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Finished my home set-up for emergency communications

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I just finished installing a 2-Meter J-pole antenna at my house last week. The whole process was really fun. I had to spend quite a bit of money grounding it for lightning protection.

 

If anyone needs some guidance on lightning protection I can offer a bit of what I learned or point you to some good PDFs.

 

I still have to figure out the range on this antenna. Although I hear that I will get a lot more range the higher up I put it. I'm tempted to add a larger mast. Here are some pics. If you guys want pics of the entire set-up/install let me know as I have a lot more pictures of the process.

 

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Looks pretty clean. yeh push as high as you have pole. What radio are you connecting too.

 

I'm using the same radio I mentioned in a previous thread, a Yaesu VX-7R. Very happy with it!

 

 

 

Good stuff right there!!

 

How far away have you contacted people ??

 

The antenna is about 15-20 feet above ground level. I'm using LMR-400 coax cable. Since I knew I'd only be using the standard HT 5-watts for a while, I wanted a little loss as possible, so I went with the best cable I could afford. All these factors play a huge part in distance and sound quality, so they are worth mentioning.

 

So far I've hit a repeater almost 40 miles away. I've been able to talk on simplex (radio to radio, no repeater) with someone about 15-20 miles away (I'm not sure his exact range).

 

My next goal is to get an Amplifier so I can make consistent and quality long distance (about 40 miles) contact. If I don't achieve that goal with the amp the next step is to try and get the antenna another 10 feet up, which should definitely do it since I will be above most trees and powerlines.

 

This HAM radio thing is pretty addicting. Depending on my finances, I may try to get on to some other frequencies and build some bigger antennas. I'll be hitting up Capt in Texas before you know it! lol

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Well done, OM. I have a .pdf file that has a rather unique antenna that works very well for VHF frequencies. Actually works well everywhere but it gets a bit big at lower frequencies. I'm working on one for 6 meters. I can email it to you if you wish.

 

Sounds like the J-Pole is working well. Yes, the higher the better on 2 meters as it is line of sight only. 6 meters is getting some skip in so it you can get a 6 meter antenna up, even a dipole works well, then you might get some more distance.

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Well done, OM. I have a .pdf file that has a rather unique antenna that works very well for VHF frequencies. Actually works well everywhere but it gets a bit big at lower frequencies. I'm working on one for 6 meters. I can email it to you if you wish.

 

Sounds like the J-Pole is working well. Yes, the higher the better on 2 meters as it is line of sight only. 6 meters is getting some skip in so it you can get a 6 meter antenna up, even a dipole works well, then you might get some more distance.

 

Sure, I'll take the pdf, thanks!

 

What would I be better off spending money on, getting it up another 10 feet (currently about 6-8 feet above roof level) or buying an AMP to push from 5 watts to 45watts?

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Push it another ten+ feet. An Amp only helps transmitt, height helps recieve.

 

Agreed. Especially in VHF, height is king. That said, going from 5 to 20 watts can trigger the marginal repeaters for you. Doing both is good but the antenna is more important than the power, no matter what the frequency.

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Alright you guys convinced me. Its going to have to wait at least a month or two though. Hopefully another 10 feet should be sufficient to hit the far repeaters

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I find this all very interesting. My Dad's been a ham operator for quite awhile. Was talking to him about it just last week.

 

Xplorer,

I urge everyone to get into Ham Radio. It is pretty easy now - a lot easier than when I started and no, I didn't know Marconi! It is a great skill to add to your tool kit and it comes in handy when TSHTF.

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Xplorer,

I urge everyone to get into Ham Radio. It is pretty easy now - a lot easier than when I started and no, I didn't know Marconi! It is a great skill to add to your tool kit and it comes in handy when TSHTF.

 

I'll second that!

 

Communications may be one of the top 3 most important things during a SHTF scenario.

 

How will you call for help or report an emergency?

How will you organize during an attack?

How will you organize during a defense?

How will you know whats going on in other places that are impossible to get to?

How will you get information from other experts not immediately available to you?

 

All those answers can be taken care of with some simple ham radios. We're so dependent on cell phones and the internet we forget that we could be in some deep trouble if just communications were interrupted.

 

I've got one radio so far, but I plan on buy another one for a back up. I also plan on getting some backup batteries.

 

Just my 2 cents!

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