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Author Topic: How useful is 2 meter for emergency communication?  (Read 24968 times)

Posts: 3741

« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2012, 11:48:39 AM »

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. 
  Actually CB does have a huge edge, merely because there are thousands of them turned on almost all of the time in every part of America, hooked up in almost every truck!  When I got stuck and was out of repeater and cell tower range, it took me less than 5 minutes to contact a trucker on channel 19 who got me assistance. 

Posts: 51

« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2012, 04:28:40 PM »

It is enlightening to play with Splat! coverage plots.  Terrestrial and free space path losses increase with frequency, so 11m SSB is worth looking into for unlicensed individuals.

All other things being equal, 10m should provide better coverage than 6m, which should provide better coverage than 2m.

Posts: 3190

« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2012, 10:49:51 PM »

What sort of "useful" emergency communications are you referring to exactly?

Jacking your jaws behind a microphone doesn't do much of anything really... You can tell everyone all over the world of your situation in an emergency using a radio if you like and if it should somehow make you feel better.

Doing so won't do anything to change your immediate situation anyways. If you believe that it does, then you are reliant on a false sense of security.

However, a chainsaw and some extra fuel to run a generator might be useful.. Ask me how I know this.


« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 11:02:27 PM by KC8VWM » Logged

Posts: 215


« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2012, 10:29:07 AM »

RE:"However, a chainsaw and some extra fuel to run a generator might be useful.. Ask me how I know this."

Hahaha... Yep!!

If you live in the area of the "problem"..most likely you will be "digging out/sawing out",
not talking on a radio.
You count out guys from outside your area to do the comms.

A note about HT's...I can work over 50 miles with 5 watts and a 3 el beam at 20 feet, so
dont overlook the antenna. Make sure you have gas/battery/etc power and its ready.
Keep spare everything undercover/ when lightning hits your main station you
can pull the spares out and get back on.

Ohhh.... Burn the vest.....hahaha



Posts: 14

« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2012, 06:50:09 PM »

New to hamming, but interested in emergency communicaitons, I just purchased a Kenwood F6A HT and a Kenwood D710 Mobile.  My near term priority is learning cross-band repeating with these radios.  That way I have two functioning stations with one being being able to get both signals out, while the other remains highly mobile and walkable.  My next priority is back up power.  I plan to get a converter for my 48-volt (6, 8 volt batteries) golf cart.  That should be good for a week or two of communications.

Given that this is not a chain saw forum and I have few trees, I will leave that topic to others.

Posts: 22

« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2012, 01:08:07 AM »

I have made 17 to 20 mile QSO's on 2m simplex with my HTX202 and a home-brew dipole (at 15ft maximum on tent poles, it's portable), running of the AA pack (4 watts)... I'm also getting into a repeater 35 miles away with the same setup; and this is all in mountainous northern Vermont and New Hampshire! That repeater has allowed me to talk to people throughout Maine; like Augusta, Lyman, Plymouth, Maddison, and Brunswick all from St. Johnsbury, VT down in a valley! There's 2 other 30+ mile repeaters I can get into, but I have to hike it up to the top of the hill behind my place. Yes, the rubber ducks really do not perform, though if I get into the right spot outside I can get into the first repeater I was talking about and I'm at least legible!


Posts: 223


« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2012, 06:47:09 AM »

To answer your question: That depends, and the answer will be different for most every location.  We conducted some tests using 2 meter simplex in the Pittsburgh/Allegheny County area which if you're not familiar with it is very hilly (I'll refrain from calling them mountains being that I hail from the west...)  The results were very discouraging to say the least.  We concluded that in this area repeaters were an absolute requirement to hit most of the areas we attempted to reach.  In some regions that are flat, you cover a large distance with a good vertical coupled with an HT, something that I've done in Texas.  However, that same arrangement in hilly/mountainous terrain will not work without the aid of repeaters.  The expectation or hope is that with a plethora of repeaters in any given area, some or most of these would survive an "event" to keep 2 meter HT's viable (mobiles even more so).

Something I've noticed is the practice among a group of hams wanting to do the same thing (very local encomm) using 40 meters and NVIS antennas.  80 meters is to much of a struggle for various reasons (noise, interference) but 40 meters seemed to be a good compromise.  Even in this hilly area, NVIS stations can effectively communicate all the way out for a couple hundred miles while still keeping local coverage.  NVIS is not intended to work DX which is fine yet NVIS is a proven concept/practice for HF which probably would not work for 2 meters since that RF energy would just pass straight up to E.T.; not your encomm team.

Food for thought.

Glen - KE7FD

Posts: 145

« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2012, 10:58:45 AM »

Yep, it does depend.

VHF and UHF are often referred to as 'line of sight'. For FM work as you would do with your HTX202's, this would be mostly true. Over normal terrain, the range between two handheld radios is normally about 1 mile. If one of the stations is elevated, though, the range can be much further. For example, hams on the Space Shuttle used a Motorola  HT to make contacts with stations back on Earth - so as long as there are no obstructions, very large ragne is possible. You can sometimes work people hundreds of miles away from the top of big mountains like Pike's Peak. With a home station with a simple rooftop antenna, you should be able to easily work similar stations in a radius of 50-100 miles. BUT, it all depends on terrain.

I would suggest you also investigate the other forms of 'CB'. GMRS is the most powerful form. It requires a license which costs about $85 but no tests, and lets you use 50 watts, external antennas, and GMRS repeaters. There are open GMRS repeaters in many areas of the country. GMRS operates on UHF. MURS is VHF, very near the ham 2 meter band. There are more restrictions on equipment, but no license is needed for MURS.

For long distance communications after someone drops the big nuke, your TS-530 should be about ideal if it's working and you know how to use it. Getting a ham license will increase the odds of that.


Posts: 41

« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2012, 07:24:08 AM »

Your 2m HTs are definitely useful!
Test them out in your expected response area, know what they can, and CANNOT, do.
Install a tiger tail on your antenna to improve its performance; if in the car, connect the HT to a mag mount antenna.
Additional free advice available on request.
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