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What type of 2-way radio system do you use?

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Survivalist Radio: Ham vs CB vs FRS vs GMRS vs MURS

Survivalist Radio: Ham vs CB vs FRS vs GMRS vs MURS

"What type of radio should I get for SHTF with the most communication range?"
"How far will that radio go?"


We see these questions being asked a lot on various forums, especially outdoors, prepper, or survivalist sites. It often leads to complex answers and heated discourse because so many factors influence the distance of survivalist radio communications.

The following charts show how many miles you can usually communicate over normal terrain in suburban or rural areas with different types of radios, power levels, antennas, and station configurations.

The graphs compare the most commonly available 2-way radios such as ham, CB, FRS, MURS, and GMRS. Some radio gear advertisements tout the maximum possible distance in perfect conditions, an often misleading specification that only technicians can achieve if they are both on mountain peaks or going through repeaters.

In the real world, people want to know the normal dependable average range of a radio. Here it is:



Symbols show average probability of communication. Red solid arrows with blue mileage indicates a 90% high probability of communicating at this distance. Dashed line with a red arrow shows 75% probability of dependable communication. A yellow dashed line shows 25% or less probability of communicating for this distance.



The above graph shows the distance range between two base stations using a basic antenna mounted on the roof of a suburban house with a height of about 20ft above ground level.

Communication distance can be greatly improved over this by advanced gain antenna systems or a high pole or a tower. This estimate is based upon radio-to-radio direct communications without the use of a repeater.



The above graph shows the distance range between a mobile vehicle with a basic vehicle antenna, communicating with a base station using a basic antenna mounted on the roof of a suburban house.

Communication distance can be greatly improved over this by advanced gain antenna systems or a high pole or a tower at the base station.

The distance can be adversely affected by interference from the vehicle engine; further distance can be achieved by parking on a hilltop or open area and shutting off the vehicle. This estimate is based upon radio-to-radio direct communications without the use of a repeater.



The above graph shows the distance range between two mobile vehicles with basic vehicle whip antennas.

Communication distance can be somewhat improved (25%to 50% further) over this on VHF and UHF by the use of a gain antenna.

The distance can be adversely affected by interference from the vehicle engine; further distance can be achieved by parking on a hilltop or open area and shutting off the vehicle. This estimate is based upon radio-to-radio direct communications without the use of a repeater.



The above graph shows the distance range between a pedestrian with a whip antenna and a mobile vehicle with a basic vehicle whip antenna.

HF backpack radios, HF packs, CB backpack radios, or manpack radios are compared with Handy Talkies, Walkie Talkie, or HT radios.

Communication distance can be somewhat improved (25%to 50% further) over this on VHF and UHF by the use of a gain antenna on the vehicle.

Distance on VHF will be somewhat less if a smal rubber ducky antenna is used on the pedestrian radio instead of a full size antenna. The use of a counterpoise radial wire on the pedestrian radio improves distance. This estimate is based upon radio-to-radio direct communications without the use of a repeater.



The above graph shows the distance range between two pedestrian radios with whip antennas.

Improved distance can be achieved by standing in an open area or on a hilltop. HF backpack radios, HF packs, CB backpack radios, or manpack radios are compared with Handy Talkies, Walkie Talkie, or HT radios.

Distance on VHF will be somewhat less if a small rubber ducky antenna is used instead of a full size antenna. The use of a counterpoise radial wire on the pedestrian radio improves distance. This estimate is based upon radio-to-radio direct communications without the use of a repeater.

Please post what distance you normally get with the radios you use. We are interested in your results.
 

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I'm sorry, but your crystal ball seems to be broken..

Any one dumb enough to believe what is posted on this page, has to have rocks in their head.

The range is NOT determined by the amount of power, just the antenna height, the antenna gain and the loss in the coax and the frequency - is still wrong!

Telling someone that their range is limited or not limited, by the use of a walkie talkie is correct, but not always true.

The range of even a simple hand held radio is determined by the height, gain, sensitivity and output power of the radio on the other end. Both radios has to do their job in order for one person to talk to the other.

