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Whether you decide to bug in or bug out when TSHTF how do you guys plan to keep in touch with the outside world? I have been thinking about getting a cb or shortwave radio as back up means of communication what do you guys think is it worth it???
 

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Amateur Radio is the way to go for both short and long haul comms. BUT, keep in mind it is a licensed station and is subject to orders from the FCC. When SHTF it is likely there will be an order that no licensed radios may transmit. Even Radio Stations will go dead unless they broadcast ONLY the feed from FEMA or the .gov what used to be the CONRAD line. Hence, FMRS, GMRS, CB, and etc, the unlicensed versions could be a better bet for short distance comms. Long haul comms still need the lower frequencies so Ham is going to be the leader there until the order comes.

One requirement for ALL licensed radio stations, be it ham or broadcast or the licensed classes of CB is that the main station must maintain a broadcast radio as a monitor to see that the airwaves are still in use.

Heres the kicker. Once the order is out then any station that transmitts can be instantly located from satellites. Oh yes something as small as a refrigerator light or even less can be located. Now this assumes anyone really wants to find you. I suspect at low power and being discreete you might slip through the cracks.

I think MOST of your info however, will come from listening not transmitting. There is no security in transmitting. It is plain language and anyone can listen in. However Morse code and a code book might be able to keep the info under wraps until you call attention to yourself.

EDIT IN: Yes, most of the new ham radios are processor controlled. I think nearly all but maybe 1 or 2 makes are transisterized (solid state) as well. there are a few Russian tube radios available and I think an outfit in Tennessee may still make a tube set. Once you are a licensed Ham with privelages in the General Class bands nothing says you can't build your own tube set. At the General Class level you will or should have the knowledge to do so with little effort.

Anyway, hope this sheds a bit of light or helps a bit with comms in a stressed environment.

Scotty
 

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There is always smoke signals:D: I have a cb and am studying for my Ham license
 

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One radio never mentioned are marine VHF. Base stations put out 25 watts and have a line of sight range of 25-40 miles. Hand helds put out 5-6 watts and can be set back to 1 watt for close in comms and to save batteries.
No licenses are required now , unless your using them in another country.
I have a marine radio opperators license, about 2 hours of study and I passed the FCC test.
Just a thought.......
 

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Alaskan: Why not pick up a cheap GMRS two way radio like a Midland XT511 (its got a hand crank option in case batteries are a problem). Im not sure how viable ham radios will be in a SHTF situation, I mean how far do you need to communicate? I say save the cash.
 

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That midland isn't going to be worth much past 1-2 miles... less than that in hilly terrain or the city. I couldn't find specs on the output wattage, but based on the power source, I doubt it's putting out much more than the handhelds. And the handhelds don't perform even close to the wildly-optimistic range specs they advertise.

Alaskan... I thought operation on the marine band was prohibited inland. Also, are you serious about being able to get 25-40 miles, over land, @ 25w without very tall directionals at both ends? I'm just looking into options myself, but your range estimates are quite a bit higher than what I've heard from some Hams concerning 2M VHF.
 

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BIgSal : I didn't run out and buy these on a whim. I was involved in the maritime business for years plus being a recreational boater.
My comm. system was bought and paid for years ago.
I picked up four GMRS hand held units a couple of years ago. Claimed to have a ten mile range, but have never gotten more than about 3 miles out of them.
Also have 2 CB/SSB radio's , both were tweeked up by an old radio tech friend, they can reach out about 75 miles without "skip".
Also have a short wave receiver with a linear ant. Listen to broadcasts from all over the world. If SHTF news will be very important.....Alaskan
 

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For that I suggest getting CB with SSB capability. For the are legally aloud to have 12 watts versus 4 watts in AM mode. Also get GOOD antennas I can't stress this enough for lousy antennas just hinder the range and effeciency of the transmitter.

After that I suggest getting a Ham licence that will allow you to use HF rigs with up to 1500 watts. Most rigs barefoot, have 100 watts which is plenty of power to work the world, nevermind 20 Miles. One can use the 6M (50-54 MHZ) band to communcate locally around the county or farther when skip rolls in.



