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Amateur Bug-out Question

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VE3WTV

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#1
I have a question for all amateur radio operators.

I'm sure most of you have a few thousand dollars invested in your shack. I've seen some shack photos, and I've done my homework on the cost of various rigs. A decently equipped shack would have about 400lbs of equipment on the table. Maybe 500lbs.

Here's my question: If you had to bug out in an hour, or let's say you had a few hours to pack up, what rig(s) would you take with you? I would wager that you would be leaving your 7800 right where it is. It may be $14,000, but it's also quite cumbersome.

I'm mostly an Icom fan, and my favorite rigs are the 7000, 7200, and 9100. The first two are definately 'for the road.' And I've seen pictures of the 7200 in camo, and being carried in a rugged and padded camo shoulder bag. When I pass the basic exam and get my license, that is what I want. A T-70A is my first priority. And an ID-51 is also high on my list. But that 7200 is sweet.

Has anyone prepared to be able to load EVERYTHING in the back of the truck? Like that is what you would do if the cops came and said a forest fire was headed your way and you had to leave?

When I look at some of those pictures, it just seems unreasonable.
 

gewecke

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#2
Some of us have set up light weight back pack stations, just for that thought in mind. ;)
Mine is vhf/uhf only, consists of 2 radios@45watts,1 multi band talkie, and weighs about 35-40lbs with the batteries.

73,
n9zas
 

VE3WTV

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#3
Years ago, Surefire came out with the Hellfighter (or Hellfire - I was never really sure about that), which had to be powered by a car battery - for ordinary people. The light was 3,000 lumens... I think. Maybe it was 5,000 lumens. I forget. Anyway, Surefire prefered a military battery. They told me on the phone that it was a 12V battery, about half the size of a car battery. Maybe 5" deep, by 10" high, and 8" wide. I'm guessing. I'm sure there are a lot of guys here who've used them, and would know a lot more that I do. My point is, I think that battery would be a great choice for a rig on the go. The US military also has plastic cases for them. I don't have any, but I see them in catalogs all the time. But I'm sure you already know all about this.
 
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#4
I run an Icom 706MKIIG in my truck, otherwise I'm not a fan of Icom for bug out or portable use due to their high current consumption on receive which limits your time on battery power.

My portable pack/hiking/bicycle station is an Elecraft KX3 and occasionally its accompanied by the Elecraft KXPA100 amp and two Alinco hand helds, the G-7 and G-29. This setup covers 160 through 6m all mode at QRP or 100w and the handhelds cover 2m, 220, 440, 900 and 1200MHz.

The KX3 with 100w amp is powered in the field with an A123 Systems 12V7 pack which weighs less than 2lbs and powers the HF station for several hours @ 100w or about a full day at 10w. The KX3 is not a compromise HF radio either, it has many important specs that beat the $11,000 Icom 7800.

For longer treks I have a couple of lightweight military foldable 43w solar panels and charger and the KX3 can run at 10w from the panels and charger with no battery connected if needed. The solar panels can also charge the hand helds so this small, lightweight portable system can operate for years in the field based on the solar panels and 7500+ charge cycles advertised by the battery mfr.

So if the neighborhood was on fire or there was some disaster where we had to leave quickly I would have to walk away from some large and nice equipment but I would be able to take a high performance HF station and very capable 2m through 1200MHz radios with antennas, batteries and solar that all fits in a small backpack. For others that may not want to go the Elecraft route, a Yaesu FT-857 with appropriate portable antennas, a small HF antenna tuner and the same A123 systems battery would make a nice do most anything bug out setup.
prcguy
 
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VE3WTV

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#5
Thank you for that, prcguy. You're giving me some good pointers. All too often I choose something based on emotion... how I feel about a brand name, or a particular product. I am a little brand crazy. That isn't very practical or very wise when it really matters. Yaesu is my second favorite. I have drooled over a lot of Yaesu models over the years. I have posters, brochures and hats from both. I will check out the Elecraft line. The solar panels you mentioned really interest me. Can you tell me more about that military panel?
 
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#7
My first concern would be getting my wife and pets to safety. I would probably throw my HTs into a bag and bring them along, but not much more than that in the way of radios.
 
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#8
I agree. Wife and dog, any paperwork I felt needed to be taken and just go. If I had 20 minutes, I could grab some of the expensive stuff, maybe the HT's and HF and take them as well and simply relocate to my cabin. The rest is covered by insurance anyway. For some reason my insurance does not cover Ham Radio gear hence the need to grab the radios on the way out if there is time.
 
