.

If you are willing to all get your amateur licenses, then the world of communications are open to you. From HF worldwide communications to satellite, data, higher power local, etc ...


For the regular Joe who don't want to get his amateur license, I would go with a good CB and antenna in the car and a good GMRS radio in the bag. Test both in the area you expect to use them to know their capabilities. I am in Brooklyn. If I get a mile from a gmrs radio it's good. Someone else on this board who lives in the desert (forgot the name) says he gets many miles, something like 10 or 12 if I remember correctly. His terrain is mostly flat where I am surrounded by buildings. Though, if I go on my roof I can talk many miles. It all depends.

It is hard to recommend a radio because there are so many out there. I have both Midland and Audiovox frs/gmrs radios. Both are OK. The Audiovox I found was little better, but it is also a higher end radio and cost about twice as much as the cheaper Midlands I have.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top