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Author Topic: What's the best HF frequency to monitor for emergency communications?  (Read 30317 times)
ONAIR
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Posts: 3571




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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2016, 04:19:35 PM »

The one frequency that I have actually heard several emergency calls on is 27.185.  But then again, that is a frequency outside of the ham bands.
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KD8IIC
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Posts: 724




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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2016, 09:13:03 PM »

 Yes, I guess I should have read the question closer myself but he did state "HF" so I figured he had a communications receiver and not just interested to listening on amateur HF. I am unaware of any calling freq for emcomm traffic on amateur HF except for Maritime Mobile Service Net on 14300.
Back in your 1960's QST archives you'll find where their were emergency calling frequencies listed for each band. We were anticipating being A-bombed by the Ruskies then though. Many emergency and traffic nets existed on HF at that time.
Only VHF then was 6m AM pretty much. No repeaters as you have today. 10m was for local coverage as well.
Our Civil Defense used CB and held a weekly net with their members across the county, also ran excercise drills using it. They'd do highway trouble spotting on I-70 during holiday travel on ch 19 before it was a truck driver's channel.
 Tube rigs in automobiles were not uncommon along with 102 inch whip antennas with the large spring at the base mounted on the all steel rear bumper.
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ONAIR
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« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2016, 10:23:19 AM »

Yes, I guess I should have read the question closer myself but he did state "HF" so I figured he had a communications receiver and not just interested to listening on amateur HF. I am unaware of any calling freq for emcomm traffic on amateur HF except for Maritime Mobile Service Net on 14300.
Back in your 1960's QST archives you'll find where their were emergency calling frequencies listed for each band. We were anticipating being A-bombed by the Ruskies then though. Many emergency and traffic nets existed on HF at that time.
Only VHF then was 6m AM pretty much. No repeaters as you have today. 10m was for local coverage as well.
Our Civil Defense used CB and held a weekly net with their members across the county, also ran excercise drills using it. They'd do highway trouble spotting on I-70 during holiday travel on ch 19 before it was a truck driver's channel.
 Tube rigs in automobiles were not uncommon along with 102 inch whip antennas with the large spring at the base mounted on the all steel rear bumper.
    Remember those big tube rigs with the vibrator power supplies?  My dad had one, and it took up quite a bit of space under the dash!  Smiley
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K7EXJ
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Posts: 875




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« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2016, 10:41:19 AM »

Remember those big tube rigs with the vibrator power supplies?  My dad had one, and it took up quite a bit of space under the dash!  Smiley

Yes the vibrator power supplies were everywhere in the 1950s with top-hat whips. It took up a lot of room in the trunk for most hams. HF mobile in a car was nowhere near as easy back then as it is now.

My first mobile was an SBE-33 all solid-state rig that I installed into my 1956 Chevrolet Bel-Aire convertible I drove from Seattle to Washington, D.C. to take a job with a government agency that subsequently forbade me from getting on ham radio during my career with them. LOL

For those of you who have not been edumacated in old-timey ham radio, when your transmitter needs 600-volts and all you have is 12-volts (or even 6-volts) and all of them are direct current, it's not easy to go from one to the other. So a vibrator was used to make AC out of the DC, then step that up with a transformer, and then rectify it back to DC.

In 1977 my XYL took delivery of a Westsail 32 sailboat kit with the mast, deck, engine installed but the interior and much of the exterior unfinished. We also took delivery of a baby girl. So for the next two years I worked at finishing that yacht. I made our front porch into a workshop and spent many cold nights at the table saw watching my XYL playing with the baby. Tongue

But installing mobile HF on a sailboat was a cinch. Just insulate the backstay and use a roller-inductor antenna tuner with an Icom IC-702. That worked for thousands of sea miles (and another kid).

I'm not sure what I would have done if I'd still needed a vibrator power supply.

BTW: then the maritime mobile frequency was 14,313 but the idiots drove that away. Trust me, there were a lot of idiots on  amateur radio throughout the latter half of the 20th Century even if they did have to, at least at the beginning, learn the code.
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73s de K7EXJ
Craig Smiley
ONAIR
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Posts: 3571




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« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2016, 08:31:15 PM »

Remember those big tube rigs with the vibrator power supplies?  My dad had one, and it took up quite a bit of space under the dash!  Smiley

Yes the vibrator power supplies were everywhere in the 1950s with top-hat whips. It took up a lot of room in the trunk for most hams. HF mobile in a car was nowhere near as easy back then as it is now.

My first mobile was an SBE-33 all solid-state rig that I installed into my 1956 Chevrolet Bel-Aire convertible I drove from Seattle to Washington, D.C. to take a job with a government agency that subsequently forbade me from getting on ham radio during my career with them. LOL

For those of you who have not been edumacated in old-timey ham radio, when your transmitter needs 600-volts and all you have is 12-volts (or even 6-volts) and all of them are direct current, it's not easy to go from one to the other. So a vibrator was used to make AC out of the DC, then step that up with a transformer, and then rectify it back to DC.

