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Old 04-02-2015, 13:04   #1
Deputydave
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Grid down communication

Mac posted this link in another thread:




This got me thinking, I use a radio at work everyday but really don't have a knowledge base on this tool. If the grid was down (for whatever reason), what would be a good means of communication? Looking at the link above, it has a lot of lingo that I'm not knowledgeable on. Nor do I know the range of these types of radios or if it can be used during a grid-down situation etc.

So I figured it was worth a thread for those more savvy on the topic to sound off. Explanation of lingo, ranges, uses, things to look for, must-haves, links etc are welcome.
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Old 04-02-2015, 14:00   #2
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Here is an interesting link for prepper communications.

https://radiofreeq.wordpress.com/
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Old 04-02-2015, 15:06   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac66 View Post
Here is an interesting link for prepper communications.

https://radiofreeq.wordpress.com/
Ive been looking into this myself, I used to listen to ham communications on my scanner (which by the way is a better way of getting storm info than tv.) I don't think there are as many in the radio hobby as their used to be. CB radio is still probably more popular but limited range and idiotic language being spewed is a turn off. IF you live near large bodies of water vhf would be worth looking into.
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Old 04-02-2015, 17:30   #4
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Ive been looking into this myself, I used to listen to ham communications on my scanner (which by the way is a better way of getting storm info than tv.) I don't think there are as many in the radio hobby as their used to be. CB radio is still probably more popular but limited range and idiotic language being spewed is a turn off. IF you live near large bodies of water vhf would be worth looking into.
The advantage of the dual band radio listed is that it can be programmed to a wide range of frequencies including ham. It can also serve as a scanner for Public safety bands (within limits).

Not withstanding the FCC rules and legalities it is a very flexible communications system and is a very inexpensive way to get into the radio/comms hobby.

I do recommend getting at least a ham tech license since in an emergency ham radio operators will have comms up and running in no time. Having alternatives to ham is a good option as well. The link I noted is just one way to do it. I do know people who have set up their radios using it as a model. Another and/or in addition to, is going the Part 90 Itinerant radio license route I outlined in another thread.
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Old 04-02-2015, 19:55   #5
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Awesome info! I had no idea that programmable radios were that cheap.
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Old 04-02-2015, 20:58   #6
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I'm a radio moron. What is the 'narrow band' that is discussed in the descriptions & reviews of the UV-5 and B6 radios?
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Old 04-02-2015, 21:05   #7
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Old 04-02-2015, 23:20   #8
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Ham... and RF guy here. Not an expert, but not too bad.


'Narrow Band' has to do with some recent FCC changes. In order to make more room for more users, they are mandating that new 2 way radios have tighter spaces between channels, or 'more narrow' spacing

(im going to make this up). 400.150mhz and 400.175mhz

that is a 25 kHz spacing. New radios have to do 12.5 kHz spacing, so 400.275 is possible. It's not possible on older radios. What that means is that if you buy an 'older' radio that isn't narrow band, it's theortically possible that there are channels you wont be able to talk on. But, most radios have been able to do both for a long time. I'm talking like anything newer than 2004.

So, it's sort of like the 'digital' tv switch over a couple of years ago.


The BaoFeng have overall good reviews in the HAM world. They are cheap as DIRT and the ability to operate 'wide band' (ham lingo for out of band transmission). So, in addition to operating in the ham areas (like 440m) they also will do FRS, GMRS (462) and pretty much anything else you can think of. The Chinese radios are notorious for having crappy menus and worthless instruction manuals. Buy the programming software, you'll need it. I'd say for the majority of people they will be fine. Durability is a little questionable also. I have a similar model that I used to use for RF testing at work, and now I keep it in the car as my 'BOB radio. My $300 yaesu y7r stays at home. (my car gets broken into a lot lol) so I'd rather lose a $30 radio.



To get back to the question that is asked time and time again, what's the best coms for SHTF..

The real question is, who are you trying to talk to?

