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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:19 am 
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What kinds of radio, if any, can be expected to work (e.g. be capable of transmitting, receiving, or both transmitting and receiving information) in a long-term post-disaster scenario where government, businesses, and commercial media break down?

I ask this question because I often see on this board, and others, people assuming that the use of walkie-talkies, CB Radios, Ham Radios, etc. will be available to them in a post-disaster situation for the sake of communicating and receiving information. However, where do the radio waves that these devices use come from? Is there nothing that we would need for someone like the government or a large corporation to put in place or "produce" so that we can use these technologies? For example, when walkie talkie manufacturers speak of having 22 "bands" to choose from to communicate, aren't the "bands" created or produced by the government? Or am I completely ignorant of how radio technology works?

When answering, envision a post-disaster scenario that would leave you in a place resembling the Somalia of the 90's and early 2000's where an absolute breakdown of law, order, and technology has occurred.

Looking forward to some enlightening responses.

Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:34 am 
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Stud, any radio system that doesn't rely on a repeater will work as well in the PAW as it did before; even if the government fails, the laws of physics still apply.
I have old tube gear from the 50's and 60's that works great and is actually more 'fixable' should it fail than its modern counterparts.
The term 'bands' typically refers to a range of frequencies a radio operates in, usually decided by international convention. For example Citizen's Band or CB is from 26.965-27.405 megahertz. Some bands are channelized, that is the gov prescribes that channel 19 in the citizen's band is 27.185 megahertz.
The only other consideration is what type of modulation a radio uses. AM radios can't talk to FM radios on the same frequency.
Hope I answered your questions.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:39 am 
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Thank you for the answer but I'm still confused. I guess that I do not know enough (or much at all) about how radio works.

So would it be fair to say that the short answer is: Yes, it would work even if there were no government in an area for thousands of miles (e.g. Antarctica) because the government does not "create" anything but merely provides for regulation with respect to radio use. Correct?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:44 am 
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Got it in one...see, you weren't confused at all!

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It's not that you were being "harsh" so much as a "douchebag".


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:46 am 
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I am going to resist the temptation to go midevil on the OP because they admit that there not really up to speed on this subject. That said OP you need to do allot of research on this topic as your grasp of it's basics are fundamentally unsound. I would get into it a bit more here but A) I'm on my phone and B) there are people much better qualified to do so on this board.

Quick edit: radios require nothing from the government or anyone else. So long as they have power they will work as they always have, both receiving and broadcasting.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:53 pm 
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OP - read this

Then

read this

Once done, you can then ask questions - folks here are usually happy to answer.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:21 pm 
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I have a marine SSB unit from the 1970's that still works and an even older marine double sideband radio from the 50's that still works. The key thing is power of the correct type and voltage.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:16 pm 
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The only type of radio that would be liable to not work at all in the long-term are the types that require a running infrastructure for the client devices to operate on: Cell phones, trunk system, and APCO-25 digital systems come to mind.


Everything else would simply need to be reconfigured to a simplex channel if the handset is configured to operate on a repeater, or continue to operate as business as usual if it's strictly a simplex device: CB, MURS, GMRS, amateur.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:15 pm 
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If you plunked Portland and Mogadishu into a blender and then poured it into a PAW, I could still probably keep my clubs repeater running for awhile. But as far as simplex goes there is almost no perceivable PAW in which there would be no radio comms.

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So now ... we [are] worried that we may be faced with multiple heavily armed and armoured assailants in our day to day life ... I must have accidentally stumbled into the Somalia chapter subform or something.


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 4:14 am 
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Unless thing are 'totally beyond repair', It should be very viable . As with any thing paw,some things will change. I think what would be lost is the direct two way communication over a hundred miles.With the glut of recreational radios(grs,frs, c.b. and marine) and business radios it will thrive and grow,but communication will be at shorter distances.

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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 8:55 pm 
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During the Station Fire in '09 electricity to Mt Lukens was cut off for almost a month. Mt Lukens is one of the most important communications sites in the Los Angeles area, and is used by LAPD, LACity Fire, The City of Glendale, and the Verdugo Fire system. I'm talking elaborate P25 and trunked systems.

