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Author Topic: New, Need Help on Appropriate Equipment to Purchase!  (Read 4691 times)
JACKHALL
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« on: January 03, 2012, 03:32:19 PM »

My name is Jack Hall and I would appreciate some help in determining the best equipment for my purpose.  I need to communicate between a handheld unit being used in the forest and a mobile unit in the vehicle.  The range would be up to 10 miles if possible.  I live in Northern, FL so there's dense brush and many trees so I'm not sure I could get this range.
After research, I've selected the following and would appreciate any opinions and/or suggestions stating if this system is OK for my needs or if I should try something else.
Potential Equipment:
>Yaesu FT-1900R 55 Watt 2 Meter VHF Mobile Tranceiver
>Browning BR-180 Amateur Dual-Band Mobile Antenna
>TYT TH-F5 5 Watt 2 Meter VHF Tranceiver Handheld
>Browning BR-180 Amateur Dual-Band Mobile Antenna
As you see, I chose the Browning antenna for both the vehicle and handheld.  I chose it especially for the handheld as I felt the height would increase range.  If there are better antennas for this purpose I would be interested in hearing about them.
Any thoughts on this or alternative systems would be appreciated!
Thanks, Jack

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K6LCS
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2012, 06:59:55 PM »

Just a couple of notes ...

-"Browning?" Never heard of them. But I have only been involved in amateur radio since 1994. Grab a proven, reliable Comet SBB-25 2-meter mobile antenna for the vehicle setup.

-Dense brush and trees? You can have 300W - and you probably will not be talking simplex 10 miles.

-FT-1900R is a great rig for 2M work.

-And a proven handheld - with a great battery feature (with AA cells in a pinch, you have full TX power available, IF you need it) - is the Yaesu FT-60R. 1000 memories. easy to manually program. Bulletproof case. Strongest belt clip of ANY ham HT chassis on the market. Large, legible display ...

What are you doing with these comms? Ham radio work? Hunting? Bounty hunting? Or just talking back to the house while you're out playing? I ask because some uses are inappropriate for amateur radio equipment ... ALSO - Have you checked for any repeaters in your region that may accommodate your traffic?

And yout HT in a dense forest/woods will not hit anything anywhere near your 10 miles - unless you get a nice antenna above the treeline. If yours is a truly urgent type of comms, think of sat phones.

Clint Bradford, K6LCS
909-241-7666

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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com
K5LXP
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2012, 08:11:59 PM »

The range would be up to 10 miles if possible.
...
 If there are better antennas for this purpose I would be interested in hearing about them.

K6LCS is right, you're not talking 10 miles with a typical mobile and hand held setup, no matter what the quality/gain of the antennas is, or how much power you're running.  You're going to have to elevate one or both antennas to get there.  If the vehicle is parked you could entertain the idea of a mast setup, something hauled up one of the many trees, or rely on any repeaters within range.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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WX7G
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Posts: 6128




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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2012, 05:16:05 AM »

A half wave antenna on the handheld, rather than a rubber duck or even a 1/4 wave antenna, will be a big help. The Smiley 01800 at $27 is such an antenna.

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KI4SDY
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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2012, 06:49:47 AM »

In my experience, I think you would do better range-wise in those trees with UHF equipment and smaller higher gain antennas. At any rate, ask the local ham club if they would try some tests for you. Many of them will have dual band vhf/uhf mobiles and handhelds, allowing for an instant comparison. That should give you a pretty good idea how each band is going to work and what range to expect.  Wink

Other than that, and not knowing if the planned "radio traffic" is appropriate for the ham frequencies, you may consider a SSB CB mobile unit with a 9 foot whip and SSB CB handheld. That may very well get you where you want to go!  Grin
« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 07:29:40 AM by KI4SDY » Logged
JACKHALL
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Posts: 7




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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2012, 09:40:12 AM »

Thanks for all the information and suggestions!  Especially concerning appropriate use for ham frequencies and alternative equipment.  We'll be using these to communicate when a camper wanders off from his/her tent and can't find their way back to the camping area. (Until it was mentioned, I never considered questioning if it was proper use?  I will now thanks to your question!)  It may be a mute point, however, as your help/feedback pretty well establishes I'm not going to get the 10 mile radius that's necessary without a "repeater".
If I understand correctly, there may be an alternative that includes UHF equipment with a higher gain, taller antenna.  I will research a SSB CB Mobile unit with a 9' whip and SSB CB handheld with the maximum antenna (this may avoid the licensing and associated time involved with ham use while still getting the job done).
I'm kind of pushing my luck here, but could I get a suggestion regarding a manufacturer of a quality SSB CB Mobile, SSB CB handheld and antennas for each that could potentially/hopefully serve my purpose?  I would certainly appreciate it!
Thanks again for all the help!
Jack
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ONAIR
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« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2012, 10:33:03 AM »

Thanks for all the information and suggestions!  Especially concerning appropriate use for ham frequencies and alternative equipment.  We'll be using these to communicate when a camper wanders off from his/her tent and can't find their way back to the camping area. (Until it was mentioned, I never considered questioning if it was proper use?  I will now thanks to your question!)  It may be a mute point, however, as your help/feedback pretty well establishes I'm not going to get the 10 mile radius that's necessary without a "repeater".
If I understand correctly, there may be an alternative that includes UHF equipment with a higher gain, taller antenna.  I will research a SSB CB Mobile unit with a 9' whip and SSB CB handheld with the maximum antenna (this may avoid the licensing and associated time involved with ham use while still getting the job done).
I'm kind of pushing my luck here, but could I get a suggestion regarding a manufacturer of a quality SSB CB Mobile, SSB CB handheld and antennas for each that could potentially/hopefully serve my purpose?  I would certainly appreciate it!
Thanks again for all the help!
Jack
  You could get a 10 mile range in an 11 Meter SSB base to mobile or mobile to mobile set up if the band was quiet, but mobile to handheld?
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KD4LLA
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Posts: 462




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« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2012, 10:40:22 AM »

Cellphone?  Everyone I know, plus their children over ten have a cellphones.  To use an amateur radio, one must be licensed...

http://k5ehx.net/repeaters/qrepeater.php, will bring up a map of repeaters in the US.

