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Old 06-14-2015, 19:27   #1
Sdiver
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A good SHTF portable 2 way radio

Okay Dit-Dot Dudes ... This one's for you.

Was looking at getting a GOOD portable, two way radio, with good range and possible security features, for a SHTF scenario. But aside from a couple of tin cans with a string running between them, I don't know that much about radios.

Have been searching the web lately, and have been running into these radios here ... http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...5r%2Caps%2C310

and came across this one .... http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MAULSOK?psc=1 ... which has some of the features I'm looking for.

It appears that it has about a 15 mile range when pushing 8 watts, which is nice, but I'd really like something with a 30 to 50 mile range, if that's possible.

Don't want to get a HAM license just yet, but would like a good comm system where I can talk to someone on the same freq. across town, as we wait for TOMAHAWK9521 to reach terminal velocity and deliver the rest of the commo gear ... ask him the story about that, I'm sure he'll tell you.

If you have any recommendations on this radio or any other, without breaking the bank, I as well as a few others on the board would be interested in your input.

Danke'
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Old 06-14-2015, 19:52   #2
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Not a commo guy, but I do not see you hitting those ranges without a repeater, and to hit those requires a license.

I like the Baofengs and have a few, but it isn't a Yaesu, nor should it be at that price.

I do believe that the Nagoya antennas for the Baofeng, and a magnetic base antenna for a mobile or an even better antenna for a fixed base will give you significantly better performance and range.

TR
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Old 06-14-2015, 22:32   #3
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VHF or UHF short of 100+ watts and flat land will not go 50 miles. Our cars have 100watt VHF & UHF radios and we get car to car around 30 mile reliable communications.

A HH that normally is 5-15 watts will get you in flat terrain 10-15 reliable miles. There are so many variables to this. Where I am right now we have repeaters on the mountain and our HH radios work in the valley most of the time but putting a building between you and the mountain and you get nothing.

A HH with an external antenna helps depending on those damn Commo Gods....

just my 2 cents using our gear at work.
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:03   #4
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Along with what brand,,

What are the "better" freqs range??

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Old 06-15-2015, 06:57   #5
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UHF/VHF are line of sight radios. That advertised 15 mile range might be good if you can see that far. In an urban area you'd be lucky to get 500m range.

Unless you're running a repeater (which most law enforcement agencies employ) or have a ham license forget it, you're not going to get the range you're looking for.....

Also those handhelds have a very limited amount of channels so anyone in the area might be on your freq. While this is 'Merica, home of the Free, radio freq's, not so much.....
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:08   #6
Sdiver
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Thanks for the info Gents. It is most appreciated.

I do like that BaoFeng that I have posted above, and TR, if you say they're a fairly good radio (and that you have a few), that's good enough for me to seriously look into getting it as a good "beginning" radio.
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:23   #7
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We've got a couple of the Baofeng UV-5RE+ and easily get 5 miles with perfect LOS. I'm sure it will get more with good LOS, but we haven't tried it yet. The manuals are almost useless but there is a lot of information, including ******* vids, online.

Pat
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:01   #8
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SHTF radios

Howdy SDiver,

Baofengs can do a lot, in terms of frequency coverage, but they are NOT "High-reliability" - their primary advantage is their extremely low price, which means you can buy a bunch of them as spares.
Expect fairly poor receiver performance - not in terms of sensitivity, but in selectivity and interference rejection. This could be a deal-killer in an urban area or near other (especially high-power) transmitters, but not as significant in rural areas.

But what channel you choose can be a make or break decision, at least until the poop has hit the ventilator, because right now, pretty much EVERY channel belongs to someone, and they are likely to defend it against interlopers if they detect you operating there. Getting your ham license (and legit call signs to use) is one way to cover training today, or you can use the FRS/GMRS channels in UHF, but then you will be contending with LOTS of other folks with unlicensed radios..

As far as bands, in general VHF will give you longer range than UHF, though sometimes UHF will outperform VHF in the "concrete canyons" because it bounces (reflects) better.

NONE of these radio will work more than a little beyond Line-of-sight (LOS), no matter how much power and antenna you attach. I can sometimes talk 50 miles with my VHF marine radio, but thats between my masthead antenna (65' up) and a coastal mountaintop USCG base station - talking from my boat to a handheld, I would be lucky to get much beyond 5 or 6 miles, even from that 65' high antenna across open water. Put hills or buildings in the way, and range drops dramatically.