Lets say you have a repeater in State College PA on Rattlesnake Mtn on 146.675 MHz and the tower is 150' tall and the transmitter has a 350 watt PA and its sensitivity is very good and they are using a station master antenna.

A person with a handheld radio, on top of any other mountain in the area - 50 to 65 miles away is going to hit it, regardless of if you are using the rubber duck in a clearing, or a external roof mag mount antenna on a vehicle, or a Diamond V2000 above the roof of your house.

As long as you are in a FREE SPACE - a place where nothing blocks or asorbes your signal that is being radiated..

The same is true for HF communications.

The range is determined by the height of the antenna, the gain of the antenna, the frequency being used.

300 miles is nothing on 40 meters.

3000 miles - (when the band is open), is nothing on 10 meters - even just with 5 watts SSB.

Global communications is possible with as little as 15 watts on PSK 31 or Olivia, or RTTY with 100 watts on the right frequency might get you 12,000 miles.

At the same time, HF radio really cannot do anything that UHF and VHF already does when it comes to local communications.
All Communications Is Line Of Sight!

It does not matter if it is 10 meters or 40 meters, if you cannot hear the person on the other end because there is a mountain between the transmit and receive antenna - changing frequencies is not going to help.

Using a NVIS antenna might help on 80 meters, but not VHF or UHF!
 

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Yesterday I was monitoring the VHF when I heard a guy talking on 146.565 Mhz - simplex.

The voice was not familiar and he was not talking like a HAM, so I asked him to identify his station.

The person replied - not to bother him right now, because he was on a hang glider 40 air miles away.

His radio was a cheap Beofeng walkie talkie and he was running 1 watt...

His perceived signal level was 20 - 30 / S9 at my station.

I came to find out that the person he was communicating with was in a mobile, chasing him around. They were trying to see how far he could fly, riding the thermals. He started out in Seven Springs PA - about 40 miles below Pittsburgh and he flew north the whole way to Templeton PA - about 40 miles north of Pittsburgh.

The problem was - the person he was talking to was not a licensed ham, hence neither person was using call signs. And, a licensed ham is not allowed to communicate with anyone that is not licensed on amateur radio frequencies.

I am 65 miles north of Pittsburgh - and I could hear everything that was going on.

It would not have mattered one iota if they had done it on GMRS simplex, or on MURS, or on FRS - their range still would have been about the same for the person on the hang glider. Just that the mobile would have only talked about 4 miles with a handheld 1 watt FRS / GMRS radio, and once the hang glider went over the horizon - he would have probably lost contact with the person in the hang glider - because the mobile's signal probably wouldn't have penetrated the canopy of the trees in the woods while driving down the road.

That was exactly what they did ( went to GMRS) once they were warned by the O&O - that what they were doing was in fact illegal.
 

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Wasn't Me...
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The range is NOT determined by the amount of power, just the antenna height, the antenna gain and the loss in the coax and the frequency - is still wrong!
Not to contradict you.. but in real world testing I have been doing since December with my GMRS (licensed) setup..

The antenna TIP is at 41' on my house chimney.. The antenna.. the $20 Tram Browning BR-450 5/8 5/8 with 5dbd gain..

With a 4w (GP350) handheld hooked to the same cheapy Tram 1170 mag mount 5/8 antenna (4.5dbd supposedly) in my car I was getting just 3 miles.. when I kicked it up to 23watts with the KW 805D installed in the car I got out to almost 7 miles..

So I think wattage does play a role in things.. just a little..

Now being I put a different (only 3dbd gain) antenna on my truck roof (which is 2 1/2 feet higher than the prior car trunk) with better coax and shorter 12' length of RFC240.. hooked to the KW 805D (23w).. yesterday I got to 11 1/2 miles with it..
 

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Not to contradict you.. but in real world testing I have been doing since December with my GMRS (licensed) setup..

The antenna TIP is at 41' on my house chimney.. The antenna.. the $20 Tram Browning BR-450 5/8 / 5/8 with 5dbd gain..

Is the gain relative to a dipole antenna or relative to a isotropic DBI or DBD - you are saying DBD. When using a link budget calculator, you not only have to take into account the gain of the antenna, but also the loss of the coax. Which kind of coax and what length of coax and what kind of connectors on the coax - do you have. There is a BIG difference at 450 MHz between LMR 400, Belden 9913 and RG8U.

