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#46955 - 08/19/05 03:47 AM Amateur Radio for Survival?
amper Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/02
Posts: 165
Loc: NJ/Philadelphia
Well, I just passed my Technician Class license exam tonight. I wanted to prepare a little bit more, but I found out the nearest testing group gives the exams on the third Thursday of each month and I didn't want to wait another whole month to take the test. I only got one wrong!

The VE's were so impressed, they asked me if I wanted to take the General Class exam the same day, but I declined because I think I really need to bone up on antenna theory and some of the other subjects that seem to come up in that question pool.

Anyway, I don't actually own a radio yet, and I don't even know any other operators. I'm going to go to the local club meeting (SJRA) next week, but I was wondering if any ETS members out there have any opinions on mobile/portable HA transceivers for wilderness use. I plan on using my radio (when I get it) mostly for vehicle mounted usage, so I'm not too concerned about a hand-held radio right now, but I'd be interested in opinions of hand-helds, as well. So far, the Yaesu 817 and 857 units look really nice, if a bit pricey.

Next week, I should get my call sign. It feels pretty cool to have a "real" radio license in addition to my GMRS license!

Also, are there are any reasons why a handheld amateur set would be a better choice for survival than a GMRS radio?
_________________________
Michael Amper, HV-K2TIV & ZA-WPWN327

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#46956 - 08/19/05 04:04 AM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
leemann Offline
Soylent Green
Addict

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 614
Loc: At the soylent green plant.
Hello and greetings.

the 817 you speek of only puts out max 5 watts and you need a general or extra class license to use HF. The 857 needs a big battery I think it draws 20 amps on transmit. Any how congrats on getting your license get a mobile radio. Go to eham.net and look at the reviews and find one that suits you you'll also need coax and antenna get a dual band rig.

73's
Lee
AC7KT
_________________________
It's the year 2022...People are still the same
They'll do anything to get what they need.
And they need Soylent Green.
http://datacore.sciflicks.com/soylent_green/sounds/soylent_green_people.wav
RIP OBG

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#46957 - 08/19/05 04:09 AM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
amper Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/02
Posts: 165
Loc: NJ/Philadelphia
Well, I know I can't use the HF bands on those radios, but I figure I'm going to upgrade my license anyway, so I'm not limiting myself just to radios that operate only on the VHF and UHF bands.
_________________________
Michael Amper, HV-K2TIV & ZA-WPWN327

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#46958 - 08/19/05 04:33 AM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
leemann Offline
Soylent Green
Addict

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 614
Loc: At the soylent green plant.
Icom 706 series yeasu ft 897 also are good radios and do upgrade you get more bands to play with code is 5 wpm easy to do with practice.

Lee
_________________________
It's the year 2022...People are still the same
They'll do anything to get what they need.
And they need Soylent Green.
http://datacore.sciflicks.com/soylent_green/sounds/soylent_green_people.wav
RIP OBG

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#46959 - 08/19/05 05:18 AM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
aardwolfe Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 923
Loc: St. John's, Newfoundland
I think the ability to jury-rig an antenna or repair a broken radio might have more value than the Ham license itself in some survival situations, especially an aircraft crash.

In many small aircraft crashes, the radio will remain serviceable although the antenna is destroyed; being able to rig an improvised antenna or replace a "rubber ducky" antenna with a larger one, could mean the difference between being found and remaining lost forever.

In fact, even the ability to trouble-shoot and operate a radio could be invaluable; I once read about a case where the pilot, despite a debilitating spinal injury, had to get up and show the passengers how to operate the aircraft radio.
_________________________
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."
-Plutarch

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#46960 - 08/19/05 05:26 AM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
Schwert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 905
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Congratulations.

I only have HT's but want to add a mobile to the truck. I went with the HT's due to the volunteer groups I work with, but a mobile station has a ton of advantages. I have a 50w amp and antenna on the truck but still a mobile radio would be much better.

As to GMRS vs Ham...I think that is all dependent on your location and who is active or may be active in an emergency. I know my groups here have plans and contingencies for Ham bands but do not operate in GMRS frequencies. These are very local decisions so your best bet it working with your local RACES or ARES groups.

Have fun...it is a dying art.

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#46961 - 08/19/05 06:13 AM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4018
Loc: Anchorage AK
Here's the link:

http://www.icomamerica.com/products/amateur/706mkiig/

This is, IMO, the radio to have now. It works as both a superb mobile and base. You get this, you will be busy for years. Handhelds are a compromise. Unless you run one of the low power portable HF rigs, I don't see much advantage in using a ham band handheld over FRS/GMRS, except your use will be a little more exclusive.

I was a ham a long time ago. I gave it up. I got disgusted with the politics and the hamhogs that thought they were the boss of the realm. Besides, I got my GRT and had a job and a business fixing and operating radio equipment for a living. What I discovered is that, until the govt comes up with a system that allows a person to carry a handheld device that they can use to signal distress and be located by, having remote communications capability is little more than a convenience. Of course, now that we have an EPIRB system on line, I guess that packing a handheld radio, vis a vis a PLB, is actually worthwhile.