Rifleman 336
 

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That midland isn't going to be worth much past 1-2 miles... less than that in hilly terrain or the city. I couldn't find specs on the output wattage, but based on the power source, I doubt it's putting out much more than the handhelds. And the handhelds don't perform even close to the wildly-optimistic range specs they advertise.

Alaskan... I thought operation on the marine band was prohibited inland. Also, are you serious about being able to get 25-40 miles, over land, @ 25w without very tall directionals at both ends? I'm just looking into options myself, but your range estimates are quite a bit higher than what I've heard from some Hams concerning 2M VHF.

I use my 5 watt all the time inland for work.Never had any problems,besdies I always know whats going on with the weather!:D:
 

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A CB is a good short rang radio system that is easy to operate, Inexpensive to purchase and they are hard to destroy they would be useful for using with in your own group for instance while scouting around locally. If you want to communicate out side the local area HF ham radio is the way to go there are also VHF and UHF ham bands that may be useful. If you are more looking to get informational broadcasts then Shortwave radio is useful short wave is also useful if you want to get new from other parts of the world. But remember if you are trying to pass along sensitive information or you have concerns that some one may be trying to locate you them you do not want to use any kind of transmitter.
That’s just my two cents
 

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At this time I hold a restricted radio telephone license, marine radio license and a GMDSS license.
When and if SHTF I wont have any problem getting on 2 meters,40 meters or what ever without having the proper license from the FCC hanging on my wall..
Just my thought.......
 

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This is may have been asked before, but whats to stop me if I use a ham radio without a license, is there a way they can track you down via your signal?
 

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This is may have been asked before, but whats to stop me if I use a ham radio without a license, is there a way they can track you down via your signal?
Sure is it's call Direction finding or DFing for short and tranmitter fingerprinting. DFing is done with a reciever and a very directional antenna, a antiuator ( a device that intensional lower the signal strength to the reciever) and today a lap top computer. Couple that with GPS mapping and trianglation ploting software, and they can make super short work on finding you. And being mobile doesn't help either.

The finger printing is done with a freeware program that allows the persons to take the incoming signal and anaiyses the signal wave form for it's individual charactristics thus tracable directly to you when located.

In the end the common Amatuer Radio operater now has tools that are on par with the FCC and it will result in you being HEAVLY fined and equipment confiscated. You really press your luck jail time is also possiable.

In the end get the ham license for it gives you alot of knowlage and you can practice with the equipment before SHTF so you know what your doing.
The test is very easy now for the test books have both the actual qestions and awnsers that will be on the test. If I can pass the test as dyslexic high school grad, anyone on this board can do it. This is no morse requirment either. The test at a local radio club are like $4- or 5 bucks I last checked.


Now as far as privacy is concerned one isn't allowed to use any codes or ciphers on the air on ANY radio service unless your a govermential agency or FCC athourized party and even then they must have a key or backdoor to let the FCC or other goverment agencies monitor that traffic. For instance their are two standards of scrambeling available to goverments, local goverments like police departments and local goverment agencies can scramble their transmissions by using a standard called Digital Voice Protection (DVP) which a weaker version of the Digital Encryption Standard (DES) used by the feds.

So if you had a corrupt police department using DVP scrambling on their radio system the goverment can in fact exploit a back door to monitor and record the transmisions for evidence.

Now with this being said how do you want to "hide" most people have scanners and short wave sets to listen to voice and CW (morse code). But a overwhelming majority don't have the ability to listen and to decode the digital modes. As far as hiding from the goverment any transmission can be found if their looking for you. If it's a catastrophic SHTF the goverment coming to round up evry one or civilisation is collapsing for no one to care then one can can feel free to us encyption for they are already coming for you ( just membership to this board is excuse enough I would guess) their won't be anyone around to care. But if you do it now it will result in unwanted attention.

As far as using Marine VHF on dry land all it takes is one complaint of interferance with a vessal "at sea" of a licensed land station and that more than they need to come after you. By doing it now without a complaint can still have them track you down and fine the hell out of you. Don't give them the excuse. I'm not saying not to have it, just don't miss use it and get in trouble. when then SHTF pretty much anything will go.

Just some things to ponder. If you have any questions please feel free to PM me.


Rifleman 336 N8UCN
 

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Linear amp on a cb to up the output & a good antenna is an alternative, just be careful as it is illegal to operate them at that wattage but it does work. Only works to up the output so if no one in the area has upped their output you can't hear them though.
 

