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2-way radios?

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by cowboy1964, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. cowboy1964

    cowboy1964

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    These seem like would be a good idea for BOBs, or even for hunker-down-at-home scenaries in case someone has to go out and the cell networks are down. Neighborhood watch would also be a great use for these, even if power and cell networks are still up, so it may be worth having extras on hand.

    What do you have/like? Recharging would be my main concern with these so something that takes standard batteries may be a good idea. Any other features that would especially applicable to preparedness usage?
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  2. BillJ

    BillJ

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    Central NV
    I highly recommend that you buy one that is GMRS. It is not legal to use the GMRS channels without a license, however you can use the FRS channels (built into all GMRS models) and talk the 1 mile or less legally. And once you get a license or shtf you could talk up to 5ish miles....(yes they say 35 miles but its full of crap)

    GMRS pair will run you around $50 ish, Motorola midland cobra all make them.
    Do some surfing on amazon. I know the midlands I bought can use AA or the factory rechargeable battery


    For the situation your talking about adding a base station down the line would be a good idea. Midland makes one that has the GMRS am/fm clock/radio flashlight. That is hand crank charged for emergency use.
     


  3. cowboy1964

    cowboy1964

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    Thanks, awesome info.

    The Midlands look interesting.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  4. Lone Kimono

    Lone Kimono

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    They are worth having, but keep in mind if something happens the FRS/GMRS channels will probably be flooded with people. In addition to those I'd look into getting a HAM license.
     
  5. Akita

    Akita gone

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    Actually usuing the FRS bands at higher than allowed power will piss off the FCC and those hams that never succeeded in life and spend their time protecting 'their' airwaves.

    Stay legal. If you are in an emergency. you may use any band (within reason, eg no one with half a brain will use the airline band) without ANY license.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  6. bdcochran

    bdcochran

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I took a couple of older radios out of storage today. Then I decided to buy a total of 4 Midlands that have privacy codes and take rechargable as well as non rechargable batteries. Printed out 6 manuals (one with each radio in ziplock, 2 for cabinet manual file) and downloaded the manual into the manuals subdirectory in the computer.
     
  7. Javelin

    Javelin Got Glock? Silver Member

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    That is a really good idea!
     
  8. cowboy1964

    cowboy1964

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    I like that these have the rechargeable battery packs (which also can be recharged with the hand crank) but can also use AAs. Exactly what I'm looking for.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  9. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

    I have a set of FRS radios at home. My main concern us radio discipline though. Hard to teach some people sometimes and maintaining discipline can be the difference between life and death.
     
  10. bdcochran

    bdcochran

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    Los Angeles
    Radio discipline

    Lawman 800 questioned the subject of radio discipline
    Some years ago, a person postulated a scenario. The girlfriend was downtown. Terrorists had stormed a few buildings. The police were not responding well. The girlfriend was panicking. What would you do? My response received a great deal of unthinking criticism. I wrote that by the time that you would arrive downtown with guns, any transforming events would have happened and now you would become part of the problem in the police response.

    Radio discipline is established by adopting a simple protocol before shtf.
    If there is an emergency and your family is separated, there is only limited assistance that can be rendered – and probably none except verbal support by having two way radios. Batteries deplete rapidly and this assumes that the batteries are starting fresh in the emergency. If the family is separated, the two way radio isn’t going to broadcast very far. You can establish a simple routine in advance of having communications at 7 am and 7 pm. Of course you can establish a different frequency of communication.

    If you are caravanning and work off of the car battery, then you can jabber all day.

    If shtf and you are using two way radios, you can establish a check in interval. You can even develop a nearly silent click the radio code with your partner.

    In the First Chechnya War, the locals used cell phones that were far more reliable than Soviet military radios. Now that everyone has a cell phone and towers must be operating within a couple of miles of each other to be effective and have capacity, a cell phone is not a very good choice for shtf general emergency.

    I am a ham radio operator. It isn’t the end all or be all. If your favorite repeater is down, you have a problem. If all of the electricity to the area is gone (and your multiple repeaters do not have power on the mountain tops), you have a problem. If you are getting “news” and speaking to people hundreds of miles away, it doesn’t help your problem in your neighborhood. Once, I was on top of Mt. Baden Powell north of Los Angeles and hit San Diego about 110 miles away. Then I thought what was the value if there was an emergency? Help would be 110 miles away.

