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Survival and Preparations Long and short term survival and 'prepping'.

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  #1  
Old 09-21-2021, 7:28 PM
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Default Hand held radios

Wife has been bugging me about getting some handheld radios for when SHTF. Will they even work if the cell towers go down? If so, what radio has the longest range? I could have sworn I seen one that went across a couple states but can’t remember where I saw it.
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Old 09-21-2021, 7:33 PM
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who are you going to call?
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  #3  
Old 09-21-2021, 8:01 PM
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A lot is terrain dependent.

Pick, say, a Kenwood 5 watt portable; withhout repeaters - and you won't have repeaters if you really need these - or without external antenna, expect 15 miles tops for transmitting.

See http://hflink.com/hfpack/radiorange/
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Old 09-21-2021, 8:02 PM
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My 5 watt Wouxun 905G with Nagoya antenna has been plenty good to me.

GMRS frequencies, 10 year license with FCC.

I think they just came out with a 935G.
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  #5  
Old 09-21-2021, 8:10 PM
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GMRS are great. U might find a local repeater (repeaterbook.com).

A lot of repeaters are off grid / solar powered for shtf
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Old 09-21-2021, 8:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FightYouRightNow View Post
My 5 watt Wouxun 905G with Nagoya antenna has been plenty good to me.

GMRS frequencies, 10 year license with FCC.

I think they just came out with a 935G.
One GMRS license covers your whole family as well
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  #7  
Old 09-21-2021, 8:15 PM
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The intent is to use them in case we get separated going up to our big out spot. Not sure what u mean by repeaters. I want something that will work without any “grid”.
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Old 09-21-2021, 8:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9mmrevolver View Post
The intent is to use them in case we get separated going up to our big out spot. Not sure what u mean by repeaters. I want something that will work without any “grid”.
a repeater is a receiver and transmitter. It receives your signal then broadcasts it out.

Say you have a 5 watt radio. You can only hit the range a 5 watt can hit.
Now say there's a 50 watt repeater within the range that your 5 watt can hit. It receives your signal and then transmits it the range of a 50 watt, thereby increasing your 5 watt broadcast the range of a 50 watt.

It gets even better when that repeater is on a mountain peak or high point relative to the surrounding terrain.

It is no more of a grid than a couple radios wired together to achieve its repeater functionality, which can be done with the correct radios and a power source (solar, battery, generator etc)

Of course none of that is necessary, just a neat option to increase range of handhelds.
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Last edited by FightYouRightNow; 09-21-2021 at 8:30 PM..
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  #9  
Old 09-21-2021, 8:19 PM
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the radio rules are great you can have all the equipment you want as long as you don't use them without the proper permissions

i wish machine gun laws were similar it would be like buying a m4 and you are just on your honor to not flip the switch past a certain point
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  #10  
Old 09-21-2021, 8:35 PM
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Unfortunately the answer is not simple. A good quality hand held HAM radio transmits at about 5 watts which will give you good performance within line of sight. The question is: what is line of sight? If you are in a valley the answer may be less that a mile, while on top of a mountain could easily give you 30 miles. I'd say the average is pretty close to the 15 miles mentioned above.

Now if you go to a mobile HF unit (like a Yaesu FT-818) you could communicate over thousands of miles, though the expense goes up significantly.

I will say one opinion - that repeaters will not be available in case of emergency - is somewhat flawed. Many repeaters have solar/generator backup power and battery banks for just such an occasion.

I would say depending on your location, you could either go to a mountaintop or find a repeater with emergency power and continue to communicate within the range that allows. You can also hand off messages from HAM to HAM like a relay and greatly extend your reach.

Like anything it's a question of tradeoffs: do you want a cheap radio that can only communicate locally, or pay more and extend your range? are you willing to relay messages or climb a mountain to extend your range?

I would say if you are considering radios in any configuration the 1st step is to get your HAM Technician Certification and join your local HAM Club. Your local HAM Club will be able to help you with which repeaters have backup power, where you can expect to transmit to, advice on how to make your own antenna to maximize your range, and will give you access t a network of HAM's that can relay messages for you.
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  #11  
Old 09-22-2021, 8:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9mmrevolver View Post
Wife has been bugging me about getting some handheld radios for when SHTF. Will they even work if the cell towers go down? If so, what radio has the longest range? I could have sworn I seen one that went across a couple states but can’t remember where I saw it.
Start here https://miklor.com/ ,so you can start to know what you don't know. Your question is too open for a good answer to be given here.

Lots of 2 way radio options.
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  #12  
Old 09-25-2021, 11:28 AM
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no one has mentioned the Beofeng Uv-5r?https://www.shtfblog.com/a-better-ba...uction-manual/

youtubes on turning two of them with $10 cable into repeater.

I've got about 6 of these but two have become seemingly locked on one FM station but maybe I did that somehow.

Beofeng 9r costs about $33 vs $25 but its says "waterproof" and has 2x the power and bigger built in batt and diff belt clip system, but lacks cheap aftermarket accessories like AAA powered batt pack and cheap longer correct spec antenna.

