eHam

eHam Forums => QRP => Topic started by: N0ZLD on December 24, 2012, 06:56:15 AM



Title: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: N0ZLD on December 24, 2012, 06:56:15 AM
The setting: A virus has broken out around the globe that has turned the majority of humans into mindless, brain-eating zombies. Humanity as we know it has changed.

The requirements: CW/SSB radio communication using HF. The complete kit should be 1-person portable. Hauling the kit around in a Red Rider wagon technical qualifies but loses points for practicality. Setup/teardown time should be 30 minutes or less. Bands used will be 6 to 40 meters ITU region 2 (this won't matter if the scenario ever played out but helps facilitate this thread).

Budget: $2,500 USD

General assumptions:
1) You have shelter, food, medical supplies and are not in any immediate danger of being turned into a zombie.
2) There are others with HF radio communications. Keeping in touch allows coordination of supplies, knowing areas to stay away from and any changes to the situation as a whole.
3) No need for "backup" items (duplicate microphones, batteries, etc.).
4) You will transmit 10%, listen 90%.
5) Their will be a average mix of sun and cloudy/rainy days.
6) Propagation is average, this is neither the top or bottom of the cycle.

Notes:
1) Nobody is right or wrong. Please refrain from personal attacks.
2) Let's stay on topic. Never mind politics or what the government would do in this scenario. This is a thread about building a complete kit for $2,500 and under.
3) Post items with the name and links where they can be found.  This is so we can purchase the items now but if the links expire or change, others in the future may search for these items.
4) If you've seen (or are watching) the AMC television show "The Walking Dead", the scenario should sound familiar to you.
5) Pictures are a good thing.
6) My assumptions are just that. For example, I understand it may be good to have "backup" items and a "central" station may transmit for more than 10% of the time.
7) Have fun. I could have did a general post of "help me build a go-kit" but I thought this was more fun  8)


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: N0ZLD on December 24, 2012, 10:58:31 AM
If my initial post is "weird", perhaps I can change it to something like:

"Hi!  I'm new to QRP and am looking to get started.  What can you recommend for radio, antenna, power, and carrying everything?  I plan to operate SSB on 6-40 meters.  I'd like something that is easy to setup, say, under a half hour.  It should be something I can carry myself.  I plan to bring it camping for the weekend and would like to operate completely "off the grid".  I've done some lurking on the forums here and some research around the 'net and was able to come up with what I believe is a start.  Thanks!"

Let me start with what I'm thinking..

Radio: Elecraft KX3 ($1300 - Tuner/Filter) http://www.elecraft.com/

Mic: Yapster TM-YB100A ($16) http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Stereo-Gaming-Headset-TM-YB100A/dp/B001FY7LBQ/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=1Z8X6077FB3T3&coliid=I26S9RA0LECQWL

Antenna: AlexLoop Walkman ($366) http://www.alexloop.com/

Power supply: CTSolar 32.2W Blue Nylon foldering solar panel ($310) http://www.ctsolar.com/322wbluenylonfoldingsolarpanelourmostpopularpanel.aspx

Battery: Buddipole 4S4P A123 Battery Pack ($285) http://www.buddipole.com/4sa1bapa2.html

Power controller: Buddipole Solar Battery Charge Controller ($45) http://www.buddipole.com/sobaco.html

Pack: Pelican ProGear S145 Sport ($109) http://www.pelicanprogear.com/product/Pelican-ProGear-S145-Sport-Tablet-Backpack/sport-backpacks


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: N0SOY on December 26, 2012, 06:38:30 PM
Good list but I would replace the elecraft with 3 MFJ 94xx radios set up for CW and SSB.  One each of 75, 40, and 20 meter bands.  Why  these radios.  Small, lightweight, if one fails you still have other bands. No difficult to find parts and easy to fix. 

Having only one radio in a EOW situation is not a good idea. 



Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: KE4VVF on December 27, 2012, 06:30:55 PM
Radio: FT-817ND  Because I want UHF and VHF too.

Mic: I'd use the supplied mic because I sure wouldn't want to be wearing a head set in Zombie territory. The whole object is to not be a h'orderve.     I would carry a small single ear bud to keep receive noise to a minimum.

