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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:20 am 
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Gathering up all my comm gear, and looking to centralize/organize it. So, I have a few questions.

Is there any other way to pick up Citizens Band (CB) transmissions on secondary gear? Or pick up FRS/GMRS trans? (Other than another CB/Two-Way).

Here's what I have that can receive RF:

Cobra Vehicle CB (Model 19DX IV), that i will essentially be using as a base station when camping/bugging out
FRS Two-Way
GMRS Two-Way
I have a mini short-wave radio
Eton emergency radio (FR300) that picks up Weather/TV (Reads TV1/TV2...I'm guessing VHF/UHF?)/AM/FM
I have a small old B&W with AV Jacks in the back that will be used for picking up UHF/VHF Trans, and will double as a portable security camera.

Any way to get any of this stuff to pick up transmissions? Can I pick up CB trans on a certain UHF channel?

Also, any body still make hand held CB's units??? I've seen/used some old GE one's about 20 some-odd years ago, but even that one was a good ten years old when I used it.

Thanks for any/all info or insight!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:53 am 
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Probably not, but it's possible if some of the receivers tune a bit out of their required range (which is common with analog gear, i.e. if you turn a knob to select the frequency rather than pushing buttons). CB channels are near 27 MHz, which your shortwave receiver might be able to pick up; depends on the radio. The FRS/GMRS channels fall into two clusters, one around 462.5-462.8 MHz and the other around 467.5-467.8 MHz, which are a little off the bottom end of the UHF TV spectrum (one or two TV channels' worth). It might be possible to pick FRS/GMRS channels up on the audio output of an old, sufficiently crappy TV, but tuning would be extremely tricky.

As for the handheld CB radios, let me Google that for you.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:09 am 
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Bunsen wrote:
Probably not, but it's possible if some of the receivers tune a bit out of their required range (which is common with analog gear, i.e. if you turn a knob to select the frequency rather than pushing buttons). CB channels are near 27 MHz, which your shortwave receiver might be able to pick up; depends on the radio. The FRS/GMRS channels fall into two clusters, one around 462.5-462.8 MHz and the other around 467.5-467.8 MHz, which are a little off the bottom end of the UHF TV spectrum (one or two TV channels' worth). It might be possible to pick FRS/GMRS channels up on the audio output of an old, sufficiently crappy TV, but tuning would be extremely tricky.

As for the handheld CB radios, let me Google that for you.
Yeah, I'm a dick. A tiny fraction of the blame may be assigned to Great Lakes Brewing Company's Christmas Ale (which is awesome), but it's mostly because I'm a dick. In vino veritas penis, as it were.


Thanks Bunsen...this is the kind of info I was looking for. Yeah, I shoulda googled the handhelds, but I like to ask for recommendations...I hate shopping on the net, and looking through 20-30 models, and knowing that half of them are crap...so I alwasy ask for recommendations.

I'll look up the mHz of the channels on my two-ways, and try to see if I can pick up anything on my small TV, and maybe mark it in the general area.

Not to sound like a dick, but if I do, it's cause of the Yellow Tail Merlot and the Grolsch :D

Thanks for all the help, Bunsen!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:22 am 
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Having used my Google Fu, now I must ask, with having a CB unit for my vehicle, is a handheld (they have some decent looking one's for around $40-$70) CB the way to go? I'm thinking CB is probably a much better system for communicating short range than say FRS/GMRS. Is there any advantage to FRS/GMRS over CB? I'm looking to go in one direction with my Comm, and am currently thinking a Handheld CB, Vehicle CB, and a Mobile Base Station will be the best route. Or am I smoking Crack?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:40 am 
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Handheld CB units are almost always extremely terrible. If the unit and its attached antenna are inside a vehicle, under many conditions, you can literally shout out the window farther than the handheld CB will work. Their only really successful use is with rock crawlers/wheelers where the spotter will take the handheld CB a few hundred feet up the trail and talk to the driver via a mobile CB unit permanently installed in the truck.

Effectively, the problems with a handheld CB unit are that the antenna is 90% shorter than it should be and then you stuff it inside a faraday cage and expect it to work. You might be able to get useful performance with a handheld CB unit using an antenna external to the vehicle but at that point you've spent more than you would on a mobile radio and gotten lower performance.