If I were going to pack a radio with me for survival purposes other than that, I would take a 4 or 5 watt HF rig tuned to 7.15 Mhz capable of CW and a little pushbutton keyer. String up an antenna, and start keying. They will eventually hear you, and find you. Why they decided they had to go to UHF for EPIRB, I don't understand. We had no trouble targeting low power hf transmitters back in the early 80s when I was in the Navy from 3600 miles or more. We could DF them in less than 5 seconds after acquiring their signal, and fix them within a 2 mile radius with two other DF bearings from other platforms. If you know where to look frequency wise, you could go even quicker. We still have all that gear and technology sitting around, why they had to go to UHF beats me. I guess they had to justify their budget somehow.

Anyways, get the Icom radio, believe me it is a cheap price to pay for all that capability, and enjoy. Maybe someday when I am sitting around and have absolutely nothing to do, I might get back into radio as a hobby.

BTW, if you really want to do the amateur radio thing right, you will try and build your own radio(s) from scratch. That is what the license was all about when it was started. Somehow this became an industry, and it really took a lot of the challenge and satisfaction out of it. Now most hams are just glorified operators, not real technicians. So sad.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#46962 - 08/19/05 12:17 PM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
KG2V Offline

Veteran

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
Congrats, and welcome to Amateur Radio - My user name here is my old call sign - currently KG2V

You should have taken the test - hey, doesn't cost anything, and you would have learned what the General test is like

Rig for the car/truck. All depends on your budget. I've never really been thrilled with the "all in one, DC to daylight" HF/VHF rigs. Some (706MkIIG) are quite nice in HF (and I understand the new Icom is even better - doesn't replace the 706, but). The thing is, they are all pretty poor on VHF/UHF and may require you to change things like Mic gain setiings when moving from HF to VHF/UHF

I don't have HF in the truck, but have a kit with HF in it. My AEC in Queens ARES has HF in the truck, but still has seperate VHF/UHF

Living in NYC (a VERY VERY intermod prone area) I'm not even thrilled with most dual band Mobile rigs. My truck currently has a Kenwood G707, but my old truck had a pair of GE Rangr 110 watt commercial rigs, and I'm looking for a UHF Orion to go with my VHF, and then the new truck will have commercial rigs too.

I'll give you 2 hints that one of my elmers gave me, when I was looking for my first rig (I wanted an HT first)

1)The broader the recieve bands, the more likely it is to be plagued by intermod
2)(and this has more to do with non HF rigs) Don't sweat your first rig too much. You will go through them like you would not believe. Once you get into the hobby, you will find out what YOU like, and change to meet it. I didn't believe it - in 4 years, I've had 2 HF rigs (love my current one, the first wasn't bad, but a MP1000MKV blows away a Icom-718) and I have 16 or 17 (yes you read that right) UHF/VHF rigs - all but 2 single band commercial rigs

Lets see if I can break that down
4 rigs in the house - 6m, 2m, 70cm, 2m for APRS
2 rigs in main jump kit 2m and 70 cm
2 rigs in backup jump kit
1 rig in APRS tracker box
2 spare rigs (one going to replace another - but not done yet. The other is going to go in a portable packet station)
1 rig in the truck
1 waiting for it's twin to go in the truck
3 hts

And I'm looking to BUY at least 1 more Mobile, and maybe 2 more HTs!!

I'm telling you - they are like rabbits - particularly if you get into serious disaster comms - I have a full spare go kit as a loner, and things like packet stations, where many people share the rig with their voice rig, I keep a whole spare station!! (Yes folks, rig, antenna, TNC, computer, cables, power supply, all mounted in a box - just grab it and go. (and yes, I have battery BOXES to power a BUNCH of setups - Eight 7Ah batteries, and 2 100+Ah batteries - all on float chargers, all the time
_________________________
73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

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#46963 - 08/19/05 04:27 PM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4018
Loc: Anchorage AK
Yep, on my last assignment, we put together a portable E-trailer, complete with 4 UHF/VHF cross band repeaters, programmable HF multiband stuff for FEMA and DOD, a Wireless Lan interconnect node, and a fiberoptic splicing station. Of course, the UHF/VHF stuff was business band, but we also had some ham repeater freqs in there as back up/experimenting (one of our techs was licensed). We had a 50 foot crankup tower with a couple of trapped off slopers and some vertical helical whips, and the usual microwave directional platters for the Wireless stuff. Everything was bundled up in diamond plate aluminum, with full slide out trays and throughwall connectors using RG-214 for the lower freq stuff and RG-6 for the Wireless Lan stuff. We had a few toolboxes with the guying system and the leveling pads and the firefighting and survival stuff. We could deploy just about anywhere in our operating area, which was more than 250 square miles. We could transpond the local emergency services so everyone could talk to each other. It was a pretty nice set up. Had about 60 hours of battery backup on board, and two 850 watt generators with about 10 gallons of gas along, so we could run for quite a while. The marine charger we put in that rig was pretty darned nifty, too.

Just goes to show what you can do with an open budget code. It hasn't been deployed in the 3 years since we built it. Nice to know it's there. I was thinking about asking the boss if I could take it with me to elk camp last fall, but I figured he would probably object. Oh well, back to my frs portables.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#46964 - 08/19/05 05:21 PM Re: Amateur Radio for Survival?
cedfire Offline
Addict

Registered: 07/10/03
Posts: 659
Loc: Orygun
Congratulations!

And I'll second the idea to look at the eham.net reviews. Some good information there.

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