Antenna: AlexLoop or home brew equivalent and 40, 20 and 10m wire dipoles. Dipoles can also be used as a vertical if you have a loop on one end to pull it into a tree.

Power supply: Folding solar panel

Battery: Home brew 10,000 mAh NiMh "D" cell battery pack

Power Controller: Buddipole Solar Battery Charge Controller

Carry Case: Tupperware square cake carrier w/ foam inserts. It's waterproof, light and fits well into a pack. I plan to be running part of the time. Carrying something that doesn't fit in a pack will keep me from using both of my Machetes at the same time.


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: W1JKA on December 28, 2012, 05:25:39 AM
Re:KE4VVF
               Keep in mind Zombies can only see black and white images,so it's prudent to paint all your radio gear flourescent orange,and same for your hunter orange safety clothing which will enable you to walk among them and attack them from the rear with your machetes(also flourescent orange).


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: KE4VVF on December 28, 2012, 06:58:42 PM
Re:KE4VVF
               Keep in mind Zombies can only see black and white images,so it's prudent to paint all your radio gear flourescent orange,and same for your hunter orange safety clothing which will enable you to walk among them and attack them from the rear with your machetes(also flourescent orange).

Wow. Thanks.  I was going to paint it all camouflage.  I'll have to get a few spray cans of ANSI Safety Orange.   I bet armor made out of traffic safety cones would work out pretty good too. 


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: ZENKI on December 29, 2012, 02:00:37 AM
My rig of choice running off my GE basement  nuclear power plant.

http://sunair-beyond.com/web/hf-power-amplifiers/t-10000a-10-kilowatt-high-power-transmitter-system/

I can take control of the frequency and  trample over all the zombie jammers screaming  5/9 QSL. I will be able to the person where Ooohhhhlaaaa is  and where their pet dog Oohhlaaa is wondering about through all the QRM from those
calling Z1A(zombie 1 America). I will also be able to call Scotty to beam me up.

This transmitter and my Barrett 50 cal should see me through the zombie field day dreaming.


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: N0ZLD on December 30, 2012, 08:38:25 AM
Thanks for the replies.  I tried to have fun with the zombie thing but I guess people just don't "get it".  Next time, I'll just post something more normal and boring like, "help me build a go kit".

Cheers


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: AC4RD on December 30, 2012, 10:19:48 AM
Some of us probably weren't all that interested because we've found out, over the years, that zombies just don't QSL worth a darn.  And practically none of 'em use LOTW, either.


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: KB2FCV on December 31, 2012, 09:43:58 AM
I was able to make a few QSO's during the event before being turned into a zombie. Strangly enough I awoke the next morning with things back to normal. I do occasionally crave brains though.. Rig was a KX-1 running a couple of watts into a dipole.


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: KK5JY on December 31, 2012, 11:32:59 AM
I like many of the options presented.  My "improvements" would include:

Radio: trade the KX3 for two 817's.  Many things are easy to repair (e.g., antennas).  Radios are not.  I would spend the same money as the KX3, but have a backup radio.  You could also use that arrangement with a second antenna to do VHF/UHF simultaneously with HF, but my main concern is what happens when something damages my primary radio.

Antenna: small (3') hand-tuned magnetic loop (aka, "small transmitting loop") with vacuum variable tuning capacitor.  If constructed carefully, you can get good performance on the bands you mentioned, plus you can hide/fit such an antenna anywhere, especially indoors.  Not having an outside antenna while the zombies (and/or hungry neighbors) roam your neighborhood could be a very good thing.  Not having to go outside to adjust/repair the antenna could also be a very good thing.

Since the antenna can be made to resonate at any of the frequencies you mentioned, no tuner is needed.  That's one less piece of equipment for your kit.


