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Help With Finding Ham/CB Radio ....

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by vja4Him, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. vja4Him

    vja4Him Monkey+

    I would like to buy a good ham/cb radio that I could use without a vehicle (I don't drive). Would a cb radio work with a portable solar-powered charger?
  2. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    I see no reason why it couldn't work

    I am not an expert on electronic communications equipment, for definitive advice I'd look at websites and fora that specialise in that kind of topic.

    Having said that, if you want a setup that is independant of the grid....you will need a battery and most probably a bank of batteries, that can be kept charged by water, wind or solar power. If you rely on solar power alone, without a battery, you may find that communications may be limited to daytime only......and even then....you may find that a solar eclipse will occcur at the most inconvenient of moments : O

    I can recollect a site that had a cunning design for turning maritime band radios into manpack units. just bear in mind that not all frequency bandwidths are legal for terrestial use. Perhaps you could set it up in a canoe on a fish pond in the middle of the Nevada desert if that is where you live......remember....rules are for the guidance of the wise, and to be bent into a pretzel by the cunning and savvy.
    Tully Mars likes this.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    There was quite a discussion on comms on the site a while back. You might do a search on Yaesu and see what comes up; there should be several threads. "GMR' might cough up a few, too.
  4. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    Around here, a handheld CB is of more use than a GMRS/FRS radio - simply more folks on the former. Better range in general too. But, the CB channels get packed to the gills at times. If part of a small group or team, the GMRS/FRS is better for short-range comms.
    Radio SHack and other electronic vendors have both types, but fleabay and Amazon will have better deals.
    One of my buddies has a combined GMRS/FRS radio and GPS in one compact unit. We've used it hunting and canoeing. Would be good for biking.
  5. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    There are CB and FRS base stations that could be used with a converter. I'd say both CB and FRS would be good to monitor. All the new radios are FRS. In my experience, FRS (especially GMRS) has better range than CB from a hand held unit. I think every hunter I know runs an FRS radio of some sort. In a few short years, there will only be FRS. Try finding CB gear, not too hard, but harder than it was a decade ago. I hope that makes sense.

    As for HAM- join a club. You will meet people that way and get advice on 1) passing the test to get your operators liscence, 2) finding the right gear for you, and 3) where to buy. There may be a local selling an intro unit that would fit your needs prefectly.

    Comms is something that keeps getting pushed off my list of things to do.
  6. oldsoldier

    oldsoldier Gadget Master

    You have lots of choices as you've seen above. Your best bet as far as CB goes is either a hand held with rechargeable batteries usually they take 6 AA batteries which will usually last 5-6 hours at steady use. You can then change them out with fresh ones that you could charge with a solar charger. However with a hand held unit the little short stubby antenna ( usually 6" long) has a limited range, of about 2-3 miles. Your next level is a mobile mount CB that works off a 12 volt ( auto) battery. with a good antenna ( mobile) you can increase your range by several miles. If you put up a base station radio antenna, you can increase your range further still. Average range in the right conditions with a base antenna could be in the hundreds of miles range.
    Now again thats under perfect conditions. Your next step is going with a base station radio and linear amplifier. With this you have the possiblility of world wide comm's but then you will need a constant electrical supply and the cost for a good set up is high.
    The next step is HAM or ametuer radio, here you have multiple options several different "meters" to operate on such as 2 Meter,10 Meter, 40 meter and such. They are available in hand held such as the yeaeau 6X multi band radio that costs around $200.00 and up from there. To include mobile and base units. With comms ranges from around 20 milesup to "talkin to mars". depending on your needs and budget.
    But if you want a good all around radio, that has the best of both features. Galaxy CB company makes a 40 channel CB that offers side bands on the CB channels AND also 10 Meter ham channels as well. The cost of the radio is in the $500 range but is basically 2 radios in one. You can also get it "peaked" for around $125 and it gives you more power, cleaner reception and the like. Hopefully I haven't confused you much here. If I can help you contact me. Don
    Tully Mars likes this.
  7. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

  8. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    While I generally agree, with little effort, I am sure I could find out YankeePrepper's information as well. With some techno geeks from the gov't, it wouldn't even be an issue.

    I don't get it. A HAM license in the devil, but you are going to broadcast yourself on YouTube. Likely from your home IP??

    I'm not knocking YankeePrepper- love his vids, but unless you live in an off grid cabin on land you don't own, there is a trail leading to you.

