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need some help

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Here's my situation:

I need to be able to communicate from work to the wife 3 miles away and to another person that is 10 miles away. This terrain is hilly, sparse trees and in a suburban area with a few buildings that would be no taller than 5 stories. Cell phones are great everyday. However i need something i can depend on in a shtf situation. Ham radios are an option but i would prefer a platform that everyone can use. Any help would be appreciated.

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HAM could probably do what your looking for just figure out your frequencies ahead of time and set parameters for everyone turning on their radio.

 

That and there's always smoke signals.

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There are handheld units and truck units. I'm not huge on radio stuff so I don't know how that affects range but if you can connect to a repeater it shouldn't be an issue for 10 miles

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hum..... i thought the HAM guys were home bound.

Hams can be quite mobile actually. I've contacted operators not only in cars and trucks, but also maritime and aeronautical stations. These "short" distance contacts are best made with the higher frequencies alloted to the amateur radio service. Those bands are very popular and can be used "simplex" (direct station-to-station) or via a repeater for more reliable comm over greater distances. Many ham clubs will set up a repeater for not only their member's use, but also "open" for all hams to use. I used to have a HF rig in my truck that would enable world-wide contacts; regularly speaking with a Russian operator. Oooppps! That was a red-flag comment!

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hum..... i thought the HAM guys were home bound.

I talked to a ham in Gitmo back in the seventies while I was flying a helicopter over Phoenix. 20 meter ham band can be really great for distance as is 10 meters right now. Also talked to Hawaii from the same helicopter. The hand held 2 meter rigs are range limited but the portable/mobile sets are solid. I worked a guy in his car out in west Texas from my home on 40 meters a couple of months ago. He was driving and doing code in his head. Don't need a screen to see what's being said when you just use your ears.

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ok so do they have HAM radios that are walkie talkie size and just as portable?

 

Yes ..... and no. There are some really great sized 2 meter rigs. As small as the GMRS stuff or nearly so. These radios are basically line of site plus a bit.

 

There are others for lower frequencies that are about the same size, perhaps a tad bigger. The biggest problem with the lower frequency radios is the antenna size. An effective antenna is often 1/8 wave length in size. So an antenna for 20 meters is a little over 2.5 meters in size. An 8 foot antenna is perhaps a tad longer than you'd want. Even a 10 meter antenna is 4 feet high. They can be made shorter but they are not as effective.

 

Unfortunately, physics demands its price. The electronics can be made happy with odd length antennas but the signal going out is happiest with the right lengths. The short nubby antennas work but you lose range and power.

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Yeah my dad had one he would carry hiking when I was little. I'll let the other radio guys give recommendations. The FRS/GMRS radios are ok for when your within a mile or so but even though they advertise 36 mile ranges and what not that is under perfect conditions strait line of sight. You need a license to talk on GMRS but I think they gave up on enforcing that since there currently proposing removal of the license requirement.

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