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: KB2FCV on December 31, 2012, 11:55:02 AM
Not having an outside antenna while the zombies (and/or hungry neighbors) roam your neighborhood could be a very good thing.  Not having to go outside to adjust/repair the antenna could also be a very good thing.
You really only have to worry about the repair aspect. I've found zombies are generally uninterested in wire/aluminum/rope/etc. Keep some brains in the freezer if you need to go outside to repair the antenna. If your antenna is in the back yard, leave the brains in the front yard dangling from a rope somewhere. That will keep them busy for a few hours while you make repairs.  ;D


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: AD6KA on December 31, 2012, 11:28:56 PM
Quote
Radio: Elecraft KX3 ($1300 - Tuner/Filter)
Quote
Mic: Yapster TM-YB100A ($16) http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Stereo-Gaming-Headset-TM-YB100A/dp/B001FY7LBQ/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=1Z8X6077FB3T3&coliid=I26S9RA0LECQWL

If you're going to get a proper transceiver,
get a proper headset, not a gamers toy.

It will sound much better (xmit and rcv)
and last a whole lot longer.
Heil been bery, bery good to me:
http://www.heilsound.com/amateur/products/headsets.php
......and after getting a headset, work on your head shots! ;D
Zombies stay down with a double tap to the forehead! :o
73, Ken  AD6KA


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: VE3VID on January 01, 2013, 08:05:21 AM
$2500 is a 'Fist Full of Dollars'.  Pelican Cases to avoid 'Sudden Impact'  I agree, FT-817 or 'For a few Dollars More' an 857D would allow more 'Absolute Power' in a pinch.  They're both small rigs so you wont need '2 Mules' for the wagon. If you're a 'High Planes Drifter' and go 'Where Eagles Dare' you might use V/UHF.  Zombies can be 'Beguiled' by the bag of brains, but carry some 'Magnum Force' and don't end up in the 'Dead Pool'.  'Any Which Way You Can' get an antenna up is good.  I like 300ohm twin lead folded dipoles, just 'Hang 'em High' to cross the DX 'Bridges'.  Bring a sling shot in case its 'Breezy'.  Its not 'A Perfect World', QRP can be 'Good, Bad & Ugly' on SSB, so don't be 'Unforgiven', possibly consider sound card digital modes.  SignaLink USB will make you 'Misty' when the 'Gauntlet' is down and propagation is 'Changeling'.

:)  Vita Invictus
David


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: WD4ELG on January 01, 2013, 06:46:08 PM
VE3VID, love the Eastwood tribute.

N0ZLD, your post is not far-fetched because the planning is realistic.  If somebody wants to really do harm to us, a high altitude EMP burst would damage our power grid and knock out all solid state systems.  Total chaos without firing a single bullet.    A very scary scenario that we should consider, if we intend to plan for such scenarios.

The Pelican case is a MUST HAVE.  Affordable.  Rugged.

You can get MP-1 or Miracle Antenna portable whips that work quite well and are less expensive than the loop for EMCOMM.

Also, some sort of EMP protection should be considered.  I read somewhere that keeping the rig in the dryer would help (no, not joking, somebody actually recommended this on one of the forums regarding EMP.)  Another option is some sort of storage with a metal enclosure.

Sunair radios are amazing stuff, I used those when I was in the military.  Very rugged.

Back to other funny comments:

1. Need heavy ammo for the Barrett to take out several in a single shot...there will be many coming in waves.

2. A kw on 432 with phased yagis from an EME station would do some serious immediate RF damage to a group of them...assuming the generator could handle the load.

3. I HATE trying to work zombie DX, they always forget to operate "split"





Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: AC4RD on January 04, 2013, 12:54:04 PM
... zombies just don't QSL worth a darn.  And practically none of 'em use LOTW, either.

Even the ones who DO get set up for LOTW never get matches when they upload their QSO data.  It always looks like this:

<QSO_Date:14>braaaiiins ... <time_on:14>braaaiiins ... <call:14>braaaiiins ... <band:14>braaaiiins ... <mode:14>braaaiiins ... <NOTES:14>braaaiiins ... <eor>
<QSO_Date:14>braaaiiins ... <time_on:14>braaaiiins ... <call:14>braaaiiins ... <band:14>braaaiiins ... <mode:14>braaaiiins ... <NOTES:14>braaaiiins ... <eor>
<QSO_Date:14>braaaiiins ... <time_on:14>braaaiiins ... <call:14>braaaiiins ... <band:14>braaaiiins ... <mode:14>braaaiiins ... <NOTES:14>braaaiiins ... <eor>
<QSO_Date:14>braaaiiins ... <time_on:14>braaaiiins ... <call:14>braaaiiins ... <band:14>braaaiiins ... <mode:14>braaaiiins ... <NOTES:14>braaaiiins ... <eor>
<QSO_Date:14>braaaiiins ... <time_on:14>braaaiiins ... <call:14>braaaiiins ... <band:14>braaaiiins ... <mode:14>braaaiiins ... <NOTES:14>braaaiiins ... <eor>


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: AE7UT on January 08, 2013, 04:47:53 PM
First I dig the Zombie motif.

