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Ask a leader communications & tech questions here

(Radio's), (GPS), (Faraday Cages), (Other Technology)
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Denob
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Ask a leader communications & tech questions here

Postby Denob » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:59 pm

Feel free to ask communications & tech related questions here.
One of our volunteer topic leaders will be happy to answer you.
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Justin K
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Re: Ask a leader communications & tech questions here

Postby Justin K » Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:19 pm

What would be the best communication system to use for short and long range communication application on a daily basis, and for long range what specific equipment would you recommend.
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Re: Ask a leader communications & tech questions here

Postby Che » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:45 am

Justin K wrote:What would be the best communication system to use for short and long range communication application on a daily basis, and for long range what specific equipment would you recommend.


That's a loaded question with many variables.

Is this under the assumption that you have power?
Do you have the means or expertise to maintain and/or repair communication devices?
Are you concerned about being compromised electronically?

For local communications you'll want to focus on an Analog PBX system. This is where your main concern will be that of access control (or atleast I'm assuming so). Running a line between access control points will give you direct, voice access to people watching your perimeter while being completely grid-independent. This is to say that you can have a phone system in which (assuming you have nominal power) you can simply pick up a phone, dial an extension and reach access tower 'A', 'B' or whatever without relying on and existing communications structure. This would be ideal for local communications within a property. The only compromise where security is concerned if someone actually physically 'taps' the line.

For long range communications you first have to establish what range. If you're talking about a few kms away then you can get away with a direct communication through a computer. You can have a video conferencing or chat window with two computers that have a direct line of site. This may be familiar to you if you've ever tried to connect to a wireless network and seen something called 'Adhoc mode'. A 'Directional' antenna between these two 'access' point's will allow for this. Computers are already set up to do this. You can buy directional antenna's that will plug into a PCMCIA card and allow for very long distance wifi links (I've built one from a coffee can and have yet to try the pringles version). The reason you'll want a directional antenna is because this assumes that you know exactly where you need/want to communicate - thus focusing the wireless connectivity to a very specific area/point - providing for a much stronger connection compared to other antenna types. It can be a connection in which both parties can communicate directly without interference although the communications can be compromised. Although, I should point out that this is highly unlikely and takes quite the skill to accomplish and in a doomsday scenario I would consider 'null'.

For an even longer range you'll want to consider the little, unknown world of PSK31. This requires an advanced ham radio license in Ontario. This is a system based on converting the analog signal from a ham radio to a digital signal on a computer. I first heard about it through my friend Bruce Beach (Doomsday Prepper). This basically breaks down into 3 parts:

1. A ham radio
2. An interface to convert the analog signal of a ham radio to digital
3. A computer to interpret the signal

There's "A-LOT" more to it then this but what you end up with is an internet-independent means of communicating with a person through a chat-window. The device to communicate between your ham radio and computer can be found here: http://www.tigertronics.com/slusbmain.htm. Here is a great introduction video on the topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQpBGh9RMEQ

I am proactively working towards connecting prepper networks internationally through this protocol. Bruce has boosted ranges of up to 400 miles, however, this is with a very serious ham radio antenna (so I've been told).

Details on any of these solutions can be elaborated if need be....

There are also many primitive skills versions of communicating through both short and long distances (without power) that I can also get into you're interested, however, I suspect your question was more prepper orientated/
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Re: Ask a leader communications & tech questions here

Postby andysurvivor » Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:06 am

Howdy,

I have considered buying a hand held CB radio for quite a while now but since I live in Hamilton I would most definitely have to hump out of dodge on foot and make my way to lesser populated areas, with that in mind and the needed accessorizes to support a CB (power supply, batteries Etc.) as well as being a tough and sturdy CB to survive the hike, what devices would you recommend I take a closer look at?

Thanks!
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Re: Ask a leader communications & tech questions here

Postby Che » Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:55 am

andysurvivor wrote:Howdy,

I have considered buying a hand held CB radio for quite a while now but since I live in Hamilton I would most definitely have to hump out of dodge on foot and make my way to lesser populated areas, with that in mind and the needed accessorizes to support a CB (power supply, batteries Etc.) as well as being a tough and sturdy CB to survive the hike, what devices would you recommend I take a closer look at?

Thanks!


CB Radios, or any type of communications equipment for that matter, are useless unless you have a way to power it up or charge it completely independent of the grid through a fuel source that isn't going to disappear any time soon. With that said you need a CB radio that can be charged through 5 volts as generating 5 volts is the most practical and realistic if moving on foot. This is to say that you need a CB radio that accepts either AA or AAA batteries. I'll discuss how to charge these a little later in this post. I don't imagine you're going to want to carry around a car battery with you to get your 12 volts. Portable solar panels and thermoelectric generators will be your best charging options. Other technologies just aren't practical for bug out situations due to either weight and/or size although I suspect we're close with wind technologies. This is something that I wish they would create: http://inhabitat.com/eolic-a-foldable-p ... d-turbine/

Here's what I have for portable, power generation:

Nomad 27: http://www.goalzero.com/shop/p/10/Nomad-27-Solar-Panel
Biolite Stove: http://www.biolitestove.com/

These are two technologies that you can use to generate power all on your own. I liked the Nomad 27 so much that I bought a second one. They both generate 5 volts. At this point you could store the energy into a small battery for later use. This is what I have in that regard:

http://goalzero.ca/Portable-Solar-Power ... -Recharger

But don't run and buy that specific model as they just came out with the Sherpa 100 which boasts about double the battery capacity.