Something like a Midland 1001Z, properly installed, is pretty much the minimum successful hardware for CB with any usefulness.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:49 am 
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williaty wrote:
Handheld CB units are almost always extremely terrible. If the unit and its attached antenna are inside a vehicle, under many conditions, you can literally shout out the window farther than the handheld CB will work. Their only really successful use is with rock crawlers/wheelers where the spotter will take the handheld CB a few hundred feet up the trail and talk to the driver via a mobile CB unit permanently installed in the truck.

Effectively, the problems with a handheld CB unit are that the antenna is 90% shorter than it should be and then you stuff it inside a faraday cage and expect it to work. You might be able to get useful performance with a handheld CB unit using an antenna external to the vehicle but at that point you've spent more than you would on a mobile radio and gotten lower performance.

Something like a Midland 1001Z, properly installed, is pretty much the minimum successful hardware for CB with any usefulness.


Thanks Williaty...so, am I better off adding a few more GMRS capable two-ways to my comm stash, rather than going the CB route? And just leave the CB's to vehicle use?

I have my Cobra vehicle CB set-up to run off 110-115V through various adapters, and have it set-up to run as a base station off a deep cycle power kit during an emergency/power outage. BUT, now my question is, is this even a reasonable set-up?

Here's what I have now...it's a little more than the model you mentioned, but not sure that it's any better performance wise.

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&cp=10&gs_id=2n&xhr=t&q=cobra+19dxiv&tok=_1F2n-wzVOsFeOwbvLSMaQ&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&biw=1440&bih=805&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=1664040571112188140&sa=X&ei=ERHjTvfHL4qhtwfVgqWCBA&sqi=2&ved=0CGsQ8wIwAA

And here's the antenna I'm running...thinking of getting a 48" one, If I decide to stay with CB's as my primary comm method.

http://www.amazon.com/2ft-Black-CB-Antenna-FiberGlass/dp/B004752VEM

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Last edited by angelofwar on Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:56 am 
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angelofwar wrote:
Is there any advantage to FRS/GMRS over CB?

Quite a bit, in fact, if you're only talking about handheld devices. Handheld CBs have inherently craptastic antennas -- 1/4 of a wavelength is the minimum for ideal performance, but that's about 9 feet for a CB. So they have to use drastically shortened antennas, which have very poor efficiency. A quarter wavelength for FRS/GMRS is about 6 inches, so the handheld-size antennas are much closer to the ideal length and therefore much more efficient. That boils down to the FRS/GMRS radios burning a lot less battery power for equivalent range. Those CBs generally take 8 or 10 AAs, which makes them kinda huge and clunky, and they'll burn through those batteries pretty quickly when you're talking. It's common to find GMRS radios that run on 2 AAs, with size and weight savings to match. Higher frequencies also penetrate buildings better, which matters if you're not in the woods.

The principal advantage of a handheld CB is interoperability with vehicle-based CBs. Other than that, you're probably better off using higher frequencies.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:10 am 
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OK, so I went through basically every radio technology available to the public before I got to Amateur Radio. My specific need was to be able to communicate to all the vehicles in the 5-15 car convoys I was leading every other week. Here's my take on all the technologies:

CB: Absolutely the best for finding out about road conditions and the locations of cops. For this reason alone, all my convoys have at least one car with a CB radio in receive-only duty just listening to the truckers. However, it's very poor for car-to-car communication. Under ideal conditions, it works pretty well. With good equipment, properly adjusted (basically meaning left it the way it came from the factory, no peak-and-tune bullshit), and no interference, the voice quality is sufficiently high and understanding between drivers is good. However, every damned thing pisses CB radios off. You're going to be constantly fiddling with the RF Gain and Squelch if you're trying to maximize sensitivity while eliminating noise. Powerlines? Static. Flashing road hazard lights? Static. Anything else transmitting? Static. Any source of EMI? Static. Drive by a guy welding? Static. It's a major pain in the ass and the range isn't that great and the cost isn't that low.

