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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?

Cancel Account (W0QU) on September 14, 2005
View comments about this article!

I work for a company with 90,000 employees, about 4,500 here in the corporate office. I've found half a dozen hams among us. Yesterday one of them asked what "all mode" HF+ transceiver with power, and what antenna would best be used if we can convince the company to provide space for a ham station which could be used in emergencies. This would be non-commercial traffic of course. We hope to align with the local police department and perhaps get a couple of officers licensed.

What would you suggest for the best combination of new equipment and antenna which could be mounted on the roof (8 floors high), within a reasonable budget, to accomplish this?

Member Comments:
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Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by N1NQ on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I my opinion I would say Icom 706mk2g. It's very versatile 160m to 70cm.
Modifiable to cover almost every thing in between. Its small can be carried in a back pack. Can be run off batteries.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by ZR1PJA on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The IC-706MKIIG has proven reliability and would suggest that you use it in conjunction with the AH-4 tuner. You can get an ground for the tuner by using a 5000pf/500v cap in line directly into the power supply earth of the building. The antenna will be a random wire which you can string up in any configuration. This will give you full and immediate access to all bands. It works extremely well with no effort.
rgds
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by YI9VCQ on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Rack up another vote for the IC-706MkIIG. I have used one for over ten months while deployed to Iraq. From the nice facilities at Camp Victory to the blazing desert at Al Asad, it has been rock-solid dependable. At first, I used an LDG AT-11MP autotuner with it, but soon went back to my trusty old TenTec 632 manual tuner. The manual tuner would tune touchy bands that the autotuner refused.

I've found the Samlex 1223 power supply to be an excellent companion to the transceiver. When my MFJ supply literally blew up, I used the MkIIG with an Optima 12-volt battery.

Antennas have ranged from a simple low 20-meter dipole, 18-foot vertical, full-size 160m Windom, and a Cushcraft beam. I've competed in several contests with the rig and done very well in the standings.

All of this has been at different locations and the radio resides in my backpack. You can't beat the MkIIG for portability and power in a small package.

73,

Korey
YI9VCQ/KA5VCQ
Baghdad, Iraq
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by KZ1X on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I built an entire system of such stations for Nortel, about 6 years ago. There were fixed stations in four cities in North America, and one in Europe. There were portable stations in four additional stations in the US.

The portables were Icom 706mkII, current at the time. The fixed stations were TenTec Omni VI+, with Hercules II amps.

All radios were 'loaded' with filters and accessories.

What the MOST important part was, was the power supplies and antennas. Get those right, and have trained operators, and ANY old radio will work great. It's never the radio.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by K5DVW on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Here's a vote against the IC706 series and an explaination why. The receiver on the 706 series has a front end that is exceptionally overload prone on HF. When I connect mine to a halfway decent HF antenna the intermodulation garbage makes the rig nearly unusable except for the strongest stations. This is redily apparent on crowded bands with many strong signals which is exactly what you'd have in an emergency. Yes, it's a small radio, portablde and it's an excellent mobile rig where you automatically have a compromize antenna. But, a good base station it's not.

My vote would be to go with a full sized HF only rig and a separate VHF rig. If the company is going to give you the space and maybe even fund some of the hamshack, I wouldnt go with a compromize radio.

 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by KB1EVZ on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
YI9VCQ/KA5VCQ: "I've found the Samlex 1223 power supply to be an excellent companion to the transceiver. When my MFJ supply literally blew up, I used the MkIIG with an Optima 12-volt battery."

How would you compare the Samlex 1223 with the Astron SS-25?

I'm looking for a power supply for a home HF station and the Samlex is cheaper. I assumed it was not as good, but you seem to like it... Any thoughts?

73's, YI9VCQ/KA5VCQ de KB1EVZ/AG (just upgraded Monday!)
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by KC0BUS on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I like helping giant mega-corporations with 90,000 employees (Not!). But here's my suggestion anyway: Yaesu FT-897 for a transciever and for an antenna- use an SGC antenna tuner and make a simple loop with wire.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by K0BG on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Since it will take you a few weeks to get the company to pay for the goodies, perhaps you should wait for the IC-7000. While more expensive, it is essentially an IC-756 Pro III in a smaller package with more frequency coverage. That is to say, if one believes the hype coming from Japan where it is already released.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by KK9H on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I agree about the IC-706 series. It has proven to be very reliable, easy to use, reasonably priced and it covers every band that would normally be expected to be used in an emergency.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by N5AAR on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Icom 706mkIIG!!! I have had one for two years and have carried it with me over a hundred thousand miles of travel, used it in hundreds of hotel rooms and countless camping trips. I use the backpack for the 703, a sealed lead acid battery, END FEDZ dipole atennas for hf and the EZ-PSK adapter to allow digital modes using a laptop computer.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by W4EPA on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I can't see how anything can compare to the old Kenwoods 930, 940 and the TS-950SD. Not the SDX(not worth the money) Still use the 950sd and will never let go. Great audio transmit and receive and great selectivity. Always great audio reports even with the hand mike.
Good enjoyable rigs, say what? Nice day everyone.
Jimbo
W4EPA@arrl.net
 
IC706 - good for mobile, not for emergency station  
by KT8K on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
20-30' of guyed, rigid metal conduit, insulated with a glass cup or something, with radials spread across the roof and connected to the building ground system, fed with an autotuner at the base, will be extremely frequency-agile and efficient. Alternatively, an inverted vee with an autotuner at the feedpoint will also be very frequency-flexible and not need the radials.

Besides its far-from-bulletproof front end, the IC706 is known for generating a lot of phase noise that will interfere with any other HF radio nearby, as well as being menu driven, which can be confusing to an unfamiliar user. (I've never operated one, though I've been subjected to their phase noise problem.) It's a great mobile radio, but I also would suggest separate HF and VHF/UHF radios.

In an emergency you often need to be simultaneously connected with local operations on VHF/UHF and more distant stations via HF. You don't want to have to hop back and forth, and you want the equipment to be AS SIMPLE TO USE AS POSSIBLE. In an emergency you don't know who will have to operate, and you need equipment to be easy and straightforward to use, not dependent on intimate knowledge of radio concepts and menu structures.

Older, simpler radios (1-HF, 1-VHF/UHF with dedicated antennas) would be a much better choice. (Also very cost effective.)

Are you going to run off of an AGM-type battery with a smart float charger like a BatteryTender or something? You can put a solar panel or two on the roof to keep the battery up when the power is out.
Good luck & 73 de kt8k - Tim

 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by KE4SKY on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
If your company is really serious about emergency planning and has assets to equip a suitable emergency station, they shouldn't be penny wise and pound foolish by buying a toy amateur radio.

 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by AA4PB on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
K5DVW does have a point. The IC706MkIIg is prone to overload on strong signals, however you can work around it with use of the attenuator and RF gain controls.

If your station is to be fixed rather than portable I'd go with a full sized HF rig. Perhaps the IC756PROIII, and an amplifier, depending on the budget. For a fixed station, especially for emergency use, you need to have a separate VHF/UHF transceiver so you can continue to monitor local activity while you are working the HF nets. You also need a variety of antennas. A yagi for 20M, dipoles for the lower bands, and an NVIS (low dipole) for 75M. Don't forget some sort of emergency power to keep the rigs on the air, at least on low power. Don't use a coax relay, auto tuner or anything that requires power in your antenna system if you can help it. That way you can always bring in a battery powered rig if necessary and not have to worry about getting power to your antenna system. It's a real pain to have to go up on the roof or climb a tower in a storm in order to swap coaxes because there is no AC power to operate the coax relay :-)
 
RE: IC706 - good for mobile, not for emergency sta  
by KC7JDS on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Let me throw in my vote for the SG-2020, with its matching antenna tuner. It may not be the biggest, or the baddest, but it's the most bullet-proof.
Now I don't know if they're thinking of acting as a relay station for a disaster somewhere else, or if they're prepping for a local disaster.
But if it's for a local disaster preparedness, then they want a radio that's rugged, easily portable, almost QRP, almost intuative.
And none of the Japenese plastic fits those criteria.
PS-Be sure to have enough battery backup power, in a form also easily portable (several 12V SLA batteries kept alive with a smart float charger). AC may not be available.
Good Luck. May you never have to use this system for its intended purpose.
B Woodman, kc7jds
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by AB8OJ on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with what others have said about simplicity and avoiding hard-to-navigate menus. Since it's a fixed station, take advantage of that fact and get a full-sized radio with plenty of display space and room for buttons and knobs. However, I wouldn't go with a used, out-of-production rig, assuming it's the company's dime. Get a new one, with a warranty and readily-available service.

I think something like the IC-746Pro would be a nice fit -- knobs and buttons control the majority of need-it-now functions, and its very few menus are easy to navigate. It's at a pretty good price point, too. Even though the 746Pro has 2 meters, I'd also suggest a separate VHF/UHF radio, for the reasons mentioned by Tim, KT8K.

The kind of antennas to put on the roof will likely depend on what's up there now, i.e. what do you really have space for. I'd suggest an omnidirectional VHF/UHF antenna; plenty of reviews here at eHam to help you select one. For HF, I think omni would be best as well, which you could get with a decent vertical, fan dipole, a couple of dipoles or vees oriented in different directions, and so forth. For emergency use, 40 and 80 meters will likely be your primary bands, with maybe 20 meters as well for longer-haul traffic or to get to some of the emergency nets that operate there. Keep in mind that small antennas do not play well on the lower bands.