    If you an untrained observer and a two way radio, it is probably worth something, but not much.

    You have think and prepare in advance.
    Key 1 – radio check
    Key 2 – radio check response, things are ok.
    Key 3 – radio check response, things are not ok.
    Key 4 - I need to be relieved.
    Key 5 – Emergency – people advancing on your location
    Continuous keying – I am in deep doo doo.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  11. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

    Good post, bd. The thing is when untrained people panic, they go crazy on the radio. Heck, it happens to some of the officers I work with.
     
  12. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

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    Acme proving grounds.
    I'm on the radio 40hrs a week,we have problems with m/ms.Keep it short and to the point.'08.
     
  13. i like the midland base station shown above.

    i have also been looking at TriSquare radios with a frequency hopping ability.
     
  14. fourdeuce2

    fourdeuce2

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    Before I worry about the radio frequency being flooded with people, I'd have to be in a place that was flooded with people. With less than 10 people living in about a square mile from me, I doubt the FRS/GMRS frequencies will get too crowded.:supergrin:
     
  15. RED64CJ5

    RED64CJ5

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    To top that one, I'd have to be in a place where someone using FRS/GMRS would even be in range. Get down the road a few miles from me and those little AA-powered China-radios are worthless. At my house, it's ham or CB if you want to talk to anyone.
     
  16. cowboy1964

    cowboy1964

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    What's the typical range of a handheld CB? I'd venture to guess it's no more than GMRS, and maybe even less, but I'm just guessing. I do know that FRS/GMRS suffers less from interference issues than CB does.

    If you put a big antenna on anything it's going to go a lot further. We're talking handhelds here.
     
  17. RED64CJ5

    RED64CJ5

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    I realize you stipulated "handhelds" here, so I will try to use general figures since not all handhelds are created equal.

    CB Handhelds - 29 MHz - Maybe 1-3 watts maximum output
    FRS Handhelds - 450 MHz - 1/3 or 1/2 watt maximum output
    GMRS Handhelds - 450 MHz - Typically 2 watts maximum, some a little more
    Ham handhelds - 50/144/440 MHz - Typically 3-5 watts maximum

    All of the above will advertise ranges in very, very favorable conditions. I communicate regularly with satellites from my home using less than 1/2 of a watt covering distance between me/earth and the satellite (1500 miles.) That is because there are very little objects in between me besides water vapor in the earth's atmosphere. When you are talking terrestrial radio, there are tons of things that can interfere -- trees, mountains, etc. etc.

    My opinion? Typical range of a CB handheld to another? Probably somewhere in the 2-5 mile range under ideal conditions. Under average conditions, probably 1-3 miles. I rate the FRS very similar, GMRS/MURS only slightly better. Ham, having the benefit of multiple frequencies, many portable antenna options, and typically 5 watts, is going to be your best bet. You can probably push beyond the 5 mile limit of the others. I use them all and know their capabilities. I have all in my bag of tricks. Of course, if you live in a hole (low elevation) or the proverbial "black hole of RF" you are SOL anyway.
     
  18. fourdeuce2

    fourdeuce2

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    I always smile when I read the posts by the same people who say the FRS/GMRS radios have almost no range when they say they'll be cluttered up by all the people for miles around.:rofl:
    Sounds like they're not listening to themself.:tongueout:
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  19. RED64CJ5

    RED64CJ5

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    It's funny, the busiest time I have ever noticed on FRS when living in a city was just after Christmas. All the neighborhood kids around the city got them a pair of FRS handhelds and were using them until the batteries were dead.

    I have noticed if you go to national parks and some localized events, you will hear a fair amount of traffic, but by no means congested to the point you can't use them.

    It's hard to predict what people will do come SHTF.

    I know that during the Dayton Hamvention which is one of the largest ham radio conventions in the world, finding a simplex channel can be difficult. Most are in use or have some kind of interference. This is a VERY unique situation because when do you typically have 10,000+ ham operators squeezed in a 1 mile radius? Even at that situation, I have always been able to find a place for my buddies and I to chat and keep in touch.