IIRC there is a USB charger solution but still requires a special charger stand.

While I wouldn't want to trust a single pair of $25 Beofang in SHTF, I think I'd rather have $200 worth of Beofangs that $200 worth of $100 radios.
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  #13  
Old 09-25-2021, 5:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Chudungus View Post
no one has mentioned the Beofeng Uv-5r?https://www.shtfblog.com/a-better-ba...uction-manual/

youtubes on turning two of them with $10 cable into repeater.

I've got about 6 of these but two have become seemingly locked on one FM station but maybe I did that somehow.

Beofeng 9r costs about $33 vs $25 but its says "waterproof" and has 2x the power and bigger built in batt and diff belt clip system, but lacks cheap aftermarket accessories like AAA powered batt pack and cheap longer correct spec antenna.

IIRC there is a USB charger solution but still requires a special charger stand.

While I wouldn't want to trust a single pair of $25 Beofang in SHTF, I think I'd rather have $200 worth of Beofangs that $200 worth of $100 radios.
Baofengs are covered in the Miklor linkage I posted as well as many others. They are great little radios and mine have held up really well considering the cost.
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  #14  
Old 09-25-2021, 6:20 PM
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Anything out there that can text direct to satellite and back down direct by satellite? IF so, how autonomous are those satellite networks?
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  #15  
Old 09-25-2021, 6:34 PM
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I would pick up a couple handheld Beofengs and a radio for the main vehicle like this it will have a much greater range. https://www.amazon.com/TYT-TH-9000D-.../dp/B006QMM9XM

Last edited by 3006; 09-25-2021 at 7:42 PM..
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  #16  
Old 09-25-2021, 9:26 PM
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I like ChuckD’s answer.
My suggestion is; when the power goes out radios will still work, repeaters on emergency power will continue until the power stops.
Then all you have is simplex.
I would first get a set of Midland FRS/GMRS radios and a license. If you want to expand your radio capabilities, then fo to HamStudy and/or download the app. And take the 35 question Technician exam, you can take it online through a Zoom proctored test through GLAARG, the Greater Los Angeles Area Radio Group.
The Technician license gets you UHF/VHF 2meter, 6meter and 10 meter. Then you want to upgrade your radio to a Yeasu, AnyTone handheld and/or mobile radios.
I have:
Handheld
2 Beofung UV82-HP - 70cm, 2m
2 Beofung UV82-X-3 - 70cm, 1.25m, 2m
1 AnyTone 878+ UHF/VHF/DMR
1 Motorola 5000R XTS P25
Mobile
AnyTone 578 III PRO UHF/VHF/DMR
AnyTone 779 UHF/VHF/GMRS
Motorola 2500 XTL UHF-P25If you really get into it the next step is a base station radio like the ICOM 9700.
Then there are the antennas.
Definitely upgrade.
For the hand heads, Nagoya whip.
For the mobile a Diamond mag mount unless you want to drill and make it permanent.
For the home station a good antenna is important. You can make your own, Ed Fong, or buy it for $35, or buy a Diamond or Comet verticals.
I like Comet and have a GP-6 and CX333.
HF is a whole different ballgame.
As for battery I like BioEno.
The propagation between LA & San Diego is terrific most of the time inland up to 50-60 miles.
Check it out on Wednesday evenings at around 8:30.
446.500, 446.520 & 446.580
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  #17  
Old 09-26-2021, 6:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TFA777 View Post
GMRS are great. U might find a local repeater (repeaterbook.com).

A lot of repeaters are off grid / solar powered for shtf
I have a Wouxun KG805 GMRS handheld radio. It is a a 5 watt radio connected to an outdoor antenna. I can hit all of the repeaters in this area, including one that is nearly 25 miles away. That particular repeater is operated by the Butte County Sheriff CERT program, and has backup power capabilities.

It is open for public use (with permission) provided there is no emergency traffic.

5 watts can get you pretty far. It is all about the antenna. Mine is mounted on my house, about 20 feet off the ground.

I did have some issues one day when we were socked in with smoke from the Dixie fire. It seemed to really cut down the propogation. I'll see how rain affects it, if we ever get any LOL.
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  #18  
Old 09-26-2021, 12:41 PM
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i got a couple questions i'm not a ham but i am hamcurious

i was a bit confused how a ham repeater actually works because if it just boosted and mirrored what it received it should just make feedback

i know a little about the ham channels and how each ham channel uses 2 frequencies
so a repeater takes an incoming and then repeats it on its pair frequency but then what happens if that repeated signal is picked up by another repeater and it does the floop retransmitting it on the origional frequency is it possible that it would blot out /jam/feedback loop the original sender?
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  #19  
Old 09-27-2021, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bohoki View Post
i got a couple questions i'm not a ham but i am hamcurious

i was a bit confused how a ham repeater actually works because if it just boosted and mirrored what it received it should just make feedback

i know a little about the ham channels and how each ham channel uses 2 frequencies
so a repeater takes an incoming and then repeats it on its pair frequency but then what happens if that repeated signal is picked up by another repeater and it does the floop retransmitting it on the origional frequency is it possible that it would blot out /jam/feedback loop the original sender?
This should not happen as repeaters are licensed for operation within a band plan - so there should not be any repeater transmitting on the receive frequency of another repeater that is within range.