Transceivers - K1, KX3 (like a Jeep and a Ferari)
Power source - solar panel into LiFe batteries (AA NiMH back ups)
Antennas - ZS6BKW, Yo-Yo wire antennas, Outbacker Joey (hey it's what I've got)
Pack - My daughters "Ariel" pink backpack.  (no one dares to hit you when wearing this even Zombies)

BTW I'd love to get some 10,000 mAh NiMh "D" cell batteries.
KE4VVF where did you find those?

73
Stan AE7UT


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: PINEAPPLEFRENZY on September 07, 2013, 03:38:24 PM
Rig:                     Icom IC-703                                                                                                              $400
Antenna:             Norcal Doublet, 20' Crappie Pole, 4:1 Balun, Guy string                                          $100
Power Supply:    http://www.aspectsolar.com/products_SunSocket_Solar_Generator.aspx (http://www.aspectsolar.com/products_SunSocket_Solar_Generator.aspx)               $1,500
                                                                                                                                                             $2,000





Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: KB1GMX on September 07, 2013, 07:43:48 PM

Radio PRC1099 because zombies.  (seriously 20W, 1.5-29.9999mhz and self contained
  with internal antenna tuner and whip mount)
Antenna AT271 whip mounted, EF40/20/10 for extra punch on the bands.
A 25ft loop of RG58.
20ft crappy pole for flatlands.
Solar charging rig (panels and charger to match the battery used.

Because the scenario was classic prepper sillyness, we add an AR15 and 5000rounds.  Because, zombies!11!
That alone will bust the budget.

More down to earth I'd forget the rifle as that's 7 pound of not much communication and the radio
I might use the TT Eagle throttled back and a few batteries.  Because I have one.  I've tried it and it
works well off a 7Ah gell for local contacts at 10W. a 10ah Lithium is lighter but harder to charge safely.
My KNQ7, 20M and 10M hb rigs would do equally well.  I'd keep my 2M ht for just because.

If were playing prepper games.
For the EMP, substitute for the plastic pelican case a metal case for shielding.  Any thing that is completely
metal and closed without non conducting seams will do.  If that not enough the rads already got you.

Seriously a radio good for CW/SSB at least 5W and 20W would be better, enough battery to run it and a
way to charge that battery (solar, hand crank generator, genset), portable antennas some kind of
half wave type and a vertical whip type as trees may not be an option a collapsible pole. and the usual
bits to hook things up.  A case to put it all in is handy.  For most cases water proof is not needed though
water resistant and floats is desirable.


Allison


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: W1JKA on September 08, 2013, 02:50:51 AM
   Apparently the Zombies are re awakening, get prepared.


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: AK4YH on September 08, 2013, 10:00:19 AM
Here is my portable HF station, including power source and antenna, for a fraction of the cost mentioned:

http://radiopreppers.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=407.0;attach=219;image (http://radiopreppers.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=407.0;attach=219;image)

Don't forget one thing about an emergency portable station: You might have to actually carry it, on foot, with a lot of other things...

  • Weber MTR (I also like Elecraft products! K1, KX1).
  • Goal Zero Nomad 7 solar panel.
  • Goal Zero Guide 10 AA cell holder/charger.
  • 25' of RG=174 coax.
  • American Morse DCP Paddle.
  • BetterQRP end-fed tuner.
  • LNR Precision Trail Friendly wire and choke.
  • Veho360 speaker (or earbuds).

The whole thing weighs very little, uses little current and can also be powerer with AA Alkaline cells or a 9V battery! The MTR works down to 6V. I regularly work Europe with it, as far as Western Russia (from Florida).

