Any radio operators here?
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Old 07-03-2014, 01:46 AM   #1
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Default Any radio operators here?

I've been trying to make sense out of the online radio information but very little of it is in English.

I'm looking to communicate with people further away then down the street & around the block, but closer than New Delhi. Can someone point me toward what portable equipment & training I need to maintain communication with people about about 75 miles away, and also generally hear what else is going on, the next time the cell towers & land lines go down? Presume hilly, not mountainous, terrain.

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Old 07-03-2014, 02:42 AM   #2
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Default Any radio operators here?

Vin, can you put a small tower on your Property? Have someone Hang it for you? Put it on your house? I just listen these days (RX) I don't DX/QX(talk) like I used to except on 11 Meters( CB) or FMRS. But I had a nice Yeaseu CXD-100 multi Band until 1988, and stuff from Edmund Scientific, and Heathkit as well. I also had a Hybrid From Radio Shack that was a CB that was Tricked out to also do 10M Ham and such. Got rid of everything except my Scanner( uniden Bearcat ) and my cheap Sony world Band receiver...

I honestly think if you on a hill , anything but a Ham rig won't get you. 75Mi. Maybe 45-50 on a clear night with Regular AM CB, maybe on a SSB ( single Side Band) you might push it out as far as you want. I once talked to someone in Tallahassee Fl. Once at night. I was talking from atop the Palisades Parkway overlook near the GW Bridge in North Jersey Across From the Bronx and upper Manhattan, another time to someone In Atlanta from my Base Station rig in the Bronx on top of a hill my Apt building ...

Let me know what you decide

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Old 07-03-2014, 02:46 AM   #3
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IIRC, Vikingdad dabbles in shortwave or ham radio. might PM him and pick his brain for ideas and suggestions.

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Old 07-03-2014, 02:50 AM   #4
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Not sure if he has recently...but I'll ask him for you Vin. Thanks Axxe!!!


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Old 07-03-2014, 03:40 AM   #5
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Vinc, I'm not a ham operator, but with my limited experience, an SSB might be the way to go. Easy to get. Any electronics or boat catalogue will have them.
The antenna is a big part of any installation. Don't go cheap there.
Also, if it's for emergencies, you'll need a genset for when the power is out.
Doc, Viking, and Axxe can give you a lot more specific info., I believe.
Just my minor contribution.

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Old 07-03-2014, 04:08 AM   #6
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Thanks BoatMe! Yes! Esp. If you so with 50Ft. Off your house,..or 60-75Ft. from the ground. Also Get the Best Cable(RG-8U or Micro8U, the RG-58U is not enough Bandwith(in this case it also relates to size, a thicker center lead is the difference). Shakespere & K-40 Make Excellent Di-Pole Antennas(Ommi-Directional, instead of a loose wire "T", It's a Center base with the side Wires being wrapped around the long(9Ft.) Thick Base, and a 9Ft. Whip that screws into the top of it...You can also use the same antenna for some other comm Bands. Again CB is Eleven Meter(36 Ft. is a full wave antenna) so it also works on 10 & 20 Meters. a more expensive set up would be a Yagi Type of Beam Rod type Antenna with a rotating motor(directional) then The Di-pole-Ommi-directional...I'll see what else I remember....


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Old 07-03-2014, 06:32 AM   #7
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Have you seen the slinky antenna?



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Old 07-03-2014, 08:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincine View Post
I've been trying to make sense out of the online radio information but very little of it is in English.

I'm looking to communicate with people further away then down the street & around the block, but closer than New Delhi. Can someone point me toward what portable equipment & training I need to maintain communication with people about about 75 miles away, and also generally hear what else is going on, the next time the cell towers & land lines go down? Presume hilly, not mountainous, terrain.
Well, Vincine, I was a radioman in the Navy and I can tell you that for OTH (over-the-horizon) comms with ship and shore facilities without bouncing off a bird (satellite) and without a LOS (line of sight) shot to the receiver, we would use HF radios.

Longer wavelength signals travel over hill and dale, such as it were, better than shorter wavelength signals. Shorter wavelength signals tend to do better where there are frequent or dense obstructions that would absorb longer wavelengths, such as urban or suburban areas, which would be one of the reasons why cellular telephones and wireless radios use higher frequency wavelengths.

In any event, most of the performance of a radio is in the design and tuning of the antenna and the selectivity and sensitivity of the circuitry responsible for demodulation of the signal.

In layman's terms, this means having an antenna that's "pointed" correctly, if it is not omni-directional, and literally cut to a length suitable for the frequency of the signal being transmitted or received is of utmost important, as is the ability of the tuning and receiving components in your radio to distinguish the signal you are trying to receive from interference.

This may come as a bit of a surprise, but in most commercial radios, especially inexpensive radios, this is not where the majority of your money is spent. More money is typically devoted to features that do not measurably improve the ability of the radio to send and receive signals, such as packaging, speakers or microphones, and electronics responsible for power management or user features not specifically related to send/receive.

Some designs are better than others and, to an extent, you get what you pay for. From having built radios myself (AM and FM transceivers) I can say that most of what you get in inexpensive commercial units is packaging and features, not signal quality or a suitable antenna. No matter how expensive or fancy your speaker is, if you have poor signal quality it will not matter.

Lastly, and this is a minor point that does need to be considered, there are certain power requirements for longer distance transmissions that something like a commercial VHF or UHF handheld typically won't provide. You don't have to pump out a thousand watts or anything near that, but radios that push less than 5 watts typically don't have enough power to send the signal far enough through the atmosphere to do what you want to do under anything less than ideal conditions.

You may hear a story or two of how some enterprising young lad took a 5 watt VHF or UHF transceiver and talked to someone fifty miles away or something along those lines. Yes, it is possible to do something like that. I guarantee it was over obstruction free terrain, no interference from electrical lines/storms/solar activity/other radios, and probably at higher than sea level elevation.

As far as training is concerned, you are going to need an amateur radio operator's license from FCC. Go to www.arrl.org for more information.

As far as equipment is concerned, you need to provide more specifics about exactly what you're trying to do. Are you trying to keep mobile stations (vehicles) in touch with each other, are you communicating with aircraft, or are you communicating with a family friend in a cabin up in the mountains? Are you trying to transmit data?
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Old 07-03-2014, 12:41 PM   #9
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qrz.com has a lot of info on the ham license(s), testing etc.

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Old 07-03-2014, 12:59 PM   #10
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By god I was a Rad Op for 6 years, US Army trained in Ft Gordon GA! That said, others can give you much better current info than I could today. One of the biggest consideration is who your talking to, where they are and what they can install, have, etc. As someone else mentioned, Distance is less of a problem if your line of sight than if your trying to hop over hills and through lots of forest overgrowth and other buffers. There are some higher freq rigs you can buy now that are pretty solid, most need licenses to use and all are better with a good outdoor antenna than a whip. Almost any antenna can be made directional according to configuration, placement, cut, ballast and other variables, you can research options that would work best for your location. You dont always need a giant tower to reach out far, Ive set ballast loaded AM directional antennas off 20' trees that CAN REACH TOKYO on a good day. OK, maybe a little stretch and those were big radios that threw lightning bolts for signals but you get the point, the antenna can make the system but it doesnt have to break your bank. You can get much more distance out of a directional antenna than a wide angle PU/ Transmit.

Sat phones arent necessarily inexpensive by any means but they can be the most reliable communications as long as uncle sugar keeps the lines open but thats not assured in a SHTF scenario.

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