FRS: On the plus side, being FM, it's much more immune to suddenly startling you by blasting static at you. This is a good thing. However, there's a problem that has nothing to do with the radio abilities and everything to do with the physical units themselves. FRS radios have become a commodity item like a microwave. This means the only thing left for the manufacturers to compete on is price alone. This has had very negative effects on the quality of radios over time. We have one set of very early Motorola units. The voice quality is good on both transmit and receive. However, each time someone in the group gets a newer set, the voice quality gets worse and worse as the manufacturers cheap out more and more. The newest/current radios are just plain bad, regardless of who makes them or what you spend for them. Voice quality is just barely adequate when walking around a mall or something like that, but quickly becomes unintelligible if you add in things like background noise. For this reason, it's really not good enough for convoy use. Also, in heavily populated areas (amusement parks, ski areas, freeways on holidays), there are so incredible many people trying to use the same few channels that you run the risk of not being able to communicate due to interference from other users. I would expect this to be an even bigger problem during a SHTF event like a regional evacuation.

GMRS: Honestly, nothing wrong with the technology except no one uses it and the cost is really very high for what you actually get out of it.

ARS (Specifically 2m and 70cm): Very good compromise. High rejection of interference (with a good radio). High to very high voice quality. High range on it's own or extremely high range with the use of repeaters. You can pretty much ALWAYS tell what the other person is trying to say which is critically important if you're relying on someone ahead telling you to "GO!" vs "NO!" (yes, we try to use "go" and "hold", but you know how people are when they get excited). Equipment cost is reasonable for what you get and selection is very wide. Downside is that it costs $15 to get licensed.



So, to fully address your real question, a cheap in-car CB radio like the Midland 1001Z (with an external antenna) just to monitor trucker traffic and then a mobile 2m or 70cm radio to communicate to the rest of your convoy would be the ideal solution. In convoy, it is absolutely not a problem to remember to say your call sign once when we start the convoy and then once every 10 minutes and then once when the convoy is over. That satisfies the legal requirements for identification and it doesn't get in the way of just talking, giving instructions, etc at all.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:11 am 
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Two things to keep in mind with the FRS/GMRS handies:

Because they're so cheap and commonly available, in a PAW or SHTF situation, everybody and their brother is gonna be on those things, so trying to reach the rest of your group/family will probably be difficult.

And...

Because they're so cheap and commonly available, in a PAW or SHTF situation, everybody and their brother is gonna be on those things, so trying to get help will probably be fairly easy.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:29 am 
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Thanks for the detailed response williaty.

OK, googled ARS, not a lot came up, but then I found the Yaesu brand of stuff...what exactly is ARS? High Frequency tranceivers in the UHF/VHF band? They're a little high dollar, but I'm pretty good at hunting down used quality equipment. Are ARS systems self reliant? (i.e. will they work when the "system" goes down?). They look pretty nice, and while I don't want to go the HAM route yet (don't have the funds), I'm mainly looking for a relaible system for a real camping/bug-out scenario, where I may have to leave the base camp for several hours, either hunting, or scouting, and really just want a reliable system more than anything. I essentially want a reliable 2 (min) 5 (max) mile range solution, that isn't limited to avehicle/continuous power source.

At work we use Motorolas on a military reserved band. I do like the idea of the CB though, if only for the channel 9 Emergency function, where I can contact government entities if needed (from what i read, a lot of police/911 dispatchers still monitor channel 9????)

Thanks again for all the help...gonna read up a little more on the ARS systems.

Oh, and to get over the mis-communication/hearing issues, we use "proceed" instead of "go". Instead of using numbers only we refer to qty's as "By"'s. i.e. instead of saying "I see 9 Z's", we'd say "I see 9-By Z's" or 6-by Z's, etc.. Makes it a lot easier to interpret what's actually being communicated. There's a few more that I will try to post when I can remember them.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:37 am 
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KJ4VOV wrote:
Two things to keep in mind with the FRS/GMRS handies:

Because they're so cheap and commonly available, in a PAW or SHTF situation, everybody and their brother is gonna be on those things, so trying to reach the rest of your group/family will probably be difficult.

And...

Because they're so cheap and commonly available, in a PAW or SHTF situation, everybody and their brother is gonna be on those things, so trying to get help will probably be fairly easy.


Agreed...a double edged sword...

