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Author Topic: How useful is 2 meter for emergency communication?  (Read 13664 times)
JOSEYWALES
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Posts: 34




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« on: January 16, 2012, 10:39:52 AM »

I have two handheld 2 meter radios in excellent condition and am just trying to decide if they are worth holding on to for emergency communciation.  What I mean by ECOMM, is for my wife and family to communicate.  I am studying for the test and could pursuade her to do the same. 

I'm just trying to decide is these are a good form of communication.  We also have CBs for the same purpose.

Thanks
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K3WEC
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Posts: 260




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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2012, 11:06:09 AM »

If the repeaters are functional in the emergency, they could be very useful.   I'd expect it to be pretty clogged up in a true emergency, though.

If you're looking for point-to-point (simplex) type communications, the range of 2 HT's is not going to be very far due to the inefficient antennas and low power of such units.   A mobile with more power and a good mobile antenna at each end would be more like it, in my opinion.    You'd likely get several miles if not more, depending on terrain and such.

Your CB idea is a pretty good one...particularly if those CB's have SSB capability. 

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JOSEYWALES
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2012, 11:16:58 AM »

Thanks.  I was pushing hard to get into this, then life interrupted.  I wish it were more active in my area and I'd probably have my license by now.

I did no a little nuts and picked up the following:

Paced Communicator II, 2 meter mobile unit.  Nothing fancy.
(2) Realistic HTX-202 handhelds.  These are really as new in the their boxes. 
(2) Texas Ranger 966 mobiles.  These are new in the box and do have the SSB, which is why I grabbed them. 

I have read great things about HTXs and am reluctant to sell them.  I grabbed the TRs, so that we could have mobile comm and was also planning on a bugout ecomm box.  As a home unit, I have the Kenwood TS-530.  I really like the older functionality and figured I would learn more from their use. However, I'm not certain if any of the above make sense for a novice.  Did I just over complicate things with these purchases?
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ONAIR
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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2012, 11:52:09 AM »

Thanks.  I was pushing hard to get into this, then life interrupted.  I wish it were more active in my area and I'd probably have my license by now.

I did no a little nuts and picked up the following:

Paced Communicator II, 2 meter mobile unit.  Nothing fancy.
(2) Realistic HTX-202 handhelds.  These are really as new in the their boxes. 
(2) Texas Ranger 966 mobiles.  These are new in the box and do have the SSB, which is why I grabbed them. 

I have read great things about HTXs and am reluctant to sell them.  I grabbed the TRs, so that we could have mobile comm and was also planning on a bugout ecomm box.  As a home unit, I have the Kenwood TS-530.  I really like the older functionality and figured I would learn more from their use. However, I'm not certain if any of the above make sense for a novice.  Did I just over complicate things with these purchases?
   The HTX-202 is a great little radio!  I have a couple of them as well as a 404 from years back.  Not a lot of bells and whistles, but built like bricks.  Definitely keepers!  The Ranger SSB units will do a fine job, and may be just what the doctor ordered in an emergency when you can't hit a repeater or a cell tower.  The HF rig will be a blast if you use your Tech SSB privs. on 10 Meters.  10 Meters has been active lately, and will be even better as we near the top of the cycle.
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JOSEYWALES
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2012, 12:12:10 PM »

Thanks.  Some of my rational is coming back to me.  I know there one repeater nearby, but again without a strong active clun, obviously it might not be up long during an emergency.  However, my main goal is to communicate with and simply get home.  Buggim out is a last resort.
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NA4IT
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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2012, 01:05:55 PM »

A good dual band HT can be a plus if you have a cross-band capable mobile.

For my use on VHF / UHF, I would rather have a good VHF / UHF mobile with the highest output possible (usually 50W VHF and 35W UHF) so that you could do simplex. From my home in E TN (and I live in a hole) and can do simplex 30 miles reliably on a dual band vertical.

With a short dual band vertical in a go-kit, and it up 20 feet, you should cover a small area well. (say city or maybe county wide).
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W8JX
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2012, 04:15:36 PM »


Your CB idea is a pretty good one...particularly if those CB's have SSB capability. 


The only edge CB even in SSB has over 2m is it can skip long distances at times but for local work a good 2 meter mobile will smoke it and have clean clear frequencies too. 
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K3WEC
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2012, 05:48:04 PM »


The only edge CB even in SSB has over 2m is it can skip long distances at times but for local work a good 2 meter mobile will smoke it and have clean clear frequencies too. 

I've run a simplex mobile to base comparison in the DFW area and a 10m (close enough to CB) mobile operating USB (25 watts) and a trimmed down "Li'l Wil' mag mount generally has won out over my 75 watt 2m mobile using a 5/8 mounted on the trunk.     Not always, but most of the time.  It definitely varies with terrain, where the 10m rig has seem to excel in my experience.   Of course there's variability in the base antenna so who knows what kind of effect that has, but they're both verticals with tops at roughly the same height give or take.    It's a fun experiment.

What surprised me is that 70cm seemed to excel over 2m in a similar experiment.

