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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What does everyone have in the way of communications gear for TEOTWAWKI? I'm planning to buy a good CB radio, but once I started looking at them I realized there's a lot more involved than your typical "walkie talkies". I wouldn't mind getting my 2-meter license, just to have the option.

What's everyone's input for medium-to-long range communications?
 

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I'm a ham. I believe that ham radios will be the mainstay of post-SHTF communications. Accordingly, I have a couple 2-meter HTs, with NiCAD and AA battery packs. I also have an HF transceiver which is battery-capable as well as shore power. These are solid state, though, and susceptible to EMP. So I still maintain two HF "boat anchor" rigs which use vacuum tubes and discrete components, just in case.
 

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Iv used a CB radio some time ago for 10 years or so. They are only as good as the aerial you have. An outside aerial is a lot better, but more noticeable. It's easy enough to learn all the gargon once you start using it. If I can use one, then Im sure most people can.
 

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the road go's on forever
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Ham radios are good and so are police scanners.If you are going to get a scanner,get one that's mobile and have all the frequencies you may need and including to your BOL if you have one.Also if your going to "bug out" with a partner have 2 way radios if your taking seperate vehicles.Of course if the cituation warrants vehicles.Here's a website of interest.....http://www.scannermaster.com/aboutus.asp
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've been trying to work more with my company's comm guy to learn as much as I can about radios, stealing manuals out of his shop to read for a few days, sneaking them back in and dipping out with another. Unfortunately it doesn't seem like most of the military jargon matches up to the civilian stuff. No one seems to REALLY understand the systems all that well, sort of like there's some small group of people somewhere in the Marine Corps who actually get it, they disperse all of the programming and crypto keys and they just trickle their way down to the operators at the lowest level.

I was looking at Motorola XTS-2500/5000 handhelds, because they're what we use for intra-squad communication here. Ours are encrypted, but the only reference I can find to encryption "civilian side" is "trunking" which after spending a couple nights looking into that, I really don't understand at all, but it seems you need a relay tower of some sort and a base station, which we're definitely not using here.

I've tried to find a good book on CB, as it seems to be the "basic" level for radios (beyond FRS, which I'm fairly intimate with between backcountry treks, snowboarding, and hunting) and I'm disappointed to see that it seems like the majority of CB books are from the 70's and either out of print or "temporarily" out of stock.
 

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For civilian communications in order of simplicity and cost lowest to highest would be FRS/GMRS, CB Radio then HAM Radio.

Those walkie-talkie FRS/GMRS radios are great and inexpensive but you must remember that anybody can listen in. The so-called "privacy codes" means nothing. It just allows you to not hear other people if you set your radios up to use a code. Range is limited to a couple miles in wooded areas to maybe 10+ miles in wide open terrain.

CB is better and longer range but you need to have a good antennas as was mentioned. They are easy to use too but not much available in the portable varieties and whis is available is not compact like the little FRS/GMRS radios.

Ham radio of course is the ideal means of communications btu cost ad license are an issue. To use 2 meter and 440 mhz I believe the license testing is pretty basic. I am not a ham.

Scanners while only for receiving are darn handy. Typical scanners can receive al forms of analog civilian communications - FRS, CB, Ham (2 meter and 440). But if you are thinking about a scanner to monitor the fire, police, etc then chances are very high that you will need a digital trunking scanner. The newer digital scanners are very complicated and expensive. A basic analog scanner would be good for monitoring most civilian comms though and inexpensive.
 

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Post SHTF,I'd concern myself more with just listening than transmitting. It would suck getting RDF'ed and getting kissed by a missile.
 

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Post SHTF,I'd concern myself more with just listening than transmitting. It would suck getting RDF'ed and getting kissed by a missile.
They key there is using very low power, like half a watt for short range commo. Anything with a big footprint is asking for trouble like you said. If you feel the need to talk coast to coast I wish you luck, if you do I would use a repeater or keep it mobile.
 

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i have been a ham for 20 years; before that a CB 'chickenbander' for about 7.
Comparing one to the other is like comparing apples to oranges...
both have their place.
CBs are more common. here in canada, no lisenses required anymore.
Hams have better range, clearer reception, and with autopatch repeaters you can make local phone calls for free. Lisence required tho. the test wasn't that hard either. no morse code required anymore either.
I currently have a kenwood 732a duel band mobile, with a larsen duel band antenna. Its an older radio(over 10 years), but it does its job well.

After going to ham, i never really looked back. However if i bought a CB tomorrow, id probably get a Cobra 75WX. i have limited mounting space under my dash!
http://cobra.com/products/mobile-cb...t-cb-radio-with-soundtracker-and-noaa-weather

for antenna, i would probably buy a 4' firestik. great antenna.

peace
al
 

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Veteran 11BC2/EOD
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I have posted this 3 times in 2 weeks

Buy these 3 Books- NOTHING ELSE

Ham Radio for Dummies
Arrl Ham Radio Licence manual- Tech class
Arrl Ham Radio Licence manual- General class

http://www.arrl.org/catalog/index.ph...tware+and+more...