Again, all these things are portable and don't weigh very much - ideal for bugging out with.

Now that you have 5 volts how do you convert that to power your CB radio? You need an adpater to charge your AA and/or AAA batteries. You can find these pretty cheap on ebay:

http://img.dxcdn.com/productimages/sku_11388_1.jpg

I bought several as I suspect they will make good bartering items.

Now that you have a power option and a means to transfer your 5 volts of energy into your AA batteries for your CB radio which specific radio should you get? Have you considered options like squelch control, RF gain and ANL? The forefront of everything is that if the handheld is able to be powered by AAA or AA batteries. Secondary considerations that I would account is if it has NOAA (weather) channels as these will be used for emergency broadcasts. The third consideration is in the quality of the antenna. The forth consideration is other standard features such as squelch control, RF gain although a backlight would be nice as well - but these are all subjective preferences. The fifth consideration is the credibility of the brand. My personal choice of brands include Cobra, Midland, Realistic and Motorola. If you're on a budget get a handheld off of Kijiji to start off with. Get some used CB radios and play around with them. How long do they last? What's their range in the city? In the forest? With bad weather conditions?

When you have a few more bucks then look into getting something like this: http://www.rightchannelradios.com/cobra ... radio.html. I have tons of radios but if I were going to recommend one that that would be it. In addition to having all the bells and whistles you have some additional options of connecting it to a much larger, car antenna through a very common connection type known as BNC. Accessories like a microphone/headset - which are compatible with this unit will be beneficial if you want to remain quiet when bugging out. Covering the main options, such as it's ability to accept batteries and NOAA are mandatory IMO. The additional features I've outlined come back to your own personal preferences. After that it's really about the quality of the product and I can say from personal experience that I've never seen a bad Cobra radio. Let me know what you decide.
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Wayne
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Re: Ask a leader communications & tech questions here

Postby Wayne » Tue May 16, 2017 8:47 pm

I'm looking for a reliable battery portable radio system to connect a vehicle to home. Ideally it would have a minimum range of 10 miles (16 kilometers) with its use restricted to a SHTF scenario. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Re: Ask a leader communications & tech questions here

Postby Denob » Tue May 16, 2017 8:55 pm

CB might do the trick if you get an antenna up high enough at home.
Some FRS/GMRS radios might also work, but don't believe the range claims on the package.
Amateur radio would likely be your best option, but you should get a license first to really understand how they work.
As a note, the Baofeng radios have a detachable antenna, which makes them illegal to transmit on FRS/GMRS frequencies, even though they are capable of tuning to them.
A lot depends on the terrain around you...personally, I would try the cb first just because it's license free, not much in use anymore, and radios can be found dirt cheap at flea markets and garage sales.
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Re: Ask a leader communications & tech questions here

Postby Wayne » Wed May 17, 2017 8:46 am

I have some experience with CB SSB radios, but I'm unsure if this would meet the requirements. I'd hate to go to the expense of a home tower to find out that the system couldn't reliably do the job. I have an aviation VHF license, but this usually works on line of sight (which is substantial at 2 miles up. :-)

Ham use to be a long and difficult licensing process. I'm not sure if I would worry too much about licensing when it comes to a SHTF situation. The purpose of the transmission would be to affect either plan A, B, or C, get everyone on the same page and obtain a sitrep, CB would however put us in-touch with others, a two-edged sword.
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Re: Ask a leader communications & tech questions here

Postby jonesy » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:41 am

Wayne wrote:I have some experience with CB SSB radios, but I'm unsure if this would meet the requirements. I'd hate to go to the expense of a home tower to find out that the system couldn't reliably do the job. I have an aviation VHF license, but this usually works on line of sight (which is substantial at 2 miles up. :-)

Ham use to be a long and difficult licensing process. I'm not sure if I would worry too much about licensing when it comes to a SHTF situation. The purpose of the transmission would be to affect either plan A, B, or C, get everyone on the same page and obtain a sitrep, CB would however put us in-touch with others, a two-edged sword.


Without the Morse requirement, and with the study material online, I am so far finding the home study for ham quite manageable.

Your aviation radio license, (like mine) is limited to 118-135 MHz. Even a base station in that band needs approval. Go with the uv5r, maybe we can agree on a national prepper hailing freq, like 126.7 when you're doing blind traffic calls:)
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