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JaxDad

Greater Toronto Area

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Joined: 08/02/2011

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Posted: 07/16/20 06:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If all you are looking for is emergency communications, or merely to send a check in message to someone back home, this is probably the easiest and cheapest solution there is.

They are heavily used by us in the aviation community as a safety net in case we are forced down in a remote location. I have used them many many times as a check in signal when doing trips in very remote areas. They work flawlessly.

Spot Locators

Veebyes

Bermuda & Maryland Eastern Shore

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Posted: 07/16/20 09:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ham since late 70s here. I do have 2M in the truck but seldom use it. Leave it on 146.520 when travelling but seldom hear anyone on it.

Repeaters are great, especially when linked, but too much trouble to be messing with settings as you travel from one area of coverage to the next. Need a radio person to operate.

Sadly, the multiband antenna is used more for finding the truck in a big carpark these days.

For short range finding somebody in a big box store or parking directions in the CG the FRS radio is tough to beat.


Boat: 32' 1996 Albin 32+2, single Cummins 315hp
40+ night per year overnighter

2007 Alpenlite 34RLR
2006 Chevy 3500 LT, CC,LB 6.6L Diesel

Ham Radio: VP9KL, IRLP node 7995

Johno02

Lexington, TN USA

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Posted: 07/16/20 10:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All the solutions seem good, but most require a license to operate legally. Which may or may not present a problem. The point I want to take is that if you or yours have any condition that might require emergency treatment, you might consider staying away from places that have no cell phone reception. Just another thought from an old, and getting older friend.


Noel and Betty Johnson (and Harry)
2005 GulfStream Ultra Supreme, 1 Old grouch, 1 wonderful wife, and two silly poodles.


Flute Man

Payson, Arizona

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Posted: 07/16/20 12:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Call me if you wish because I can talk much better than I can type.

* This post was edited 07/20/20 01:09pm by Flute Man *


Jerry Parr
05 Mandalay 40B
Cat C7 350
04 Honda CR-V
Ham Radio K7OU
Retired EE
[email protected]
602-321-8141
Full-timer

Bumpyroad

Virginia

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Posted: 07/16/20 04:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rdhetrick wrote:

As a ham myself, I can give you my experience...

If you're looking to communicate with someone else along with you, they work great, much better than FRS.

However, if you're wanting it for "emergency" communications with the outside world if you don't have cell signal, I don't think it's effective. There just isn't enough people "listening" out there. Sure, some areas are active, but the vast majority of space is pretty dead. Even on the repeaters, I find most places to be quiet.

For example, I recently made a trip out west from Dallas, TX to southern CA, AZ, and NM. Over the course of that 4 week trip, I got ZERO responses on the 2M calling frequencey. While driving, I'd call out every hour or so. Usually when I reached a campground, I'd try once.

Bottom line, I don't consider it a reliable mode of communication for a personal emergency.

I do a lot of hiking, and I'm thinking hard about getting a PLB for a true emergency.

AA5RV


this has been my thoughts whenever these threads come up. yep, peoople like to brag that you can talk to somebody in singapore. no you can't rely on one for general use.
bumpy





wa8yxm

Wherever I happen to park

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Posted: 07/17/20 05:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I will say again .. Many areas my 2 meter or 70cm rigs are basically uselewss

But the HF rig can reach out if I need it to. I don't HF from the driver's seat but I've never been where I could not reach someone with it.. Just have to pick your band depending on the time of day.

HF rig is a Kenwood TS-2000 now 15 years old with a KAT-1 Auto tuner and an assortment of long wires depending on where I'm parked.


Home is where I park it.
Kenwood TS-2000 housed in a 2005 Damon Intruder 377


Wadcutter

IL

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Posted: 07/17/20 09:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It won't hurt anything to add a ham VHF/UHF to your kit. It's just another backup to cell, CB, FRS, GMRS, whatever you have already. One may work, the other may not. Or both may not work. Or one may work sometimes and in the same place not work at a different time. You never know.
I run with a VHF/UHF mobile in the truck altho I very rarely get on it. If I have a general idea where I'll be traveling I'll load in the repeaters for those areas. I always monitor 146.520 which is the ham 2 meter simplex calling freq in the US. As with 146.520 and all repeaters maybe someone is listening, maybe not. Just because you don't hear someone talking doesn't mean they're not monitoring. Same as when people say they've been calling while traveling and no one is monitoring. Maybe they are. Just because you call doesn't mean they have to answer. A lot of people won't answer because they don't know you and don't care to strike up a conversation with someone just passing thru. People don't generally like carrying on a long winded conversation with someone they don't know just because it's on the radio. But if you throw out your call followed by you need assistance they are more likely to answer.
When we're camping I have my HF rig along. There are smaller mobile antennas that let you work HF while moving. It's not something I'm interested in doing so I don't mount one on my truck. When I set up in camp I throw up either a dipole or end fed. I have run a vertical but don't care for the performance I get compared to a simple dipole or end fed.
Last summer I set up my HF rig at the Arctic Circle. Strung an inverted V dipole with the peak at 15 ft and ends at 3 ft. 100 watts. Propagation on HF has been very poor the last couple of years and my set up was far from ideal. Still was able to work FL, CA, TX, and OH from the Arctic Circle on 20 meters. A few weeks later I set up the same configuration near Moose Pass, AK and couldn't make contact with anyone. At Moose Pass I was set up in a valley with mountains all around.
When you're preparing for an emergency never rely on just one method of anything. Everything from communications to water to food to navigation requires a backup to a backup to a backup.