With a 4w (GP350) handheld hooked to the same cheapy Tram 1170 mag mount 5/8 antenna (4.5dbd supposedly) in my car, I was getting just 3 miles..
When I kicked it up to 23watts with the (KW 805D) installed in the car, I got out to almost 7 miles..

So I think wattage does play a role in things.. just a little..

What is the SWR of the antenna when it is hooked to the 4 watt hand held radio vs the swr of the KW 895?

When you increase the power - ( watts) you also increase the voltage!
At the same time, the hand held radio is designed to be used only with the rubber duck antenna it came with. The rubber duck antenna's feed line has no loss - because it has no feed line, and the connector / adapter for the coax also includes loss.
The walkie talkie, when ever it see's anything other then the rubber duck's 1:1 - folds back the transmit power to protect it's finals, because it's finals are much more delicate then the 23 watt K 805!


Now being I put a different (only 3dbd gain) antenna on my truck roof (which is 2 1/2 feet higher than the prior car trunk) with better coax and shorter 12' length of RFC240.. hooked to the KW 805D (23w).. yesterday I got to 11 1/2 miles with it..
Now you have two strikes against you.

First - anytime you do a antenna comparison, or a field survey, you must do it side by side and you must do it within a hour of each other.
The time of day, the day of the month and month of the year all plays a role in how far a signal will travel.

In the spring and summer - where I live, in the early morning, the ground is cold and the air is cold. As the sun comes up, the upper atmosphere is bombarded by ions produced by the sun. Meanwhile, the atmosphere heats faster then the earth. This creates a inversion layer in the upper atmosphere - kind of like a pipe which carries UHF and VHF signals many more miles then what it normally propagates.

In the evening, as the sun goes down, the ionized atmosphere - plasma - recombines, dissipates, and the atmosphere cools faster then the ground.
Another inversion layer occurs. And if you have a clear cloudless day / night, and ground fog, the signal will stay closer to the ground and will travel for many miles. Clear / cloudless days involves a high pressure weather system and anti cyclonic weather. When ever a low pressure boundary and a high pressure boundary meets - it produces wind! However - during the early morning and late evening - it will also drag a UHF / VHF signal many many miles in directions that it would not normally go.

By lunchtime this tropospheric ducting dissipates.
The same is true with evening tropo - by mid night - it usually disappears.

The reception is also dependent upon the ground conductivity directly under the antenna. Poor soil causes poor propagation, while moist, damp soil will cause a signal to travel further. ( we cannot control the type of ground underneath the vehicle as we drive down the road, it constantly changes - hence the perceived SWR of the antenna also changes..) There is no one tune of a mobile antenna that will always give us a 1:1 SWR because the environment is always changing as is the things around the antenna...

With reception - even where you have the antenna mounted on the house, where the antenna is mounted, plays a great role in how far the antenna will receive.

We don't normally put antenna's on the chimney for multiple reasons.

First - because it isn't always the best place to put a antenna.
Yes it is convenient, but not always the place that gives the best reception.

Second - if the chimney is in use - the smoke and moisture coming out of the chimney will cause issues with the antenna, it's life, and its performance.

In real world communications, you would only be dealing with point to point.
Both the transmit and the receive antenna would be stationary and the position on the roof would be determined by walking the antenna across the roof to find the point of where the signal refracts over the horizon best, and that is where we would mount the antenna.

We have done this with television antenna's for 50 years.

If you talk 4 miles - clear line of sight with the 4 watt radio and you go 10 miles away and have clear line of sight - you should still have good reception.
If you do not have clear line of sight - then you usually won't have good reception unless the signal has something that it can bounce off of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Extending range with gain antennas

Not to contradict you.. but in real world testing I have been doing since December with my GMRS (licensed) setup.. The antenna TIP is at 41' on my house chimney.. The antenna.. the $20 Tram Browning BR-450 5/8 5/8 with 5dbd gain.. With a 4w (GP350) handheld hooked to the same cheapy Tram 1170 mag mount 5/8 antenna (4.5dbd supposedly) in my car I was getting just 3 miles.. when I kicked it up to 23watts with the KW 805D installed in the car I got out to almost 7 miles.. So I think wattage does play a role in things.. just a little..
Hi YWHIC,

Great to see you have good distance range with your GMRS radio setup. Your high base station pole with gain antennas at the base and mobiles are the best way to improve range of a GMRS system. It shows what you can do to really extend the usefulness of GMRS to a wider area. The fact that your GMRS long range system can also be used to talk to FRS radios is a big advantage for your SHTF comms.

