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wwallace

Emergency communication

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When I told my wife that we were going to get an internet phone, the first thing she said was no, because when the power goes out the phone won't work. We don't have a backup generator yet. Well, I had already thought of that and for a little over $40 I picked up a small UPS (Un-interruptible power supply). About six months later we have a power outage that last several hours. Because of the UPS we were able to contact the power company and let them know the power was out and get an estimate of when it would be restored. Our neighbors were shocked when they saw me on the porch talking on the phone.

 

Most folks don't realize that when you have a wide area power outage most times, landline phones and cell phones won't work, unless the repeater tower in your area is on some kind of backup power. You don't need to have an internet phone to use this method either. Just get a UPS connected to a computer and your modem or satellite, then use Skype, or Magic Jack. Most phone companies and internet service providers have backup power, but if you can't get a signal to them their backup power is useless to you, so the UPS is a must have for emergency commmunications and it's an inexpensive way to stay connected when the power fails.

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Has anyone ever thought of satellite phones? I dont know much about them, but I figure if you have one that can be used anywhere in the world, and power drops due to weather, or SHTF, then maybe you could just bump communications off of the satellites. I dont know if it would work, as I have no real satellite experience. And satellites are immune to almost everything that happens dirtside, at least for a while. Even GPS should still work (as long as its not a solar flare, or WWIII). Theoretically, you would be able to call for help, and give a ten digit grid as to where you are at, completely via satellites. At least it seems reasonable to me. Let me know what you know, and think.

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Sat pones work fairly well. The two most common are based on the INMARSAT system, and the Iridium system. INMARSAT uses geostationary satellites, while Iridium uses LEO (Low Earth Orbit) Both have some advantages and disadvantages. The one thing they share is high cost. You're looking at several dollars per minute for talk or data time, plus the cost of equipment and service fees. I've used 'em all over the world, with great success, but I'm REALLY glad Uncle Sam was picking up the tab.

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good thread if the power fails as long as it is not from a solar flare or a em p most old land line dial up phones

will work first get an old push button phone a phone cord and a phone plug box and a few feet of bell or phone wire you only need 2 wires drag it out to the street to a junction box open it connect to a circuit usually horizontal and next to each other till you get a dial tone and make your call the phone company has

huge battery banks for such emergencies unless the bundle is cut the junction should have a signal if not try another if after you have tried over some blocks or in another neighborhood then there is a real problem either the phone company battery area has flooded or destroyed by electrical malfunction lightning or em p or there is a scarier problem but that's the problem with being connect 24-7 if we cannot reach out we freak out every family should have a fire escape plan and a teotwawki plan as in fall back to base home if

you go mobile first is get home that is why people should leave a note where they are going and app. time when they will return. if every one knows each others location going by the most used route you should

find each other if family is far away well it will be hard but that's the way it is.

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Has anyone ever thought of satellite phones?

Over on Suvival Cache we have discussed this some. Basically the sat phone has several limitations. One of course is price. They are expensive.

 

Because of the frequencies they use, severe storms can make them unusable. After thunderstorms shut down my dish TV service several times during approaching storms I went to cable. Anything get between you and the satellite and you are out of com.

 

They are not good for tactical work due to bulk and expense. They are also under the direct control of the government (as are cell phones now). If the government decides you shouldn't be talking, you're down.

 

They are also tied to a few ground stations unless the other party has a sat phone. My thought is that the system is great, especially where there is little infrastructure but stateside I see little to recommend it. Close in, radios (GMRS, Ham radio, CB) are best. Long distance ham radio or land line. Being a ham I am perhaps biased but when quakes hit and destroy everything, it is the ham radio op who is getting the word out.

 

Just my not so humble opinion.

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in the event of a solar flare or emp, would walkie talkies powered off before the event, still function?

 

Maybe. It would depend on how the radio was stored ( in a file cabinet drawer is better than setting on a desk ), its orientation to the event, and the strength of the event. Short of a Carrington event they stand a chance of working if you aren't too close to the EMP source. They aren't necessarily inop but they can't be guaranteed to work either unless they are in a solid Faraday cage.. Chance has a big part of the answer.

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in the event of a solar flare or emp, would walkie talkies powered off before the event, still function?