Talking out to 30-50 miles is pretty much going to require infrastructure, generally a repeater at a high location, and isn't going to happen for you unless you are allied with someone that has installed one. Amateur radio has lots of repeaters installed, as does GMRS, but whether these would be useful after Armageddon is not at all clear. I'll let SF_BHT tell you what would happen if they discovered someone using his employer's radio system..

FWIW, even HF radio (which has potentially worldwide range without infrastructure) has real problems at shorter distances like 50 or 100 miles.

And finally, getting your ham license is not a big deal anymore (NO dits and dahs required!) - my wife just got hers after one (long) day's study!

Hartley
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Old 06-21-2015, 19:11   #9
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The Baofengs are ok for the price; I prefer the Wouxuns (I have a pair of KG-UV3Ds, one around the house, one in the SKYWARN go-case). Both pretty popular; both setups pretty configurable with software; quick panel changes on the fly not so much. But you can load (on mine anyway) 128 presets. Good to find the online supplemental manuals someone did to surmount the "Chinglish" versions that sometimes come included.

If you won't spend the 20 mental minutes to at least pass the Tech exam you should at least be familiar with where the ham frequencies are because you need a license to transmit on those even simplex, whether you're using a repeater or not.

I have a simple Diamond mag-mount on the vehicle to which I connect the h/t when out & about. Certainly with VHF, you ain't doin' much if you don't get that meager signal outside that 4-wheeled "cage." Any decent mag-mount will reap big dividends.

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Old 11-23-2015, 06:59   #10
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Yikes, This thread is a bit old..but here goes..

I was glad to find this thread, as I go into another cycling race season as an owner of a women's professional cycling team, security has become an even bigger factor to me and my support staff. Last season, 2015, we used 10 watt radios in the team vehicles, operating on freqs around 144 MHz, and handhelds operating on GMRS freqs around 150+. We realized during the canyon and mountain race routes that we didn't have very good coverage...not even the race radios that we are all issued from the race organizers were able to operate effectively in that environment. However, since my logistics man is a Harris Corporation radio man...we moved to first, sending a vehicle up the road before the caravan to set up as a feed station for our riders, and as a repeater station. We also had support staff further up the road with another radio and antenna as another repeater. This became a nightmare for many races, and seeing how my logistics man also works with certain agencies setting up P25 radio systems...we just switched to P25, and operated under the radar, as it were. If you have to get any radio for emergency use..P25 is the only way to go. My belated .02
Cheers!
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Old 11-23-2015, 10:10   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helicom6 View Post
I was glad to find this thread, as I go into another cycling race season as an owner of a women's professional cycling team, security has become an even bigger factor to me and my support staff. Last season, 2015, we used 10 watt radios in the team vehicles, operating on freqs around 144 MHz, and handhelds operating on GMRS freqs around 150+. We realized during the canyon and mountain race routes that we didn't have very good coverage...not even the race radios that we are all issued from the race organizers were able to operate effectively in that environment. However, since my logistics man is a Harris Corporation radio man...we moved to first, sending a vehicle up the road before the caravan to set up as a feed station for our riders, and as a repeater station. We also had support staff further up the road with another radio and antenna as another repeater. This became a nightmare for many races, and seeing how my logistics man also works with certain agencies setting up P25 radio systems...we just switched to P25, and operated under the radar, as it were. If you have to get any radio for emergency use..P25 is the only way to go. My belated .02
Cheers!
That's why 18E's are the heat..... Imagine you must have comms, secure comms worldwide and oh, yeah, your lives depend on it.
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Old 10-13-2016, 22:37   #12
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Pneumatic Launcher Gets Ham Antennas Hanging High

I did not know where to put this:

power it with butane or carbon dioxide.

But I assume you knew or had this already.
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Old 06-09-2017, 14:48   #13
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Have decided to get back into radio communications, (last time was a submarine radioman in early 80's), as part of my preparedness for emergency situations.

Bought a BaoFeng BF-F8HP as entry level equipment and a Technician class training package.

Hopefully have some of that radioman school knowledge still residing in brain cells.
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Old 06-09-2017, 17:56   #14
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This might be worth looking into also


https://www.gotenna.com/
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Old 06-09-2017, 19:43   #15
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Quote:
This might be worth looking into also


https://www.gotenna.com/

goTenna Mesh enables text and GPS on your phone 100% off-grid. It introduces revolutionary mesh networking, which means if someone is out of point-to-point range, your messages will automatically and privately relay through other users to get to the right place.

This sounds like vapor ware??

Who is my "other user"??

I don't see the likelihood of a bunch of people signing up to be my relay team??
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