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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:13 pm 
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Tperkins wrote:
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.


A number of civilian and military satellites are nicknamed "bent pipes" that simply receive a radio frequency in one band (Ex: 300 MHz) and convert it to another band (ex: 260 MHz) without any other processing. Unless they are turned off during some disaster they will stay there and provide the same coverage. It is fairly easy to use them, there are Brazilian bootleggers who are showing up on U.S. UHF military satellites with impunity. If there was a government collapse there would be no one to care at all if Zombie Squad Comms guys started using those satellites too. :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:14 am 
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As far as power goes, I use solar panels feeding 2 Optima Gel-cell 12v batteries.

The panels work even on cloudy days and the batteries are good for at least 10 years of use.

The Yeasu FT857D uses 12v and operates on everything HAM (except 220mhz) output on HF is 100 watts.

Don't forget to checkout the new Chinese PUXING 777 HT's. Cheap price + receives/transmits on "all" VHF frequencies (shhhhhh) :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:42 am 
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For power, my comm setup is 4 large SLA batteries tied together on a parallel circuit, and fed with a trickle charger.

Its enough to run my radios for weeks without power, and with an inverter enough to run other electronics for a few days.

I need to invest in a solar setup, but my house isnt really conducive to panel placement, so I've been running the battery solution.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:22 am 
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One of the things I noticed in the PAW movie "The Postman" was a scene where Costners character, the Postman, was in a radio room with an old Vietnam Vet guy. The old guy was sitting in front of a bank of radios. He's keying up and saying "Hello" and trying to get anyone to talk to him. There were several problems I had with the plot of the movie. Top among them was the Holis uprising. It was some sort of cult with a central figure that caused some type of wide ranging civil war in the US. This crashes the government and sends everyone back to living like it's the 1800s all over again. I wondered how something like this would spread worldwide and cut out all communications. Certainly not every contry in every part of the world was affected like this. So there has to still be people with radios and electricity. So the Postman asks the old guy if he's ever gotten a reply in all the years he's been calling over the radios and they old guy tells him that he's never heard anyone. I immediatly thought "Someone better check his antennas, coax and radios because I can't imagine that someone somewhere isn't transmitting." After a major disaster, some radios will almost certainly survive and people will get them on the air.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:53 pm 
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So here is a question. Can we purchase non-assembled car batteries, store them in their base components, then assemble the batteries and vitalize them? In their base components they should last quite some time; and by the time you need to use them, you should have an electrical hookup ready.

At least for base units this should work, right?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:20 pm 
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Redshirt wrote:
So here is a question. Can we purchase non-assembled car batteries, store them in their base components, then assemble the batteries and vitalize them? In their base components they should last quite some time; and by the time you need to use them, you should have an electrical hookup ready.

At least for base units this should work, right?



I read that all lead acid batteries have a pretty short shelf life (years) even before the acid is added. it's a spongy type of lead that is conditioned before it leaves the factory. then they sit on the shelf of the battery place and then out to the consumer. you should check out rolls Royce batteries. I'd love to build my own batteries. but I'm ascared of cadmium poisoning.

I'm counting on direct solar. I have a couple ultracapacitors too but longevity is unknown.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:04 am 
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A lot here depends on your definition of "long term". If, by that, you mean a week or two, then you probably won't encounter too many problems, though supplies of disposable batteries in the immediate area will probably become exhausted within the first 48 to 96 hours. Those with rechargeable units, and a viable means of recharging, can expect to have operational equipment for much longer, possibly even years, depending upon the recharging method. Solar, wind, hydro and good old hand crank power sources should be good for several years, and possibly as long as a few decades.

While those sources can supply power for a reasonably long time, eventually anything mechanical is going to break or wear out, and need repair or replacement. Sources of replacement parts will become scarce, and once that starts to happen hoarding will make it even worse, and parts sources will disappear very quickly at that point.

Still, with the number of vehicles out there, 12vdc power will be fairly simple to produce. Anyone with basic electrical and mechanical knowledge should be able to rig up a vehicle alternator to a source of motion (wind, hydro or human) and generate. The real problems will set in a few years down the road as storage devices for that power (batteries) begin to wear out. Your basic Ni-Cad pack is good for about 500 charge/discharge cycles, under optimal conditions, and other battery chemistry types can extend that to 1,000 or more cycles. That's speaking of small battery packs. Large batteries, such as SLA, AGM, or plain old lead-acid, are good for thousands more cycles, but even those will eventually "die" and become unusable. While some boast of "10 year" life, in a PAW I doubt many of those batteries will get the proper care and handling to actually reach that mark. My guesstimate would be that within 3 years finding a working plain lead-acid battery would become difficult, and that within 5-7 years most SLA's and AGM's would have bit the dust as well.