The city of Los Angeles and the city of Glendale/Verdugo/etc. all have large battery banks that are intended to last for 48+ hours, however only the city of LA has a generator. The City of LA was more then gracious to share their generator if the other users would buy the fuel. So A buddy of mine had to arrange for 500 gallons to be delivered, in an active fire region, up a damaged dirt road, twice a week to keep everything online.

My point is in the PAW they may have had 48 hours of operation, and these are sites that are maintained with $$$. Most ham repeaters have some golfcart or maybe a marine battery, which are probably 10 years old. Though some better maintained repeaters have solar power, I can't see most lasting more then a few hours.

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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 9:06 pm 
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It's possible that OP is young and has come of age in an era when almost all forms of telecommunication are all dependent on a hardware backbone: fiber optic cables, a host of servers, an array of communication satellites, a cellular network, etc. Maybe he's not used to the notion of electromagnetic radiation freely propogating through space and bouncing off of layers of the atmosphere.

Just a thought. And if so, it is understandable.

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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 12:40 am 
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Quote:
My point is in the PAW they may have had 48 hours of operation, and these are sites that are maintained with $$$. Most ham repeaters have some golfcart or maybe a marine battery, which are probably 10 years old. Though some better maintained repeaters have solar power, I can't see most lasting more then a few hours.


There are quite a few ham repeaters that are co-located with public safety repeaters and have propane gas generator backup. In our area, a 440 and a 2 meter ham repeater are powered from the local TV transmitter building which has diesel generator backup. More than a few others are in E911 repeater buildings. These systems should be up for at least 3 to 5 days if not more. The best rule of thumb is to have ham radio backups for your cell phones to get your people back home safely during the initial hours of a disaster. After that, communications should depend on whatever you can power youself. In my case, HT's with AA batteries is about it.

RS

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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 3:15 am 
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For example, when walkie talkie manufacturers speak of having 22 "bands" to choose from to communicate, aren't the "bands" created or produced by the government?


I totally spit energy drink all over the keyboard. :lol:

I don't blame the OP, I blame the public schools for this kind of stuff.

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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 3:38 am 
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majorhavoc wrote:
It's possible that OP is young and has come of age in an era when almost all forms of telecommunication are all dependent on a hardware backbone: fiber optic cables, a host of servers, an array of communication satellites, a cellular network, etc. Maybe he's not used to the notion of electromagnetic radiation freely propogating through space and bouncing off of layers of the atmosphere.

Just a thought. And if so, it is understandable.

That's what I'm thinking. I grew up on CB radio and scanners and eventually got my ham ticket. I have played with SW listening for decades. Many people have never had this type of exposure to the hobby. The basic workings of radio is still a mystery to them.
To answer the OPs question, after a major disaster or PAW event, tehre will likely still be plenty of radio communication. As one survival show on Discovery Channel pointed out, the equiptment and knowledge will not all be lost. As long as you have a source of power, AC or DC and a simple radio transmitter hooked up to a compatable antenna and someone fasions a similar receiver it will happen.
CB radios are very simple, low power, AM and Single Side Band transmitters in a shortwave band. Hook them to a 12volt power supply like a car batttery and a half decent antenna and you can transmit AND receive for days. Range may be local or atmospheric skip may send your signal for hundreds of miles. Batteries can easily be recharged and these radios can run for years. There are members of this forum which are still using CBs built back in the 1970s. It's a good bet that you will find Cb use increase after a disaster.
Ham radio has lots of flexability. The radios are freuency agile meaning that there are seldom any set 'channels' and the number of bands available gives you lots of room to find the optimum combination of freq and band conditions. Most of the radios can operate on vey low power which means batteries or generators aren't as taxed. Yet you have the option, if the supply is available, to operate at extreamly high power levels too. Different modes are also a big factor. CW, aka morse code, is still around and used by many hams. So are digital modes like PSK31 or even slow scan television. Don't forget phone, aka talking into a microphone. All of these modes are available as long as you have power without the need for repeaters or fiber optic cables or other support facilities. On the way to work this evening I spoke on my ham radio to a local ham friend who stayed up the night before making contacts via SSTV. Sitting at his home near Baton Rouge he pulled signals from France, Germany, Russia and Austrailia to name a few places.
After a major disaster there will be radio. Mankind will seek out others and make contact.

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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 1:58 pm 
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Quote:
aren't the "bands" created or produced by the government?