Current draw on receive will be your most important factor, unless you want to carry heavy batteries you might not be able to recharge...
I love my KX3 but I think even it is too big to be practical. If I have to hike, it stays home and the MTR comes along.

Here is a test for everyone to do: Take everything you might need to survive and stuff it in a backpack, including your radio station, food, water, camping gear, first aid kit, etc. Strap it to your back. Most people would be already in trouble at this point... Now go outside and walk ten miles... Right... Time to rethink your plan a little?
If you can't do this, whether because you have too much to carry or can't physically do it, you are fooling yourself. Time to shed some weight (from your pack and yourself!).

Gil.


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: KK0G on September 08, 2013, 11:32:17 AM
First thing I'd do is drop the SSB, it's orders of magnitude less efficient than CW, makes the rig bigger, heavier, more complex and worst of all power hungry which is a HUGE concern since this is supposed to be a man portable set up. here's my list:

Elecraft KX1                   $300
30/80M module               $90
ATU module                   $130
Plug in paddle kit            $70
20' of wire                     $2
Goal Zero Solar              $200
Charging Kit__________                 

Total                             $792

So that leaves me with a highly efficient, simple to use, easy to deploy, compact, lightweight, extremely low power consuming set up plus $1708 to supplement my food and ammo supplies. ;D

Gil's 100% correct, I've been backpacking while operating QRP portable before and when I have to carry every single item for my survival on my back, there's no way I'm carrying much more than what I've listed above. Coincidently, the KX1 is the rig I use for portable work.


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: K6AQ on September 09, 2013, 09:47:37 AM
Actually, I'm working on a solar setup for my KX3 right now. The primary goal is to hopefully be able to run a portable Field Day QRP setup for the entire 24 hours, or at the very least be able to use it at a park or something.

Panel: PowerFilm F16-1800 (30 watts, ~$450 on Amazon). This should be enough wattage so that the radio can operate directly off the panel so that the battery is untouched during the day. It's also light enough and small enough when folded to carry in a backpack.

Battery: Buddipole 4S1P (~$80 from Buddipole direct). Probably not enough for all night operation, so I'm considering a 4S2P or 4S4P as well.

Charge controller: Genasun GV-5 (~$100 on eBay). Their literature claims that it's RF-quiet, but we'll see. It's light enough and small enough to put in a bag in any case, plus MPPT means it can take better advantage of the amount of available power from the panel.

Balancer: AstroFlight Blinky (~$30). In a zombie apocolypse situation the items you have need to last as long as possible without failing. Ensuring that your batteries are balanced will help with that.

As for the rest of the radio setup, I have a KX3 with built-in ATU as well as a homebrew EARCH 6-40 end-fed matcher and some wire. I also have a 20 foot fiberglass mast but perhaps a CF fishing pole would be better for portability (as long as the wire slopes away from the pole, of course).


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: W7ASA on September 11, 2013, 07:15:41 PM
I agree with the 'use CW' posts for all the reasons stated.  Size, Weight Power(consumption) all much better and the reliability of communication per power consumed is VERY high compared to voice at the same power levels/conditions..

I'd use my 'up-armored KX-1. This includes the build-in shortwave receiver for information gathering and etc.

(http://files.qrz.com/a/w7asa/W7ASA_QRP.jpg)

Oh - and because Zombies MUST eat live human brains or die, I plan to hold out for about 3 weeks in my present location and then air drop into the center of Washington DC , where all the Zombies will have starved to death, with only politicians around to feed from.  //No brains, you see...//


de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: K7TP on September 20, 2013, 07:22:27 PM
Has anyone looked anxiously at this upcoming radio?
http://qrper.com/2013/09/lnr-precision-introduces-the-fx-4-a-four-band-cwssb-transceiver/

Gotta run, my brains are getting cold.

Grover


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: AK4YH on September 20, 2013, 10:36:37 PM
Quote
Has anyone looked anxiously at this upcoming radio?