Also, when looking at these ARS units (hand-held, or vehicle), what should I be looking for? There's a gazillion different units, and I don't speak ARS. Looking at what I'm seeing, I'm thinking CB's between the vehicles, and two ARS handhelds should suffice???

And, how easy would it be to build an ARS Base Station with a mobile power source (other than a generator...)

The Yaesu units seam to use custom batteries...I'm aiming more for modularity more than anything...are there any good ARS units that run off readily available batteries? I can build a reliable solar battery set-up around it if needed. I just don't like the idea of having something that runs off a battery JUST made for that unit...

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:48 am 
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angelofwar wrote:
OK, googled ARS, not a lot came up, but then I found the Yaesu brand of stuff...what exactly is ARS?

Amateur Radio Service, the formal name for "ham radio". I know you currently don't want to end up there, but keep an open mind.

Quote:
Are ARS systems self reliant? (i.e. will they work when the "system" goes down?).

Yes, any self-powered radio will continue to work as long as its batteries hold out, regardless of what type (we really should say "service") of radio it is. Additionally, you'll see the "infrastructure" come back up for 2m and 70cm faster than probably any other communication service because there are so many hams nationwide that have the gear and routinely practice setting up emergency communications after a major disaster that destroys the normal communications system.

Quote:
They look pretty nice, and while I don't want to go the HAM route yet (don't have the funds)

You might be surprised how cheaply you can do it. A lot of hams are equipment junkies. Many of them have a stack of "old" radios 12 deep in their closets where "old" means 9 months ago. If you get involved with your local club and let it be known that you're just starting out, I'd be pretty surprised if someone didn't offer you a simple VHF radio "just to get you started" for a very affordable price.

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I'm mainly looking for a relaible system for a real camping/bug-out scenario, where I may have to leave the base camp for several hours, either hunting, or scouting, and really just want a reliable system more than anything. I essentially want a reliable 2 (min) 5 (max) mile range solution, that isn't limited to avehicle/continuous power source.

No such thing exists.

No, really.

The problem with any statement about "reliable range" is that it always comes down to what's between the two radios. If you're halfway between the moon and earth, even junky little FRS radios probably have a 100mi range. However, if the guy you're trying to talk to is on the other side of a ridge, even if he's only half a mile away, there's no man-portable radio that'll "burn through" the mountain to get to him. In between those extremes fall things like buildings, trees, etc. The CB and FRS stuff will be, in my practical experience, pretty much equal under real-world conditions. The ARS stuff has a decided advantage in situations like forests due to the higher legal power. Nothing but an NVIS setup with the accompanying solar flare really helps with the "other side of the ridge" problem unless there's a repeater somewhere that you can both access.

Quote:
I do like the idea of the CB though, if only for the channel 9 Emergency function, where I can contact government entities if needed (from what i read, a lot of police/911 dispatchers still monitor channel 9????)

I think monitoring channel 9 is a MUCH less common thing that it used to be. I don't know of a single place that still does it and on the two occasions when I've tried to contact the state police that way, no one was listening. On the other hand, I have driven by a couple of "Emergency Dispatcher Monitors 146.520MHz" signs, which surprised the hell out of me. Regardless of wither it's CB or ARS, your most realistic scenario is that you can reach someone via the radio who can then use a phone to relay your emergency to a dispatcher.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:54 am 
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Bunsen wrote:
angelofwar wrote:
Is there any advantage to FRS/GMRS over CB?

Quite a bit, in fact, if you're only talking about handheld devices. Handheld CBs have inherently craptastic antennas -- 1/4 of a wavelength is the minimum for ideal performance, but that's about 9 feet for a CB. So they have to use drastically shortened antennas, which have very poor efficiency. A quarter wavelength for FRS/GMRS is about 6 inches, so the handheld-size antennas are much closer to the ideal length and therefore much more efficient. That boils down to the FRS/GMRS radios burning a lot less battery power for equivalent range. Those CBs generally take 8 or 10 AAs, which makes them kinda huge and clunky, and they'll burn through those batteries pretty quickly when you're talking. It's common to find GMRS radios that run on 2 AAs, with size and weight savings to match. Higher frequencies also penetrate buildings better, which matters if you're not in the woods.