In 1977 my XYL took delivery of a Westsail 32 sailboat kit with the mast, deck, engine installed but the interior and much of the exterior unfinished. We also took delivery of a baby girl. So for the next two years I worked at finishing that yacht. I made our front porch into a workshop and spent many cold nights at the table saw watching my XYL playing with the baby. Tongue

But installing mobile HF on a sailboat was a cinch. Just insulate the backstay and use a roller-inductor antenna tuner with an Icom IC-702. That worked for thousands of sea miles (and another kid).

I'm not sure what I would have done if I'd still needed a vibrator power supply.

BTW: then the maritime mobile frequency was 14,313 but the idiots drove that away. Trust me, there were a lot of idiots on  amateur radio throughout the latter half of the 20th Century even if they did have to, at least at the beginning, learn the code.

    One evening I actually heard some ham cussing another ham out via CW!!!  That was one QSO I'lll never forget!!  Smiley
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KC2QYM
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« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2016, 07:42:02 AM »

The back and forth on this thread underscores the reality that Ham Emcomm on HF is not very active at all and may be a vestigial element in emergency planning. For instance during the Haitian earthquake an emergency relay in the US was set up with the Catholic church relief effort in Haiti.  After the initial few days of using a frequency on 20 meters to organize food and other items for shipment, Father John used the frequency for general Church business...not emergency communications...which was an inappropriate use of ham radio anyway. Why? Because by that time the international relief agencies and military support eliminated any need for ham radio emergency support.  As a matter of fact, the only reason Father John used ham radio was because he didn't have a satelitte phone.   One can say the activities that take place on the 14.300 maritime services net are there to hold the frequency in the event an emergency actually occurs.  They missed the boat (no pun intended) when the 'Bounty' sailing ship went down a number of years ago.  The story is that someone on the Bounty tried to call on the 14.300 net frequency and nobody came back to them.  There was a loss of life in that incident.  Therefore, I would not trust that net or any other operator in the event of an emergency.  Just hope that if you ever have to use ham radio to declare an emergency, pray that some competent guy will rise to the occasion for you. With the nature of ham radio today it is not a trustworthy mechanism for emergency support.  You can find yourself calling a mayday and some A-H more interested in working DX than responding to your call. Or some jerk who won't believe you're in trouble. Using the Maritime Service net to relay messages as to when a family member will arrive back at port is not an emergency but these stalwart hams on that net feel they're doing something nice.  OK...that's fine.  However, if I was a mariner, I would never leave port without a satelitte phone and using ham radio HF would be below the bottom of my list.
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K7EXJ
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Posts: 875




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« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2016, 07:35:05 AM »

The back and forth on this thread underscores the reality that Ham Emcomm on HF is not very active at all and may be a vestigial element in emergency planning.

Really? I think it underscores the reality that most people participating in this discussion just think that emergency communications consists of only "calling for help".

14,300 is probably a bad place to "call for help" but amateur radio, at least for maritime mobile yachts, is not so much about calling for help as it is having a group of people who know where you are, who understand when you don't check in might mean something is up, and who know who else might be in a position to watch for you.

Quote
However, if I was a mariner, I would never leave port without a satelitte phone and using ham radio HF would be below the bottom of my list.

I am a mariner and for me it would depend on what I was planning to do and where I was planning to do it. Because a satellite phone might be nice to "call for help" but it isn't always that great at finding people close enough to you to actually be able to help.

This is because most people have little or no understanding of just how big oceans are, how vastly deserted they are and just how long it takes to get help to get to you.

Unless you are adjacent to a geographical area with well developed rescue agencies or in a well traveled shipping lane it can take literally days to get help to you. If you are on a sailboat between North America and Tahiti (a commonly traveled sailboat route) it can take weeks before anyone even notices that they haven't heard from you. 

An entire jumbo jet disappeared over the Indian Ocean just last year and it took months of intensive searching to even find any debris! (And when they did find it, it was an accidental discovery on a remote beach.)

So, for a sailing yacht on the open ocean traveling along 19th century tradewinds routes long abandoned by commercial shipping because they are the "long way around", amateur radio and the maritime nets are less about "calling for help" than making sure that you're part of a community in which someone, somewhere, is keeping track of where you are, who else is nearby, and figuring out that you're not checking in any more.

A satellite phone is not going to do that for you.
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73s de K7EXJ
Craig Smiley
KG4RUL
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« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2016, 05:35:42 AM »

The thing to remember about emergencies is that they tend to be local in nature.  VHF/UHF repeaters and simplex will be the first places that information will be found.
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WA2ISE
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« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2016, 01:20:16 PM »

Heard on the news that Fiji was trashed by a hurricane type storm, with 180 MPH winds.  And they still haven't heard from some of their islands.  Maybe some hams survived with mobile HF stations?   Huh
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KG7LEA
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Posts: 38




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« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2016, 10:19:24 AM »

State RACES organizations often have HF nets that serve as a basis for activations. Washington state meets twice a week on 80 meters, 3.985. I hear other state nets on 80 meters.

As posted above, most disasters are local so VHF and UHF would most likely be in use.
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