    I'm not knocking a license or not. I don't have one. I may get one in the future. I don't think a HAM license would be my primary worry since I have a credit card, bank card, bills, a cell phone, internet at home, several email accounts, my wife keeps a Facebook page, and I generally log onto the net from only two places. I don't, however, post to YouTube ;)
  9. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    There is where you are a bit off. IP rerouting services are readily available and keep your browsing location secret. I believe he uses one. In fact I am relatively sure he does and has mentioned it before.
  10. Sherman

    Sherman Dog Eat Dog

    CB radio, I have a couple of these, good little radio, pair it with a good 18ft cable and a wilson antenna. You could run it off a 12v car batt and have a solar charger on that.
    Amazon.com: Uniden PRO510XL 40-Channel CB Radio: Electronics

    CB is fine for communicating with your own party while traveling for example and no concern for security.
    But if your going to be operating in a fixed area, you need wider range for distance and OPSEC, the abltity to change freq's often so as to not be monitored or triangulated. Can also be paired with a repeater for larger AO and if anyone tracks you all the find is your repeater cuz it has the stronger signal. Not to mention the abilty to monitor other bands for OpFor activity.
    Check these out

    ham radios, look at a this icom my favorite

    or this nice little yaesu
  11. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    one word. EBAY
  12. Wild Trapper

    Wild Trapper Pirate Biker

    Unless you want to take a test and get a license your best bet is with a good CB base station. I have a HAM license - General class and would encourage you to go that route only if you are really dedicated to some serious study and money. Plus, if you are dedicated to privacy forget HAM as anyone with a scanner can find where you live, if you're not careful. Once you broadcast your call sign, which you are required by law to do when you try to make contact and at ten minute intervals while you are broadcasting and at the end of your broadcast, your privacy flies out the window. Or I should say over the air waves. Don't get me wrong, it can be a lot of fun and it has its usefulness, so if you are interested, go for it.
  13. oldsoldier

    oldsoldier Gadget Master

    Agree for everyday use however when tshtf I don't think many people will be worried about license's.

    I am currently studying for my license (tech) have a couple of "hammer" friends and watching/listening with them is a blast.
  14. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    And you don't think such services are monitored??
  15. Wild Trapper

    Wild Trapper Pirate Biker

    While you may be right about a total SHTF breakdown, hams do have ways to police their own and locate anyone who tries to use their bands.

    Oh, and good luck with the test.
  16. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Yes we do, and some of those folks take it very seriously. For local use (10 Sq. Miles) FRS will do ya. For a bit further, GMRS can be lot of fun, IF you get tied into a local Group with Repeater at a Highsite. CB is still a viable option for communications, out to 25-50 miles, until Mr. Sun wakes back up with some Sunspots. When that happens you can talk to folks 1000 miles away, but not to the guy down the street. All the above can be easily powered by solar or wind via an Off-grid alternative energy solution. Ham Radio will get you a much farther range, but will required considerably more power to operate the various radios involved. CB and FRS are covered by an FCC National Blanket License, and requires nothing on the users part to be legal. GMRS and Ham are Licensed Radio Services, and require that you file an License Application for the former, and take a test on Radio Knowledge, and file a License Application for the later. License Applications ALL have Filing FEES, except for regular Ham Licenses.

    Bruce in alaska AL7AQ (BTPost)
  17. JaxShooter

    JaxShooter Monkey+

    I'm a big fan of Yaesu radios for VHF/UHF. I'd recommend a dual-band radio for greater flexibility. One that can do crossband repeating like the FT-8800 is even better. I have a couple of 8800s and love them. I wouldn't mind a couple more. I also have Alinco single and dual-band radios, and a couple of Icom and Yaesu 2-meter radios. All of these can be powered from a single gel cell battery. I have a solar charger to keep the batteries topped off in the field.

    I've built kits with a radio, battery, and antenna in a small ammo can to put in other vehicles. You can get small mag mounts that work great. Depending on how much you plan on transmitting I'd look at around a 17-20AH battery. Of course I do have a 10AH in my current go-box now and I can get all-day usage out of it.


    For those aghast at the thought of having a license there are ways to make it more difficult for folks to find out who you are but I'm sure we all have ways we can be tracked down. Sure, if SHTF the FCC will have other things to worry about. However, buying radios to use when this happens is, imho, pointless. If you don't use your radio now how will you know how to use it when it matters the most? How will you know which bands to use? What will you do if things go wrong? If you use your radio now and you're unlicensed then you're breaking the law.

    Whether you're a prepper or not, if you have radios I'm a firm believer that you need to be able to improvise. We did a Macgyver drill at our last ARES meeting. Each time got a box with pieces and parts (radio sans antenna and battery pack, wire, AA batteries, electrical tape, etc.) The teams had to use all the parts to make a working radio and key up a local repeater. This is certainly something that could be required after a hurricane, tornado, or other natural disaster. Who knows what you'll have left that's in working order?

    So my point, while getting a bit off of the OT, is that it doesn't make much sense to me to buy radios and not use them (legally) until you need them.
    Tully Mars likes this.
  18. Wild Trapper

    Wild Trapper Pirate Biker

    Thanks JaxShooter, nice setup and welcome to the forum.
  19. JaxShooter

    JaxShooter Monkey+

    Thanks for the welcome! If it's radio-related I'm all over it. :D
  20. cheney

    cheney Monkey+

    Not to hijack the thread, but I am also considering getting a ham license in the general category( I don't mind just getting them both at once) and my requirements are as follows: Pack portable, with packable antenna, reliable comm range of 200 miles, and the ability to contact a relative 1300 miles southeast of my location when conditions allow. I am considering the yaesu 817-nd. Would this be a plausible choice, or is this a pipe dream to expect that level of comm?
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