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#10
You're correct, the pictures of nicely equipped ham shacks with $1000's of equipment are not designed for the end of the world or for "bugging out" (whatever the hell that means.)

Some (probably MOST) of us hams are not of the prepper mindset and could care in the least about when/if the world ends or the zombie apocalypse happens. If something THAT bad happens that I'm now faced with the collapse of society, my ham radio gear is the least of my worries. I live in the real world, not a fantasy world, and I'm not scared of the impending doom that most paranoid preppers seem to believe will happen.

That being said, if you're meaning what would I take in a normal emergency, such as a tornado or other natural disaster... I'd grab one of my dual band HT's, and I have a dual band VHF/UHF in the car. That's plenty good for me. I might grab the HF radio as well, but probably wouldn't need it.
 
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#11
My whole "shack" (if you can call it that) is basically designed to fit in a couple briefcases that can be thrown in the back seat of the car at a moment's notice, so about 15-20 minutes or so depending how incomplete it is. Little to no base/fixed equipment, everything's more or less portable. I'm not a prep, really; paranoia's my Grandma's thing, not mine. It's a holdover from when I was still business-travelling a lot and would do DXing in those areas.

"'bugging out' (whatever the hell that means)"

Tornado or forest fire's going to flatten the whole city within the hour; get the wife, kids, dog, insurance papers and any supplies into the car and get the hell outta Dodge.
 
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#13
Since I'm neither a Whacker, nor a Prepper, the family goes, any insurance papers, and other documents... I'll grab an HT, grab the dogs, and we're out of here! Family safety is first concern. I won't be involved in any radio activity whatsoever, until we are out of danger, and only then will I listen, not participate in any activity, other than myself and family-related activities.
 

Thayne

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#14
Since I'm neither a Whacker, nor a Prepper, the family goes, any insurance papers, and other documents... I'll grab an HT, grab the dogs, and we're out of here! Family safety is first concern. I won't be involved in any radio activity whatsoever, until we are out of danger, and only then will I listen, not participate in any activity, other than myself and family-related activities.
Excellent answer IMHO, as the first thing anyone needs to know (decide) is are they bugging out to save themselves or their stuff.

One thing I have done is to replace the 2 12 AH lead acid batteries in my bug out box with 2 of the 12V7 Li-on Batteries--Juice out the ying yang and much easier for this old guy to lug around :p

(My wife cannot find out what those 2 batteries cost tho)
 
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#16
My response to a disaster would depend on the disaster itself. WW3 or the zombie apocalypses, I'm staying home, and hauling a case of wine coolers and a comfortable chair up to the roof where I will calmly and comfortable await the end. Then go toward the light...

My vehicle is already well appointed with radios. If I have to leave, then I just don't need to think about what radios to grab. Where do I start? Do I take the expensive test gear that would be close to impossible to replace? Or do I leave that stuff, and grab the HF radio my wife bought me.

No, it's all staying. I grab the wife, the kids, and leave to door open so the cats can fend for themselves.
 
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#19
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

I would grab a duel band radio and qrp cw rig and off I go o and yes family comes first..........
 
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#20
I don't fall in with the beans and bullet crowd, but hey, I do carry a "bug out bag" with me. It's just my essentials I deem necessary on any given occasion. I travel a lot and wind up in remote locations. It's just a comfort to have what I need to circumvent everyday mishaps. Sure I have water and food, a tablet stove (saved my lunch when stuck at a radio site longer than expected), space blanket, fire starter, compass etc. Also a spare shirt and some chones (you'll understand as you get older). I mean just the everyday oops to the 72 hour requirement when the big one hits (west coast thing).

I will try to stay with my trusty vehicle at all costs which contains a multitude of radios, cel phones and internet connections along with my Yaesu FT-897 do-all radio.

If I indeed have to grab my bag and hoof it, what will go with me is my Kenwood TH-6A with the AAA battery pack. Yes it's a tri-bander and I could make contacts considering it's a peanut-whistle and feel comfortable that I could be in contact with someone, but the real value is it's receive capabilities. Shortwave, broadcast band (am/fm), local public service, etc. What I want when the s*** goes down is information. Where to go, what's happening at this moment. The little Kenwood would give me all this for the most part. If the rubber duck is not enough to pull in the signals, I carry 50 ft of magnet wire wrapped around the first aid kit in my bag just in case.

I just think of all those people stuck in the Astro-dome after Katrina. What would you do?
 
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