Someone in the same street?

The same block?

The same city?

The same state?

The same continent.

handheld, mobile, or fixed?

I think that those questions all have different answers.

opinion:

UHF (like FRS or GMRS) for close range
VHF for across town (like 150mhz)
HF for the next city over, or country (like CB)

Or just buy a yaesu ft857 and be able to do everything.
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Old 04-02-2015, 23:24   #9
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Oh and, the cheap radios use these special antenna connectors, so adding an external antenna (which can be very important) can be a pain in the butt. Buy an antenna adapter to something standard like BNC or SMA
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Old 04-03-2015, 08:10   #10
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In my experience the software that comes with the Baofeng is worthless, as is the cable that sometimes come with them. The software program called CHIRP is the way to go. CHIRP is free and already has many of the frequencies you will want programmed into it.

That link I posted earlier has 100 channels programmed into CHIRP already. Of it you don't want those THE place to go for CHIRP is called Mikor.com. CHIRP usually has weather, marine, MURS, GMRS/FRS already programmed into it.

http://www.miklor.com/uv5r/


There is also a yahoo group with lots of info, and some other forums have huge threads on them with lots of info.
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Old 04-03-2015, 08:12   #11
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Keep in mind these radios are not Part 90 compliant radios. While they can RX/TX on bands other than Ham bands it would be illegal to do so. That means no FRS, GMRS (which you need another license for) MURS and Marine.

There are new Baofeng radios that appear to be compliant but the prices head up towards what you could spend on a good radio.
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Old 04-03-2015, 08:14   #12
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Quote:
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Oh and, the cheap radios use these special antenna connectors, so adding an external antenna (which can be very important) can be a pain in the butt. Buy an antenna adapter to something standard like BNC or SMA

No even an issue. It's a simple SMA connector. There are adapters to change from male to female and vise versa as well as to, BNC or anything else you may want. Less the $5 typically.
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Old 04-03-2015, 08:25   #13
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Here is a breakdown of bands. Note that VHF is very high frequency and UHF is ultra high frequency.

VHF
46-50 MHz: Cordless telephones, "49 MHz" FM walkie-talkies, and mixed 2-way mobile communication
50-54 MHz: Amateur (ham) radio "6-meter" band
144-148 MHz: Amateur "2-meter" band
148-174 MHz: "VHF Business Band", the new unlicensed Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS), and other 2-way land mobile, FM
156-174 MHz VHF Marine Radio FM
162.40-162.55: NOAA Weather Stations, FM
222-225 MHz: Amateur "1-1/4-meter" band


VHF NOTE...Note that the Ham 2 meter band is very close to the VHF business band. Also note that the marine band and NOAA stations fall within the same range. The "other" in that range includes many police, fire, ems who haven't switched to the 800 mhz yet. Many businesses, i.e., cabs, buses, school districts, security companies, use those frequencies and there are many, many, many repeaters in use in most cities. 2 meter ham is probably the most widely used ham band and there are many 2-meter repeaters in use in most communities.

UHF
420 - 450 MHz: radiolocation and Amateur "70 cm" band
450 - 470 MHz: UHF business band, GMRS, and FRS 2-way "walkie-talkies", police, fire, ems
849 - 869 MHz: public safety 2-way (fire, police, ambulance)
1240 - 1300 MHz: Amateur radio


UHF-Note that the business band in UHF incorporates GMRS/FRS. There are a few GMRS repeaters and of course they are not restricted to the low power of bubble pack radios. There are still police, fire, ems that are in this range that have not switched to the newer 800mhz digital yet.

I don't want to hog this thread. If anyone wants more info about GMRS/FRS, MURS or some alternatives say so and I will put up what I know. Otherwise I will shut up now
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Old 04-03-2015, 08:28   #14
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Playing along, here is the FCC band range and required license for Ham.