I would also like to answer one question you didn't ask. :-) Before trying to hook up with the local police department, please be sure to check around and see if they're already being served. Quite often, there will be a local ARES or RACES group that's already doing that job, and if so, you don't want your company charging in there on its own. Work with the local ham emcomm groups, join up with them, offer your company's radio station and operators, get their suggestions about what sort of equipment would work well in your local area.

GL and 73,
-Ed- AB8OJ
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by KF9Z on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I would second the SGC-2020. It is light, simple to use and very battery friendly (as it was designed to be operated from battery power). I owned one for a long time and I used it on CW a lot. My first ever CW contact was made on that radio to a Hustler vertical with about 4 radials in my side yard. The radio is bullet proof as far as SWR and it has 20-watts output. Match the radio with a nice SGC smart-tuner like the SGC SG-231 or even SG-239 with a weatherproof housing and the biggest loop you can feed and you are on the air on all bands from 160-10 meters and it has a general coverage receiver (great for listening to non-amateur emergency information/traffic). As far as receiver performance...it is very good and has a SCAF audio filter for customizable receive audio bandwidths. The radio is extremely easy to use and with the addition of the stock DSP it becomes even better when used for long periods of time. Noise reduction is not a miracle worker for pulling out weak signals but it can reduce listener fatigue.

As for the second part of your requirement...pick up a nice dual-band mobile from any of the big three or even Alinco and that aspect is covered. I use a 100 amp hour deep-cycle marine battery from Wal-Mart ($55 and it would run your entire stations for DAYS at reduced power), a small 5A regulated power supply ($25) or two small solar cells ($75/each + charge controller at $45) and two high-current diodes in-line with the power supply to the battery to prevent back feeding. The diodes are not needed if you choose to go with solar cells as the charge controller has similar protection built-in. I keep everything connected through an MFJ DC distribution box ($50) or you can go the more common sense method of using Anderson power pole DC connectors and DC distribution box ($50 from West Mountain Radio) as those have become the defacto standard for power distribution. You can have an entire emergency station for about $1200 including the DC distribution box, power pole connectors and crimper, antenna tuner, battery, power supply, feed line, copper wire and radios. You can add about $100 to the total package price and have everything in a self enclosed metal case for emergency deployment.

As for antennas I would pick up a nice Diamond dual-band vertical antenna for VHF and UHF as your mounting location will be plenty high enough for good omni directional coverage. For HF I would suggest a large loop antenna around the perimeter of the building and about 10' above the safety railing by use of several heavy-duty 10' mast pipes or galvanized conduit. You would also need an equal amount of insulators to stand off the copper wire from the pipe. Use about 10' of 450-ohm balanced feed and you will not believe the performance. It is an extremely inexpensive antenna that will perform better than almost any dipole or multi-band antenna you can find. The antenna tuner and radio interface seamlessly with the radio so you simply change bands and start talking. The radio and antenna tuner do the rest.

I hope this helps and good luck to you. I hope your company is agreeable to your idea. It would make a very nice addition to your work place. State Farm has a complete HF VHF/UHF station in Bloomington Illinois and it has seem much use during emergencies and non-emergencies alike. They have a club call of N1SF.

Darren
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by LNXAUTHOR on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
SGC SG-2020... low power draw, foldback at higher SWR than other rigs, doubles as a wheel chock, and can run off of 8 D cells easily...
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by WA7H on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
You have received lots of great suggestions, but as with all things in ham radio and emergency preparedness the rig, power supply, and antenna system that you choose should depend on what you’re hazards/risks are (flooding, tornados, fire, hurricanes, etc) and what you want to accomplish with your emergency station. Most large companies have a Business Continuity Manager, if they don’t they should. Set up a meeting with that person and find out what the hazard assessment and risk analysis has determined might affect the company and surrounding area. Second find out what the company’s plans are if any of these hazards strikes the company and/or surrounding area (shut down operations, move operations, etc). That will dictate what type of equipment you will need and where it should be located (portable or stationary, upper floor or in the basement, etc). Once you have made these determinations work with your Business Continuity Manager to make sure your operation is compatible with and included in the companies contingency/emergency plans. Once you have accomplished all of the above then pick the type of transceiver, power supply and antenna system that meets the needs of the contingency plan. Many of the other suggestions you have received will work fine; just remember to keep it as simple and flexible as possible so that the person who always misses the training sessions (usually the only one available when the equipment is needed) can operate from a short checklist (instruction sheet), and stay away from QRP only rigs. You may need the 100 watts to make an initial contact, and then you can lower the power to a level that will maintain the connection. Good luck!
73,
Steve, W7JSC
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by AA4PB on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
An SG2020 is a great rig for portable operation (I have one). I would NOT choose it for a fixed station primary emergency rig. Low power consumption is probably not a major concern in this application since you will need to have lighting and such in order to operate in the building. 20W is just not enough power for this application. You are going to need generator power to be in the building and operate during a power outage anyway.

I also suggest a tri-band yagi for 10/15/20M since you will probably use this as a club station during non emergencies. In an emergency on 20M you will find the gain and directional characteristics of a yagi to be quite helpful.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by KI4DUK on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My employer coordinated with the local club to create an emergency communications room, and paid for all the equipment.
We have some Icom rigs, HF and VHF/UHF, beams on the roof, and some radials for the VHF/UHF.
A combination of employees/volunteers/club members staff the station when activated.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by WA6BFH on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

I would concur with the thinking of AA4PB, except on the IC-756.

The main points are versatility of operation. In that regard I think the FT-847 would be your best choice for overall capability.

I would also suggest that you think about having your operator “crew” on a standard “intercom network”. Good choices for this are 135 centimeter FM, a great band for this, with 23 centimeters as the next best option.

As “PB” said, work other separate VHF radios into the budget to monitor outside traffic, and to use to coordinate “mutual aid”. Your guys may become the mutual aid, or they might need it.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by W2WO on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The equipment choice is not as important as the skills to use the equipment. If at all possible, have your organization sponsor ham clubs at each location and encourage all the ham employees to use the clubs. This provides day-to-day familiarity with the equipment and a mindset for using it. It also means that the club environment must be attractive enough (in various ways) for daily use. The antennas, for example, are probably more than what is needed for bare necessity emergency usage. Create local awards for WAS from each club station (or even DXCC) to encourage routine usage.

I agree that high-end multi-menu rigs are probably not the best thing in this case. I suggest a 100w HF rig with autotuner, a separate VHF/UHF rig, a floating AGM battery as routine power, emergency lighting, a small food/water cache, basic CB and FRS radios, a television (and over-the-air antenna if possible), small toolkit and antenna parts, etc. All club members need to be familiar with (and have access to) all the parts.

Bill
W2WO
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by K0RGR on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
For a fixed station I would vote for either the IC-746 or the Ft-897. The FT could be equipped with internal batteries for short-term QRP backup operation, but that is a small consideration. The IC-746 is the more capable box, overall. Don't overlook the VHF capabilities of the box, either - take advantage of the 100 watts on 2 meters for sideband, FM, or even packet.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by W3JJH on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
For fixed operation with emergency power available, I'd recommend more than one radio. For HF/6m I suggest the Kenwood TS-570S(G). It's not significantly larger than the IC-706, but has fewer functions on hidden menus; that makes it easier for a new operator to learn in a stressful situation.

I'd also recommend that you get two FM rigs. One should be a dual-bander if the ARES/RACES operation in your area uses both 2m and 70cm. The other should be a 2m rig with a TNC for packet use. Some local emergency nets do use packet. The Alinco DR-135 is available with an internal TNC.

Separating the FM radio(s) from the HF rig will allow simultaneous on HF for state or regional nets and FM for local operation.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by KE7TI on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I vote for the Ten Tec Orion! It's approximately $7000.00 less than competitors in the same class and is a top of the line transceiver. Since $7000.00 was save on the radio it could be used towards a monster Step-ir antenna that can be used on all bands!
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by AA4PB on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I suggested the 756PROIII as an example of the size/type of radio I would consider. I'm rather partial to Icom since that's what I've used for the past 20 years. Many will have other preferences of course. I can't argue that the 756PROIII is the best for the application because I haven't used all of the other rigs out there.

Having a 756PRO I will state that I believe all of the hidden menu items are not things that one would need to use for typical SSB operation on an emergency net. Once it is set up most any ham would be able to operate it without any extensive training. Some rigs (the SG2020 being one of them) do have a number of functions that you will likely need to access by a combination of button presses and that can be really confusing if you don't operate the radio on a regular basis. A "cheat sheet" is pretty much a necessity.

The other consideration is whether you want this to be an "emergency only" station or will it be used as a club station on a regular basis for noon-time rag chews, DX, or contests. That would likely impact the best rig selection.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by WA7NCL on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Find something simple and inexpensive like the HF version of TS-570. Get a basic power supply.

Antennas are more problematic. If you have room erect a trap dipole or if you don't have two supports, some sort of trap vertical. You want to eliminate antenna tuning problems. The internal tuner should be adequate.

Use the money you save by buying an inexpensive rig to buy several large Gell Cell or Optima type sealed batteries and buy some sort of charger for them. You can also make one by finding a surplus 12V power supply and setting it for 13.6V and adjust the current limit to the appropriate charge current. A couple of 100AH cells would run an emergency station for quite a while if you are frugal with the transmitter power.

If you still have money left, consider buying a 2KW small honda generator or equivalent. The problem with generators is running them in a ventilated area and storing them with fuel and storing extra fuel. Running the power cable to the shack might also be a problem. An mains switch over would be expensive and cause problems with big company facilities people.

