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  #1  
Old 10-27-2018, 08:04 AM
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Mike Chapman Mike Chapman is offline
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2 way radio's

I have been thinking about getting some good two way radios for emergency contact with friends and family in case there is a EMP or the country goes south. I would want something that has at least a 50 mile radius for contact. Anybody recommend a certain type or have experience with a certain type?
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  #2  
Old 10-27-2018, 08:22 AM
John Joseph John Joseph is offline
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EMP will take out radios unless you have a way of protecting them.
2 Way radios aren't a good choice if the other end won't or can't receive.
FWIW, I'd look at 2 meter.
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Old 10-27-2018, 08:38 AM
ambidextrous1 ambidextrous1 is offline
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2 meter is a good choice; the amateur radio operators are always on the air in emergencies, helping coordinate efforts and locating people. 40-mile range is easy over water, possible over flatland, and unlikely in urban or forested areas.
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  #4  
Old 10-27-2018, 10:00 AM
Texagun Texagun is offline
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Using 2-meter radios requires an Amateur Radio License issued by the FCC. Getting on 2-meters without a valid callsign will just be ignored. The lowest class of license from the FCC is very easy to get. Check with the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League) for procedures on licensing. EMP will render most solid-state radios inoperative making the whole discussion pretty much pointless.
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Old 10-27-2018, 03:55 PM
Steam Boat Steam Boat is offline
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You can always store them in a EMP protective manner, and if SHTF/EMP situation, a license isnít going to mean squat. So why even bring up licensing....
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Old 10-27-2018, 05:34 PM
Night_Sailor Night_Sailor is offline
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Originally Posted by Steam Boat View Post
You can always store them in a EMP protective manner, and if SHTF/EMP situation, a license isnít going to mean squat. So why even bring up licensing....
The license costs $6.20. The test is not hard, and because you better know a lot about radios if you expect it to work in an emergency. There is not better resource of information on radios that Hams on the air.
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Old 10-27-2018, 06:04 PM
kinnison kinnison is offline
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The license gets you a lot of on air privigeses and access to people all over the world .
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  #8  
Old 10-27-2018, 06:35 PM
Night_Sailor Night_Sailor is offline
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Originally Posted by Mike Chapman View Post
I have been thinking about getting some good two way radios for emergency contact with friends and family in case there is a EMP or the country goes south. I would want something that has at least a 50 mile radius for contact. Anybody recommend a certain type or have experience with a certain type?


I'm a Ham operator first licensed in 1974 and also hold every Amateur and Commercial Radio license. There are lots of people like me. And surely there is a Radio Club in your area. Go to a meeting, meet some people and get some first hand advice. People in the hobby are welcoming and will help you get set up and teach you what you need to know.

You should start with a 2 meter mobile radio as a base station and hook up a high gain vertical antenna like a Diamond X510HD mounted on the tallest mast you can attach to your house--that would be a good choice. Height is what matters on 2 meter VHF and above UHF frequencies because they are line of sight. Learn how to use that, and practice with family members out mobile.

If you tell me your budget, elevation and terrain, I can make specific recommendations for you.

Dual band mobile radios (2 meters and 70 centimeter bands) and dual band antennas are relatively cheap and any car can be easily outfitted with them for a few hundred dollars. Most ham have these. If you know what to look for you will see them everywhere.

They do require regular use to be familiar with the programming, controls, and capabilities. For example they may not work well in a deep valley. People mountain top for long range. This is why I suggest practicing with them.

I typically set up a mobile radio at home with a 12 Volt power supply instead of a battery, for a month or two until I get used to it, and then move it into a car. I have identical dual band radios; each is programmed the same, so I can jump between car, pickup truck, boat, home or barn with identical functionality.

I nearly always have a radio turned on, and talk to many of my friends every day over the radio. I'll be talking to a fellow in Massachusetts in a little while through a linked repeater system that covers nearly all of Connecticut and a big chunk of Massachusetts.

You can program radios with a home button for a specific frequency or repeater to make it easy for others unfamiliar with the radios to get on the air without detailed knowledge.

Radio Club Repeaters repeat radio signals. They do the heavy lifting, and are typically high powered machines, mounted at higher elevations, on mountaintops or towers. They allow you to communicate much farther and also to weaker radio stations such as small handheld radios.

Handheld radios radios are pretty much useless without repeaters to re-transmit their signals. However if there are many repeaters in your area, handheld radios might be a good option for you.

Another good option for reliable regional communication would be the 75 meter band. HF radios are relatively cheap these days as people upgrade to newer, better equipment; there is a lot of really good quality used gear on the market. A 75 meter antenna is much larger, but easier to conceal, if you are worried about SHTF situations. HF radios can be tuned to AM and FM broadcast bands as well as European broadcast bands to keep you informed. They can tune in nearly every frequency below VHF, and some of them work on VHF and UHF as well.

CB radios are cheap but lack power. Many CB operators use Ham gear for mobile and base radio station. Still CB radios might be a good option as they are cheap and require no license.

A ham license is not free but it is cheap, less than $7. There is a written test that requires some study, and the license is good for ten years.