Nope. Think of a radio transmitter as being nothing more than an exotic flashlight. As long as you have batteries for it, light waves are going to come out the other end, and those light waves are not created by the government (unless that wing of the government has been operating for a long time in extreme secrecy).

The same is true with radio. As long as you have batteries, radio waves are going to come out the other end, government or no government.

For some extremely basic (but hopefully useful) information about communications possibilities, you can check out the Emergency Communications Primer:

http://www.w0is.com/index.php?p=1_17_Em ... unications


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 3:21 pm 
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majorhavoc wrote:
It's possible that OP is young and has come of age in an era when almost all forms of telecommunication are all dependent on a hardware backbone: fiber optic cables, a host of servers, an array of communication satellites, a cellular network, etc. Maybe he's not used to the notion of electromagnetic radiation freely propogating through space and bouncing off of layers of the atmosphere.

Just a thought. And if so, it is understandable.


That's the impression I got as well. Cell phones communicate through towers and satellites. Computers through the internet backbone. Radios don't need anything but someone at the other end monitoring the same radio wave frequency. It's like yelling to your neighbor across the street. No infrastructure required.


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 3:52 pm 
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rpc wrote:
Quote:
aren't the "bands" created or produced by the government?


Nope. Think of a radio transmitter as being nothing more than an exotic flashlight. As long as you have batteries for it, light waves are going to come out the other end, and those light waves are not created by the government (unless that wing of the government has been operating for a long time in extreme secrecy).

The same is true with radio. As long as you have batteries, radio waves are going to come out the other end, government or no government.

For some extremely basic (but hopefully useful) information about communications possibilities, you can check out the Emergency Communications Primer:

http://www.w0is.com/index.php?p=1_17_Em ... unications


Damn good link! Thank you!

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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 6:47 pm 
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Regarding Bands, although the electromagnetic spectrum is a function of the nature of the universe, the FCC and other organizations decide where it is legal for one to transmit.

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Carrying weapons openly and dressing in cammies (even if legal in the area) will get you killed.

Kommander wrote:
So now ... we [are] worried that we may be faced with multiple heavily armed and armoured assailants in our day to day life ... I must have accidentally stumbled into the Somalia chapter subform or something.


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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 4:14 pm 
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CipherNameRaVeN wrote:
rpc wrote:
Quote:
aren't the "bands" created or produced by the government?


Nope. Think of a radio transmitter as being nothing more than an exotic flashlight. As long as you have batteries for it, light waves are going to come out the other end, and those light waves are not created by the government (unless that wing of the government has been operating for a long time in extreme secrecy).

The same is true with radio. As long as you have batteries, radio waves are going to come out the other end, government or no government.

For some extremely basic (but hopefully useful) information about communications possibilities, you can check out the Emergency Communications Primer:

http://www.w0is.com/index.php?p=1_17_Em ... unications


Damn good link! Thank you!

I am sorry, but I have to make another comment.
I just read through the article, and then I read through his other "Antenna" article. And then I said to myself, let me see what else is there. So, I poked around from the home page. Let me just say; That website has a ton of useful information laid out in most simplest terms. I just got ton of my questions answered when it comes to comms and other preparedness topics.
Anyways... rpc, I thank you from the heart of my bottom! :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:32 pm 
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For a second I thought it was April first all over again.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:55 pm 
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Uhm, well I guess other than repeater setups and possibly satillite uplinking, any simplex should work just the same. If you want the best simplex range, I'd look into HF radios, especially battery powerable ones such as the Yaesu line.

*Maybe satillite uplink would still work, I'm not sure as to how self-contained they are in terms of radio operation, maybe someone can advise me of this. Might be hard to get location and operable times though, without GOV assistance.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:07 pm 
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majorhavoc wrote:
Maybe he's not used to the notion of electromagnetic radiation freely propogating through space and bouncing off of layers of the atmosphere.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:20 pm 
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stud40111 wrote:
Thank you for the answer but I'm still confused. I guess that I do not know enough (or much at all) about how radio works.

So would it be fair to say that the short answer is: Yes, it would work even if there were no government in an area for thousands of miles (e.g. Antarctica) because the government does not "create" anything but merely provides for regulation with respect to radio use. Correct?



Actually, if you tune into the tv show Whale Wars, you can see radios in use in the southern ocean in antarctica. I'm talking hand held UHF business radios, VHF marine radios, HF marine radios, VHF air radios. That's the beauty of radio.


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