Lastly I would get a donated second hand laptop or two and set them up for sending digital signals. Being able to send messages via computer would be very good for emergencies.

Just so I don't get flamed, don't forget the morse code key or paddle. Sometimes you might have to interface with other networks that are running CW.

I think if you accomplish the above you will have a station that any of your company or guest operators could use without much training. It would be simple and effective for emergencies.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by N6AJR on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
For on the cheap side I reccommend the yaesu ft-857 d, at about $689 from HRO its a good deal, then for antennas, start with a hustler 5BTV or 6BTV small footprint, easy to put up, put a couple of rope guys on them and run some radials across the roof. and a good old astron 20 or 35 for plug in power.

for the best results I would use the kenwood ts 2000, it is also all band all mode and has some nice features, like autotune and vox, is not terribly expensive ($1500 or so new) and the hustler 5 or 6 btv again ( $159/ $189) for antennas, with a 2m / 440 mhz / 6 meter vert antenna like a diamond or comet tribander for the uhf/vhf sides. again a astron power supply for "normal use.

for emergency I would reccommend one of 2 ideas, first is something like a west mountain rig runner, either the 1 amp or the variable version into a substantial sealed lead acid battery or a agm battery, that will run the station at low power for a couple days, say a pair of 90 AH batteries.

and or on top of this pick up a small solar panel say in the 20 to 40 watts range, which will give a consatnt 1 to 3.5 or 4 amp trickle charge on the best of days and less in clouds, but will help recharge the batteries when the power goes out. if the power on the rig is turned down this can actually be enough to last indefinatly.

this can be set up and left as a " club station" or put in a box on wheels that is left plugged in to keep the battery up and rolled out when needed, with the solar going in a window. I think the club station is better as you can test it onec a week, easily, to be sure its ok.

with that small of a solar panel you don't need a controler because it is at the 1/100 to 1/200 of total capacit range whiche is ok for trickle charge on the batteried (2 x90 AH +180 and 1 amp charge average from a 40 watt panel ( averaged all day good sun , bad sun angles all day) will be fine as it averages out to like 1 watt.)

and for antennas, a guyed 5btv and a small vhf/uhf tribander are easy to mount and not conspicous, but certainly a fan dipole would be cheaper and more effective in some respects, and a gap voyager would give you 160/80/40/ and some 20 coverage, but that is my thinking..

 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by K7NNG on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My vote is for a TENTEC of any vintage. Solar/battery power, and one of the better screwdriver antennas, such as a BB-3 or the old healthy Don Johnson antenna.
 
All of the above  
by WB4M on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
During an emergency, I'd want any radio I could get my hands on! Who cares what brand it is as long as it saves your butt? Duh, lets not use that IC 706 to call for help becuz it has intermod... sheesh..
 
RE: All of the above  
by X-WB1AUW on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Opinions are great.

Knowledge from experience is better.

73
Bob
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by W9CJX on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The best response to this question is to NOT name a specific brand or model but to start by identifying the characteristics of a radio best suited for emergency operation. These may include the following, but it's not a "one size fits all" situation:
1. Capability to use more than one power source, such as 12 VDC, 120 VAC, etc. What about the power supplies' ability to withstand voltage variations without fatal consequences? Emergency power sources may be unstable or have noise, etc.
2. Easy or intuitive controls that most users can easily figure out. With a high probability that there will be multiple users, the controls should be easy to quickly figure out. Radios with multiple menus and the need to hold down 2 buttons simultaneously to change a parameter ain't too good if you've never used one before.
3. Safety precautions built in for high SWR to prevent catastrophic failure. Antennas may be accidentally disconnected and should not result in the radio dying.
4. Some type of "ruggedized" design since it will likely be bounced around frequently.

If there's a commercially available amateur radio transceiver that has a good fit with these specs, then it's the radio of choice. Most of us have used our own equipment and are familiar with it, however, if other users are likely who are unfamiliar, then some "training" is necessary and the one with the shortest learning curve to being useful is also a good choice.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by W4SK on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
KZ1X is correct. "It's never the radio." Get two HF rigs, and two VHF rigs. Any competent manufacturer. Install appropriate antennas, and keep a second set of antennas or materials for making antennas, indoors in a safe place - in the event the outside ones are lost during whatever thing occurs. Lastly, get a portable generator (someone mentioned the Honda 2000) to insure being able to USE the radios. All the super rigs in the world wont help if you cant power 'em up.

-W4SK
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by OLDFART13 on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The best radio will be one that has someone who has some emergency training and knows CW operating it.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by W4XKE on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I came in too late to be able to offer any original input so I'll just "second" the comments made by these knowledgeable hams:

K5DVW Recommend against tiny all-in-1 radio with stacked menus and a lot of add-ons to buy

W2WO Emphasize skill and proficiency, stay with 100 w radio w/autotuner, stock water, etc.

W3JJH Multiple radios dedicated to HF, VHF, FM, etc

W9CJX Identify needed radio characteristics, multi power capability, intuitive controls, etc.

These fellows said it better than I could have and they've got my vote. I'd try to get a basement location for the shack it that is possible.

Johnny, W4XKE
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by K8MHZ on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The 706's have made their way into many of the EOC's in my area. They are great rigs.

(The following is for educational purposes only)

In an emergency, we can't predict how we will need radio coverage. To that effect, a radio that can communicate with other services, ie. one that has been 'opened up' will be of more value than one that can't. Only amateur rigs such as the 706 can easily be made to talk to marine, CB, MURS, FRS, GMRS, etc. services. To that effect, it should be assured that there is both antenna and power supply necessary to work all services.

The other option would to purchase separate radios for every single radio service available. Remember, people are going to grab whatever is charged up to communicate.

I do not advocate operating a radio illegally.

End of educational rambling...

I also think that VHF would be used the most in an emergency. Having an HF rig is a true asset, but having a VHF rig that can talk for the better of a hundred miles on simplex would be much better. Some companies own very tall buildings in which high gain antennas can be placed. Also, with a beam at such heights, phone patches over a hundred miles away could be reached. I have heard of MARS SSB simplex contacts using horizontally polarized beams in excess of three hundred miles.

Whatever it takes to get gain, un-interruptable power and frequency agility is the ticket for emergency communications. And back it all up. Twice.

73,

Mark K8MHZ
 
ENOUGH ALREADY !  
by HFHAM2 on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Can't anyone come up with something more original than these "What is the best rig" questions?

The answer is of course, whatever the responder currently owns. That is until they get a different rig at which point that one becomes the best.

Same deal for all the 5 out of 5 reviews in the reviews section.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by KG4ZCH on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Besides buying the radios..ask your company for five hours a week of "training"..so you guys can play with the radios and still make money.


73 :-)
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by W6TH on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
.

I handled the Net Control Station (NCS) for a few Hurricanes in Florida and mostly on the 40 meter band. I handled the CW portion using just the Collins KWM-2.

When Phone operation was needed, I passed my emergency traffic to a standing by Phone operator who would handle the Phone part of the traffic handling.

Radios were not the problem, but the need for the operators was of most importance. There never seemed to be a shortage of radio operators or radio equipment, so any kind of a simple radio will suffice.

The low cost of a radio such as the Icom 718 for the HF and a simple dipole or end fed wire at a length of 46 feet with a tuner of a sort, will do well. There should be a support for the VHF and the UHF as well, this at your choice.

Of a matter of course, the emergency operators of days gone by were very well trained and their main objective was at saving human lives and property, not out for glory or publicity.

73 de W6TH/BPL (Brass Pounders League).

.:
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by WY3X on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
If your experience winds up being anything like the one I had, get one that's easy to move around, and that can be stored in someone's personal locker to be brought out in the event you have a situation that requires it's use. Make sure it's someone who is there all the time. I see recommendations against the micro-rigs, but trust me, eventually, you'll come to appreciate the fact that one person can break it down and stow it without assistance. I was promised a large room on a "permanent basis" where I worked. I drilled holes above the ceiling in block walls and ran coax up to the roof, where I installed a nice HF/VHF/UHF antenna system. It was a VERY CLEAN installation (I install satellite dish systems for people in million-dollar homes, and I know how to run wire neatly.) After a few months, it became a new "computer learning lab" and there was no longer any space available for amateur radio. The door was locked and I was not provided a key. Management sure wasted my time! Whatever you get permission for, get it in contractual writing and get a termination date as far in the future as your supervisor is willing to go. Give yourself legal recourse in case they change their minds after you've expended all the effort to set up a station. Managers change, people change, and so will your assigned "permanent location". If you can't get the contract, whatever radio system you get, keep it small and portable, 'cause you're gonna get moved around!

Good luck! -KR4WM
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by KC8VWM on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"If your experience winds up being anything like the one I had, get one that's easy to move around,"

-------------------
ding ding ding ding....

Looks like the right answer to me.

The best transciever for an emergency is one that can adapt to many different scenerios on the fly.

For example, Can it run QRO? Can it operate QRP? Can it do both? How easy is it to get setup? takedown? Can it operate as a repeater if need be? Can it be operated from a wide range of power sources that may or may not be available at the time? What if the generator doesn't work anymore? What is your backup plan to keep it working?

Keep asking yourself "What if" when choosing a radio for operating during an emergency. Think of as many possible "what if" scenerios and find the equipment that seems to answer all reasonable conclusions.

Agility, capability and maximized flexibility seems to be key in any emergency situation.

