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Author Topic: Communications in The Woods  (Read 2720 times)
W8JX
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Posts: 13268




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« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2018, 03:40:22 AM »

Several years ago my son and I tried out 2m/VHF and 440/UHF while doing some scouting in heavy woods with some hills too. 2m was MUCH better than 440 and it would work when not LOS and behind a hill or rise when 440 would not. MURS VHF would be the way to go if operating in heavy woods. Not perfect but much better than GMRS/UHF. 6m might do better with full sized antennas but not practical on a HT. Antenna efficiency on HT's is better on MURS/VHF than 6m. And while GMRS can have even better antenna efficiency, it suffers from greater attenuation from foliage and more LOS than VHF. 
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
W4KYR
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Posts: 1799




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« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2018, 04:52:24 AM »

I can not BELIEVE I read above that said buy a cb radio.I am in shock stop the presses..Have a wonderful day and a Joyous Day. 10-4.  1973s

So what?  OP didn't state that the radios would be used only on the ham bands.  Typically higher frequencies such as 462/467 mHz (like the OP suggested) don't work as well (as lower frequencies 50 Mhz and below) in wooded areas. With proliferation of cheap CB mobiles going for as little as $10 used and single channel hand held CB's with the long metal antennas often going for as little as $5 used and up each. It would make CB a no-brainer (in this case).
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2018, 05:07:39 AM »

I can not BELIEVE I read above that said buy a cb radio.I am in shock stop the presses..Have a wonderful day and a Joyous Day. 10-4.  1973s

So what?  OP didn't state that the radios would be used only on the ham bands.  Typically higher frequencies such as 462/467 mHz (like the OP suggested) don't work as well (as lower frequencies 50 Mhz and below) in wooded areas. With proliferation of cheap CB mobiles going for as little as $10 used and single channel hand held CB's with the long metal antennas often going for as little as $5 used and up each. It would make CB a no-brainer (in this case).

When I am driving, I find that I can get information on traffic, via CB radio, when the area repeaters are silent (no one listening and most of them are at home anyway).  Our local EOC has a CB radio because it may be useful if the feces hits the rotary air mover.
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AA4HA
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Posts: 2630




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« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2018, 07:31:44 AM »

One thing the OP did not provide was details on who he would be communicating with. If it is non-hams than an unlicensed solution is required.

Even the UHF 462/467 channels are a mixture of FRS (low power unlicensed) and GMRS (higher power licensed). FRS frequencies may be good for the HT to HT comms at distances less than a half mile or so. They are not so good for 1-2-4 miles in the woods; the antennas are permanently attached (by law) and transmitter output limits range, particularly in a path obstructed environment.

MURS is unlicensed, a bit higher power (at 2 watts) in the VHF band and you are allowed to install better antennas. Fewer people know about the MURS channels so it is more likely to be private (security through obscurity) and do better in a wooded environment.

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CB's are ok if you are in a fixed location to a fixed location (campsite to campsite or to vehicles or homes). There haven't been many recently made CB radio handheld portables and those that may still exist are giants.

My father was a ham and when we were children a bunch of friends would all convoy out to a campground and we used a CB radio in the car to keep in touch with people who were not hams. There was even a spot in the pop-up camper where the CB radio could be used inside while camping. Usually it was used to find where the kids were hanging out so someone could be told to go back to their camper for dinner.

If you are in a bevy of other ham radio operators and have no intention of ever speaking to anyone else or letting an unlicensed person talk, then by all means, use VHF/UHF HT's or buy a bunch of PRC-174s backpack radios to set up your own in-woods HF net.

The realistic, practical answer is to use something that is not license restricted, is affordable and does not require the user to lug around an operators manual to get working.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
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