The principal advantage of a handheld CB is interoperability with vehicle-based CBs. Other than that, you're probably better off using higher frequencies.


Thanks Bunsen...how about this...since hand held CB's go for as low as $30-$40, how feasible is this...

Having a portable base station CB set-up, and using a hand-held to go 300-400 yards into wooded areas, and still be able to maintain contact with a base camp??? Or is having two GMRS handhelds just as good?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:03 am 
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Thanks again williaty...the HAM has, and is, looking like a viable bug-in solution...but, is there anyway to communicate to any-one with a handheld using my HAM at the castle? I know the HAMS excel at communicating "ham-to-ham", and they they work when all other systems have gone down, but I'm more concerned with being able to talk to those holding down the fort while I'm out LEGALLY gathering food, or just sizing up the situation.

Sorry for the bombardment of questions, but I'm a natural tech junkie (my main area being lighting), and am genuinely interested in learning how to maximize the current comm systems available...if it isn't obvious by the stuff I've already listed. Thanks again for all the help with the "stupid" questions.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:20 am 
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To keep it legal, 2m ham equipment can only talk to 2m ham equipment, etc. However, there's a lot of advantages to having a 2m handheld to go gather food with and a 2m base station back at the house. There are non-legal options that modify that statement that we can't discuss here.

There's all kinds of very-day situations when this is nice. On of the most common that I use the house radio for is to monitor SKYWARN, which is the NOAA severe weather spotters' network. It's really handy to be hearing real information about where the storm is going and what it's doing. It's saved us from having hail damage to our cars several times.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:45 am 
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williaty wrote:
To keep it legal, 2m ham equipment can only talk to 2m ham equipment, etc. However, there's a lot of advantages to having a 2m handheld to go gather food with and a 2m base station back at the house. There are non-legal options that modify that statement that we can't discuss here.

There's all kinds of very-day situations when this is nice. On of the most common that I use the house radio for is to monitor SKYWARN, which is the NOAA severe weather spotters' network. It's really handy to be hearing real information about where the storm is going and what it's doing. It's saved us from having hail damage to our cars several times.


That's the kind of stuff I was looking for Will. Gonna go do some research on the different handheld HAMS. So I should be looking at 2m systems only? or 70cm, or both? (if they even come like that...all the ones I've looked at thus far are both). If I do get a 2M "base station" and a 2m handheld, is there anyway to make the 2m vehicel/base station portable, short of a generator? Let's say I had a deep cycle marine battery with xxxx mAh, i can wire it to the battery and use it in short bursts to talk to the person with the handheld? I'll be looking for handhelds that run off common battery types as well, that will easily be charged with solar solutions, unless you know if some right off the bat?

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Last edited by angelofwar on Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:00 am 
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angelofwar wrote:
williaty wrote:
To keep it legal, 2m ham equipment can only talk to 2m ham equipment, etc. However, there's a lot of advantages to having a 2m handheld to go gather food with and a 2m base station back at the house. There are non-legal options that modify that statement that we can't discuss here.

There's all kinds of very-day situations when this is nice. On of the most common that I use the house radio for is to monitor SKYWARN, which is the NOAA severe weather spotters' network. It's really handy to be hearing real information about where the storm is going and what it's doing. It's saved us from having hail damage to our cars several times.


That's the kind of stuff I was look for Will. Gonna go do some research on the different handheld HAMS. So I should be looking at 2m systems only? or 70cm, or both? (if they even come like that...all the ones I've looked at thus far are both). If I do get a 2M "base station" and a 2m handheld, is there anyway to make the 2m vehicel/base station portable, short of a generator? Let's say I had a deep cycle marine battery with xxxx mAh, i can wire it to the battery and use it in short bursts to talk to the person with handheld? I'll be looking for handhelds that run off common battery types as well, that will easily be charged with solar solutions, unless you know if some right off the bat?

Car battery and done.


I mean, really, you should do a much better system than that, but that will work. Any sort of 12V backup battery system will work fine to run a base/mobile station anywhere in the world without access to wall power. Plus, the ham community is CRAZY into the idea of using portable power supplies, probably even more so than preppers. You'll find a wealth of info about how to do it.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:13 am 
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angelofwar wrote:
Eton emergency radio (FR300) that picks up Weather/TV (Reads TV1/TV2...I'm guessing VHF/UHF?)/AM/FM
I have a small old B&W with AV Jacks in the back that will be used for picking up UHF/VHF Trans, and will double as a portable security camera.