When that happens you'll find yourself at the point where the only way your radio will function is with a direct connection to the generating source, making portable or mobile operation very difficult, if not impossible.

And, of course, this doesn't address the issue of the radios themselves wearing out. Solid state units are going to tend to be pretty reliable, but difficult to repair, or find parts for when they do fail. Older tube type rigs might be simpler to repair, but finding a source for replacement tubes is going to be neigh on impossible in a PAW. Look how hard it is now to find parts for some older rigs, with the full benefit of the Internet and global commerce, and then try to imagine how difficult that will be without those advantages. And, if you do find that precious tube you need for your rig, will you be able to afford it? Anyone smart enough to have a cache of such things isn't going to part with them at a bargain price. They will be an irreplaceable resource, and priced accordingly. A single part might cost your tribe or community half of their total resources. Will you be able to afford that kind of expenditure?

Even the idea of going back to the very early days of radio, with hand built spark gap transmitters will be difficult, because even those required a technology base and manufacturing capability that probably won't exist any longer. Make your own rig? Sure, but where are you getting the materials from?

So, in conclusion, I'd expect that radio in a PAW would be viable, but dwindling, for the first 2-5 years, and sharply declining after that with, assuming conditions continue to go downhill awhile before they get any better, a cut-off point of about 7-8 years where the only radios still on the air will be those in very large communities, with carefully protected stocks of replacement parts and materials, which will be used very sparingly and never for just "chit-chat".

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:36 am 
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KJ4VOV wrote:
A lot here depends on your definition of "long term". If, by that, you mean a week or two, then you probably won't encounter too many problems, though supplies of disposable batteries in the immediate area will probably become exhausted within the first 48 to 96 hours. Those with rechargeable units, and a viable means of recharging, can expect to have operational equipment for much longer, possibly even years, depending upon the recharging method. Solar, wind, hydro and good old hand crank power sources should be good for several years, and possibly as long as a few decades.

While those sources can supply power for a reasonably long time, eventually anything mechanical is going to break or wear out, and need repair or replacement. Sources of replacement parts will become scarce, and once that starts to happen hoarding will make it even worse, and parts sources will disappear very quickly at that point.

Still, with the number of vehicles out there, 12vdc power will be fairly simple to produce. Anyone with basic electrical and mechanical knowledge should be able to rig up a vehicle alternator to a source of motion (wind, hydro or human) and generate. The real problems will set in a few years down the road as storage devices for that power (batteries) begin to wear out. Your basic Ni-Cad pack is good for about 500 charge/discharge cycles, under optimal conditions, and other battery chemistry types can extend that to 1,000 or more cycles. That's speaking of small battery packs. Large batteries, such as SLA, AGM, or plain old lead-acid, are good for thousands more cycles, but even those will eventually "die" and become unusable. While some boast of "10 year" life, in a PAW I doubt many of those batteries will get the proper care and handling to actually reach that mark. My guesstimate would be that within 3 years finding a working plain lead-acid battery would become difficult, and that within 5-7 years most SLA's and AGM's would have bit the dust as well.

When that happens you'll find yourself at the point where the only way your radio will function is with a direct connection to the generating source, making portable or mobile operation very difficult, if not impossible.

And, of course, this doesn't address the issue of the radios themselves wearing out. Solid state units are going to tend to be pretty reliable, but difficult to repair, or find parts for when they do fail. Older tube type rigs might be simpler to repair, but finding a source for replacement tubes is going to be neigh on impossible in a PAW. Look how hard it is now to find parts for some older rigs, with the full benefit of the Internet and global commerce, and then try to imagine how difficult that will be without those advantages. And, if you do find that precious tube you need for your rig, will you be able to afford it? Anyone smart enough to have a cache of such things isn't going to part with them at a bargain price. They will be an irreplaceable resource, and priced accordingly. A single part might cost your tribe or community half of their total resources. Will you be able to afford that kind of expenditure?

