Local Communication

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by BenP, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. BenP

    BenP Monkey++

    So my brother-in-law and I both got our ham license recently and we have been messing around with the 2 meter band. I can talk to him directly at his house (13 miles of woods and hills) if he drives to a high point in his neighborhood but not in his house. We can talk through repeaters but we are not sure how well they would be powered in an emergency situation. Also, we think the repeaters would probably be extremely busy in an emergency situation if they were online.

    He is using a QYT 35w radio and I am using a TYT MD 9600 50w radio and I can almost always hear him but he cannot always hear me. I have tried different antennas but the results seem to be the same. We are using them in our vehicles, I am in the process of setting one up in the house with a base station antenna and I am hoping I have better luck with it.

    I'm starting to think the 10 meter band would be better for what we want to do. I have been looking at the Yaesu FT818 but wow that thing is expensive, I need to find a cheaper option.

    It has been fun anyway, its nice to not be stuck in the 70cm band. I think I am going to study and get my general license now. I am a computer nerd so once we get the voice communication down I want to investigate data communication.
  2. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    With that power output, I'd bet if you both used yagi (beam) antennas you would have excellent copy on one another.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Mobile Antennas on a vehicle are NOT what you need to using for Path Studies... You need High Gain Yagi Antennas on each. end, and the you can start looking for a path between the ends... The other option would be to build a Simple Repeater that you can deploy in a hurry, to a suitable High Point between both locations... Passive Repeaters are not to hard to find and or build for VHF Band...
    BenP, Tevin, Bandit99 and 1 other person like this.
  4. Idahoser

    Idahoser Monkey+++ Founding Member

    One of you could put up your own repeater or just a higher antenna. Both of you going a little higher should help a LOT. You've already found his high spot to put it. 2m and 70cm should give you roughly equal performance.
    I don't think a different band is going to help you at all. Unless you go all the way up to NVIS with loops or dipoles for 40 and 80m. That seems like overkill for what you're trying to accomplish, but of course would allow regional comms also and is "real" ham radio.
    Be aware that even with your own repeater, any of these freqs will be available for anybody to listen to.
    You could certainly put the existing repeaters to use for proof of concept. A repeater can be as simple as a mobile radio with the capability, or even a 'simplex repeater' has been offered.
    You could also get involved with the club (likely) that owns the repeater of choice, and learn/be a part of the management of the repeater. Remember one of the purposes of those clubs is emergency service, they do think about it.
    BenP likes this.
  5. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    BTPost, not my area of expertise, but would there be advantages in OPSEC to use repeater with a high output and low power to that. Seems like it would be an advantage to have DF find the repeater and not your transmitting location. Might not help against tec savy, but would be nice if the attack if it occurred was made on a repeater on a hill rather than your home. Tight beam low power to repeater and comms from that to the rest of the world. I don't know if it would be legal and anyone going to the site would find yagi's pointed to all members, but it would seem to give one level of security against tracking and give you higher power transmissions to mobile stations or more distant stations.
    BenP likes this.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Finding a repeater is a piece of cake, and access codes can be hacked without a lot of problems. Be aware, also, of repeater coordination needs to assure not treading on another freq, or having someone else treading on your comms.

    If possible, direct comms are preferable IF you can find a path to bounce the signals thru. That'll take a bit of doing, but will save a lot of hassle when the chips (meaning repeater power) are down.
    BenP likes this.
  7. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    Ten meters is not going to work any better than anything else. And the FT818 maxes out at five watts.

    Thirteen miles is doable on 2 meter simplex, with the right antennas. @BTPost is right...successful mobile operations is not likely unless at least one of you is on a high hill. You each need a beam antenna, or if you are both at a decent line of sight, a real good vertical should be able to throw 35 watts 13 miles.

    I have a 5/8 wave vertical at about 30 feet plugged into a FT2900 (75 watts). I can reliably hit other base stations in the 15-20 mile range and I'm not even on favorable terrain.

    If you go with a beam, you don't need a huge ass one. A three element with a few dB of gain should do it.
    BenP likes this.
  8. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Yup. I routinely hit a repeater for club nets at 13 miles line of sight. I don't offhand know what the outgoing power is thru the horizontal dipole and I've never measure the reactance. but the radio puts out 65 watts nominally. (One of these days, I'll have to try it at the 25 watt setting.) But it works. Same antenna, same radio, I work a buddy at about 10 miles simplex with a couple hills in the way, just not big hills. All this by way of helping with some clarification.
    Tevin and BenP like this.
  9. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    BenP likes this.
  10. BenP

    BenP Monkey++

    IMG_20180925_204322. I had a Tran 1480 that I had never had time to assemble or install, I just put it together but I'll have to wait until tomorrow to install it due to the lightning.