Something nobody has mentioned yet is your FR300 and your old Bw TV. Since the move to digital broadcasting you may find little or nothing to see or hear on either of those units. There are a few low power TV stations still on the air using analog but depending on where you are you may not have much of a chance of hearing them.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:41 am 
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angelofwar wrote:
williaty wrote:
To keep it legal, 2m ham equipment can only talk to 2m ham equipment, etc. However, there's a lot of advantages to having a 2m handheld to go gather food with and a 2m base station back at the house. There are non-legal options that modify that statement that we can't discuss here.

There's all kinds of very-day situations when this is nice. On of the most common that I use the house radio for is to monitor SKYWARN, which is the NOAA severe weather spotters' network. It's really handy to be hearing real information about where the storm is going and what it's doing. It's saved us from having hail damage to our cars several times.


That's the kind of stuff I was looking for Will. Gonna go do some research on the different handheld HAMS. So I should be looking at 2m systems only? or 70cm, or both? (if they even come like that...all the ones I've looked at thus far are both). If I do get a 2M "base station" and a 2m handheld, is there anyway to make the 2m vehicel/base station portable, short of a generator? Let's say I had a deep cycle marine battery with xxxx mAh, i can wire it to the battery and use it in short bursts to talk to the person with the handheld? I'll be looking for handhelds that run off common battery types as well, that will easily be charged with solar solutions, unless you know if some right off the bat?


As Will said, we hams, especially those of us into emcomm (emergency communications), are BIG on portable power for our gear. As an example, in my truck right now I've enough power options (gas generator, inverter, solar, gel-cell batteries, etc.) that I can run just about everything in the truck for two weeks alone in the field, and indefinitely if I restrict myself to just a couple of radios and lower power levels. A couple of solar panels, a charge controller, and a good sized gel-cell battery (I have three 100aH batts in the truck) and your base rig is powered for almost forever. And, of course, you can recharge the HT from that same supply. Many HT's also have optional packs you can buy that take standard AA primary (disposable) cells.

Even if you're not ready to become a ham yourself right now, for whatever reason, I'd encourage you to find an amateur radio club in your area and attend a few of their meetings. Most club meetings are open to the public, and hams generally welcome newcomers with open arms. By attending a few meetings you'll make some friends that you can call on for advice and guidance right in your local area. (Hams call this "Elmering", and a ham who helps others, particularly newbies, is called an Elmer)

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:05 pm 
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yale wrote:
angelofwar wrote:
Eton emergency radio (FR300) that picks up Weather/TV (Reads TV1/TV2...I'm guessing VHF/UHF?)/AM/FM
I have a small old B&W with AV Jacks in the back that will be used for picking up UHF/VHF Trans, and will double as a portable security camera.

Something nobody has mentioned yet is your FR300 and your old Bw TV. Since the move to digital broadcasting you may find little or nothing to see or hear on either of those units. There are a few low power TV stations still on the air using analog but depending on where you are you may not have much of a chance of hearing them.


Excellent point...but, what are the old analog VHF/UHF channels going to be used for? I know Australia lets the civvies use the UHF frequencies for CB now, so it will be used for something. What, is the questions. But, I still plan on using the TV with my cam-corder (with night vision) as a mobile security camera set-up. The FR300 still has plenty of uses (Weather band/AM-FM, and can be used to charge batteries, and USB/Phone accessories.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:21 pm 
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KJ4VOV wrote:
angelofwar wrote:
williaty wrote:
To keep it legal, 2m ham equipment can only talk to 2m ham equipment, etc. However, there's a lot of advantages to having a 2m handheld to go gather food with and a 2m base station back at the house. There are non-legal options that modify that statement that we can't discuss here.

There's all kinds of very-day situations when this is nice. On of the most common that I use the house radio for is to monitor SKYWARN, which is the NOAA severe weather spotters' network. It's really handy to be hearing real information about where the storm is going and what it's doing. It's saved us from having hail damage to our cars several times.