The charts in the article are good for a graphic comparison of what kind of range most people will normally see with various radios. It isn't overly optimistic or pessimistic. It is more of a realist estimate.

The footnotes in the article are interesting to read also, YWHIC. Here's the footnote for Base-to-Vehicle, which really is proven by your 7 mile GMRS example:

"..graph shows the distance range between a mobile vehicle with a basic vehicle antenna, communicating with a base station using a basic antenna mounted on the roof of a suburban house. Communication distance can be greatly improved over this by advanced gain antenna systems or a high pole or a tower at the base station. "

 

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Wasn't Me...
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Now you have two strikes against you.

First - anytime you do a antenna comparison, or a field survey, you must do it side by side and you must do it within a hour of each other.
The time of day, the day of the month and month of the year all plays a role in how far a signal will travel.
#1 I drove the car with the Mot 350 on the way down the road.. and when the reception stopped I switched to the already installed KW 805D mobile and drove further by simply switching the antenna wire to the KW.. so TIME and weather were IDENTICAL.. :D: (And yes.. I read about the 0.4 loss of my BNC to PL259 adapter awhile back..)

#2 The chimney hasn't been used in YEARS.

#3 In TX and using the antenna on my high hill.. see these BIG irradiation loops.. That lets you get over some stuff.. ya know..

Heres a sample picture for ya..



Oh.. and #4.. I used the calculator that lets you choose the COAX and LENGTH to get the DB loss and then.. the DB gain calculator.. It was @ arrg.us (should ring a bell with ya..) :taped:

Other things I read online are every about 6' of antenna height will get you like 2 1/2 miles with UHF.. so within reason I should be at 14 miles if within LOS from antenna to antenna..

Here is 6 miles going toward work in NJ.. see the valleys.. not very good for LOS..



I did get a nice and clear 9.5 miles today going North (as above) with the mobile to the house.. so I am happy with that.. based on what I spent thus far..

This is 9.1 miles going South on the same road.. much less drop and hills.. clearer LOS..

 

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I'm sorry, but your crystal ball seems to be broken..

Any one dumb enough to believe what is posted on this page, has to have rocks in their head.

The range is NOT determined by the amount of power, just the antenna height, the antenna gain and the loss in the coax and the frequency - is still wrong!

Telling someone that their range is limited or not limited, by the use of a walkie talkie is correct, but not always true.

The range of even a simple hand held radio is determined by the height, gain, sensitivity and output power of the radio on the other end. Both radios has to do their job in order for one person to talk to the other.

Lets say you have a repeater in State College PA on Rattlesnake Mtn on 146.675 MHz and the tower is 150' tall and the transmitter has a 350 watt PA and its sensitivity is very good and they are using a station master antenna.

A person with a handheld radio, on top of any other mountain in the area - 50 to 65 miles away is going to hit it, regardless of if you are using the rubber duck in a clearing, or a external roof mag mount antenna on a vehicle, or a Diamond V2000 above the roof of your house.

As long as you are in a FREE SPACE - a place where nothing blocks or asorbes your signal that is being radiated..

The same is true for HF communications.

The range is determined by the height of the antenna, the gain of the antenna, the frequency being used.

300 miles is nothing on 40 meters.

3000 miles - (when the band is open), is nothing on 10 meters - even just with 5 watts SSB.

Global communications is possible with as little as 15 watts on PSK 31 or Olivia, or RTTY with 100 watts on the right frequency might get you 12,000 miles.

At the same time, HF radio really cannot do anything that UHF and VHF already does when it comes to local communications.
All Communications Is Line Of Sight!