Being adequately prepared and trained is first and foremost while actual equipment chosen is secondary.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by NB3O on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"amateur rigs such as the 706 can easily be made to talk to marine, CB, MURS, FRS, GMRS, etc. services."
Rigs like the 706 can easily receive on non-amateur frequencies, however their transmitters do not meet the spurious requirements to prevent inteference to other services when operated on some of these frequencies. Don't believe me? Borrow an old HP8566 spec analyzer, dummy load, and directional coupler and see for yourself. You may be surprised as to the amount of new friends you could potentially make if you transmitted into a real antenna outside the amateur bands, especially during an emergency.
I have to agree with KE4SKY; the best option is to properly budget for a commercial rig(s) capable of operation in the ham bands and fully type-accepted for operation outside the ham bands if you anticipate the need to do so. To do otherwise would definitely risk interference to other services (first reponders, etc).
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by KA4KOE on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
BAH!

No one's mentioned military manpacks. Columbia Electronics sells reconditioned PRC-104s. 20 watts, bulletproof receiver, punchy transmit audio, can take water immersion. You can drag these puppies through the surf.

In an emergency, I wouldn't trust any radio with a VFO knob. Non-ham members of your company can work the radio with minimal training and NO menus to fuss with.

My personal emergency radio is a Philips-MEL PRC-2000 manpack. Its charged and ready to go.

Just my 2.4343354 cents worth.

PHILIP
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by KE7N on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
If you want an all in one, compact, rugged, reliable rig that makes a great base, portable or mobile setup that is excellent for any emergency then its going to be very hard to beat the FT-897. If you have that with the FC-30 bolt on tuner, and the FP-30 built in power supply then all you have to do is grab its handle and you have everything you need in your hand. You could run it off the internal power supply or an external 12V source, or in about 3 minutes you could swap the power supply with batteries. I belong to the EMA, SAR, and ARES and I've used one of these rigs base, mobile, and portable. I've had about every rig they've made within the last 20 years and for an all in one emergency rig I don't think you can beat the 897. As for an antenna that's easy to transport and setup for emergencies I like the buddipole setup.

73, Ken
KE7N
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by N0MUD on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I am prejudice, the Yaesu's 857D and 897D fill the billets just fine for emergency use. They are both programmed the same and operate the same and add the Buddipole for an emergency antenna and they you have it an emergency radio system for emergency use. Also add the Samlex 1223 for a power supply and those three to four items and that's all you need. And yes I do have all of the items listed and the ease and operation is all any ham op needs for an emergency system.

73's Mike, N0mud
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by K4JSR on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Double Bah! And I'll raise you a HUMBUG!
I like my little Alinco DX-70T.
So NYAH! NYAH!
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by N5EAT on September 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I think a nice Icom 746 or Kenwood 2000 would make good rigs. If we're talking emergencies, were talking
2 meters and 20,40, or 80 meters. So a good diplole or one for each band would be nice. Some folks have said "It's never the radio". I really disagree on this. The rig should have a great speaker and at least a sideband filter. It should be simple to operate and be frequency stabil. Kenwood's 480hx 200 watt radio would fill the bill nicely. It's fairly inexpensive, sounds great and has plenty of power.

The antennas should be easily fixable, and should be easily tunable. I also feel with HF construction being what it now is, a good backup rig is a good idea. The Icom 706 or 718 are good choices and can be had used for very reasonable cash outlays.

About the use of a multi-band beam. In a weather emergency, this type of antenna will come down from a roof quicker than any other kind, followed by the dipole, then the vertical. However, dipoles are easily "slung" up again, and sustain minimal damage when they come down (of course - they CAN rip completely apart).
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by W8WZ on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
A rig that will be used in emergency situations by several diffrent ops should have the following features:
1. Be simple and straight forward to use
2. Be reliable
3. Have at least 100 Watts output
4. Have a built in antenna tuner (if your antenna system is damaged by storms, the rig can easily adjust itself and still get a signal out)
5. Be able to run off of 12 VDC in case you need to use a battery.

In the situation you describe, I would suggest the following HF rigs: Icom 746 and an Icom 718. The 746 is a good blend of straightforward operations with some decent features. It also can cover 2 meters. The 718 is very easy to use, can serve as a backup/mobile/portable rig incase the 746 fails. The 718's biggest feature is that it is simple. In an emergency and an op needs to use a rig that they have never used before, simplicity is important.

I would also suggest a 2 meter FM mobile rig for local communications if the IC746 is being used for HF at that time.

As far as antennas go: An A3S on a small roof tower and a dipole for 80 and 40. Also a G5RV that is kept in the shack - that can be put up quickly incase the outdoor antennas get destroyed in a storm. A 2 meter vertical like a Ringo Ranger would be fine for local VHF needs.

Other things to consider depending on budget: A solid state amp to provide at least 500 W RF output. I suggest solid state because you may have ops coming in to work an emergency station that don't know how to tune an amp and will cause damage to a tube amp. Even though I prefer tube QRO technology, and solid state amps are more costly, they are easier for a newbe to use in a stressful situation.

Get a heavy duty linear supply for the IC 746 and the VHF rig. Get a lightweight switching supply for the 718 incase you need to take it out portable to run off of a generator. Also, a transmatch like an MFJ 949E would be a good thing to have with the 718 to go portable with.

Keep things in the shack like - wire, solder, solder gun, multi meter, rope, Coax, RF connectors, a copy of the ARRL operating manual as it gives lots of good info about emergency traffic handeling, etc.


 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by N8NOE on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
OK, I got to say the IC-706MiiG also, Seems I Have to follow.. I had a FT-817 (Key Word=HAD) and I now use the 706MkIIg in the backpack, for MANY reasons, but having UHF/VHF if you need, along with 60Meter after Mod'n mine.. Just a GREAT radio, and the size is a big plus, even after adding a small Box Fan on the back. After using the backpack, I find there just wasnt a lot of air moving around, but this migght just be me.. All things considered, I'd go with a 706 (of most any flavor 706, 706Mkii, 706MiiG) as a first choise, Second I might look into another SGC-2020, I liked the one I had, and then they added ADSP, so it got better. You want RUGGED, go with a PRC-70!... And you can't hurt it, Water, Mud, Etc!..
Jeff
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by K1TWH on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My vote would be for the old Yaesu FT-747GX (About $300 in good condx). It runs reliably off of battery (down below 11VDC). It comes complete with AM/SSB/CW filter. Add a Z11 Pro tuner, whatever you can string for an antenna (G5RV is not a bad choice). Then cover 2M/440 with an FM rig (Alinco DR-600) & omni antenna for local communications and perhaps an older 2M handi-talky and you should be ready to aid in the event of an emergency. (And talk local while listening on HF or vice-versa).
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by YI9VCQ on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
To:KB1EVZ/AG

First, congratulations on the upgrade!

I cannot offer a fair comparision of the Samlex 1223 to an Astron 25 since I've never owned the Astron. The Samlex put up with my SARTG RTTY operation at 100w for nearly 12 hours of constant operation. I had never heard the built-in fan kick on until then. LOL.

The Samlex 1223 works great in my application. So well, in fact, I own two of them. One for my Icom IC-706MkIIG and one for my Kenwood TS-2000.

Maybe someone else could help out with some advice.

73,

Korey
YI9VCQ/KA5VCQ
Baghdad, Iraq
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by YI9VCQ on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
To K5DVW:

I've been in contest situations with the 70MkIIG and had no problems. I could work both strong and weak stations by using my optional filters and manipulating the RF gain control. So, your claim that only stong stations can be heard is wrong. I scored over 1.2 million points in the CQWW WPX SSB, which is one of the most crowded contests on the bands. I'll admit that the DSP on the radio is mostly useless IMHO. I never use it.

73,

Korey
YI9VCQ/KA5VCQ
Baghdad, Iraq
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by K3AN on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
If it is likely that hams other than yourself will be utilizing the radio, then you MUST go with a radio that doesn't have a complicated menu system. In our group's last two Field Days, we used a K2/100 at one operating position. Its complexity (really its lack of enough front-panel controls) resulted in lower QSO totals at the position it was used- CW last year and phone this year. If you have never used a K2, they're not easy to figure out (for many of our ops, FD is the one time each year they get on the air). In an emergency operation environment, with typically cramped or uncomfortable operating positions, long hours, little or no sleep, and the pressure of getting the traffic through, such radios becomes even more frustrating.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by KA4KOE on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"If it is likely that hams other than yourself will be utilizing the radio, then you MUST go with a radio that doesn't have a complicated menu system."

Exactly....and most military manpacks take it one step further.

If you are in a terribly dire situation, and the radio op bites the dust, then what? If the people left in the shelter don't know what to do next, then what?

This is the primary reason military radios have no VFO knobs and are relatively simple to use.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by K6TLA on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
It's gotta be the FT-100D. I have one sitting on top of my IC-706MKIIG and prefer it greatly over the Icom product. Why you ask? Quieter receiver, many included options, great VHF/UHF performance, a bright easy to see display from any angle, and it just runs and runs. Usable indoors, in the car, and in the field. My second choice would be the FT-817 with an amplifier. 100 watts is needed on HF for emergency use but 5 watts is plenty for VHF/UHF repeater access. The tiny little 817 also operates on internal batteries and is so light that it can be easily carried just about anywhere. It's basically a DC to daylight walkie talkie.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by K4JSR on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
If you are the radio operator that bit the cookie,
then what would you care about the rest of the people?
You would be oblivious to their plight.
The Alinco DX-70TD is super simple to operate that even a "No Code Extra Light" could figure it out!
Where do you put the fudge when it comes time to operate your Greenie, Philip? Use discretion in your reply! :-)
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by W2CSH on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Having just gone through this exercise setting up an EOC station, here are some suggestions. The last thing you want to have is an all band (HF/VHF/UHF tranceiver such as the ICOM 706 or Yeasu equivalent. Remember that these radios are a big compromise and are mostly geared toward HF operations with a lesser capability for VHF/UHF which is really what you need. All of your eggs are in one basket and these radios are not flexible enough to satisfy the demands of emergency operations.

