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Thread: Best survival radio communications systems....????

  1. #41

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    Hello, I started a thread called Personal Locater Beacons and someone kindly directed me here. We have a lake access, off grid cabin on a small lake in Canada about 30 miles from the nearest town. There are a few neighbors on the other side of the lake but only one we can see and those folks don't seem to be home much. We have a friend who lives on the other side of that house, behind a hill. There is usually someone home there and they would call SAR or come to our rescue. There are no roads on our side and no houses, either.

    I am looking for a way to call for SAR help in case of emergency. The local head paramedic suggested an iridium sat phone but that's overkill in terms of price as we are not at the cabin all that often. The new Fast Find 210 PLB is now cleared for Canada and costs under $300. We travel quite a bit so it could come in handy in other parts of the globe, too.

    Or would radio phones make sense for us? Would we have to put up an antenna for ourselves and one at the top of our friend's hill? There also is a road with fairly frequent trucks going by to the nearby gas and oil fields so they might also pick up a radio call. I don't know, it sounds iffy to me.


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    Homejoy - I would think that you want the most reliable device that is in your budget. Not knowing all of the logistics of the area, I'm not sure how the radio system would work - although I would seriously consider it. A radio system will give you the flexibility to accomplish more than just a rescue. Medical advice can be obtained, early warning of approaching storms, etc, etc. If however, your only concern is for medivac in an emergency it sounds as though you can accomplish that with the plb you are looking at.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hope View Post
    OK, price is not an issue, pretend it will be a gift. You wake up in the morning, and your computer is fried, the TV is fried, The phones are all fried, the AM and FM radio stations 600 miles away are broadcasting, but everything you would normally use for gathering information and communication is fried for a 600 mile radius.

    However you and your friends and family all have the very BEST radio receivers and also a two-way radios in lead containers inside steel boxes, and they work perfect. If price is no object, what is the best radio system, that does not require a special license to own or operate. (I don't know the answer, I am looking for "THE" answer)
    What are the conditions where most HAM and other radio communications would fail longterm ? And what can you do for that situation? Forget solar power as it's heavy rains and mostly cloudy.

    I read in some posts in this thread that repeaters are used for communicating longer than 20 miles or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SARKY View Post
    Just get a good shortwave radio transciever. In a scenario as you describe all bets are off for licenses.....you don't need one. If it were for normal everyday/no emergency use, you would need a license. Remember though, the antenna is the key to good transmission and reception. Most of the radios on the market are similar but there are different antenna set ups that you can use, that is where to do your research.
    Does that mean I can use a HAM radio without a license in emergencies? Be it any country or that's just for the U.S.?

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    Quote Originally Posted by UnknownWarrior View Post
    What are the conditions where most HAM and other radio communications would fail longterm ? And what can you do for that situation? Forget solar power as it's heavy rains and mostly cloudy.

    I read in some posts in this thread that repeaters are used for communicating longer than 20 miles or so.
    Depending on the type of equipment you buy A hand crank military surplus generator ( about $50-$75) will charge a hand held unit battery rather quickly as well as a 12v "car battery" Plus most batteries like a car battery will somewhat rebuild there own "charge" if the source of "draw" is removed between uses. As for com distane true a 2 meter radio usually is " line of sight" or up to about 15-20 miles without a repeater. Much more you have serious signal degredation and need to "hit" a repeater. BUT a 10 meter band HAM as well as some others are world wide without need of a repeater or sattelite. Although a 2 meter is fairly cheap. A 10 meter can cost $800.00 or more per unit.

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    I've been giving this some thought (which is hugely dangerous) and I've decided that a hand held CB might not be a bad thing to have along on a hike. If you don't have cell service you might still be able to use the CB. You can buy used ones pretty darned cheap. Might make some inexpensive insurance.

    Thoughts?

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    I've not used a hand held CB - no help here.
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    Looking at the specs on them, it seems like they should work. Carrying an external antennae if you're in a mountainous area might add to the range a bit.
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    CB Radio, Communications Radio, HAM Radio - what's the difference between them? Sorry I'm knowledgeless in this area. Do the license policies change country to country?
    Last edited by UnknownWarrior; 08-05-2009 at 08:48 AM.

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    Both CB and Ham radio are communications radios. That is, they are radios used for communications.

    CB or Citizen Band radios operate in the 27 Mgh or 11m band.

    Ham radios operate in the Medium Freq. range around 160 m while the High Frequency band is from 10m to 80m.

    In the U.S. the CB is unlicensed and short range (generally). Somewhere between 1 and 10 miles depending on terrain. However, depending on equipment and atmospheric conditions, CB can broadcast dozens or even hundreds of miles.

    Ham or Amateur, on the other hand, requires a license in the U.S. and can talk globally, depending on equipment.

    I don't know license requirements for other countries.

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    I bit the bullet and bought a handheld CB. I was torn between "one more thing to carry" and "one more way to get out of trouble". I guess I'll just have to try it and see if it works for me. I bought a Midland 75-822. It can be used as a handheld or converted to use as a mobile. Here's a picture of it in both configurations.