Hypthetically, if it were to happen - it would be the same as when sometimes 2 people try to transmit at the same time: they talk over each other - or if one is a very strong signal and the other is weak the stronger signal will "blank" out the weaker signal.
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Old 09-27-2021, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bohoki View Post
i know a little about the ham channels and how each ham channel uses 2 frequencies
so a repeater takes an incoming and then repeats it on its pair frequency but then what happens if that repeated signal is picked up by another repeater and it does the floop retransmitting it on the origional frequency is it possible that it would blot out /jam/feedback loop the original sender?
Technically this could happen, but essentially only if it was malicious.

Amateur Radio licensees follow local 'band plans' and use 'best practices' which would preclude this from happening. Similarly, in urban areas there are also coordination groups for 'assigning' repeater pairs in a manner to avoid likely interference.
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  #21  
Old 09-29-2021, 12:26 PM
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Radio 101

Radios are line of sight
Curvature of the earth limits the distance in the open... Two 6 foot tall people can chat for 7 miles max due to the curvature of the earth....

Ham radios folks can use open (free) repeaters or join a club for private repeaters....

The repeaters are up on a mountain in LA and up on a 1800 foot tower in Texas.....

A radio in most of Los Angeles can "hit" or reach a repeater with 5 watts of power.... the repeater might have 100Watts or more... The signal can go either to another person or another repeater... then to another person...

The Higher Power FMRS only work with line of sight... so stand on a high rise roof in downtown LA and you can chat with someone in santa monica...


If you don't have line of sight... higher power just eats the battery








if you want to nerd out- https://www.qrz.com/ ham radio site with lots of resources and ham radio practice tests

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Old 09-29-2021, 2:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CessnaDriver View Post
Anything out there that can text direct to satellite and back down direct by satellite? IF so, how autonomous are those satellite networks?
Nope. All the commercial handheld communicator devices use a service (and therefore the phone system and network). I don't know of any civilian use equipment that cam send point to point through a satellite. If it does exist, it is very expensive (initial cost and per kb of data).
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Old 10-04-2021, 5:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bohoki View Post
i got a couple questions i'm not a ham but i am hamcurious

i was a bit confused how a ham repeater actually works because if it just boosted and mirrored what it received it should just make feedback

i know a little about the ham channels and how each ham channel uses 2 frequencies
so a repeater takes an incoming and then repeats it on its pair frequency but then what happens if that repeated signal is picked up by another repeater and it does the floop retransmitting it on the origional frequency is it possible that it would blot out /jam/feedback loop the original sender?
Quote:
Originally Posted by mej16489 View Post
Technically this could happen, but essentially only if it was malicious.

Amateur Radio licensees follow local 'band plans' and use 'best practices' which would preclude this from happening. Similarly, in urban areas there are also coordination groups for 'assigning' repeater pairs in a manner to avoid likely interference.
Repeaters use a pl tone (a sub audible tone) that your radio sends out when you start transmitting that opens up the repeater.
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Old 10-07-2021, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiechshlime View Post
Repeaters use a pl tone (a sub audible tone) that your radio sends out when you start transmitting that opens up the repeater.
I'm not really sure why you're pointing this out to me, but yes it is certainly possible for a repeater to require a PL or DCS code to 'accept' your modulation for repeat. Similarly a repeater can Transmit PL or DCS and one can choose to only receive from that frequency with the appropriate encoded transmission.

Neither are required by any rules or regulations, but they are sometimes required by some coordination bodies.
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  #25  
Old 10-07-2021, 2:35 PM
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An interesting site I found that will map radio propagation over distance considering terrain and antenna height.

https://www.scadacore.com/tools/rf-p...line-of-sight/

Note; you will need to drag the pins to your desired location(s).
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Old 10-07-2021, 4:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch3 View Post
An interesting site I found that will map radio propagation over distance considering terrain and antenna height.

https://www.scadacore.com/tools/rf-p...line-of-sight/

Note; you will need to drag the pins to your desired location(s).
What a nice toy! even without the LOS concern, does a convenient distancing - like, field of fire, range card stuff ...
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Old 10-07-2021, 5:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Librarian View Post
What a nice toy! even without the LOS concern, does a convenient distancing - like, field of fire, range card stuff ...


Yes, I have found it entertaining...
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  #28  
Old 10-15-2021, 8:02 PM
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I just picked up a great radio every prepper should have. A Motorola series 1, P25 XTS 5000 radio programmed with de-encrypted LAPD DISPATCH divisions, on a scan, FRS/GMRS frequencies, southern California repeater networks, and individual repeaters, and a number of Simplex frequencies.
Radio, Battery and antenna, no charger, $350.
I already have a XTS 5000R series 3.
The difference is Series 1 no front panel programming, Series 3 has front panel programming.
As soon as prices come down I’d like to get an APX 8000 quad band radio.
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