That's the kind of stuff I was looking for Will. Gonna go do some research on the different handheld HAMS. So I should be looking at 2m systems only? or 70cm, or both? (if they even come like that...all the ones I've looked at thus far are both). If I do get a 2M "base station" and a 2m handheld, is there anyway to make the 2m vehicel/base station portable, short of a generator? Let's say I had a deep cycle marine battery with xxxx mAh, i can wire it to the battery and use it in short bursts to talk to the person with the handheld? I'll be looking for handhelds that run off common battery types as well, that will easily be charged with solar solutions, unless you know if some right off the bat?


As Will said, we hams, especially those of us into emcomm (emergency communications), are BIG on portable power for our gear. As an example, in my truck right now I've enough power options (gas generator, inverter, solar, gel-cell batteries, etc.) that I can run just about everything in the truck for two weeks alone in the field, and indefinitely if I restrict myself to just a couple of radios and lower power levels. A couple of solar panels, a charge controller, and a good sized gel-cell battery (I have three 100aH batts in the truck) and your base rig is powered for almost forever. And, of course, you can recharge the HT from that same supply. Many HT's also have optional packs you can buy that take standard AA primary (disposable) cells.

Even if you're not ready to become a ham yourself right now, for whatever reason, I'd encourage you to find an amateur radio club in your area and attend a few of their meetings. Most club meetings are open to the public, and hams generally welcome newcomers with open arms. By attending a few meetings you'll make some friends that you can call on for advice and guidance right in your local area. (Hams call this "Elmering", and a ham who helps others, particularly newbies, is called an Elmer)


Thanks KJ...I will definitely be looking to improve my portable power options and my comm situation...think I'm going to grab an inverter today (with alligator clips of course). I also have some of the rechargeable Remington 6V lantern batteries...I can keep them charged/top them off before a big storm, and even use them to charge my eneloops in a pinch if needed. I'm all about flexibility in my power options. What are some good larger batteries to keep around? I know regular car batteries were mentioned, and gel cells. My primary uses will be for charging batteries, realistically, that I can run my smaller gear off of, so I'm really looking for low wattage with lots of amp-hours, so I can recharge my stuff FULLY at least 20-30 times.

I will also be looking at local ARS clubs, as this may help me get my foot in the door for local volunteer rescue, as stated earlier, I'm already a certified SABC Instructor, and I have enough (and better) flashlights, to outfit an entire rescue party.

Thanks again for all the help folks.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:09 pm 
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angelofwar wrote:
What are some good larger batteries to keep around? I know regular car batteries were mentioned, and gel cells. My primary uses will be for charging batteries, realistically, that I can run my smaller gear off of, so I'm really looking for low wattage with lots of amp-hours, so I can recharge my stuff FULLY at least 20-30 times.


Batteries Plus carries a brand of SLA AGM's called Werker that are pretty good. That's what I'm using in the truck right now (for the radios) and I'm pleased with them. Here's a link to what I have: http://www.batteriesplus.com/product/35 ... r/12V.aspx

That model will run you about $225 each (cheaper if you buy by the pallet load like our emcomm team did) and with a deep cycle rating of 100aH will easily meet your needs. They're heavy though, not something you'll want to hand carry very far.

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NOTE: Due to the rising cost of ammunition, warning shots will no longer be given.

There's always a certain percentage of any population with the conviction that society is a conspiracy to deny them their rights.
The right to be totally ignorant of any useful knowledge seems to be the basic one.
- Keith Laumer


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:26 am 
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Thanks KJ...I'll have to give up my other hobbies before I pick up some of those...but, I'm all about buying the right tool for the job.

On a side note, the local Shack had this bad-boy on sale for $70 (Regular $100)...so...yeah, I grabbed it.

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This things pretty huge for a "radio" (shown with my E1B for size comparison). They didn't have any decent Radio (CB, Scanners, etc.), so...I grabbed this. Gonna do some reading and try to see what kind of stuff I can pick up on it...

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:57 pm 
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That's a good radio! I would get a second SW radio to get the SSB feature. It will give you a lot more options on monitoring the HAM and MARS bands. This will give you the option of monitoring two bands.

Shok

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