In a local disaster where emergency communications support is being given, a 2 meter rig is the most important. Dual band rigs such as the ICOM IC-2720 and Yaesu FT-8800R or Alinco DR-635T/E offer the capability of two independent receivers allowing the user to monitor VHF/VHF, UHF/UHF or VHF/UHF on two frequencies or bands. They also have wide band receivers so that disaster agency, police, fire, EMS and FEMA frequencies can be scanned while monitoring a 2 meter repeater. They also have a cross-band repeater and automatic repeater functions which none of the HF/VHF/UHF radios offer. You may want to have a second simple 2 meter tranceiver for digital communications or packet. For HF communications any reliable HF or HF/6 meters will do. I recommend Kenwood because the radio to computer interfaces have been around for years and they are well supported. The FT-50 is a cheap and very reliable radio that has found favor among many relief agencies. Keep the HF radio simple. Have a computer and TNC and software for email via Winlink2000 since many served disaster agencies can be reached easily.

For an HF antenna a Near Vertical Incident Skywave (NVIS) Antenna is a must. This antenna will give you reliable communications to local and regional hams with no skip or reflections out to 500 miles. This is want you want as a DX ham in Europe can do very little to help you and a non NVIS antenna will not allow you to reliably communicate within the 500 mile circle of your disaster location. Also have a GMRS/FRS and a CB radio on hand as many non-hams have these radios in their homes/cars and will use them to try to get help.

As far as hand held radios are concerned the good old ICOM IC-W32A cannot be beat as it allows monitoring of two bands at the same time and has a wide receive capability.

If you are serious about this I highly recommend that one of your group take the ARRL Level 1 emergency communications course and pick up a copy of the ARRL emergency communications handbook. Before the hams in my company approached management about using a building for a repeater we made sure we had a written proposal and that several of us were credentialed through agencies such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army in addition to having the ARRL certifications at levels 1, 2 and 3. That way management knew we were serious and it made the corporate lawyers (They will be a major hurdle) much more comfortable since the emergency assistance laws absolve the corporation of any reasonable liability should anyone sue the company for some idiotic reason over the emergency communications issue. Your presentation should include reference to your state's, region's and local emergency operations plan and the applicable laws regarding emergency and disaster assistance. Believe me if your companies management is on the ball you will have to convince the corporate legal counsel that what you are planning will not involve the company in any legal action should anything go wrong. As Murphies law states "No good deed goes unpunished". The ARRL EMC Handbook spells out the applicable federal laws regarding the exemption of emergency providers and good samaritans from tort lawsuits and legal liability. Good luck with your effort.
 
Cooking Biting via K4JSR  
by KA4KOE on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Cal, thats screwy, almost as screwy as this web page mp3 you just emailed me, which I present to those assembled for their horror and/or enjoyment...

http://www.daveamason.com/april/mp3/cash_german.mp3
 
RE: Cooking Biting via K4JSR  
by WA6BFH on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

I thought that little ditty was quite nice!

I know a YL that I would dediCATE it to!
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by K5DVW on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
YI9VCQ> I'm glad your 706 worked out for you in the contest. I wouldnt say the rigs are useless at all, but the front end performance could really be better. Maybe they've improved it lately since my 706mkIIg is about 4 years old.

From my experience the front end of the IC706 is weak. I can tell you that comparing the 706 to my IC756proII and to a Kenwood bare bones HF rig (forgot the model#) is a world of difference when working weak signals. The IMD numbers also tell the story, the 706 is up to 10 dB worse than some other popular HF only rigs. When I make real time A/B comparison, there are CW signals that cant even be heard on my 706 over the IMD floor but are clear as a bell on the 756 and the Kenwood. This was on 40m stateside at night with a 3el beam at 60ft. Probably the worst conditions imaginable.

The IF filters dont do a thing to remedy this problem since the IMD is created at the front end. Reducing the RF gain didnt seem to help tremendously, just made everything lower signal level.

In an emergency situation, I dont think I'd want to run the risk of possibly not being able to communicate due to radio front end problems.

All that being said, my opinion is the 706 series are cute mobile or portable rigs, but not my first choice for a base rig connected to a decent antenna.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by W8KQE on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My basic 'emergency' setup for now is an Icom IC-718, several single band end fed PAR wire antennas (no tuner required), 2 50 foot lengths of 'mini 8', a mini CW paddle, and a large spool of polypropolyne line and a Swiss Army Knife. It all fits into a compact sized aluminum briefcase. Power is supplied by 2 solar charged (if need be) Prestone car battery booster chargers, which work great as portable battery supplies. I am going to replace the 718 with something even more compact with HF/VHF/UHF capabilities when I get the chance.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by KC8VWM on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"This is the primary reason military radios have no VFO knobs and are relatively simple to use."

Now, that's what I call the ultimate emergency tranciever!

there's nothing like a radio you can drag through a sloppy swamp for 10 miles that is capable of simply setting it up anywhere you go on the entire planet from the misty jungle to the freezing artic tundra operating under any and all conditions you can thow at it.

You only have to wipe away any bullet flack fragments accumulated during your swamp jouney and simply start transmitting with it.

Ok, now let's see if your YeaComWood can do that!




 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by KC8VWM on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"This is the primary reason military radios have no VFO knobs and are relatively simple to use."
------------------

Now, that's what I call the ultimate emergency tranciever!

there's nothing like a radio you can drag through a sloppy swamp for 10 miles that is capable of operating anywhere you go on the entire planet from the misty jungles of the amazon to the freezing artic tundra under any and all conditions you can throw at it.

You only have to wipe away any bullet flack fragments you have accumulated during your swamp jouney and simply start transmitting with it.

Ok, now let's see if your YeaComWood can do that!




 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by WA5ZNU on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The HF transceiver itself is probably one of the last things you'll need to decide on and get working.

Having a station capable of outside the building is important, in case the building is part of the problem. For most companies, this means a commercial van. If you drive around Silicon Valley, you'll see these parked outside of lots of high tech companies.

Battery power, battery power maintenance equipment, VHF/UHF equipment (whatever your local EC people use), and good antenna supports are probably earlier priorities than the HF rig and its antenna.

That being said, you can't just buy all that stuff and put it together and forget about it until you need it. So, having an HF contesting rig or VHF Packet or PSK31 or whatever it is that you and your co-workers find interesting to do during lunch is important, because otherwise you won't go there and use it regularly, and you won't keep it maintained, and so if you ever need it, Murphy will assure you it doesn't work.

So, if you establish an operating position, getting hams to use it on a non-emergency basis is vital to its continued operation, and getting more hams interested is a requirement for the goal of getting it used at all; so, don't require emergency training for everyone, and just let the hams use it and keep it maintained.

You might also want to try starting some ham classes or other informal ways of encouraging more hams. (12 out of 4,500 seems low -- there are 5 licensed hams on one floor of the building I work in...)

Please to do contact me directly if you want to do some benchmarking or need help getting presentation materials for management.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by K5MDM on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I believe you are all fairly far off, as the use is described. For a base station Id go with the Icom 746 Pro, as well as an added 2meter FM rig...Antenna will be the key, G5RV is great if it works out in your location, bout a 50/50 chance. Since most of the HF work will be done on 80 and 40, I think Id get full wave loops for the two...or two element beams for those to if the situation permits...706 is a great mobile radio, but on base is does begin to suffer. The 746 pro equals most any radio out there now for everyday perfomance and trouble free, for much less money than many top enders... Personally for a 2 meter rig, I'd buy a 706IIG anyway!!...My 2 cents worth...73 Murray K5MDM PS , this look is taken from a retiree's budget look, but even with all the money , Id still buy those two! M
 
RE: Since when can't hams build their own stuff...  
by WA6CDE on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Well... talk about the FCC being biased...

Here hams for years have gone in togeather and built their own equipment... as a group... it was always one that started the ball rolling and then others joined in and built them such as kits... but, here I see the FCC has clearly taken the roll of discriminating against free enterprise as well as backing the manufactures of equipment that can be bought only... if made by people they approve of... how socialistic...

Section 97.315(a) provides that no more than 1 unit of 1 model of an external RF power amplifier capable of operation below 144 MHZ may be constructed or modified during any calendar year by an amateur operator for use at a station without a grant of certification. The intent of the rule was to accommodate amateur radio operator's desire to be able to build one amplifier per year, or modify one amplifier per year, for use at his or her station, but to prevent an amateur radio operator from mass marketing amplifiers.

This means you find a good circuit and want to share it with others... attttt wrong answer... as most transmitters have an power amp built into them... so... tell me... where does the FCC get off on this...

If I wanted to make a portable 1kw CW transciver all solid state... attttt... they would label you a criminal if you made more than one... or shared it with others as a group building project... talk about protectionism... of the for'n interest in this country... wow... No wonder their are no more tech minded people... the FCC has run 'em all off... to other hobbies... leaving the dumming down of american engineers to only the no nothing numb numbs... which is dispickable... only in america...
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by N9TA on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My vote would be for the Kenwood TS-2000. You get all HF bands with an auto antenna tuner, 2M, 6M, and 70CM. PLUS you get a built in TNC for packet. Dual receivers so you can monitor the local emergency repeater WHILE you listen to shortwave or operate packet.
 