It does not matter if it is 10 meters or 40 meters, if you cannot hear the person on the other end because there is a mountain between the transmit and receive antenna - changing frequencies is not going to help.

Using a NVIS antenna might help on 80 meters, but not VHF or UHF!
umm well antenna has maybe 50% of how far it travels, there is also height, wether conditions, grounding, radio swr tune, line of site issues or lack their of, there cannot be an accurate measure unless you had an open plane for many miles and all the conditions the same which is near impossible.
 

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See you in my Scope
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I'm sorry, but your crystal ball seems to be broken..

Any one dumb enough to believe what is posted on this page, has to have rocks in their head.

The range is NOT determined by the amount of power, just the antenna height, the antenna gain and the loss in the coax and the frequency - is still wrong!

Telling someone that their range is limited or not limited, by the use of a walkie talkie is correct, but not always true.

The range of even a simple hand held radio is determined by the height, gain, sensitivity and output power of the radio on the other end. Both radios has to do their job in order for one person to talk to the other.

Lets say you have a repeater in State College PA on Rattlesnake Mtn on 146.675 MHz and the tower is 150' tall and the transmitter has a 350 watt PA and its sensitivity is very good and they are using a station master antenna.

A person with a handheld radio, on top of any other mountain in the area - 50 to 65 miles away is going to hit it, regardless of if you are using the rubber duck in a clearing, or a external roof mag mount antenna on a vehicle, or a Diamond V2000 above the roof of your house.

As long as you are in a FREE SPACE - a place where nothing blocks or asorbes your signal that is being radiated..

The same is true for HF communications.

The range is determined by the height of the antenna, the gain of the antenna, the frequency being used.

300 miles is nothing on 40 meters.

3000 miles - (when the band is open), is nothing on 10 meters - even just with 5 watts SSB.

Global communications is possible with as little as 15 watts on PSK 31 or Olivia, or RTTY with 100 watts on the right frequency might get you 12,000 miles.

At the same time, HF radio really cannot do anything that UHF and VHF already does when it comes to local communications.
All Communications Is Line Of Sight!

It does not matter if it is 10 meters or 40 meters, if you cannot hear the person on the other end because there is a mountain between the transmit and receive antenna - changing frequencies is not going to help.

Using a NVIS antenna might help on 80 meters, but not VHF or UHF!
True true true!!

I have worked the International Space Station on 4 watts at over 1200 miles away.
 

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See you in my Scope
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My repeater setup was hitting at 51 miles with 4 watts at both ends and it was full quieting. This thread is convoluted. You can't make broad radio claims like this. Propagation conditions, sunspots, LOS, and so many other factors play a huge factor in commo.

Yesterday at 2200 hours I spoke to a Mobile ham in Maine on 100w on 20m (he was 40w on a car mounted verticle) but the guy with a 1000w beam in Phoenix just 200 miles away was barely readable.

Especially comparing HF to VHF and UHF. It's like comparing bicycles and motorcycles. Just because they both have 2 wheels doesn't mean they operate the same.

Then there is the argument of practicality and usage. You wouldn't pack an HF for local Comms just like you wouldn't grab an HT to talk across the country. This needs to be broken down to categories and then analyzed based on practical uses and scenarios.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Direct land comms

I have worked the International Space Station on 4 watts at over 1200 miles away.
Hi ComancheSniper,

Yes, as you point out, it is possible to communicate much further with satellites and space stations!

But, I think the main purpose of the article and graphs was more about what you can depend on 24/7/365 with a normal radio setup and under worst case conditions when SHTF. It seems very realistic about land communications on average terrain, with normal setups.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
My repeater setup was hitting at 51 miles with 4 watts at both ends and it was full quieting.
Hi ComancheSniper,

Yes, repeaters, and especially high level repeaters, will extend the range a lot.

But how far can you usually talk on a day-to-day basis, "direct" between those 2 radios without the repeater?
 

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The problem was - the person he was talking to was not a licensed ham, hence neither person was using call signs. And, a licensed ham is not allowed to communicate with anyone that is not licensed on amateur radio frequencies
Not always true. If someone is acting as the control operator of a station a nonlicensed person can Communicate from that station. Not that he had a control operator with him in the glider....lol
 

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Charts and numbers are handy for initially setting up a station, but as the great man said. "No plan survives first contact with the enemy."