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This is may have been asked before, but whats to stop me if I use a ham radio without a license, is there a way they can track you down via your signal?
As above there are ways you can get a bearing on a broadcasting station.
There are hams that do this for fun. Many people call it fox hunting or T hunting.

A weak transmitter is set up and hidden. The hunters try to find it first.
Sometimes there are prizes for the winner.
People that seriously get into this pay the money for a Doppler rig.
A doppler can get a bearing on you from just keying down the mike.

One of the most interesting fox hunts I have ever heard of no one found the fox. It was not hidden but was located is such a way that the signals were very confusing to locate. The guy that came up with it was a genius, literally. He put the fox station in downtown on the railroad tracks. The antenna was the railroad tracks. The signal bounced around so much that even the dopplers had issues. Sure they got bearings but depending on the bounce you would head off to get a cross bearing and catch bounce from a different location. No one ever found the fox in question.

Simple doppler
http://www.silcom.com/~pelican2/INTRO.html

More complicated doppler system
http://www.silcom.com/~pelican2/PicoDopp/PICODOPP.htm

Long story short if you are in a fixed location broadcasting on ham frequencies is a bad idea. It depends on how much of a problem you are.
The greater the level of annoyance the higher the odds of you being located and an FCC complaint filed.

To keep in topic with the OP radio is like any other tool use the right one for the job. There is no one radio for all situations.
If I need to keep in touch with 6 or 10 other people moving on foot in a rough group a cheaper low end hand held radio for everyone is the answer, even the FRS radios will work.
No issues with the FCC or things like that. They don't tell everyone in 50 miles what you are up to. And they are easy to replace if damaged or broken. Car to car is GMRS or MURS. Longer then that you will need a ham ticket. GMRS has the advantage of allowing repeaters making it ideal for a homestead. The repeater greatly extends the range of even hand held units.
A antenna mounted on a farm silo gives you incredible range with a good repeater and a good antenna set up. MURS works better then GMRS in wooded environments. Both allow you to use external antennas.
GMRS costs $80 (no test) for 5 years and covers your entire blood family. MURS is free.
Beyond 100 miles it is ham or cell phone.
CB can work for you but I personally don't care for it.
Right now it does good as the solar cycles are at a low point. You don't get interference or noise from stations that are bouncing off the atmosphere from the other side of the country.

The reason that so many peoples answer to anything radio related is a ham ticket is that all of the above is covered by a general ham ticket.
FRS,GMRS, and MURS is roughly the two meter ham radio band.
CB is roughly the 10 meter ham radio band.

Costs to equip for
FRS and GMRS/FRS $10 a person.
GMRS repeater capable $150 a person
GMRS repeaters can be had for $1000
I think CBs can be had for $60 to $100
MURS radios are coming down in price and should be available for about $150 each
Ham equipment starts at $25 for a do it yourself single band unit and goes to $10,000 for a tricked out base station.

Whether you decide to bug in or bug out when TSHTF how do you guys plan to keep in touch with the outside world? I have been thinking about getting a cb or shortwave radio as back up means of communication what do you guys think is it worth it???
My answer is GMRS with repeater around the homestead. From a car mounted unit I can get 30 miles from the repeater and still reach it.
The hand held units are capable of direct communications to another hand held or car mounted unit if I don't want to key up the repeater. Longer then that is 70 or 80 meter ham for long haul communications. With a short wave radio for listening world wide. I also went GMRS because unlike HAM the repeaters are allowed to be closed. Meaning that I don't have to allow anyone on my repeater.
The most important thing with anything other then the FRS or FRS/GMRS radios is that you use them now. So you are not trying to learn how when you really really need it.

FRS/GMRS radios
http://cgi.ebay.com/2-of-COBRA-PR3550wx-2-WAY-RADIOS-Vox-FRS-GMRS-weather_W0QQitemZ260334818220QQcmdZViewItemQQptZ2_Way_Radios_FRS?hash=item260334818220&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A2|65%3A1|39%3A1|240%3A1318

GMRS repeater cappible
http://nsiradio1.stores.yahoo.net/icic25444whh.html

MURS
http://mursradio.googlepages.com/mursalert2
 
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