RE: Since when can't hams build their own stuff...  
by AA4PB on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The rule was brought about by a few who built amplifiers for sale to CBers for their illegal use. The rule does NOT apply to a complete 1KW transmitter. It only applies to external amplifiers. The rule doesn't prevent you from building amplifiers to sell, it requires you to have them certified so the FCC can ensure that they meet the technical requirements of not functioning in the 11M band and requiring more drive than would be available from a 5W CB rig. The rule does not prevent you from giving a schematic of your design to a fellow ham so that he can build one. It only prevents you from building it for him or providing him with a complete kit of parts.

The whole purpose of this rule was to stem the flow of illegal amplifier use by CBers.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by K0VH on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Wow, incredible amount of posts for a simple question.
We too have a company station (aging 10+ year old Yasu but excellent beam/tower) at W0IBM in Rochester MN, 5000 employees and around 100 hams with maybe 25 active in our radio club. I am VP of the club and have been active in it except for a 2 year stint out east since it started shortly after I hired in 29 years ago.

>> What we learned is you want a simple EASY TO USE station. <<

The current six hams you have may all be IC 706 users and that makes sense today but who will use it in 5-10 years? BTW I own a IC 703 (QRP non VHF version of the 706) and 746, so I am an Icom FAN but trust me when you don't actively use them you do forget about the multi stacked menu options especially on the 703/6. I personally think if you have the room a 746 is better, however the dang function keys that fit right over the mode (CW, SSB) confuses me at times even after 6 years!

I don't have a magic answer for you and overall the 706 may be the best but a simpler "just power it on" setup with most functions intuitively obvious like my old IC 730 can win out at times. Perhaps a IC 718 or other smaller basic radio makes the most sense?
Good luck, K0VH
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by KA2JIZ on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I think the SGC line of equipment and one of their automatic antenna tuners and a better mic might be worth considering. However, the SGC2020, at least, is HF only. Look up the SGC website for info.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by N0TONE on September 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
1 - you do NOT want a portable radio. It will walk away with someone. Likewise, you do not want a very small rig. Avoid anything that operates from batteries, or is intended for small spaces - 706, SGC2020, etc.

2 - you want a radio with minimal feature set, so that if, during an emergency, a less-experienced op needs to use it, he/she can do so with the very least of training.

The only simple radio I know of today is the Icom IC-718. Possible alternatives might include the IC-746 or 756 (but the 756 is pricey) and maybe lower-level Yaesus, but the high end Yaesus are complicated and hard to use. The kenwood 430/440 and 850 were reasonably easy to use, but are obsolete. None of the smallish mobile style rigs are easy due to menu structuring.

One of my former employers had an emergency radio setup at every one of the company's 20 sites. Each of those stations had an Icom IC-735 (also easy to use), some amplifier based on glass tubes (glass tubes are harder to damage than ceramic tubes), a B&W multiband dipole, and a separate two meter FM rig with Ringo Ranger antenna.

It makes sense to put in such a station. If your company is that big, then no doubt your facilities have already got all the necessary preparedness in place for whatever natural calamities exist in your area. The stock market expects this - all larger companies in California have their buildings built on floating sandbeds, and they'll "swim" right through a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. So, it's reasonable to assume that if "the big one" (storm, earthquake, etc), hits, your company is likely to fare better than even Red Cross facilities, which tend to be in abandoned warehouses and other likely-to-fail areas.

In my former employer's case, it was not uncommon for one of the company sites to end up as communications central for local disaster agencies, because we had the only truly effective station that was not damaged.

Do make sure that ARES and CERT know about your station, but you may find them unreceptive; mainly they seem to be about having operators spend dozens to hundreds of hours in classes, that your employer is unlikely to reimburse you for. Around my main home, those classes are during the day and you (and all other potential ops) would have to take vacation time to go to class. Nonetheless, try to find out the local activiation plans, so you can offer your services when the need arises.

AM
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by N0IU on September 16, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
A radio is a radio is a radio... anything will work. Like others have said, it is far more important to make sure all the people who will be operating this station are properly trained in Emergency Communications. A state of the art radio and fabulous antenna won't do you any good if no one there actually knows what to do in an emergency.

NØIU
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by WB6FZH on September 16, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I selected the IC-735 years ago, because of it's reliability. The DXpedition guys always carried a 735 even if they were showcasing some other rig, they wanted a DEPENDABLE BACK-UP RADIO!.

For several years I have had boxed up in military type transit boxes complete HF & 2mtr radio stations (separate boxes).

The faithful ICOM IC-735 ssb/cw xcvr, MFJ-941 300w tuner, Hand & Desk Mic, Headphones, Key (and Paddle for built-in keyer), "Y" cable for 1 to 2 headphone extension.(w/spare headphones)

Assortment of radials/counterpoise wires(insulated & marked), G5RV pre-assembled with detachable coax, Hustler 5BTV in specially constructed box for transit w/accessories for support, coax, grounding, surveyor's tape for safety, BIG ROLL OF DUCT TAPE, small tool kit, Rolls of pre-cut wire for various antenna configurations & connectors to splice, RF adaptors,etc.

For 2mtrs, Kenwood TM-251 or similar (with packet cable, TNC and used laptop (ac/dc), with floppies for
message dump. Hand mic / headset with connections/ sw for packet/voice. Coax cable extensions (2x 50'), RF adaptors, and antenna assortment: 2m/440 mag mount, J-Pole roll-up with mounting options, and $24 Radio Shack 2mtr GP/Scanner antenna.

Astron 12V 25A power supply, and various interface connectors/cables stored in marine battery box with
Power Poles and various splice/fusing/connector/spares.

A small 3 ring binder with copy of all manuals, and basic operating set-up information incase it is loaned out.
A second binder with local/Area/Other frequencies of interest, ARES, MARS (if member), SATERN, Local repeaters, simplex, packet and even Public Safety Frequenies for extended RX or scanner.

This does not include the separate configurations of the DEPLOYMENT or "GO" KITS that have various items for 72hr plus deployment used in ARES, MARS, etc. (including usual 2m HT with alkaline AA battery spares, 1/2 wave extendable antenna, roll-up "J" and clip on radial. Your mileage will vary.

Consider collecting various station parts over time, and assembling a similar station for a personal or club project that can be used for EMERGENCIES or Public Relations for Field Day, or other opportunity.

73- Greg WB6FZH




 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by K0KDR on September 16, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Any thoughts or concerns about emergency communications turning into commercial communications? If the station is ‘sponsored’ by a commercial enterprise, I would suggest that specific rules be drawn up, in advance, and with leadership approvals. Then the rules should be posted prominently in the station. The question is, what should the rules be?
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by N0GV on September 16, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I am going to go way out on a limb here and suggest that it might be quite wise to have separate VHF/UHF and HF rigs.

A used FT-990 or FT-1000 Mark V field will run nicely on a battery bank and do well in the HF arena and has a built in tuner available.

A VHF/UHF FM dual bander allows local traffic control separate from the HF long-haul traffic -- 2 operators = 4x the utility as they can monitor bands simultaneously and work local and long distance at the same time.

If you dont need UHF then go with a rugged ICOM V8000 for 2m only....

Grover
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by HB9PJT on September 16, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
A lot of the suggested rigs I would not choose for emergency use because they do not operate at a 12 V battery, which might be the only power source in emergency situation. Many rigs need at least 12 or 13 volt but from a lead accid battery you get only 11 volt when not fresh charged and because of the wiring and fuses between the battery and the rig. So forget for example the FT-990. And forget a FT-1000 because it has no 12 Volt connector and only works from AC with the special PS. My Kenwoods TS-2000, TS-480 and TS-50 work well from 10.5 volt so I would suggest a Kenwood rig!

73, Peter - HB9PJT

 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by N0TONE on September 16, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Please guys, understand the nature of this installation. It is not a "go kit", nor portable. He has the benefit of being in a facility that already has substantial backup power generator, and is in a building which is most likely fortified against likely natural weather conditions. This is a solid, fixed station. I agree that bells and whistles don't matter, but a radio whose front end will not collapse under the load of a lot of HF signals is important.

The ability to operate from a battery is not important - there's a generator.

Ease of use is paramount here, not portability.

And yes, separate HF and VHF rigs are really mandatory here. This is an installation that is likely to become a communications center during a real emergency, and multiple operators will likely be the norm.

AM
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by WA6CDE on September 16, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
If your consern is the overload... then may I suggest you go look at the KWM-2 or the S-line... Drake or other good Ham rigs from the tube days... clearly they have proven their metal in all kinds of situations... including the military...

Now something to be said for tubes... is that they have a better track record than the solid state stuff does... expecally if your working off of the gen set or some other power source and don't need the emergency power source like a battery...
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by AH6RH on September 17, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Normally, I would say that the Icom 706 MK II G to be my favorite for all around portable/mobile HF, however, for emergency communications, I'd say the "best" is the combination of the Yaesu FT-817, Tokyo Hy Power HL-50B amplifier, and the LDG Z-100 in a Pelican briefcase. A West Mountain Anderson Powerpole power strip breaks out the 12V DC supply. I use both for portable/mobile work, however, the compact nature of the FT-817 combination is my hands-down winner for travelling through airports. You can also listen to AM and FM broadcast with the FT-817, sampling it on the internal battery.

When combined with a Hustler mobile antenna on the trunk of the car, the radio can maintain NVIS operations out to 300 miles on only five watts on 40 meters. As needed, additional output power can easily be had by turning on the HL-50B at the touch of a button.