    I will definitely get a Yagi. I used to work for a company called Master Meter in TX doing radio read water meters and I could get amazing results with yagi antennas.
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    @duane OpSec in Comms comes from not transmitting at all, but listen to everyone else jabbering away...using the lowest power output to get the information transfered, is always a good idea, when OpSec is needed. Some Ham Repeaters can give direction of received signals in degrees... and many State-Wide Linked Systems have many inputs into the System, and multiple High Elevation Outputs that cover wide areas... All the above assumes FM or DIGITAL Modulation... When I wanted to have Comms with a buddy who lived on an island, 50 miles from me, we used SingleSideband Modulation and since we were the only two in the region using it we had great fairly secure Comms... The last resort in Secure Comms comes with Digital Comms, where Spread Spectrum modulation comes into play, like the SECURE PHONES we used on MonkeyNet... Hams can use this up on the 902-928 Mhz Ham Band with a Max Powerof 10 Watts and any Antenna one can up with.... I am thinking on going tp this next summer, for Comms between my Cabin and the new place we just bought 2 Miles South, up on the mountain... I aleady have two 18 DBi Panel Antennas for the project, as well as the external Amps, and Low Loss Coax...
    BenP likes this.
  12. Homer Simpson

    Homer Simpson Monkey+++

    10 meters can't be that much different than 11 meters. 13 miles is doable 80% of the time on 11 meters with legal power and a steel whip on each end. SSB would push the % up considerably. Of course in a WROL situation you might desire something to warm your feet....
  13. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Want LOP comms? (Legal encryption, or nearly so)

    The Rowetel SM-1000


    SM1000 | Rowetel

    Digitizes the voice. Requires two units.

    Perfectly legal owing to open source application (FreeDV)
    BenP likes this.
  14. Tempstar

    Tempstar Monkey+++

    Height is might. Get two antennas up in the air. I hit the Dillon SC repeater with a 5 watt handheld at 62 miles, but the repeater is at 1500'.
    BenP and Tevin like this.
  15. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    If you want something a bit more secure, do code.
    BenP likes this.
  16. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    I meant to reply to your post earlier, congratulating you both on your tickets. Good job, gents.
    Idahoser and BenP like this.
  17. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    Along these lines, keep in mind that "hitting a repeater" is not a good indicator of the realistic range of your radio because most repeater antennas are located up high in prime locations. So just because you can reach a repeater xx miles away it does not by default follow that simplex to a mobile or base station at the same distance will work too.

    Way back when I was a youngster living in the suburbs of Chicago, me and a buddy went on a little road trip to the Sears Tower, which at the time was the tallest building in the world. I took my Icom 2-AT along and from the observation deck at around 1000 feet I could easily hit a repeater 30 miles away, with full quieting...running 1.5 watts and a crappy rubber antenna from inside a building with a lot of glass and metal, plus TONS of RF from the numerous broadcast antennas just a few floors above me.

    The point of the story is that I was in a super-prime location. No way I could have done that from street level.

    One easy test is to get in contact with someone on a repeater. Then each station switches their receiver to the input of the repeater while the other is transmitting. If you can hear each other, then you're good to go on simplex. Or, just skip the repeater and try a direct simplex contact.

    There is a lot of trial and error to this. Give it a shot; you might get lucky. Thirteen miles on 2-meter simplex is well within the window of reasonable.
    BenP likes this.
  18. BenP

    BenP Monkey++

    The TYT radios I have include encryption keys which I could use if needed but our conversations usually run along the lines of "Congratulations, I heard my sister bought another dog." I might try it just to make sure it works but if it is illegal I will probably stick to open communication for now. Also, when I get to the point of data communication I can write a program to encrypt the communications if we end up in some Red Dawn scenario.
    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  19. Merkun

    Merkun furious dreamer

    Of course, that is correct. There are extreme cases, for example, at one point in the distant past, I had a 5/8 wave vertical CB antenna on the roof, about 15 feet off the ground. Flat country. I rather often talked to a guy on Ch19 some 60 miles away. He had a beam pointed within 45 degrees of straight down my throat. Both of us were running legal radios (before SSB was in common use.) As I said, this was an extreme case, and by no means something to expect.
    Another time, running across North Dak on I-90, I had a mobile rig with a base loaded el cheapo untrimmed whisker on top of the car, and talked to a farmer running his tractor "cutting hay" some 12 miles away, clear as an armchair chat. Again, very flat country, I could damn near see the man it was so flat.
    All line of sight stuff. In the hills, YM(will)V.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  20. BenP

    BenP Monkey++

    Well, I put up my new antenna and I can hear my brother-in-law fine at 13 miles, even when he uses a baofeng with a roll up slim jim antenna but he still can hardly hear me. I am going to give him one of my radios and see if it works any better.
    Zimmy and Asia-Off-Grid like this.
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