Buy NOTHING ELSE or you will have wasted your money.

By the time you are through these 3 books, you will have no doubt about what you need and dont need. But for the sake of your sanity and wallet dont start buying gear yet.


Find an old Ham operator to talk too. They will save you. REALLY save you. You will try to reinvent the wheel, a good old dude will tell it aint gonna work and save your money. I recommend you listen. Take your exams and get your Gen class license.


Buy The BOOKS FIRST AND LEARN FIRST BEFORE ENGAGING CREDIT CARD.

Now, let me address the other fallacies in this thread

"They key there is using very low power, like half a watt for short range commo"

No, the key is knowing what antenna design to use so even if you are heard they cant DF your signal.

"they can't be scanned"

And a sales ad told you that too, didnt it? A digital trunking scanner, less than $200 if you know where to get it, a laptop to program the search feature and a narow scan of the entire band it operates on will allow me to hear everything you are saying on your "secure" radios. And a beam antenna and field meter tells me where you are as well. A local group of LE was worried about this same thing, took me about 10 mins to prove it was a non issue. Another bill of goods sold to replace knowlege.

If I got rid of my business ethic I could make a killing
 

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Eaton FR-160

Put my new Eaton FR-160 to good use this weekend with the tsunami since I live at about 3 feet elevation on a peninsula in Hawaii. Like others, I'm not interested in advertising my location by having transmit ability, but I have a little experience with direction finding. Most likely the only one I'll really want to talk to long distance in a crisis listens to prayer. But for tracking the automated weather system, picking up AM/FM, this Eaton model is great, and about the size of a soda can, with crank and solar charging.

For reference I had a Freeplay Summit and the battery pack crapped out on me soon after I got it, in a remote part of Africa. It would receive as long as I was cranking the handle, but even in Djibouti there wasn't enough sun for it to take a charge on solar.
 

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Iv used a CB radio some time ago for 10 years or so. They are only as good as the aerial you have. An outside aerial is a lot better, but more noticeable. It's easy enough to learn all the gargon once you start using it. If I can use one, then Im sure most people can.
An Aerial can be hiden by using a tall tree as your tower.
 

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I got my license years ago. By law, the classes are free so no reason not to get one. An FCC violation is my last concern if SHTF.
 

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paste eatin window licker
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so are u saying a ham radio cant be tracked?? ham isnt secure either and yes i am getting a ham ticket soon but realy now ham does not make you invinceable its still a radio
 

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so are u saying a ham radio cant be tracked?? ham isnt secure either and yes i am getting a ham ticket soon but realy now ham does not make you invinceable its still a radio
NEVER said it made you invincible, never even gave that impression. But well educated in the whats and hows combined with the right equipment will get you a lot farther than some wally world toys bought as an afterthought to the rest of your preps.


When you are studying for your General ticket pay attention to NVIS antennas.

400 yards from a DF Van, 100 watts and they heard me but no direction possible, because the signal came from above them. NVIS is known for some strange characteristics, one is being a PITA to DF. Knowledge will go farther than a box of equipment:D:
 

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To the surface!
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I moved from GMRS to the new frequency hopping digital walkie talkies. They do have a bit of a robotic tone to them, but there are no licenses, and they can't be scanned. So, if you want privacy, this is it. Motorolla makes one, but Trisquare has better prices.

Here is a link to the amazon site where the trisquares are sold: Amazon.com: TriSquare TSX300-2VP eXRS Digital 2-Way Radio (Pair), Charcoal Metallic/Black: Electronics
Interesting. I did not know that Spread Spectrum had made its way into consumer handhelds. That is promising.

However, this is somewhat untrue:

"Private and Secure Communications, no eavesdropping and cannot be scanned".

Sorry, but having had some experience with this professionally (my first job out of college was working with secure data comms and part of that was testing the ability to detect SS), it is possible to detect and even eavesdrop on SS comm transmissions. It is more difficult, but some are already doing it. Digital cell phones use some forms of Spread Spectrum and private work on eavesdropping has recently been published. Government capabilities in surveillance is usually ahead of private research.

Still, it is encouraging.
 

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What's everyone's input for medium-to-long range communications?
How far do you need to talk, and "who" are you going to be talking to? Do you want to have news from across the world, or do you have family members on the other side of town?

I have family members that live here in town, probably no more then 3 - 4 miles in a straight line. Some of those 9 mile hand held radios would probably work well for that situation, or even a CB radio.

My mom, dad and brother live 100 miles away. The only thing that would work in that situation work be a ham radio.

My 2 youngest children live about 200 miles away in Houston, Texas with their mother - my exwife. The only thing that would work there would be HAM. If I asked my ex-wife to setup a HAM radio, she would laugh.

My opinion, the best form of communications that you can have, is a written plan. And everyone have a copy of those plans. Regardless if you have a HAM radio or not, its not going to do any good if you can not contact friends and family members.

Anything within a 20 mile radius, a CB radio would probably work just fine.
Anything within a 5 mile radius, a good quality hand held radio would probably work just fine.
 
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