To see a video of it in action, see:

http://www.karc.net/AH6RH/
http://oahuari.org/testfiles/AH6RH/KGMB9report.asx

My thanks to Joe Speroni AH0A, Mike Burger AH7R, for making the video accessible.

At the time of the video, 5 watts gave S6-8 signals to locations ten miles and 250 miles away. The ability to conserve power is very, very important in deployment and operations. Setup time for the station is less than 15 minutes, leveraging the battery from the car.

The radio can also do 9600 baud packet and PSK through the data jack in the back. We know from Chip's Jay Leno video that it can easily beat SMS using CW.

As an aside, this radio has had QRP SSB contacts to Europe, and won the ARRL 10 meter contest for Oceania QRP SSB in 2002.

If you can, bring both the FT-817 and 706 MK II G. You can never lose bringing a backup.

Ron Hashiro, AH6RH
Hawaii State Civil Defense RACES and ARES
Original contributor to the ARRL ARECC course
http://mysite.verizon.net/rhashiro/am-radio/in-hawaii.html
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by FP5CJ on September 17, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
What about an IC 703 instead of the FT 817?(IT is a 10W MAX output rig with better audio(RX AND TX),and you can use even a lower AMP battery using 5 W half power output of the rig!
(but of course, you need an HT to have the above 30MHZ frequencies!)
73
JP
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by N5EAT on September 17, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
After listening to all the discussion revolving around the Icom 706, I got out my original 706 I purchased the day they became available in the U.S. It's at least 10 years old. The original is kind of deaf on 2 meters unless you've depressed the pre-amp. Then it holds i'ts own. I did a side by side comparison of it's receiver on the same antenna that my ts-2000 is on. Both unfiltered, and both with just the noise blanker engaged. With pre-amps on both, Hf signals were almost identical. Sideband signals were both nice and clear. I found 1 stong signal on 40 with a near many s-unit down signal. Both had bleedover, but neither rig showed much "perceived" blocking on the lower sig.

I was looking on K2's site and they have a chart, perhaps the most important number is the blocking dynamic range figure. In the cheap rig category, the Yaesu ft-900D, 857 type rigs have contest quality blocking dynamic range figures. This also holds true for the late, GREAT ft-747. There are lots of other
distortion numbers listed where the ft-900d and others fall short of contest quality, but where it really, really counts the inexpensive yaesu rigs have the goods.

Having said all this, the little Icom 706 is a wonderful rig. I think it would perform well in an emergency situation. I kind of like the receive audio from the ICOM more than the TS-2000, but the difference is not something which should bother any normal person. Both are good and your mileage may vary. Frankly, the Ts-2000 picks up more ambient noise
(air conditioner, etc) than does the 706, but it's again not a big deal considering that the DSP on the Kenwood removes it.

One of the things which has really improved the entire list of low-end hf rigs I own has been my clear-speech(pre heil) speaker. This makes a ENORMOUS difference when noise and signal intermix. I believe that any good emergency setup should have one of the GAP hear-it models, or perhaps the SGC speaker. The DSP on both
work great, and there is a setting for the SGC speaker's ADSP2 where you get nearly FM quality on sideband and cw. I know, I have the SG2020 with adsp2, and it's astounding.


A short aside, I went to Gigaparts and purchased an MFG ICOM power cable for 14.99 I believe and it's outstanding for the price. Fits "most" newer icom rigs like the 706, 718, etc.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by WB0UGO on September 17, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The setup I use for emergency and portable use is a FT 897 and a 85 ft wire with 17 ft counterpoise. The power can be from a Astron SS30, Deep cycle battery or the internal batteries on the 897. This allows me to run the full 100 watts or 25 watts with the internal batteries which will last about 6-8 hours. I have a small MFJ 902 Travel tuner that works great with the wire antenna. The antenna is very easy to set up and works well on 10-80 meters. For UHF/VHF a small mag mount comet dual bander does the trick. All the gear fits in an old laptop computer case except the battery and is very portable. The 897 is a nice rig and the DSP, extra Collins filters along with the levels of attenuation on the rig let it work in crowded band conditions. I had an ICOM 706 MK2 and it was a nice rig, but the 897 has much better DSP and handles crowded bands much better. Plus the internal batteries are a big plus. 73's Steve
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by K5MDM on September 17, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
How do I unsubscribe from this article. You guys dont listen or read....EMERGENCY BASE STATION Fool!! That does not include all the little rigs. In retrospect, the IC 718 was probably the best suggestion.....but it needs that high dollar filter. Now tell me how to unsub please. 73 Murray K5MDM
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by AH6RH on September 17, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
There is a URL at the bottom of the e-mail which you can use to unscribe.

The request doesn't specifically mention "base" station.

You can always use a "small" rig as a base station (we use a number of 706's around the state, at a number of corporate headquarters/EOCs). A pair of mobile antennas oriented as a dipole and more than ten feet above the ground, or a vertically mounted mobile antenna is good enough to get you back on the air, especially if you have to abandon the wire antenna installed on the roof of corporate headquarter building.

But, it's difficult to operate a full size rig in a car, especially when the idle receive current will suck the battery dry. If you find yourself next to a generator with several days supply of fuel (especially when there are no gas stations in operation), consider yourself blessed.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by N5EAT on September 17, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I can't believe k5mdm wants to "unsubscribe" from this
topic because we're too stupid to understand that emergencies require big rigs. I feel his embarrassment, and hope he gets himself out of here so he can clear his good name. ...Funny. Come back when you've grown a medullary stem.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by WB0UGO on September 17, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Since K5MDM made his post right after mine I wonder if I was the final one that prompted his comments. The size of a rig does not have to mean it is a poor performer. I made a special note in my post that the 897 was a good performer in crowded conditions after the Collins filters were added and the DSP and attenuation features were engaged. Listen to a 718 under crowded band conditions with its limited AGC, marginal front end,and standard filters and it will not perform as well as the 897 equipped in my post. It is a good entry level rig. Emergency use can mean a lot of things. Will there be power? Even if its a home base will the antennas be damaged. Do you need to set it up at a remote location ? My setup is ready to be used under almost any conditions, is very easy to transport, and the rig is adequate as equipped. I am sure many of the other stations are as well, and many of them are small profile rigs. There is also operator expertise to consider. That includes both the technical side of design and setup of the station, and the actual operator skills. Proper knowledge and use of even a marginal rig by a skilled operator can make a huge difference. 73's Steve
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by KG4SPA on September 17, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
IMHO you need two radios - an HF rig and a 2 meter/70 cm. It's hard to be on an HF net at the same time on a 2 meter net. Two radios and two antennas. And you and split the duties between two opeartors which makes the work load easier

The antennas and the operators are the most critical elements!

Most any radio will work. I have been using a Yaesu FT-840 for HF and it is a rock solid radio. Simple to use, anyone can run it. 100 watts out and it needs only a 20 amp PS. With a simple mod it will transmit on ANY freq from 100 kHz to 30 MHz so it can interface with the Feds on USB in the 5 MHz range. Get the TCXO-4, the CW & AM filters, and the FM-747 moduals for it.

Consider an auto antenna tunner for the HF rig. I have a three LDG units and they are great! The LDG AT-100Pro will do the job. I use a G5RV dipole for my HF work and they are easy to get up and will do the job.

For the last year I've been checking into the local 2 meter ARES net with a 5 watt HT (A Yaesu VX-5r). I have a 40 watt amp for it but I don't need it. I'm about 30 miles from the repeater. The key is my antenna. I use a Comet GP-3 that is mounted to the eves of my house which puts it at about 12 feet high. Higher would be better but it works just fine.

I'd look at any dual band mobile unit that puts out 50 to 65 watts. The simpler the better. Better yet have TWO 2 meter radios - it's always nice to have a back up!

Other things to consider. Get PTT footswitches for the radios. Get COMFORTABLE headsets for EACH radio. Have a dummy antenna load available.

A DVR or a cassett tape recorder is usefull when stations are hard to hear.

I assume you will be operating on emergency power. Make SURE that any generator that is powering your radio is properly grounded!!! Last year here in FL I went through 3 hurricanes and every generator I saw (except mine and my companie's!) were not properly grounded. a ground rod and strap cost $12 from Home Depot.

Hope this helps!

Tony
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by W5HTW on September 17, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
In an emergency, bells and whistles waste money and time and confuse people. Simple is best, and standard operation is necessary.

My vote for the Icom 706. I do, though, suggest a separate VHF/UHF rig as well, but if that is not feasible, VHF/UHF memories can be set up next to HF memories, resulting in a couple of buttom pushes, to move anywhere, and any mode.

Sensitivity to overload is a problem, but that's why then invented attenuators. It is also why the invented "radio operators" who have the knowledge to turn the RF gain down, to shift the bandpass filter, if ncessary. That defeats what I said in the first paragraph, but in most emerbencies the operation would be by a ham, yes? One who knows what he is doing, yes?

The radio's compact size, moderate weight, easy portability, quick move from mobile to base, good power output, and even with the stock filter, selectivity enough to use on VFO or channelized (60 meters) frequencies, all make it an excellent emergency radio.

We do not definte an emergency radio is the best for DX, or as having the best audio response, highest fidelity, prettiest dial. We define it as quick to learn, easy to move, suitable power, best audio punch to get through, and complete as it comes from the factory.

There is little that can beat, or even approach, the 706 for HF emergency operations.

And it even includes CW!