Camped in every state


wa8yxm

Wherever I happen to park

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Posted: 07/17/20 06:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Another point of view: Choice is good. The more choices you have the better.

So when I'm on the road I have two CB's one on 13 (very bad antenna) one on 19 (Much better antenna, also a better radio)... I have a dual band dual watch 2 meter/70cm D-Star/FM ham radio (Icom ID-5100) I have a D-Star "Terminal" (ID-51A+2 in Terminal mode feeding a Raspberry Pi running qnetgateway software wi-fi to my phone and the internet) I have the phone if I need it. and if I pull over and park the TS-2000 (160 meters (useless with the antennas I have) 80,40,20,15,10,6,2, and 70cm multi-mode. With assorted antennas. That one generally can contact someone.


If you are interested in Ham radio and not yet licensed I will give you the path to knowledge

www.arrl.org

From there you can find a club near you and you can go to the store link and order study guides (there is a test you have to pass. it was easy In fact there are 3 of them each one harder than the last you need only pass 1 for CW and UHF/VHF adn 10 meters 2 for Lower frequency Voice I passed all 3. Missed 2 (out of 50) on the hardest one)

You may be able to take a class courtesy of your local ham club (I DID well 2/3 of it)

YOU NO LONGER NEED TO KNOW MORSE CODE.. They eliminated that just after my last upgrade [emoticon]

To the test take
A pocket calculator (Optional)
Some #2 Pencils (take 2 or 3 in case one breaks)
15 dollars (I think you will get change back)
ID (Driver's license, School ID. State ID card)

I did use the calculator for one question on the Extra class.

It has been too long since I took the General Written Exam (1968) and it has changed since.

OkieGene

oklahoma city

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Posted: 07/17/20 07:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You can rent a satellite phone, and this option may work very well if you don't need to own one and will only be off the grid, so to speak, rarely.

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 07/17/20 09:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wa8yxm wrote:

I will say again .. Many areas my 2 meter or 70cm rigs are basically uselewss

But the HF rig can reach out if I need it to. I don't HF from the driver's seat but I've never been where I could not reach someone with it.. Just have to pick your band depending on the time of day.

HF rig is a Kenwood TS-2000 now 15 years old with a KAT-1 Auto tuner and an assortment of long wires depending on where I'm parked.


Beg to differ, 2mtr and 70CM CAN be far more "reliable" in an CLOSE emergency than HF, period.

Yes, MY DW and I have "tickets" and yes, we HAVE talked outside the US on HF, but "reliable" it is not. I would not have wanted to depend on HF the time I hit a deer and it disabled my vehicle 20 miles from home early in the morning on the way to work.

Instead, I had my handy dual band 2mtr/440 mhz rig and dialed up my local 440 repeater which had a phone patch and direct dialed my DW to get a tow truck.. Granted that was before I had a cell phone and those were $45 per month and $2.50 per minute then.. But hey, the repeater was my local Clubs repeater and I had the correct codes for phone patch.

HF bands depends highly on atmospheric conditions, often on many bands you cannot communicate LOCALLY (ground wave propagation)even with ideal antenna and a pretty hot linear. Not to mention not every Ham is packing full on HF rigs and antennas in their vehicle just waiting for such an emergency and that person would just happen to be listing on the frequency you are transmitting on.

2mtr/440 Ham bands can be decently reliable provided you have repeater coverage, someone IS listening to that repeater and or you have access to that repeaters phone patch if active (not sure if that is some much of thing now days due to cell phones).

CBs, not much hope there, very short distance, 1 to 5 miles on a good day with decent gain antenna and you have luck on your side for correct atmospheric conditions (sun spots and skip noise) and not to mention someone would have to happen to be listening to the one out of 40 channels you are transmitting on and even if you have a foot warmer you won't gain anything if no one else is listening..

FRS, yeah, once again, someone must be listening on the channel your are transmitting on within earshot of your rig and you really have a radio intended on very short distance communications, not really intended on emergency help me use..

Personally, if one is going to be outside Cell coverage, the sat phone route is most likely a safer bet even if it a much more expensive route.

PAID FOR Commercial communications for this purpose is most likely going to be more reliable than depending on free "just hope someone is listening" HOBBY communications.

Sometimes you just need to buy the right tool for the job.

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