Back to OP, I think you've got some good gear there so you should be OK.   The HT's may be of limited value in an emergency situation but like ONAIR said, those RS HT's are great and quite sought after.....
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W8JX
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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2012, 08:37:12 PM »

Back in 90's when I was traveling a lot cross country I used 2m a lot. In Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming repeater were few and far between at time and I used simplex a lot. I was running 50 watts with a full sized collinear and was work home stations 50 to 75 miles away at times in the open spaces.  I do agree 10m could give it a good match but that is because it also has no QRM to deal with to limit weak signal work vs CB band which is more QRM that anything most of the time.
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K3WEC
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Posts: 260




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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2012, 09:08:03 PM »

I do agree 10m could give it a good match but that is because it also has no QRM to deal with to limit weak signal work vs CB band which is more QRM that anything most of the time.

Good point.
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W4KYR
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Posts: 606




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« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2012, 09:37:44 AM »


   Two meter SSB can get out very well especially if there is some tropo enhancement. IC 706 or a FT 897 with a 3 element cushcraft is all one needs to get out well over 50 to 75 miles under flat conditions.

  I knew of a ham on the East Coast who had a IC 706 with a 160 watt amp and 10 element beam and regularly got out to Rhode Island and up and down the coast from his North Jersey location under normal conditions.

  FM is good, but two meter SSB with a modest antenna will go much, much farther given the same amount of given power. Two meters are not plagued with static crashes like the lower HF bands are. Chances are good that being able to establish a reliable point to point of 100 miles or better if both stations are similarly equipped. I would imagine mobile to mobile 2 meter SSB could have reliable communications at  double the distance of FM working simplex.

 CB is good if there is an emergency, there are a lot of truckers out there who use it and anyone can use it without being licensed. Used units sell for next to nothing on Ebay, but I would recommend a SSB unit for further distance.

  FRS radios are great in the field, they are inexpensive, use regular batteries and anyone can use them without a license.

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K9KJM
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« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2012, 10:49:59 PM »

I agree that the dual band VHF/UHF is a much better way to go, Especially if you do the so called "MARS" mod to them so they can transmit out of band.  In a true disaster situation, Such radios can operate on the FRS/GMRS, MURS, Marine, Business bands, etc etc etc.

Check out the new Baofeng at around 50 bucks, A LOT of radio!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/250957592962?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

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KK4GMU
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2012, 04:59:17 PM »

Great question.

The first consideration is to determine what type of emergencies do you believe are most likely to occur in your area and prioritize their likelihood.  And then plan your communications needs around your priority scenarios.

Most emergencies tend to be local in nature (e.g. typically affecting not more than a swath of a mile to a swath or diameter of 20 miles or so):  tornados, conventional terror attack, floods, the path of the severest portion of a hurricane, or nuclear meltdown.

With 2 meter, the height of your antenna, or the height of repeaters you can reach, are more important than your power.  Near ground level simplex operation is usually limited to less than 10 miles.  A 50' high antenna or repeater more than doubles the distance.  Then the higher wattage (e.g. the 50 watts of a mobile unit) comes in handy to get a good signal out that extra distance.

For emergencies that are not localized, i.e. regional or national disasters such as societal meltdown, nuclear attack, or EMP attack, HF will certainly get out better to unaffected areas, assuming in the case of nuclear or EMP, that your equipment isn't fried.

You are doing well by having a variety of communications options and frequenciees at your disposal.  In communications as in investing, diversity is a key to success.  You might also consider MURS, FRS, and GMRS.   There are hybrid FRS/GMRS radios available.  GMRS transmit at higher output power, thus can be more helpful, but require an easy to acquire license.
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N9ZHW
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2012, 10:45:48 AM »

I have two handheld 2 meter radios in excellent condition and am just trying to decide if they are worth holding on to for emergency communciation.  What I mean by ECOMM, is for my wife and family to communicate.  I am studying for the test and could pursuade her to do the same. 

I'm just trying to decide is these are a good form of communication.  We also have CBs for the same purpose.

Thanks
CAUTION: I wouldn't dare even utter the term "CB" out here anywhere! Too many of these guys are too quick to judge you totally negatively like they did me several times and are likely to disgrace your name, badmouth you, and what not!
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KC0UKR
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Posts: 38




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« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2012, 05:04:24 AM »

I can tell you that in Joplin we used 2 meters on the ground and while some brought only an HT they were borrowing extra ful power mobiles when they could.

Despite the area being fairly small the terrain made an HT not the ideal radio really.
I carried a VX-7 and VX-150 both with long flexible antenna and I had to repeat through a full power mobile rig depending on where I was.
The town is largely flat and was mostly flattened but still the terrain caused unpredictable results.

We were talking both through a repeater and simplex between Salvation Army Net Control and vehicles in the affected area.

I had packed several full power mobiles in an EZGo kit that I make and had every one of them in use most on their own internal 12volt 12 A.H. batteries.
Mag Mount antennas on the vehicles really helped make it all work.

I would say if you will be relying on a HT then also pick up an amplifier of some kind,5 watts will just not do it.

Ed
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