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  #9  
Old 10-27-2018, 09:34 PM
hatidua hatidua is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Chapman View Post
I would want something that has at least a 50 mile radius for contact.
Both ends of that conversation are going to need to know what they are doing if you want that kind of range. -Getting the license is the easy part.
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  #10  
Old 10-28-2018, 05:34 AM
oO_Rogue_Oo oO_Rogue_Oo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Chapman View Post
I have been thinking about getting some good two way radios for emergency contact with friends and family in case there is a EMP or the country goes south. I would want something that has at least a 50 mile radius for contact. Anybody recommend a certain type or have experience with a certain type?
If you're looking for a zero effort solution (just buy a radio and put it away for the someday event) then the likelihood of being satisfied with the results is going to be pretty low.

Quoted below is good solid advice. Find your local radio club; most locations have one; before buying anything. Most have regular monthly meetings and are always looking for new members to embrace and teach. Many hold classes even. Take the time to learn about the hobby; most are glad they did.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Night_Sailor View Post


I'm a Ham operator first licensed in 1974 and also hold every Amateur and Commercial Radio license. There are lots of people like me. And surely there is a Radio Club in your area. Go to a meeting, meet some people and get some first hand advice. People in the hobby are welcoming and will help you get set up and teach you what you need to know.

You should start with a 2 meter mobile radio as a base station and hook up a high gain vertical antenna like a Diamond X510HD mounted on the tallest mast you can attach to your house--that would be a good choice. Height is what matters on 2 meter VHF and above UHF frequencies because they are line of sight. Learn how to use that, and practice with family members out mobile.

If you tell me your budget, elevation and terrain, I can make specific recommendations for you.

Dual band mobile radios (2 meters and 70 centimeter bands) and dual band antennas are relatively cheap and any car can be easily outfitted with them for a few hundred dollars. Most ham have these. If you know what to look for you will see them everywhere.

They do require regular use to be familiar with the programming, controls, and capabilities. For example they may not work well in a deep valley. People mountain top for long range. This is why I suggest practicing with them.

I typically set up a mobile radio at home with a 12 Volt power supply instead of a battery, for a month or two until I get used to it, and then move it into a car. I have identical dual band radios; each is programmed the same, so I can jump between car, pickup truck, boat, home or barn with identical functionality.

I nearly always have a radio turned on, and talk to many of my friends every day over the radio. I'll be talking to a fellow in Massachusetts in a little while through a linked repeater system that covers nearly all of Connecticut and a big chunk of Massachusetts.

You can program radios with a home button for a specific frequency or repeater to make it easy for others unfamiliar with the radios to get on the air without detailed knowledge.

Radio Club Repeaters repeat radio signals. They do the heavy lifting, and are typically high powered machines, mounted at higher elevations, on mountaintops or towers. They allow you to communicate much farther and also to weaker radio stations such as small handheld radios.

Handheld radios radios are pretty much useless without repeaters to re-transmit their signals. However if there are many repeaters in your area, handheld radios might be a good option for you.

Another good option for reliable regional communication would be the 75 meter band. HF radios are relatively cheap these days as people upgrade to newer, better equipment; there is a lot of really good quality used gear on the market. A 75 meter antenna is much larger, but easier to conceal, if you are worried about SHTF situations. HF radios can be tuned to AM and FM broadcast bands as well as European broadcast bands to keep you informed. They can tune in nearly every frequency below VHF, and some of them work on VHF and UHF as well.

CB radios are cheap but lack power. Many CB operators use Ham gear for mobile and base radio station. Still CB radios might be a good option as they are cheap and require no license.

A ham license is not free but it is cheap, less than $7. There is a written test that requires some study, and the license is good for ten years.

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  #11  
Old 10-28-2018, 07:35 AM
earlwb earlwb is offline
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VHF and UHF handheld radios are limited in range to maybe a mile or two. But if you are on top of a hill or mountain the range is considerably more. The amateur radio people use repeaters to extend the range to 50 miles or more. They have the repeater antennas mounted up as high as they can place them on office buildings, skyscrapers, mountains, water towers, tall antenna masts, etc. The repeaters are generally well protected from lightning strikes too. Thus the repeaters are likely to survive a EMP reasonably well. But with lightning strikes the antennas don't fare well as the high currents tend to burn them up. But the radio operators would typically have the repeaters back up on line fairly quickly with antenna replacements. Many repeaters are mounted with the police and fire department systems and they have generator and battery backup power systems. The amateur radio people work with various emergency and relief organizations so they are well aware of things like a EMP, etc.

Yes do get a FCC amateur radio license, it is easy to get. Many if not all of the amateur radio clubs host weekend classes for teaching about it and they administer the FCC tests as well. The first day and a half is going over the questions and then you take the test. You can check with your local ham radio clubs for schedules. They usually charge around $20 for the study book and a small fee to administer the test. Some smart guys skip the book and just attend the classes and pass the FCC multiple choice question examination. I almost forgot that they have online websites with practice FCC exams too. Most of them are free. So one could self study and just show up for the test with the hosting club.

Last edited by earlwb; 10-28-2018 at 07:37 AM. Reason: add more info
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