Yes. I used to own their FX-2, which worked well. The FX-4 looks very good on paper, except for current draw.. 250mA is a lot. The four-band K1 burns 60mA! No SSB, but oh well. And that is the main concern for a SHTF radio. More current draw means a bigger battery and the means to charge it. Not to mention that you might have to carry it. My KX3, although bigger, uses much less current (150mA) and I get more bands, modes and power. My MTR, I can power with a 9V battery and still reach Europe! For the price though, I have to say it is attractive. LNR's customer service is excellent. I bought their FX-2 used on Ebay and it had a glitch. I sent it in for repairs. They sent me back a new one at no charge! I would not hesitate buying from them.

Gil.


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: W1JKA on September 21, 2013, 07:25:12 AM
    The Topic heading begs the question is the FX-4 Zombie proof or is that just another costly option?


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: WB6BYU on September 21, 2013, 10:39:18 AM
Based on having hauled a station around in a backpack for a few thousand miles:

rig:  My current choice would be my Elecraft K2           $450 (used, not quite working)

Major problem is the high current draw on receive (about 180mA or so?)  My old Argonaut 505
was more like 100mA I think (I never measured it), but it is considerably larger (though not too
heavy).  The HW-8 does quite well in this regard as well.  Receive current draw really is important
for battery life:  by comparison my 40-40 rig (forerunner of the SW-40) draws about 18mA on RX.

With either the Argonaut or HW-8 I used to figure that I could go for a week of intermittent
operation (evenings in camp) or a 24 hour contest like Field Day, on a 4.5Ah gel cell, though
7Ah would provide more margin - I take time off to sleep, cook meals, etc.

There have been a number of QRP rigs out in recent years - this is not to say that any of them
wouldn't work as well, but I don't know much about them.  However, I've tried to list the criteria
I use for choosing one, so they can be applied to any rig.

If your rig draws more than ~100mA on receive then consider using a separate radio for
monitoring, such as the VR-500, which runs on a pair of penlight cells.  (This is also convenient
approach for VHF/FM operation:  monitor on an HT, then turn on the big rig when you need to
make a call.)


bands:  I'd add 80m to the mix, since finding other survivors locally is probably more
important in the short term than checking conditions at longer distances.


antenna:   kit of wire dipoles                   $5
                        25' of RG-174 coax                 $10
                        spool of mason's twine            $5

I haven't yet found any commercial product that beats a simple set of wire dipoles for cost,
weight, versatility, and performance.  #22 to #26 stranded, insulated hookup wire is more rugged
than magnet wire, light, and easy to wind and unwind (once you learn how.)  Setup for the
5 pre-WARC HF bands takes less than half an hour (but I've told that story before...)  No
tuner required, either:  the wires are adjusted initially at a nominal height, then I just string
it up and operate.  I can set up  whatever combination of bands I want to use each time, and
the wires can be used to make other sorts of antennas (loops, long wires, vee beams, verticals)
when desired.  I think my current kit is around 1 pound, or a bit more when I squeeze the 160m
wires in it.  (Yes, even 160m dipole is practical in a portable situation.)  By putting multiple
dipoles on a common feedpoint I don't have to change or readjust the antenna when changing
bands - convenient when it isn't safe to go outside.

I might carry a spare length of RG-174 to splice on when more height is available, or use RG-58
instead when the extra weight and bulk isn't a limitation.  A length of 300 ohm twinlead isn't bad
to have handy for more permanent setups.


antenna tuner:  not needed for normal operation.  But when I'm getting creative, the little
Ten-Tec AC-5 has fed any number of interesting configurations, including Zepps, long wires,
doublets, vee beams, end-fed half waves, etc.  Probably easier to build one than to find one used.

antenna support:  I've always had the good sense to live where there are trees, but even
crossing the Nullarbor Plains in Australia ("null arbor" = "no trees") I still managed to find something
to hang my antenna on, even if it was just a rock outcropping.  A 20' telescoping fishing rod
could come in useful if you can't find anything else.  The top section is too flimsy to hold up the
antenna, but with RG-174 and light wire the rest of the pole will hold up a dipole.


power source:  I've managed so far on gel cell batteries because they are cheap and easily
available, but the newer Lithium variants are worth considering.  The 7Ah gel cells can be salvaged
from UPSs, which could be an important source of backup power in the proposed scenario.  A flexible
solar panel that straps across the top of your pack to charge batteries while hiking should give enough
power for operation when you aren't on the trail.