Mike
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N6AJR
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« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2012, 10:52:22 AM »

Get everyone licensed and then find a suitable repeater in the area.  the height of a repeater gives is much better coverage.  and for a Tech license  the questions and answers are printed and available on the internet.  good luck.
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JACKHALL
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« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2012, 10:56:01 AM »

Mike,

That's a very good suggestion, however, we've tried several different providers of cell phones and few work (including ours).  Those that do are sporadic.  

The reservation is exceedingly isolated with few towers within a reasonable distance.

Thanks,
Jack
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K6LCS
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« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2012, 03:29:51 PM »

>> ...  We'll be using these to communicate when a camper wanders off from his/her tent and can't find their way back to the camping area.

That sound like a business use for a radio system. AND an educational program ...

Might want to set up two different camping "packages" for your clients:

Weekenders Package One: You are on your own. Bring a compass.

Weekenders Package Two: Includes rental of one of our Satellite Phones in case you get lost.

And price the packages accordingly.

You are opening yourself up to liability issues, too. Make sure your insurance carrier knows what you are doing and what you offer your clients. (I am sure you already have excess liability coverage ... Heck, I live in CA, and need to have about $3 million coverage just 'cause I have a koi pond and a horse out back ... ).

>> ... [legal power] CB radios ...

Advertise that you are using CB to find lost campers, and you will be laughed out of business before the summer season hits.

What you are doing - and what "quality" of clients you bring in - is all based on how you are marketing yourself. Market yourself as a "Florida free-for-all, come on down and camp with us and our CB radios!" entity, and you will attract one segment of the marketplace.

But advertise yourself as one that "We offer classes in the use of GPS for campers, and also offer those new to this magnificent experience satellite phones for only $20/day ... " - you will attract another level of clients.

Clint Bradford K6LCS
909-241-7666
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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
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K6LCS
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« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2012, 03:33:18 PM »

Or issue each wandering family a personal GPS locator, and track 'em all if they indicate to management that they will be hiking outside your established grounds.

Clint K6LCS
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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com
KI4SDY
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Posts: 1452




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« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2012, 07:02:16 AM »

Look for the Cherokee AH-10, Cherokee AH-100 and Mundara SY-201 SSB CB handheld units or their other brand name clones. They are hard to find, but they are out there. I have used an example of these radios and they are great! From actual experience I can tell you that county-wide mobile to mobile SSB communication is possible with properly installed equipment and good antennas. The range you want is not out of question for the mobile to handheld equipment I suggested. Grin

You might try AM CB as well with a mobile and handheld. You can greatly extend the range with a temporary base antenna hoisted into a tree and plugged in the the truck mobile radio. The equipment is inexpensive and the coverage will most likely beat 2 meter rigs in the forest without a repeater. Hunters have been using them for years in Florida with reliable performance, including me, plus no one has to be licensed. Also, make sure everyone has an inexpensive compass before they head out and they check the direction they are walking away from camp! That is what people did before all the technology. Shocked

As a last thought, give GMRS handhelds a try. They are UHF/FM and you have the option of elevating your unit at camp by standing on a ladder or roof to extend the range. They also have become very inexpensive, but a license will be required for the the more powerful units. The most expensive units have GPS location devices built in! Smiley

Everything does not have to be cell, satellite or ham radio to give good performance! Wink

« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 09:02:19 AM by KI4SDY » Logged
K6LCS
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« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2012, 09:32:44 AM »

>> ... I need to communicate between a handheld unit being used in the forest and a mobile unit in the vehicle.  The range would be up to 10 miles if possible.  I live in Northern, FL so there's dense brush and many trees ...

> ... Everything does not have to be cell, satellite or ham radio to give good performance ...

Unless you are able to alter the laws of physics and antenna theory for this gentleman, then neither a handheld CB radio nor a simplex GMRS HT will provide reliable, consistent communications in his environment.

Clint Bradford K6LCS
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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com
JACKHALL
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Posts: 7




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« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2012, 09:52:16 AM »

Clint,

Based on your response, it's obvious you have a great deal of knowledge and experience in the matter (and I would venture, success as a business man).  

After reviewing your suggestions, I wish I did have a business of the nature you describe as it appears lucrative.  In that event I would "steal" every thought you listed.  

Unfortunately, I'm simply a volunteer search and rescue "guy" assigned to a particular area of the forest.  Our (volunteer) importance includes immediate action as we respond when called as opposed to formal authorities whose policy is to wait a certain period to assure need before taking action (however, we do work very well with the formal authorities).  They (formal authorities) employ the latest in technology including a helicopter.

Coincidentally, I'll be interviewing for a job in Flagstaff, AZ.  If time and chance allow, I would like to visit your business and meet you.

Thanks for offering the sound advice!

Jack



 
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