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Tell me about radios!

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posted on Aug, 18 2021 @ 06:50 PM
I've been reading and watching information i can find about comms local and regional. This is to round off my homestead preparedness plan as well as luxury use.

Essentially what I would like is to talk to 1 or more known folks (grms handles this) very locally, say 1 to 10 miles apart.

Also would be nice to listen in on what I understand is a rather large group of amateur radio operators (assuming HAM), if not communicate someday if ever needed.

Extra points if I can intercept police/ems/fire traffic as well.

Does there exist a single mobile solution?

SDR looks interesting combined with a tablet but I'm not sure there is a way to transmitt.

So, if any if you have some wisdom to impart, I would be greatly appreciative!

posted on Aug, 18 2021 @ 07:11 PM
a reply to: JinMI

What do you want to know about radio propagation?

SDR and GMR are completely different concepts. SDR involves the internet; without the internet SDR is worthless.

GMR is high frequency, best at line of sight, up in the 400MHz band, or higher bands. Aircraft comms are down in the 100Mhz range; much further lower comms but much lower power.

Longer the wavelength, the longer the broadcast.

Hams (Amateur Radio guys) can broadcast across the Globe.

Your Costco radios will broadcast to the barn, nothing more.

posted on Aug, 18 2021 @ 07:30 PM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Once setup, sdr is good to go mobile, no?

HAM will get around for sure however I'm not sure if HAM alone is suitable for what I'm trying to accomplish.

posted on Aug, 18 2021 @ 08:13 PM
a reply to: JinMI

JMI, you seem to have a good start and grasp of what is needed. Cheep Chinese radios are what most preppers use, mostly the brand name of Bao Feng, most people pronounce it Bo Fang. They have 128 memories or channels and can be bought in 5 Watt, 7 or 8 Watt up to 10 Watt handie talkies. As you increase in price, you can get more channels, more bells and whistles and more modes of transmission.

Most hams don't like CCR's and buy reputable brand names like ICOM, Yaesu, Alinco and Kenwood. Entry level hams, Technicians, usually buy the CCRs for convenience and to see if amateur communications is for them. Generally, higher class amateurs, General and Extra, look down their nose at technicians who buy and use CCRs, even though they bought and used the same thing. The older CCRs do create a little more interference than the more expensive models, but, I digress...

A very good website for radios and radio communication is Radio Reference,

A laptop or good tablet which has internet capability is needed to program a CCR. A very good and free program called "CHIRP" is available to program most CCRs on the market. You can get very good programming for individual radios from a company called RT Systems. I personally use RT for my radios due to better downloading and uploading with, IMO, a much better format. RT Systems cost between $25 to $50 depending on the version.
A laptop, tablet or even smart phone can be used to talk to other amateurs, with an amateur license, of course, is a site called EchoLink,

The CCRs can be bought off the internet, Amazon or eBay, for usually $20 on up. Make sure you get a charger and programming cable with it. A longer aftermarket antenna is a must for better communications, but the original is good for short range communications is OK.

Receiving police and public service radio is a little more iffy now-a-days. Police have almost all gone to digital, trunked systems and about a third of them in the US have encrypted their communications. You will need a digital trunking receiver to pick up digital trunked systems. The encrypted systems are not receivable at all. To get a feel for what's out there, here is a scanner online company: Scanner Master

Three good amateur radio sales sites (basically ALL radios) are:
Ham Radio Outlet,
R and L Electronics,

I hope I haven't utterly confused you with too much information. I'd like to see you and anyone else interested in amateur communications to study, take the tests, pass and get your license. Right now, the FCC Amateur license is free, but they are going to charge $35 dollars per license early next year. Fees for the examination are between free and $15 per exam. The fees are for Volunteer Examiners (VEs) for giving the tests. I can give lots more information about studying and testing if anyone is interested.

PM me if you want specific info. I'll try to help.
edit on 8/18/2021 by NightFlight because: Left out some important

posted on Aug, 18 2021 @ 08:25 PM
a reply to: NightFlight

Thanks for the information.

Long and short of my question is likely a no then.

Unless I can get a few other folks I know to get their HAM licenses.

I've been eyeing the BaoFeng simply because of the ranges but I'd still like to deploy some walkie talkie (0-10miles) solution.

posted on Aug, 18 2021 @ 08:26 PM
a reply to: JinMI

Since you are being a bit sketchy about use, here's a Search for Packet Radio on Duckduckgo

I have been looking at setting up a CB/Ham radio RF digital network in preparation for the coming SHTF scenario. So I have been doing a little testing with Uniden and a Cobra CBs and my laptops. DPSK works, ASK works as well it seems, but I need to refine it a bit. I ran straight out of my laptops in one test using the internal modems and I built a small ne5050 ASK board. I haven't gotten up reliably over 9600 baud, but I am going to try using V90 soon, probably won't work but you never know lol.

One of the big problems is half duplex communications and sequenced keying (mic talk switch, which is just a controlled relay). What I found was if you use two CBs, one for transmit and one for receive on separated channels, you can run full duplex, without any problems. It's actually kinda neat ;-)

Cheers - Dave

posted on Aug, 18 2021 @ 08:32 PM
a reply to: bobs_uruncle

I wasn't trying to be sketchy. If something is unclear, ill happily clarify

posted on Aug, 18 2021 @ 08:39 PM
a reply to: JinMI

JinMI, PM sent...

posted on Aug, 19 2021 @ 06:02 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk
"SDR involves the internet; without the internet SDR is worthless."

This is partially incorrect. SDR (Software Defined Radio) is simply an interface to a radio device to control it. This can be anything from a simple featureless receiver where the computer controls everything within it, to much more complex setups like whole amateur radio transceivers that can be controlled remotely and yes.. over the internet too.

There are transceivers, receiver only, and transmit only devices which are software controlled. For monitoring many people use those cheap and simple RTL2832 dongles that were originally meant to be used as TV tuners in Europe but can easily be hacked to make all band all mode receivers to be used with offline SDR software packages. You can think of this as the modern scanner radio crowd of people but unlike grandpas radio scanner of years ago these SDR receivers have every feature imaginable all wrapped up in a software interface that communicates to real plug&play hardware.

GMRS is a convenient radio service that is licensed for general public and family use. The license is quiz free unlike ham radio but cost a bit more to cover your whole family or talk group.
Much like FRS and often many bubble pack walkie talkies cover both GMRS/FRS.
With GMRS you can setup and/or use repeaters and higher power than FRS and cover dozens of miles easily making it the superior choice for local communications where unlicensed and often congested FRS may not be able to reach.

People still forget about the lower 27MHz CB radio band too which can give decent comms distance if both ends have good antenna setups. Base to base and legal power I can easily reach 10-20 miles on CB. Mobile to base less, and mobile to mobile maybe a few miles. Walkie talkies on CB are mostly useless though because of the very short antennas being so ineffective on those frequencies. CB is of course license free and still full of bozos talking trash but sometimes that is part of what makes it fun because it's like the wild west of radio.

There is also the license free MURS service on VHF. Many businesses use these "dot" frequencies though so you have to find an unused channel, but this offers an entire other chunk of frequencies for free use which small walkie talkies can be used with decent range.

The ultimate communications service is of course ham amateur radio since it offers spectrum from HF all the way to microwave and above allowing both world wide and local communications but the licensee is not allowed to use it for commercial usage and it will require an exam to get licensed. Luckily it's easy to practice for and reaps the best benefits for emergency and hobby usage.

Note: In emergencies you are allowed to use ham radio without a license. This is specifically permitted by the FCC.
edit on 8/19/2021 by darklife because: (no reason given)

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