Best to have an AC charger/power supply available also in case you find other survivors with
a generator.  A car charging cable may be useful as well.


What to put it in?  My backpack, of course.  I've survived so far just wrapping the rig in my bath
towel and putting it in the center of my pack, with everything else around it.  But if I need better
protection I'd get a Tupperware container for it - light and waterproof, while providing some
mechanical protection as well.  (I used one for my Olympus camera while working in Alaska - it
survived frequent rain, mud, jumping out of a helicopter, and even floating in salt water in the bottom
of a canoe.)


Total cost:  under $1000.


But the critical part is the knowledge that you have in addition to the equipment - that is what
will keep you on the air and making effective contacts.  How to improvise and repair antennas,
what antennas are optimum for different paths and conditions, CW, how to toss a rock over a
tree branch to erect your antenna, what bands are best vs. time of day, how to make the best
use of your available battery power, and the experience and practice to be able to set the station
up and use it in difficult circumstances.  One thing I keep trying to teach the philosophy:

If you don't use it regularly, it won't work in an emergency. 

So get out and use those Zombie Preparedness Kits instead of spending your time polishing up the case.


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: AK4YH on September 21, 2013, 11:19:40 AM
Good post Dale,

Gell cells are great, but heavy; especially in the 7Ah range. My biggest one is 2.9Ah, and even that is too heavy for me. I use AA NiMH cells in a pack of eight. I get 11V max with them. Many QRP rigs can use that voltage. My MTR will go down to 6V. Aside from the AA cells, I am waiting for some Lipo 1Ah packs to arrive.. AA cells can be used for many things though. I can charge four at a time with my 7W solar panel. I believe the key in SHTF radio is portability. When you must carry everything on your back, every ounce counts..

I built a K2 and a K1, and those were great rigs. I finally sold them and got a KX3. My only beef with it, as with all other Elecraft products is the lack of weatherproofing. Ray's KX1 is the ultimate! I might yet get a KX1, just for the building enjoyment and to get two more bands than my MTR, plus SW listening.. AA cells there again..


Gil.


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: WB6BYU on September 21, 2013, 02:57:33 PM
AA cells are great for a lot of things - when I was in Search and Rescue I standardized everything
(flashlights, radios, etc.) to use them, and keep a good stash of alkaline cells on hand.  But in
those days the only rechargeables were NiCad, good for about 600mAH, which didn't run a radio
for very long.  We'd go about the first few hours with the team VHF hand-held on nicads, then
put in Alkalines for the next couple of days.

The higher capacity NiMH cells make more sense, though it still depends on the rig you are going
to run and the required life between charges.  If your radio draws 300mA on receive, you won't
make it through a shift without recharging.  On the other hand, something like the 40-40 / SW40+
(after optimization) can easily run on alkaline AA cells because both the average and peak current
draws are much less.


At the other end of the spectrum, I'm designing hand-held receivers for 2m and 80m for use while
running through the woods, so light weight and operating time are both important.  A typical 80m
receiver draws around 10mA, so even a 9V battery will last many hours.  But I'm also looking at
putting a pair of 3V lithium cells into a single AA battery holder (needs to be stretched slightly)
to give me 6V @ 1200mA in the space of a single cell.  Those particular cells are not rechargeable,
however, but it seems like a pretty good compromise for power density and total space used.


Title: RE: Zombie apocalypse
Post by: AK4YH on September 21, 2013, 05:49:08 PM
Quote
At the other end of the spectrum, I'm designing hand-held receivers for 2m and 80m for use while
running through the woods, so light weight and operating time are both important.  A typical 80m
receiver draws around 10mA, so even a 9V battery will last many hours.  But I'm also looking at
putting a pair of 3V lithium cells into a single AA battery holder (needs to be stretched slightly)
to give me 6V @ 1200mA in the space of a single cell.  Those particular cells are not rechargeable,
however, but it seems like a pretty good compromise for power density and total space used.

Sounds interesting.. Please message me when you get that working!

Gil.