 

Just having something turned off won't save it from a strong EMP. If the EMP is strong enough, it will still fry the circuits of the electronic devices. BEst way to protect your emergency communication gear is to store it in a Faraday Cage. There are many walkthroughs online on how to build one yourself for relatively low prices.

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Thanks Capt Bart. i will stow that away in my brain housing group. Anybody know how to set a CB radio up for a man pack? is it even possible? i have looked at some on line, and it seems to me you could just hook a power supply to it (like a rechargeable motorcycle battery, or something similar) and make it portable in a pack. Again, my knowledge of such things is limited. Guess that's why I come here. the wealth of information.

Edited by Mike Uher
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I like the USP idea, thanks for sharing. I take NASA at their word when they're preparing for a massive coronal ejection/emp event, possibly within the next year - I don't think it a stretch to prepare as well.

 

One thing I wonder - say you outfit several computers with USP's - can you set them up in a distributed network to stay in contact over a particular area/region? Power boosting necessary? If so, how do you go about doing this?

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Thanks Capt Bart. i will stow that away in my brain housing group. Anybody know how to set a CB radio up for a man pack? is it even possible? i have looked at some on line, and it seems to me you could just hook a power supply to it (like a rechargeable motorcycle battery, or something similar) and make it portable in a pack. Again, my knowledge of such things is limited. Guess that's why I come here. the wealth of information.

Mike, the power is fairly straight forward. Even 8 "D" cell batteries in series (+ to - connected) gives you 12 volts and some transmit capability (CB's are 5 watt radios so not a lot of drain). Bigger issue is the antenna. CB is an 11 meter radio (speed of light in millions of meters divided by frequency in Megacycles equals wavelength in meters. 300/27 approximately 11 meters). A "full sized" antenna is therefore about 35 feet long. An eighth wave is around 4 feet. You can check out the various car mounts for antennas to see what you might need or you could get a couple of hand held units that already have everything. Probably less power but certainly more convenient to carry. Handhelds have loading coils in the antennas to make them "look" longer electrically to the radio (a transmitter needs to be matched to an antenna of the right length or bad things happen - the transmitted wave is reflected back into the radio and ruin it) so you don't ruin the radio but you also do not get as efficient a radiated signal. No free lunches I'm afraid.

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I like the USP idea, thanks for sharing. I take NASA at their word when they're preparing for a massive coronal ejection/emp event, possibly within the next year - I don't think it a stretch to prepare as well.

 

One thing I wonder - say you outfit several computers with USP's - can you set them up in a distributed network to stay in contact over a particular area/region? Power boosting necessary? If so, how do you go about doing this?

USP or UPS? I'm not sure what you mean by USP.

 

Wi Fi networks are possible in theory. I'm not sure what the FCC says about power output and antenna height for Wi Fi systems. Remember, it isn't just the Wi Fi power but also the power from the computer transmitter. I'm reasonably sure that there are some pretty strict requirements to avoid interference with other systems. Also, at those frequencies it is strictly line of sight. You could set up a hot spot for your neighborhood (might be expensive but could be done). Are you looking to share data or just communicate? It makes a difference on what you need.

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Sorry, UPS...my fingers apparently got ahead of themselves!

 

Yes, just for communication in case the worst happens. I've done a little research on "cantenna's". I also picked up an old 2 meter Heathkit with powersupply for the same purpose. Many folks I know are trying to find the old "tube" SSB/vaccum tube Heathkit radios for this purpose as well.

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Sorry, UPS...my fingers apparently got ahead of themselves!

 

Yes, just for communication in case the worst happens. I've done a little research on "cantenna's". I also picked up an old 2 meter Heathkit with powersupply for the same purpose. Many folks I know are trying to find the old "tube" SSB/vaccum tube Heathkit radios for this purpose as well.

If you are a ham operator (I strongly encourage this for everyone - no code required and a multiple guess test with all the real questions in the study guide) the 2 meter stuff can go through a repeater (or you can have your own). This can extend the range to multiple tens of miles in all directions. You could also go to 6 meter ham band and get tens to thousands of miles range, depending on conditions. I like tubes by the way. They glow in the dark and keep your shack warm in the winter. Just remember, those tubes have HIGH voltages and currents on them. Get careless with even a low power tube set and you could get very dead, very quickly.

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