Crunching the numbers will only get you so far. Establishing a station to the best of your ability and then real world testing is the only reliable answer to your needs.

When TSHTF, what is happening 200 miles away, isn't going to be your major concern. If you have time to fiddle with the knobs on your you beaut ham radio, you aren't in that much trouble.
H/T's of the cheap and disposable chinese variety, will get you all the local information and contact you need in the majority of cases.

Comms, are an adjunct to a practiced plan of action for RV/bug out, not a replacement for planning and prepping.

What happens over the horizon is out of your immediate sphere of influence.
Practice the means necessary to get your people within range of your or each others H/T comms and closer to your or their ability to provide meaningful and practical aid beyond second guessing their needs 10/20/30 miles away.

When you are RV'd or back to the BOL/BIL, then you can spend some luxury time fiddling the knobs on your shiny IC-7800 for a broader picture.
 

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#1 I drove the car with the Mot 350 on the way down the road.. and when the reception stopped I switched to the already installed KW 805D mobile and drove further by simply switching the antenna wire to the KW.. so TIME and weather were IDENTICAL.. :D: (And yes.. I read about the 0.4 loss of my BNC to PL259 adapter awhile back..)

#2 The chimney hasn't been used in YEARS.

#3 In TX and using the antenna on my high hill.. see these BIG irradiation loops.. That lets you get over some stuff.. ya know..

Heres a sample picture for ya..



Oh.. and #4.. I used the calculator that lets you choose the COAX and LENGTH to get the DB loss and then.. the DB gain calculator.. It was @ arrg.us (should ring a bell with ya..) :taped:

Other things I read online are every about 6' of antenna height will get you like 2 1/2 miles with UHF.. so within reason I should be at 14 miles if within LOS from antenna to antenna..

Here is 6 miles going toward work in NJ.. see the valleys.. not very good for LOS..



I did get a nice and clear 9.5 miles today going North (as above) with the mobile to the house.. so I am happy with that.. based on what I spent thus far..

This is 9.1 miles going South on the same road.. much less drop and hills.. clearer LOS..

Ya gotta remember, you deal with rambone, you're dealing with the EXPERT. Dont try to argue with him....he's a winner in his mind every time. Not to mention, obnoxious, delirious, rude and a straight up jackass.
 

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are those ham radios really that much better than ssb cb?

should i get a ham?
Actually, yes. On both counts.

One of the reasons why a ham radio license has such extreme value over ssb cb is that, with it, you have an incredible amount of frequency variety.

We've made things such that by passing two simple (we publish all the questions and ALL the answers) tests, you get the (free) use of millions and millions of frequencies all up and down the radio spectrum.

That's important to this discussion because of what I think of as the 'reliability factor'. With SSB CB (and i have two that I loan out to newcomers) I can't reliably contact any one station, no matter the distance. Occasionally, maybe. Reliably, almost never.

With HF ham radios, if I can't get my message traffic from point A to point B on a given band, I simply connect to point B on a different frequency band, on frequencies that are pre-published and known to be in use (by point B) on a 365/24/7 basis.

Plus, by using the existing digital networks on ham HF, I can be assured that neither the media nor the nosy neighbors can determine what I'm saying.

Best 73

Luck Hurder, WA4STO
http://www.qrz.com/db/wa4sto
 

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Actually, yes. On both counts.

One of the reasons why a ham radio license has such extreme value over ssb cb is that, with it, you have an incredible amount of frequency variety.

We've made things such that by passing two simple (we publish all the questions and ALL the answers) tests, you get the (free) use of millions and millions of frequencies all up and down the radio spectrum.

That's important to this discussion because of what I think of as the 'reliability factor'. With SSB CB (and i have two that I loan out to newcomers) I can't reliably contact any one station, no matter the distance. Occasionally, maybe. Reliably, almost never.

With HF ham radios, if I can't get my message traffic from point A to point B on a given band, I simply connect to point B on a different frequency band, on frequencies that are pre-published and known to be in use (by point B) on a 365/24/7 basis.