Even the idea of going back to the very early days of radio, with hand built spark gap transmitters will be difficult, because even those required a technology base and manufacturing capability that probably won't exist any longer. Make your own rig? Sure, but where are you getting the materials from?

So, in conclusion, I'd expect that radio in a PAW would be viable, but dwindling, for the first 2-5 years, and sharply declining after that with, assuming conditions continue to go downhill awhile before they get any better, a cut-off point of about 7-8 years where the only radios still on the air will be those in very large communities, with carefully protected stocks of replacement parts and materials, which will be used very sparingly and never for just "chit-chat".


Hogwash! All of it. The flaw in your power storage analysis is that you've completely failed to account for the professsor from Gilligan's Island and what he can do with some wire and a few coconuts.

Seriously, though. A very thoughtful analysis of the long term challenges of maintaining reliable radio communications in a true post apocalyptic scenario.

Others may disagree with some elements of your analysis, but you've clearly given this a lot of thought and have provided a ton of useful information about just how difficult it will be to keep electronic communications running years into the furture. (Literary aside: some of the power storage issues that KJ4VOV raises become a key plot element in Justin Cronin's excellent post-apocalyptic novel, "The Passage".)

It really highlights the fact that even among those of us who prepare for life beyond the initial weeks and months of a SHTF scenario, the true long term challenges are often not fully appreciated.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:05 pm 
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majorhavoc wrote:
Others may disagree with some elements of your analysis, but you've clearly given this a lot of thought and have provided a ton of useful information about just how difficult it will be to keep electronic communications running years into the furture. (Literary aside: some of the power storage issues that KJ4VOV raises become a key plot element in Justin Cronin's excellent post-apocalyptic novel, "The Passage".)

It really highlights the fact that even among those of us who prepare for life beyond the initial weeks and months of a SHTF scenario, the true long term challenges are often not fully appreciated.


It wouldn't be the Internet if everyone agreed. :D

As for the amount of thought I've given this, would it surprise you to know that this was all "off the cuff", and that I wrote it as I considered it? And, undoubtedly, there are going to be things I've overlooked or discounted that some, hopefully kind, persons will point out.

I will say, however, that having a wife who is "in the business" shall we say, and about to earn her masters in homeland security, means that such things are sometimes discussed and pondered over the dinner table.

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Last edited by KJ4VOV on Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:10 pm 
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The most important thing that I learned during my seminar on radio communications at Z-con was that you have to keep the black smoke inside the radio if you want it to work!

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Over the long term in the ZPAW, this will take increasing amounts of duct tape...

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:23 pm 
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Jamie wrote:
The most important thing that I learned during my seminar on radio communications at Z-con was that you have to keep the black smoke inside the radio if you want it to work!

Image

Over the long term in the ZPAW, this will take increasing amounts of duct tape...

Jamie


It's not good to let too much of the gray or white smoke out either.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:34 am 
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KJ4VOV wrote:
Jamie wrote:
The most important thing that I learned during my seminar on radio communications at Z-con was that you have to keep the black smoke inside the radio if you want it to work!

Image

Over the long term in the ZPAW, this will take increasing amounts of duct tape...

Jamie


It's not good to let too much of the gray or white smoke out either.



Ah yes, the multiple colors of the magic smoke. I have let out the magic smoke a couple of times, and have thus far found it impossible to put back in. Beware the magic smoke.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:05 am 
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I disagree that there won't be lead acid battery component manufacture in any likely future. Any technology we had in 1860, I doubt we'll ever lose. But then again, I don't believe in the paw :lol: .

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:18 am 
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nateted4 wrote:
I disagree that there won't be lead acid battery component manufacture in any likely future. Any technology we had in 1860, I doubt we'll ever lose. But then again, I don't believe in the paw :lol: .


Yes and no... Will we still retain the knowledge and skills to make lead acid batteries? Yes, undoubtedly. Will we have the raw materials? Maybe, maybe not. Will such "homemade" batteries be as compact, efficient, portable and durable as modern lead acid batteries? Absolutely not.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:55 pm 
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KJ4VOV wrote:
nateted4 wrote:
I disagree that there won't be lead acid battery component manufacture in any likely future. Any technology we had in 1860, I doubt we'll ever lose. But then again, I don't believe in the paw :lol: .


