Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > The HAM Radio Board

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Fred_47460:

--- Quote from: The Wilderness on July 02, 2009, 08:42:21 PM ---Tactical Badger could you elaborate on this please ? Sis and I are going to test in a week or so and planned on HT's as our first radios. We are planning on using them primarily to communicate in the event of an earthquake and are both on foot rather than mobile. We intend on getting mobile units and a base sometime in the future.

TW


--- End quote ---

I have Ht's....I bought 2, one for myself and one for my wife. We used them for about 2 months before we bit the bullet and purchased mobile radios....one for her car, and one for mine. We've had these HT's for about 14 years now....all they do is gather dust. They are just too darn limited by range (there will be people who differ with any opinion), and batteries don't suddenly die in mid chat like they do on HT's (mobiles use automobile power). 5 watts into a 3 inch long antenna just don't compare with 50 watts into a 30 to 54 inch long antenna. We do commute over a 50 mile range as well...which makes HT's a waste of money for us.

All that being said....in your (TW and Sis) particular case...it would be good to have a couple cheapy HT's for SHTF scenario. You could use them HT to HT simplex over perhaps 3 to 5 mile range (depending on the topography) and be reasonably sure no one was listening in. They would be ok for emergency comms around the neighborhood. California is supposed to have a pretty robust repeater density....you will be able to use them if you can find an open machine within your range...and provided the SHTF hasn't happened yet and the repeaters still have power (some claim to have emergency power....and some even work when that happens.....but more often NOT) You can install a mobile antenna on your vehicle and still use your HT...and the mobile antenna will help immensely!

Have I confused you yet??

If you stay pretty close together....and you are not far from an open repeater system, then HT's may work ok, The bonus will be in SHTF scenario where you stay close together and wan't to be able to stay in touch "around the neighborhood".
If one or the other travels a fair distance from the other....especially in areas that have poor repeater coverage....then HT's won't work real good for you.

Ragnar:
you will probably want HT to begin with (just because you can take it anywhere) then after a while you will get a mobile. I got my first HT and could do ok into area repeaters (ended up using a normal Antenna at home for better coverage and a normal mobile antenna) then I bought a used mobile that I would take out between my car and home (with power supply)  Nothing wrong with an HT, in fact after several years (college) of being out of Ham radio and coming back the first thing I bought was an HT. I seldom use my HT with the exceptions on helping out in community events, even then I have a mobile set up as a base to use.

If you get an HT make sure to get or make a roll up J-pole, I would even suggest that you try making one just for the experience of it. there is something about the portability of an HT that is appealing but a mobile is more fun.   I am even considering a 817 for portability when I have to travel.

I think it is easy to get sucked into the HT with all the features but you really can get a good HT for a little over a hundred. that is how I would start.

I got my Ticket when I was in college and although I have gone thru periods of inactivity I always come back to amateur radio. It is fun, the one thing is you are always learning and I definitely see this as a hobby that I can enjoy for years to come. I actually figure I will be more active as I get older.

One of the other things I enjoy is the community events, helping out in bike races and such, best thing you can do to meet other hams (although those meeting can be expensive as you see things you want to make or buy)

Tactical Badger:
See...I don"t get the whole 817 concept.  Maybe its just that I'm not all that familiar with HF operation.  But the 817 just seems to me to be the largest, most cumbersome HT, without an antenna, on the market.

Yes, I know you don't need a kaquillion watts to work HF.  But the 817 is 5 watts.  I can't believe that it will run very long on the internal battery pack.  So...you'll probably end up using an external battery pack most of the time anyway.

Why not get an 857 and have 100 watts at your disposal?  An 857,a small gell cell battery, and some sort of portable antenna seems a better way to go to me.

Please let me know if I'm wrong about this.  But, I've been limited to 5 watts.  It sucks.  I know HF is different than VHF.  But if you need the wattage to reach out and contact someone, you need the wattage.

Fred_47460:

--- Quote from: Tactical Badger on July 08, 2009, 03:56:34 AM ---See...I don"t get the whole 817 concept.  Maybe its just that I'm not all that familiar with HF operation.  But the 817 just seems to me to be the largest, most cumbersome HT, without an antenna, on the market.

Yes, I know you don't need a kaquillion watts to work HF.  But the 817 is 5 watts.  I can't believe that it will run very long on the internal battery pack.  So...you'll probably end up using an external battery pack most of the time anyway.

Why not get an 857 and have 100 watts at your disposal?  An 857,a small gell cell battery, and some sort of portable antenna seems a better way to go to me.

Please let me know if I'm wrong about this.  But, I've been limited to 5 watts.  It sucks.  I know HF is different than VHF.  But if you need the wattage to reach out and contact someone, you need the wattage.

--- End quote ---

I agree that the 817 is not the best radio to make contacts with....although 5 watts, morse code, and a simple wire antenna will get you around the world....but for phone hf and VHF/UHF 5 watts isn't real effective. Where I think the 817 does make sense is if you are more interested in reception.....such as a SHTF scenario where you want to be able to receive a wide range of frequencies and bands to monitor world wide, regional, and local conditions. It may be that you won't want to transmit at all....just listen. For THIS purpose the 817 is a good choice....especially because of it's extremely low current consumption. It is true that a much cheaper AM/FM/Shortwave portable will do most of the same things....but not as well....nor do they usually cover ham vhf/uhf bands.

My own current radio choices include several AM/FM/Shortwave portables, an Elecraft K2 (I built from a kit) for extremely low power ham band HF, and a Kenwood TS-2000 for when I have the power to spare.....of course I do have a couple of HT's around here as well (somewhere around here). I've got several other Ham tranceivers around as well....but the above list is all I feel I need for world wide, regional, and local communications on nearly ANY band and mode.

Tactical Badger:
I totally agree with you about "reception".  Truth be told, sitting in your bunker or BOL, transmitting is probably not the smartest thing to do.  It wouldn't take much at all to locate you.

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