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Old 12-31-2012, 8:00 PM
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Default Prepper Radio

I've just been working VHF / UHF and am getting a little tired of those two bands, so it's time to go to HF.

I'm not one of the hard core preppers you see on TV, just someone who is more ready to take care of my family than most.
I have been wanting to get on the HF bands, just bought a used Yaesu 10 watt, 6meter because I like the challange of the band as well as QRP.

I also have a good mountain for "Mountaintopping" Should be fun for contacts.

My question is this. If all goes south, what band is going to give me the best chance of making the most contacts throughout the USA. I will be getting a MFJ QRP radio, it only uses 3 amps on transmit. Power conservation would be very important if the grid went down. Antennas will be quick up and down, no towers.

At this time I'm leaning towards 20 meters and a variety of homemade antennas as well as a commercial or two.
What does the group think would be the best band for what I'm looking to do. Night might be a good time as an antenna can be put up easier without being seen, so maybe 40 meters.

I will be only buying one more QRP at this time then will be looking for a 6 Meter to 160 Meter, but power conservation and maxium number of contacts is what I would be after for my "Prepper Radio", Fast up and down of antenna, quick contacts in different parts of the country is what I'm after.

I also like the idea of a lower power signal, might be a little harder to track down, most transmitting will not be done from my home anyway, no sense in making yourself a target, transmit and run.

I just pray all holds togather and I can use all my radios and antennas and just enjoy the hobby with my family safe. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. I think we will be fine, but if not, my family and myself might just have a chance. Living fairly rural can be a good thing.

Thanks to all, John

Last edited by dksac2; 12-31-2012 at 8:06 PM..
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Old 12-31-2012, 9:20 PM
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For general emergency preparedness purposes, don't overlook the 40 Meter band. An inverted V antenna on a guyed extension ladder will yield very reliable NVIS propagation for distances of 400 to 500 miles. For longer distances, it is hard to beat the 20 meter band, though when it's open, it can get so crowded that your signal would be lost. The 40 Meter band, particularly with digital communications such as morse or PSK31 is very very effective.
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Old 12-31-2012, 9:30 PM
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If SHTF; Whatever you end up with, be sure you listen a lot before you say a word----seriously
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thayne View Post
If SHTF; Whatever you end up with, be sure you listen a lot before you say a word----seriously
Both posters gave good advice. this one is right on the money. listen for a while. i have had my general for a while now and have not keyed down yet. as for antennas a wire dipole is as easy as they come to make. if you can make ( 1 ) for 20 and ( 1 } for 40 meters. this advise came to me from an 85 year old ham that received his ticket at 11 yrs old. he says tune them for the center of the band no tuner needed and use a good antenna switch.


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Old 01-01-2013, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksac2 View Post
If all goes south, what band is going to give me the best chance of making the most contacts throughout the USA. I will be getting a MFJ QRP radio, it only uses 3 amps on transmit.
If you plan to make a lot of contacts using QRP, plan on using CW. Because the bandwidth on SSB is wider than CW, it takes more power to make contact over a given distance with SSB than on CW.

I agree that 40m would be a good choice for continental range, though 80m with an NVIS antenna will be very useful within a couple hundred miles.
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Old 01-01-2013, 9:37 AM
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John,
I am assuming that you have a general class license...so. There are many radios out there but the two best in my opinion are the Yaesu FT-817ND and the Elecraft KX3. Both are small, all band, all mode hf transceivers. The FT817 is not power friendly but covers all bands 160 thru 440. The KX3 is power friendly but covers only 160 through 6 meters. Check out the following web site for excellent info on radios and antennas. Best of luck in making your choice, I don't think you can go wrong with either of these.

HFPACK HF Portable HF Pack News HF Antennas Mobile Emergency Ham Radio Communications DX NVIS QRP
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Old 01-01-2013, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksac2 View Post
My question is this. If all goes south, what band is going to give me the best chance of making the most contacts throughout the USA.
40 and 20 meters.

But don't expect too many people to send QSL cards.
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Old 01-01-2013, 9:40 PM
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All good reply's. Listening will be the thing most done for sure. If martial law is put in place, no legal transmitting anyway, there will still be transmittng I have no doubt, but listening will give a person most of the info they will need. There will always be some bucketmouths who won't keep quiet till their caught, I'm counting on that for getting my info. Hope they are smart enough to move very often.

It looks like I might go with the MFJ 20 Meter. If I found it necessary to transmit, 12 watts will be plenty and although there were some good radio suggestions, price and using only 3 amps of power makes the MFJ the best choice for me. I'm saving for a quality HF rig, not a portable and money is tight, but I have decided to treat myself to something nice, life is just to short to dance with ugly woman or transmit on old radios all of the time (though they can be some of the best at times).

The Sony shortwave radio would be getting the most use.

I don't expect things to get that bad, but years in Law Enforcement taught me to never say never and to expect anything anytime. It kept me alive during some pretty ugly times.

Local radio will be FRS or Trisquare (semi spread spectrum, please no discussions on the Trisquare, I know all about them).
A handheld 2 meter on 500 milliwatts with a 5 watt dummy load works pretty good also for very close in. A runner is even better.

If the Feds are looking for you, they will find you radio or not, but no use in leaving the light on.

The world didn't end in Y2K or with the Myan thing, so I don't expect things to colapse, but we still have 4 years left of an unnamed leader, so who knows.

I wish all a great New Year !

73's John

Last edited by dksac2; 01-01-2013 at 10:23 PM..
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:01 PM
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Just a bit off topic for a second. The folks U see on TV are NOT true die hard preppers. Anyone who goes on TV and shows off what they have anb blabs about is is stupid. A TRUE prepper never tells ANYONE what they have, or where it is.

NOW back on topic, all that everyone posted is all good advise and I cannot add any more to it. Good Luck.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
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Just a bit off topic for a second. The folks U see on TV are NOT true die hard preppers. Anyone who goes on TV and shows off what they have anb blabs about is is stupid. A TRUE prepper never tells ANYONE what they have, or where it is.

NOW back on topic, all that everyone posted is all good advise and I cannot add any more to it. Good Luck.
Agreed, it does make for some comical TV though. My favorite is the guy who is going to stay at his urban home for 6 months then go to his sail boat and bug out on it. If he's still alive, he'd be lucky if his slip is still there.

Most of the people on TV will want to die as soon as the TP is gone anyhow.

If you look at real life, a months worth of supplies is a great idea, I don't think I'd want to live in a world where everything is gone with little chance of recovery. Gettin too old for that kind of stuff.

I'm a RACES member who works closely with our County Emergency Coordinator for local emergencys. I pretty much have access to all the radio Freqs anyway. I have my own EMCOMM set up in case I'm needed somewhere besides the Comm center or Mobile Radio Van, I'd just hate to be mistaken for someone else by the wrong Federal group even though I do have all the credentials.

I think it's a great idea for Hams to be prepared for anything (for a short period of time anyway, no way you will even hold out 6 months if all has colapsed) , even if not involved with a formal EMCOMM group., but I sure do wish more would get involved.

They had a good show on Nat Geo, they say stray dogs will take over the world if all goes south, may not be too far from the truth.
John

Last edited by dksac2; 01-01-2013 at 11:06 PM..
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Old 01-05-2013, 1:54 PM
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Martial law in itself does not preclude anyone from using a radio; but invoking the War Powers Act does.
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