Ed
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by N7LSE on September 17, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The Yaesu FT-897 + LDG AT-897 Tuner.
It'll 'load' any antenna you put on it,
It's a Yaesu, Internal Batteries if needed.
Great for home station, field day, emergency...
The ICOM is 'too finicky'.
John
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by AB8RO on September 17, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
A VAN? What on earth are you thinking. What if everything is flooded like down south? What good is a van going to do you then. No, I think you should see about getting a good deal on the old air force one the next time the feds upgrade. While you're at it, a trio of island paradises would give a reliable choice of new location for base operations in case of a REAL emergency.

Your basic local essentials could be met by building a helepad on the roof and outfitting it with a couple of surplace navy gunships, heck, they already come with radios, good ones too!

I think to be truly safe though you should purchase one each of :

1) National grocery chain
2) Oil company
3) Arms manufacturer

That should about cover it. I'm pretty sure this post renders ALL those before it obsolete.

....next question...
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by KE7BDI on September 18, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The City of Bellevue, Washington, recently purchased ham gear for emergency use and has assembled a team of volunteers to train in it's use. The City had decided on the TS-2000 for the City Hall location and several FT-897D for field deployment. Your need is for a smaller population and one site. I would suggest the FT-897D with either internal batteries or the auto tuner. It could also be used in the field easily. It looks ideal for your application.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by KE4ZHN on September 19, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The one you have on hand that works.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by K8GWW on September 19, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I really like my TS-570 for my portable special event operations. It is really user friendly and a fun radio to use. Can not go wrong for a mid priced rig. If you would like the same features with more power, look at the TS-480HX at 200 watts. Of course you will need twice the power supply. Good luck. Jerry K8gww <
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by KE6TDT on September 20, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Get a Icom 746 and be done with it. It's on the smaller side, 12 volt, can be portable if need be, it's well designed, two meters, six meters, and HF. Plus all the shortwave broadcast bands.

I have one, it's the only ham rig I have, and the only one I need.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by WA2RY on September 21, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Regardless of the station assembled, make sure it's tested periodically from end to end. That includes checking on condition of batteries / power supplies, antenna conections and the rig itself. A refresher on operations and the standard "cheat sheets" are good too.

When it hits the fan is not the time to start figuring out how to make things work. A small investment in time beforehand can save precious time in an emergency.

May you never have to use the station for real emergencies...
 
RE: Since when can't hams build their own stuff...  
by WA5ZNU on September 21, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
WA6CDE wrote:
>Section 97.315(a) provides that no more than 1 unit of 1 model of an external RF power amplifier capable of operation ... as most transmitters have an power amp built into them...If I wanted to make a portable 1kw CW transciver all solid state... attttt... they would label you a criminal if you made more than one.

External means not part of a transmitter. It doesn't apply.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by W4CNG on September 21, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
FT-897, Alinco Switching PS, Outbacker Outreach antenna with ground coupled mount, 100ft RG8X cable, 5 ground radials, 25ft AC extension cord, Sony MDR Headset and dualband VHF/UHF rollup antenna (300ohm TV line version). That is what I took to New Orleans/Baton Rouge last week. Not much activity on the VHF/UHF bands even less traffic on HF.
Steve W4CNG
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by WB4TJH on September 22, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I would vote for any rig that is dependable and not too battery hungry. You might just be competing with alot of other equipment using the same generator. As for much of what I have read on this thread, let me add a new "Q" signal to the list....QBS.
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by K0SSI on September 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
When it comes down to an easy to use HF radio for your EOC, utilize a simple to operate radio. Our EOC has a Kenwood TS-450S for HF use. It is not new, but easy for everyone to take a few minutes to learn to operate. It has no menu system to speak of with everything button or knob controlled! For an antenna, I would recomend one of the B & W Folded Dipoles, as you don't need a tuner for them to be able to generally work all HF bands. (Be sure to keep either the original radio manuals or copies within easy access to the radios for reference!). For VHF/UHF, I would recomend a FULL Twin band radio such as the Kenwood TM-D700, TM-V7A or the Yaesu FT-8800. You can monitor 2 frequencies, or 2 bands, at the same time, and use one of the better Comet or Diamond dual band base/repeater antennas.
When it comes to power, I would recomend a 50 amp power supply with at least 2 Optima batteries for backup! Batteries Plus has a new 100 amp Gell Cell battery available that is a little less expensive than the Optimas are. I would connect the batteries inline between the power supply and radios. The batteries will only draw the amount fo current needed to keep them fully charged.
I have two EOC/ICP portable radio kits. One has a Yaesu FT-857/LDG Z-11 Pro combo, and FT-8800 twin bander with appropriate antennas, etc. The other includes an Icom IC-706 MKIIG/LDG AT-200 Pro, and Kenwood TM-G707 Dual Bander, etc. I have NEVER experienced the Rx overload problems with the IC-706MKIIG that have been mentioned in other postings here!
For mobile response, I use a Kenwood TS-480 HX with a HiQ 4/80 screwdriver antenna, and a Kenwood TM-D700 with Larson antennas. I also have an SGC SG-500 amplifier installed in the vehicle just in case the 200 watts of the radio is not enough power to punch through the noise!
Good luck on your project!!!!
73
Bill
KØSSI
Mesa County RACES/ARES
Colorado State RACES
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by NY4D on September 24, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Power sources and antenna problems seem to be the real things to worry about, that's where the real thought needs to be. I'm with K0SSI, keep the radios simple to use. Forget about menu radios. Get, or at least have as a back up, a reliable radio with buttons and knobs for all functions. Have a manual for it, and two or three more copies handy. And redundancy never hurts, have two or three of the same radio around. Back up power and antenna problems will create enough headaches without having to look up everything in a book to use the radio. So my vote is for Kenwood 450, 430, 450, Yaesu 757, 747, 840 types. Make sure they are operated, or at least tested, on a regular basis and any maintenance or repair is done when needed. Spend the money you save on back up antennas, antenna parts, emergency power systems etc. Have a separate rig or two for uhf/vhf so you can relay traffic on both radios simultaneously. Can we spell K.I.S.S. ? Can we spell R.E.D.U.N.D.A.N.C.Y.?
 
Best HF Transceiver-Part Deux  
by KA4KOE on September 25, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Forgot this one....

Repeat after me.....HF MANPACK, HF MANPACK.

Look up the Vertex VX-1210. Its an incredible HF rig with an internal antenna tuner that will load a wet noodle in a snap...

If you don't feel like snooping around on google, here's the first link on the list

http://www.rfwiz.com/VertexStandard/Mobiles/VX-1210_InfoDat.htm

Plus you can get it wet.

These radios can be had for under 2K if you look around for a bit. Canadian dealers are cheaper, as they aren't readily available here yet.

Also check out http://www.hfpack.com

Just my 2.23497 cents worth.

PAN
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by N2NH on September 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I'd recommend the FT-857. It is small, light and is the newest of the compact rigs. The power out can be scaled back for battery operation and the DSP helps with weak and interfered with signals. I've even heard of hams working portable with it. Alternatively, the FT-897 is pretty much the same rig with internal batteries. For an antenna tuner the new SGC would be great for QRP and the LDG for other uses. Both can be configured to use minimal battery power for the long haul.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by WA2JJH on October 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Racal/transworld 100. Has both 12V and 110Vac. Lightweight. 150W with adaptive speech proc and ALC.
3-30 meg full specs commercial/mil quality.
 
RE: Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Us  
by WA2JJH on October 2, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Racal/transworld 100. Has both 12V and 110Vac. Lightweight. 150W with adaptive speech proc and ALC.
3-30 meg full specs commercial/mil quality.
 
FT-897D  
by KI4GPX on October 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
While the 706MkIIG is a nice rig, it has well known problems with poor audio and repairs. That said, it's probably one of the best 2-3 choices available. The Yaesu FT-897D is another. It has most all of the features of the 706 and then some. I have read of NO major problems with the 897. In fact, almost everything I've ever read about it was positive. If the company can afford it, hold out for the new Icom IC-7000 to hit the market and get its first rundown. You'll know fairly quickly if it is the "new rig to get" within another couple of months.

BTW, I own two Kenwoods and four Yeasus. Never had an Icom, but that's not because I wouldn't own one. I'd buy one in a heartbeat if the price and features fit my needs -- for my next rig.

 
Thanks to everyone who offered advice!  
by W0QU on October 17, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has responded to my question about the best ham equipment for emergency communications. All of the replies will be carefully considered by the team working on this project. I hadn't expected to receive such a wealth of information and am impressed and very grateful!
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by KK8ZZ on November 26, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Kenwood TS-2000 beyond a doubt ! Monitor BOTH HF and VHF or UHF at the same time ! Let's see the 706 series do that, compadres ! :-)
 
Which HF+ Transceiver is Best for Emergency Use?  
by KC2GYP on December 21, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I thought about this one a lot. My conclusion? The ultra-compact (but not too tiny) Yaesu FT-857. It's a highly reliable, manageable HF plus 6m/2m/.7m with 100w on HF and 6m, 50w on 2m and 20w on 70cm.

For antennas, get a solid mobile VHF/UHF you can screw onto the back via a UHF elbow joint (even with the angled bail, there's plenty of clearance in the back). Plus, with the power output of this thing, you'll have no trouble hitting any repeater or going great distances 'naked' if necessary.

For HF use a dipole or long wire (used with a very compact LDG Z-100 autotuner (handles 125W) or Outbacker or Outbacker JOEY or a Buddipole (highly recommended). If you have a dipole, get the LDG z-100 auto tuner which can handle up to 125W.

For power, I recommend MFJ's ultra compact 4125 25A switching P/S (5.5" x 2.5" x 5.75"). Or any good motorcycle battery. All in all, a very compact set-up.
 
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