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Old 12-31-2019, 12:13 AM
Amos Iron Wolf Amos Iron Wolf is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Del Rio, Texas
Age: 63
Posts: 7,940
I do have a small shortwave radio. Kinda useless though. It has the hand crank and can charge solar. The problem with shortwave anymore is where there used to be a lot of things to listen to, for various parts of the U.S. at least there just aren't the stations you can pick up anymore. Especially with a small antenna. This radio still gets AM/FM.

The various handhelds I have can get FM broadcast. Unfortunately there are only one or two English speaking stations I can kind of get.

I do have a 1200 watt generator so I can still run or charge comms for a while, but things are still limited.

My biggest thing is to be able to contact other radio club members who will hopefully be on portables on 2 meter, who also run HF and see what they are getting. I do have an older Yaesu FT707 that does fire up. I'll be checking it out to use as a receiver for 10 meters on down. It will be a while before I come up with some antenna arrangements for the lower frequencies that I could broadcast on it needed in an emergency. Once I get my General (eventually) I'll be better set with the radio and a power source.

For the guys who have the Baofengs. I have three. They were my gateway radio. However, they aren't all that great. I picked up the TYT UV8000E handheld. It's another Chinese, dual band radio, but much, much better. It's built well, can do 10 watts, and also has a crossband repeater feature. While Amazon has it listed at $93, I got mine directly from the Radioddity. With my first timer, 10% discount, it ended up being $69 and $5 for quicker shipping. Comes with a whip and a rubber ducky antenna. I also added a BTECH Phoenix speaker/mike on it that also does well.

Where I had to stand in the driveway out from under the trees to be talk on our local repeater for my first net, with the 8000E I can sit in the house and get asked if I'm on a mobile or base. I run it in the van with a Tram through the glass mounted antenna and can hit our repeater from about 35 miles out from the next town. It talks and receives well. I also have it programmed for GMRS (also licensed for), FRS, and MURS, frequencies, plus other frequencies with TX locked out for monitoring. Like many of the Chinese radios it covers more of VHF and UHF than just the amatuer bands. I use CHIRP for programming my radios. It's a darn good radio for the price. Long battery life too.

Cross band repeater function is kind of nice, though not something I use all the time. Not enough room here to toss out some ideas, but with some imagination there are several things you could figure out to use that function for in emergency or even some non-emergency situations.

Power goes down our repeater does too. However, if it looks like a long term situation we have club members who can and will pull out generators and set up field type comms if there is a big issue.

Btw, for you guys with the handhelds that shop at or go around Walmart. Set you radio to MURS frequencies. There are only 5 channels on MURS, but the old business band Green Dot and Blue Dot channels are part of it and get used at places like Walmart. When we go I tuck a Baofeng UV-5R on my belt under my shirt with an earbud run up under my shirt and in my ear and monitor all the conversations going on there. Mostly the usual stuff, but a few times it's provided some inside information. Such as one time some managers were talking back and forth about a guy with a crossbow that was making them a little nervous. I didn't catch if he was walking around with one they thought he might steal, or he'd brought one back and not going directly to customer service. They finally settled down.

So, I go to Walmart with a radio on the left hip and the pistol on my right with my shirt over both. Since the radio can monitor two channels I have one channel set to Blue Dot and the other that is selected for transmit set to the GMRS channel the little RT27 my wife is carrying with earbud in for us to communicate with each other easier than cell phones. The RT27 is Part 95 accepted, the Baofeng not, but that's the only time I use it on GMRS (Again, I also have my GMRS license. That covers the whole family.) About all I use the BF for anymore. I may start using one of my BTECH GMRS-V1s for my radio for that though as I can monitor VHF and UHF, but it can only transmit on GMRS/FRS channels, plus GMRS duplex.

Bottom line for here though is if the towers are down with the power, getting information in from outside sources is going to be pretty much limited to regular broadcast radio, maybe NOAA, but I only get one NOAA channel, and hopefully, via the practicing General and Advanced members of our amatuer radio club. Cell towers go down then our little town loses internet, landlines, and pretty much all of it. Apparently landline only goes so far then gets sent further by microwave (cell tower).
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