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    There are a number of reasons I went with this model.
    1. It received consistently good reviews
    2. It can be used as a mobile or a handheld
    3. It weighs .4 pounds
    4. It uses 6AA batteries as a handheld. Most handhelds use 9!
    5. It's very compact. 3.5 x 2.75 x 1.5
    6. It also incorporates an NOAA weather radio
    7. You can use a headset with it, which makes it quieter
    8. It was about half off MSRP at Amazon.com

    Time will tell if this becomes a regular pack member or something for the bob.
    Last edited by Rick; 08-06-2009 at 05:24 AM.

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    Rick. I have one myself.Works great.Get about 5-12 miles distance depending on the weather. The weather channels work great.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    I bit the bullet and bought a handheld CB. I was torn between "one more thing to carry" and "one more way to get out of trouble". I guess I'll just have to try it and see if it works for me. I bought a Midland 75-822. It can be used as a handheld or converted to use as a mobile. Here's a picture of it in both configurations.

    Guests can not see images in the messages. Please register in the forum.

    There are a number of reasons I went with this model.
    1. It received consistently good reviews
    2. It can be used as a mobile or a handheld
    3. It weighs .4 pounds
    4. It uses 6AA batteries as a handheld. Most handhelds use 9!
    5. It's very compact. 3.5 x 2.75 x 1.5
    6. It also incorporates an NOAA weather radio
    7. You can use a headset with it, which makes it quieter
    8. It was about half off MSRP at Amazon.com

    Time will tell if this becomes a regular pack member or something for the bob.
    Forgive my ignorance but which one is the mobile and which one is the radio?

    How heavy is it?

    Pls provide the amaZon link.

  15. #55
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    There is no ignorance here. The picture on the left in my original post is the hand held radio with a battery pack attached on the bottom of it. The picture on the right in the original post is the same radio with the battery pack removed and a vehicle adapter plugged into it. The vehicle adapter allows you to utilize vehicle power and an external antenna.

    Here is a picture showing the different components.

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    The device on the left is the vehicle adapter and slides onto the bottom of the radio, which is the second picture from the left. Above the radio is the rubber antenna for the hand held configuration. Here in the States we refer to that antenna as a "rubber duck" antenna because is it rubberized.

    The item below the radio is the battery pack and the item to the right is the AC power adapter that will let you charge the battery pack if you are using rechargeable batteries. I assume you can use the radio in your house using the AC power adapter but I won't know that for certain until I receive it. Some appliances won't let you use the device while the batteries are charging.

    Just the radio without the battery pack or the vehicle adapter weighs about .18 kilograms or .4 pounds.

    Finally, here is the link to the Amazon site.

    http://www.amazon.com/MIDLAND-75-822.../dp/B00000K2YR

    I also picked up an external antenna for the vehicle and the headset.

    I hope that helps!!
    Last edited by Rick; 08-06-2009 at 11:18 AM.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnknownWarrior View Post
    CB Radio, Communications Radio, HAM Radio - what's the difference between them? Sorry I'm knowledgeless in this area. Do the license policies change country to country?
    A basic run down on your questions first CB or citizens band radio operates on basic AM frequencies and an average range depending on terrain,weather,etc. can be as little as 1 mile up to 5-6 miles. However if you are on high ground with no obstructions such as a mountian top, and the signal "skip" is just right you COULD communicate up to several hundred miles however with a skip signal that type of range is extremely spotty at best. If you add a linear amp. Of say 250 watts or more, with a good antenna you expand your range of signal to up to 50-60 +. The CB radios perks are they are fairly cheap to start with less than $100 for a radio and antenna. Prices then can range up to a couple grand if you get fancy and load up the extra power (wattage). The down side is They are cheap, no license required and almost 75% of people have one or more, so the airwaves may be jammed with traffic and offer almost no privacy.

    Ham radio operates on several frequencies. Most common is the 2 meter band fairly cheap. less than $200 to start. They have a range of about 25 miles without a repeater.
    The next choice is 10 meter band fairly expensive, around $1000 per unit to start and up from there with a good 10 meter band radio and good antenna. You can possibly communicate world wide with dependable results.

    Unlike CB a HAM radio does require a license in the United States. I am not sure about any other countries. But I would say they require at least some type of license.

    I hope this helps you somewhat on the difference between them and the pros and cons of each
    Last edited by oldsoldier; 08-18-2009 at 07:31 PM.

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    old soldier since we're in the same neck of the woods where would be a good place to get a ham radio been getting ready to get my cert

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    Quote Originally Posted by mortars101 View Post
    old soldier since we're in the same neck of the woods where would be a good place to get a ham radio been getting ready to get my cert
    Hey Chris if this is advertising SORRY!!!
    If you get to Evansville there is a shop on Fulton avenue and Franklin st. Called the Ham station, I can P.M. you the phone # if you want. I bought my 2 meter ham there including the antenna for about $ 185.00. They also sell 10 meter equipment as well you can get new or used equipment, about anything to fit a budget.

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    It's not your shop - you're fine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashdive123 View Post
    It's not your shop - you're fine.
    Thanks Crash.... Oh I got the paracord today. if your offer still stands?

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