Plus, by using the existing digital networks on ham HF, I can be assured that neither the media nor the nosy neighbors can determine what I'm saying.

Best 73

Luck Hurder, WA4STO
http://www.qrz.com/db/wa4sto
I think you might have the right idea, but you are going about it all wrong.

There isn't millions of possible frequencies.

Amateur Radio was never designed to be used as personal communications.
If a person does not learn and does not experiment, no class of license is going to make them a real ham.
If you wait until a emergency to participate - you will find that you won't know anything and you won't know how to do anything and you won;t be of any use to anyone except yourself.

And a General Class License is not a stopping place - more of a starting place. You have to be willing to actively participate in amateur radio in order for it to work.

The VE's that gave you your license exam are not paid, that is why they are called volunteer examiners. With out a pool of active VE's, eventually the pool will dry up and you won't have amateurs anymore.

The open recruitment of everybody and anybody - isn't the real way to go about recruiting new hams and although there is over 700,000 license holders, the number of actual hams on the air has not increased.

Many of those people has a license but no radio, or the only radio they have is a walkie talkie, and walkie talkies do not talk anywhere.

Since almost 60% of the license holders only has a Technician class license, the only HF that they can do is 10 meters - from 28.300 to 28.500 USB phone. They can't even do 29 MHz - the repeater frequencies.

And , when the bands is not open, about the only place left to go is higher in frequency, such as 2 meters or 70 cm FM,

Then you are limited to the antenna and the radio you own.
Unless you own a beam antenna, and live at the top of a hill, higher then all the other hills around your town, you aren't going to talk very far.
Maybe 50 miles on a good day.

CB radio was designed for local communications.
You don't need a license or any intelligence to use it.
Buy a radio, put up a antenna and talk.
 

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My repeater setup was hitting at 51 miles with 4 watts at both ends and it was full quieting. This thread is convoluted. You can't make broad radio claims like this. Propagation conditions, sunspots, LOS, and so many other factors play a huge factor in commo.

Yesterday at 2200 hours I spoke to a Mobile ham in Maine on 100w on 20m (he was 40w on a car mounted vertical) but the guy with a 1000w beam in Phoenix just 200 miles away was barely readable.

Especially comparing HF to VHF and UHF. It's like comparing bicycles and motorcycles. Just because they both have 2 wheels doesn't mean they operate the same.

Then there is the argument of practicality and usage. You wouldn't pack an HF for local Comms just like you wouldn't grab an HT to talk across the country. This needs to be broken down to categories and then analyzed based on practical uses and scenarios.
Amateur Radio we don't use Zulu time, we use UTC - are you saying at 22:00 hours UTC

The guy with the beam antenna 200 miles away was too close.
If you were a real ham - you would know that.

Depending upon the height of the layer that your signal bounced off of, determines the range - how far the signal will propagate.
Normal hops are 500 , 1000, 1500 - multiples of 500 miles and 3000 miles.

This is what makes it possible for me to talk to people in California and Washington State, yet difficult to talk to someone in Ohio or West Virginia from Pennsylvania on 10 meters..

All bands acts a little different.

40 meters talks both locally and distant , while 20 meters needs a certain amount of separation between the antenna's, and 10 meters will pretty much talk which ever direction the signal propagates at the time - or no where at all when the band is closed.

For local comm's in a emergency situation - you would most definitely pack a HF radio, because most NBEMS work should be done on 80 meters.
If you were a active ham, you would probably hear your districts phone and traffic net in the evenings.
If you participated in the phone and traffic net, then you would learn how to take traffic in official ARRL format and be able to send it the same way.

Olivia is the preferred method of sending digital information, and it will work at or even below the signal noise floor.
 

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CB radio was designed for local communications.
You don't need a license or any intelligence to use it.
Buy a radio, put up a antenna and talk.


not really true, if you just set up an antenna and talk you will probably burn your radio up pretty quick, you aren't accounting for setting up the antenna for a proper groundplane, setting swr, and proper grounding, cb is just like any other ham radio out there as far as setup, and intelligence is neither here nor there since most hams start out on cb...
 
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