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Old 04-08-2014, 09:19 PM   #71
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LOL, that's a lot of questions. Man-portable, but able to run off a vehicle's 12V system, as light as possible, battery powered, multi frequency, able to get good distance (10 miles?) in semi-hilly terrain. Let's say you have a budget larger than 40 bucks, and if justified, (for weight savings, reliability, range, compactness, etc.), you can use new parts. Say, 200 bucks tops per unit.

But, at that price, might you do better going to one of the quality commercial radios?
Well, if you want something designed to do something specific, then those are going to be some of the opening questions I'd need answers to.

The unit I had in mind would be man portable, effective operating range would be dependent on the quality and design of the antenna, selectivity and sophistication of the signal processing circuitry, and operating conditions. There wouldn't be any fancy packaging involved though, as the money for all that is simply not there.

If you have a larger budget to work with, then you can obviously make or purchase a better quality antenna and signal processing components, and at a certain point, unless you just like toying with electronics (some of obviously do), then a commercial unit may satisfy performance criteria.

What another poster indicated with respect to the antenna quality is true. Most commercial units come with less than what I would call high quality antennas.

There are three areas that you don't want to save money on with respect to a radio and virtually all manufacturers do (unless specific design criteria dictate otherwise). Antenna, component quality for signal processing, and connections between the components are going to play a big part in how well or poorly a radio performs, with respect to range and signal quality.

If the amount of money spent on packaging (how colorful the box is that the unit comes in, how fancy the chassis looks, etc) is a substantial portion of the cost of the radio (and at just $40, it is), then it shouldn't come as a surprise that the performance isn't going to be all that great.

Even with $200, I'm not sure you can simply buy, as a single unit, a radio that would fit those criteria but a simple CB radio (the kind you'd put in a car) and a better antenna would come close (the handheld units generally have poor antennas and not enough power output, though).

A lot of the limitations on what you can do with a given technology set are artificially limited by things like conforming to government regulations. If the government regulations weren't in place, you could easily up the power output of a CB radio and get 10 miles in less than ideal conditions.
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:39 PM   #72
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What another poster indicated with respect to the antenna quality is true. Most commercial units come with less than what I would call high quality antennas.
Would that include those higher priced commercial Motorola & like radios that you need a license for?

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Even with $200, I'm not sure you can simply buy, as a single unit, a radio that would fit those criteria but a simple CB radio (the kind you'd put in a car) and a better antenna would come close (the handheld units generally have poor antennas and not enough power output, though).
Ok, so let's assume there is no govt. regs, (SHTF conditions), and you start with a commercial CB as a starting point. Then tweak from there to gain range. (I am aware that as of right now, this is not legal to broadcast.)

Back in the early 90's, I worked for a construction company that had radios in the trucks. They were not CB, but aimed more at businesses. They had a range of probably 10 or more miles. I'm not sure what system they used, but I think it was a paid service, with a large relay antenna somewhere.
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:40 PM   #73
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One thing I will say is that given the legal power output level of FRS radios in compliance with FCC regulations regarding the matter, and if you understood anything about signal attenuation, it should be pretty obvious that unless you're on the top of a mountain and communicating with someone else on the top of a mountain, your Motorola FRS handheld isn't going to get anything near the advertised range.
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:08 PM   #74
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Would that include those higher priced commercial Motorola & like radios that you need a license for?
You can get radios from Motorola and a variety of other manufacturers that will easily cover 10 miles. Most of them cost considerably more than they need to because of "features" not related to one person talking to another.

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Ok, so let's assume there is no govt. regs, (SHTF conditions), and you start with a commercial CB as a starting point. Then tweak from there to gain range. (I am aware that as of right now, this is not legal to broadcast.)

Back in the early 90's, I worked for a construction company that had radios in the trucks. They were not CB, but aimed more at businesses. They had a range of probably 10 or more miles. I'm not sure what system they used, but I think it was a paid service, with a large relay antenna somewhere.
I can guarantee that the system that your company purchased was considerably more expensive than what the average Joe would consider appropriate or necessary for asking the wife to pick up a gallon of milk on her way to the store. With enough repeaters you can make a FRS link to another person on the other side of the world, it's only a question of money and manpower. That said, I think the question was can you make a CB radio transmit 10 miles and, yes, even within legal power output limits you can do that.

Range, as previously stated, is dependent on a number of variables and no two situations will ever be exactly the same. The longer wavelengths are more suitable for longer distances (over hill and dale, such as it were) whereas the shorter wavelengths work a little better when there are more obstructions (like inside a city) if efficiency is a consideration in design (and generally it is).

Power output has to be progressively increased with range if you're not communicating in space. The output requirements aren't crazy or anything, but they do exist. Yes, you can make a receiver more selective, yes there are things you can do to a signal to focus it, and yes you can make or buy better antennas, but I like to deal with general cases rather than specifics that only apply to specific situations.
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:30 PM   #75
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That is a great deal more difficult than it seems. For instance, there is this douchebag on the local repeater here (N6NFI) who will make fart noises/raspberries all the time when other people are using the repeater. There are a bunch of hard-core radio operators who have been attempting to track him down but so far have been unsuccessful in doing so.

I guess fox hunting isn't real popular around there.
All you need is a HT, a 3 element yagi, and a compass.
Some people go to the extreme and buy a doppler.
If I get them on the reverse, I'll rotate my beam
until I get full signal strength, then take it from there...

These are pretty cool....

http://www.foxhunt.com.au/2m_sniffer/manual.htm

You can do pretty much the same thing by going off
frequency, taking off the HT antenna, and using your
body to shield the signal.

Being a ham, you probably know most of this already.
This information is for those looking to get involved.

Our club has caught a hand full of people that are really
bad with QRM, or jamming emergency frequencies.

BTW, fox hunting is fun! Really interesting when they
put the transmitting antenna (yagi) on a rotator! Then
throw a water tower in the mix. Usually there's food
after the hunt. (at least with us!)
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