Survival/Preparedness Forum
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Old 04-03-2015, 08:36   #15
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Quote:
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I'm a radio moron. What is the 'narrow band' that is discussed in the descriptions & reviews of the UV-5 and B6 radios?
The previous poster got it close re narrow band but not quite.
It doesn't appy to narrow channels for more users, but Narrow audio bandwidths in the allotted space for more users.

New and old radios will cover the same frequencies but the newer units have tighter audio bandwidths requirement so there's less splatter outside of the said space and more users will fit with less interference.
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Old 04-03-2015, 10:18   #16
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I saw the other thread about the bag

saw the radio mention and followed it over to this thread. I too was thinking about the radio, asked in another forum about communication. All that I currently have in my prep stuff is a AM/FM/weather/TV Sony. It does not pick up TV or radio at my current location, the radio is older and I'm wondering if the digital switchover for TV has made the TV option obsolete. Weather? Signal too weak? FM is strong as is AM reception. It is better than nothing.

Which got me thinking about a comm upgrade. My knowledge of radios is slim and none. Which has me thinking how I would intend to use a radio like the Baofeng programmable unit. As far as 2 way, I know of no other person other than civil authorities who would have a radio capable of receiving my responses. so mainly I guess I would be looking to use the unit for reception mostly in the event of an emergency. Possibly listening in on police and fire traffic and learning the language. I doubt getting heavily invested in the radio craft is something I would seek to do, a few reviews I have read advises this is a decent cheap way to get into the radio craft.
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Old 04-03-2015, 11:21   #17
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Normally I'd tell people to buy a good scanner and fill it full of common frequencies.. but now, with the Chinese 'part 90' radios being SO cheap, even if all you ever do is listen to them, it's still a deal. Oh and, a nice feature of 'better' radios (like a Yaesu) is the ability to label the channels. That way, when the radio is scanning and stops, you actually know what you are listening to (for example FRS ch1, Biz Band Ch4, etc).
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Old 04-03-2015, 11:37   #18
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saw the radio mention and followed it over to this thread. I too was thinking about the radio, asked in another forum about communication. All that I currently have in my prep stuff is a AM/FM/weather/TV Sony. It does not pick up TV or radio at my current location, the radio is older and I'm wondering if the digital switchover for TV has made the TV option obsolete. Weather? Signal too weak? FM is strong as is AM reception. It is better than nothing.

Which got me thinking about a comm upgrade. My knowledge of radios is slim and none. Which has me thinking how I would intend to use a radio like the Baofeng programmable unit. As far as 2 way, I know of no other person other than civil authorities who would have a radio capable of receiving my responses. so mainly I guess I would be looking to use the unit for reception mostly in the event of an emergency. Possibly listening in on police and fire traffic and learning the language. I doubt getting heavily invested in the radio craft is something I would seek to do, a few reviews I have read advises this is a decent cheap way to get into the radio craft.
A couple suggestions,

1. buy two radios so you have someone to talk too. You can use MURS and Marine (on water) etc without a license.

2. Get your ham Tech license so you can talk. You can study for the Tech license online, usually study a couple hours a night for several nights is enough to pass the 30 question test. Cost is $10 for 10/years. Then you can actually use those Baofengs for something.

I am going to post some info on what MURS/GMRS is so you get an idea.
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Old 04-03-2015, 11:47   #19
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Quote:
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A couple suggestions,

1. buy two radios so you have someone to talk too. You can use MURS and M up arine (on water) etc without a license.

2. Get your ham Tech license so you can talk. You can study for the Tech license online, usually study a couple hours a night for several nights is enough to pass the 30 question test. Cost is $10 for 10/years. Then you can actually use those Baofengs for something.

I am going to post some info on what MURS/GMRS is so you get an idea.
The Baofeng radios are not legal to transmit on anything other than ham bands to the best of my knowledge. They do not meet FCC requirements to do so..
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Old 04-03-2015, 12:07   #20
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Grid down,who cares info is just that no matter the source.'08.
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