Yes and no... Will we still retain the knowledge and skills to make lead acid batteries? Yes, undoubtedly. Will we have the raw materials? Maybe, maybe not. Will such "homemade" batteries be as compact, efficient, portable and durable as modern lead acid batteries? Absolutely not.


I agree that any mad-max battery, or battery made by this guy:

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will not be as nice as one made with modern industrial processes. But it is not beyond any community with a chemist and an engineer. And we're many generations of complete breakdown from not having any batteries. It hafta be more like this:

Image

before we had no batteries.

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

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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: Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:53 pm 
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In a real PAW situation, seems like radios would eventually drop by the wayside just due to power / lack thereof.

You would have your truly prepared folks who can run off the grid for a long time, but you would also have people with no means of charging / running their radios after a short period of no power grid.

So, still works but the traffic would thin greatly as time passed...

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:55 pm 
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Radios will run as long as you have power for them (a separate planning issue). The electromagnetic spectrum (bands & channels) are regulated by the government but not created by the government. In a disaster the government may limit or prohibit the use radio communications but the "air waves" are always there. During WWII amateur radio operations were suspended by the government during the war. Under the War Powers Act, the government can suspend radio operations. In the case of Amateur radio there are exceptions under the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Amat ... cy_Service)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:01 pm 
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Something else I'd like to add to my earlier post on this topic...

I discussed batteries in that post, and the long term viability of them as storage devices. One thing I neglected to mention is that, at least in northern climates, your chances of finding usable lead acid (car) batteries after the first year will be pretty close to nil. Not because others may have salvaged them all, but because a discharged car battery will freeze solid when the temps get below 20, and 9 times out of 10 that freezing will kill the battery due to warped or broken plates, and/or cracked cases. So, even if you happen to stumble upon a cache of them, or a warehouse full, after that first or second winter without them being protected from freezing most batteries will be toast.

The freezing point of a lead acid battery depends on its level of charge as follows:
100% charge freezes at -77f
75% freezes at -35
50% freezes at -10f
25% freezes at +5f
0% freezes at +20f

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:58 am 
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crypto wrote:
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.


As for APCO25 stuff not working, I think you might be referring to trunked public safety systems that rely solely on a wired infrastructure for proper operation. Even in the event of a communication infrastructure failure, each repeater site can be configured to run in a fail-back conventional (in-cabinet repeat) mode if needed. Also, single site/conventional APCO25 repeaters will not be affected by a communication infrastructure failure like trunked, cell systems. I know of 1 p25 repeater on a mountain in CO that is completely off the grid. The only thing that would render it a museum piece would be an EMP. Ive got both a VHF & UHF astro mobiles at 140 wats & 110 watts respectively. I've talked unit to unit about 30 miles in the right conditions on simplex. So, with that said, I think that anything other that an EMP, I think that P25 radios would be a viable solution especially running crypto on P25. ;-)


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:55 pm 
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Not very likely in my opinion. In a PAW electricity will be non-existent. Of course this assumption depends upon your definition of what a PAW will be like. I envision a PAW like the one used as the backdrop for Cormac McCarthy's "The Road."

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:42 pm 
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1832. That's when the first electrical generator was employed (this is not off the top of my head, I had to google it). Under what circumstances do you believe we will revert to less knowledge and capability than we had in 1832? What scenario leaves us without the most rudimentary of science and manufacturing without killing everyone? Cormack McCarthy novels aside, there is no realistic string of events that will leave us without radio. Marconi seriously put his radio together with scraps in his attic.

Or am I feeding the troll here?

Not to be the Grinch who stole Halloween here, but: There is no such thing as the PAW.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:10 pm 
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Although not very portable, I keep a collection of science, chemistry, and basic technology books around. with a little duct tape and some common sense building a crude battery and/or generator isnt impossible. Got to start somewhere.....

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:44 pm 
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don't forget: electric motor, old bike, and a young pair of legs then you're set. Morse code for ages!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:36 pm 
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skunkworks207 wrote:
Although not very portable, I keep a collection of science, chemistry, and basic technology books around. with a little duct tape and some common sense building a crude battery and/or generator isnt impossible. Got to start somewhere.....


"Crude" being the operative word here. Once the stock of batteries already manufactured at the time of the PAW onset is depleted you're down to whatever you can make with the materials at hand.

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